Getting it right for every child

Realigning Children’s Services Programme

Background Information

The Realigning Children’s Services (RCS) programme was established by the Scottish Government in 2015 to improve outcomes for children. It did this by supporting a number of Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) to make tangible, sustainable and measurable improvements to the decision making around their children’s services, through the provision of high quality local evidence in the form of school-based child health and wellbeing surveys.

Since 2015 the RCS programme has worked with eight CPPs across Scotland;

  • Tranche 1 (2015-2016) Clackmannanshire, West Lothian and South Lanarkshire
  • Tranche 2 (2016-2017) North Lanarkshire and Falkirk and
  • Tranche 3 (2018-2020) Moray, Dumfries and Galloway, and South Ayrshire

Overall, around 80,000 school children have taken part in the RCS health and wellbeing surveys across the eight CPPs.

UK Data Archive

De-identified details from these health and wellbeing surveys is available on the UK Data Archive. This enables other research groups to make use of this rich resource and explore key aspects of children and young people’s health and wellbeing in Scotland, as this data provides statistically robust evidence to underpin policies and targeted approaches aimed at improving outcomes in children.

In January 2020, some of the findings from the surveys in Tranches 1 and 2 were published in a report ‘Factors Affecting Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing: Findings from the Realigning Children’s Services Wellbeing Surveys (2015-2017)’.


On behalf of the Scottish Government, CELCIS subcontracted an evaluation of the RCS programme to assess the impact and effectiveness of the RCS programme in the first two Tranches. The evaluation was published in March 2019.

The key findings of the impact of the RCS Programme detailed within the evaluation report were that by engaging in the RCS programme, stakeholders in all five CPPs reported to having improved their:

  • collaboration and multi-agency working;
  • understanding of local need and how that aligns with service provision;
  • use of evidence to inform decision-making;
  • collective understanding of local priorities;
  • and knowledge and skills about ways of bringing about change.

Future Direction

In early 2020, in response to a call from Community Planning Partnerships for greater cohesion in improvement offers, it was agreed to cease the RCS Programme in its current iteration after Tranche 3, and streamline the improvement offer within the Children and Young People’s Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC). The agreed purpose of CYPIC is –

To support Children and Young People’s Services in Scotland to accelerate better outcomes using collaboration and systematic approach to improvement.

Learning from the RCS programme has suggested that CPPs benefit from support to understand their data and how to use this to drive strategic decision making and target their improvement efforts. Building this element into the CYPIC offer, enables a cohesive offer of support to all CPPs across Scotland to:

  • understand data and use this to form an evidence base to drive improvement
  • more strongly link quality planning and quality improvement
  • use improvement methodology to improve outcomes for children

For more information on CYPIC please go to their web page

This archived website on the RCS Programme includes:

The For Families button guided parents/carers, children and young people  through everything they needed to know about the Realigning Children’s Services Programme and the wellbeing surveys.

The For Professionals button guided those working with children and their families to information they needed to know about the RCS programme, including the resources developed for school staff with a role in administering the wellbeing surveys.