Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees in Scotland

What is a Minimum Dataset? 

A Minimum Dataset is a set collection of agreed measurements, criteria, or categories required to create a robust understanding of information about a service.

The data populated through these measures provides a baseline and then a progress measurement for the planning and development of services delivered.

A Minimum Dataset that can be applied universally across services of the same purpose and outcome operating in different locations can guide delivery and, should this be required, can generate comparable data.

The Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees in Scotland

The Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees responds to an action within the Scottish Government’s Child Protection Improvement Programme to:

  • Deliver robust datasets to support child protection improvement.
  • Develop a national resource for advice on using child protection data for local planning and service development.
  • Expand analytical capacity.

Importantly, the action reflected an appetite for data improvement among Scotland’s Child Protection Committees, which play a pivotal role in the continuous improvement of the protection of children and young people. This responsibility involves generating, collating and analysing a range of data and evidence to inform improvement planning. The Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees sits within this context.

Developed by CELCIS in partnership with Scotland’s Child Protection Committees, Scottish Government, Care Inspectorate, and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, the Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees is a package of data collation, presentation, analysis, scrutiny questions and reporting.

Resources for this Minimum Dataset are available to view at the bottom of this page.

The Minimum Dataset package

The Minimum Dataset is more than simply a list of indicators. Working with our three test areas – Dumfries & Galloway, East and Midlothian, and Falkirk – it has become a package consisting of:

• 17 indicators (Resource 1) that are to be collated, analysed and reported to Child Protection Committees on a quarterly basis. These data
  indicators provide insight into the child protection system itself and to the infants, children and young people within it.

• A Microsoft Excel Workbook (Resource 2) to support the collation and presentation of the data. This sets out precise definitions of the
  indicators; specifies the links and relationships across the data and includes analytical prompts, all of which support national consistency in
  child protection data collation and analysis.

• A report template (Resource 3) to support the analysis and reporting of the data to Child Protection Committees, Chief Officers Groups
   and wider audiences such as the multi-agency workforce. Scrutiny questions embedded in the report template support effective analysis to
   maximise the value of the data so that it can be used to inform improvements.

• Guidance and support via a Minimum Dataset Guidance Manual (Resource 4) and ongoing support from CELCIS on how to:

  • Organise the data collation, analysis and reporting process.
  • Analyse the Minimum Dataset charts and tables.
  • Use the scrutiny questions that are contained within the Minimum Dataset package.

Future Developments

The Minimum Dataset Package was developed and tested by those for whom it is designed to be used. Therefore, particular thanks are extended to our three test partners: Dumfries & Galloway, East and Midlothian, and Falkirk. Both the quality and the pace of this work would not have been possible without their energy, expertise and focus.

The Minimum Dataset has now been introduced to all 30 of Scotland's Child Protection Committees. Going forward, our aim is to sustain the enthusiasm we have seen by supporting local areas to use the package and continue to develop it. 

Further information about the Minimum Dataset for Child Protection Committees and the different components outlined below can be found in the Minimum Dataset Guidance Manual (Resource 4). 

Any enquiries about the Minimum Dataset should be directed to CELCIS’ Protecting Children team (



These documents are intended to provide an example of how the Minimum Dataset can be used; the data contained within the resources is for illustrative purposes and is not real data.

Resource 1: Minimum Dataset Indicators Handout


View the handout

Resource 2: Minimum Dataset Workbook Template


View the workbook

Resource 3: Minimum Datasets Report Template


View the report template

Resource 4: Minimum Dataset Guidance Manual


Read the manual