On 5 February 2020, the Care Review published seven reports, with The Promise narrating a vision for Scotland. The Promise is responsible for driving the work of change drawn from the findings of the Independent Care Review. The Promise and the six other published reports can be viewed here.
COSLA and its 32 Member Councils have all pledged to #KeepThePromise by 2030. Local and national policy and practice change is underway and this page will be regularly updated to feature the on going work and the impact this is having on our children, young people, families and communities.
On the 8th April 2022 COSLA published the Local Government annual report on the progress made across Scotland to Keep The Promise. You can read the full report and see the work of Scotland's councils here.
Throughout 2022 we'll highlight some of the work going on across Scotland's local authority areas to #KeepThe Promise. We'll post each month on Twitter @COSLA and this page will be regularly updated.
Glasgow City Council
GLASGOW’S VIRTUAL SCHOOL
“We will support our care experienced children and young people to remain in school and not be excluded. We will work together to find better solutions”
As part of the GVS Guidelines we ask Designated Managers to let us know about any imminent exclusions so that we can work together to try to find alternatives to exclusion. The Lead for Care Experienced Learners is leading the CELCIS working party looking at alternatives to exclusion. The Virtual School Head Teacher is a member of the MC8 (Included, Engaged and Involved: A Positive Approach to Preventing and Managing School Exclusions) Quality Assurance Group where she will invite 2 care experienced pupils to be part of the group to consider improvements to the policy as well as alternatives to exclusion.
Following evaluation feedback, we have further developed partnerships with a wider range of partners to improve interventions for our children and young people e.g. Blairvadach outdoor, Outdoor Resource Centre, learning for our primary children, North Kelvin Sports and we are working in partnership with Action for Children on a bespoke programme at the Clay Community Café in Possil where our young people are learning barista skills as well as working towards the Community Achievement Award in conjunction with Kelvin College.
“Our children and young people will not face unnecessary barriers to education because of their immigration status”
Working in partnership with the Volunteer Tutor Organisation (VTO) we have developed a successful tutoring intervention for our unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC).
We have made a change to the Overseas Enrolment policy to ensure a smoother enrolment process in schools for our UASC children. Area Lead Officers work alongside residential colleagues to facilitate UASC children being enrolled in schools as quickly as possible.
Stirling Council - Supporting the Workforce
In February 2022, to coincide with Care Day and the Tending the Light Festival of Care we launched our Corporate Parenting Elearning Module. This interactive module was developed collaboratively with Stirling Champs Board and some of the young people’s voices feature in training. The launch was widely publicised to staff as our elearning module of the month and we shared it with partner agencies, including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Skills Development Scotland. The module is available for all staff and has been made mandatory for team leader level and above. It will be completed by the Schools and Learning workforce during Staff Development days at the beginning of each academic year. In the first two weeks of the launch it was completed by 230 members of staff. Completion reports will be monitored and Champs Board are being kept appraised of the positive feedback the module has received, including that it is “accessible and informative”, “the young people’s voices really hit home” and is helping staff understand and value their role as corporate parents.
Here is a link to Stirling Champs Board’s Letter to corporate Parents which forms part of the training module: Dear Corporate Parent - Stirling Champions Board - YouTube
Perth and Kinross Council - Families Empowering Communities, the story so far...
Read more about this project, including the four priorities here PDF, 4088.05 KB
- Whole Family Support
- Community Capacity Building
- One-to-One Parent Support
- Universal Support
Fife Council - Delivering on The Promise through a Community Social Work Approach
The aim of this approach is to work in a preventative way with people and the wider community, rather than reacting to individual crises or intervening when it may be too late to hold families or communities together. You can read more about this project here.
North Ayrshire Council - Welfare Rights in Secondary Schools Projects
Through a partnership agreement between North Ayrshire Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership funding has been provided for a two year post for a Welfare Rights Officer to deliver welfare rights services across seven of North Ayrshire's secondary schools. You can read more about the outcomes and impacts of this project, including feedback from parents and schools here.
Clackmannanshire Council - The Clacks' Promise
See the key priorities and participation opportunities in Clackmannanshire Council here.
For more information visit www.clacks.gov.uk/social/thepromise
Angus Council - Growing Leadership of The Promise
Angus Council's Promise Team have been delivering presentations on The Promise to council leaders from across council services with the aim of growing understand and developing connections across their corporate parents to keep their Angus Promise.
You can read more about this project, led by their Participation Assistants Kym and Tasha here.
East Dunbartonshire Council House Project
For The Promise to have impact, Plan 21-24 A Good Childhood details priority actions for change including support, relationships and moving on. In collaboration with care experienced young people, East Dunbartonshire HSCP made a bid to the Life Changes Trust for funding to start a Local House Project. This bid was successful and the first group of young people started in February 2021. Read all about East Dunbartonshire's House Project here.
City of Edinburgh Council - The 5 Fundamentals
The Promise is based on 5 Fundamentals. In Edinburgh, to take these Fundamentals forward we needed a collective understanding of what these fundamentals mean to us all. The Fundamentals document has been written from existing Care Review documentation to provide some usability to these otherwise broad headings. Without these definitions and explanations, we could end up interpreting the fundamentals in different ways. This would not get us to where need to get to together in ensuring that Edinburgh’s children receive children’s services that will keep Edinburgh’s Promise.
Read more about Edinburgh's work on The Promise here.
Inverclyde Council - IPromise Team update
Between March and May 2022, Inverclyde's IPromise team engaged with 183 colleagues across the workforce to discuss ha's going well, where the gaps are and actively listen to the workforce recommendations to ensure Inverclyde Council gets it right for every child. Read more from their update here.
Perth and Kinross
At Perth and Kinross Council we are keeping the Promise by promoting and delivering a way of working that is inclusive and rights based. Wherever it is safe to do so we are putting supports in to make sure children and young people can stay with their families. Listening to children, young people, their families, and their extended support network. Involving them in every decision and empowering them to make their own decisions and plans by offering Family Group Decision Making.
Family group decision making is a structured process facilitated by an independent coordinator who supports the family, in its widest sense, create a plan of support where there are concerns about a child or young person. Building cooperation between key extended family, restoring, and strengthening family ties. Building community and working together thus improving family functioning and relationships so that children and young people can remain with those that they love and are important to them.
There are times when children and young people do have to be accommodated. Sadly, when young people have come into care, despite all the hard work and commitment from professionals, we know that children and young people have often lost connections with people that are important to them.
As part of our ongoing commitment, we have secured investment through the Brothers and Sisters Fund to build capacity withing our Lifelong Links service. This investment is enabling us to develop our service by providing training, information, delivery of, and the promotion of Lifelong Links. Our aim is that every child and young person who is looked after and accommodated can participate in the Lifelong Links process.
Lifelong Links aims to identify and find safe family members and other important people, to build a lasting support network for children and young people that they can turn to for support as they grow. To learn more about their family history and give them a stronger sense of identity and belonging.
Below are the experiences of two young people that have been supported by the Lifelong Links process.
Sarah was 15 when she started working with her Lifelong Links coordinator. Sarah was accommodated at the age of 7 after being in kinship care with her grandparent for a short time. Sarah then experienced several foster care placements moves before settling in a residential house. Sarah has had ongoing supervised contact with the maternal side of the family and no contact with her paternal side since not long after being accommodated.
Sarah wanted to reconnect with her father and the paternal side of her family. She also wanted to have a more coherent understanding of her journey through care and the various placements. Prior to meeting with the Lifelong Links coordinator Sarah had completed her social connections tool, she identified only three people as being important to her and offering her support. All three were professionals currently involved in his life.
Sarah and her Lifelong Links coordinator spent time completing her family tree, piecing together who was who. A timeline supported Sarah to have a better understanding of when and where various moves took place and mobility mapping allowed Sarah to consolidate this, exploring who was around in her life at various times and identifying supportive positive relationships. Sarah was keen to reconnect with as many of these people as possible.
Sarah’s Lifelong Links coordinator found and connected with over 16 people who often thought about Sarah and were keen to reconnect with her. Sarah’s father was doing well, he was in a very different place emotionally and had been for several years. When the coordinator contacted Sarah's father, he said he had been waiting on this day for so long and would do what it takes to move forward and be able to offer Sarah ongoing support.
Sarah was supported to have contact with her father this was a very emotional and positive experience, and they continue to agree and facilitate contact without social work support. Sarah was also supported to have contact with two of her paternal aunts who were over the moon to have the opportunity to reconnect.
Sarah also reconnected with previous Foster Carer’s, and two of her teachers from primary school who sent letters which included nice stories and photos of Sarah’s time with them. Sarah has also had letters and a birthday card from her previous social worker and the offer of ongoing contact and support from them.
As discussed, when Sarah started on this journey, she only identified 3 people when completing her social connection tool. Sarah’s Lifelong Links plan involves the ongoing involvement and support of 11 people, and it is hope that this is the first step in supporting Sarah to have ongoing connections, a network of consistent and supportive people around her as she moves into and through his adult life.
At the time of referral to Lifelong Links Annie was 13 years old and was living in her third foster care placement after things had broken down with her adoptive parents.
Annie was really unsettled and had began to seek out her birth family through Facebook. Annie was able to find her birth mother and she absconded from her placement and travelled alone by bus over 100 miles to meet with her birth mother.
After being returned to her placement Annie and her birth mother continued to have contact through Facebook and Annie made it very clear she wanted to go and live with her birth mother and build up a relationship with her birth family. Annie’s birth mother contacted social work and made it clear she also wanted to build up a relationship with Annie, stating that she was very young at the time of the adoption and was in a very different place now.
Annie’s adoptive family were initially against these relationships developing, however, with support through the LL process were able to accept that this was something that Annie was going to proceed with anyway. They were supported to acknowledge that it was safer to explore this now while Annie had support around her rather than taking off as soon as she was old enough and not having the same support to pick up the pieces if it all goes wrong.
The LL Coordinator spent time engaging several members of the maternal birth side of the family who were all supportive of Annie returning to their care and brought them together in a family meeting with her adoptive father. During private family time the family agreed and organised for Annie to live with her birth mother on a trial period supported by the extended family and social work. To date things have gone well, Annie continues to live with her birth mother, her mother’s partner and two half siblings, she has started a new school and has the support of the extended maternal birth family and her adoptive father who she continues to have regular contact with.
This document demonstrates the impact of interventions, particularly by our Virtual head Team, to promote and secure positive destinations for our care experienced school leavers.
We have taken steps towards strengthening these interventions in consultation with young people, to ensure we build on what is working well and continue to embed person-centred planning with each and every young person. We are focussing on sustained positive destinations in our next phase of implementing the Promise.
North Ayrshire Council
North Ayrshire's Summer Programme for care experienced children, young people, families and parents/carers is taking place over the holidays. Our Champions Board with the help of our Corporate Parenting Team are running these activities so a space can be provided so that parents/carers, children and young people can make connections, get to know our staff and Champions Board.
It also provides a forum where views can be sought and opportunities to participate in planning forums can be recruited from. But ultimately, it’s so our children, young people and their families can have fun and build relationships. The activities, dates and times can be viewed here and here.
Glasgow City Council
The GIFSS partnership was committed to co-producing a strengths-based, family-centred intensive family support service practice model. The Team articulated three distinct areas that could be attributed to how they worked with families – VOICE, VALIDATION and HOPE.
Together they designed a strengths-based engagement and assessment model, which continually evolved with families as they move through their intensive family support journey. As a framework of practice, it was a road map to how the service would work alongside families. Voice Validation and Hope places the family at the centre of their story.
Voice – We recognise that families are the experts in their own lives. It is vitally important that we promote families to have a voice and choice at every stage of our engagement. Each family member will have an important part to play and must feel as if their voice can be heard. This is even more important as often families will be at their lowest ebb and may feel excluded from not only services but at times their own families and communities. That is why in the process of developing a relationship with the family that their voice remains at the beginning of our engagement. It is vital that we listen to families.
Validation – It is core to the engagement process that the family/ individuals feel that their feelings are acknowledged. It is important that a family’s role and importance whether this be in challenges and/ or successes are recognised explicitly as a foundation for establishing an engagement that is respectful, empathic and built on trust. To validate is to accept an individual as important without judgement or prejudice. The conversation will aim to refrain from shame and blame within the family and move towards more validating language and strength-based communication. By validating and understanding we can nurture and empower families to see their own strengths and assets.
Hope – All families have assets and capabilities that can be used to foster hope and inspire meaningful change. By working alongside families, goals can be developed that are achievable and hope inspiring. These goals will be routed within the values of the family and their community. Each time we meet with families it is important that they feel that our time together has importance and that there is hope for them as a family moving forward.
During August our Proud2Care young people hosted an event with the Children and Young person’s minister, Clare Haughey, our panel community and Social Workers here in Inverclyde. Our inspiring Proud2Care young people led the engaging day and used the opportunity to launch their Language Matters film challenging the stigma of language used in their care, and together we all explored what The Promise can look like for Inverclyde.
Read more about about Inverclyde's iPromise Month here
City of Edinburgh Council
Edinburgh City Council have pledged to Keep The Promise that care experienced children and young people grow up Loved,Safe and Respected. Recognising their crucial role, staff discussed ways to Keep The Promise for pupils in Edinburgh's schools...
For Care Experienced Children to feel LOVED in school, we need to:
- Develop warm and nurturing relationships
- Make school a place of care and safety
- Make them feel welcome, show an interest in their lives
- Know & remember what to do when they need support.
- Relationships are based on kindness & acceptance
For Care Experienced Children to feel SAFE in school, we need to:
- Provide safe spaces for them.
- Listen to concerns and support them in agreed ways.
- Have consistent routines and responses.
- Recognise that these themes are interwoven and that our practice should be empathetic and nurturing.
For Care Experienced Children to feel RESPECTED in school, we need to:
- Prioritise listening to children's voices and empower them to actively take part in their wellbeing & education plans.
- Make sure school is positive and welcoming, always.
- Celebrate individual strengths and qualities.
- Show unconditional positive regard, and ensure we are inclusive in all we do.
Here's a short info film sharing information on feeling Love, Safe and Respected and the five fundamentals of Edinburgh’s Promise https://clickv.ie/w/S5J
You can read more information here.
East Ayrshire Council
Bright Spots in East Ayrshire
East Ayrshire was one of three local authorities who worked with CELCIS and Corum Voice to seek and hear from our children, young people and care leavers. This was a partnership approach across East Ayrshire with HSCP, Vibrant Communities, Who Cares? BTHA, Action for Children, Education, Police, CAMHS, SDS and Ayrshire College. This was exceptionally powerful showing positive experiences and impact for us to build upon as well as some difficult to hear messages where we need to do better. The thank you letter here shows our next steps to ensure we follow through with action.
Falkirk Council are delighted to share their update on awareness raising work they've been doing with young people to raise the profile of the people and work of their Champs Board. This has included an ask of the Champs Board to rename their Corporate Parents as 'Council Friends and Family' as they feel better connected to that description. You can read about Falkirk Council's recent work here.
To ensure that we #KeepThePromise across Renfrewshire, we have been recruiting Promise Keepers from a wide range of staff teams and services.
Promise Keepers will act as local champions for The Promise in their roles and ensure that it remains at the forefront of service design and delivery moving forwards, as well as actioning key recommendations from the Independent Care Review. They will do this in a range of ways, such as presenting at team meetings, sharing The Promise with their colleagues, and reviewing the language used in their service.
There is a formal application process for Promise Keepers to ensure that staff are enthusiastic and committed to the role. All Promise Keepers must fill out a short application form to outline their interest in the role and any opportunities they have identified for enacting change.
All Promise Keepers will receive relevant training and development opportunities and access to a supportive wider network to encourage collaboration and partnership working across services in the local authority. The training allows all Promise Keepers to have a baseline understanding of The Promise and equips them with the resources and knowledge they need in their roles.
Promise Keepers will meet every eight weeks to discuss progress in their roles and share ideas. This will also be an opportunity for Promise Keepers to raise any challenges they have encountered to allow us to provide support and guidance.
We have recently concluded our first round of training sessions with twelve Promise Keepers and are currently planning future sessions and engagement with education staff.
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Dumfries and Galloway Council has established a 'Promise Partnership' comprising members from the council, third sector, NHS, D&G college, and others. The purpose of the Partnership is to lead on the opportunity to make sure every child and family in Dumfries and Galloway has what they need to thrive.
Members of this group, taking a holistic approach will:
- Support our children, young people, adults, and families who are care experienced, recognising that experience of care has an effect on people throughout their lives.
- Support our children, young people, adults and families who we know are at risk of being taking into care, recognising that the right support at the right times will help keep families together and avoid the need for care.
- Support all our children, young people, adults and families, recognising that if we get the services that everyone uses right then the level of engagement with the care system will be reduced.
For more information on how we're working to #KeepThePromise in Dumfries and Galloway Council you can browse through these documents.
An Aberdeenshire Council children’s rights officer has been recognised for her exemplary work with looked-after children and young people.
Laura Stewart was presented with the Health Care Rights Award at the Children’s Health Scotland Conference earlier this month.
In accepting her award, Laura said she had the "best job in the world", adding: “We are a small team who work alongside children and young people, ensuring they know about their rights and that adults uphold these rights.
“Care-experienced young people attend an awful lot of meetings where adults make decisions that have a huge impact on their lives, which can be full of change. Their rights are at the heart of how I provide support so that they have as much control as possible.”
To read more about Laura, her work at Aberdeenshire Council and her award please follow this link to the full newspaper article as featured in Grampian Online.
Aberdeenshire Council's website also contains information on their children’s rights service and, in particular their Young People's Organising and Campaigning group who have a key role in bringing awareness to the issues facing children and young people in care. The group will continue to work on their campaign on stigma. They have produced previous campaigns and documents such as the ‘coming into care and moving placements checklist’ which is now used at looked after child reviews when a child is first placed into care or moving to ensure all the necessary supports and work has been done. This was all led by what young people within this group said they feel is important for young people during these periods of change.
Aberdeenshire are also starting the process of widening the children’s rights service out to ensure young people going through child protection processes have access to similar support.
East Ayrshire Council
Since March 2022, Promise Participation Leader, Eoghann MacColl, has been leading weekly art workshops at the Dick Institute. The sessions offer a safe space, in a historic civic building, in which care experienced young people can express themselves creatively through a variety of media, be that drawing, painting, digital imaging, sculpture, creative writing and poetry.
In the early sessions, care experienced young people were encouraged to engage with Grayson Perry’s touring exhibition ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ presented by East Ayrshire Leisure. Comprising a series of six tapestries which tell a story about class, taste, aspiration and identity, the young people were encouraged to think through and create their own worlds reflecting their own favourite things, places, landscapes, services and currency.
Read more about East Ayrshire's 'Delivering The Promise through art' work here.
South Lanarkshire Council
Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS) is when we work intensively with the support of partner agencies with young people aged 16-21 who are subject to a period of short-term deferment (normally six months). The SDS pilot began in December 2017 and was recently evaluated by the University of the West of Scotland. The evaluation highlights the approach taken within South Lanarkshire in recent years to better support young people who find themselves in conflict with the law, and who may be at risk of harm. This includes a number of young people who have experience of being looked after and cared for by the local authority. The use of short-term intensive supports and services at an earlier opportunity, following involvement with the justice system, is shown to produce better outcomes for young people. The aim is to utilise a relationship- based approach to address and respond to the key risks and needs identified for the young person, while also focussing on the development of strengths.
You can read the full evaluation from the University of the West of Scotland here.
The Highland Council
OUR JOURNEY IN BECOMING A TRAUMA INFORMED COUNCIL
To deliver on Plan 21- 24, among other priorities to #KeepthePromise, the Programme Manager (The Promise) in Highland Council has been working with the senior leadership team and elected members to support the development of a Trauma Informed Council. Within ‘Supporting the Workforce’ in Plan 21 – 24, it promotes the importance of a Trauma Informed workforce. As a Trauma Champion (see Welcome Pack for Trauma Champions (improvementservice.org.uk) for more info), the Programme manager has had access to support and opportunities to collaborate with the Improvement Service, other national and local Trauma Champions and access to substantial resources within NES Scotland’s National Trauma Training Programme (NTTP).
You can read more about Highland Council's Trauma Informed Practice Work here.
East Dunbartonshire Council
Given the aims of a Champion’s Board, including empowering care experienced young people to have a voice, build relationships and contribute towards creating change, a priority in our journey to #keepthepromise was to re-launch East Dunbartonshire Champion’s Board. Since the re-launch in March 2022, young people have consistently met on a fortnightly basis. East Dunbartonshire Champion’s Board currently consists of a core group of 14 young people, aged between 15 & 26, all with care experience.
You can read more about the re-launched Champions Board here.
The Champions Board also produce a film called The Vortex which you can watch here..
Keeping the Promise: Education in East Dunbartonshire
The East Dunbartonshire Education Promise Implementation group have developed an awareness raising training programme, whereby to date educational central teams, early years heads of centres, and primary/secondary depute head teachers have attended. This programme will continue throughout the year with schools undertaking further development of their own resource for dissemination in their setting.
Each and Every Child presented to a multi-disciplinary East Dunbartonshire audience in December 2022, around reframing the language used around care experience. 18 establishments attended the presentation, which was also circulated.
The Youth Development Worker (YDW) programme in East Dunbartonshire schools was created in support of the Care Experienced Children and Young People's Attainment Grant from Scottish Government. By 2022 YDW's were working with 32 care-experienced young people in each of our 8 Secondary schools and one of our additional support needs schools. In August 2022 a pilot began - a care experienced teacher post was created in one of our secondary schools, with the highest number of care-experienced young people.
A variety of Youth Awards in addition to Prince's Trust accreditation have been achieved across our schools.
The YDW's have all received a significant range of training to support and facilitate a range of interventions in order to achieve the following outcomes:
- Overcome barriers to learning
- Improve health and wellbeing
- Improve school attendance
- Improve engagement in learning
- Raise attainment through recognition of wider learning and achievement
- Develop skills, including interpersonal skills
- Develop employability skills / readiness for work
- Secure positive, sustained destinations
South Lanarkshire Council
Locality-based Family Support Hubs were launched on 27th September 2022 across South Lanarkshire, providing whole family support from pregnancy until 18 years. The ambition is that a holistic earlier help approach will reduce the likelihood of problems escalating to care and protection proceedings by providing earlier, more preventative, strengths-based help and support to families who have been referred to social work by partner agencies or reached out to social work for support themselves. The family support Hubs will work alongside families to determine what could prevent difficulties escalating. Families will be supported to utilise resources already within the family and communities and, if required, can also be provided with targeted support from social work family support services. The initial findings are that the Family Support Hubs have been able to divert 60% of new referrals to social work away from statutory child and family teams. Children’s First are co-located with the Family Support Hubs and can provide Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) to families who are at risk of problems escalating. This will ensure families have opportunities to decide their own plans and services and are more likely to intervene with families who have identified a need for this. Peer support workers with lived experience have recently been recruited and are based within each of the hubs to provide responsive support to parents. The Hubs have links to resources offered by health, education and third sector. An Earlier Help Forum has been established for families at risk of problems escalating. This forum brings together partners to consider the needs and risks for families and agree targeted multi agency plans using partnership resources already available or by working together to address any gaps. The hubs will deliver Accredited parenting programmes facilitated by multi-agency partners, engagement parenting groups, alternative therapies, financial maximisation and are breastfeeding friendly spaces. Trauma informed practice is a priority, and a trauma recovery therapist will be aligned to the family support hubs to ensure families can access this specialist intervention before the situation has escalated. A reflective practice Reflective Practice co-ordinator will also be aligned to Family Support Hubs to support staff wellbeing and strengthen their ability to be reflective, trauma informed practitioners.
SLC also published their Champions Board newsletter in December 2022 which outlines some of their great work.
Glasgow City Council
Glasgow City HSCP launched a Strategic Review of 16+ Accommodation and Support Services on the 27th September 2022. We strive to ensure that 16+ Accommodation and Support Services meet the needs of all of Glasgow’s young people. Our vision is to support young people to maintain stability and security to enable them to flourish and meet their potential.
The Promise Scotland and Glasgow’s Promise are the leading Strategic drivers for the review. The Promise advised that many young people felt ill prepared as they moved from Childhood to Adulthood and we have a responsibility to ensure this changes and that young people are supported at this very important stage in their lives.
We are working alongside The Promise and following the Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD), which is a co-production and collaboration model. We will work in collaboration with our 3rd sectors partners, stakeholders, and young people to explore and discover what the challenges are and together define the solution. Glasgow HSCP have recruited four Promise Participation Workers to support with our commitment to the Promise. One worker or perhaps two will have a specific role in the 16+ review to assist us in ensuring meaningful engagement and participation with young people.
We have held our initial launch events with the 3rd sector and relevant Social Work staff. We are currently gathering information in relation to the needs of the young people that are currently using our 16+ services and we are now in a period of planning for our next phase.
Young people’s participation will run throughout the review, and we want to start by asking young people to complete a simple survey. We have discussed directly with social work staff and asked that they complete the survey with young people who are accessing 16+ accommodation and support services. This survey will shortly be ready to go live. We have launched the review on Glasgow HSCP website and social media platforms and attached a survey to target young people who are no longer working with social work.
Hamid Habibi was commissioned by Glasgow to create a poster that will be our branding throughout the review. We have had great support from Glasgow’s Colleges and Universities who are displaying the poster and issuing flyers for us. This link will also take you directly to the survey.
We are all excited and looking forward to the opportunities and progress ahead.
East Ayrshire Council
The Health and Social Care Partnership's Living Well website features information on their Promise Oversight Group, the partnerships priorities to #KeepThePromise and a showcase of some of the work they are doing with their care experienced children and young people; from their ArtClub to their Pathfinder Project. You can read it all here.
To ensure that we #KeepThePromise across Renfrewshire, we have been recruiting Promise Keepers from a wide range of staff teams and services.
Promise Keepers act as local champions for The Promise in their roles and ensure that it remains at the forefront of service design and delivery moving forwards, as well as actioning key recommendations from the Independent Care Review. They will do this in a range of ways, such as presenting at team meetings, sharing The Promise with their colleagues, and reviewing the language used in their service.
We launched this project in August 2021 and have recently surpassed 100 Promise Keepers from across the local authority. This is a diverse group, with representation from social work, elected members, health and third-sector organisations in Renfrewshire. We have also expanded this opportunity to foster carers and volunteers from the third sector.
We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our network, aiming to have at least one Promise Keeper from all teams and services across the local authority. This emphasises that it is everyone’s responsibility to #KeepThePromise, and it is essential that staff can support each other to meet this goal.
We have seen some fantastic examples of commitment within the network, with our Fostering and Adoption Team taking a whole team approach, whereby every member of their team is a Promise Keeper.
There is a formal application process for Promise Keepers to ensure that staff are enthusiastic and committed to the role. All Promise Keepers must fill out a short application form to outline their interest in the role and explain what The Promise means to them.
All Promise Keepers will receive relevant training and development opportunities and access to a supportive wider network to encourage collaboration and partnership working across services in the local authority. The training allows all Promise Keepers to have a baseline understanding of The Promise and equips them with the resources and knowledge they need in their roles.
If you are interested in signing up to be a Promise Keeper or would like some more information about what is involved, please get in touch with Sam Macrae (Promise Ambassador) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dundee City Council
The Dundee Partnership's Promise is to ensure that Care Experienced Children and Young People have the very best support, life chances and opportunities possible so they can lead loving, settled and fulfilled lives well into adulthood.
As a partnership, we are committed to promoting the wellbeing and rights of all vulnerable and looked after children, young people and care leavers as one of our most important responsibilities. In doing so, we will provide the highest quality care, support and protection which:
- Helps all vulnerable children, young people and parents/carers to flourish
- Enables care experienced children and young people to thrive at home
- Improves educational attainment levels and all transitions into adulthood
- Listens to family voices and continually adapts and improves our support.
In October 2022, Dundee City Council produced an annual report on their progress towards #Keeping The Promise. This was discussed at their Children and Families Service Committee. You can read the report here.
North Ayrshire Council
On 4th November 2022 North Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership held their first Promise Conference with over 130 delegates from across a range of Community Planning Partners, Government officials, Carers and Care Experienced Young People. Of the 130 delegates, 23 were carers and care experienced young people. The conference was facilitated by two care experienced young people who chaired throughout the day.
The format followed a pattern of various speakers followed by table discussions and a panel session. Speakers included the two young hosts, the Minister for Children and Young People, CEO of the Promise Scotland, CEO of Children 1st, and our Democracy and participation officer.
Care Experienced young people met with North Ayrshires Corporate Parenting Team and were supported in coming up with questions for a question-and-answer session. There were seventeen questions formulated with five questions asked by the young people on the day. All other questions received a written reply
The Question and Answer panel consisted of the Chief Executive of North Ayrshire Council, Deputy Leader of North Ayrshire Council, Chief Social Work Officer, Executive Director of Education and Communities and a Senior Manager from CAMHS.
The target audience for this conference were senior leaders and care experienced young people with the aim of them coming together to discuss selected themes which included: 1)Increase everyone’s understanding of each other’s roles and experiences in relation to The Promise; 2)Listen and act on the voice of young people; and 3)Commit to change.
The themes selected for the conference were: 1) Relationships 2) Voice and the UNCRC, and 3) Whole Family Support. Seven questions were posed to delegates throughout the day as well as a question-and-answer session.
Each table had a young person(s) at the table to listen and express their views. The comments of all delegates have been collated but extra emphasis was placed on the young people’s comments which were collected on the day by a graphic illustrator.
Partnership working to Keep The Promise - Inverclyde HSCP & Education
Our I promise team and Virtual School Head Teacher have been travelling across Inverclyde’s 26 schools in order to share the work of The Promise and to focus on the 5 main education calls to action which include: no barriers to engagement in education, school improvement plans to ensure they are valuing and recognising the needs of theirs care experienced pupils, reducing formal and informal exclusions, positive destinations and full participation in subjects and extracurricular activities.
Implementation plans & Co-production
Our implementation planning continues as discussed at our 1st I Promise Board meeting which was chaired by our Chief Executive and our young people. Our Promise Practitioner forum was also held last month which was attended by all partner agencies with a focus on evaluating where we are at with Plan 21-24 and our 80 calls to action.
We have co-produced our wellbeing assessments after listening to over 500 of the workforce and our children/young people/families. We created a working group and co-produced our new paperwork with our Proud2Care young people and our I Promise Modern Apprentice who have all provided great insight.
We need to facilitate child friendly hearings that uphold children and young people’s rights and better supports and encourages their participation. Our I Promise in Hearings Working Group has been listening to children and young people to work together to deliver change. In April we will launch our young people produced I Promise Hearings Film and communication toolkit. The group will continue to work together to deliver on their action plan of change #stillLotsToDO
The language of care must change to be easily understood, be positive and must not stigmatise. Our #Proud2Care young people have developed a Language Matters Guide and Film that Inverclyde has rolled out as a workforce resource #WeWillKeepThePromise #WeMustListen&Respond Children — Your Voice
It is fundamental that the workforce use the terms, names and words that the child or young person prefers, when describing issues that relate to their lives and experiences. #StillLotsToDo
North Lanarkshire Council
North Lanarkshire’s commitment to care experienced children, young people and their families was the focus of our first Promise conference 3 February 2023 which highlighted achievements to date and outlined future areas of development. Over 200 people from a range of organisations gathered to share and learn ways in which the council and partner organisations fulfil their promise that care experienced children, young people and their families grow up loved, safe and respected to fulfil their full potential.
Delegates heard from a range of speakers about North Lanarkshire’s journey to ‘Building a Promise Community’, including:
- The Journey - Care Review to The Promise
- National direction and learning
- Resilience is built in relationships (perspective from lived experience)
- Up2U Family Practice Model
- The foundation of relationships
- The aftercare hub and development of a new aftercare website
- Creative Arts composing a song reflecting participants' commitment to delivering The Promise for children, young people and their families.
There were a number of workshops throughout the day to highlighting some of the local developments in practice, such as, Housing Pathways, Family Support, Lifelong Links, community safety, Health and wellbeing and virtual school. Links to some of the material presented:
In March 2021 North Lanarkshire Council established The Promise Team to improve and develop how services are accessed by care experienced young people. The team members work alongside council services and partner organisations, the care experienced young people participation groups, the Champions Board and The NL Promise Partnership Steering Group to support the partnership #KeepThePromise. The NL Champs Board Annual Report 2022 provides details of many achievements over the last year: NL Champs Board Annual Report 2022
CARING FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE AS THOUGH THEY ARE OUR OWN.
As a responsible Falkirk Council Family and Friend (Corporate Parent), Falkirk recruited a Modern Apprentice – Keeping The Promise Trainee Officer, who would achieve an SVQ in Business Admin. A prerequisite for the post was that applicants had to be care experienced : firstly to allow the workforce to benefit from the successful applicant’s insight into the care system and secondly, this is an example of Falkirk being a responsive Corporate Parent in supporting ’one of our own’, whilst also fulfilling our commitment to develop our young workforce. Sitting alongside the Promise Training Officer as the mentor, a trauma informed and relationship based approach was taken as we were aware that the Modern Apprentice may have additional support needs and would therefore would need help and support to allow them to be successful in their post. This approach has paid dividends in providing a supportive, learning environment.
FALKIRK PROMISE ROADSHOW
New Click & Connect format allowing staff to access online Learning & Development for understanding #KeepingThePromise & Corporate Parenting.
A ‘Click and Connect’ flexible approach to accessing Learning Sessions was piloted across our multi-agency partners. Its success was measured through the number of staff sessions delivered, the number of attendees and the measured increase in their knowledge and understanding. To date over 400 staff attended the learning sessions. Our multi-agency workforce who have attended Keeping The Promise & Corporate Parenting Learning Sessions has included Accountants, Administrator, Art Therapist, ASN Advisor, Bricklayers, Building Operations Supervisors, Child Care Review Coordinators, Childminders, Communication Officer, Community Education Worker, Community Learning Development Worker, Corporate Finance Officer, Early Years Officers, Educational Psychologists, Electricians, Family Support Workers (Third Sector), Fire Fighters, Foster Carers, Head Teachers, Head of Early Years Centres, Health Visitors, High School Teachers, Housing Officers, Human Resources, Inclusion Officer, Information Governance staff, Janitors, Labourer, Mental Health Officers, Mental Health Project Worker, Painters, Perinatal Workers, Plasterers, Plumbers, Primary School Teachers, Prison staff, School Nurses, Slaters, Social Workers, Social Work Assistant, Solicitors, Substance Use Workers, Support for Learning Assistants, SVQ Assessors (Adult Social Care), Teacher for the Deaf, Teacher for visually Impaired, Technical Assistant, Training Officers (Social Work), Training Co-ordinator (Adult Support & Protection), Travelling Persons Officer, Workforce Development Manager, Youth Workers.
FALKIRK'S BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Thanks to the hard work of staff within our Children & Families team The Lodge in Glasgow Road, Camelon has had a bit of a make-over.
Working with a budget of £10,000, new flooring, painting, furnishings and general maintenance was carried out throughout the building which will now be used by care experienced brothers and sisters to spend quality time together in a homely setting.
While the priority is for brothers and sisters to stay together, it’s not always possible but The Lodge will now provide an opportunity for emotional bonds and connections to be maintained and grown with regular meetups in the warm, safe, setting.
Whether it’s cosying up on the sofa watching a film, playing games or enjoying a meal together, there’s something to suit all age groups.
Sharon Laing, Service Manager said: “The Lodge is part of our commitment to Keeping the Promise. Having a dedicated space for brothers and sisters to meet is important and will make sure that when they are unable to live together their special bond is nurtured.
“The Justice Community payback team carried out all the painting and our staff pulled out all the stops in making this a lovely space for everyone to enjoy and feel comfortable in. Young people were also involved in selecting items for The Lodge to make sure it was cosy and homely.”
KEEPING THE PROMISE IN STIRLING - A CASE STUDY
Six siblings in Stirling found themselves on the Child Protection Register amid concerns around neglect, domestic abuse and parental mental health issues.
The oldest two children, in their late teens, were not in education, employment or training, two of the other children had diagnosed learning disabilities and the two youngest missed more schooling than their peers.
Health issues included recurring head lice, missed medical appointments, sleep issues, gaps in immunisation, as well as a general lack of hygiene.
Stirling Council and its agency partners intervened and provided intensive support from a variety of services.
The family was provided with intensive in-home support, new furniture, and school and winter clothing to ensure the children’s basic needs were met and their emotional distress was minimised.
After nearly two-and-a-half years of intensive child protection plans, there was a notable change to the children’s circumstances, leading to prolonged periods of improvement. This resulted in de-registration from the Child Protection Register.
It has taken time, but with Stirling Council and its partners working in partnership with the whole family to counter chronic neglect, the health, confidence and self-esteem of the children has improved.
Using the framework of The Promise, they have avoided the this large sibling group becoming accommodated and looked after away from home – and all the further trauma and negative outcomes that would have created.
Renfrewshire Council’s Language Policy created with Care Experienced young people and Promise Keepers
The Renfrewshire Language Policy has been launched in April and was created through consultation with Care Experienced young people and staff from the Promise Keeper network around words they felt were negative or stigmatising. The Language Policy is a set of guidelines for how we speak about and describe Care Experience and Care Experienced children and young people. This language will continue to evolve, and services and organisations are encouraged to review their language. The policy will help us move away from overly professionalised words and phrases to adopt person-centred language, which challenges existing stigma. Staff across all services at Renfrewshire Council have been asked to consider the impact of our language when engaging with children, young people and their families and modify it where possible.
Read more about Renfrewshire's work on their Language Policy here.
East Ayrshire Council
ArtClub? meets in Kilmarnock and Cumnock and is a space for care experienced young people to find their voice, share ideas and be creative. Their inaugural exhibition takes place on Thursday 4th May and the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock. Read more here.
How Renfrewshire Council are Keeping The Promise
Network of Promise Keepers currently with around 147 members including colleagues from the council, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and other partners.
A Self-Evaluation Toolkit to them identify what's working well, and what can be improved or changed while identifying learning opportunities.
A new Language Policy to be shared in the coming weeks. Language is an integral part of The Promise, and this policy will help all Promise Keepers talk in a more positive way. It outlines guidance for acceptable and positive language use across the council and provides non-stigmatising words and phrases that have been identified through consultation with Care Experienced people and relevant staff.
Renfrewshire Council's Promise Manager, Maurice Gilligan, said:
"It's crucial that all council colleagues and our partners know what [The Promise] is and understand their role. That's why I have been committed to reinforcing this message so that it is always considered and reflected in our organisation and operational strategic planning."
North Ayrshire's Care Experienced Youth Joint Cabinet
In June 2023, North Ayrshire Council held Care Experienced Youth Joint Cabinet, seeing over 60 young people, with different backgrounds and experiences of care, join cabinet members, senior managers and head of services of the council to engage in key discussions.
They looked at 10 different types of support, and asked young people to bid on the support most important to them in a priority auction. This was eye-opening, particularly for the staff in the room. Responses are being themed, and a report and subsequent action plan will be created, so we can continue to #KeepThePromise.
More information can be found at North Ayrshire Council holds joint cabinet for care-experienced youths | Irvine Times or Council hosts first-ever Youth Joint Cabinet for care experienced young people (north-ayrshire.gov.uk)
Glasgow City Council
Glasgow’s Intensive Family Support Service (GIFSS) is an integrated model delivering a strength-based approach to working alongside families though their Framework for Practice (FFP). It is entirely aligned to Glasgow's Family Support Strategy 20/23 and the key values and principles outlined within "The Promise". Utilising our FFP and working alongside families, Glasgow has seen a continued decreased in our Young People aged 12+ being admitted into statutory care. GIFSS works with the whole family regardless of age and currently support 147 of our most vulnerable families across the city. 70% of our Young People who received the service were supported to remain at home with their families.
Renfrewshire Children’s Services Partners has identified 11 high level aims that guide our activity over the next three years. The RCSP has identified three priority high level aims that will be addressed in year 1 of the plan. Working together to provide support to children and families at the earliest possible stage, as part of our commitment to The Promise is one of those three priority high level aims.
Prevention and early intervention are a major driver of our work. We know that investing time to meet an individual’s needs as early as possible in their journey often stops their challenges becoming more severe. As partners, we’re committed to working together to provide support to children and families at the earliest possible stage, as part of our commitment to The Promise. In year 1 of this plan, we will further embed the principles of love, nurture and relationships in our work with care experienced young people and their families and carers, and ensure our partners are aware of our collective responsibility and accountability to deliver positive outcomes for our children and young people’s lives.
Falkirk Council and Falkirk Champions Board (Falkirk Champs)
Three members of the Falkirk Champions Board (Falkirk Champs) attended a Council meeting of Elected Members to make the case for care experience to become a protected characteristic. The young people involved shared evidence from their own experiences to challenge perceptions and as a medium to discuss the quality of care and care systems they had experienced.
Elected Members unanimously voted to recognise care experience as a protected characteristic. Falkirk Council were only the third Council in Scotland to declare care experience as a protected characteristic. They were the first Council to do this due to young people bringing the motion themselves to Committee.
After the decision, one of the young people involved said:
“I felt really nervous and out of breath, you can hear it in my voice. I was speaking for so many other voices but I felt powerful, heard and supported. I’ve been told by many how it’s an amazing achievement and I appreciate it but it doesn’t feel as good as when the care experienced adults and friends in my life tell me how much this means to them.
“One person even told me how the changes Falkirk Champs are helping to make “heals my inner child ". I think that statement alone made me realise how much of a big deal this actually is.”
You can find out more here: Employee news - Falkirk Council votes to recognise care experience as protected characteristic | Falkirk Council
Glasgow City Council
Glasgow City HSCP launched a Strategic Review of our Young People’s Accommodation and Support Services on the 27th September 2022. We strive to ensure that our accommodation and support services meet the needs of all of Glasgow’s young people. Our vision is to support young people to maintain stability and security to enable them to flourish and meet their potential.
The Promise Scotland and Glasgow’s Promise are the leading strategic drivers for the review. The Independent Care Review and the Promise told us that many young people felt ill prepared as they moved from childhood to adulthood and we have a responsibility to ensure this changes and that young people are supported at this very important stage in their lives.
Two of our Promise Participation Workers, Sam and Chizy, have been part of the re-design team reviewing our support and accommodation options for care experienced young people who are ready to move on from where they live. This includes looking at our processes around this, what this means to young people, and how they can be more involved in options and decisions that affect them. Over the last 6 months, they have visited all of our accommodation providers, and talked with young people living there about their experiences, how they feel about where they live, the support available to them and what would they like to us to do to make things better for young people with lived experienced right now. Young people have responded well to them and have been able to share their views with them, telling them what support works well and what hasn’t. Some young people have spoken to their social workers about meeting with Sam and Chizy and how this has been a positive experience for them. Some have said that they have felt inspired given Sam and Chizy have also experienced care and are now Promise Participation Workers and supporting young people. They feel they can trust them because of this, feel listened to, and that their voice really does have influence.
What young people tell Sam and Chizy will absolutely shape how we work with our third sector partners to design our services going forward. This review is about our young people, for our young people and with our young people.
We are working alongside The Promise Design School and following the Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD), which is a co-production and collaboration model. We will work together with our 3rd sectors partners, stakeholders, and young people to explore and discover what the challenges are and together define the solution.
A young person was commissioned by us to create a poster that is our branding throughout the review and a QR code is attached to encourage participation. We hope to reach as many young people as possible. We are all excited and looking forward to the opportunities and progress ahead.
Our Promise Participation Workers have changed how we do things in Glasgow – for the better. We can’t and won’t change now how we support Glasgow’s children, young people and their families without their influence.
East Lothian Council
East Lothian council has been placing Voice at the heart of its development work for that last few years and particularly around the Transforming Services For Children Programme, which started in 2021. The Transforming Service for Children Programme reflects and responds to the Promise Plan 21-24 with the view to better respond to the needs of children and their families living within East Lothian.
The re-design of services for children and families has been heavily influenced by Partners in Re-design ( a short life working group of parents and carers with lived experience of children’s services), East Lothian Champions Board and care experienced adults. This expertise of knowledge and understanding has been crucial for the development of the work and will continue to do so until the Transforming Services for Children Programme is in completion.
As many parts of East Lothian Council are engaging with children and their families an East Lothian Council-wide Participation with Lived Experience working group has been created alongside, in collaboration with the third sector, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Lothian population health directorate. The purpose of this group is to ensure East Lothian as a county has a shared understanding of participation and consistent approach.
In addition to the strategic approach to engaging with children and their families, East Lothian Council has employed two participation officers as part of the Whole Family Well-Being work to better understand services used by children and their families. Taking a double diamond participation approach, test of change work will influence and shape service delivery within two identified wards and is currently in its discovery stage.
East Lothian Council and its partners are on a journey to better work with the voice of children, young people and their families and the following highlights some of the work currently happing within the council and alongside partners.
Children’s Services &Education
- Test of change lived experience involvement in recruitment for children and adult services. Recommendations and policy to be rolled out in both departments.
- Participation with Care Experienced adults helped shape East Lothian Council’s understanding and definition of Early Intervention. The council is now using this definition.
- Education explored the experiences of equity within schools, speaking to parents, carers and children themselves. The outcome will further influence the response to need within the educational setting which links to the anti- poverty agenda.
Whole Family Well-Being
- Piloting focus groups with people who might use the service taking a Scottish approach to design, participation approach to better understand and then test out change.
- Targeted engagement session around family support and early intervention, community services – what they use, what’s missing, barriers, their experience of the group. If they are interested in similar engagement could they continue? This is the discovery stage of the work.
- In-person consultations across East Lothian, joint sessions with other services, broadly around the Place Standard Tool, will be used to inform variety of place planning and strategies.
Lived experience group, Working for Change Collective
A partnership between NHS Population Health ( East Lothian), East Lothian council, Pennypit and East Lothian Foodbank.
- The Collective is actively recruiting and taking on more members. The group membership is currently parents and young people living in the area who have lived experience of poverty. Their work will feed into The Network for change which is hosted at Volunteering Centre East Lothian (VCEL)
- Social Work engagement with adults on Community Payback Orders, as different communities wanting to provide CPO opportunities more meaningfully.
- Community Justice will be moving to co-design a project between Heavy Sound, partners and lived experience group to ensure we will be putting together a project for meaningful engagement.
- Supporting Scottish Youth Parliament on youth travel consultation in response to widespread criticism of young people behaviour on buses. There will be a reframing of messaging on how to make young people safe on buses. Feedback loop will use Tik Tok to spread this message.
- East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership are engaging with a wide range of children, young people and their families to sense check the Independent Advocacy strategy and further develop gaps with Independent Advocacy provision within East Lothian.
Corporate Parenting Plans and Children Services Plan.
- We have worked with children, young people and workers/ services to help shape the CSP and Corporate Parenting plan 23-26 . Alongside this piece of work East Lothian Council is looking at how children’s voice can ensure the implementation of the plans are delivered.
Area Partnership Plan consultation
- As part of the Area Partnership consultations some wards have used the Promise fundamentals to inform the questions, particularly around poverty, children and young people’s rights and what matters to families.
Aberdeenshire Council is extremely excited to be hosting its second Celebrating Success Awards for Care Experienced Young People. The last event was held in 2018 and we are really pleased to be able to hold a further event now that we have emerged from the restrictions of the COVID 19 pandemic. Young people in Aberdeenshire who are care experienced achieve amazing things despite the challenges and adversity they have been through, and we are delighted to be able to recognise some of these successes through this event. We believe strongly that this celebration of our young people’s achievements is central to our commitment to #KeepThePromise.
Young people have been nominated for awards by staff members, carers, family or friends in order to recognise their successes in various areas. Award categories celebrate achievements such as Culture and Sport, Academic Achievements, Making a Difference for Care Experienced Young People, and Inspirational Young People. A dedicated panel has shortlisted three young people or groups for each category and the winners will be announced on the night with the winner(s) receiving a framed certificate and the runners up receiving a ribbon-bound certificate.
We have also been keen not to overlook those who do inspirational things to champion the needs of care experienced young people, and so there will also be Outstanding Commitment to Care Experienced Young People Awards for adults from different areas including foster carers, kinship carers, social work, health and education professionals.
We have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the evening contains the glitz and glamour that is appropriate to celebrating the success of our young people and those who champion them. We are incredibly grateful to a number of people who have volunteered their time and talents to making this happen. The event will be held at Thainstone House Hotel on the evening of Thursday 5 October. A piper will greet young people when they arrive with their invited guests, a band will entertain throughout the evening and a photographer will capture the occasion. Guests including Aberdeenshire Council’s Provost, Chief Executive, elected members and others will come together to celebrate with our young people. The event will be hosted by Aberdeenshire’s Director of Education and Children’s Services and Head of Children’s Services.
For each award, those who nominated the young people shortlisted have recorded a video explaining why they have put forward the young person and these will be shown on the night ahead of the winners being announced. Many of the stories behind the nominations are humbling and moving and all of our young people are inspirational. We can’t wait to celebrate with them.
Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) are committed to keeping The Promise and ensuring children and young people have “Good Childhoods”. As part of the recently published Strategic Plan 2024, Inverclyde HSCP have set out a vision to be a caring and compassionate community, working together to address inequalities and assist everyone to live active, healthy, and fulfilling lives. To build on the great work happening in Inverclyde we are delighted to announce that Inverclyde HSCP is partnering with The Lens on an Ideas to Action Programme.
This partnership opportunity, working closely with The Promise Team and colleagues in Children’s Services will help generate and support ideas that will deliver on our ambition to enable Good Childhoods. The Programme will build intrapreneurial capability and capacity across Inverclyde, while also supporting staff engagement as we move through a period of significant, yet exciting, change.
The programme aims to:
* Enable families to stay together (where it is safe to do so).
* Create earlier opportunities for help and whole family support (prevent crisis and harm).
* Listen, respond, and amplify the voice of families.
* Clearly understand and address risk.
* Enable creativity, innovative and demonstrate added value.
* Have the potential to be scaled and replicated.
North Ayrshire Council
In May 2023 North Ayrshire held a morning ‘Mini Practitioner Conference’ focused on our frontline workforces’ views in relation to the Promise. In attendance there were 120 practitioners from across the Community Planning Partnership, including housing officers, social workers, community development officers, teachers and health visitors.
The themes of the conference followed on from our successful Annual Promise Conference in November 2022 aimed at Senior Leaders, where we heard from a range of chief officers and importantly from our care experienced young people. Young people made several comments around Relationships, Voice and Whole Family Support and a report was produced with a number of recommendations.
Making these recommendations a reality required consulting with frontline practitioners, enquiring how they think we could take the actions suggested by young people forward from their practice perspective. We asked them to be solution focused and honest about what they felt was achievable, and how we could support them to ensure transformational change is truly made.
The event was very well received and we aim to hold another after our Annual Promise Conference in December 2023.
Glasgow City Council
“Relationships - Above and Beyond” Conference
On 22 February 2023, Glasgow Virtual School welcomed 277 delegates to their “Relationships – Above and Beyond” Care Experienced Conference. Our wonderful piper greeted Designated Managers, Pastoral Care staff, HSCP colleagues, partners, children and young people to Glasgow City Chambers, Banqueting Hall.
The Conference allowed delegates to hear from inspirational keynote speakers:
Sir John Timpson, renowned for his creative approach to employee engagement and innovative work employing people previously involved in offending. . Recently widowed, Sir John was married to his wife Alex for 47 years, has 5 children. Sir John and his wife were also foster carers for 31 years, during which time they fostered 90 children.
Oisin King, a Politics and Social/Public Policy student at the University of Glasgow. Due to being care experienced, Oisin had the opportunity for his voice to be heard in the Independent Care Review. He also works at Each and Every Child as a Care Consultant as well as being an MSYP and a member of the NRB at WhoCares? Scotland
Carly Grant, Promise Delivery Partner at The Promise Scotland. Carly nurtures supportive relationships with key partners through transformational and systemic change to #Keepthepromise.
Laura Sharpe, Promise Delivery Partner at the Promise Scotland. Laura utilises a comprehensive approach to work alongside citizens, partners and stakeholders and is passionate about striving towards equality, ensuring that individuals can not only access opportunities but also are empowered to create change.
Delegates found our speakers informative and inspirational:
“I was really impressed with all of the speakers on the day but a stand out for me was Oisin King. I was really moved by his story, his honesty and commitment to improving the outcomes of care experienced young people in Scotland”
“So much!! Basically - everyone who spoke!! The young people being present and participating - wonderful!! Emily - hearing her story and SW discussing the supports put in place.”
We were delighted that so many of our partners supported out event including Health for All, Glenburn Centre, Musicares, Towards Better Futures, Volunteer Tutors Organisation, Who Cares? Scotland, Action for Children, Blairvadach Outdoor Centre, Bluevale Community Centre, Children’s Rights Service, Duke of Edinburgh, EBSNA and EVIP.
Guests were given the opportunity to meet partners and take part in interactive sessions based around The Promise as well as browsing partner stalls. Delegates gave very positive feedback about the stalls. In some cases delegates mentioned that their knowledge was refreshed and in others they learned about services they were unaware of.
Some Questions asked:
“What will you do differently as a result of taking part in the Promise activities?”
“Look at how my school allows pupil voice to influence decisions made.”
“Consider how to get real, meaningful views from the young people and how to include those who are ‘quiet’.”
“ensure more active participation from them.”
“Look at ways and opportunities to offer as much support as possible to our learners, families and staff.”
“I think it would be important to bring this message back to the staff at my school ensuring that they are aware of the Promise. I also feel the activities really reminded me why I became a teacher and that so much of what we do is based upon a strong foundation of relationships.”
“Lots of action points and takeaways from the sessions. Myself as DM and our pastoral lead are building systems of supports for our CE learners. Also looking to work with other DMs across the NW area to share ideas and practice.”
“The focus on the idea of the centrality of love within relationships was good to hear.”
“Be more conscious of the importance of small positive actions to build positive and trusting relationships with children, young people and their families.”
“Consideration of pupils experiences and how fragmented it can be”
“ I found it inspiring and it made me re focus on what is really important.”
“Hearing from young people how important relationships have been for them to thrive.”
“Great day - filled with key information that puts the importance of relationships at the centre.”
Throughout the day delegates took part in collegiate activities considering the Promise Foundations:
Care: “We said we would make sure that everyone in our nurseries and schools understand that all behaviour is communication”.
Voice: “We said we will make sure that our schools/nurseries promote children’s rights in everything that they do”.
Scaffolding: “We know that education in a school building doesn’t suit all of our children and young people. We said we will find different ways to suit the needs of different pupils”.
“As a care experienced adult, I was quite overwhelmed and delighted by the support available to Scotland's children as this was definitely not the case in my experience. I enjoyed the conference immensely.”
“It was an outstanding event and I am honestly so grateful I get to work with such informed and passionate colleagues such as the GVS staff, and grateful to work in an authority who places the needs of our CEL at the forefront. It was a brilliant day. Congratulations to all involved!”
What do we need to do?
We were delighted with the overwhelming commitment, energy and passion to make things better for our children and young people. It was uplifting to hear such honesty from our young people. We will collate the reflections and responses from our young people and adults and weave this into our joint improvement planning working collaboratively to take the activity findings and reflections forward.
intandem: supporting care experienced children across 19 local authorities
Scotland made a promise to care experienced children and young people that they will grow up loved, safe and respected so they can realise their full potential. Providing trusted relationships and building confidence are an essential part of keeping this promise.
intandem is a mentoring programme for children and young people who are in the care of their local authority, or at risk of becoming so, and living either at home or in kinship care. Established in 2016, intandem is managed by Inspiring Scotland and delivered by partner charities across 19 local authorities.
“Having a mentor has made me a lot happier…I was really struggling, mentally, physically…but when I got my mentor, she brightens stuff up…it feels like she genuinely takes some of the stress off my shoulders.” Young person
Helping keep the promise
Much has changed since intandem started and the programme has evolved to ensure we help keep the promise, making three key changes:
- Widening our criteria for children and young people mentored to remove barriers to support. Young people in kinship care and those at risk of becoming looked after can now access intandem.
- Recognising the trusted relationships between coordinators, young people and families, intandem involves much more than mentoring, it’s part of the scaffolding of support around families enabling them to overcome difficulties.
- Participation by young people is a crucial part of keeping the promise and it has become essential at intandem with our dynamic youth forum becoming a key element of our programme.
Mentoring can have powerful results:
“It’s impacted my life choices a lot.” Young person
“She’s made me realise that not every person is there to hurt me.” Young person
To find out more about intandem and our partners in your local authority, visit our website: www.intandem.scot/
Glasgow City Council - Values based recruitment
Recruiting the right residential carers is fundamental to the delivery of high quality care for the children of Glasgow. In this regard, recruiting for the right values is as important as recruiting for skills and experience. Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) use a competency based recruitment model which allows us to gain real insight into a candidates knowledge, understanding and practice. However we also wanted to learn more about potential residential carers and find out who they are as people and what they would bring to the role in respect of character, personal attributes and underpinning values. We also wanted to increase the involvement of our young people and ensure they were at the heart of the recruitment process. Introducing informal ‘assessment centres’ has allowed us to achieve both these ambitions – increased inclusion of young people and also gaining deeper insight into the people applying for the role. The Promise tells us that we “must retain and recruit a workforce that really wants to work with children, young people and families and make a difference” and in order to do this we need to understand candidates better across the recruitment journey.
In practice this has involved inviting candidates to spend 2 hours in large groups undertaking a range of activities with young people, supported by Promise Participation Workers and existing residential carers and managers. These activities range from things like playing cards and board games, case studies, describing characteristics required for the role and exploring ideas to increase participation of young people. At the end of each assessment centre the young people evaluate the candidates and the reasons why. Using this feedback we the agree a score for each person. Those with the highest scores progress through to the next stage, a formal panel interview, and the score given at the assessment centre is applied to the total score at the end of the full process.
Our young people have told us how much they enjoy being part of the recruitment process and choosing new carers to work in the houses, and we want to continue to evolve and improve what we are doing. We are very much on a journey with taking values based approach to recruitment but have experienced the benefit of spending time with candidates in different ways as part of the process. The greatest learning point however has been the inclusion of young people and the extent to which they are attuned to the adults and can recognise the qualities and values which make for a nurturing, supportive and fun residential carer.
Dundee City Council
Following publication of the Independent Care Review just before the Covid-19 pandemic started in February 2020, Dundee City Council Children and Families Service has led an ambitious partnership programme of transformational change in the way we provide support to children and young people at risk of being provided with alternative care and in formal care arrangements.
Under Our Promise to Care Experienced Children, Young People and Care Leavers 2020-23, this wide-ranging programme has involved the strategic implementation of multiple actions designed to reduce requirements for alternative care; re-balance the profile of care towards local family-based arrangements; improve wellbeing, attainment and post-school destinations; and reduce costs.
Our data illustrated that the city has some stark poverty related challenges and that we incurred much higher overall costs for care experienced children and young people than most other local authority areas. This has been due to fewer being in Kinship Care and internal Foster Care and more in external Foster Care and external residential care, with 9% of our care experienced population constituting £13m or 33% of total costs.
Our efforts to generate transformational change have been organised and delivered at pace under the 5 inter-dependent foundations of People, Family, Care, Scaffolding and Voice. Some key themes have included partnership initiatives across the system in universal, targeted and specialist support; capacity, competence and confidence building across the partnership workforce; and measures to optimise existing community and family assets.
Young people in Midlothian have contributed to an animation to show what The Promise means to them. Staff at Midlothian Council are incredibly proud of the young people involved who bravely shared their stories. See the animation in full here.
(For note = The dragon in the clip is representative of ‘not judging a book by its cover’, the young person who created it wanted it to be known that Care Experienced children and young people don’t need a label and shouldn’t be judged because of their care experience. The song was also sung by two young people who attended the animation group.
With thanks to the young people from Beeslack High School who created this)
Midlothian Council published their 'Keeping The Promise in Midlothian' plan which includes their duties and responsibilities as Corporate Parents; what they plan to do to Keep The Promise and a summary of what they've achieved so far. You can read all about it here.
Evidencing Progress and Change:
A View from Falkirk's Promise Implementation Team
On the 31st of October, we had a session with leaders from across the council, led by Mike Richardson from the National Development Team for Inclusion. Mike introduced the logic model and demonstrated how it can be used using two live examples of recruitment and retention and implementation of the UNCRC. Mike spoke of the importance of being on top of your data to make you stay on track and that you have the most accurate and up-to-date picture on which to identify problems and make decisions.
Having oversight of what the data is telling you also helps to identify what the root causes of the problem are and gain new insights into this. You can then answer questions like:
- Who is affected by the problem?
- To what extent?
- Where is it most prevalent?
- Age/Gender/ Ethnicity
Being able to answer some of the above questions then enables services to target their interventions.
With system change requiring behaviour change, we then discussed whats needed for behaviour change and what options we need to give people in order to improve their outcomes.
Another important lesson from Mike was that uncovering something that isn't working isn't failure it's learning! It's about the next steps taken to remedy the problems that are important.
Using the logic model, we then looked at real-life examples that some of the services are dealing with right now. We then thought about Impact-what we want to happen-what we are committed to doing and thinking about how we will know when we get there.
We are also currently using the Promise Mapping Tool given to us by our local Promise Delivery Partner, which looks at the priority area of supporting the workforce for Plan 21-24. This first wave of responses will enable us to form a baseline of activity from which to measure our progress. The mapping tool looks at 4 key areas of Workforce Values, Trauma Informed, Ongoing Relationships and Workforce Support. We have amended and incorporated this tool into our Corporate Parenting work to capture related Promise activity from across the partnership.
From here we have conducted a thematic analysis of all responses so far and used this to inform our Corporate Parenting priorities moving forward.
We want Clackmannanshire to be the best place in Scotland to grow up. If you can help us achieve this, please get in touch.
As Clackmannanshire’s Virtual Headteacher, Care Experienced Week 2023 has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on the privilege that is working within such an ambitious and forward-thinking ‘promise-committed’ local authority –Strategic Director Lorraine Sanda is driving that collective ambition. Lorraine is clear, “ We are putting Our Promise, front and centre of all our work, ensuring that we do everything that it takes to respond to the views of our care experienced community. If we keep to our core values and achieve our ambition, and we will, all our communities will benefit. “ We have the privilege of working with excellent staff and partners like Who Cares? , collaborating with us on this journey.
To mark #CEW23, we were delighted to reach the milestone that every Secondary School pupil in Clackmannanshire had received a presentation on “The Promise”. Through an Assembly Programme the definitions of Care Experience and the available supports for all young people – universal and targeted have been shared. We can now say with confidence that all young people are now aware of “The Promise” and the important role they play in scaffolding support for their peers.
It is so important that our young people know what supports are available from local and national organisations. Financially, those who have been in care have additional scaffolding through SAAS, Colleges and UCAS and we want to ensure all young people know this.
‘Hands-up’ surveys at each assembly showed that all young people were now aware of The Promise and had increased confidence in how to support their peers. This is a significant step forward with our ambitious drive to ensure that every young person, every member of staff, and every partner organisation has an enhanced understanding of The Promise.
As Virtual Headteacher, I am working across all Secondary Establishments with a specific focus on CECYP. We have a higher-than-average percentage of Care Experienced young people in our local authority, alongside disproportionately high levels of socio-economic deprivation and inter-generational challenges. No one service can address these challenges alone so we are working with partners and other agencies to address these challenges and improve outcomes.
We have a fortnightly focus on CECYP attendance, with the Virtual Headteacher sharing attendance statistics, graphics and individual attendance trends, allowing PTs Guidance and CECYP leads in each school to proactively support our young people. Early intervention and addressing barriers to attendance is done collaboratively and with the support of Senior Leaders.
Clackmannanshire’s Promise, our ambitious 2023-2026 plan, reflects a systemic change around our CECYP; our new Language of Care Policy, links to national best practice through CELSIS and a rigorous and relentless focus on getting the best for our CECYP. We have a commitment and drive to bring back and keep our children and young people in their communities where they can be loved, safe and sustain lifelong connections.
Working in partnership with Education Scotland, our Virtual Headteacher has launched the Keeping the Promise Award, with Early Learning and Childcare, Primaries and Secondaries committed to enhanced training and self-evaluation around The Promise and Care Experienced Children and Young People.
We have work to do, but Clackmannanshire’s relentless focus on keeping the Promise is driving real change already.
Clackmannanshire Council Virtual Headteacher
Stirling’s 10 Year Promise Strategy was approved at the Children & Young People Committee on 21st September 2023
Reasons we developed our 10 Year Strategy:
- Our care experienced young people told us they wanted to see longer term planning for sustained change
- Rebalancing of resources and interventions from crisis to prevention/early intervention requires longer term commitment than our current 3 year planning cycles allow
- A high level, overarching strategy that applies across all services supports collective accountability and effort to #KeepThePromise
- Aligns with the national approach which looks to provide a high level overview of the remaining lifetime of The Promise, with a mid-point review being considered.
How the Strategy has been co-produced:
- Informed by extensive consultation with 230 individuals for the Children’s Services Plan
- Co-production session with 80 multiagency partners during our Promise celebration event in March
- Ongoing co-production with Champs, including revision of their “I Statements”
- Informed by national context – challenges to Promise progress and approaches being taken by other organisations
- Fiona Duncan’s consultation on Plan 24-30 and local views on this
- Co-production sessions with Corporate Parenting Group members and feedback from circulated drafts of the Strategy
How we will monitor impact
- Each of the planning cycles will offer opportunities to review progress against the identified indicators in the 10 Year Strategy. These plans will outline detail of how we deliver services that meet the overall aim of achieving The Promise.
- Progress reports of actions within these plans will be taken to our Corporate Parenting Group. Annual updates will be presented to the Children & Young People Committee.
- The Strategy includes a set of core indicators. Developments with a national monitoring framework will be incorporated once published
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
“More than words……..a culture of care”
Beyond systems change to cultural change – towards a Language of Care in Glasgow
“Scotland must understand that language creates realities. Those with care experience must hold and own the narrative of their stories and lives; simple, caring language must be used in the writing of care files” (pg69)
“The workforce must be considerate and write reports in a clear, relatable way, in plain English. Reports must be written in the assumption that the young person will read them at a later date” (pg69)
“Scotland must change the language of care. Language must be easily understood, be positive and must not create or compound stigma” (pg87)
(The Promise, 2020)
We identified with this, we wanted to make the change and we were given the permission to do so.
Who made the change?
- In Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) we have just under 50 named Promise Keepers – people who put their hands up, said they cared about the Promise and that they would be responsible for making change happen.
- We have an HSCP Promise Keepers working group that meets every 2 months. We talk about what matters to Glasgow’s children, young people and their families and how we are making sure that we are keeping Glasgow’s Promise.
- In the Promise Keepers working group we realised that we were often talking about the importance of a language of care, so people from that group formed a smaller Language of Care working group.
What did we do?
- We spent around 18 months talking about the importance of words, language and care. We really thought about all the different ways that we write about and record information e.g. is it to communicate information, write a report for a particular purpose, write a case record for the adult that the child has become? We explored who owned that information and who had the right to see it/know it?
- We thought about photos and how they can often say more than 1000 words. We thought about how our care teams all have mobile phones, but very few take photos of the children and young people that they care for – and the organisational barriers which contributed to this. We learned that these barriers were actually perceived, and not procedural, but that we had never corrected the false narrative.
- We participated in webinars, and shared learning with like-minded others across Scotland.
- We started a test of change in one Children’s House – working with the whole community of carers and young people, really going back to the purpose of every thing that they communicate, record and write. We will take this learning and spread this across all of our Children’s Houses.
- We developed a one day Relational Writing training programme with the plan that everyone in Children & Families HSCP services would benefit from this learning.
- Together with the Promise Design School, we have a change team including 3 Children & Families Social Work Team Leaders and their whole sub-teams testing how to write, record and communicate differently.
What we did learn?
- We learned to slow down. We felt the pressure to make change quickly, we wanted to be able to show Glasgow’s children, young people and their families that we were committed to do things differently. We learned that we had to make the right change for Glasgow, and that it takes time to do things right.
- We had a “lightbulb moment”. When we realised that we had spent too much time thinking about systems change and trying to find solutions, when really what we needed was cultural change.
- And that was when it became clear that we needed “More than words”. That what we were trying to make happen couldn’t be fixed by a list of words that people shouldn’t use anymore or new words that they should, but that meaningful, cultural change would be achieved by a culture of care.
- Culture of care – that the families that we support really feel our genuine care and support. That we want to help them to make things better. And that our care teams feel that their managers and leaders care about them too. Once you get that right – the “words” won’t need to be taught. They will be felt, experienced and communicated.
- We realised that moving to the roll-out of the Relational Writing training programme was too much. We needed to pause, take a step back, and take time with the change teams really testing out doing things differently and learning from their experiences, but more importantly learning from families experiences.
We would welcome the opportunity to connect and learn from others trying to make the same changes. Please do get in touch 😊.
Alison Cowper email@example.com
Marie Duncan firstname.lastname@example.org
Elaine Gillespie email@example.com
An exploration of language used by professionals that work with children that have experience of care.
Language is at the very heart of social work practice. Just as social work has evolved over the years, so too has language developed to reflect the various changes in our society. However, implementing these kinds of changes across systems takes time and significant effort. This case study seeks to compile evidence from various first hand testimonies, conversations and group sessions with care experienced children and young people in Stirling who put forward their views on communication and the language used by social workers and other staff. Staff have engaged with care experienced young people across a number of different placement types and with varying experiences of social work involvement, primarily through the ongoing work of Stirling Champions Board. The study draws on the Independent Care Review and key aims of the Promise as well as some literature exploring the importance of using considered language in social work
The views of children and young people in Stirling are central to this study and its recommendations. This primary research was carried out by Morven Beattie, Lead Officer of the Promise, in conjunction with Stirling Champions Board primarily between February and July 2022, although some further discussion did take place in the period after. To collect the children and young people’s views, a number of 1-1 interviews were held alongside wider group discussions on the children’s experiences of Social Work involvement in Stirling. Children were aged between 4 and 18 and had direct lived experience of the care system, either through home supervision, kinship care or foster care. In group discussions, the young people were grouped roughly according to age and these were held in person. Complimenting this primary research, Peter Ward-Stoddart, Policy Officer, created a short Literature Review, compiling a number of different sources from academic and professional journals and articles.
Perth and Kinross
Easy Read Project
Project Aim: “For 50 staff in Services for Children, Young People & Families to have access to training, support and resources, on a digital platform, to enable them to provide easy read information for the families that they work with, by the end of April 2023."
Communication barriers exist that prevent vulnerable families accessing the help and support that is needed. This may be through difficulties comprehending spoken language, expressing themselves or poor literacy levels. Many of these difficulties are hidden or have not been identified previously.
This project took a 3-pronged approach to reduce these barriers by:
- Providing staff with training and support in using a tool called Talking Mats. 48 practitioners completed their foundation training.
- Enabling staff to simplify language and produce ‘easy read’ reports and information that are written in a way that CYP&F can understand. 3 tiers of training were developed with 72 members of staff completing silver level.
- Assessing parents who have unidentified communication needs and identify strategies that can be put in place to enable them to access the supports on offer.
This innovative project ran between May 2022 and May 2023 and was led by Janie Scott, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) in Perth and Kinross.
This project delivered the following outcomes:
- Raised the profile of communication needs within this population
- Provided practical tools for practitioners to use with vulnerable families which in turn improve outcomes.
- Developed two electronic document management systems (EDMS) to support ongoing work.
More information about this Easy Read Project is available below:
South Ayrshire Council
"Changing our Care Language"
As of 1st November 2023 we will be changing the terminology, changing what used ot be referred to as “Looked After Children Reviews / LAC Reviews”. We have listened to our care experienced young people and implemented changes they have asked for, we now need your help to ensure that we all play our part in embedding this change in our practice. All three meetings which are associated with the looked after review process will change and the below 7 minute briefing will explain what the changes are, why it is important and how we know the changes are working.
For more information on South Ayrshire's work to keep The Promise, visit their dedicated webpage here.