National Care Service Bill
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Now that the National Care Service Bill has been published COSLA Leaders and Spokespeople have had the opportunity to discuss what it might mean for the future of Children’s Services. We know that the Scottish Government will now consult and engage with children, families and stakeholders on the future design and model of delivery for children’s services.

The inclusion of Children’s Services within the Scottish Government’s National Care Service Consultation went far beyond the scope of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, and it was clear in the analysis of the consultation that many respondents agreed with COSLA’s view that there was a significant lack of evidence and data to justify the inclusion of children’s services in a National Care Service.

Since the Independent Care Review and publication of The Promise, Local Government has worked at pace to re-evaluate and redesign services around the needs of children and families.  COSLA published the local government annual report on progress towards keeping The Promise in April 2022.  Titled ‘Two years on….local government’s work to Keep the Promise’ it outlines some of the significant progress being made across Scotland for children, young people, families and the workforce.

The annual report outlined a vast range of local work; recruiting to new posts specifically to lead on ‘The Promise; House Projects’ to support care experienced young people into their own homes; supporting parents into employment; empowering young people to lead and have their voices heard through Champions Boards; delivering trauma training for the workforce, and much more.

Across Scotland there are hundreds of examples of the positive impacts that local work is having on children, families, and communities. Examples include work in Glasgow City Council, North Ayrshire Council and Stirling Council, which are referenced below.  On-going work is highlighted each month on COSLA’s website and across social media. Read more here.

Glasgow City Council have reduced the numbers of children looked after and accommodated by 24% since the launch of the Independent Care Review.

Throughout July and August North Ayrshire Council are delivering summer activities for care experienced young people, their families, and friends. Their Champions Board, with the help of their Corporate Parenting Team, are running these activities so a space can be provided for parents/carers, children and young people to make connections, get to know council staff and the Champions Board. Click here for more information.

Stirling Council have developed this infographic to demonstrate the impact of interventions to promote and secure positive destinations for their care experienced school leavers.  Stirling Council have taken steps towards strengthening these interventions in consultation with young people, to ensure they build on what is working well and continue to embed person-centred planning with each and every young person.  They are focussing on sustained positive destinations in the next phase of implementing the Promise.

We are proud, every day, of our workforce and their work for our children, families, and communities to ensure children grow up loved, safe and respected and communities have the services they need.

We recognise that further and sustained change is required to ensure we Keep The Promise by 2030; Local Government is already demonstrating positive change and impacts. What this work shows is that locally planned and locally delivered care is the right way to make a positive impact on the lives of children and young people. We must not lose focus on keeping care local and be distracted by unnecessary structural reform that could see us disrupt and derail our progress.

This extended period of uncertainty and change, while we work together to evaluate and agree the best model for delivering continued improvements in Children’s Services brings risk and challenge. We must ensure that our collective ambition for Scotland’s children and our commitment to Keeping The Promise continue to guide us as we navigate this historic period.  Local Government is steadfast in doing what is in the best interests of the children of Scotland.

Councillor Tony Buchanan, COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson