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These Are Our Bairns: A guide for community planning partnerships on being a good corporate parent



"Politicians bring forward lots of excellent ideas based on their experience and knowledge as constituency MSPs. Practitioners also come up with ideas for good practice which can be harnessed and spread. As far as I am concerned we should be aspiring to be the best in the world.

"Our aim for Looked After children is that they should achieve the same level of outcomes as their peers who are not Looked After. We want them to fulfil their potential. There should be no difference. In the past it's fair to say there have been targets for Looked After children which were significantly lower than other young people.

"We know what the ingredients are for young people to do well - living in a stable and loving home. That won't always be a family situation. Some young people may do better in a residential setting. One of the challenges is to have better planning to enable children to get the right placement for them and to reduce the uncertainty and flux.

"Also important is to meet their health and education needs, wherever they are, and to sustain that commitment when other things change. This is the key thing: to put the needs of children first."

Olivia McLeod, Depute Director, Care and Justice, Scottish Government.

At a national level, the state establishes a legal framework and provides resources for services that orchestrate broad welfare aims, such as regulating those who select, vet and train carers.At a local level, professionals… assume responsibility for various aspects of a child's life, such as placement in a family, safety, education and health. At the personal level, parenting responsibilities are allocated to carers who provide the face-to-face aspects of looking after children and therefore the long-term benefits. (Bullock et al, 2006)

"It is important for the heads of care to know the views of young people in care: That way they will be able to make decisions and plan ahead-knowing what young people in care want." (Sam)

Politicians and policy makers in Scottish Government are responsible for setting the legislative framework within which corporate parenting can be as effective as possible. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and associated regulations (see appendix 2) provide that framework. The policies which support this work are described in appendix 1. These policies are all aimed at achieving a culture change in Scotland where we take an outcomes-based approach, with long-term commitment, where we value all of our citizens including the most vulnerable.

In partnership with local government and others through the Concordat [ www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/923/0054147.pdf ], Scottish Government is committed to improving public services to deliver excellence, through early intervention and prevention and multi-agency working. Scottish Government will help to improve outcomes for Looked After children and young people and care leavers through demonstrating that national leadership and doing everything possible to support joint working across public services, and to remove barriers where they exist.

You will want to:

  • Make sure that the legislative framework is in place to provide the best possible experience for Looked After children and young people, and care leavers, and is kept up to date.
  • Make sure that policy development across Scottish Government activity takes cognisance of the needs of Looked After children and young people, and care leavers.
  • Make sure that young people, including Looked After children and young people and care leavers, are consulted and engaged in policy development.
  • Make sure that stakeholders are fully engaged in policy development and legislative change.
  • Make sure that policy development across government is consistent and joined up.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effect of your activity and policies, in consultation with stakeholders.


You will be an effective member of the corporate family when:

  • Scottish legislation and regulations support the corporate family to provide excellent services to Looked After children and young people, and care leavers.
  • Scottish Government policy embeds the needs of Looked After children and young people and care leavers, and professionals can clearly see where their specific interests fit within the wider policy context.
  • When stakeholders are actively engaged in policy development and legislative change.
  • When the views of Looked After children and young people and care leavers are reflected in policy development and implementation.