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Corporate parenting

Corporate Parenting is defined in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 as: “the formal and local partnerships between all services responsible for working together to meet the needs of looked after children, young people and care leavers”.

In These Are Our Bairns: A Guide for Community Planning Partnerships (2008) on being a good corporate parent, the Scottish Government summarised the three key elements of Corporate Parenting as:

  • The statutory duty on all parts of a local authority to co-operate in promoting the welfare of children and young people who are looked after by them, and a duty on other agencies to co-operate with councils in fulfilling that duty.
  • Co-ordinating the activities of the many different professionals and carers who are involved in a child or young person's life, and taking a strategic, child-centred approach to service delivery.
  • Shifting the emphasis from 'corporate' to 'parenting', taking all actions necessary to promote and support the physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of a child from infancy to adulthood.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 puts Corporate Parenting on a statutory footing and introduces a new framework of duties and responsibilities for the 24 public bodies listed in Schedule 4 as corporate parents. These duties were commenced on 1 April 2015 and require all corporate parents to collaborate with each other to promote the wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers in their care and enable them to achieve the best outcomes. 

The statutory guidance for Corporate Parenting provides corporate parents with information and advice about how they should fulfil the duties set out in Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the 2014 Act. This guidance sets out the parameters within which corporate parents should develop their own approaches, either individually or in partnership.  Those approaches should also be shaped by the corporate parent’s primary functions, and informed by the needs, views and experiences of looked after children and care leavers.

We believe that corporate parenting is not just a responsibility. It is also a real opportunity to improve the futures of looked after children and young people. Success relies on many different organisations - including local authorities, health boards, the police and schools - recognising they have a critical contribution to make.

All corporate parents will be required to develop and publish a plan of how they are going to meet the statutory duties.  A new reporting and accountability structure has also been introduced, with national progress on improving outcomes to be reported by Scottish Ministers to the Parliament every three years beginning in April 2018. 

Becoming better corporate parents

Good corporate parents will want the same outcomes for their looked after children as any good parent would want for their own children. They will accept responsibility for them and make their needs a priority.  To make sure Scotland's public services are the best corporate parents they can be, we have commissioned Who Cares? Scotland to provide a programme of training and support to corporate parents including elected members, local authorities, schools, health boards and other service providers.

Find out more on the Who Cares? Scotland Corporate Parenting website

In addition the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), who developed the Statutory Guidance on Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 are offering comprehensive support to corporate parents to develop Practice Notes and Corporate Parenting Plans for their organisation.

Find out more on the CELCIS Corporate Parenting website