The Common Core describes the skills, knowledge and understanding, and values that everyone should have if they work with children, young people and their families, whether they are paid or unpaid. The skills, knowledge and understanding are described as “essential characteristics” and are set out in two contexts; relationships with children, young people and families and relationships between workers. They are also explicitly cross-referenced to the guiding principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and can be found on page 7. The values are taken from the Getting It Right For Every Child approach and can be found on page 8.
The Common Core is based on the consensus of views from organisations who contributed to a public consultation. It was further developed by a multi-disciplinary Working Group (see Annex A) and in workshops by workers from a diverse range of roles, organisations and parts of the children’s sector.
The vast majority of workers will have a range of skills, knowledge and understanding far more comprehensive than that described in the Common Core. They may also have values that they view as particular to their profession or which are set by regulatory bodies. The Common Core is not an attempt to water down or replace the important skills, knowledge and understanding and values that workers possess and demonstrate but rather to strengthen that which is universal across all workers. It is perhaps better to look at this initiative from the perspective of children, young people and their families. From their perspective the Common Core forms the minimum expectations they will have of anyone who works with them because it reflects areas that are important to them.
Whilst acknowledging the key role for recognisable professionals such as teachers, nurses and social workers, our definition of those who can make a difference goes well beyond this group. Scotland’s social policy frameworks recognise the breadth and depth of workers who make a difference to the lives of children, young people and their families. For example: auxiliary workers such as cooks or drivers, volunteers, assistants or support workers, practitioners and professionals. Our definition includes all of those working with children, young people and families in health, education, social services, justice, community services, cultural and creative industries, the voluntary sector and private sector. We also include those who work with the whole family in “adult” services such as housing or drugs and alcohol services.
If, through your work, you help to improve the wellbeing of children, young people and families then the Common Core is valid for you and demonstrating its characteristics and values will make you better able to meet their needs.