Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE)

The Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE) programme is delivered by the Permanence and Care Team (PaCT) at the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children (CELCIS), by Scottish Government funding.

PACE began in 2014 with the aim of enabling more looked after children to experience permanence. This means providing them with stability, including secure and nurturing relationships, in a setting that continues to adulthood. 

The programme supports local authorities and their partners - in health, Children's Hearings, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration and the courts – to identify areas of blockages or difficulties in securing permanence for looked after children and to reduce delay where it is appropriate to do so. 

Achieving permanence

We recognise that permanent, loving, nurturing relationships are what matter most to children, and that this is best delivered by giving them the legal certainty that their relationships are permanent. 

There are a range of different routes to permanence depending on the needs and circumstances of the child, and PACE uses an assets-based approach to assess the appropriate route for each child.

Permanence can be achieved through:

  • the child returning or remaining at home - with or after support - including settled informal kinship care arrangements
  • local authorities securing a permanence order from the courts where long-term corporate parenting is needed. This can be used, for example, where a child is in foster, residential or kinship care
  • kinship carers obtaining a Section 11 Order via the courts
  • adoption orders being granted by the court in favour of an adoptive parent

How PACE works

The PACE programme involves the use of improvement methodology and comprises three phases:

  • phase one: contracting and baseline
  • phase two: diagnosing and testing
  • phase three: implementation

We have produced diagrams that provide more information on PACE's improvement methodology and phases.

Between 2014 and December 2018, all Scottish local authorities were given the opportunity to engage with the PACE programme to support their looked after children to achieve permanency without undue delay.

The programme has been rolled out at different times with early implementing local authorities now sustaining and pursuing improvements independently of the PACE programme and many others are on track to achieve their improvement aims over the course of the next year. Annual events are held to ensure the legacy of PACE and improvement methodology continues.


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