8.1 Corporate parenting was seen as an important issue by respondents participating in this evaluation and respondents were positive about the Corporate Parenting training programme delivered by Who Cares? Scotland.
8.2 Elected Members have been very positive about the training and there is a perception that this should be made available, and possibly mandatory, to all EMs within a few months of being elected. While this first phase of the training programme was aimed primarily at EMs, some local authorities have also included other council staff and staff from partner organisations in the training. There is also a perception that the training should be rolled out to a wider audience in a second phase.
8.3 The training to date has had a number of key elements which have been praised by respondents. All recalled the presentation from a care leaver talking from a personal perspective about their experiences as a looked after child (described as 'powerful' and 'thought provoking' by many); and the use of film clips with looked after children discussing their views on various aspects of life such as education or housing. Recall of other elements of the training such as statistical data or good practice examples was not universal, although it needs to be borne in mind that some respondents had attended training almost two years ago.
8.4 Results from the qualitative research and the online survey show there have been a number of positive impacts of the training to date. These have included an increased awareness of the role played by corporate parents, and an increased understanding from respondents about their responsibilities and duties as corporate parents, as well as their understanding of the experience of looked after children in their area. The training has also helped to craft a culture around normalising the experiences for looked after children and young people. The online survey shows that awareness of different aspects of corporate parenting rose after the training had been delivered.
8.5 In terms of the content, respondents outlined a number of key elements to be incorporated in this training programme. These included the personal experiences of a looked after child, the provision of local and national data and examples of good practice and case studies. Where possible, the training should also include the views of a local looked after child.
8.6 One key advantage for Who Cares? Scotland is their capacity to provide a national overview, and there were some suggestions that Who Cares? Scotland could adopt a proactive role in facilitating networking opportunities and running conferences / meetings across local authorities.
8.7 Very few respondents had been provided with training on Corporate Parenting from other sources, although where information had been obtained from other sources, this was seen to enhance and complement that provided by Who Cares? Scotland. Indeed, some respondents suggested they could take on a more proactive role in networking across different organisations, acting as a facilitator or introducer.
8.8 While the Who Cares? Scotland training is widely praised, there appears to be relatively limited sharing of information to date. While some respondents have shared what they learnt with colleagues, there does not appear to be much by way of information sharing across local authorities. This is perhaps a role that could be adopted by Who Cares? Scotland in setting up conferences, providing examples of good practice on their website and so on. This latter point is important given the desire by respondents to see what works in other areas and what might work in their own area. It is also helpful for them to provide critiques on existing good practice and outline what works, what does not work, what might need to be modified and so on. There were also suggestions for Who Cares? Scotland to set up a database of good practice on their website that could be accessed by all interested parties, to run good practice events and to adopt an intermediary role in helping councils and partner organisations to network.
8.9 Qualitative and quantitative respondents were positive about this training and felt this should continue to be delivered by Who Cares? Scotland.
8.10 A number of additional audiences have been identified for delivery of this training programme, although Elected Members are still perceived to be a priority audience, particularly given the potential for significant changes to Elected Members at each election.
8.11 While the depth of coverage is perceived to be right for Elected Members and individuals with little or no experience of corporate parenting, there are some suggestions that the depth of information is not enough for those already working with looked after children. There is a desire for more in-depth training, including more information on good practice and case studies.
8.12 Given the wide range of audiences that could be included in this training, there is also a need to ensure flexibility in delivery of this programme, in terms of content and timing.
8.13 In summary, the evidence gathered in this evaluation notes the importance of tailoring training to the needs of the audience. If training is to be extended to a wider range of individuals, their informational requirements will need to be considered. There is also a requirement for continued flexibility in terms of when training is delivered and for working closely with LA contacts to ensure training delivered meets the needs of those who are attending.
Email: Alison Melville
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback