National Corporate Parenting Training Programme Evaluation

An evaluation of the impact of the National Corporate Parenting Training programme developed and delivered by Who Cares? Scotland.

3 Recall of the Training

3.1 Some of the qualitative respondents had been to training as far back as early 2011, and Renfrewshire and Edinburgh were the only areas that had training more recently in 2012. Thus, some respondents were being asked to recall something that was relatively historic and, perhaps not surprisingly, recall of specific elements of the training was relatively low.

3.2 All those who attended the training remembered having done so; and its format as well as some specific elements of the sessions were recalled spontaneously. Most qualitative respondents remembered that the training had been delivered by Who Cares? Scotland. A respondent from Glasgow commented:

"I thought it was quite effective because, despite the time lapse I remember bits of it very well".

3.3 Recall that the training session had been delivered by Who Cares? Scotland was high among those who responded to the online survey. These respondents were asked 'Did you attend a Corporate Parenting training session delivered by Who Cares? Scotland?', and 52 said 'yes'. Two respondents recalled attending a corporate parenting training session but were not aware it was delivered by Who Cares? Scotland' and four respondents said they were unable to attend the training session.

3.4 Across the qualitative respondents, there were two elements of the training sessions that stood out. The first was the young person who helped deliver the training from Who Cares? Scotland and who had himself been looked after. This presenter was able to talk from a personal perspective of someone who had direct experience of corporate parenting in two or three different local authority areas. His element of the training was described as 'powerful' and 'thought provoking' and was viewed by all as a very positive element of the training session. As one Glasgow EM put it:

"We get papers sent to us, telling what's going on in care homes and so on, but if you see a human being telling you about their lives it makes all the difference."

3.5 Given the unanimous recall of the care leaver employed by Who Cares? Scotland who presented part of the session, it is perhaps not surprising that his part of the presentation was most highly regarded. However, while appreciating that it is not always possible to find a local young person who is willing to participate in a presentation, some respondents would have liked to hear from someone who was from their own area, rather than a different local authority. While they noted the points he was making and felt it was a powerful message, they felt that some of the issues he had faced in Aberdeen and Ayrshire were different to those facing looked after children in their own area.

3.6 The other element remembered by most of the qualitative respondents was the video / film clips they were shown. This contained interviews with looked after children, where they considered a wide range of topics including managing finances, moving to their own accommodation, education and the police. In areas where the training was tailored to the area, the video was also described as a powerful element of the training.

3.7 While the presentation delivered by Who Cares? Scotland delivered statistical information in terms of the numbers of looked after children, many respondents did not remember this, although some spontaneously commented that they would like to be provided with more detail and figures, particularly at a local level. In Glasgow, EMs felt that it would be useful to see local and national statistics "comparison statistics would be useful".

3.8 This view was also backed up by results from the online survey. Respondents were asked 'Did you feel that the training reflected local issues and priorities?' and 16 said 'Yes, completely', 33 said 'Yes, to an extent', three said 'no' and two did not reply.

3.9 In Glasgow, there had been some discussion about the wording of a pledge which Who Cares? Scotland suggested could be signed. Respondents were mainly happy with this part of the session and reported that the pledge had been signed at a public event. This pledge set out how EMs could become more effective corporate parents and to ensure they give looked after children and young people a fair chance in life. Examples of three of these pledges are provided in an appendix to this report. Several local authorities have given similar undertakings and these pledges include objectives such as listening to young people, combating myths around looked after children, promoting positive outcomes and providing quality services.

3.10 Among the qualitative respondents, the highest recall of other elements of the corporate parenting training session was from respondents in Renfrewshire and Edinburgh who had attended recent training sessions. These respondents recalled:

  • The introduction where there was information on the different types of looked after children
  • Provision of the definition of corporate parenting
  • A quote from Socrates noting the problems of the 'youth of today'
  • Statistical information on the national and local perspective
  • Some examples of good practice.

3.11 Across all respondents, the purpose of the training was seen as being to raise awareness of the issues facing looked after children today and the role played by corporate parents. Positively, the training was seen as having achieved this.

3.12 EMs in Glasgow reported that the sessions had sparked discussions about whether the EMs needed to know the names of every looked after child in their ward or whether "you have to be aware of the strategic and policy making position that you're in". While this discussion is still on-going, EMs felt that just by having the discussion it has served to increase awareness of the looked after children in the area and of EM's responsibilities.

3.13 One key question asked by Who Cares? Scotland when talking about the life of a looked after child and the issues facing them was "would this be acceptable if this was your child?" Respondents felt this was a thought provoking question because it moved the issues of looked after children to a more personal level and made them consider the points being made in relation to what they would want for their own child.

In summary, recall of the training programme was limited for some respondents who had attended training almost two years ago.

The purpose of the training was perceived to be to raise awareness of the issues facing looked after children today and the role played by corporate parents. The training was seen as having achieved this aim.

The two elements of the training programme that were recalled universally by respondents were the presentation by a care leaver and the film clips of discussions with young people. Respondents would like to hear more from looked after children in their own area. Recall of other elements of the training was higher among those who had attended more recently.

Almost all online survey respondents felt the training reflected local issues and priorities.


Email: Alison Melville

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