Corporate parenting - turning legislation into practice together: report

This report reflects on Scotland’s looked after children, young people and care leavers and how they have benefitted from corporate parenting support.

Appendix A

Three Year Corporate Parenting Journey across the Public Sector

For the purposes of illustration, the 124 organisations and individuals covered by the 24 Corporate Parents listed in schedule 4 of the 2014 Act have been separated into nine categories, depending on their statutory role. These are Commissioner/Ombudsman, Scottish Ministers, Health Board, Local Authority, Non-Ministerial Department, Other Significant National Body, Post-16 Education Body, Public Body and Special NHS Service.

Commissioner and Ombudsman – The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland

Where were you? The Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003 created the role of the Commissioner, who is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the nomination of the Scottish Parliament.

Our role is to promote and safeguard the rights of all children and young people under the age of 18 and the Act extended this to 21 for care experienced young people. The Act also places a specific requirement on us to "pay particular attention to groups of children and young people who do not have other adequate means by which they can make their views known" and this has always been interpreted as including care experienced children and young people.

In exercising our functions, we must pay attention to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC). In this case Article 20 of the UNCRC outlines the rights specific to care experienced children and young people.

Where are you now? We have undertaken the following work to improve the understanding and quality of corporate parenting.

1. Accountability – We have worked to hold other corporate parents to account as part of our core work.

2. Building Ability – We have established a group to support other smaller corporate parents. This is attended by a range of organisations who were given corporate parenting responsibilities by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

3. Participation – We have worked with care experienced-led organisations such as Who Cares? Scotland and the Care Review and have regularly involved care experienced children in our work.

Where you are going? Our Corporate Parenting duties are mainstreamed within all our work and this is outlined in our Strategic Plan which is available at:

Scottish Ministers - Student Awards Agency Scotland

Where were you? In April 2015 the concept of corporate parenting was an unknown quantity for SAAS. However, the agency has a long established mechanism in place to support care experienced students which predates 2015. The Accommodation Grant for Care Leavers is a financial award which helps towards accommodation costs during the summer months. Care experienced students can apply for up to a maximum of £105 per week.

Where are you now? SAAS is fully supportive of Scottish Ministers in their role as Corporate Parents and we embrace the values and responsibilities which corporate parenting represents. In 2017, following recommendations from the Commission for Widening Access ( COWA), the Scottish Government introduced the Care Experienced Students' Bursary. The bursary is a non-income assessed, non-repayable financial award which is available to Scottish care experienced students in Higher Education. SAAS was responsible for the successful implementation of the bursary and the ongoing administration of this scheme.

SAAS also consulted directly with care experienced students. Through this work SAAS has developed a bespoke Digital application process and co-designed information and guidance related to the bursary. Our bespoke service has helped raise awareness of the bursary, whilst promoting the Scottish Government agenda of widening access into Higher Education. In late 2017 we also published our inaugural Corporate Parenting Plan, setting our commitments to Care Experienced students accessing Higher Education in Scotland.

Where are you going? SAAS has a firm commitment to continuous improvement across all of the services and functions of the Agency.

We will continue to develop service delivery and outreach to support and promote the needs of care experienced students. We will be responsive to the needs of care experienced students when shaping future operational policies and procedures. Alongside our Outreach work, we will continue to work closely with stakeholders to promote the existence of the bursary and to improve our information and guidance along with our digital application based on insights from stakeholders and care experienced students.

A health board – NHS Borders

Where were you? In 2015 NHS Borders had made progress in implementing the CEL16 circulated in 2009. We were raising awareness across the organisation about the needs of looked after children and our roles and responsibilities as a corporate parent. In 2015 we were developing a health needs assessment and care pathway and we were working to improve communication about the notification of looked after children from Scottish Borders Council. From a multiagency context the first Corporate Parenting Strategy was developed and agreed in the Scottish Borders in 2007.

It was in response to "Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better" (2007). The current version of the Scottish Borders Corporate Parenting Strategy 2014-2018 is the third iteration of the multi-agency strategy.

Where are you now? There is an awareness and understanding of Corporate Parenting at a senior managerial level across agencies in the Scottish Borders.

NHS Borders has a health care pathway and provision of the health needs assessment is established as recommended through CEL16 and the 'Guidance for Health Assessments for Looked After Children in Scotland'.

Employability services are increasingly working in partnership in providing employment and training opportunities. Since 2015 NHS Borders has developed opportunities for 2 care experienced young people per year to undertake a Modern Apprenticeship.

Where are you going? The Scottish Borders Corporate Parenting Strategy is currently being reviewed and a new strategy developed for 2018-2022. The strategy and plan will be based on Section 58 of Part 9 - Corporate Parenting of the Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Greater awareness-raising across NHS Borders of Corporate Parenting and its importance , To improve the support and opportunity for health needs assessment to Looked After Children in kinship care, to re-focus the role of the school nurse on public health priority, Systematic participation of children and young people in service delivery, Improved multi-agency, partnership practice developments, Measurable improvements across services for looked after children and young people and care experienced young people.

A local authority – Children's Services Executive Group on behalf of Glasgow City Community Planning Partnership

Where were you? Corporate Parenting Policy and a Corporate Parenting Champions' Board in place since 2007, a percentage of Commonwealth Apprenticeship and Job Fund places were ring fenced to provide opportunities for care experienced young people since 2010 and in 2011 Council Leader launches annual awards' initiative and employment support for young people looked after or leaving care. After the 2014 Act was introduced corporate parenting training became mandatory for elected members.

Where are you now? Collaborative working across the city has improved engagement by young people. In 2015 and 2017 corporate parenting events were hosted by the Champions' Board, in 2017 Glasgow Corporate Parent Forum was established so all corporate parents meet quarterly, in 2018 information about what each corporate parent has to offer will go on a public facing website for access by children, young people and corporate parents. A corporate parenting awareness video with input from Who Cares? Scotland and young people will become part of an e-learning module to be launched during 2018.

A major transformation programme in HSCP Children's Services, proposes a shift in the balance of care from residential accommodation and out of Glasgow City placements to one which provides family and community based supports within the city. During 2017/18 a substantial decrease in the number of young people being placed in residential care establishments was achieved.

Implementation of a multi-agency improvement programme using LEAN methodology by Educational Psychology Services will focus on improving support for young people in placements outside Glasgow City. The MCR Programme is now fully embedded in Glasgow City Council as a key driver in delivering the corporate parenting expectations. It has now delivered such impact that the learning and framework is being shared with other local authorities and beyond.

Where are you going? All staff will be more aware of their corporate parenting role and responsibilities. Young people will be informed about the range of careers and opportunities available to them from an earlier age. Children's Services' transformation programme will demonstrate a substantial shift in investment and activity to community based and family support services over a three to five year period. Information for children and young people will be more accessible including maximising the use of digital technology. Work with young people to make sure what we have on offer is what they want and the best we can offer.

Non-Ministerial Department – Scottish Housing Regulator

Where were you? Corporate parenting was not a concept we had any exposure to or awareness of prior to the legislation.

Where are you now? We have been on a learning curve in terms of unpicking the legislative duties and seeking to understand its direct relevance to us in the context of our relatively narrow statutory role. To help us understand this we spent considerable time engaging with CELCIS, Scottish Government policy colleagues and advocacy / support organisations, principally Who Cares Scotland. Care-experienced young people can be vulnerable and at risk of homelessness. We know that access to social housing and homelessness services are important issues for many care-experienced young people. Our work to monitor service quality, alongside our targeted, thematic work in areas such as homelessness shines a light on homeless and tenancy services that are important to care experienced young people.

Where are you going? Our corporate parenting plan sets out our approach but in 2017/18 we are engaging with 18 local authorities on homelessness issues. We will continue to explore practical opportunities to contribute as a corporate parent in a way that fits with our primary regulatory role.

Other significant national body - The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Where were you? Corporate parenting was not a new concept to the Service due to involvement with local initiatives and partnerships for a number of years. The statutory duties were an opportunity to co-ordinate and build on previous work to establish a consistent approach across Scotland.

Where are you now? The Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment ( EIA) process considers the impacts of policy or practice on care experienced individuals. The SFRS works with national corporate parenting partners to share best practice. This includes short videos highlighting the importance of collaboration in meeting the needs of care experienced children and young people, which were disseminated on Care Day 2018 and a summary leaflet, aimed at care experienced children and young people has been used to increase positive engagement with the Service.

Where are you going? Improve access to employment and development opportunities within the SFRS. Ambitions include apprenticeships, positive action measures, a formal role model/mentoring programme, work experience and "bring your child to work" day. Remain informed about national and local issues affecting young people in care and care-experienced. The SFRS Corporate Parenting intranet resource centre for all employees will be continually updated with new and relevant information to assist colleagues in implementing the Plan. More good practice examples will be shared. Review and improve the monitoring of education and engagement programmes with the purpose of improving access for children and young people in the care system and the care experienced.

Post-16 education body - Fife College

Where were you? In 2015 the term 'corporate parent' was not well known or understood and the College Guidance team were the main corporate parents on staff. They made special effort to look out for care-experienced students and liaise with curriculum staff to support the students having difficulty. A Corporate Parent Action Group ( CPAG) was created to raise awareness of our responsibilities. The Guidance Manager championed the cause along with the Vice-Principal Organisational Development to create a workable Plan and Student Contacts Group.

Where are you now? In 2015-16, the Guidance team organised a working group who produced a Fife College Corporate Parent Guide which was shared with all staff and external partners to encourage corporate parenting in the wider college. CPAG sends birthday cards and invitations to Christmas lunch to care-experienced students which have been well-received. The KEV Project, a think-tank group of diverse cross-college staff and external partners, organised a Pizza Night to hear the Kare-Experienced Voice. From this event, three recommendations were taken forward and two of the students volunteered to become members of CPAG.

Where are you going? More engagement with care experienced students through a dedicated KEV Group and College Care-Experienced App, making effective changes from their input. More comprehensive staff training on care experience. Continue development of an effective Network with external partners. Increased involvement of the Inclusion team for learning support and of the Employability team for care-experienced students' positive destinations and work placements. Ensure a robust data-management system is in place to record applications, achievement and retention. Improve independent assessment of corporate parent effectiveness.

Public Body – Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Where were you? Recognised that corporate parenting duties aligned with a number of ambitions and priorities, including the National Gaelic Language Plan ambition that "Gaelic belongs to all of Scotland", the general principle of equality and diversity in the Scottish Government National Care Standards and UNCRC. Young people in care have a right to be valued for their ethnic background, language, culture, faith and linguistic background.

Where are you now? Bòrd na Gàidhlig has invested significant effort in better understanding which of their projects already support care experienced children and young people. Current funding schemes incorporate a section asking if the project provides activities or opportunities for care experienced young people, and to provide information on the intended outcomes. Bòrd na Gàidhlig will use data collection to inform development of its Corporate Parenting actions and to build a picture of provision across language development work for care experienced young people.

Where are you going? Aiming to further engage organisations including Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration ( SCRA); Edinburgh City Council, Glasgow City Council, Argyll & Bute Council, Highland Council, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to explore opportunities for collaboration and enhance the baseline of evidence-based knowledge to increase opportunities for care experienced young people and inform the future direction.

Special NHS service - NHS Health Scotland

Where were you? In 2015, NHS Health Scotland was the first board to sign up to the national Corporate Parenting Pledge. Our Chair made a commitment that we would make every effort to listen to the voice of Scotland's care-experienced young people, act so that Scotland would become a better place for them and unite with and around them. We pledged to do this by promoting the health and wellbeing of this group in all of our work, which we do by working with our partners. Who Cares? Scotland delivered training to our staff to help us better understand the lives and needs of care experienced young people. This, along with the leverage provided by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, was welcomed by Health Scotland to further promote better awareness of the lives and needs of this group internally and externally.

Where are you now? Last year, we revised our corporate strategy which is now called our Strategic Framework for Action: 'A Fairer Healthier Scotland 2017-22'. This sets out our five strategic priorities for this period and children, young people and families are one of these priorities.

We have sought to promote the rights and health of these young people by assessing the needs of the looked after children and young people population in Scotland through monitoring of national data for this group, e.g. the publication of the Scottish Public Health Observatory- Children and Young People.

We have also produced and distributed knowledge-based resources, seeking to promote and influence knowledge into action with a wide range of partners. This will affect positive change for this group by influencing action at both fundamental and wider determinants of health such as promoting access to and opportunity for health services, quality housing, leisure facilities, good learning and work, safety in the community and in the home, e.g. Health-Promoting Care: A toolkit for improving the health of looked after children.

Where are you going? Although our corporate parenting duties are implicit within our strategic vision, we have chosen to focus on four main areas to ensure this work is integrated within everything we do. This includes:

  • Our core function and some specific deliverables to refresh the evidence for this population group and produce an updated profile which our partners can use to better understand what action may be required.
  • Practice Improvement – to continuously improve how and what we do for care experienced young people by using Health Scotland's HIIA approach to assess any potential impacts our work may have, to advance equality of opportunity and promote their interests where we can.
  • Workforce development – we will develop the knowledge and awareness of our workforce of the needs of care experienced young people. This includes staying well informed of the best and most recent evidence, information and developments for staff to access so they can use it to influence others in their work and advocate for positive change.
  • Our workforce policies – one example includes consideration of the needs of our staff who may have a caring role so we can better support them.


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