Who you are - bit about you as an individual?
My name is Liam Slaven I am 21 years old and I live in Falkirk I have been involved with the advisory group since 2020. In my spare time I do a lot of volunteering, trying to influence change and make a positive impact for care experienced young people in Scotland.

Tell us about your role - what you do? 
I currently work for the NHS in admin and a little bit of policy as I am quite involved with my union at work. After leaving the care system I have dedicated the last 4/5 years to building a future for myself, but also to directly influence change for the care experienced community through a combination of roles and have been involved in many meaningful projects.

Some of my own experiences and what I witnessed around others experiences were not right and as a community we deserve better. One of the projects I was involved in was working with the STARR Group, this group was set up to support people with lived experience of being in secure care past and present to have their say in developing new national standards in a safe, compassionate way and to make sure lived experience was at the heart of everything we did.

My role in developing the secure care pathway and standards started with the group back in March 2018 and included listening to and representing the views of young people and challenging the norms in care providers and policymakers. They were officially launched earlier in October 2020 and were widely praised.

I was also part of the rights group in the Independent Care Review helping to create recommendations to form The Promise and have created podcasts explaining each of the other groups work, something I was incredibly honoured to be a part of.

I have also been involved in other national projects to influence policy and practice that would benefit everyone in Scotland. For example, I was able to secure a seat at a ministerial advisory group set up to review the minimum age of criminal responsibility for 2 young people to sit on the group, I was appointed as well as another person to make sure people with lived experience of the justice system are at the heart of this process. It’s one of my proudest achievements because I met with Maree Todd who was the Minister for Children and Young People and discussed the benefits of having young people on the group she agreed to consider it and then appointed us to represent not just care experienced people but all young people in Scotland.

How did you get involved in co-producing The Real Toolkit?
I got involved when one of the project workers Papoula delivered a session to a youth justice group I attend I thought it seemed really interesting and similar to work I done at a local level to embed relationships in council departments. This project is a bit bigger as it is trying to change culture at a national level not just a local one.

How you have found the process of co-producing with members of the workforce?
I have really enjoyed it I think it’s really powerful when organisations take a co-design approach with young people and even more powerful when other partners and stakeholders are involved I think it’s going to be the way most organisations will work now especially with this toolkit being released, UNCRC incorporation and the work of The Promise.

What do you hope The Real Toolkit will achieve?
I hope the toolkit will catalyse a shift in culture to embed relationships in all the work and different services that engage with young people. I also hope that it will show the workforce that young people can have these discussions and can be more involved in decision making not just in their own care but at a higher level to influence policy and practice.

To find out more about The Real Toolkit and how you could become a member of the Advisory Group visit www.therealtoolkit.scot