The Promise Oversight Board has produced its first report, detailing the progress made to date on implementing the recommendations of the Care Review. Here we draw out key findings in relation to care leavers and the workforce.

The Board discovered that gaps in data collection meant that it was a challenge to get a full picture of progress made to date. From the information they were able to gather, they were able to surmise the following 

Key findings 

  • Commitment to keep the promise. There is a clear and ongoing commitment across Scotland to keep the promise, and the hope from 2020 remains.
  • Scottish Government funding for family support. Recent announcements from the government are welcome, but there needs
    to be a greater focus on what the money  is achieving.
  • Cross-border placements. These placements remain an issue. Some children are forced to live too far from their home, in places that do not provide the support or facilities they need, and that often separates them from their brothers and sisters.
  • Children’s Hearings System redesign. Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) have committed to and are actively participating in a redesign work programme that will lead to legislative change.
  • Mental health provision. The continued lack of mental health provision for children and young people, and the lengthy waiting lists, are having a profound impact.
  • Youth justice. The lack of urgency in removing 16 and 17-year-olds from Young Offenders
    Institute provision has been unacceptable, although the Scottish Government’s recent announcement that it will end this practice is welcome. There must be greater recognition and investment in access to justice for care experienced young people.
  • Use of restraint The lack of data available on how many incidents of restraint are taking place
    in Scotland was of significant concern.
  • Right to education Outcomes for care experienced children are not good enough, and there continues to be no alignment with
    the promise to end school exclusions
  • Workforce capacity and support. Extra capacity needs to be created, which requires governments, councils, the third sector, trade unions and the private sector to all work together.
  • Cost-of-living crisis. When the economy hurts children and adults, this can increase the odds of interaction with the ‘care system’.
  • Homelessness The current available data does not allow for a clear understanding of the extent of homelessness amongst care experienced young people. 

A Cluttered Landscape of Accountability 

The Oversight Board mapped out the many organisations involved in the 'care system', revealing a cluttered and often disjointed  honeycomb of organisations, with many other third sector organisations, such as Staf, not included. 

Driving Change: Feedback Loop 

The report makes a number of recommendations, including how to ensure that information on the progress being made to Keep The Promise is recorded and fed back. The establishment of a Feedback loop for all those involved in the lives of care experienced children and young people. The Promise Scotland will be asking

  • What has changed over the last year to ensure that your organisation and the people who work there have made things better for children, young people, their parents, carers and care experienced adults?
  • What impact have these changes had - and how do you know?
  • What changes are still to be made?

Conclusions and recommendations 

  • Organisations with responsibility for delivering progress on the promise must recognise their responsibilities and have plans in place to deliver them.
  • Data gaps must be closed in relation to these key areas identified in Plan 21-24 to allow us to collect and analyse the
    information on:
    - Homelessness
    - Early death
    - Brothers & sisters
    - Restraint
    - Youth justice
    - Right to education
  • Declutter the accountability landscape and and improved respect in the relationships between different parts of the ‘care system’. A collaborative approach is needed, with peer accountability and better communication.
  • The Scottish Government should focus more on its own areas of responsibility, particularly policy and funding, rather than seeking to manage delivery where that is the role of other organisations.
  • The capacity of the ‘care sector’ workforce must be increased, with employees given greater support so that they, in turn, can support children and families.
  • There must be a clear timeframe for the removal of 16 and 17-year-olds from Polmont Young Offenders Institute.
  • The Scottish Government and COSLA must adopt a partnership approach to address whether Scotland has the right provisions in place to meet the ambition to keep brothers and sisters together.

It's clear there is still a long way to go but we will continue to support the workforce to navigate their way through this vital journey and ensure that the experiences and needs of care leavers are listened to and acted upon. 

Read full report