The 'Staf Summit – Leading whole-system change to improve lives: Why Relationships are Key’ was held on Wednesday 11th March 2020 in central Glasgow. 

The day brought together over 100 delegates to discuss the importance of relationship-based practice, with speakers approaching the topic from a wide array of perspectives: lived experience, academic, political, service design, and practical application.

You can find further information about the speakers on the day, including slides from many of them, below: 

Gillian Ruch

Gillian Ruch is Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex. She teaches and researches in the areas of child care social work and relationship-based and reflective practice and is committed to enhancing the wellbeing of children, families and practitioners. 

Her particular interests are in promoting psycho-social research methods and reflective forums that facilitate relationship-based practice.

Gillian’s research includes an ESRC funded four UK nations project exploring how social workers communicate with children:

She is currently undertaking research impact work in collaboration with The International Futures Forum which involves introducing 'Kitbag' to social workers:

Gillian has co-edited, with Danielle Turney and Adrian Ward, 'Relationship-based Social Work: Getting to the Heart of Practice'.


Tom Stibbs

Tom Stibbs is the Principal Social Worker for Children and Families for Brighton & Hove City Council and leads on the implementation of whole system change to embed relationship-based practice.

He has been a qualified social worker for 17 years and has held a range of social work positions. As well as promoting relationship-based practice, Tom is a voice for social work practice across the system and, for example, he is a key stakeholder in BASW’s 80:20 campaign. 

He regularly contributes to conferences and events across the country.


Jade Kilkenny 

Jade Kilkenny is a member of the Staf Board of Directors, TedX Speaker, and works as an apprentice with Community Justice Scotland – where she has undertaken a multitude of projects including researching electronic monitoring and how individuals with learning difficulties experience prison. Additionally, she has delivered training.

Jade has previously worked for SAMH as a Peer Support Assistant where she supported young people with mental health issues. Additionally, Jade has recently completed the Award in Education and Training course at college and has been accepted into university, starting in September 2020.


Kevin Lafferty 

Kevin Lafferty is a participation consultant with Youth Justice Voices, a collaborative project between Staf and The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) to amplify the voices of young people with care and justice experience.

Kevin has interviewed Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, on issues surrounding the care-experienced bursary for Staf’s podcast series, The Forum, and has spoken powerfully about his experiences of the youth justice system at a range of national conferences. 

Life Changes Trust and South Ayrshire Champions Board 

Carole Patrick 

"I’m Carole Patrick and I am the Director of Evidence and Influencing at the Life Changes Trust for the Young People with Care Experience Programme.

I have been with the Trust since its inception in 2013 and I am passionate about getting alongside young people with care experience and their allies to support long-term positive change.

We fund projects across the country with a focus on putting young people at the heart of efforts to achieve transformation, recognising that transformation requires collective vision and effort and we can all make a contribution. I’m constantly learning from the people I meet who are so generous in giving of themselves in order to create change for others and my curiosity never wanes!"

Chloe Currie

"My name is Chloe Currie and I’m a modern apprentice with Champions for Change South Ayrshire Champions Board.

I’ve recently completed my SVQ Level 3 Children and Young People and working with young people with care experience has helped fuel my passion to continue to help embed positive change and help raise awareness and challenge stigma."

Alex Horne

"My name is Alex Horne and I’m a Participation Assistant with Champions for Change South Ayrshire Champions Board.

I’ve been working with Care Experienced people for over 10 years now, I have a passion and commitment to make positive changes across the whole of Scotland and make care a loving environment for all growing up."


Kate Tobin 

Kate Tobin is the Scotland Director at the Dartington Service Design Lab. Her interests are in service design, evaluation and applying systems thinking within children’s services. Over the last ten years Kate has worked on randomised controlled trials, implementation of evidence-based programmes place-based reform efforts, epidemiological projects, and supported charities to help improve their impact.

She is committed to developing human-centred, science-informed design approaches. Kate has published in School Mental Health, Children and Youth Service Review, International Journal of Conflict and Violence and Child Care in Practice. She holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology and MRes in Research Methods in Psychology from the University of Strathclyde. Kate has been trained in Design Thinking and innovative design methods by the IIT Institute of Design, Chicago.


Designed by Society 

The 'Designed by Society' project is enabling young people and members of the workforce in Falkirk to design leaving care services that put love and relationships at the heart of service provision. The project is creating opportunities for people with care experience and a range of children’s and adult’s services providers to learn about service design and systems leadership together.

Presenting on the project were: Leah Lockhart Design Researcher and Service Designer; Janet Weir, CEW Participation Lead; and Evelyn Kennedy, Service Manager - Workforce Development.


East Renfrewshire Council

Kate Rocks

Kate is a qualified Social Worker with 33 years’ experience working in statutory social work services in both London and Scotland.  She has managed at an operational and strategic level, services for older people adults and criminal justice although the majority of her career has been spent working within children’s services.  Her passion is making a difference to the lives of looked after young people.

Kate is the Chief Social Work Officer and Head of Public Protection and Children Services for East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.  She is also an active member of Social Work Scotland where she contributes to many national agendas.