Building Capacity


What is required by Plan 21-24?

Over the course of the next Parliamentary term, there will be identifiable progress made towards ensuring Scotland’s legislative framework around the breadth of the ‘care system’ is coherent and cohesive, upholds the conclusions of the Independent Care Review and is compliant with the UNCRC.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

There is a strong understanding across organisations that to fully implement the UNCRC and the promise there must be action to amend existing legislation.

There was concern raised in relation to pace, with there needing to be a full consideration of the unintended consequences of legislative reform

Furthermore, there are parts of Plan 21-24 that will require urgent legislative changes to progress outcomes such as Youth Justice.

There is need for planning for legislative changes in relation to The Children’s Hearings System and Inspection and Regulation

What has been committed to so far?

  • There are clear commitments to review the legislative underpinning of The Children’s Hearings System.
  • The Kinship Care Collaborative has remit to consider the legislative framework for kinship care.
  • Scottish Government has set up a UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board which could be a useful space to consider legislative compliance.
  • The GIRFEC refresh and national practice model will be core pillars that underpin all new legislation and guidance.

Who are the lead organisations?

The Scottish Government has primary responsibility for legislation, but must ensure collaboration and engagement from key organisations with statutory responsibility for delivery.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway.

The Promise Scotland will facilitate the work of The Children’s Hearings System working group that will consider the legislative change.



Children's Hearing System

What is required by Plan 21-24?

The Children’s Hearings System will have gone through a redesign process.

That redesign process will bring together children and families, and organisations that hold the responsibility, to rethink the structures, processes and legislation that underpin the Children’s Hearings system. The aim will be to ensure there are coherent, cohesive and collaborative proposals on an operating framework for The Children’s Hearings System that has been designed with children and families. That redesign process will be underpinned by:

  • giving effect to the promise;
  • ensuring compliance with the UNCRC,
  • upholding the original intention of The Kilbrandon Report, that children involved in offending need care and protection; and
  • ensuring The Children’s Hearings System and The Courts can facilitate child friendly justice that upholds children’s rights and enables their effective participation.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

There are high levels of commitment across organisations to #KeepThePromise and ensure The Children’s Hearings System is place where children’s rights are upheld. There is clear understanding across agencies that will need legislative change.

There is commitment to openness and imagination in that process and willingness to develop collaborative legislative solutions.

All organisations recognised the need for this work to be well aligned with improvements in family support within local communities.

All agencies felt The Promise Scotland had a key role to play in the facilitation of a working group with independent leadership being required to surface and provide solutions legislative barriers.

Organisations recognised the need for specific legal expertise leading this work.

What has been committed to so far?

  • A multi-agency working group will be set up to produce collaborative proposals on legislative change, ready for the legislative process in 2024. That working group will be led by someone with substantial legal expertise and strong understanding of children’s rights.

The Promise Scotland will provide independent facilitation and secretariat support.

Scoping meetings will take place in the summer with a full work plan and timeline will be produced in autumn. That workplan will demonstrate the sequencing of areas of inquiry and how relevant partners will be involved at various stages.

Crucially, the workplan will also demonstrate how children and families with lived experience of The Children’s Hearings System will be involved in the redesign work.

An outline proposed timetable is that:

Summer 2021: Working Group set up and Independent Chair appointed

Autumn 2021: Scope of inquiry and process agreed

2022: Working Group activity and Inquiry

Early spring 2023: Draft proposals agreed

Autumn 2023: Proposals published for consultation

2023-2024: Legislation Drafted

Who are the lead organisations?

SCRA, CHS The Promise Scotland and Scottish Government are lead organisations in relation to this work.

There are several organisations that will play a key ongoing role, including but not limited to Social Work Scotland (SWS), COSLA, Advocacy providers, Lawyers and Safeguarders and other tribunal and court services.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway.

The Promise Scotland will facilitate this work, provide and support the Chair of the working group and ensure the work remains on track, is well communicated, holds the vision of the promise at is core and takes a rights based approach throughout.



Inspection and Regulation

What is required by Plan 21-24?

A new, holistic framework for inspection and regulation that values what children and family’s value, will have been scoped and developed.

It will understand the necessary legislative change required to focus on children’s experiences and will be underpinned by the principles set out in the promise and give full effect to the secure care pathway and standards.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

There is high commitment and clear need to resolve the issue of regulatory frameworks that value measures and metrics that are not meaningful to children and families and crucially do not allow services and duty to bearers to act in way that is centred on children and young people’s needs. Work on Inspection and Regulation therefore needs to link to activity around Data Mapping and Collection.

Local Authorities felt that existing inspection and regulation processes sometimes get in the way of being relationship-based practice and building trust between children, families and the workforce. This was particularly pronounced in relation to Moving On, Relationships

and care providers having the flexibility to support young people as a ‘good parent’ would.

There was much reflection and discussion on what structures are best placed to assure confidence. Some organisations were unsure whether shifts in national frameworks would be able to create confidence in the journey of children through the care system, with reflection of the need for robust local accountability structures to be well resourced.

What has been committed to so far?

The SSSC will:

  • Review all codes of practice to reflect the promise and the UNCRC by 2023. That review will be driven by a human rights-based approach.
  • Undertake internal work with fitness to practice case managers to understand the application of current codes of practice through a relationship-based lens.
  • Work to develop targeted campaigns to help employers understand the application of codes, recognising the need for there to be clear metrics that achieve success, improved understanding and support.

The Care Inspectorate will:

  • Work across six workstreams to support application of the promise with activity centred on what they can influence internally and externally. This work is to ensure activity in respect of both scrutiny and improvement is focused on the experiences of children and the impact of the services on their lives, amplifying the voice of the child in what they do, how they do it and how they report on it. Crucially they are working on preparing for regulatory, legislative and policy change and ensuring activity in relation to scrutiny and improvement is focussed on the experiences of children and the impact of services on their lives.
  • Continue to work with Ofsted using its information-sharing protocol to ensure better notification processes in relation to children placed outside Scotland.

Who are the lead organisations?

There are a number of organisations with responsibility for inspection and regulation and assurance, with the following having a key role:

Care Inspectorate
Strategic Scrutiny Group Bodies
Audit Scotland
NHS Education for Scotland, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Association of Directors of Education Services, for early years in particular.
Care Providers

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient.

The Promise Scotland will continue to work with the Care Inspectorate, Scottish Government, SSSC and care providers to support to ensure there is a clear pathway to the development of a new legislative underpinning to inspection and regulation.

The Promise Scotland will work with Local Authorities and Care providers to map the barriers to implementation and convene collaborative work to unlock what needs to change.



Policy Coherence

What is required by Plan 21-24?

There will be cohesive alignment in the policy initiatives and frameworks across Scotland. Policy development across Scotland will reflect the realities of people’s lives and create a coherent policy environment. The focus of the 21-24 period will be on implementation and alignment not inquiries and reviews.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

The Promise Scotland has again heard about the difficulties of implementing policy and legislation in a dislocated context and siloed context. 

There is significant overlap in relation to several policy areas that are priorities for Scottish Government without there being clear strategic understanding of the overlaps between drugs policy and family support (as an example).

There is welcome work to improve alignment in relation to the Deputy First Minister’s remit.

The Promise Scotland has identified that of the 43 directorates of Scottish Government, 26 have an interest in the implementation of the promise, a structure which straddles 49 of 117 policy areas. In addition there are 5 Cabinet Secretaries and 9 ministers with responsibility to #KeepThePromise

The work of The Promise Scotland and organisations that are striving to #KeepThePromise has helped identify areas of policy that The Scottish Government must focus on initially to create policy cohesion, develop co-terminus initiatives and align resources to realise the strategic investment necessary to support Plan 21-24.

There is work happening at Local Government level in relation to creating a coherent policy environment with in relation to the experience and delivery of joined up local service with COSLA publishing a blueprint for essential everyday services.

That must initially be focused on whole family support, recognising the importance of the engagement of health, housing, poverty and other critical policy areas.

Scottish Government has highlighted its development of an Outcomes Framework for children, young people and families, aligned to the National Performance Framework.

This will consist of a set of wellbeing outcomes, based on what matters to children and families, and a means of measuring progress against these in a meaningful and transparent way. It will provide a way of connecting what is done at national and local level, with the difference it is making to the lives of children and families in Scotland.

It will provide a way of connecting what is done at national and local level, with the

difference it is making to the lives of children and families in Scotland.

As well as highlighting positive impact and driving improvement in areas where not enough progress is being made, it will enhance accountability to Scotland’s children, young people and families.

There is to be further engagement in 2021, with ongoing development to refine and improve thereafter.

What has been committed to so far?

Who are the lead organisations?

The lead responsibility for policy coherence sits with Scottish Government with COSLA having a key role to play.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient.



Data Mapping and Collection

What is required by Plan 21-24?

Scotland will have a cohesive central picture of all data on the processes and systems that directly and indirectly impact on children and their families, including wider socio-structural factors.

The data picture will have been used to fully align data systems, collection and analysis methodologies to what matters to children and families, and the needs of those who take decisions on how best to support children and their families.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

Data has been identified as a challenge by most organisations. There are many examples of discrete data mapping projects underway to work to improve this and break down the barriers experienced.

Almost all of these relate to work to shift data away from system perspectives and towards the wider experiences and outcomes of children, their families and communities. Better access and sharing of data across partners, particularly at points of transition in children and families lives, is also a focus.

There is a need to improve data collection, sharing and usage at a local and a national level, and to shift the framework structures that are used to monitor children and families’ outcomes.

What has been committed to so far?

The data mapping project began in May 2021 and will run over 2021/2022. It is starting with mapping the data landscape with a view to rationalisation and reform aligned to what matters to children and families. It aims to build a cohesive central picture of all data in processes and systems that directly and indirectly impact children and their families and include but not limited to, data on housing, education, employment, poverty, health and social care.

This begins with using the Independent Care Review evidence base of what children and families said mattered to them, to create a data framework which will be complete by autumn 2021.

This comprehensive programme of work will provide a unique insight into the complexities of the data landscape from children and families’ perspective.

The collection method, and model, will transcend services & organisations, by asking information that relates to people.

By summer 2022, this work will produce:

  • A data/Information mapping model that focuses on ‘what matters’ to children and their families and facilitates information capture that translates across a broad range of stakeholders.
  • A stakeholder map that identifies the organisations who collect information based on children and families’ stories.
  • A collection methodology that is scalable and sustainable across a broad variety of organisations.
  • A data map, that provides a level of information appropriate to its end-users and provides the basis of future strategic work.

Data and measurement are key to the development of the Outcomes Framework for Children, Young People and Families (referenced also in Policy Coherence), and there will need to be close alignment between this work and The Promise Scotland’s data mapping project.

Who are the lead organisations?

The Promise Scotland has commissioned Data for Children Collaborative to lead on this work. They will link with The Scottish Government, Children’s Services Partnerships and Police Scotland.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

This work is underway.

The Promise Scotland will ensure that all stakeholders are involved and kept up to date.



Governance Structures

What is required by Plan 21-24?

All public appointments to any of Scotland’s Boards and Public Bodies which have an impact on the ‘care system’ will ensure that the values of the promise are embedded in recruitment frameworks.

The governance landscape around the various Boards, networks and groups that sit around the ‘care system’ will be rationalised to enable effective and accountable shared working around the lives of children and families.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

There is understanding across organisations with statutory responsibility that along with challenges around policy coherence, the structure of Boards, networks, partnerships and groups does not always facilitate shared understanding.

Furthermore, there was a recognition that for implementation of the promise to be meaningful there must be development of accountability structures that can effectively scrutinise performance in relation to national outcomes and priorities, not simply public money.

There is a need for long term accountability that utilises existing structures effectively to ensure The Promise Scotland will be obsolete by 2030.

There is a need to ensure that all sponsor teams in Scottish Government are fully cited on the work to #KeepThePromise to ensure public bodies have the work well embedded in frameworks and appointments.

What has been committed to so far?

No commitments received.

Who are the lead organisations?

The Scottish Government has primary responsibility for the governance structures of accountability in Scotland.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

There is little work underway.

The Promise Scotland is mapping the governance landscape with the aim of ensuring that there is a clear system of accountability by 2030.