Change is scary, messy and unpredictable. Oftentimes, we can shy away from change and stick to what we know because its comfortable, because we don’t want to step into the abyss of the unknown. But, what if there was a different way? What if we had an abundance of evidence at our fingertips? How more comfortable could change be then. Underpinned by evidence and data, how would you change your approach?
What if I told you that as Local Councillor you will have all this evidence and data at your fingertips?
The Independent Care Review listened to over five and a half thousand stories. Over half of which had lived experience of Scotland’s ‘care system’ the other voices were members of the paid and unpaid workforce, all so selflessly sharing their stories with full knowledge that it wouldn’t change their yesterdays but would influence the tomorrows of thousands of babies, infants, children, young people and their families. The Care Review turned all this listening into ‘the promise’ so it became something tangible, something digestible and something that Scotland could get behind. It has radically shift the narrative of what it’s like to live and work in the ‘care system’ and should help us navigate the complex path all of Scotland needs to walk to ensure that we get it right for our children and their families.
To honour all the voices that have gone before and to ensure that there never needs to be another Care Review, we all have to keep listening, and that’s where you come in. Local Councillors, responsible for so much within their local communities have to keep that job of listening going. Listening has to become business as usual, ceding power in order serve communities. Listening, and really hearing what those with lived experience are saying has to be the foundation. If we don’t actively listen, we cannot begin to understand what our citizens are experiencing and most importantly, how we can help.
It takes a village to raise a child, and Local Council candidates – you are a big part of that village. You will make decisions and set cultures that determine the course of children and families lives.
There are lots of ways to listen, seek out your local Champs Board to hear from young care experienced people. Listen to families who receive services that your Local Authority deliver or commission. Hear what they have to say about what your Local Authority are doing to support them.
So as you campaign, chap doors, squeeze leaflets through tricky letter boxes please think about what you, as a Local Councillors are going to do to ensure the voices of people with lived experience are heard, and how you are going to #KeepThePromise.
Beth Anne Logan was part of The Independent Care Review, chairing ‘The Best Place in the World’ workgroup. She is a Board member at Children’s Hearings Scotland and part of The Hearing System Working Group. Her day job is a Development worker in North Lanarkshire.