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The Independent Care Review and the promise put voice at the centre of change.

From the 5,500 voices heard by the Independent Care Review to the directive of the promise to continue involving the voice of care experienced people in decision making, it is clear that Scotland is not done listening.

The number of people with lived experience who are now working within ‘the system’ for change are often overlooked. The goal of the Lived and Professional Experience: The Boundary between Identity and Profession panel at the Stories of Change Conference was to hear from some of these voices. During the panel, they shared some of the unique challenges and barriers they faced, as well as the drive that comes from bringing lived experience to their work to keep the promise.

To watch the session, click here, to listen to the session, click here, or read on for an overview of what was discussed.

The panel talking to each other on the conference stage.

The Panel on stage at The Promise Scotland's Stories for Change Conference. Image Copyright: Callum Bennetts, Maverick Photo Agency


Who was on the panel?

The panel members included:

  • Beth-Anne Logan, Senior Development Officer with Includem,
  • Collette Gallagher, Keeping the Promise Operational Lead with Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), and
  • Katrina Gallacher, Project Development Worker – Care Experienced Community with Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum).

The panel was hosted by Fraser McKinlay, Chief Executive of The Promise Scotland.

What did the panel discuss?

One of the key things the panel discussed was the difficulty of having lived experience and bringing that experience into their professional roles. They recognised that their lived experience provides them with passion and a uniquely personal perspective on their work for change.

It gives me a fierce passion in my belly. I've got a fierce passion for injustice and a fierce passion for change…

I want to lead with integrity, lead with kindness, compassion, and most of all lead with hope that our yesterdays will never become another young person’s tomorrow. – Beth-Anne

However, they emphasised that same strength can come with the frustration of facing stigma and personal triggers.

Sometimes it can be demotivating when you see similar things happening that happened 20 years ago, 10 years ago, and it can be really frustrating. It can be really hard to not take that home as well. – Katrina

They stressed the importance of organisations, and the whole sector, supporting those within the workforce that have lived experience of care to feel heard and supported as well as giving themselves space personally to step back when the weight of change becomes too great. This speaks to the promise’s call that Scotland must support and empower its workforce to care.

The panel touched on the distribution of power within the sector and the importance of ensuring that the voice of care experienced people and members of the workforce is transformative not performative. Scotland is not and cannot be done listening.

My lived experience now is very different and I have to really be aware of that. I'm not going to know what's necessarily right for the children, young people of today. It's not necessarily going to be the same thing that was right for me. And I think that's important in speaking as someone who has had a leadership role within this sector and bringing that lived experience that I don't just speak from my own experience. I still listen very much and learn from what other children, young people and care experienced adults and families are seeing and then put that into practise and try and empower them as much as we can. – Collette

Lastly, the panel was asked – what is giving you hope?

I suppose it's not often within the sector and within my line of work that I ever actually feel hopeless because you're always chasing the next improvement or the next transformational change agenda and you've always got one eye on the prize. And for me 2030 is wholly realistic – Beth-Anne
Obviously, seeing the amount of people that are here today that are from across organisations, government, charities, doing amazing work, you can't lose hope when you're in spaces like this because there's just so many people doing lots of great things – Katrina

But ultimately what inspires me and gives me hope is the people that I work with. I'll be really honest that sometimes I thought I was a lone crusader. I thought nobody will care as much as I do, they don't know how it feels. And actually I've had a real learning experience and really been inspired by people within our organisation…

…the level of determination, commitment, passion and just drive and kindness that comes through and how understanding and empathetic they are, that's inspired me on a personal level. And that gives me hope because I know that those people are replicated across lots of organisations in Scotland and are represented here today as well. – Collette

Change is complex and difficult, but it is people like Katrina, Collette, and Beth-Anne and all of the dedicated, passionate people working to #KeepThePromise that provide hope for what is to come. The Promise Scotland thanks them for sharing their time and insights.