Oversight Board Members
Fiona is the Chair of The Promise Oversight Board and Chief Executive of Corra Foundation. Under her leadership, the Independent Care Review set out a powerful vision for a transformed system of care for children, with love and nurture at its heart. In early 2020, Fiona was appointed as Chair of The Promise Oversight Board to drive the work of change.
Since joining Corra in 2013, Fiona has led a period of change, including a rebrand, and a bold approach to pursuing its vision of a Scotland where people create positive change and live fulfilling lives. At the heart of Corra’s strategy is the strong belief that when people use their voice, they unlock the power to make change happen.
Anna joined the Oversight Board because of a longstanding desire to see Scotland do better for the children and young people in its care. Until last summer, she was a trustee of Who Cares? Scotland, and in the past led work in Scottish Government to improve “corporate parenting.” She believes in the rights of children and young people to live their lives to the full, and feel loved, nurtured and respected at all times.
She is currently Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations – Scotland’s national membership body for charities, community organisations and social enterprises. Before that, she was Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council, which regulates social workers and social care workers.
Ashley has been a campaigner who has worked to improve rights for care experienced people in Scotland since 2003. Building on her own life experiences, she was part of the team which led the successful campaign to introduce Continuing Care & After Care in Scotland, which led to several awards.
She has continued to campaign for legislative changes and was Co-Chair of Care & Justice during the Journey Stage of the Independent Care Review. Since then, Ashley has taken some time out from campaigning, most recently welcoming a baby girl to her family, and fulfilling her role as a Trustee of a children’s charity.
Carrie Mclaughlan works in the Highland Council and for the last 15 years has worked primarily within Youth Justice Services. Over her career she has worked within Health & Social Care, the Scottish Prison Service, and in Secure Care settings, working both with children, adolescents and their families. As she works towards Chartership as a Forensic Psychologist, she has delivered training on a variety of topics and to a range of services including the 3rd sector, as well as undertaking research on care experienced young people’s views on being cared for ‘away from home’.
Throughout her experience, she has strived to ensure the voice of the young person is heard loud and clear, and that the services around children and their families are trauma and psychologically informed.
David is a care experienced activist who pushes for the necessary changes to ensure all care experienced people, past and present, can realise their rights and full potential. He is a father and a foster carer to three children with his wife. Together, in France, they run a therapeutic farm where they welcome anyone who may benefit from the mixture of animals, nature and connection.
David also teaches Social Work students and Social Educators with importance on love, respect and equality for people experiencing the care system. David is looking forward to working collaboratively to ensure the promise is realised in full.
Euan Currie has a background as a social worker with children and their families, both as a frontline worker and manager.
He currently works in a multiagency role as Lead Officer for the Edinburgh Child Protection Committee and was a member of the steering group which recently revised the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland.
Ewan is CEO of Cyrenians, a charity tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. A former Convener of Education and Leader of Edinburgh City Council and CoSLA spokesperson on Education, Ewan has over 30 years’ experience in the Public and 3rd sectors.
Ewan was Co- chair of the Edges of Care workgroup for the Independent Review of Care, an experience which inspired him to apply to be on the Oversight Board
Dr Helen Whincup
Helen qualified as a social worker in 1991 and worked alongside children, young people and their families in statutory, voluntary, and third sector settings. In 2008, she joined the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling, mainly teaching on the postqualifying Pg. Certificate in Applied Professional Studies (Child Welfare and Protection) and the Professional Supervision module.
This means she is in contact with practitioners across Scotland. Helen currently leads on the Permanently Progressing research study. This three-phase project is tracking the progress, experiences, and outcomes of 1,836 children who became ‘looked after’ in Scotland in 2012-2013 when they were aged five or under. Phase Two (2020-2024) is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and a philanthropic donor. It is a collaboration between Stirling and Lancaster University, and the Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland. In addition to her professional experience, she also brings her personal experience of adoption.
Core to her practice, teaching, and research is the belief that children and young people’s experiences and voices need to be at the centre of all we do, and she feels privileged to be part of The Promise Oversight Board.
Iain MacRitchie is the Founder & Chair MCR Holdings, MCR Foundation & MCR Pathways. Iain is a Glasgow born entrepreneur whose career has taken him internationally. He has lead the turnaround and transformation of 18 organisations and is a trusted adviser to over 100 others. Experienced in leading change in large organisations and in setting up 3 businesses, Iain has a track record in helping develop successful teams and individuals to realise their full potential.
Setting up his Charitable Foundation in 2006, Iain now works as founder and a volunteer with the transformational MCR Pathways mentoring and talent development programme to help reach every care experienced young person across the country. The plan is to ensure that young people are defined by talents and potential and never their circumstances.
Jasmin Kasaya Pilling
Jasmin comes from a CLD background and works for Education within GCC. She has a strong passion to support young people to overcome barriers and achieve their full potential, this can sometimes be difficult because of barriers that are not their fault, she is delighted to be working alongside The Promise team who have a diverse range of experience and champion equality and diversity. As a member of the Oversight Board she looks forward to the opportunity to support the process of change for young people who are care experienced.
As a person who is care experienced, her contribution to the Oversight Board will show her personal understanding of the challenges faced and a professional outlook on the importance of implementing change for so many young people who are care experienced. Jasmin is delighted to be part of a journey that will shape the professional understanding of care within communities/organisations.
Jemma Kerr has a background working in residential childcare, she has a Social Work Degree and spent 3½ years advocating for Care Experienced people working at Who Cares? Scotland. Jemma supported young people to be listened to as part of 1000 voices and the Independent Care Review. Jemma currently trains Corporate Parents on their role, supports the Who Cares? Scotland counselling offer and is a Development Officer.
As an adoptee Jemma felt intrinsically drawn to work in the care sector. Relationships, personal/professional experiences, training and education led Jemma to deeply reflect on the cultures, behaviours and systems of care. Jemma truly values the importance and magnitude of what we can and must achieve in realising The Promise, changing the landscape of care in Scotland. Jemma is committed to working with her fellow Oversight Board members to achieve this.
Kezia Dugdale is Director of the John Smith Centre. Based at the University of Glasgow, the non partisan centre exists to make the positive case for politics and public service through the promotion of civilised debate and high quality research. It also seeks to support people with talent, but not the means, to access politics and public life.
Prior to joining the John Smith Centre, Kezia was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothians region for eight years during which she led her party through four national elections and the EU referendum. Beyond her working life, Kezia is also on the board of social transformation charity Sistema Scotland and the housing charity, Shelter UK.
Maria worked in palliative care for 30 years, with the last 10 years as Chief Executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), during this time Maria led the charity through significant change before retiring early in March 2020. Working with the team in CHAS, Maria had the privilege of witnessing staff working with families in ways in which they had been told was not possible, where babies, children and families experienced the world around them with love and joy.
Maria and her colleagues in CHAS sought to break the mould and the constraints of existing models of service to create new ways of working, new collaborations and new strategic partnership with NHS, local authorities, higher education and third sector partners. All this work had the voices of children and families at its heart.
Professor Morag Treanor
Morag Treanor has 20 years’ policy and research experience on the subject of poverty – its measurement, causes, consequences, mitigation and prevention. She is Professor of Child and Family Inequalities at Heriot-Watt University and co-leads a programme of research to link and analyse children’s data.
She is also a Commissioner on the Scottish Government’s Poverty and Inequality Commission. Morag emphasises the importance of involving children and families meaningfully in any work that affects them because, together, our knowledge is deeper, and our voices are stronger.
Neil is Chief Executive of Harmeny Education Trust, a grant aided special school which provides residential care and education for children, aged 5 to 14, who have experienced early years trauma and adversity. Since joining Harmeny in 2010, Neil has overseen the continuous improvement of the organisation, including consistently strong inspection results, the development of therapeutic services, and ambitious plans to develop a continuing care and learning service for young people aged 15 to 18.
Prior to Harmeny, Neil worked at Barnardo’s Scotlandfor eleven years, latterly as Assistant Director Children’s Services, overseeing a diverse range of services within Edinburgh and the Lothians. Neil started his career as a Children and Families Social Worker within the Gorbals/Govanhill area of Glasgow. He is passionately committed to the needs of care experienced children and young people and is excited to be playing his part in ensuring Scotland Keeps The Promise.
Dr Patricia Watts
Patricia is an independent art therapist, practice supervisor and consultant who specialises in working with children and young people. Patricia is also a Visiting Lecturer on the MSc Art Therapy and Play Therapy courses at Queen Margaret University. Patricia previously facilitated arts-based participation workshops with children and young people as part of the Independent Care Review.
Patricia has also worked in the voluntary sector within children and family services as a Practitioner and Team Leader and was previously elected as Council Member for the British Association of Art Therapists representing Scottish members. Patricia has completed a Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Science and her research examined what practitioners notice about the impact of poverty within therapeutic sessions.
In Ruth’s role as Director of Improvement at Healthcare Improvement Scotland she is responsible for design and delivery of a broad range of national programmes which support the redesign and continuous improvement of health and care services in Scotland. She is passionate about collaborating with others to create the knowledge about how to effectively implement changes that will improve health and wellbeing outcomes and enabling that knowledge to be applied in practice.
Her background is in general management in health and social care where she spent the majority of her career working across mental health, substance use and learning disability services. During this time, she developed a strong commitment to ensuring change is built on a deep understanding of the needs and assets of the individuals needing support.
Ryan McCuaig is a Trainee Solicitor at Thorntons Law, one of Scotland’s largest full-service lawfirms, and Chair of the Board of Who Cares? Scotland - the national membership charity for Care Experienced people. He is also an activist, media commentator and motivational speaker.
Originally from the east-end of Glasgow, Ryan is completely committed to Who Cares Scotland’s vision of a Lifetime of Equality, Respect and Love for Care Experienced people and believes that lifelong, stable, positive relationships are the key to unlocking the potential of the care community.
Sharon is a Quality Improvement Education Officer with the City of Edinburgh Council where she works alongside children, families and staff to ensure positive outcomes for care experienced children and young people. Sharon’s interest, passion and determination for championing children’s rights began when she organised a strike on behalf of her fellow paper boys and girls when she was 13. Sharon trained as a Community Education Worker and her commitment to Article 12 has been a visible guiding force in all her work.
Through establishing some of the first fully funded youth structures in Scotland, to supporting the establishment of the Scottish Youth Parliament, her commitment to ensuring children and young people’s voices are at the centre, continued in her work with Save the Children UK. Working with a diverse range of stakeholders, Sharon involved young people in service delivery with a specific focus on participation, the involvement of young people in staff recruitment and challenging duty bearers to uphold their obligation to the UNCRC. 12 years ago, Sharon trained as a Primary School Teacher and has been the Head Teacher of two Primary Schools in Edinburgh. Her focus on ethos, values and the impact of trauma and attachment on engagement and attainment, was describes as ‘outstanding’.
Sharon is an Associate Assessor with Education Scotland and enjoys working alongside Inspection teams to scrutinise and support improvement in Scotland’s schools. One of Sharon’s greatest achievements is writing two children’s books about a wee bear’s transition to Primary School. Full of bravery, hope and emotion they capture Sharon’s values which are grounded in peace, love and understanding.
Taliah Drayak is a care experienced mother of eight children. She volunteers with multiple family and children focused charities as well as working as an author.
She is passionate that children's rights are of utmost importance and that every child deserves, not only equality, but to be enabled to achieve their dreams.
Tracey McFall has worked in the social care sector for over 25 years where she developed and managed a range of social care services across several policy areas including justice, problematic substance use, homelessness, children and young people and mental health. Tracey has worked at a senior level for a number of year, driving improvement and quality assurance through service review, re-design, organisational change and strategic development and implementation.
Tracey has worked in the University of Glasgow, Scottish Government as well as spending several years with a national social care charity before her current post as Chief Executive Officer at Partners in Advocacy. She has carried out several volunteeringroles that include the Children’s Hearing System and in MCR Pathways, a charity that provides mentoring and support for care experienced/vulnerable young people.