For a long time, Anna’s believed Scotland must do better for the children and young people in its care and has pursued that in various roles.
As a member of the Promise Oversight Board, she expects to see all parts of “the care system” upping their game to deliver The Promise.
Before joining the Board, she was a trustee of Who Cares? Scotland, and led work in Scottish Government to improve corporate parenting.
Since 2003, Ashley has campaigned for the rights of care-experienced people. Building on her own life experiences, she was part of the award-winning team which successfully campaigned to introduce continuing care and aftercare to Scotland. During the Journey Stage of the Independent Care Review, she was co-chair of Care and Justice.
Since then, Ashley has continued to work in various roles that support and improve the lives of care experienced people; now and in the future.
Carrie works in Highland Council, and for the last 15 years has mainly done so in Youth Justice Services.
Over her career, she has worked with children, young people, and their families in many different settings, including:
- Health and Social Care
- The Scottish Prison Service, and
- Secure Care.
Through previous roles as a practitioner and Forensic Psychologist in Training, she has delivered training on several topics to staff from many different services. She has also researched care experienced young people’s views on being cared for ‘away from home’.
She's always strived to make sure young people’s voices are heard, and that services around children and their families are both trauma-informed 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 on the importance on love, respect and equality for people experiencing “the care system”. He works collaboratively to ensure the promise is kept in full.
Euan 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 child protection role.
Euan 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. He has over 30 years’ experience in the public and third sectors, in roles such as:
- Convener of Education of Edinburgh City Council,
- Leader of Edinburgh City Council,
- COSLA spokesperson on Education.
Ewan was co-chair of the Edges of Care workgroup for the Independent Care Review, an experience which inspired him to apply to be on the Promise Oversight Board.
Doctor Helen Whincup
Helen qualified as a social worker in 1991 and took up a teaching role in the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences in 2008. She currently leads on the Permanently Progressing research study, which is tracking the progress, experiences and outcomes of over 1,000 care experienced children in Scotland as they grow up. As well as her professional experience, Helen also brings her personal experience of adoption to the Board.
Core to Helen’s practice, teaching, and research is the belief that children and young people’s experiences and voices need to be at the centre of what people do, and she feels privileged to be part of The Promise Oversight Board.
Iain is the founder and Chair of MCR Holdings, MCR Foundation and MCR Pathways. A Glasgow-born entrepreneur whose career has taken him internationally, he has led 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 three 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 as a volunteer with MCR Pathways’ transformational mentoring and talent development programme, to help reach every care experienced young person across the country. Its plan is to ensure that young people are defined by their talents and potential, never by their circumstances.
Jasmin Kasaya Pilling
Jasmin comes from a Community Learning Development background and works in education within Glasgow City Council. She has a strong passion for supporting young people to overcome barriers and achieve their full potential.
As a care experienced person herself, her contribution to The Promise Oversight Board will combine her personal understanding of the challenges care experienced children and young people face with a professional outlook on the importance of implementing change.
She is delighted to be working alongside a team who have a diverse range of experience and who champion equality and diversity.
Jemma has a background working in residential childcare. She has a social work degree, and spent three and a half years advocating for care experienced people when working for Who Cares? Scotland. As well as this, she supported young people to be listened to as part of 1000 voices and of the Independent Care Review.
Whilst at Who Cares? Scotland she also worked as a Development Officer and a Training and Education officer training corporate parents on their role. She now works as a project worker for Children 1st, as part of their East Ayrshire Family Wellbeing Service.
As an adoptee, Jemma felt intrinsically drawn to work in the care sector. Her relationships, experiences, training and education have all led her to reflect on the cultures, behaviours and systems of care. She truly values the importance of the promise, and she’s committed to working with her fellow Promise Oversight Board members to make sure that it’s kept.
Kezia is Director of the John Smith Centre. Based at the University of Glasgow, the non-partisan organisation 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 the talent – but not the means – to access politics and public life.
Before 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, she is on the board of social transformation charity Sistema Scotland and the housing charity Shelter UK.
Before retiring in 2020, Maria worked in palliative care for 30 years, the last 10 of which she spent as the Chief Executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).
In CHAS, Maria saw staff working with families in ways which those families had been told weren’t possible— where babies, children and families experienced the world around them with love and joy.
Along with her colleagues, she sought ways to break through the constraints of existing models of service to create new ways of working, new collaborations and new strategic partnerships. She worked with including:
- the NHS,
- local authorities,
- higher education, and
- the third sector.
All this work had the voices of children and families at its heart.
Professor Morag Treanor
Morag has 20 years’ policy and research experience around poverty— on its measurement, causes, consequences, mitigation and prevention. She is Professor of Child and Family Inequalities at Heriot-Watt University, and also 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 started his career as a children and families social worker in Glasgow. Today, he is Chief Executive of Harmeny Education Trust, a grant-aided special school which provides residential care and education for children who have experienced early years trauma and adversity. Since joining Harmeny in 2010, he has overseen the continuous improvement of the organisation.
Prior to Harmeny, Neil worked at Barnardo’s Scotland for 11 years, latterly as Assistant Director of Children’s Services.
He is passionately committed to the needs of care experienced children and young people, and he’s excited to be playing his part in ensuring Scotland keeps the promise.
Doctor Patricia Watts
Patricia is an independent art therapist, practice supervisor and consultant who specialises in working with children, young people and families, and she is also a Lecturer in Art Therapies and Play Therapy at Queen Margaret University.
Patricia was a Creative Consultant for of the Independent Care Review where she facilitated arts-based participation workshops with children and young people.
Patricia previously worked in the voluntary sector in children and family services as a practitioner and team leader, and was elected as a Council Member, and has also worked as a Professional Officer for the British Association of Art Therapists representing the profession in Scotland at a strategic level.
She has completed a Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Science, with her research examining what practitioners notice about the impact of poverty within therapeutic sessions.
As Director of Improvement at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Ruth is responsible for the design and delivery of national programmes which support the redesign and continuous improvement of health and care services in Scotland.
She’s passionate about improving public services so that the people who need and use them receive the best possible experiences and outcomes. She has a particular interest around how to generate good ideas for change and then get them implemented in practice.
Ruth’s background is in general management in health and social care, where she spent most 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 individuals needing support and ensuring that services are co-designed with the people who use them.
Ryan McCuaig is a litigation solicitor at Thorntons Law, one of Scotland’s largest full-service law firms, and is Chair of the Board of Who Cares? Scotland— the national membership charity for care-experienced people. He is also an activist, YouTuber 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. He believes that lifelong, stable, positive relationships are the key to unlocking the potential of the care community.
Sharon’s passion for championing children’s rights began at 13, when she organised a strike on behalf of her fellow paper girls and boys. Since then, her commitment to centering children and young people’s voices has been a guiding force in all her work, including:
- Establishing some of the first fully funded youth structures in Scotland,
- Supporting the establishment of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and
- Working for Save the Children UK.
Sharon McGhee is Acting Senior Education Manager for Inclusion in the City of Edinburgh Council. Sharon is a trained Community Education worker and her commitment to centering children and young people’s voices has been a guiding force in all her work.
After retraining as a primary teacher, Sharon worked as a headteacher in two different schools, as a Quality Improvement Education Officer and is an Associate Assessor with Education Scotland.
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, the books capture Sharon’s values— which are grounded in peace, love and understanding.
Taliah Drayak is a care experienced mother of eight children. She works as an author, and volunteers with several charities focused on families and children.
She is passionate that children's rights are of utmost importance, and that every child deserves not only to have equality— but to be enabled to achieve their dreams.
Tracey has worked in the social care sector for over 25 years, where she developed and managed social care services. This has been across several policy areas including justice, problematic substance use, homelessness and mental health with a range of marginalised groups including children, young people, adults, older people, families and communities.
She has worked at a senior level for several years, 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 and recently Partners in Advocacy, a human rights-based charity before taking on her current post as Chief Executive Officer at Stirling Community Enterprise . Throughout her career she has volunteered with many organisations, including the Children’s Hearing System and MCR Pathways.