Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

Improving provision for children in care in Scotland - next steps following the Independent Care Review

TO BE PUBLISHED December 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the priorities for improving provision for children in care, and care leavers, in Scotland.

It is bringing together key stakeholders with policymakers - including the Minister for Children and Young People - to discuss key findings from the independent Care Review, launched by the Government.

The Review examined the current system, produced proposals for its reform, and made recommendations on the level of investment required.

We expect discussion to focus on the way forward for implementing the Review’s recommendations following the recent establishment of an Independent Oversight Body - The Promise - to oversee the process.

The priority areas include:

  • having a voice - children within the system are listened to and have a means of contributing to decisions made about their care
  • wellbeing - children are safe in their families and are supported to overcome difficulties to be part of a caring, nurturing environment
  • the care environment - improving the quality of care for children not living with families, and enabling children to stay with siblings where it is safe to do so and as part of loving home
  • relationships - supporting their development between children in care, the care workforce and the wider community
  • a ‘scaffolding’ - putting in place a framework to support those in the care system, with effective help and accountability measures

The conference will be an opportunity to assess progress in putting together an independent team and a work programme - and establishing a cross sector multi-agency plan for implementation, which is due by November 2020.

Further relevant developments at a glance:

  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - incorporation of the UNCRC into domestic law in Scotland, including:
    • children’s rights in respect of reviewing their treatment in care and the way in which they are cared for
    • power to the Children’s Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children’s rights
  • Care Review implementation - a multi-agency plan to carry through the Review’s key recommendations expected by November 2020, which will include:
    • headline priorities for the period between 2021 and 2024
    • a midpoint review to assess progress expected by 2027
    • full implementation of all targets by 2030
  • funding - commitment of £4m by the Scottish Government to support delivery of The Promise
  • COVID-19 - how the pandemic has affected provision for children in care - and those delivering care, and the children and households receiving services - as agencies and others involved seek to maintain necessary levels of accountability and help where needed whilst meeting current regulations
  • the Scottish Child Abuse Enquiry - which will continue to examine the abuse of children in care
  • children’s hearings - Government consultation on raising the age at which a young person can be referred to a children’s hearing from 16 to 18

The discussion in detail:

Reforming the care system

  • priorities - implementation of the Review’s key findings and how to create a better support network for children
  • co-ordination and collaboration - how joint working can be further developed between:
    • local authorities, education providers, health services, and the voluntary sector - whilst retaining flexibility to provide for individual needs of looked after children and foster families
    • the Care Inspectorate, Scottish Social Services Council and other regulators - with the Review calling on these bodies to come together to establish an holistic framework
  • prevention - improving the effectiveness of early intervention for children in care so that:
    • pressure on the system is reduced - to the point of allowing crisis and acute care services to be phased out
    • financial planning is improved - enabling the care system to move away from a ‘sticking plaster’ approach to finance and a reassessment of how money flows in and out of the system

Workforce issues

  • addressing challenges - including impact on the social care sector in Scotland of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the immigration system following Brexit
  • recruitment and retention - progress so far in tackling issues, and what more can be done
  • diversity - potential strategies for widening the make-up of those working in the sector going forward
  • development and training - how it can improved all sections of the workforce, both unpaid and paid

Incorporating young people’s views into their care

  • meaningful engagement - how to create opportunities for ensure to ensure that the voices of children are heard and taken account of
  • families remaining together - with the Review recommending that The Scottish Government creates legislation to support this, based on the UN Convention of the Rights of Child
  • the Children’s hearings system - options for reform, with both children and families expressing concern to the Review surrounding how it currently operates
    • how the system can be streamlined and encouraged to specialise, as recommended by the Review
    • ensuring that children and families have the right to independent advocacy

Children leaving care

  • improving provision - looking at:
    • developing an effective multi-agency approach to support those leaving care
    • how to effectively utilise the Scottish Care Leavers Covenant, with the Review calling for more support for children up to the age of 25
  • supporting progression - the way forward for developing stronger structures to help care leavers move to further and higher education, and to expand effective pathways into employment

The agenda:

  • The Independent Care Review - key findings and establishing The Promise
  • Reviewing the current standard of care provision and next steps in developing a holistic approach
  • Improving the care experience for children - the support scaffolding, workforce development, and securing better outcomes
  • Building a system that listens to the needs of children
  • Reforming the care system - building children’s voices into decision making, supporting a positive environment for young people to live in, and improving support for families and carers
  • The future vision for the care system

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from The Scottish Government; Education Scotland and Social Security Scotland. Also due to attend are representatives from Adlerian Society and Institute for Individual Psychology; Barnardos; Care Inspectorate; Children's Health Scotland; Children’s Hearings Scotland; Fife College; Fife Council, Learning with Care Team; Includem; Inspiring Scotland; Kibble Education & Care Centre; Life Changes Trust; NHS Lothian; North Lanarkshire Council - Virtual School; Perth and Kinross Council; Scottish Social Services Council; SCRA; See Me Scotland; Sexpression:UK; TACT; The Care Inspectorate; The Makaton Charity and Unite Students.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference 

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Scotland Policy Conferences seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates