Autism & Neurodiversity North Scotland (A-ND) pledge to help Keep the Promise.
The Independent Care Review was commissioned in 2016 & Scotland’s First Minister stated Scotland should never need another one. This time, real change had to happen.
The Independent Care Review carefully listened, for over three years, to thousands of infants, children, young people & families, many of whom did not feel loved, were not kept safe, were not respected, & were not supported to achieve their potential.
On 5th February 2020, Scotland listened to the Independent Care Review conclusions & all political parties in Scotland promised to implement them in full.
Now Scotland must act to keep that promise.
Work to #KeepThePromise between 2021 & 2030 will be shaped by a series of three Plans, each lasting for three years & outlining the priorities & action across that period. The Promise is based on five key foundations:
Voice: Children must be listened to, & meaningfully & appropriately involved in decision-making about their care, with all those involved properly listening & responding to what children want & need. There must be a compassionate, caring decision-making culture focused on children & those they trust.
Family: Where children are safe in their families & feel loved they must stay – & families must be given support together to nurture that love & overcome the difficulties which get in the way.
Care: Where living with their family is not possible, children must stay with their brothers & sisters where safe to do so and belong to a loving home, staying there for as long as needed.
People: The children that Scotland cares for must be actively supported to develop relationships with people in the workforce & wider community, who in turn must be supported to listen & be compassionate in their decision-making & care.
Scaffolding: Children, families & the workforce must be supported by a system that is there when it is needed. The scaffolding of help, support & accountability must be ready & responsive when it is required.
What A-ND will do to help #KeepThePromise
Plan 21-24 outlines Scotland’s route map, providing key priorities & areas of focus under which organisations will work to achieve the required change over the next three years. These are:
We will consult with as many children, young people & families we support as possible, together with our workforce & key partners, to carry out a full root & branch review of our organisation (2021).
We will listen & seek to understand what we do well, where we can improve & what we need to change to ensure our children & families receive the support they need & want, when & where they want it (2021-2024).
All feedback & views will be gathered & reviewed, informing the creation of our new 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, including a full review of our Vision, Mission, Values & Objectives.
We will collaborate with children, young people & families we support, together with our workforce, to create & launch our new 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, by April 2022.
We will re-design our services & support offered, or improve where required, informed by the voice of children, young people & their families (2021-2024).
We will provide awareness sessions & training to education professionals on autism & neurodiversity to support more children & young people remain in or access meaningful education (2022-2024).
We will create opportunities & spaces for brothers & sisters to connect where possible (2022-2024).
We will introduce Advocacy to our organisation, either through partners or internally, to ensure the rights of children & young people are upheld & respected (2024).
We will support transitions from our children & young people services to our adult services through supporting & maintaining loving relationships children & families hold with our workforce wherever possible (2021-2024).
We will review our physical intervention policies & procedures in line with The Promise & work with our workforce & partners to reduce the use of physical intervention (2022-2024).
What Help & Support A-ND need to help us #KeepThePromise
Increased & sustained funding from local & national government to maintain & improve current supports & services being provided to children, young people & families. Increased & long-term, secure funding from local & national government to create & sustain a supported workforce. Additional funding from funders for new, innovative & transformational projects. Funders to recognise & support the need for overheads, training & general running costs within budgets & funding provided to third sector organisations. Clear guidance & support from The Promise to enable the re-design & transformational change of services. Support from our partners in social work to enable the maintaining of loving relationships that matter to our children, young people & families with our workforce. Radical change to the way services are inspected by the Care Inspectorate, placing more value on children, young people & families experience, love & voice. Increased training & development opportunities for our workforce. A Scottish Government focus & plan to address the staffing retention & recruitment crisis within the care sector. Radical, innovative & transformational approaches to the current professional hierarchy around decision making within local authorities & design of services. Radical & transformational change to local & national government approaches to commissioning. The Promise & Scottish Government to hold local authorities to account & take meaningful action if required.
What A-ND have done to help #KeepThePromise so far (as of July 2023)
We re-structured to better support the continuation of meaningful, loving & supportive relationships our workforce has with young people transitioning from our children’ services to our adult services (from September 2022 & continuing into 2023). We trained 50% of our workforce in Trauma Informed Practice (next 50% throughout 2023/24). We became a Real Living Wage Employer in January 2022. We provided permanent contracts for over 40% of our workforce (previously 0-hour contracts) in January 2022 without any additional funding or changes to existing commissioned services or funding. Outcomes Star was introduced to our organisation to support outcome focused support to children, young people & families, focusing on outcomes that are set by & matter most to them through our Keep the Promise Pilot Project, starting April 2023. We received a new Care Inspection, achieving four Grades of Very Good (5), & one Good (4) due to not having a dedicated outdoor space for our children, planned for August 2023. The Care Inspector noted the vast difference in greater outcomes & experiences for children, young people & families who are supported through our Keep the Promise Pilot Project, compared to those supported through limited funding with the local authorities. We restructured how we deliver our outreach service in children & family homes & communities in line with our Keep the Promise Pilot Project. Services we provide were expanded into a new local authority area, based on feedback from children, young people, families & stakeholders. Our Playscheme was fully refurbished, based on the design & feedback of our children, young people & their families in April 2022. We provided 5 autism & neurodiversity awareness sessions in 2022. We started a brothers & sisters support group in March 2023. We have significantly increased training for our workforce, reducing physical intervention. We have applied for additional funding for a Systems Advocate to be employed by our organisation to support our children, young people & families have their rights respected & upheld (July 2023). We created a mobile sensory resource to take out to children & families who cannot get to us – Binky the Sensory Bus (starts August 2023). We began providing a free counselling service for parents & carers of some of our children & young people (October 2022). We provide quarterly Have Your Say sessions for parents, carers & family members to meet directly with our CEO & feedback on their experiences & inform future developments (started September 2022). We started an online support group for parents & carers (2021). We started a mum & female carer support group (March 2023). We started a dad & male carer support group (March 2023). We provide our families feedback within the Re-design of Children’s Services Stakeholder Group for Aberdeen City Council. We provide our families’ feedback within the Learning Disabilities, Autism & Neurodiversity Stakeholder Group with Scottish Government. We provide our families’ feedback within the Scottish Government Cross-Party Group on Autism. We provide quarterly Have Your Say sessions for workforce to meet directly with our CEO & feedback on their experiences & inform future developments (started September 2022). We provide monthly Reflective Practice Sessions for our workforce, in addition to regular & quality Support & Supervision & Team meetings. We have strengthened & increased our partnerships with other like-minded, third sector organisations who support our families locally & nationally. We reviewed, updated & implemented 12 Policies & Procedures in line with UNCRC, Trauma Informed Principles or The Promise. We shared our ‘How We Will Help #KeepThePromise Report with our workforce & published publicly on our website. Our organisations name was changed based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families. Our branding was re-designed based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families. Our new name & branding was chosen & designed by our children & young people, in collaboration with some of the adults we support & our workforce. Our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan was launched April 2022. Our Vision was changed based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families, together with adults we support & our workforce. Our Mission was changed based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families, together with adults we support & our workforce. Our Values were changed based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families, together with adults we support & our workforce. Our Objectives were updated based on the feedback & voice of our children, young people & their families, together with adults we support & our workforce.
We have loads left to do & we continue to face many challenges as an organisation, & collectively, in how we will #KeepThePromise. However, we are determined to play our part in creating the transformational change that is required.
Our next update will be provided in July 2024.