One year on – Anna Fowlie reflects on what it means to be a corporate parent

Our chief executive, Anna Fowlie recently shared with Who Cares? Scotland what it means for the SSSC to be a corporate parent. Read her blog post here.
Anna Fowlie

Anna Fowlie

It has been exactly a year since the SSSC joined the family of corporate parents to Scotland’s care experienced young people. I’ve been thinking about what it means to us.

For people and organisations that work directly with care experienced children and young people, it’s quite clear what can be done to make their lives better. For organisations like the SSSC, it can feel a bit harder to work that out. We regulate people working in social services and their qualifications; we also lead for workforce development and planning for social services. So how does that impact on children and young people? What can we do as a corporate parent? By regulating social workers and residential care workers, we make sure they have the qualifications and training that they need to do the job well. We also have Codes of Practice that set out the standards and qualities children and young people can expect from their workers. If young people complain about a worker, we investigate it and can take action.

We also support the learning and development of those working directly with young people. We produce resources including e-learning and tools using gaming tech to help workers develop their skills. We always involve the people that workers will be supporting in developing our resources, including children and young people. And we’ve just started working with Who Cares? Scotland on a leadership programme for care experienced young people.

who cares scotlandI’m really happy to be working in partnership with young people in this way. Back in 2009, when I first started at the SSSC, we worked with Who Cares? Scotland to produce some short films that explained what the SSSC could do for young people in care. We even enlisted the help of a robot called Cody to get that message across. He probably won’t be invited to our leadership residential.

Leadership is important to the SSSC and we know that leadership doesn’t only exist in people who have a job title or status. Care experienced young people from across Scotland have shown us their leadership talents, from local campaigning to national influencing.

When the Children and Young People Act was still a Bill, making its way through the Scottish Parliament we saw their leadership in action. Care experienced young people led the way in changing how MSPs and many others thought – they achieved cross-party consensus and brought the impact of the care system to life. That’s a rare and fabulous thing.

It’s why I’m determined that young people get the credit for those skills in a way that is useful when they are trying to get on in life. Whether they are applying for jobs or college and university courses, they should be talking confidently and clearly about the difference that they have made.

That’s my commitment on the one year anniversary of the SSSC becoming a parent. I’ll celebrate young people’s success and make sure they know how important they are. I’m really looking forward to being part of the first leadership session at the end of the month.

4 Responses to “One year on – Anna Fowlie reflects on what it means to be a corporate parent”

  1. David Compton

    May 02. 2016

    Dear Anna. Having had a very turbulent few years dealing with my employers and the SSSC following a disciplinary hearing it is nice to hear the on going commitment from the SSSC to young people and children which im sure over time will develop to be a fully complaint service where workers can have absolute confidence in your dealings and commitment. I do feel the SSSC needs to fully support the workforce in able to support our young people in an appropriate manner. And i do have some confidence that is being addressed. I for also have some concerns as you may be aware.

    I am a little sad however that the SSSC has not appeared to look at some of the issues relating to management styles as my head of service still thinks that residential care or at least my organisation can operate outside of employment law and when so many issues around bullying are swepped under the carpet i feel this should be fully looked into.
    I know we had investors in people in my work but don’t feel its appropriate that people are selected to speak with them or the care inspetorate when they also visit my centre.
    My employers also held an legal vote to look at changing staff contracts where my concerns where not addressed. i also raised a formal grvence which my employers will not address. Care in Scotland still appears to have a long way to go. There are also massive issues in terms of equal pay and equality within my organisation. Although we support our your people very well the staff are treated very poorly which will in turn have an impact on the care delivered to children and young people.

    Also i don’t really understand why my qualification is not recognised by the SSSC when it is by the universities and the British asociation in counselling and psychotherapy. My qualification is a post grad and i completd this at strathclyde university. The could be problematic for the SSSC in the future.

    I would love to be able to be apart of the SSSC as i feel i could contribute so much in your develop and the care of young people and children in Scotland.

    If you would like to speak with me regarding any of the above i would be more than happy to work with you and the SSSC to improve the service and care provided. I think if you did speak with me you would agree.

    I am dislexia and don’t always get my point across very well via e.mail however i can articulate myself very well in person. I would really like to think you might take these issues in board and get back to me.

    Kind regards.
    David Compton

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  2. Maggie Mellon

    May 02. 2016

    Hi what is the sssc doing to recognise that many care experienced young people have acquired a criminal record often as a result of exposure to care and to the hearing system. If they apply for jobs in care services they are disadvantaged by this, and even if they get a job and apply for registration they can face a long drawn out and adversarial process without access to legal or other support or advice.

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  3. Gill Douglas

    May 02. 2016

    hello Anna.
    Great blog,
    I work with dean and Cauvin trust and Barbardos 16 plus in Edinburgh
    (Tcac) It’s great that we have a wide group now who are ‘corporate parents’ and it has made a difference especially with regards to benefits and having dwp as a parent too, but there is still lots of room for improvement across the board.
    The term corporate parent, is awful !! I wish we could come up with something a bit more child/ young person friendly !!??

    Well done
    Regards
    Gill

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  4. Ms Elaine Johnstone

    May 03. 2016

    Dear David Compton,

    As another university graduate student who is also dyslexic I found your article interesting to read. Especially when you highlight that your university qualification is not recognised by the SSSC. I have also recently had my Social Sciences degree refused by the SSSC.

    While studying at Edinburgh Napier University between 2010 and 2014 I went out my way to do voluntary work within my local community and also gained some part-time work experience with a Scottish charity, hoping that the skills and university qualification I had gained would support my future employment. However, I was surprised to be informed that the SSSC do not accept the Edinburgh Napier University Social Sciences degree. Even though Edinburgh Napier University refers to social care in the Social Sciences degree website. This has caused me to develop feelings of frustration and also feelings of despair. As a post graduate who is also dyslexic I would imagine that you understand the frustrations while gaining a qualification at university level, due to the impairment that dyslexia can have on a student’s learning.

    I now wonder how many other university students are being informed that their university qualification cannot be accepted by the SSSC. I also question why I even bothered to do an Access course which supported me to gain entry into university full-time, because having spent four years of my life aiming for my 2.1 B.A (hons) Social Sciences degree, to recently find out that the SSSC does not accept my degree has left me questioning what value my degree has? I was proud to be a Scottish university graduate having left school without gaining any O, Levels. However, I now question whether I wasted four years of my life aiming for a degree which the SSSC do not accept.

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