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Bright Spots programme: What makes life good for children in care and care leavers?

CELCIS, in partnership with Coram Voice, has launched a pilot of the ‘Bright Spots’ survey programme in Scotland.

The programme has two key elements:

1. Two subjective wellbeing surveys, ‘Your Life, Your Care’ and ‘Your Life Beyond Care’, developed for children and young people in care and care leavers to share their experiences of care and how they feel about their lives, based on what they say is important.

2. A new opportunity for local authorities to respond to the views of children and young people and ensure that service development and strategic thinking are informed by children and young people’s knowledge and experiences.

In The Promise, the Independent Care Review reported that "Scotland collects data on the ‘care system’ and its inputs, processes and outputs rather than what matters to the experiences and outcomes of the people who live in and around it". By participating in the ‘Bright Spots’ programme, local authorities have another opportunity to demonstrate that they are listening to the voices of their care experienced children and young people to drive local service provision and focus on change where children and young people say it is needed.

About the ‘Bright Spots’ surveys

Using these surveys provides an effective measure of subjective wellbeing, quality of care and leaving care experience. Informed by research and developed by Coram Voice, working with Professor Julie Selwyn from the University of Oxford, the surveys capture the experiences of children from four years old up to the age of 26 through age-appropriate questionnaires.

The two surveys focus on two areas:

‘Your Life, Your Care’

A survey for children and young people in care, which uses age-appropriate questionnaires (for ages 4-7, 8-11 and 11-18)

‘Your Life Beyond Care’

A separate survey for care leavers up to the age of 26


Children and young people helped to design the surveys, and children in care and care leavers shared their thoughts with researchers about what was important to them.

In England and Wales to date, the two online surveys have been used by almost 60 local authorities and received over 17,000 responses.

Bright Spots programme Scottish pilot

The Bright Spots programme Scottish pilot commenced in early 2022.

After applying to an Expression of Interest in 2021, three local authorities were selected to take part in the pilot based on the extent to which they are able to meet key criteria: Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and East Ayrshire.

These local authorities will form a partnership with CELCIS and Coram Voice to support the delivery of the surveys, dissemination of the findings and learning, and action planning to respond to these outcomes.

CELCIS will provide support and guidance at every step of the process to ensure the best possible response rates and will conduct a detailed analysis and provide bespoke reports of the findings – both for local authority staff and their care experienced children and young people.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about the pilot, please send us an email at: celcis.brightspots@strath.ac.uk

Find out about the Bright Spots programme in England and Wales 

Read our blog post on the experience of one local authority's participation in the programme in England: 'Putting children’s views at the heart of decision making: learning from the Bright Spots programme.'

Read the blog post 

The Bright Spots programme practice bank showcases case studies of innovative local authority practice in England and Wales to explore how the programme is supporting care experienced children and young people and making real change.

Read the Bright Spots programme practice bank