Successful permanence programme to expand

CELCIS welcomes Scottish Government’s announcement to expand the hugely successful Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE) programme across Scotland.

Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, announced the start of a national roll out of PACE at the Permanence and Practice Showcase for professionals and other specialists working with looked after children. The PACE programme will be available to all local authorities in Scotland.

Commenting on the announcement, Jennifer Davidson, Director at CELCIS said:

‘Stability is essential for all children, and looked after children and young people are no different. Children and young people regularly tell us how important stability and security are for them in order to reach their full potential.

The many passionate professionals and teams we work with are wholly committed to reducing any unnecessary placement moves and delay for our looked after children. We are delighted that we will be able to reach and support more local authority areas through PACE, building on our learning about what makes sustained changes happen.

It's the coming together across professional groups to resolve common challenges, illuminated by sound information about children's care journeys, which have been critical to the success of the programme so far.’

The PACE programme was established in 2014 to improve how local councils work with other agencies to place vulnerable children in stable, long-term care.

The journey so far

In partnership with Scottish Government, we developed an innovative and rigorous multi-agency approach to improving permanence for looked after children. We’ve tested this change approach in three areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Renfrewshire Councils, and the PACE programme recently started in East Renfrewshire. A further three areas –Dumfries and Galloway, North Lanarkshire and Shetland - will follow this month, and in Fife in early 2016.

A real difference to children’s lives

In helping partners to improve their permanence practice, we make a real difference to children’s lives. PACE helps children to be provided with a settled, secure and permanent place to live, that meets their needs, as effectively as possible.

  • One authority has reduced the child`s journey through permanence on average by three months since PACE began.
  • Another authority has changed its internal legal advice process that should save, on average, five weeks for each child. We test changes in this way to show the difference it can make to children being placed in a permanent home more quickly.

Local authorities have their say

Talking about the PACE programme, Leigh Jolly, Social Work Manager, Aberdeenshire said:

'We were delighted to have been part of the Permanence and Care Excellence programme, working to improve our permanency practice for children, young people and their families. The support we have had from the Scottish Government and CELCIS has been excellent. I am delighted to hear that the programme will expand and that it will help many more children.'

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, continued:

'Renfrewshire Council has consistently worked to identify approaches which deliver measurable benefits and roll them out to improve the lives of local children, families and young people.

As one of the first PACE sites, we will continue to work in partnership with CELCIS and the Scottish Government to maintain improvements in our permanency practice and systems. It is very good news that the PACE programme will be extended as it is making a real difference.'

Graeme Simpson, Social Work Manager, Aberdeen City, said:

'Aberdeen City has welcomed the support and partnership approach which the PACE programme has brought. Our permanence practice has improved and we continue to focus on reducing delay and drift. We welcome the announcement that the PACE programme will be extended as it will allow others to be assisted in the way we have been.'

Read Scottish Government announcement

Read the PACE evaluation

03 December 2015