Campaigns blog, September 2017
Read the latest blog from our campaigns team, featuring campaigns news from across the UK. Don't forget to also check out our new podcast, All About Fostering, which features our campaigns manager, Vicki Swain.
Back to school
The campaigns team started the autumn by going back to school at the NCVO campaigning conference. The main themes for the day were how Brexit and the hung parliament will impact on campaigns in the coming year. It was a useful and informative day. It’s always great to meet up with campaigners from other charities to share tactics.
Scotland review of allowances
We’ve secured a significant campaign success in Scotland. Thanks to the pressure we’ve been putting on the Scottish Government – for example via your letters to MSPs and the minister and our work in the press, they have announced they are to convene a working group to look at national minimum allowances, which will have its first meeting in November. This is great progress and shows how our campaigning really makes a difference!
The Fostering Network is a member of the group and we look forward to being involved. We have already made a detailed submission to the group to get the ball rolling.
We are calling on the Scottish Government to commit to making a quick decision once the working group feed back so that the minimum allowance can be introduced for the financial year 2018/19. This should mean that there won’t be another ten year wait after this!
Allowances and fee survey
Our usual annual survey of allowances has taken place over the summer and Rob is now collating all the data. This year we asked about all age ranges, as well as pay schemes too. So there’s a lot to trawl through! The data will feed into more campaigning work on pay for foster carers, as well as our annual reports about fostering allowances which we share with all the governments in the UK. In this way we keep the pressure up to ensure that fostered children don’t miss out on the support to which they’re entitled.
We also had a fantastic response to our fee survey – with over 1,000 responses in 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who got involved. The data from this will feed into the government’s stocktake work in England.
Meanwhile in England the Department for Education’s fostering stocktake is in the final stages of evidence gathering. As part of this we arranged a meeting about staying put with lead reviewer Martin Narey and a number of young people and staying put providers (‘former foster carers’) last week. A full and frank discussion was had about the impact – both financially and professionally – it has on foster carers, as well as the implications for the relationship between young person and foster carer as they move into adulthood.
We have also recently launched our Staying Put Guidance which we hope will lead to more consistent good practice when it comes to the implementation of staying put. Mainly, however, we think that what is needed to make staying put work is a cultural and mindset change as well as some investment, as you can read in this blog from our chief executive Kevin Williams.
We have now sent out two copies of our charter to every single fostering service – both local authority and independent – in England and Scotland. Please take a look at our charter campaigns page and let us know if you can help to colour the map orange!
In Wales the implementation framework has just been launched as part of the Fostering Excellence programme.
As ever if you have any questions about our campaigns work please get in touch: email@example.com.
Vicki and Rob