The Discovery stage

May 2017 – May 2018

This was the second stage of the Independent Care Review.

The work of this stage was guided and advised by the Discovery group.

The members of the Discovery group were recruited through a process of nomination and representation by a wide range of organisations that work with infants, children and young people who experience care.  Five of the 12 members of the group have lived care experience.

The Discovery group met seven times between June 2017 and January 2018, and always provided valuable insights. Each meeting provided a supportive safe space where thinking could be challenged and debated.  The Discovery group minutes can be found here.

Defining the vision and scope of the Care Review

Discovery involved listening to people from across Scotland and gathering views and important information about care.

The Care Review wanted to hear from as many people with care experience as possible, and started off with two big questions:

What would the best ‘care system’ in the world look like?

What should a ‘root and branch’ review look at?


There was lots of interest in Discovery, so much that more time was needed to make sure everyone who wanted to take part could do so.

Crucially, this allowed the conversations with care experienced children and young people to be safe and supported, and at a time, place and pace that suited them.

In some cases, children and young people shared their voice several times – gaining trust in the Care Review as time went on.

Voice at the heart of Discovery

The voice of people with lived care experience is at the heart of the work in Discovery.

The Care Review has listened to the voices of 854 children, young people and adults with care experience so far.

The conversations took place through meeting with groups and individuals in places they felt comfortable and safe. The Chair, Secretariat, Discovery group, and 1000 Voices team travelled across Scotland to do this.

The Care Review took the time to engage in lots of different ways during Discovery, always understanding and respecting that each individual had different needs and very personal stories that could be difficult to share.

A wide range of key stakeholder organisations and charities met with the Care Review in Discovery and all 32 local authorities in Scotland took part during this stage.  

789 members of the paid and unpaid workforce shared their opinions views via ‘Listening to you’ workforce events, an online survey, and at events and meetings which took place all over Scotland.

The Care Review will use this rich evidence base of knowledge and lived experience to inform the work in the next stage.

12 Intentions

Based on what was heard in Discovery, a series of Intentions were developed to guide the work of the Journey stage.

These were taken to a Go-to group of care experienced young people (60% of whom had not previously been involved with the Care Review) who were asked to sense check them to ensure what the Care Review planned to do next would help to improve care.

The group rose to this challenge and made significant improvements to the Intentions before endorsing them.  You can find out more by watching the Intentions video.

While the Discovery stage has come to an end, the Care Review will continue to listen, and the voices of people with lived experience of care will remain at the centre of the work ahead.

Conclusion of Discovery

The Discovery group worked together over a year to understand the ‘roots and branches’ of the ‘care system’ and supported the Chair to develop a plan to take forward the work in the Journey stage. The group identified that every conversation with children and young people related to three key agendas: Love, Rights and Stigma.

These became a focus of discussion at the group meetings and it was agreed that it was crucial for the Care Review to undertake work and more conversations to understand the impact of Love, Rights and Stigma on children and young people who experience care.

Making change happen

The Care Review will use the Journey stage to begin to deliver change for infants, children and young people who have experience of care.

The Discovery group developed a process to identify, stimulate and support immediate improvements across the care system and encourage ideas and innovation.

Traffic light symbols were used to organise this thinking and will be used in the process to take this work forward into the Journey stage.

The immediate plan is to put an end to avoidable, unnecessarily damaging practice (Red light) and rolling out the very best practice the Care Review has heard (Green light) .

Support will be given to test and pilot new ideas in safe and supportive places where there is an appetite to innovate (Amber light).

Where a positive impact can be demonstrated, ‘rocket fuel’ will be made available to accelerate this success or enable a nationwide roll-out.

The work ahead in the Journey stage will require determination, collaboration and great ideas.  There will be roles and opportunities for everyone who wants to be involved in making change happen for infants, children and young people who experience care.