Shaping the Future at the Members’ Assembly and AGM

Read about Who Cares? Scotland's very first digital Members Assembly!

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A huge thanks to everyone who attended our Members’ Assembly on Sat 27 February and helped Shape the Future of Who Cares? Scotland! Our Members’ Assembly is an annual summit of member engagement and activism, which we want to keep building in size and ambition.

Our first digital Members’ Assembly brought together members from across the country to review Who Cares? Scotland’s progress over the past year, to shape our future priorities, discuss upcoming opportunities and welcome our new Board members and National Representatives! We’ve included some key highlights and updates below.

A ten—pin bowling champion and a proud young mum:  Our new National Representatives and Board members

National Representatives will play a key role over the next two years in making sure all your voices are heard in shaping our work and leading change for Care Experienced people. You can find out more about each of our National Representatives here.

We also welcomed newly elected members of our Board of Directors at the Assembly – you can find out more about them here. The Board has a key role in making sure that the organisation acts legally and responsibly in working towards our goals. Thanks to everyone who voted in the elections!

Our new logo – first look at designs!

Excitingly, members were given the first look at two options for our new WCS logo, which all members will be invited to vote on at the end of this month. A group of members have been working alongside designers over many months to create an updated logo which reflects our organisation, aims and values. We can’t wait to share the options with you!

Bin bags and home schooling – Q&A with our new CEO, Louise Hunter

One of four exciting workshops at the Assembly was a member Q&A with our new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Louise Hunter. Louise introduced herself, her background and experience before inviting questions about her vision and priorities for the organisation.

Louise spoke about her experience in the third sector and working in homelessness services where teenagers would arrive in scary accommodation with their belongings in bin bags. She didn’t understand how this could happen.

There was then a fantastic discussion around themes including raising the profile of the organisation, realising the Promise and some of the highlights of being a member, including the Love Rally and the Carelidh!

One of the first things Louise did in post was write to 400 key stakeholders and arranging meetings about our work and goals. We’re really excited to have Louise on board and for her to help us to grow and develop!

We also had brilliant workshops exploring how Care Experienced activists can change the worldmeeting our new National Representatives and discussing our participation and influencing priorities!

Learning, parenting and thriving in lockdown – our participation priorities for 2021/22

Over the past 12 months, we’ve trialled a new approach to designing and delivering our participation and influencing work. This involves looking systematically at what members have told us through our advocacy and participation work and members survey, identifying key opportunities for change in the work of the Scottish Government and other corporate parents and agreeing on key themes to take forward throughout the year as part of a well-planned Annual Participation Programme.

At the Assembly, the Policy team introduced three themes which were clear priorities from our data (Care Experienced Parents, Digital Wellbeing and Education) and five others which are to be decided on. Members were given a vote on these five (Mental Health, Relationships, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Holding Others Accountable and Financial Security), being asked to prioritise up to three themes.

The voting results will be fed into final decision making around themes, ahead of our Annual Programme launching in April!

Changed times, a changing organisation – our constitution

Members voted on proposed changes to WCS’ Articles of Association – this is the document which sets out what the organisation can do and how we work. The proposed changes reflected how our work has matured and evolved in changing times.

The main changes were as follows.

  • Adding a definition of ‘Care Experienced’
  • Updating our membership structure to remove reference to ‘Alumni’ members – this reflects our move towards a lifelong membership offer and our intention not to differentiate between members of different ages
  • Allowing Board meetings to be carried out over email and Zoom
  • Making it clear that all Care Experienced Board members can access support from the organisation – this already happens, but we wanted to make it formal
  • Introducing a clear mechanism to remove members if they’ve broken the rules, in order to safeguard our members, staff and volunteers
  • Making our decision-making more stable by introducing 4 year terms for Board members – previously one third of the board had to step down every year, which made things difficult

You can find our updated Articles of Association here.

Having our voices heard – our elections Manifesto

An update was given around our work to influence all of the major political parties in Scotland ahead of May’s Scottish Parliament elections. We are determined to make sure all the parties understand the experiences, perspectives and priorities of our Care Experienced members.

Alongside building member voice into our Manifesto from our advocacy and participation data, there will be a workshop opportunity for members to directly shape some of the content. Keep your eyes peeled!

The finance cake

Last but not least, we have to thank our wonderful Vice-Chair Megan Moffat for the most entertaining presentation about money we’ve ever heard! Through a range of colourful and entertaining metaphors, Megan brought the finances of the organisation to life for everyone. Long live the “finance cake”!

Thank you!