The Promise

Written by Scarlett Regan, Researcher

Edited by Harriet Moll, Creative Director

Good morning,

Launched yesterday, The Care Review is an inspiring new vision that marks a real step change for Scotland’s care system and creates a roadmap for change that other countries can follow.

Chaired by Fiona Duncan, this independent and extensive review met repeatedly with over 5,500 people engaged in Scotland’s care system, over half of those were children and adults who had directly experienced care. They revealed just how fractured and alienating the care system can be, with people falling through the cracks at all stages.

Children living in the poorest 10% of neighbourhoods are 20 times more likely to be taken into care than in the wealthiest 10%. Families are often split up with siblings separated from each other indefinitely. Incidents of sexual assault are common. Stressed staff are the norm. In all this, the child’s voice is rarely heard, amid a complicated legislative cacophony of competing interests. Clearly, this systemic failure is damaging far too many lives.

This new vision will upend the power balance, putting the child’s perspective at the centre of discussions and decisions and reframing risk around family separation. Crucially, if implemented as written, it should dramatically reduce the number of children removed from the family home.  

Currently sitting at nearly 15,000 children, the review paves the way for that number to drop to the low single figures over the next ten years by better supporting whole families at the point of need.

Because the review is not just a wish list. The implementation process has been well thought through and Fiona and her team have already begun the change process by garnering widespread support and readying the workforce across Scotland for the big shift to come. Follow #ThePromise on Twitter to watch it unfold. 

With the Scottish government’s commitment behind it, the review’s conclusions must change the lives of thousands of children in Scotland for the better and will put Care back into the Care System in Scotland. 


The US Senate has voted against removing President Donald Trump from office following his impeachment trial. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Donald Trump, announcing that he is ‘guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust’. Now that the two-week impeachment trial is over and he has been cleared, Trump will be the first impeached president to go for election this November.

Following reports in a newspaper that he allegedly sent “hundreds” of text messages to a 16-year-old boy, Scotland’s finance secretary Derek Mackay has tendered his resignation with immediate effect.  Kate Forbes, the minister for public finance and the digital economy, will now deliver today's budget to the Scottish Parliament instead.

A newborn baby has contracted the coronavirus. Born at the epicentre of the virus in Wuhan, the baby is just four days old. This is raising a number of new questions about how the virus can spread, as the baby’s mother tested positive before giving birth. The death toll for coronavirus has risen to 563 people, two of which have been outside mainland China. Chief of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appealed for $675m to fund a three-month response plan, focusing on helping 24 nations protect against the virus with masks and respirators.

Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas has died aged 103. Best known for playing Spartacus in Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 film, Douglas was one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Throughout his acting career, he had 92 roles, but he also worked on numerous philanthropic endeavours with the Douglas Foundation which he set up in 1964. His son Michael Douglas has said “he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist”.

Business and economy

HSBC has decided to postpone naming a permanent chief executive until after it unveils a strategy shake-up. The overhaul is expected to cause at least 10,000 job losses. After ex-CEO John Flint was ousted last August and replaced by Noel Quinn as interim chief executive, investors thought a new permanent chief executive would be appointed before the unveiling of the new strategy. They warned that a failure to do so would raise concerns about whether Quinn was capable of delivering the new strategy. 

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has warned of disruption from measures to contain the coronavirus. A company executive said that deliveries in China of Tesla’s Model 3 would be delayed temporarily, as a result of a production shutdown. This caused a 17% plummet in Tesla’s shares, after what has been a very successful few months for the car manufacturer. Tesla hopes to restart production on the 10 February. 

Axminster Carpets is in rescue talks with potential buyers. The 265-year-old royal warrant holder filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators yesterday as the company tries to avoid collapsing for the second time in seven years. Up to 90 jobs are thought to be at risk in Devon if the company enters administration, after 300-400 jobs were lost when it was previously rescued in 2013. The origins of the luxury carpet maker can be traced back to 1755 and its products are now at home in Clarence House, the Brighton Pavilion and Twickenham Stadium. 

Columns of note

In The Herald, Caroline Bushnell and Liz Sprecht question if intensive farming is nearing its end as an industry. They explore how huge advances in food technology enable manufacturers to produce meat directly from plants. They argue that we need to find new ways of producing food in light of the increasingly unsustainable animal agricultural industry. They cite statistics revealing the demand for better meat, and conclude that meat giants will need to prioritise getting plant-based products to market in order to meet this demand and do something good for the planet too.

And in The Times, Jenni Russell argues that Ian Paterson’s biggest crime was to destroy trust. She writes that the surgeon Ian Paterson, one of the most reputed surgeons in the West Midlands, damaged his patients’ lives and families, physically and psychologically. She explores how the 200 accounts given as evidence for the Right Rev Graham James’s independent inquiry reveal the extent of Paterson’s ‘catastrophic lies’ and cruelty, concluding that we must retain our faith in the health service despite Paterson’s breach of trust.

Source: The Times


What happened yesterday?

European stocks gained for a third straight day yesterday as fears about the coronavirus abated. US stocks closed at record highs, taking their cue from overseas markets that rallied hard on reports by Chinese media — since played down by the World Health Organization — that a cure for the coronavirus may soon be developed. The S&P 500 closed 1.1 per cent higher, leaving it up 3.4 per cent for 2020; whilst the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.4 per cent to a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.7 per cent, closing just shy of its mid-January peak. Despite China’s death toll of 563 people, Asia stocks rose again overnight amid hopes about containment of the illness.  Already today, French bank Société Générale has pledged to boost shareholder returns while warning investors to expect muted revenue growth, while Dutch lender ING Group’s fourth-quarter adjusted pre-tax profit trailed consensus. For telecoms, Nokia Oyj’s earnings topped estimates and steel giant ArcelorMittal said a slowdown in demand is beginning to stabilize. Watch out for several big-hitters to report from France, in particular, over the next few hours, including drug giant Sanofi, ad firm Publicis Group and oil major Total SA.

What's happening today?

Final Dividend Payment Date Unicorn Asset Management Interims  Ashmore Filtronic

AGMs  Compass Group Easyjet Mxc Capital On the Beach Stock Spirit Urban&civic Victrex

Trading announcements  Compass Group

Intl. economic announcements  (07:00) Factory Orders (GER)  (13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30) Continuing Claims (US) 

Source: Financial Times

Did you know?

There have been four times as many British Prime Ministers called ‘William’ as there have been prime ministers who are female.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons  Business Statement Business Questions to the Leader of the House of Commons – Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg General debate Historic Stillbirth Burials and Cremations General debate Persecution of Christians Adjournment Children’s mental health week – Preet Kaur Gill

Oral questions Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)

Oral questions Church Commissioners and House of Commons Commission and Public Accounts Commission and Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission House of Lords  Oral questions  Protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief in government international development plans – Lord Suri  Oral questions  Informing Parliament on the next stages of the restoration of the Palace of Westminster – Baroness Rawlings Oral questions  Ensuring aid is directed by the Department for International Development to the most vulnerable – Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Debate NHS’s performance in relation to its priority area targets; and the impact of audit social care pressures on patients of the NHS, and their safety – Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Short debate Government response to ‘The Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism’ – Baroness Kidron Debate  Technological and lifestyle efforts to address climate change, and to meet the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target – Lord Browne of Ladyton Scottish Parliament

General Questions 

First Minister’s Questions

Members’ Business – Monica Lennon: World Cancer Day 2020

Committee Announcements