The National Confidential Forum
The National Confidential Forum

The National Confidential Forum (the Forum) is here to listen to, understand and acknowledge the experiences of anyone who was in institutional care as a child in Scotland.  It provides the opportunities for individuals to describe their experiences (including positive, negative or mixed) in a confidential and non-judgemental setting.  What people tell the Forum will allow it to build a national picture of what care was like for children in Scotland.

Current vacancies

Top job! Head - National Confidential Forum

  • Management Board
  • Sessional
  • Glasgow but hearings are also likely to be held in other parts of Scotland
  • Closing 28th January 2019

The National Confidential Forum (NCF) started hearings in February 2015. The Forum gives people who were placed in residential care or health service as children the opportunity to share their experiences through a confidential, supportive and non-judgmental process. The Forum aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people placed in institutional care as children, by offering acknowledgement of their experiences, including experiences of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. The main objectives of the Forum are:

  • to receive and listen to testimony from those who were in care as children with the aim of contributing positively to their current health and wellbeing;
  • to prevent harm to children and young people currently in care by learning lessons from the past;
  • to record the experiences of those who were in care as children – to enhance public knowledge and understanding of an important part of Scotland’s history;
  • to signpost other appropriate services to those who were in care as children – before, during, and after hearings.

The Forum is a key part of the Scottish Government’s overall package of support for survivors and is set up as a committee of the Mental Welfare Commission (Commission). The Commission has expertise and capacity to support the strategic development of the Forum. The Commission is not involved in the hearings. This ensures the Forum is operationally independent. Hearings of the Forum involve at least two members, are held in private and participants are entitled to be accompanied by one or two companions of their choice; travel and accommodation will be paid for participants and supporters.

The Role

The Head will have operational responsibility for the work of the Forum) and will be answerable to the Board of the Mental Welfare Commission (Commission) for the effective and efficient running of the Forum and will report to the Chair of the Commission. The Commission’s principal role, exercised through the Board, is to provide strategic oversight and direction for the Forum. The Head develops and implements the strategic vision, subject to the requirements of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Commission and the Scottish Government concerning the Forum. The business and financial management arrangements of the Commission will apply to the Forum.

The Head will also

  • ensure the Forum delivers its statutory commitments to identify themes and contribute towards a national record based on what has been heard at the Hearings;
  • lead and manage the team of Forum members and staff through a period of transformational change;
  • ensure that the Forum hears and acknowledges the experience of people who grew up in care, in a trusted, compassionate and professional environment;
  • have overarching responsibility for the operations of the Forum, placing those with lived experience at the core, and overseeing financial management and corporate governance effectively;
  • represent the Forum publicly, fostering organisational trust and overseeing the communication and engagement strategy;
  • oversee an embedded research approach that ensures the Forum is able to identify patterns and trends in relation to institutional child care provision through an evidence based approach and make recommendations for future improvements.


Those applying for the role must demonstrate clear commitment to listen and acknowledge the experiences of people who have come through the care system in Scotland, with compassion and empathy. They must also demonstrate the following skills in:

  • communication and engagement;
  • leading and managing people;
  • leading the organisation;
  • analysis.

The Scottish Ministers particularly welcome applications from groups currently under-represented on Scotland’s public bodies, such as women, disabled people, those from minority ethnic communities, and people aged under 50. Please do complete our monitoring form when you apply as this helps us to ensure that the appointments process is accessible to everyone.

Appointment Details

A daily rate of £348.87 (non-pensionable) is payable and you will be expected to devote 3-4 days per week, subject to Forum workload. This commitment will be subject to the demands of the organisation and so could increase or decrease month by month. The appointment will be for two years with the possibility of reappointment. The Head of the Forum will be based in the Glasgow office with hearings held in Glasgow and across the UK.