Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) Practice Development Panel


The panel has now published its final report. Read the report and the Scottish Government response to it.

The Panel was responsible for producing a draft Code of Practice for information sharing, by consensus.

This was to be presented to the Deputy First Minister in Autumn 2018, who will then forward an authoritative draft of the code to the Education and Skills Committee enabling them to resume Stage 1 of the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill.

The Panel was to ensure that a version of the draft Code offered to Committee is also suitable to operate on a non-statutory basis in relation to information sharing by practitioners under the current law, ahead of the commencement of Parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

The Panel was also invited to provide recommendations in Autumn 2018 on the Statutory Guidance for Part 4 and 5 and other support materials ahead of the resumption of Stage 1 of the Bill.


The Panel's objectives were to:

  • ensure the draft Code of Practice and Statutory Guidance supported by other materials properly reflect relevant legal requirements, are workable, comprehensive and user-friendly for children and young people, parents and practitioners
  • make sure that the information sharing experience, expertise and practical knowledge of those in public services and rights holders (i.e. children and their families) are the foundation for the development of the authoritative draft Code of Practice, Statutory Guidance and other supporting materials


The Panel was independently chaired by Ian Welsh, OBE and Chief Executive of the Scottish Health and Social Care Alliance.


The Independent Chair reported on behalf of the Panel to the Deputy First Minister.


GIRFEC Legal Focus Group was established to provide legal insight into GIRFEC Practice Development Panel's work.


  • Ian Welsh, Chair
  • Professor Paul Martin, Independent Chair for Child and Adult Protection Committee's Scotland
  • Mike Burns, Social Work Scotland
  • Brian Johnston, Police Scotland (replaced Norman Conway on 31/05/18)
  • Maureen Falconer, Information Commissioner's Office
  • Sally-Ann Kelly, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland
  • Anne Houston, Child Protection Committees Scotland
  • Susan Quinn, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Jennifer King, Association of Directors of Education Scotland
  • Annette Holliday, Unite/Community Practitioners and Health Visiting Association
  • Eddie Docherty, Scottish Executive Nursing Directors
  • Joanna Murphy, National Parent Forum Scotland
  • Norma Shippin, Central Legal Office, NHS National Services Scotland)
  • Peter Hessett, Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland
  • Lorna Greene, Royal College of Nursing
  • Chris Creegan, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability
  • Juliet Harris, Together Scotland

Non-members could be invited to Panel meetings based on necessity and relevant topics of discussion. For example: legal, advisory, policy colleagues.

Work outline

Format of meetings and work plans were to be decided by the Chair but with the influence of the Panel members.


The Chair anticipated a minimum of five meetings which will be held in the Alliance office, Glasgow. 

The Chair was to decide on agendas and format of meetings with influence from the Panel.

Topics were to be generated from discussion and actions from previous meetings and will be steered by the Chair.

Secretariat functions

  • organise the logistics and facilitation of each meeting
  • informing members of arrangements (date, time, location etc.)
  • circulate papers and briefing members 1 week ahead of meetings
  • recording and publication of actions and main discussion points
  • supporting the Chair when required
  • point of contact for members if required
  • providing support to facilitate engagement with stakeholders
  • providing support to the Panel in preparing reports and other materials as required