Adult Support and Protection National Strategic Forum minutes: March 2023

Draft minutes still to be agreed from the meeting of the group on 8 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Kevin Stewart (chair), Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care
  • Iain MacAllister, Scottish Government
  • Paul Ingram, Scottish Government
  • Vikki Milne, Scottish Government
  • Jamie Aarons, Scottish Government
  • Heather Gibson, Scottish Government
  • Kristy Adams , Scottish Government (Minutes)
  • Iain Ramsay, Scottish Government
  • Stuart Muirhead, Iriss
  • Julie Paterson, Mental Welfare Commission
  • Paula John, Mental Welfare Commission
  • Mike Harkin, Care Inspectorate
  • Maureen Scott, Healthcare Improvement Scotland     
  • Gemma Ritchie, Social Work Scotland ASP Leads Network
  • John Paterson, ASP Conveners Group Scotland
  • Brenda Walker, National Adult Support and Protection Co-ordinator
  • John Urquhart, COSLA
  • Suzanne Swinton, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
  • Gillian Faulds, Police Scotland
  • Fiona Brown, Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland)
  • Grace Gilling, NHS ASP Leads Network Group


  • Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive, NHS Forth Valley
  • Jane Byrne, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Karen Hedge, Scottish Care
  • Jeff Ace, NHS Chief Executive
  • Claire Wilson, Aberdeen HSCP
  • David Thomson, National Mental Health Nurse Leads Group
  • Sylvia Chatfield, Chief Social Work Officers Group, West Dunbartonshire HSCP
  • Ruth Gottardi , Glasgow HSCP
  • Austen Smyth, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and business from last meeting

Kevin Stewart welcomed everyone to the forum. Mr Stewart noted a copy of the previous meeting’s minutes and invited the forum to respond on whether the minutes were an accurate record of the last meeting, and whether there were any matters raising from the minutes (none were raised).

ASP national implementation group – update, themes and forum engagement

Mr Stewart invited Iain Ramsay as the chair, to provide an update on the ASP national implementation group:

  • the implementation group started in September 2022 and since then, a number of meetings have taken place
  • there are four subgroups which meet regularly, and each of the subgroups have one or two leads. Iain Ramsay and Brenda Walker in their role as chair and vice-chair, meet with the leads regularly to receive an overview of what each subgroup is working on
  • the subgroups are seeing some fluctuation of attendance, chair and vice-chair aware and are continuing to work with leads to make improvements
  • within the meetings with leads, there is a growing sense of support to advance the work
  • colleagues in Scottish Government and Iriss are working with each of the subgroups to develop their work plans
  • child protection colleagues attended the last implementation group meeting to discuss the pace of change and navigating a complex policy area at a national scale and identify where the groups can collaborate on common interests

Care Inspectorate (CI) - triennial review of initial case reviews and significant case reviews for adults (2019-2022): learning from reviews – overview and key themes

Mr Stewart invited Mike Harkin from the Care Inspectorate to update members on the report published and overview from Paula John – Mental Welfare Commission. 

Key points were then raised by forum members following the presentation from the Care Inspectorate and Mental Welfare Commission work:

  • question was raised by members if there has been any reflections on any previous reports
  • this is the first report of kind to be published, Care Inspectorate has just recently became the central repository for these. This arrangement only started in 2020
  • Care Inspectorate colleagues want to work with the ASP community to establish processes and produce an annual report in relation to learning reviews
  • question was asked regarding why some reviews had no recommendations and it was noted that depending on methodology by partnerships, each review all had some sort of recommendations. Some reviews were asking adult protection committees to ask key questions instead without calling them a recommendation
  • around third sector in the report, there may be an issue of definition and what third sector is being implied
  • around the role of the implementation group, it’s clear that some of the themes in this report is currently being reviewed by some of the subgroups. Care inspectorate keen to with the work undertaken by the subgroups to look at the four themes and beyond, further to conversation to have on the points raised today
  • there is the self-evaluation subgroup, it was noted there could be some support to partnerships with basic auditing tools for scrutiny from members of the subgroup
  • child protection have a learning review implementation group and a community practice group. There is an appetite for the ASP community to link in with that group

ASP roundtable event - national learning - outline of purpose, content and link with ASP national implementation group

As Mr Stewart was not available to continue following the break Iain MacAllister stood in to chair the remainder of the meeting. Iain invited Heather Gibson to highlight to members the purpose of the event and how it will link with the implementation group and other ASP forums. 

  • following the Minister’s oversight of bespoke improvement work in 2022, Mr Stewart requested a roundtable event be held, to look at learning that would be nationally applicable to the ASP community
  • taking a Scotland-wide approach this event draws upon the sharing of experience and knowledge from a breadth of perspectives nationally. Attendees are drawn from membership of the ASP national implementation group and related stakeholders, representing the multi-agency landscape of ASP, and there will also be a reflection panel to support whole-room deliberation and consideration
  • through a mix of presentation and discussion, attendees will consider some of the key themes emerging from significant case reviews (now known as learning reviews) as identified in the Care Inspectorate’s triennial review of initial case reviews and significant case reviews for adults (2019-2022): learning from reviews. These themes are neglect and self-neglect; legal literacy, and involving individuals in the significant case review process
  • the format includes smaller breakout rooms and main room discussion to explore how learning can be both disseminated and implemented nationally, and consider the challenges and benefits of sharing learning throughout the wider ASP community
  • to take this work forward in a meaningful way, the discussions from the roundtable will inform and feed directly into the work of, for example, the ASP national implementation group; the national strategic forum, the ASP learning and development network, and the national adult support and protection coordinator’s upcoming ASPire programme

ASP workforce survey – Jamie Aarons

Iain MacAllister invited Jamie Aarons from Scottish Government to give an overview of the ASP workforce survey. 

  • the ASP workforce survey has a focus on council officers, using the legal definition from the adult support and protection act
  • the survey will allow Scottish Government to understand the demographics of the ASP community and support workforce planning
  • to implement changes from the code of practice, a better understanding and clarification of the role of council officers in each local authority is needed
  • from SOLACE data and the ASP annual data returns, the demand on ASP services is increasing. Scottish Government have limited information about the workforce capacity to meet the demand

Points raised by forum members following the discussion:

  • members raised the resource implications for undertaking ASP processes as set out in the revised code of practice
  • questions were asked of which local authorities are undertaking workforce planning already, and Scottish Government will discuss what planning is being completed with those leads that indicate their local authority is doing workforce planning

ASP and the role of social work – the ASP process and challenges from a social work perspective

Iain MacAllister Invited Gemma Ritchie – ASP lead officer, to discuss ASP and the role of social work. Key points were then raised by members following the presentation:

  • Office of Public Guardian (OPG) attend ASP convenor quarterly meetings but don’t have the resource to cover all adult protection committee meetings
  • OPG receive around 250-350 referrals each year and when conducting investigations, involvement is required with local social work teams but may not be directly involved with ASP teams 
  • Mental Welfare Commission attend the various meetings nationally but will commit to attending some adult protection committees each year and having a focused agenda item

Thanks and close 

Iain MacAllister closed the meeting on behalf of Mr Stewart, by thanking forum members for the work they have done and are doing to continue to support and protect adults at risk of harm. 

The next meeting of the forum is likely to take place in September 2023 with invitations to be issued in due course.

Back to top