Age of Criminal Responsibility Programme Board minutes: November 2019

Minutes from the meeting of the Age of Criminal Responsibility Programme Board, held on 26 November 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Tom McNamara (acting Chair), Scottish Government, Head of Children’s Hearings & Youth Justice 
  • Angela Davidson, Scottish Government, Head of Police Powers 
  • Anna Donald, Scottish Government, Head of Victims and Witnesses Unit 
  • Denise McKay, Scottish Government Legal Directorate, Deputy Director 
  • Duncan Sloan, Police Scotland, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable
  • Neill Mitchell, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration

Supporting officials 

  • Nicola Guild, Scottish Government Legal Directorate 
  • Louise Miller, Scottish Government Legal Directorate
  • Lucy Smith, Scottish Government Care, Protection & Justice
  • John McCutcheon, Scottish Government Care, Protection & Justice
  • Melissa Thomas, Scottish Government Care, Protection & Justice
  • Richard Cockbain, Police Scotland 


  • Lesley Sheppard, Scottish Government, Deputy Director Care Protection & Justice 
  • Willie Cowan, Scottish Government Deputy Director, Criminal Justice
  • Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government 
  • Neil Hunter, Principal Reporter, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The acting Chair welcomed  Board members, especially those who had joined since the Board’s first meeting, and noted the apologies. The acting Chair advised that a wider group of partner organisations had agreed to take papers for the Board. They would be invited to attend particular meetings during implementation of the Act, as required.

Issues discussed 

Minutes, actions and matters arising

The Board agreed the minutes of the initial inception meeting (4 October). 

The Board noted the communications strategy for the first phase of commencement of the offence grounds and victim information provisions on 29 November. The Board resolved that to ensure community readiness and confidence in the provisions of the Act, wider work would be required with professionals and communities alike prior to full commencement. 


  • Secretariat to publish the minutes of the first meeting

Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 – detailed review of Parts of the Act; development of implementation timeline and risk register

The Board discussed provisions of the Act and the detail of policy development work underpinning these. 


  • Secretariat to seek feedback on potential implementation timescales and risks
  • Board members to respond with their organisations’ assessment on earliest safe implementation dates by Monday 9 December 
  • Secretariat to seek update on progress made with Joint Investigative Interview project, refreshed GIRFEC practice guidance, and the revised ‘Early and Effective Intervention’ core elements
  • Secretariat to seek update on timings around engagement for amendments to children’s hearings procedural rules

4 December 2019

Back to top