Age of Criminal Responsibility Programme Board minutes: October 2019

Minutes from the meeting of the Age of Criminal Responsibility Programme Board, held on 4 October 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Lesley Sheppard (Chair) Scottish Government, Deputy Director Care Protection & Justice
  • Angela Davidson, Scottish Government, Head of Police Powers
  • Anna Donald, Scottish Government, Head of Victims and Witnesses Unit
  • Tom McNamara, Scottish Government, Head of Children’s Hearings & Youth Justice

Supporting officials

  • Nicola Guild, Scottish Government Legal Directorate
  • Barry McCaffrey, Scottish Government Legal Directorate
  • Louise Miller, Scottish Government Legal Directorate
  • Lucy Smith, Scottish Government Care, Protection & Justice
  • Melissa Thomas, Scottish Government Care, Protection & Justice
  • Ingrid Roberts, Scottish Government Police Division
  • Ryan Paterson, Scottish Government Police Division


  • Willie Cowan, Deputy Director, Criminal Justice

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed the group and noted the apologies.

Issues discussed 

1. Membership and links with Advisory Group

The Board acknowledged the links with the Advisory Group. The Board noted that commitment had been made to regularly update the Advisory Group in relation to implementation progress, respecting and reflecting that Group’s dual function of reviewing the legislation and considering a future age of criminal responsibility. 

The Board agreed to extend membership Police Scotland, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), and the Office of the Chief Social Worker as representatives of partners with key statutory roles in respect of the Act. Other organisations would be invited to attend Programme Board on an ad hoc basis  at key points during implementation and depending on the specific focus of each meeting. This is intended to  ensure full involvement of partners during implementation. 

The Board agreed for minutes to be published. 


  • Secretariat to approach Police Scotland, SCRA and OCSWA to invite nominations to sit on this Board
  • Secretariat to ensure, once formally agreed, for Minutes to be published

2. Implementation planning 

The Board considered draft programme documentation and agreed for this to be amended in relation to membership. 

The Board discussed the proposed timeline for implementation and acknowledged the range of pressures on resources required for implementation including the impact of EU exit on the availability of such resources. 

The Board agreed that a mechanism by which working groups responsible for delivering implementation would raise issues/asks with the Programme Board was required.  The Board agreed the importance of each working group setting implementation milestones, and providing Programme Board with updates and assurances regarding progress.  It was agreed that more work would be done to set out the key work streams and milestones for the Board’s consideration.

The Board agreed to discuss the detail of the Act and the requirements of each Part, along with associated risks at its next meeting. 

The Board also agreed that more detailed discussion on the financial aspects of implementation was required in due course. 


  • Secretariat to amend draft programme documentation to take into account expanded membership
  • Secretariat to set out key work streams and milestones for consideration by the Board

3. Implementation progress 

The Board was advised that sections 3 and 27 would be commenced at the end of November, which would meet Ministerial commitments in relation to removing the offence ground of referring a child to a children’s hearing. It was agreed that key messaging would  be shared with the Programme Board. 


  • Secretariat to share key messaging with the Board
Back to top