Children's Services Research Independent Steering Group minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the children's services research steering group on 20 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Iattendance from the Children's Services Research Independent Steering Group

  • Professor Brigid Daniel, Research Steering Group Chair, Professor Emerita, Queen Margaret University
  • Leah Bromfield, Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection and Chair of Child Protection,  University of South Australia
  • Professor Barbara Fawcett, Professor of Social Work and Policy Studies in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde
  • Barry McLeod, Programme Manager,  Public Service Improvement Framework
  • Professor Sandra Nutley, Professor Emeritus, School of Management, University of St Andrews
  • Claire Stuart, Head of Insights, The Promise Scotland
  • Helen Whincup, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stirling University

In attendance from CELCIS 

  • Dr Heather Ottaway, Principal Investigator
  • Carol Ann Anderson, Co-investigator - Data Analyst
  • Michael Anderson, Co-investigator - Data Lead
  • Dr Leanne McIver, Co-investigator - Research Associate
  • Dr Alex McTier, Co-investigator - Evidence and Evaluation Specialist
  • Dr Joanna Soraghan, Co-investigator - Data Analyst
  • Emma Young, Co-investigator - Research and Evaluation Associate
  • Robert Porter    Lead – Rapid evidence review (strand 1)
  • Mihaela Manole    Co-investigator – Workforce survey (strand 4)
  • Nadine Fowler    Co-investigator  - Rapid evidence review (strand 1)
  • Susan Reid    Administrative support to research team
  • Jane Scott    Lead – strand 5 and co-investigator for rapid evidence review (strand 1)
  • Kate MacKinnon    Co-investigator – rapid evidence review (strand 1) and deep dive (strand 2)


  • Childrens Services Reform PMO


  • John O’Dowd, Clinical Director, Glasgow City at National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer (School of Health & Wellbeing), University of Glasgow
  • Professor Ruth Jepson, Director of The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, Edinburgh University
  • Dr Ruth Astbury, Lecturer and Programme Leader, School of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of Scotland
  • Professor Margaret O’Brien, Professor of Child and Family Policy, Social Research Institute (Thomas Coram Research Unit), University College London
  • Lisa Buntin, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queens University Belfast

Items and actions

Welcome, introduction and apologies

The Chair opened the meeting and facilitated introduction. 
The Chair provided an update on meeting membership.
Apologies were noted from  Dr John O’Dowd, Claire Stuart, Professor Ruth Jepson, Professor Ruth Astbury, Professor Margaret O’Brien and Professor Lisa Bunting.
A meeting has been arranged with Dr O’Dowd to collate responses from the submitted papers. 
Stephanie Crisp and Claire RM Burns will be covering the next few meetings on behalf of Claire Stuart. The meeting was  quorate by the time the substantive discussion started.

Chair’s update

The chair provided an overview of meetings with key stakeholders held to date, noting keen interest from a range of organisations, including from the third sector, and many offers of help with aspects of the research.
The chair provided an overview of the committee sessions to date.
Minutes to be approved via correspondence from all members by close of business on the 23 December 2022. 

Introduction with Jane Scott – Independent Researcher

Dr Heather Ottaway introduce Jane as the new member of the research team, noting Jane would be leading with strand 5 of the research and assist with other strands as and when required. 

Research issues, key milestones

The Steering Group discussed the substantive papers submitted by CELCIS.

Workforce survey

Comments provided by members at the meeting on the 4 October 2022 have been considered and informed the current version of the survey.
Members provided feedback and discussed the following

  • additional detail on transformation
  • clear analysis and disaggregation of data
  • clearer definition of categories for clarity
  • framing of questions to ensure neutrality
  • how responses will be utilised
  • suggestions to share workforce survey with The Child Protection Committee and Public Protection Committee for input
  • timeframes versus the amount of qualitative data collected

Further comments and suggestions from members are to be sent to CELCIS by the 6 January 2023.

National scoping and mapping study

Members discussed scoping and mapping progress and emerging data issues. The analysis of this strand will commence in the New Year. CELCIS noted substantial progress with data collection, meeting with partners have opened up access to additional data sources. 
Members noted the following

  • steering Group members were content with changing the hypotheses to clarify neutrality. CELCIS to consider amendment to the hypothesis or change to a research question
  • to include a clear definition of integration in strand 3

Written responses for strand 3 to be received by 13 January 2023. 

Initial discussion/planning for strand 5

Jane asked members to consider what would be useful to consider within strand 5 of the research. Jane to share progress with members ahead of the next meeting on the 28 March 2023, for views via correspondence. 

Rapid evidence review

CELCIS noted the abstract title and full text review is now completed. 
Request for any further papers for consideration and further comments from members by 6 January 2023. 

Deep dive

CELCIS extended thanks to the members for approving the approach to the option paper. 
Members to advise if they have contacts in the four chosen countries to provide comments by 6 January 2023. 

Any other business 

No further business was noted. 

Next meeting 

28 March 2023

Suggested links, resources for further consideration by the Group

University of East Anglia, National Children's Bureau Great Britain. Department for Education and Skills. (2007) Children's trust pathfinders : innovative partnerships for improving the well-being of children and young people. National evaluation of children's trust pathfinders. Final report. [Research report ; no. 839]  

Lorgelly, P. K.,Bachmann, M. O., Shreeve, A., Reading, R., Thoburn, J., Mugford, M., O’Brien, M. and Husbands, C. (2009). ‘Is it feasible to pool funds for local children's services in England? Evidence from the national evaluation of children's trust pathfinders’, Health Services Research and Policy, 14(1), pp. 27-34. 
Bachmann, M.O., O’Brien, M., Husbands, C., Shreeve, A., Jones, N., Watson, J., Reading, R. Thoburn, J., Mugford, M., and the National Evaluation of Children’s Trusts Team (2009) ‘Integrating children’s services in England: National evaluation of children’s trusts.’ Child: Care, Health and Development, 35 (2), pp.257-265. 

Bachmann, M.O., O’Brien, M., Husbands, C., Shreeve, A., Jones, N., Watson, J., Reading, R. Thoburn, J., Mugford, M., and the National Evaluation of Children’s Trusts Team (2009) ‘Integrating children’s services in England: National evaluation of children’s trusts.’ Child: Care, Health and Development, 35 (2), pp.257-265. 

Max Bachmann, R. Reading, C. Husbands, M. O'Brien, J. Thoburn, I. Shemilt, J Watson, Natalia Jones, R. Haynes, M. Mugford, The NECT Team (2006) What are children's trusts? Early findings from a national survey  Child: Care, Health and Development

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