Children’s Services Research - independent steering group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for group set up to oversee and direct independent research into how best to deliver children's services in the context of the National Care Service (NCS).



Professor Brigid Daniel


Children’s Services Reform Programme Management Office

Direct involvement/core members

  • Dr Ruth Astbury (Lecturer and Programme Leader - University of the West of Scotland)
  • Leah Bromfield (Director: Australian Centre for Child Protection and Chair of Child Protection – University of South Australia)
  • Lisa Bunting (Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work – Queens University Belfast)
  • Professor Barbara Fawcett (Professor and Co Head of the School of Social Work and Policy)
  • Professor Ruth Jepson (Director of The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy – Edinburgh University)
  • Barry McLeod (Programme Manager, PSIF)
  • Professor Sandra Nutley (Professor Emeritus, University of St Andrews)
  • Professor Margaret O’Brien (Professor of Child and Family Policy,  UCL’s Thomas Coram Research Unit)
  • John O’Dowd (Clinical Director - Glasgow City at National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde)
  • Clare Stuart (Head of Insights - The Promise Scotland)
  • Helen Whincup (Senior Lecturer – Stirling University)


  • Neil Baptie (Secretariat)
  • Ishbel Burns (Secretariat)

Scottish Government officials – will not attend meetings

Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser

  • Iona Colvin
  • Joanna MacDonald
  • Shona MacPherson

Children’s Services Reform

  • Paul Beaton
  • Patsy Kay
  • Annie Robertson

Member responsibility

Members must:  

  • provide expertise and constructive challenge to the research project 
  • ensure secretariat are made aware of any risks to the delivery of the programme to allow mitigations to be put in place and Senior Reporting Officer informed in a timely manner
  • declare any personal or business interests which might be perceived to influence judgement in performing group functions. If any such interest arises in relation to a matter under consideration by the group, that interest must be declared at the next relevant meeting for recording in the minutes. The secretariat are responsible for maintaining a register of interests
  • not accept gifts, hospitality or entertainment in performing functions of the Group (unless wholly trivial and of minimal value) and members will report any such offers to the Group so they can be noted and recorded. The secretariat are responsible for maintaining a register of gifts

Communications and information sharing

  • group members will ensure that they work with Scottish Government communication colleagues and the Secretariat to support consistency and coordination of messaging around the Group’s work and interdependent activities
  • information shared with Group members should be treated as sensitive and not for onward distribution, unless prior permission in writing has been sought from the Secretariat. Any inputs shared with the Group for discussion will be considered confidential and not for further sharing without written permission from its author
  • members have been invited to join the Group because of their recognised expertise and influence. They are of course free to engage with media and communications as they so wish but should be clear that they are speaking in a personal capacity except where they are explicitly authorised to represent the agreed views of the Group
  • when sharing information with/between other Group members, each Group member/organisation must ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018

Optional attendees

 The steering group may invite additional/optional attendees to present or take part in discussion on a particular agenda item, their attendance will be limited to the specific agenda item.  

 Optional attendees may include academics and researchers with specific required expertise, and representatives from:  

  • policy
  • communications
  • Scottish Government stakeholders (internal and external)
  • project managers
  • delivery and design leads
  • internal audit
  • intellectual property rights


See: Independent Steering Group for Children’s Services Research

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