Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 11 June 2020

Minutes for the meeting of the group on 11 June 2020.

Attendees and apologies

Chair: Karen Reid

Meeting participants


  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) - Douglas Hutchison
  • Care Inspectorate - apologies from Peter Macleod and Helen Happer, Chris Lumb deputising
  • CELCIS, University of Strathclyde - Claire Burns
  • Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) - apologies from Elliot Jackson, Vicky Strange deputising
  • Children in Scotland - Jackie Brock
  • Child Protection Committees Scotland - Alan Small
  • Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) - Annie Gunner Logan
  • COSLA - Eddie Folan and Laura Caven
  • Education Scotland - Gayle Gorman
  • Independent Care Review - apologies from Fiona Duncan, Thomas Carlton and Lynne Sinclair deputising
  • Inspiring Children’s Futures - Jennifer Davidson
  • NHS Chief Executives - apologies from Wendy 
  • Police Scotland - Sam McCluskey
  • Public Health Scotland - apologies from Diane Stockton
  • Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) - Neil Hunter
  • Scottish Government - Bill Alexander, Children and Families Directorate, Iona Colvin, Children and Families Directorate, Ann Holmes, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate, Laura Meikle, Learning Directorate, apologies from Kate Smith, ELC Directorate – Joanna Mackenzie deputising
  • SOLACE - Grace Vickers
  • Scottish Social Services Council - apologies from Phillip Gillespie, Laura Lamb deputising
  • Social Work Scotland - Alison Gordon

Additional meeting participants:

  • Trevor Owen, SG Equality Unit Marsh
  • Katie Brown, COSLA
  • Marsha Scott, Scottish Women's Aid
  • Fiona McMullen, ASSIST 
  • Anna Mitchell, Safe and Together Institute 
  • Jackie Irvine, Edinburgh City Council (Edinburgh VAW Partnership)
  • Sarah Taylor, Police Scotland (Edinburgh VAW Partnership)
  • Joanna McLaughlin, Improvement Service

Items and actions

Updates on actions from 4 June meeting [paper 06/01]

Bill Alexander thanked members for the helpful comments on the ‘route map’ paper and noted that the revised version of the paper had been circulated to LG members for their sign off. COSLA and SOLACE colleagues noted that the direction of travel set out in the document is helpful and they are supportive of it, but stated that in the current circumstances it is difficult to take the paper to COSLA leaders for their agreement given the current lack of clarity around funding issues. It was agreed that the updated ‘route map’ paper has the support of the LG, but it will need to be a dynamic document to take account of changing circumstances as we move forward. 

There were no requested amendments to the note or further updates to the actions.      

Domestic abuse and children and young people ‘deep dive’

This meeting had an in-depth focus on domestic abuse and the impacts on CYP. Trevor Owen, from the Scottish Government (SG), introduced his paper [paper 06/02] which set out the background context of the joint SG and COSLA Equally Safe strategy and the ongoing work on implementation; as well as the challenges that have occurred following the COVID-19 crisis and measures taken to address these. Katie Brown added to this with an outline of the actions COSLA has taken forward in response to domestic abuse issues which have arisen during the pandemic, including work with partners to produce and implement Supplementary Guidance on Violence Against Women. 

Four presentations were given which powerfully conveyed the experiences of victims of domestic abuse and children and young people (CYP) during the pandemic and the issues that need addressing. These include long-standing issues that were problematic prior to the pandemic; as well as critical concerns that have arisen during the lockdown period and issues that need addressing as we move through the ‘route map’. The presentations were given by:

  • Marsha Scott, Chief Executive, Scottish Women’s Aid 
  • Fiona McMullen, Operations Manager, ASSIST 
  • Anna Mitchell, UK Lead, Safe and Together Institute 
  • Jackie Irvine (Chief Social Work Officer, Edinburgh City Council) and Sarah Taylor (Edinburgh Public Protection Unit, Police Scotland) from the City of Edinburgh Violence against Women Partnership 

Members welcomed the presentations and the opportunity to hear the experiences of victims, their children, and practitioners during the pandemic to date. A wide-range of issues were identified and potential actions discussed. It was agreed that a set of actions should be distilled and further developed in consultation with LG members and meeting contributors.


  • a separate document is being drafted to set out the actions, for further development with LG members and guest contributors 

Next meeting

The next meeting takes place on 18 June at 14.00-16.00 via Zoom.


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