Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 9 July 2020

Minutes for the meeting of the group on 9 July 2020.

Attendees and apologies

Chair: Karen Reid

Meeting participants


  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) - apologies from Douglas Hutchison
  • Care Inspectorate - Peter Macleod, Helen Happer
  • CELCIS, University of Strathclyde - Claire Burns
  • Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) - Elliot Jackson
  • Children in Scotland - Jackie Brock
  • Child Protection Committees Scotland - Tam Baillie (deputy for Alan Small)
  • Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) - Annie Gunner Logan
  • COSLA - Laura Caven, apologies from Eddie Folan
  • Education Scotland -  Gayle Gorman
  • ‘The Promise’ Implementation - Thomas Carlton, Claire Stuart, apologies from Fiona Duncan and Fiona McFarlane
  • Inspiring Children’s Futures, University of Strathclyde - Jennifer Davidson
  • NHS Chief Executives - Angela Wallace
  • Police Scotland - Sam McCluskey
  • Public Health Scotland - Debby Wason
  • Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) - Neil Hunter
  • Scottish Government - Bill Alexander, Laura Meikle, Ann Holmes, Marie McQuade (deputy for Kate Smith), apologies from Hugh McAloon
  • SOLACE - Grace Vickers
  • Scottish Social Services Council - Phillip Gillespie
  • Social Work Scotland - Alison Gordon

Additional meeting participants:

  • Anne-Marie Conlong and Claire Scott, SG Children and Families Data and Narrative Reporting
  • Nicola McAndrew, SG Community Learning and Development
  • Tim Frew, Chief Executive, YouthLink Scotland

Leadership Group secretariat:

  • Sara Dodds
  • Chris Lindores

Items and actions

Note of last meeting on 25 June 2020 [paper 09/01] 

Members agreed the note and actions, except for a requested amendment by Jackie Brock. Karen requested that Jackie’s amendments be reflected in a revised version of the note.    


  • note amended to incorporate Jackie’s amendments

Reflections following First Minister’s latest ‘route map’ announcement

Following the First Minister’s announcement (prior to the LG meeting) of the move to Phase 3, Iona highlighted the key points affecting children and young people (CYP), including under 12s no longer needing to physically distance indoors and changes to play, physical activity and organised outdoor contact sports from Monday 13 July. Iona also noted that the First Minister had emphasised that movement to phase 4 is not guaranteed in three weeks.

Iona noted that work on the ‘route map’ by LG has been used as a guide by Chief Social Work Officers, who have found it helpful for planning frontline services. She noted that work is now also underway to link this with ‘route map’ work being undertaken by Criminal Justice and Adult Social Care colleagues. 

Iona confirmed that the Family Support paper with the recommendations on family support will be sent from LG members to the Deputy First Minister (DFM) on Monday 13 July. It was agreed that this final version would be circulated to LG members following the meeting for any final comments. A further update will be provided to LG members next week, including on the funding issues, once a response from the DFM is received.

Annie asked if there was any data available on levels of compliance by the public with physical distancing guidelines, in particular distancing between children. Iona stated that there is Scottish Social Attitudes Survey data about support for the measures and Police Scotland data on compliance. As rules have changed there has been some confusion amongst the public, but Police Scotland data shows a lower number of incidents where they have had to intervene due to non-compliance. Iona also noted that there is a new sub-group of the Chief Medical Officer group looking at the scientific advice relating to CYP led by Carol Tannahill. There is very low rate of infection amongst CYP and the evidence is informing the ongoing development of plans. Iona also noted that the weekly data reports are being made available to this expert group. 

Gayle reported that this sub-group have reviewed international research and provided advice to CERG last week on transport and school reopening, and on early learning and childcare. These papers will be shared with COSLA and SOLACE to inform early planning, and will be published (likely publication date of 16 July, but to be confirmed).

Jackie suggested that it would be good to have a representative from CERG at a future meeting with a view to an in-depth discussion, particularly on forthcoming guidance (similar to the thematic discussion of domestic abuse) to ensure alignment of work. Karen noted the guidance is specifically for supporting school return and covering public health advice (e.g. cleaning, school transport), but she could discuss with Gayle and Laura M about what would be useful to bring to LG for a meaningful discussion.


  • LG secretariat to circulate summary slides of the changes to the ‘route map
  • LG secretariat to circulate the final version of the family support recommendations to members. Sent to LG members after the meeting on 9 July
  • SG to provide update on family support following response from DFM
  • Karen to discuss forthcoming guidance for school return with Gayle and Laura M and decide what to bring to LG for meaningful discussion at a future session, followed by the suggestion made by Jackie

Evidence narrative paper and implications for local and national action [paper 09/02]

Anne-Marie Conlong thanked LG members for their contributions to the evidence and intelligence paper about the impacts of COVID-19. She advised that further practice examples from local partnerships will be added to the annex, but noted that these are not intended to be comprehensive but reflective of the returns received. Anne-Marie outlined the key findings from the review of evidence and intelligence (see attached slides) and invited comments on the paper and implications for local and national action.

Debby noted that English data is showing a large rise in abusive head trauma in young children and suggested she could look at this in more detail and the data for Scotland as it becomes available. Karen also noted interest from the Public Protection Group in data relating to non-accidental injury and A and E data. 

Ann noted it was an excellent and comprehensive report, and that SG health policy colleagues are still to update some content in paper, which Anne-Marie is expecting.

Sara advised that final comments on the draft paper would need to be sent by noon Friday 10 July and any reflections on actions going forward would also be welcome.

Notes from Zoom chat:
‘Just to flag that not just throughcare staff but range of staff who went above and beyond to support young people and families despite the restrictions.’
‘agreement with above point - good examples all over the country’


  • Anne-Marie to finalise paper following comments and send to COSLA and the Deputy First Minister for approval to publish
  • Karen and Bill to pick up with Alison on data during the risk and public protection discussion on 10 July
  • Debby will look into the data on abusive head trauma, as well as and data on non-accidental injuries

Community learning and development and youth work [paper 09/03]

Nicola McAndrew started by noting that following the ‘route map’ announcement today, outdoor face-to-face youth work can now resume from Monday 13 July and there can now potentially be more youth work activity with children 11 years and under (sectoral guidance has been published today). Youth work and community learning and development (CLD) services have innovated to deliver remotely during lockdown and are now keen to return to face-to-face work where safe to do so. Nicola noted how crucial youth work is in helping with the return to education, as well as the physical and mental health of CYP. She also emphasised that it is important that youth work is recognised as a sector in its own right and contributes to a wide-range of policy gains. 

Tim Frew provided a link to the recovery resources collated by the YouthLink Covid Recovery Group. He noted that YouthLink had reported on the Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019 before lockdown and the Youth Work Strategy 2020 was under development, but was paused as a result of the crisis. He reported that cuts to youth work funding have created additional pressure on the sector. Tim outlined four main issues regarding youth work and the covid circumstances set out in paper 09/03:

  • youth workers have highlighted the negative impact on the mental health and anxiety levels of CYP
  • youth work has pivoted and repositioned services to support other activities e.g. food security and promoting volunteering
  • youth workers continued to work from a distance, such as assisting with digital inclusion, guidance with how to use different online platforms, etc. LAs identified some legitimate online safety concerns regarding the use of specific platforms which meant they were blocked. However, this meant some youth workers couldn’t connect with CYP, affecting their relationships. Tim noted he has written to the DFM about this
  • despite best efforts, funding for the sector from LAs and SG is lacking, especially for the outdoor and voluntary sector. Exacerbated by lack of fundraising opportunities during lockdown. Furloughed staff in voluntary sector mean that the response from some organisations can be delayed and that their work across Scotland will restart more slowly in some areas

Tim noted it’s crucial to get youth work back running to ensure there’s positive impact on CYP at this challenging time, especially regarding the attainment gap and mental health and wellbeing.

Members made a range of comments:

  • youth work is an essential part of national infrastructure and should be given the same weight as family support. One member suggested that there could be a cross-portfolio discussion on youth work and vulnerable young people and the need for priority investment. Iona, Nicola and members agreed that this would be helpful and offered to participate
  • from a child protection/Children’s Hearings perspective, children are less visible during lockdown meaning an increased risk of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. Youth workers are often most able to identify this abuse and inequality but how are they able to do this within a digital-only context? In response, Tim noted that these concerns have been previously raised and new guidance has been produced. There are also connections around youth justice and there has been increased interest in detached youth work across the UK
  • youth work is a core service that can often be preventative (for example, in terms of alcohol and drugs) and should be treated as such. It will be especially important to focus on this post-covid, as this would stop some children interacting unnecessarily with services like social work, Children’s Hearings, etc
  • Karen noted the contribution of CLD to skills development, especially English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes for migrant workers, and how this relates to economic issues. Nicola noted that ESOL policy sits with her team and that she is linked in with colleagues on economic issues, especially as community development and economic development are reciprocal and one can lead to the other
  • there is a need to acknowledge the fundamental importance of youth work in the recovery period. However, the youth work evidence based is thin, so we need to think about what works and why. Tim noted that on the evidence point, steps have been taken but there is a need for more research – especially on education and skills development

Notes from Zoom chat:

  • ‘would also like to see this alongside a discussion of what role community development approaches more general have to offer 
  • ‘we all also have to look at local level at how well connected CL&D/youth work is into the range of wider partnership plans’
  • ‘there are lots of opportunities to link with the cyp mental health work’


  • Iona to facilitate SG cross-portfolio meeting on youth work, especially early intervention /prevention and the link between CLD and economic recovery
  • LG secretariat to note youth work update following cross-portfolio discussion as a potential long-term future agenda item
  • Added to list of future of LG agenda items
  • Jennifer to raise community learning and development and youth work with the Social Renewal Board
  • Karen and Grace to share paper 09/03 with SOLACE colleagues to raise awareness and reemphasise the important of role of CLD and youth work

Update on child protection guidance

Since it was last discussed at the LG meeting on 25 June, Bill has been in discussions with Social Work Scotland and Police Scotland regarding the new Child Protection Guidance.  It is clear that a formal consultation will be more valuable than an informal one. Bill A will update the LG on timings of the consultation and likely publication of the Guidance, once plans have been further developed. 

Alison welcomed the formal consultation process and noted she would support a shorter consultation period.


  • Lindsay MacDougall to provide further advice to LG on timings once plans for the consultation have been developed


Next meeting will take place on 23 July, 2.45-4.45pm, chaired by Iona.     


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