Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 1 September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 1 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies

​​​​​​Attendees and apologies

  • SOLACE - Des Murray(Co-Chair)
  • CSP Strategic Leads Network - Carrie Lindsay(Co-Chair) 
  • Care Inspectorate - Karen McCormack 
  • CELCIS - Claire Burns 
  • Children and Young People's Centre for Justice - Fiona Dyer 
  • Children in Scotland - Jude Turbyne 
  • Children Protection Committees Scotland - Alan Small 
  • Child Health Commissioners - Lorna Watson 
  • SCRA - Neil Hunter 
  • Children's Hearings Scotland - Elliot Jackson 
  • COSLA - Laura Caven, Jillian Gibson 
  • Disabled Children and Young Peoples Advisory Group - James Carle 
  • Improvement Service - Sarah Gadsden 
  • Inspiring Children's Future - Jennifer Davidson 
  • NHS NES - Gordon Paterson, Clare McGuire 
  • Police Scotland - Sam Faulds, June Peebles 
  • Public Health Scotland - Debby Wason 
  • Scottish Ambulance Service - Lisa Jane Naidoo 
  • Social Work Scotland - Alison Gordon 
  • The Promise - Thomas Carlton 
  • Scottish Government - Michael Chalmers(Co-Chair), Iona Colvin, Joanna MacDonald, Phillip Gillespie, Laura Holton, Jenny Hamilton, Byrony Revell, Patsy Kay, Paul Beaton 
  • Additional attendees - agenda item 2 - Reform of Children's Services/NCS - Professor Brigid Daniel, Cat MacAulay, agenda item 3 - Support for Ukrainian refugees - Angela Latta 
  • Secretariat - Peter Donachie, Emily Aitchison 

Items and actions

Welcome and note of last meeting (4 August 2022)

Michael Chalmers welcomed attendees to the meeting. There were no amendments to the note of the last meeting on 4 August. 

The following progress is being made on the actions arising from the meeting:

Iona Colvin to provide ADES with paper on education support issues for Ukrainian refugees – paper has been sent to Carrie Lindsay.

Jim Carle to be invited to join Ukraine Safeguarding Group - Jim Carle has been added to the membership list for Ukraine Safeguarding Group.

Gordon Paterson (NHS NES) to discuss with Cara Cooper opportunities for promoting connections with GIRFEC within the National Trauma Training Programme – In progress. (Subsequent update: Sandra Ferguson, NHS NES, will discuss with Cara Cooper links between the National Trauma Training Programme and GIRFEC).

Reform of children’s services/national care service

Iona Colvin introduced the session on Reform of Children’s Services/National Care Service (NCS). The session would cover research; co-design, communications and engagement activities. Iona reminded members that the call for evidence on the National Care Service Bill closes on 2 September.

Professor Brigid Daniel outlined her role as chair of the Research Steering Group and summarised the areas that would be covered by the research. Professor Daniel emphasised the independence of the Steering Group: their objective was to ensure the research programme delivered strong evidence on the most effective configuration of services to improve outcomes for children and families including embedding GIRFEC and Keeping The Promise. 

There are presently different arrangements for children’s services across the country. The Research Steering Group will consider these with an open mind and ensure that the research work takes a broad approach and identifies advantages and disadvantages across the current arrangements. Given the complexity of the children’s services landscape, there will be difficulties in assessing the extent to which improvements in outcomes are directly related to specific structures and arrangements. To help address this, the research work will use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.  These will include literature reviews and other use of existing evidence; data mapping of current arrangements; and survey work. As well as national evidence, the research work will draw on international evidence and approaches.

The membership of the Steering Group has still to be confirmed but is likely to consist of around eleven members: mainly academics from different specialisms and professional settings. CELCIS has been commissioned to undertake the research work. The timescale for publishing the final report has still to be confirmed but is likely to be September 2023 so the work can inform Ministers’ decisions on the National Care Service and associated legislation. A timescale of two years had previously been suggested for the research work. There was some concern from CLG members that the reduced timescale risked compromising the range and quality of work.

Professor Daniel noted an intention to make key early information from the research available to assist discussions with stakeholders and the issues to be considered. Initial introductory meetings are also being arranged with a number of CLG members.

Members made the following points in discussion:

  • it will be important to ensure the analysis of current arrangements has both breadth and depth.  The proposal for supplementing case studies with data mapping and deep dive work across the different service configurations was welcomed
  • the range of outcomes for children and families that the research work will be covering needs to be clearly established and communicated from the outset. Issues to consider include the relative balance between universal and targeted health services. Professor Daniel responded that the research will assess outcomes across the spectrum of services from downstream preventative work to upstream support and intervention. GIRFEC offered a useful means of thinking about these issues across the spectrum of support
  • as well as informing Ministers’ decisions on the place of children’s services in relation to the NCS, the research will form a baseline for further work on improving children’s services more generally.  Improving transitions from children’s to adult services is a crucial area of activity that will be assisted by the research whatever specific decisions are made regarding the NCS
  • the research work is likely to consider the Children’s Hearing System. The Steering Group will not be making specific recommendations on the Children’s Hearing System however information resulting from the research will help support colleagues directly involved in administering the Children’s Hearing System
  • there was a query over whether similar research work will be undertaken in relation to justice social work within the NCS. Iona Colvin responded that a group has been convened to undertake an options appraisal for the role of the NCS in this area 

Members offered to engage with the Research Steering Group on behalf of their organisations and networks.  The Disabled Children and Young People’s Advisory Group (DCYPAG) is working with Alex McTier of CELCIS on a Children with Disabilities Statistics paper. DCYPAG is keen to ensure that disabled children and young people contribute to the research work and, as part of this, can share the paper. Professor Daniel confirmed that the research will be considering the needs of disabled children and young people.

Cat Macaulay described the co-design work being undertaken for the NCS and will be informed by the research. It is essential that children and young people are involved from the outset as - whatever arrangements are adopted for the NCS – there will be implications for the services provided  for them. The co-design work will be based upon models used for The Promise and enable those with lived experience to work in an equal, reciprocal way with service providers. Opportunities for participation include an NCS Design School and Lived Experience Partner Panel. Training and other support will be offered to participants. A register of interest will be available for stakeholder organisations who wish to contribute to the co-design work. Cat confirmed that organisations dealing with broader issues relevant to the NCS such as housing and transport would be welcome to participate.

Comments from members included the need to embed children’s rights and UNCRC Incorporation across co-design and other workstreams to develop the NCS. The development of the Bairns Hoose approach should also be reflected in co-design work for the NCS. Workforce requirements needed to be an important factor including trauma informed training across the workforce. 

Additional points from MS teams chat:

Opportunities to engage with some of the local youth participation networks in each CSPP area. There has been a lot of work done to develop these in relation to Children's Services Planning, so may be an opportunity to tap into some of these existing networks rather than necessarily creating new ones.

Support for Ukrainian refugees

Angela Latta updated members on the assistance being provided for Ukrainian refugees. The safeguarding guidance for unaccompanied children and young people has been updated. Most children and young people who arrive unaccompanied in Scotland will be travelling under the extension to the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Those who do not arrive through this route will become looked after children and local authorities will have responsibilities to safeguard and promote their welfare. 

The homes for Ukraine scheme and Scottish Government’s super sponsor scheme are currently being reviewed to take stock of lessons learned to date.

There are continuing pressures on accommodation. A new wave of arrivals is expected soon with Edinburgh being the main entry point to Scotland. Work is taking place to support refugees in accessing accommodation in other parts of Scotland. Additional temporary accommodation will shortly be made available through a cruise ship docked in Glasgow. This will draw on lessons learned from the support already provided for the cruise ship accommodation in Edinburgh.

Longer term arrangements for educational provision including supporting school moves will be required as part of work to maintain assistance as long as necessary.

Lynne McNiven gave an update on the public health response including screening arrangements and the role of school nurses in identifying and supporting the needs of unaccompanied children.

AOB and close

Michael Chalmers invited members to respond to the consultation on draft Bairns' Hoose standards. The closing date for responses is 4 November. 

There was a request that CLG discuss the cost of living crisis at a future meeting.

The next meeting is on 6 October.The main agenda items are UNCRC Incorporation and future direction/revised remit for CLG

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