Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 12 May 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 12 May 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • SOLACE - Des Murray (Co-Chair)
  • Children's Services Planning Strategic Leads Network - Carrie Lindsay (Co-Chair)
  • Care Inspectorate - Christopher Lumb
  • CELCIS - Claire Burns
  • Children and Young People's Centre for Justice - Fiona Dyer 
  • Children in Scotland - Judith Turbyne
  • Child Protection Committees Scotland - Alan Small
  • Children’s Hearings Scotland - Elliot Jackson
  • Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) - Sheila Gordon
  • COSLA - Laura Caven, Jillian Gibson
  • Directors of Public Health - Lynne McNiven
  • Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group - James Carle 
  • NHS NES - Karen Wilson
  • The Promise - Thomas Carlton
  • Public Health Scotland - Debby Wason
  • Social Work Scotland - Alison Gordon 
  • Scottish Social Services Council - Laura Lamb
  • Scottish Government - Joanna MacDonald, Phillip Gillespie, Laura Holton, Jane Moffat, Bryony Revell
  • additional attendees: agenda item 2: Support for Ukrainian Refugees: Update and Early Lessons Learned Session – Angela Latta; agenda item 4: Review of Children's Services Plans (2020-2023) and Strategic Engagement: national report and recommendations paper – Dafni Dima, James Simpson
  • Secretariat - Peter Donachie, Holly Ferguson

Items and actions

Welcome and note of last meeting (7 April 2022)

Des Murray welcomed attendees to the meeting. There were no amendments to the note of the last meeting on 7 April.  

The actions from the last meeting stated that an engagement plan is being developed to support the consultation on the Children’s Care and Justice Bill and this will include further discussions with CLG members. The engagement work will include two stakeholder engagement events being hosted by CYCJ and Scottish Government on 17 and 30 May. Other engagement activities include inputs to existing fora and hosting workshops at national conferences including the Youth Justice Conference and SYP Summer Sitting. The Bill Team would be happy to support further engagement with CLG members and their representative organisations.

Support for Ukrainian Refugees: update and early lessons learned session

Joanna MacDonald updated members on the latest work to support Ukrainian refugees. The support provided has to take account of the distinctive features of this emergency and adapt to changing circumstances. The refugees are mostly women and children who intend to return to Ukraine although their stay in Scotland could be longer than originally anticipated and this will require ongoing support for refugees and hosts. Trauma-informed support and child health will be key parts of the provision. Liaison and communication arrangements are being developed between local and national services. Four nations meetings are also helping to co-ordinate work across the UK.

Laura Caven summarised the work taking place at local authority level through the Matching Hubs initiative. Alison Gordon noted that the main issues at local level includes stepping up prioritisation; safeguarding processes; information exchanges; and other arrangements to take account of increased arrivals.  

Angela Latta discussed the public protection and safeguarding work taking place. Updated guidance will be provided early next week. The emphasis will continue to be on appropriate and proportionate safeguarding checks. There is some concern over matching of refugees and hosts through social media. Efforts are being made to ensure that matching takes place through the Super Sponsor and other initiatives where safeguarding arrangements are an integral part of the process. Work is taking place to scope out short and longer term aspects of safeguarding support including domestic abuse and other arrangements to protect women and children in vulnerable situations. This includes preventing potential exploitation in employment situations.

Members raised the following issues:

  • the need to ensure good joint working arrangements and information sharing in relation to access to health services. At local level primary care and public health are working closely with local authority coordinators and are part of the local health and health protection planning and support
  • whether there is a potential role for Scotland in supporting children in custody in Ukraine who are being put at risk because of the war


  • Scottish Government officials to discuss with Ukrainian Consulate

Claire Burns introduced the session on lessons learned from early work in supporting Ukrainian refugees. This will build on a session undertaken with the Ukraine Liaison Group on 10 May. Key issues so far are:

  • we are at the beginning of the process – there will be a continued impact that we need to assess, respond to and record
  • planning for the unknown – while anticipating needs
  • capacity – on services already stretched
  • support for hosts and families locally
  • supporting reunificationp 

The lessons learned to date are:

  • communication and coordination is vital
  • support is targeted at those services and areas most impacted while supporting all
  • focus on public protection and safeguarding
  • guidance needs to circulated quickly
  • need to review our support to all of those displaced and fleeing conflict
  • ensuring the voices of families are included in our learning and not just system responses

The report of the Lessons Learned sessions with the Ukraine Liaison Group and CLG will be collated and circulated to both Groups.

Local government work on Keeping The Promise    

Jillian Gibson highlighted the publication of a report on work taking place across local government and related services to Keep The Promise. CoSLA is planning other communications and engagement activities including case studies and other information. CoSLA is also working with the Improvement Service and other partners to increase awareness of the successes, challenges and barriers involved. A group is being established to help assist this work.

Thomas Carlton welcomed the update and noted that The Promise has appointed delivery partner staff to enhance their working with local areas. Thomas suggested a meeting with CoSLA to identify opportunities for further collaboration.  

Members also suggested that:

  • the inclusion of examples of joint working with the Third Sector in the report is helpful and further partnerships between local areas and the Third Sector should be encouraged
  • while case studies are useful for collective learning, they need to have a clear purpose in supporting the workforce; children, young people and families. As part of this, it is important to continue to highlight the role of universal services in implementing The Promise
  • the national CSP Strategic Leads Network can assist joint working across services to Keep The Promise

Des Murray noted that CLG’s remit and structure is being reviewed and this will include CLG’s specific roles in relation to Keeping The Promise and the National Care Service.            

Review of Children’s Services Plans (2020-2023) and Strategic Engagement: National Report and Recommendations paper    

Carrie Lindsay introduced the national report and recommendations resulting from the review of the 30 Children’s Services Plans published in 2020/21 and strategic engagement with the CSP Strategic Leads Network and other stakeholders. Carrie highlighted the role of Children’s Services Plans in aligning work across services to improve lives and wellbeing. This is particularly important for taking collective action to reduce child poverty and promote children’s rights. However, further work is needed to share information between services and take a more unified approach to achieving common objectives.

Bryony Revell summed up the five statutory aims of Children’s Services Plans as:

  • to safeguard, support, and promote the wellbeing of all children     
  • ensure action is taken to meet needs at the earliest opportunity and, where appropriate, prevents needs arising
  • is most integrated from the point of view of recipients 
  • constitutes best use of available resources
  • uincludes Related Services (e.g. adult and community based services for parents/carers) according to their service delivery context in safeguarding, supporting and promoting the wellbeing of children

Dafni Dima explained the criteria used for reviewing the plans derived from the statutory guidance. Areas of strength identified across the plans included:

  • clear and shared visions
  • clear and robust multi-agency governance structures
  • focus on prevention and early intervention
  • incorporation of GIRFEC, Children’s Rights and UNCRC 

Areas for development included:

  • need for more measurable, evidence-based and time-related strategic priorities and measures of progress (including stronger links with National Performance Framework outcomes)
  • greater discussion of children’s services budget and the shift towards prevention and early intervention
  • stronger engagement with workforce, Third Sector, and wider community
  • more information on related services

Bryony invited CLG to agree the following recommendations:

  • a project is progressed to explore opportunities to streamline the strategic planning/reporting landscape with a specific focus on requirements which relate to improving wellbeing outcomes for children, young people and families
  • part 3 Statutory Guidance on Children’s Services Planning should be updated and revised together with continued co-development of resources and tools which facilitate/enable different aspects of the approach
  • improvement activity which builds capacity in collaborative use of data and other areas of practice is progressed via the CSP Strategic Leads Network and other stakeholders

Members agreed the recommendations.

Additional points from MS Teams Chat:
Glad to see the issue of third sector being involved in planning around services has been raised. One of the things that could really help with that is the 'How Good Is Our Third Sector Participation .... ' tool. but the uptake hasn't been great. Strategic leads are interested in this, but cite capacity as a reason for not using it. Understandable, but could be a good way of driving the change we want to see.

AOB and close    

Des Murray suggested that the next phase of work for CLG should consider options for the Group to help address the cost of living crisis. This will be taken forward through the review of CLG’s remit.

Joanna MacDonald updated members on plans to establish a short life sub-group of CLG to provide recommendations on better supporting children and young people with parents/carers in prison. Members supported the proposal. Work could usefully link with Families Outside and SCRA who have been funded through the Promise Partnership to explore how care experienced children are supported to maintain relationships with siblings who are imprisoned.

CLG’s next meeting is on 9 June and will include sessions on the National Care Service and Whole Family Wellbeing Funding. There will be a break in July and the Group’s cycle of monthly meetings will resume in August.              

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