Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 3 March 2022

Minutes from the thirty-ninth meeting of the group, held on 3 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Des Murray, Co-Chair SOLACE
  • Michael Wood, ADES
  • Carrie Lindsay, (CSPP SLN Co-Chair) Children’s Service Planning Strategic Leads Network 
  • Chris Lumb, Care Inspectorate   
  • Claire Burns, CELCIS       
  • Fiona Dyer, Children and Young People's Centre for Justice         
  • Alan Small, Child Protection Committees Scotland   
  • SCRA Neil Hunter
  • Elliot Jackson, Children’s Hearings Scotland      
  • Sheila Gordon, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS)         
  • Laura Caven, COLSA
  • Jillian Gibson, COSLA        
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland
  • James Carle, Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group
  • Brian Houston, The Promise
  • Claire McGuire, NHS NES    
  • Alison Gordon, Social Work Scotland        
  • Laura Lamb, Scottish Social Services Council  

Scottish Government

  • Michael Chalmers (Co-Chair), Scottish Government     
  • Joanna MacDonald, Scottish Government     
  • Phillip Gillespie, Scottish Government     
  • Laura Holton, Scottish Government     
  • Jane Moffat, Scottish Government     
  • Bryony Revell, Scottish Government     
  • Liz Murdoch,Scottish Government     

Additional attendees         

  • Gerry Michie, Governor of Polmont YOI and Sue Brookes, Director of Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement, Scottish Prison Service for agenda item 2 on the sub-group on young people aged under-18 in custody.  
  • Franca MacLeod, Andrew Connal, Jill Morton for agenda item 3 on the wellbeing outcomes framework


  • Peter Donachie
  • Holly Ferguson

Items and actions

Welcome and note of the last meeting (3 February 2022)

Michael Chalmers welcomed members to the meeting and introduced Gerry Michie (Governor of Polmont YOI) and Sue Brookes (Scottish Prison Service Director of Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement) who were in attendance for the discussion on the report of the sub-group on young people aged under-18 in custody.

No amendments to the note of the meeting on 3 February 2022 were made. The following actions are being taken forward:

  • CLG’s meeting on 3 March will include discussion of links to the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy and Child Poverty Delivery Plan as part of the session on the wellbeing outcomes framework - Andrew Connal will provide an update on the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy. Colleagues dealing with the Child Poverty Delivery Plan are unable to attend but have offered an update at a future meeting.
  • Phillip Gillespie/Secretariat to develop proposal for session on workforce welfare and wellbeing - In progress. Phillip Gillespie has had an initial discussion on ideas for the session with the wellbeing workforce team in Scottish Government.

Report and recommendations from CLG Sub-Group on young people aged under-18 in custody

Joanna MacDonald presented the sub-group’s report and recommendation. 

In setting up the sub-group, CLG agreed that it should focus on two areas:

  • addressing the issue of under-18 year olds being isolated in Polmont YOI using information provided by the Scottish Prison Service
  • understanding key decision points and opportunities to provide additional support and alternative approaches to custody

The sub-group has made four recommendations as a result of its work:

  • recommendation 1: undertake a Trauma Informed Review of the Young Persons Pathway to YOI.
  • recommendation 2: recognising the needs and rights of the young person and support their understanding of court processes to ensure meaningful participation.
  • recommendation 3: assess and review key policies through the lens of UNCRC and other human rights treaties.
  • recommendation 4: identify and remove legal impediments to alternatives to remand and take immediate action where possible to remove under-18s from custody.

Joanna noted that some members of the sub-group had strongly recommended that, in addition to the action proposed under the forthcoming Children’s Care and Justice Bill, Coronavirus Emergency Legislation is used to take urgent action to remove under-18 year olds from YOIs and place them in secure care provision. They are disappointed that the sub-group has not advocated this as a specific action to be taken forward immediately.

Gerry Michie updated members on the improvements being made in Polmont YOI. These include:

  • better access to vocational training including through a partnership with Fife College
  • enabling young people to communicate more frequently with family members and other contacts to reduce social isolation and help improve mental health
  • full time Barnardos worker to work closely with young people to reduce social isolation and encourage participation in the activities available

Polmont has also improved its evidence gathering work on the activities that each individual is undertaking. This will place Polmont in a much stronger position to respond to future pre-inspection surveys.

Gerry emphasised the range of complex needs which young people in Polmont have and the ongoing necessity to keep them safe. As part of this, Polmont is committed to taking a trauma-informed approach with the young people in their care.

CLG members expressed their appreciation for the improvement work being undertaken in Polmont and the sub-group for its report and recommendations. The following issues were raised in response to the report:

  • essential to have strong engagement with the Judiciary in taking forward the recommendations especially given variations in sentencing practice. This includes greater and more consistent awareness raising of alternatives to custody including amongst defence agents
  • the backlog in court cases due to the pandemic has resulted in more young people being in custody on remand and this needs to be urgently addressed
  • the report highlights the need for better information sharing and full impact assessments including Victims’ Rights. The opportunity to progress work undertaken by the Expert Review on Mental Health and Young Offenders is welcome
  • need to ensure the forthcoming Children’s Care and Justice Bill helps to take forward the recommendations in the report. This could help to resolve issues such as the specific age definition of “children” in justice legislation. Given the complex needs of those involved, it would be helpful to develop forward thinking around stage of development rather than age

CLG concluded its discussion by endorsing the recommendations of the report and encouraging wide circulation. Joanna confirmed that the report would be sent to Scottish Government Ministers, the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee and Covid-19 Recovery Committee. Sub-group members and CLG were invited to provide further suggestions of recipients.  Community Justice Scotland was among the suggestions received.  The report will be made public on CLG’s website and members invited to send the report to their organisations and networks.

Actions: Governor of Polmont YOI invited members to visit Polmont. Secretariat can provide contact details for the Governor if required.

Children, young people and families outcomes framework

Jane Moffat, Bryony Revell and Franca MacLeod updated CLG on progress in developing the Children Young People and Families (CYPF) Outcomes Framework; and presented recommendations for the next stages of work.

CLG had received previous updates on the Framework in April and August 2021. Bryony recapped the purpose and benefits of the Framework. The Framework comprises of Wellbeing Outcomes/Shared Aims, Routemap and a Core Wellbeing Indicator Set.  It takes a holistic approach to wellbeing covering the My World Triangle, SHANARRI (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Responsible, Respected, Included) and the life course with the aim of overcoming siloes at both local and national levels.  This approach enables the Framework to contribute to three areas of work within The Promise Change Programme One – Policy Coherence; Data Mapping and Collection; and Governance.  Crucially, the Framework is designed to ensure that wellbeing and rights are mutually reinforcing therefore helping to embed UNCRC. 

In terms of data, intelligence and accountability, the Framework is linked to the National Performance Framework and provides a set of outcomes based on what children, young people and families have told us matters to them. It will show us if wellbeing is improving over time and how well we are closing wellbeing gaps for particular groups. It will support integrated cross-sector planning and delivery and better understanding of collective delivery.

Franca described the development of the Core Wellbeing Indicator Set. The aim had been to provide a manageable number of 21 indicators covering key aspects of wellbeing. The indicators are positive measures focused on outcomes for children and young people and are not process measures. They are drawn from existing or planned data collections so there will be no additional burden on partners. They also use data which can be available at both local and national levels.

Andrew Connal discussed the links between the Framework and the Covid Recovery Strategy (CRS). The CRS team are drawing on the Framework and core indicators in their approach to delivering the outcome on wellbeing of children and young people. This includes the My World Triangle and SHANARRI.  The indicators are being developed by an analytical group including representatives from CoSLA, the Improvement Service and Public Health Scotland. They will in effect form a sub-set or deep dive focusing on the elements of the Framework most relevant to Covid Recovery.

CLG was invited to agree the recommendations for the next stages of work. This included:

  • a phased implementation of the CYPF Outcomes Framework is adopted, initially on a voluntary basis. This would mean it is available for use from April 2022, with continued engagement with stakeholders over the next stage of development to embed its use in practice
  • the core wellbeing indicator set is available and encouraged for use in Children’s Services Planning beginning with the 2022/2023 reporting cycle
  • the indicator set is ‘soft launched’ (i.e. its use is recommended but not mandatory)
  • ongoing engagement with local Children’s Services Planning Partnerships and stakeholders will take place to understand readiness for implementation of the indicator set and CYPF Outcomes Framework, identifying any barriers and providing support as necessary
  • Scottish Government will collate the national level core wellbeing indicator data as part of national reporting on wellbeing

Members made the following points in discussion:

  • the sources and frequency of collection of the data for the indicators should be linked more closely to the indicators themselves
  • the difficulties of balancing manageability with breadth of coverage of the different aspects of wellbeing were recognised. The opportunity for deep-dive work on specific topics using a “dashboard” approach should be explored further. This would be useful in dealing with indicators such as positive destinations of school leavers at 9-month follow up which do not fully capture the adverse impacts on wellbeing from the effects of poverty, deprivation and unemployment
  • it would be helpful to discuss links between the CYPF Outcomes Framework and ASN Framework being developed as a result of the Morgan Review

CLG agreed the recommendations for the next phase of work in the CYPF Outcomes Framework.

Action: Strategy Team, Education Scotland and Learning Directorate to discuss further.

National Care Service

Iona Colvin noted that Ministers have still to announce their decisions on the National Care Service following on from the consultation. Arrangements will be made for CLG to discuss the National Care Service at the April and May meetings.  The Promise Single Implementation Plan will also be discussed at the April meeting.  This will provide a good opportunity to consider how these areas of work can best complement each other.

Whole Family Wellbeing Funding

Jane Moffat provided an update on Whole Family Wellbeing Funding. The Family Support Advisory Group (FSAG) as the relevant sub-group of GLG, as well as other partners, have been invited to provide views by 8 March on initial draft proposals for £50m funding for 2022 to 2023 – the first year of the funding programme.

Laura Holton explained that the paper outlines proposals to support a package of activity in the first year which will:

  • build capacity for whole system change at national and local level
  • support the scaling of existing transformational practice where it has been shown to be delivering improved outcomes
  • support national policy initiatives which are consistent with the aims of the WFWF

Given their statutory responsibility to deliver family support, and multi-agency composition and approach, it is proposed that the main co-ordinating mechanism for agreeing local priorities should be local Children’s Services Planning Partnerships.

Jane Moffat explained that the proposals will be refined as required following feedback from the FSAG and others. Views will then be invited from CLG before the proposals are considered by the SG Directors Group for improving outcomes for children and Families chaired by Michael Chalmers. 

Separate proposals for the spending and governance framework for subsequent years of the programme will be provided at a later stage.

CLG members welcomed the collaborative work taking place on the programme and importance of collective leadership. It was agreed that CLG provide a short statement of its position on Whole Family Wellbeing Funding.                    

Secretariat to circulate draft text to members.

AOB and close

Jane Moffat noted that a draft vision and principles on reimagining Scotland’s approach to care had been circulated to members on 1 March for initial views. CLG would have the opportunity to discuss this work at future meetings including on 7 April as part of the session on The Promise Single Implementation Plan.

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