Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 4 August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group, held on 4 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies

​​​​​​Attendees and apologies

  • SOLANCE  - Des Murray (Co-Chair)
  • ADES – Jennifer King
  • CSP Strategic Leads Network – Carrie Lindsay (Co-Chair)
  • Care Inspectorate – Christopher Lamb
  • CELCIS – Claire Burns
  • Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice – Karen Ralston
  • Children in Scotland – Amy Woodhouse
  • Children Protection Committees Scotland – Alan Small
  • SCRA – Neil Hunter
  • Children’s Hearing Scotland – Elliot Jackson
  • Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland(CCPS) – Sheila Gordon
  • COSLA – Jillian Godron
  • Disabled Children and Young People – James Carle
  • Improvement Service – Sarah Gadsden
  • NHS NES – Gordon Paterson, Clare McGuire
  • Police Scotland – Martin Maclean
  • Public Health Scotlan – Debby Wason
  • Social Work Scotland – Alison Gordon
  • Scottish Social Services Council – Laura Lamb
  • The Promise – Thomas Carlton
  • Scottish Government – Michael Chalmers (Co-Chair), Joanna Macdonald. Gavin Henderson, Phillip Gillespie, Laura Holton, Jenny Hamilton, Bryony Revell, Aileen Black, Iona Colvin (for agenda item on Support for Ukrainian refugees)
  • Additional attendees – agenda Item 5 – GIRFEC refresh – Cara Cooper
  • Secretariat – Peter Donachie, Emily Aitchison

Items and actions


Des Murray welcomed attendees to the meeting. There were no amendments to the note of the last meeting. A follow-up session on Reform of Children’s Services/National Care Service is being planned for CLG’s next meeting on 1 September. This will include a session with Professor Brigid Daniel, Chair of the Steering Group overseeing the research project to build the evidence base on the current delivery models of children’s services.   

Support for Ukrainian refugees

Iona Colvin provided an update on the assistance being provided for Ukrainian refugees. The number of refugees arriving in Scotland is increasing significantly with around 20,000 being granted visas. Scottish Government, CoSLA and other partners are working to provide suitable accommodation and other support but the demand on services and staff is challenging. A Safeguarding Group is meeting fortnightly and Chief Social Work Officers are working hard to co-ordinate support efforts. A key focus is to ensure that appropriate safeguarding assessments are undertaken for the temporary accommodation that is being brought into service for the refugees.  There is also an urgent need to improve data flows and support for unaccompanied minors. The Super Sponsor Scheme has currently been paused with a review of the scheme being undertaken. 

Members raised the following issues in discussion:

  • there will be increasing pressure on education provision including the availability of Ukrainian language teachers and resources. It will be important to ensure that the resources available are deployed as broadly and effectively as possible. Iona confirmed that a paper is being provided to ADES on educational support issues
  • there were queries over the numbers of disabled children among future arrivals and the support that they will require. The impact of trauma on the children and young people will need to be an ongoing long-term focus of the support provided


  • Iona Colvin to arrange for paper to be sent to Carrie Lindsay/Jennifer King
  • Jim Carle to be invited to join Safeguarding Group

Whole Family Wellbeing Funding

Laura Holton updated members on the latest developments in the distribution of Whole Family Wellbeing Funding. There are three elements (previously called tranches) of funding:

Element 1 - £32 million to Children’s Service Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) to build local service capacity and transform family support services. Approval for this element was provided in July and CSPPs notified. CSPPs have been provided with a template for interim evaluation purposes with a return date of 3 October. Laura confirmed that foundation level funding for this element is being made available on a multi-year basis to assist CSPPs in their future planning work.  

Element 2 - £6 million to support Children’s Services Planning Partnerships to improve local and national learning in delivering family support. There are two strands of work: one strand is offering support to all CSPPs for their local learning and improvement work. The other is offering intensive support to develop local learning into nationally available advice and resources. An assessment of the initial expressions of interests have resulted in five proposals being shortlisted. Final recommendations will be made to Ministers in September.     

 Element 3 - £12 million for Scottish Government and partners to support national policy delivery initiatives. Recommendations to Ministers are being finalised and further information will be provided to CLG and the Family Support Advisory Group over the next few weeks. There is likely to be an underspend in this element and proposals are being developed for reallocating the outstanding funding. Laura confirmed that the criteria for this element includes the need for Scottish Government and partners to work closely with CSPPs in developing their initiatives.

Proposals for the future governance of Whole Family Wellbeing Funding are due to be provided to CLG for consideration in October.

Members queried the timescales for delivering Whole Family Wellbeing Funding and reform of Children’s Services/development of the National Care Service. Laura responded that work will be undertaken to ensure that these are aligned and re-emphasised the key role of CSPPs in delivering Whole Family Wellbeing Funding. Bryony Revell added that, as part of this, close engagement will continue with the Children's Services Planning Strategic Leads Network. WFWF and holistic whole family support will be core elements within the development of new Children's Services Plans for 2023-2026.

 Read further information on the Whole Family Wellbeing Funding.

GIRFEC refresh in the current future policy landscape

Cara Cooper led a session on the GIRFEC refresh in the current and future policy landscape. The refreshed materials are due to be published in September. This follows a public consultation on the GIRFEC Assessment of Wellbeing guidance and stakeholder focused engagement work on the GIRFEC Policy Statement and guidance on the role of named person; role of the lead professional; information sharing; and use of the National Practice Model.

Key changes to the guidance made as a result of the engagement work includes:

  • a renewed focus on children and young people
  • a change in tone using more positive language building on the impact of GIRFEC in Scotland and an emphasis on partnership
  • focus on children’s rights throughout underpinning GIRFEC with an alignment with UNCRC
  • clear underpinning and links to key policy areas including The Promise, Whole Family Wellbeing Funding, high quality universal and targeted services, learning from the pandemic, and a continued commitment to eradicate child poverty
  • alignment with the latest policy changes and development including child protection practice guidance, additional support for learning framework, Getting it Right for Brothers and Sisters, and trauma informed practice

The next steps in the refresh will include the creation of co-production working groups for the Child’s Plan and associated guidance; and continued support for implementation at local level. In particular, it is important to maintain one vision and ensure that the “day job” and embedding GIRFEC is the same thing.

Cara invited members to consider the following discussion questions:

GIRFEC refresh

  • how can you use the opportunity of the publication of the refresh materials to reaffirm GIRFEC as key to frontline service delivery across your organisation and networks?
  • how will you encourage discussion in your organisation about what it means for you? 
  • what more do you need to support you to do so?

Broader policy landscape

  • to what extent does GIRFEC support you to connect broader policy to improve outcomes for children, young people and families?

Members welcomed the refresh and made the following comments:

  • important to ensure good links between GIRFEC and GIRFE (Getting It Right for Everyone) to assist transitions between services and continuity of support for the team around the child and young person. CLG will be involved in future discussions on the development of GIRFE
  • NHS NES is leading work on the National Trauma Training Programme and will discuss with the GIRFEC team opportunities for promoting the connections with GIRFEC
  • the latest highlight report from the Workforce Development Group indicated that the GIRFEC Leadership Programme had been halted and there are no plans for resuming the programme.  Cara noted that discussions are taking place on GIRFEC-related priorities for the Workforce Development Group. Further information will be provided to CLG as the Group develops proposals for its work programme
  • the GIRFEC National Practice Model must continue to be developed and implemented in a dynamic way that takes account of the latest findings and recommendations from child protection work including addressing neglect. The development of good practice examples with practitioners can help to achieve this. The National Child Protection Leadership Group and Child Protection Committees Scotland can assist this work
  • embedding GIRFEC within the “day job” and avoiding any misperceptions or uncertainties that GIRFEC is another separate initiative will be crucial.  In relation to specific areas for improvement; strengthening the implementation of GIRFEC in relation to children in conflict with the law will be an important area of activity

Additional points from MS Teams chat:

NHS NES are finalising two child protection eLearning modules for the health workforce. We have ensured GIRFEC, children's rights and trauma informed practice is integral and the modules can be shared when available - hopefully end of August/early September.

There are practical tools that have been developed to support the implementation of GIRFEC, for example, around the support for family participation in TATC (The Team Around The Child). Also measurement tools to measure fidelity to practice and outcomes. CELSIS are planning to have these available on their website.

Great point on children in conflict with the law - a heavily stigmatised group - we need to keep reminding ourselves of the underpinning ethos of Kilbrandon.


  • Gordon Paterson to discuss the National Trauma Training Programme with Cara Cooper

Sub-group on children impacted by parents/carers in prison

Joanna MacDonald discussed key issues for the sub-group on children impacted by parents/carers in prison prior to the group’s first meeting on 17 August. Around 20,000 – 30,000 children are estimated to have a parent or carer in prison. Many more will be affected by members of their extended family being imprisoned.

The sub-group will build on the previous work in relation to under-18s in custody. The key principles and actions in the recommendations from this work can be amended and extended to support children impacted by parents/carers in prison. These include:

  • undertaking a trauma informed review of the young person’s situation and better recognising and helping to alleviate the effects of stigma, isolation and loneliness
  • recognising the needs and rights of the young person and support their understanding of the court processes involving their family
  • assess and review key policies through the lens of UNCRC and other human rights treaties

The preparatory evidence gathering that also shown the breadth of good work already taking place that could be built upon in the sub-group’s work. This includes the work of the Scottish Prisons Service and third sector partners such as Families Outside and Crossreach in relation to prison visitor centres and other means of helping children to maintain contacts with parents and carers through, for example, facilitating the use of video calls.  There are also improvements in helping to develop the parental skills of parents and carers in prison. However significant issues remain including the suitability of the prison estate for supporting contacts between children and parents/carers.

The sub-group will focus over three meetings on identifying the main issues and areas for improvement and solutions and recommendations for CLG and other groups. The sub-group’s report is expected to be provided before December.

Additional points from MS Teams chat:

CHS/SCRA can have valuable insights to contribute to this work.

Sub-group’s work could be aligned more closely with current developments around the promotion of bail supervision and diversion

Any other business and close

Members were invited to raise awareness of the recruitment campaign for board members of SCRA amongst their networks and organisations. The appointments are for a four year duration, beginning from 1 December 2022. The deadline for applications is 5 August

Scottish Government is currently running a consultation on the development of a new mental health and wellbeing strategy.  The consultation will run until 9 September. 

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