Coronavirus (COVID-19) Covid Recovery Strategy Programme Board minutes: 7 September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 7 September 2022.


Attendees and apologies


  • John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery
  • Cllr Shona Morrison, President of COSLA


  • Sandy Begbie, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise
  • Greg Colgan, Chief Executive, Dundee City Council
  • Cllr Steven Heddle, Vice President, COSLA
  • Paul Johnston, Director General, Communities, Scottish Government
  • Ben Macpherson, Minister for Social Security and Local Government
  • Mary McAllan, Director, Covid Recovery and Public Service Reform, Scottish Government
  • David McNeill, SCVO
  • John Sherry, Glasgow City Council
  • Elaine Strange, PHS
  • Sarah Watters, COSLA


  • Linda Bauld, Chief Social Policy Advisor, Scottish Government
  • Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy
  • Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, SCVO
  • Andrew Kerr, Chair, SOLACE
  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland
  • Sally Loudon, Chief Executive, COSLA
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director, Scottish Government
  • Annemarie O’Donnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow City Council
  • Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government

Officials from Scottish Government and COSLA supported the meeting.

Items and actions

Summary of discussion points

The board accepted the minutes from the previous meeting on 16 March 2022.

Attendees noted the progress to date in the delivery of the Covid Recovery Strategy (CRS) actions. They also noted the alignment of work across Scottish and Local Government to support delivery of CRS outcomes for priority target groups. The board acknowledged the impact of the cost crisis and emphasised the central role that CRS outcomes can play in alleviating the pressures faced by communities across Scotland.

Attendees reflected on the need to avoid returning to business as usual, the need for strong leadership to ensure collaboration, and the importance of empowering those delivering public services. The board also observed the potential role that Covid Recovery work can play in building resilience in public services and the Scottish economy. It was also noted that this work can support system-level efforts to tackle poverty in a more holistic way.  

The board considered examples of positive work being led by Scottish Government and Local Government to improve CRS outcomes. Attendees acknowledged the progress made so far, noting that the expectations of the programme were being delivered. Attendees also discussed the significant pressures facing the public sector and noted the need to prioritise activity to ensure effort and resource are used in the most effective, person-centred manner.

The board heard from colleagues in Glasgow City Council and noted  progress on the Glasgow Pathfinder and its person-centred and No Wrong Door approaches. Attendees noted the early successes of the Glasgow Pathfinder and its approach to empowering teams to deliver.

The board considered the extensive work undertaken collectively with colleagues from Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, the Improvement Service and COSLA to develop a final theory of change and related indicators. Attendees accepted the theory of change as a tool to support prioritisation and outcome-focused activity.


The board agreed to:

  • note the work being undertaken to deliver actions and provide services that support CRS outcomes, and agree further practice sharing, from pathfinders and other delivery approaches, to highlight success and failure factors in person centred delivery approaches, as well as supporting the reduction of identified barriers
  • note the work on the theory of change and indicators and consider potential value as a tool for jointly targeting short and longer term interventions
  • note the need to further focus on outcome led activity to empower teams and reduce the risk of return to siloed working, whereby:
    • partners make use the outcomes frameworks and indicators as a tool to develop, implement and monitor the impact of policies on communities
    • Scottish Government and Local Government together work to ensure that policy development and delivery action prioritise activities that support these outcomes, using them as a framework within which to prioritise work, supported by evidence
  • further work is undertaken to promote the learning from implementation and on outcomes, particularly within Scottish Government, local government, and Community Planning Partnerships, as a tool to support impact. It is expected that the newly refocussed place director network could play a key role in supporting, understanding and evidencing collective prioritisation, alongside existing evidence gathering routes
  • existing coordination of work on barrier reduction by CPIB, COSLA, SOLACE, Scottish Government, etc. is developed and strengthened
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