Coronavirus (COVID-19): Stakeholder Recovery Roundtable minutes: 24 August 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 24 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, 
  • Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, 
  • Bruce Adamson, Children and young people commissioner Scotland
  • Anna Ritchie Allan, Executive Director, Close the Gap
  • Jackie Brierton, CEO, GrowBiz
  • Tressa Burke, Chief Executive, Glasgow Disability Alliance
  • Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Strathclyde
  • Scott Christie, WorkingRite – Social Innovation Partnership 
  • Audrey Cumberford, Principal, Edinburgh College
  • John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group
  • Sylvia Douglas, Social Innovation Partnership  - MsMissMrs
  • Mubin Haq, Chief Executive, Standard Life Foundation
  • Juliet Harris, Director of Together Scotland (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
  • DCC Will Kerr OBE, Police Scotland, Local Police
  • Sally Loudon, Chief Executive, COSLA
  • Louise Macdonald, National Director,  Institute of Directors Scotland
  • Calum MacLeod, Director of Policy at Community Land Scotland
  • Frances Mair, Professor of General Practice, University of Glasgow 
  • Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Edinburgh
  • Viana Maya, pRESPECT – Social Innovation Partnership 
  • Neville Prentice, Senior Director Service Development & Delivery
  • Derek Robertson, Chief Executive, Green Action Trust
  • Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Ranald Robertson, Director HITRANs
  • Jim Savege, Chief Executive, Aberdeenshire Council
  • Alan Sherry, Chair of Community Learning and Development Standards Council
  • Moira Tasker, CEO Inclusion Scotland
  • Professor Morag Treanor, Deputy Chair of Poverty and Inequality Commission
  • Kirsten Urquhart, CEO Young Scot
  • Grace Vickers, SOLACE Scotland Lead for Children and Young People
  • David Watt, Chair of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
  • Amy Woodhouse, Joint CEO Children in Scotland
  • Mary McAllan, Director Covid Recovery
  • Shirley Laing, Director for Housing and Social Justice 
  • Michael Chalmers, Director of Children and Families
  • Clare Hicks, Deputy Director, Covid Recovery
  • Angela Davidson, Acting Deputy Director, Improving Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Joe Brown, Head of Strategic Business Engagement
  • Paul Tyrer, Head of Social Justice Strategy Unit
  • Tom Lamplugh, Head of Social Policy Unit
  • Angela Nolte, Economic Advisor
  • Stephen Boyd, Labour Market Specialist
  • Heather Carson, Secretariat Covid Recovery 
  • Megan Johnson, Secretariat Covid Recovery


  • Dr Carey Lunan, Deep End GP and Chair
  • Anne-Marie O’Donnell, CE, Glasgow City Council
  • Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University
  • Ralph Roberts, Chair of CEs of NHS Borders
  • Prof Iain Docherty, Dean, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling
  • David Lonsdale, BRC
  • Satwat Rehmann, Director of One Parent Families Scotland
  • Gerry Milne, COO, SACRO
  • Bill Scott , Chair of Poverty and Inequality Commission (Professor Morag Treanor, Deputy Chair of Poverty and Inequality Commission will sub)
  • Alison Gordon, President of Social Work Scotland
  • Ben McKendrick, Chief Exec, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Rory Mair, Chair of Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Roz Foyer, General Secretary, STUC
  • Rhoda Reid, Chief Executive of Covey Befriending
  • Sally Thomas, Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
  • Lorna Jack, CE, Law Society of Scotland
  • Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Simon Milne, Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Damien Yeates, CEO SDS
  • Marsha Scott    CEO, Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing & Local Government, Shona Robison MSP
  • Paul Johnston, DG Communities
  • Colin Cook, Director of Economic Development
  • Carol Tannahill, Chief Social Policy Advisor
  • Lisa McDonald, Deputy Director, Economic Policy and Capability Unit

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Deputy First Minister set out the context. This was one of a series of discussions looking at themes of Covid Recovery. This discussion would focus on our priority to create the conditions for financial security for low income households and to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people. 

Outline of approach to priorities of financial security for low income households and wellbeing of children and young people

Tom Lamplugh presented slides that outlined the enablers and actions that would help us progress these priorities as a context for discussion. Tom asked participants some prompt questions:

  • are there any major omissions from our initial assessment of the priority commitments/actions?
  • how can we deliver these actions in a way that is person centred, targeted and joined up?
  • how can you support us in our vision to deliver a Covid Recovery focused on addressing inequality and the impacts of Covid?   

Plenary discussion

DFM invited Mr Yousaf to offer some opening remarks. Mr Yousaf emphasised his agreement with DFM’s point that the experience many people had in navigating the system was not linear and that there needed to be greater cohesion, as so much of the impacts were interlinked.

Main areas of discussion 

Lived experience

There was an ongoing need to involve those who were accessing services in our systems to comment on their experience. This was the underpinning of a Human Rights Based approach. With such collaboration, we would achieve the coproduction we seek.

People in deprived communities needed to shape the transformational change we sought. 

There was a need for additional data, with perhaps a need for further analysis of pre and post Covid levels of child stress. Additionally data would allow more targeted support, and at a micro rather than macro level. There was a suggestion that the Children and Families Collective Leadership Group could take forward some of this work. 

Reflections on the graphic of how families interact with the system with a plea to talk more about families than systems. Reflections on the need to recognise people were navigating a much more interconnected system where help from one service could have an impact on access to help from a related service. 

For women’s employment, they often have to be in a particular place and the infrastructure doesn’t support that. Needs to be holistic. 

DFM: met Sylvia last week, thank you for that, fascinating. 


Comments included a concern that the interest and experience of disabled people and women were not adequately reflected. Key to consider impact of children with complex needs being out of school for an extended period and the impact on disabled. Good to note the changes in our city centres as pedestrian footpaths are used by businesses, making transit through town centres more difficult. 

The impact of intersectionality also needed explored. 45% of all children in poverty had at least one disabled person in their household. Impossible to discuss child poverty without discussing barriers to women’s employment. 

Reflections that small organisations representing minority groups were not always engaged by Local Authorities at the level which would drive systemic change by including their needs and experience in service design. Important to change that given the disparity in levels of employment for disabled people.

A plea to give more prominence in Covid Recovery thinking to women particularly given the data around the effect Covid had had on women’s employment. Related to considerations of rurality, women often needed to work in a particular place to access childcare or be close to family. The infrastructure to support people into employment did not always support that. 

Reflections that there could be more on the needs of ethnic communities and refugees. Those with immigration issues have difficulty in accessing new qualifications and cannot always use qualifications from home country. More on intersectionality. 


There was discussion around how to affect change on the ground. Was this about reforming activity or working in a different way? What could we learn from areas that had streamlined ways to make change happen faster based on feedback and evidence?

How could we involve the third sector more centrally? What were some of the enabling activity we need to do?

The example of co-locating Peterhead police officers and staff in a new purpose-built premise at Aberdeenshire Council’s office was discussed as an example of bringing services closer together to drive those synergies. 

The recommendations for the First Ministers National Advisory Council on Women and Girls were commended to the group as well as a question around the role of the business community in driving stronger leadership skills in both the private and public sectors. 

Ms Forbes’ work on resetting the relationship with business was also commended to the group. 

Economic recovery

Discussion of the need to weave considerations of poverty and inequality in the work on economic recovery. Child poverty targets would not be met without this golden thread between the priorities set out. Again the matter of intersectionality was raised in the context of how to develop a clearer understanding of the impact of multiple identities. 

An offer to the Deputy First Minister to speak to the Poverty and Inequality Commission on this in more detail. 

Reflections on the impact of the pandemic on rural Scotland with its differing infrastructure, be that travel or self-employment. Was place-based economic development sufficiently cohesive in these areas? Where the three enterprise agencies and Skills Development Scotland suitably aligned? 

Importance of identifying the link between child poverty without women’s poverty. General welcome for the focus on good, green jobs and fair work, although a question on who could access them once created. Importance of tackling occupational segregation and developing a Scottish approach that delivers fair access to fair work.

A reflection on the difference government support had made in terms of furlough and financial support more generally. Need to address the question of support to those in insecure work, the self-employed and those in the gig economy. A suggestion to revisit Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. 

Lifelong learning

Discussion of the role of education and non-linear journeys, the role of lifelong learning being better represented in the diagram recognising that people’s experience of education was often non-linear. 

The importance of understanding people’s needs and giving them the skills to access their own success. Pace was important here as was addressing the need for better digital connectivity and access to cheaper energy. 

Wellbeing of young people

Reflections on the material circulated in correspondence from Dr Carey Lunan on the impact of poverty on health, e.g. the cost of self-isolation for some, and mental health of young people given the impact the pandemic has had on their lives. 

Points raised on the importance of diet and exercise to health and wellbeing, reflection that there was no mention in the presentation around physical activity which like free school meals could be a universal offer. 

The usefulness of the YoungScot card was raised as well as considerations of methods to support young people without creating stigma. 

A plea to involve young people and children in decisions that affects them as well as a reflection that often the ability to protest or participate in driving change can be closed to children and young people in poverty through practical considerations. 

Financial security 

Attendees welcomed the overall focus on financial security and reflected on the Scottish child payment and whether it would be doubled in the forthcoming Programme for Government. 

Attendees revisited the theme of rurality and the importance of community land owners, and the role of land reform. Thinking of just assets as well as a just transition was useful as was recognising the importance of Community Wealth Building in securing community ownership of assets.


The Deputy First Minister thanked attendees for their contributions and confirmed that work continued on the best means and approaches to try to make the maximum impact? How can we make the impact on child poverty that we aspire to do?

Covid Recovery Directorate
August 2021

Back to top