Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 11 February 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 11 February 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Peter Macleod, Care Inspectorate 

  • Claire Burns, CELCIS 
  • Elliot Jackson, Children's Hearing Scotland (CHS) 
  • Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland
  • Sheila Gordon, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) 
  • Jillian Ingram, COSLA 
  • Jim Carle, Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group (DCYPAG)
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland 
  • Fiona Duncan, The Promise
  • Thomas Carlton, The Promise
  • FI McFarlane, The Promose 
  • Jennifer Davidson, Inspiring Children's Futures, University of Strathclyde 
  • Angela Wallace, NHS Chief Executives 
  • Sam McCluskey, Police Scotland 
  • Mairi Watson, Public Health Scotland 
  • Neil Hunter, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA)
  • Alison Gordon, Social Work Scotland 
  • Corinne Ronnie, Scottish Social Services Council 
  • Michael Chalmers, Scottish Government 
  • Iona Colvin, Scottish Government 
  • Ann Holmes, Scottish Government 
  • Wendy Mitchell, Scottish Government 
  • Bill Scott-Watson, Scottish Government 
  • Byrony Revell, Scottish Government 
  • Diana Beveridge, Scottish Government  
  • Gita Sharkey, Scottish Government  
  • Lesley Sheppard, Scottish Government  
  • Carolyn Wilson, Supporting Maternal and Child Welbeing Team, C & F Directorate 
  • Daniel Boyle, Children and Families Analytical Services Divison, Learning Directorate 
  • Laura Holton, Family Support Unit, C & F Directorate 
  • Andrew Fraser, Social Justice Strategy Unit, Scottish Government 
  • Claire Simpson, Chair of the CYPF Advisory Group 
  • Peter Donachie, Secretariat 
  • Claire Scott, Secretariat 
  • Chris Lindores, Secretariat 

Items and actions

Update since last meeting (21 January 2021) (paper 22/01) 

Grace Vickers welcomed members to the 22nd meeting of the group and provided an update on the discussion of the Leadership Group’s action plan at CERG (Covid-19 Education Recovery Group) that morning. CERG had supported the action plan. Suggestions for improvement were:

  • provision of further support for young carers. This would be taken forward as part of the respite workstream
  • strengthening the input of young people’s views to the access to services workstream. Liam Fowler, Scottish Youth Parliament, Vice Chair and CERG member, would be invited to assist this work

Liam Fowler to be invited to participate in access to services workstream. 

Health vistors contacts and children and families 

Carolyn Wilson provided a presentation on comparative data for 2019 and 2020 on health visitor contacts with children and families. This showed that, when comparing early uptake of reviews in 2019 with the available and reliable data from 2020 (up to October), rates are largely similar for each of the reviews. First visit and 4-5 year review rates have slightly increased, while the slight overall reduction for the 6-8 week, 13-15 month and 27-30 month reviews is attributable to the reduction seen in March-April 2020. The workforce is also largely in place and delivering what is expected in terms of the Health Visitor pathway.   

Main points made in discussion were that:

  • members queried the findings in Carolyn’s presentation compared with those provided at leadership group’s last meeting. Carolyn noted that differences in data collection such as the time-point used can affect the overall trend observed for the same cohorts of children. Data gathering across health visitor pathways is relatively new. Another factor to be taken into account is data lag – delays in entering child health reviews into the child health systems programme (CHSP) can cause a substantial artificial downward trend in reported coverage for the most recent two months reported on in a given data extract. A data group is reviewing the different data sources and will provide further advice on comparisons and trends. Members highlighted the need for a clearer narrative that placed the data in context and made it easier to identify issues to be addressed. Issue to be kept on the agenda for future LG meetings. Carolyn Wilson to provide a summary of work taking place through the data group for next meeting
  • data on health visitor contacts is collected for geographical areas by health boards/local authorities. This information does not show any trends in the reduction in contacts with health visitors compared with 2019
  • members highlighted the importance of making an ongoing commitment to increasing the number of children and families’ contacts with health visitors. It was noted however that at this stage of the development of the Health Visitor pathway, full take-up would not necessarily be expected
  • there was no evidence of significant numbers of health visitors being redeployed to assist vaccination work. Michael Chalmers and the Chief Nursing Officer had written to Health Boards reinforcing the importance of maintaining universal health services for children in their local planning response to the pandemic
  • broader work is taking place to revise the routine data collections for children and families and provide more rounded, qualitative information. Deep-dive work is also taking place in relation to child protection issues. Around 6-8 local authorities will be involved alongside police Scotland, care inspectorate, SCRA and CELCIS. Iona Colvin to provide update, including timescales, for next meeting

Additional points from MS Teams chat:

  • the data presented on 4-5 year review does not mean only 30-40% of children being seen?
  • 30-40% is early uptake by 52 months, not total coverage as this won't emerge until the cohort reaches five. So it's a proxy useful for a quick turn-around comparison but won't give us full uptake yet
  • this is the first time data is presented this way, it was already a low return historically (from last year) - it means they are not being seen at the point they turn eligible (4) but they might be planned in to see when they are five, so it is a much longer time frame for collecting so not really a representative picture for this time point
  • the same need for triangulation of data and meaningful analysis is also grappled with by children's services planning partnerships in relation to their annual reporting requirements

The promise plan update 

Fiona Duncan provided a presentation on the promise plan covering the recent appointment of the oversight board; the governance mapping working being undertaken; the development of the plan for 2021-24 and associated change programme; and the promise itself as an entity.

The following points were made in discussion:

  • the promise is making links with the independent review of adult social care particularly on increasing early preventative action; embedding a human rights based approach; and developing the workforce
  • the promise is also engaging with other relevant reviews and organisational plans. Around 100 plans have been received and are being reviewed to identify opportunities for better collaboration; maximising the use of collective resources and commissioning; and create a more cohesive narrative
  • the promise will support corporate parents in keeping the promise but does not see their role as ensuring that corporate parents are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities
  • Peter MacLeod described how the care inspectorate is changing its methodology to implement the promise as well as its own regulatory responsibilities. Fiona Duncan and Peter MacLeod to discuss further collaboration between the promise and care inspectorate
  • the UNCRC incorporation bill provides opportunities to improve and consolidate the implementation of legislative duties. Michael Chalmers noted that the commencement term is now six months rather than a year
  • there is also a need to describe the outer limits in the way statutory duties are prescribed and UNCRC incorporation can assist this work
  • the promise is engaging with a range of philanthropic sources and this could potentially provide significant additional resources

Additional points from MS Teams chat:

  • children's services plans also run on a 3-year cycle
  • children’s services planning partnerships as collective planning/decision-making forums given statutory duties under pt 3 links very much with the data discussion, collective local leadership, workforce resilience, developing/delivering services, joint decision-making, engagement with children/families, and commissioning/resourcing challenges

Family support update

Laura Holton gave a verbal update on the work of the family support delivery group (FSDG) which is now co-chaired by Mairi Macpherson and Jackie Pepper. The group is reviewing the 54 recommendations from the original vision and blueprint to take forward the most pressing priorities and create a clearer national narrative. A sub-group is considering commissioning issues. This includes identifying the best means of building on the practical work already underway and developing a paper for the next meeting of the CoSLA leaders group to ensure local authority buy-in.  

Points made in discussion were:

  • need to avoid overlap or duplication with work taking place through the Promise and other areas. The FSDG’s Co-Chairs and membership will help ensure that work is complementary. FSDG is a sub-group of CERG and this is utilising family support in response to educational issues and concerns
  • the national narrative for family support should include reference to UNCRC incorporation, GIRFEC and other aspects of children’s rights
  • definitions of family support are varied and alignment and prioritisation will help to improve understanding and reduce complexity

The leadership group will be invited to discuss the priorities identified by the FSDG in relation to the action plan as a matter of urgency. Laura Holton to provide FSDG priorities to future LG meeting.

Additional points from MS Teams Chat:

  • Neil Hunter will pick up a discussion with Laura on the work being done as part of rights, respect and recovery and whole family approach families where substance use is an issue. There is obvious scope for real synergy and local investment opportunities/service development and improvement around core principle 

Child poverty 

Andrew Fraser provided a presentation on child poverty. This covered the key drivers to reduce poverty: income from employment; costs of living; and income from benefits and Social Security. The presentation also described action being taken under the child poverty action plan, communities funding package and winter support plan.

Andrew asked the LG to consider the following questions:

  • what learning has been identified through the COVID response which could aid recovery /renewal and help to tackle child poverty?
  • how can services be adapted to provide whole family support, enabling needs to be addressed holistically? What is already working well?

Due to time constraints, Grace proposed that LG pick up these questions and other issues at the meeting on 11 March. Follow up item on child poverty to be included on agenda for 11 March.

Action plan update (papers 22/03 and 22/04) 

Iona Colvin gave an update on progress with the action plan. CELCIS and CYPIC have offered their support in defining outcomes and other improvement work required to implement the plan. Iona will be meeting colleagues dealing with drug policy issues to help take forward the workstream on substance misuse and mental health interface with adult services. Action plan highlight report to be provided to next LG meeting. 

Any other business 

Sheila Gordon raised concerns over residential children’s home guidance for COVID-19. Scottish Government guidance classifies residential child care as medium risk and this is resulting in unhelpful measures in respect to children and young people such as full PPE for staff. Iona Colvin responded that she is addressing this issue with CMO and others and will update leadership group on the outcome of her discussions. Iona Colvin to update leadership group on issues arising from residential care home guidance for COVID-19.

The leadership group’s next meeting on 11 March will be a ‘deep dive’ on infant, children and young people’s mental health.

Back to top