Coronavirus (COVID-19) Covid Recovery Strategy Programme Board minutes: 15 December 2021

Minutes from the meeting of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Covid Recovery Strategy Programme on 15 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for COVID-19 Recovery
  • Cllr Alison Evison, COSLA President

Board members

  • Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
  • Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy
  • Cllr Houston, Vice President, COSLA
  • Sally Loudon, Chief Executive, COSLA
  • Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, SCVO
  • Andrew Kerr, Chair, SOLACE
  • Sandy Begbie, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise
  • Louise Macdonald, National Director, Institute of Directors
  • Angela Leitch, Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Scotland
  • Paul Johnston, Director General, Communities
  • Mary McAllan, Director, COVID-19 Recovery
  • Linda Bauld, Chief Social Policy Advisor, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Summary of discussion points

The overall programme governance approach, the terms of reference and membership were agreed.

The Board reflected on the implications of Omicron and acknowledged that another tough period of the pandemic lies ahead. The Board agreed that work on recovery should continue to maintain momentum, but that resources should be allocated appropriately to Scotland’s ongoing response to the pandemic.

The Board emphasised their commitment to the approach of the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, focussing on joint, outcome led, person centred approaches to service delivery. It was noted that implementing these approaches in practical terms was likely to be challenging at times, but that the experience of the pandemic has shown that, where there is a clear imperative to work together, barriers and silos can be quickly overcome. The organisations represented on the Board have the collective ability to do this for policy making and delivery.

There was a clear agreement that the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy aligns closely with the national mission to tackle child poverty; this is the imperative that must drive collaboration. The three work streams of the programme (evidence, change, assure) will bring together the outcome frameworks that will inform policy and delivery, the good practice and building blocks of successful delivery that will put it into practice, and the data that shows how this is taking place. The Board’s role will be to oversee this work, and to provide consistent strategic vision.

There was agreement that the programme team will need to work quickly to establish programme structures, to investigate good practice, to identify where we can try new things, and to evaluate what works. To support this, an analytical group and the independent collaborative group will be established. A joint officials board with Scottish Government and COSLA will be established to drive this work forward.

It was agreed that key areas of focus would be to apply the approach to policy areas supporting the child poverty agenda. It was also agreed that proposals would be developed for considering geographic tests of approaches.


  • implement programme approach, including:
    • establishing relevant programme working groups
    • updating governance model to demonstrate interconnectedness between outcomes of the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy
  • develop work to apply programme approach to child poverty policy and delivery
  • develop proposals to test approach within localities to focus initial engagement
  • carry forward inter and intra - organisational engagement, including:
    • discussion on the Young Person’s Guarantee
    • engagement with Department for Work and Pensions
    • engagement work with economy colleagues and business organisations
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