Disabled young people: National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy Strategic Working Group minutes - April 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 24 April 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Julie Cuzen, ARC Scotland Parent Carer Network 
  • Michelle Wilson, Children's Health Scotland
  • Esther Bates, Children's Health Scotland 
  • Claire Vekic, Colleges Scotland
  • John Urquhart, COSLA
  • Marianne Scobie, Glasgow Disability Alliance
  • Lee House, Independent Living Fund Scotland 
  • Una Macfadyen, National Managed Clinical Network for Children with Exceptional Healthcare Needs
  • Edwin Jesudason, NHS Lothian (representing adult health)
  • Elizabeth McBride, Promoting a More Inclusive Society (PAMIS)
  • Gemma Richardson, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 
  • Beth Shackley, Scottish Government
  • Sarah Lawson, Scottish Government
  • Rachel Bell, Scottish Government
  • Jo Derrick, Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (STAF)
  • James Fletcher, Scottish Transitions Forum Parent Carer Network & ARC Scotland
  • Rebecca Williams, Scottish Transitions Forum Parent Carer Network & ARC Scotland
  • Fergus McMillan, Skills Development Scotland
  • Mark Smith, Social Work Scotland
  • Rob Gowans, The Health and Social Care Alliance
  • Fiona Whelan, Universities Scotland 


  • Billy Anderson, Children in Scotland
  • Lucy Johnson, Children in Scotland
  • Frances Foreman, Education Scotland
  • Sam Nicholson, Education Scotland
  • Fiona Burns, Scottish Funding Council
  • Eilidh Fulton, Scottish Funding Council

Items and actions

Welcome and sign-off of previous meeting minutes and actions

RB welcomed attendees, invited sign off on previous meeting minutes from 14 March 2023 and introduced new members, including parent carer representatives, and adult health representatives.

RB offered a reminder that the updated membership list will be published on the gov.scot webpage, and members will be notified when the page is live.

RB shared the outcomes of today’s meeting:

  • to agree the definition of transitions to support the scope of the National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy for disabled young people
  • to agree the rationale for the strategy
  • to begin to develop the vision statement for the strategy

What do we mean by ‘transitions’?

The group considered the question ‘what do we mean by transitions?’ for the context and scope of this strategy.

SL emphasised that this strategy, which aims to improve disabled children and young people’s experiences of transitions to young adult life, should complement rather than duplicate existing policies/strategies/plans which already contribute to improving outcomes for disabled young people making the transition to adulthood. 

The Association for Real Change (ARC) Scotland’s definition of transition was shared for the group’s consideration:

‘Transition is the period when young people [aged 14-25] develop from children to young adults. This is not a single event, such as leaving school, but a growing up process that unfolds over several years and involves significant emotional, physical intellectual and physiological changes. During this period young people progressively assume greater autonomy in many different areas of their lives and are required to adjust to different experiences, expectations, processes, places and routines. Transitions also impact on the family or on those who care for the child or young person.’

Feedback from the group suggested the definition to be used for this strategy should explicitly focus on the disabled young people, and that the scope should be from 14 years old up to a disabled young person’s 26th birthday, to align with support provided to care-experienced young people. There were also suggestions that both health and person-centredness should be included in the definition. One member reflected that for some young people, building the capabilities for transition to (more) independent adult life may need to start earlier than 14. They suggested, as the strategy develops, consideration should be given to the role of adult services in these preparatory and planning phases. 

Action: Scottish Government officials to draft a definition, based on feedback, for agreement by the group at the next meeting.

Why do we need this strategy? 

SL shared some known sources of evidence that support the need for this strategy, and invited members to share any they are aware of.

SL summarised the barriers to positive experiences of transitions that recur throughout the evidence, and invited further reflections from the group. These included:

  • availability of – and access to - services to support young people
  • partnership working across agencies, including shared transitions training for professionals
  • provision of information

Action: Scottish Government officials to consider feedback from the group in drafting the rationale for the strategy.

What do we want to achieve?

SL shared details of recent work undertaken with a group of disabled young people, the Inclusion Ambassadors, to contribute to the development of the vision statement for the strategy.

The group was invited to share their reflections on how transitions make disabled young people and their families feel, which included: confused; fearful; apprehensive; worried; and lacking in preparedness, choice, options, and personal autonomy. 

The group then contributed their views on one improvement they would wish to see in transitions for disabled young people and one hope they have for disabled young people in the transition to adulthood in the future. Reflections from the group included:

  • having access to the right support
  • person-centred approaches
  • young people and their families feeling in control

Action: Scottish Government officials to consider feedback from this group, along with contributions from young people’s groups, in drafting a vision statement for the strategy.

Any other business, next meeting date, and close 

RB closed the meeting and confirmed the next meeting date – 5 June 2023 10-11.30am.

Members are invited to share any further feedback by emailing DCYPtransitions@gov.scot


  • Secretariat to issue meeting invites to all members until August 2023
  • Scottish Government officials to collate feedback from session into draft definition and rationale for agreement at next meeting
  • Secretariat to circulate minutes and presentation slides for members’ review and feedback by 10 May 2023
  • Scottish Government officials to consider feedback from the group for drafting the transitions definition, rationale and vision statement for the strategy
  • Scottish Government officials to establish methods for collaborative sharing of documents amongst the group. Members are invited to send suggestions to mailbox above 
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