Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities Core Leadership Group minutes: August 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 19 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  •  Mr Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training
  • Alastair Sim, Universities Scotland
  • Nicole Beattie, NUS Scotland
  • Suzanne Marshall, College Development Network
  • Nicholas George Edwards, University of Aberdeen/University HR Network
  • Lynn Killick, Scottish Funding Council
  • Jill Stevenson, University of Stirling/AMOSSHE 
  • Natalie Webster, Colleges Scotland
  • Debbie Browett and Steven Paxton, Scottish Government


  • Fiona Drouet, Emily Test and Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland

Items and actions

Introduction and welcome

The Minister:

  • welcomed members to the first meeting of the Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities (ESCU): Core Leadership Group
  • set out his expectations for the group to lead action on ESCU
  • thanked them for their work to date

Terms of reference

The group discussed a draft terms of reference. These included:

  • developing a Strategic Plan, informed by the Equally Safe Strategy, to guide the future development of Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities
  • developing Annual Work Plans for Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities
  • producing Annual Reports
  • financial and Resource Planning
  • seeking out and developing partnerships to support and inform the work
  • participating, where necessary, in Task and Finish Groups
  • developing approaches to Monitoring and Evaluation and leaning from evaluation
  • a more frequent schedule of meetings in the early phases of the Group’s work to ensure movement at pace

It was agreed (a) that members forward their comments to Scottish Government officials, and (b) officials revert to the Group with a further draft Terms of Reference for its next meeting.

Membership of the group

The group discussed its membership, the importance of balancing numbers and expertise and the intersectionality nature of the work. It was noted that Trade Unions would be invited to join the Task and Finish Groups but that they should also be invited to the Core Leadership Group.

It was agreed (a) that others with relevant expertise could be invited to join the group, and (b) that officials reach out to STUC to offer membership of the group to a relevant Trades Union.

Immediate priorities

The group considered its immediate priorities in relation (a) the appoint of a Development Officer, and (b) other areas of work.

The proposed Development Officer would be based at the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and recruitment process for the post undertaken by the SFC. The role should include:

  • the provision of secretariat support to the Core Leadership Group
  • the drafting of strategic and operational plans and equality impact statements
  • financial and resource planning
  • operational and financial reporting
  • developing evaluation frameworks
  • forging and working on partnerships
  • informing wider equally safe developments, including the Joint Strategic Board
  • facilitating Task and Finish Groups

The group expressed views that the person recruited to the post should have expertise in Gender Based Violence, the role be at a more senior level than that proposed, and funding for the post should be for a period longer than one year.

Other areas of work that may be a focus included prevention of GBV in colleges and universities and Universities disciplinary processes.

It was agreed that (a) the group revert to officials with comments on the role, and (b) that officials present a high level job description for further consideration at the next meeting.

Schedule of meetings

It was agreed that the next meeting of the group be held in September 2021.

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