Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities Core Leadership Group minutes: February 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities Core Leadership Group on 24 February 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Fiona Drouet, Emily Test
  • Suzanne Marshall, College Development Network
  • Rachel Adamson, Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
  • Jill Stevenson, University of Stirling/AMOSSHE
  • Davena Rankin, UNISON
  • Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland
  • Nicholas George Edwards, University of Aberdeen/University HR Network
  • Debbie Browett (Chair), Steven Paxton, Harriet Luto, and Daniel McCarron, Scottish Government.


  • Mr Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training
  • Andy Witty, Colleges Scotland
  • Niamh Kerr, Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Nicole Beattie, NUS Scotland

Items and actions

Introduction and welcome

Debbie Browett welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies from the Minister (in light of the international crisis), Andy Witty (Colleges Scotland), Niamh Kerr (Rape Crisis Scotland), and Nicole Beattie (NUS Scotland). In the absence of the Minister, Debbie Browett chaired the meeting.

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 15 December 2021 were approved.

Consultation on draft annual operating plan

Scottish Government officials advised members that consultation on the draft Operating Plan is ongoing with one-to-one discussions are set to be completed with  members in the coming weeks. The Group were invited to comment on the working draft document.

Members commented that, in its current draft form, the Plan was too broad in scope and that it would be helpful to narrow its focus down to the key, deliverable objectives, with consideration to the time and commitment required from the participating organisations and their capacity to effectively contribute to task and finish groups.

It was noted that the Group’s work should be additional to any other activities that are currently ongoing in this space and that we should continue to be mindful of duplication.

Members, in noting the role of the SFC in relation to colleges and universities and ongoing work in schools to tackle the roots causes of GBV, highlighted the importance of clarification on the of resourcing available for each objective, prior to agreeing on a final version of the Plan.

Scottish Government officials advised that, at this stage, it was envisaged that funding for the Plan could come from the Advanced Learning and Science departmental budget.  The budget position, however, was not yet settled but officials would keep the Group up to date with progress and update on all the points raised around resourcing at the next meeting.

Action: Scottish Government officials to liaise further with Group members on the Plan via correspondence, and to submit a final draft for the Group to consider, by correspondence, prior to the next scheduled meeting.

Post-meeting update: Consultative phase has now been completed (April 2022) and a draft Plan will be shared with members.

Action: Scottish Government officials to provide Group members with an update on budget at the next meeting.

Update from Universities Scotland on staff-to-student sexual misconduct guidance

Susannah Lane, Universities Scotland, provided the Group with an update on the new Universities UK guidance on staff to student sexual misconduct, and offered to share the executive summary and media release with the Group.

Date of next meeting

The chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

The next meeting will take place on 24 May 2022.

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