Family Support Advisory Group minutes: March 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 2 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Laura Holton, Scottish Government (SG) Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team


  • Katherine Anderson, Children in Scotland
  • Claire Burns, CELCIS
  • Christine Carlin, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum
  • Sharon Currie, Public Health Scotland
  • Sylvia Douglas, MsMissMrs / Social Innovation Partnerships (SIPs)
  • Jillian Gibson, COSLA
  • Maureen McAteer, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland
  • Ann Sangster, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum – Third Sector Interfaces 
  • Claire Sweeney, The Promise Scotland
  • Judith Tait, Social Work Scotland
  • Ffyona Taylor, Scottish Women’s Aid

SG Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team

  • Linda Johnstone, Secretariat
  • Sarah Bruce
  • Jolanta Lisicka
  • Chris Martin, SG Analytical Services
  • Jaime Neal
  • Sarah Waldron


  • Jane Moffat, Care Experience and Whole Family Wellbeing Division
  • Fiona Steel, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Laura welcomed everyone to the meeting, in particular those attending for the first time and introduced herself as the Unit Head for the Family Support Wellbeing Programme Team.

As there were a number of new attendees, time was devoted to doing introductions by those present.

Laura reflected on the group’s previous work to date and highlighted that the Programme Team was keen to maintain the principle of co-production in delivering the programme, and have expanded routes for partner feedback to help ensure this.

Laura reflected on the recent governance changes to Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF), including the repositioning of Children and Leadership Group (CLG) to become the Children and Families National Leadership Group (C&FNLG).


  • circulate NLG membership (this is attached at the end of the minute)
  • share update on governance of the programme to FSAG

Where are we to date?

The Family Support Wellbeing Programme Team gave a summary of work to date, building on previous communications. Key points made by attendees were

  • funding to Children’s Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) has been baselined for 2022 to 2023 and 2023 to 2024. It was noted that CSPPs have been given the option to provide funding directly through Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs)
  • collaborative partnerships have been established with Glasgow City, East Lothian and East Ayrshire following a selection process from those CSPPs who applied (under Element 2)
  • a National Team has been established as part of the support offer and has started to meet with these CSPPs
  • a Learning into Action (LiA) network has been established as part of the national support offer to CSPPs. This was launched on 15 November and aims to facilitate sharing of learning, practices and challenges. A session took place in January on evaluation and reporting, and one is planned for later this month on Quality Improvement – an invite will be issued for this soon
  • IFF Research (independent evaluators) has completed the first set of interviews for the first wave of year 1 research
  • an Initial Findings note (based on a review of the CSPP initial plans template responses) was completed by IFF. Twenty partnerships identified third sector involvement in their plans. This note was circulated to FSAG via MS Teams
  • a research advisory group (RAG) has been established and the group will discuss the initial version of the IFF Interim Report. The report will be available mid-May time
  • work is progressing to review and update the Logic Model – this will be circulated for further review in the next few months
  • guidance and a reporting template has been developed following wide stakeholder engagement for CSPPs to update on their progress against their WFWF Initial Plans. This will form part of the Children’s Services Plan annual reporting cycle. This includes an emphasis on reporting of the role of the Third Sector partners in the delivery of WFWF work. The template and guidance is being issued week commencing 6 March – if interested in discussing it further FSAG members were asked to get in touch by close of Monday 6 March via the address with any further questions, queries or feedback
  • IFF will be undertaking further interviews over the summer period with service delivery partners, children and families
  • the case study areas for the evaluation are: Glasgow City, East Ayrshire, Aberdeen, South Lanarkshire, Fife and North Ayrshire
  • twelve projects have been identified under element three to receive funding based on transforming how families are supported. These were drawn from a number of projects put forward by SG policy teams and then assessed against criteria and feedback from FSAG, CLG and Directors’ Group. Information on the projects will be circulated shortly.


  • share a copy of the slides
  • re-share the IFF Initial Findings note
  • logic model to be shared with FSAG for comment in the next few months
  • FSAG members who wish to provide feedback, or have questions or queries, on the reporting template and guidance to get in touch no later than close Monday 6 March
  • Chris Martin to contact those directly who had noted an interest in the meeting chat
  • Jolanta Lisicka to issue invite for the Quality Improvement LIA
  • issue a summary of the Projects funded under Element Three

Emerging challenges

Laura outlined emerging challenges in delivering system change which had been collated based on feedback from a range of sources, including Strategic Leads Network, individual CSPP contacts, CSPP collaborative partnerships, the WFWF evaluation, and local authority Promise Leads.

She reflected that some of the challenges were WFWF specific, while some were linked to the wider budgetary and policy context.

FSAG were asked to consider if these chimed with the feedback they have experienced and to consider what it means, practically, for the Programme moving forward.

The following key points were raised through discussion

  • slow timescales for recruitment of staff at CSPP level had had an impact on the pace of delivery. It was noted that option for the SG to provide element one funding direct to Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) as part of their CSPP allocation had not been taken up by CSPPs – this had been built into the design of year one funding as one way of cutting through anticipated bureaucracy of recruitment. Rather, where funding had been provided to TSIs, this had been via CSPPs
  • communication around the programme needed further consideration, as there was still some reported uncertainty about the recurring nature of element one allocations
  • lack of clarity around future WFWF beyond the baseline allocations was causing concern
  • the challenges being faced by a number of third sector organisations were discussed, i.e. funding, as was the need for resource to be available within CSPPs to help both support the Third Sector but also to co-ordinate that offer/approach.

Moving forward and questions

Laura introduced the item noting that questions had been circulated in advance of the meeting with the ask that members engaged with their networks and collate appropriate feedback in advance of the meeting.

As part of developing the programme proposals for 2023 to 2024, SG welcomed feedback on how the programme design could address the challenges and opportunities that members and their networks had identified.

The following summarised points were made

  • meaningful engagement with the Third Sector was still patchy. There was a difference between Third Sector being represented on a strategic board, versus being actively involved in shaping service design
  • WFWF was operating within a wider context of severe budgetary pressures at local level. It would be important to ensure that funding remained protected for WFWF aims, and its impact was not diluted by the wider impact of budgetary cuts
  • the timescales for test of change are impacted by timescales for recruitment, in particular for Collaborative Partnerships. Can consideration be given to those timelines?
  • transformational change takes a long time – longer than the period of the programme. How can we be clear about what is achievable within the time period?
  • how do we support local areas to sustain change beyond the lifetime of WFWF?
  • support with local strategic communication of WFWF would be welcomed - developing a clear narrative on purpose and approach of WFWF which elected members, Third Sector, Integrated Joint Boards (IJBs), the public can use and relate to to maintain the priority of WFWF activity a priority
  • as part of this there is a role and challenge for FSAG (and their networks) to support the momentum of the programme
  • it was noted that some areas were focussing their year one funding on building strategic planning capacity rather than expanding service delivery. It was noted that this is permitted (and expected) as part of the criteria of year one
  • concerns that families who don’t fit a specific need profile aren’t getting the right support at the right time
  • improving commissioning and procurement of family support services is a challenging area and should remain a priority

It was noted in response to some of these points that

  • there is work underway to understand how WFWF can feed into broader work aimed at supporting engagement with the third sector, for example through the Supporting the Third Sector Project
  • the WFWF Logic Model provided a good basis for the narrative around the WFWF approach to transformation. It also helped frame expectations around what would be achieved in terms of intermediate and longer term outcomes. A key piece of work in 2023 to 2024 would be to review and update the model in collaboration with stakeholders

In terms of next steps, SG would seek to build these into the development of the programme proposals, and would connect one to one with members who had raised specific points which would benefit further exploration. Members were encouraged to continue to consider what WFWF can do to practically support organisations to deliver the change or how to support and facilitate conversations to allow this.


  • Sarah B to consider engagement point in CSPP allocation letter
  • all members to consider practical solutions for programme proposals 

Any other business (AOB)

There was no AOB

Date of next meeting

Laura noted that the group would now be asked to come together on a topic-based approach moving forward rather than a schedule of regular meetings.

The Family Support team will be in touch as appropriate for a meeting on the next relevant topic or to revisit this one. FSAG members were also invited to highlight at any time, conversations that they would like to have or see raised with the wider FSAG.

Annex A -Whole Family Wellbeing Funding (WFWF) programme team information

  • Laura Holton – Unit Head, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team - oversight and management of Programme
  • Gavin Russell – Improvement Advisor, Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC) - oversight of Collaborative Partnerships, commissioning and procurement, Learning into Action Network (LiA), Organisational Learning

Programme team:

  • Sarah Waldron – Team Leader, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Sarah Bruce – Team Leader, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Linda Johnstone – Programme Manager, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Jaime Neal – Senior Policy Officer, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Jolanta Lisicka – Senior Policy Officer, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Mary Sloan – Policy Officer, Whole Family Wellbeing Programme Team
  • Franca MacLeod – Principal Researcher, Children and Families Analysis
  • Chris Martin – Senior Research Officer, Children and Families Analysis
  • Nadine Andrews – Learning, LiA lead
  • Sacha Will – Glasgow City, CYPIC
  • Lesley Ann Henderson – Glasgow City, CYPIC
  • Stephanie Beringer – East Lothian, CYPIC
  • Laura Haggarty – East Ayrshire, CYPIC
  • Lorraine Sillars – East Lothian, CELCIS
  • Emma Hanley - Glasgow City, CELCIS
  • Kirsty Doull – East Ayrshire, CELCIS
  • Mihaela Manole – Data, CELCIS
  • Catherine Moody – Project, CELCIS

WFWF Children’s Services Planning Partnership key Scottish Government contacts

  • Sarah Waldron - East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire
  • Jolanta Lisicka - Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, Stirling
  • Sarah Bruce - Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Scottish Borders, Na h-Eileanan Siar
  • Jaime Neal - East Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland, South Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire
  • Linda Johnstone - Argyll and Bute, Highland, Moray, Midlothian, Clackmannanshire
  • Mary Sloan - West Lothian, Edinburgh City, Tayside
  • Gavin Russell - East Lothian, East Ayrshire, Glasgow City

Annex B – Children and Families National Leadership Group membership

Health Sector

  • Directors of Public Health (Lynne McNiven)
  • Child Health Commissioners (Lorna Watson)
  • Public Health Scotland (Debby Wason)
  • NHS Chief Executives (Pamela Dudek)

Social services

  • Care Inspectorate (Helen Happer)
  • Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) (Laura Lamb)
  • Social Work Scotland (Alison Gordon, Mike Burns – shared membership)
  • Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) (Mary Glasgow)


  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) (Sheena Devlin)


  • Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) (Elliot Jackson
  • Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) (Neil Hunter)
  • Police Scotland (DCS Sam Faulds)

Third Sector

  • Children in Scotland (Jude Turbyne)
  • Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) (Mary Glasgow)

Research and analysis

  • Public Health Scotland (Debby Wason)
  • Improvement Service (Sarah Gadsden)

Cross sectoral advice

  • Children’s Services Planning Strategic Leads Network Co-Chair (Carrie Lindsay)
  • The Promise (Fraser McKinlay)
  • Child Protection Committees Scotland (Alan Small)
  • Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group (DCYPAG) (Jim Carle)

Local Authorities

  • SOLACE (Louise Long – Co-chair)
  • COSLA (Laura Caven, Jillian Gibson)

Scottish Government

  • Director for Children and Families (Michael Chalmers – Co-chair)
  • OCSWA (Joanna MacDonald)
  • The Promise (Gavin Henderson)
  • Care Experience and Wellbeing Division (Jane Moffat)
  • Strategy and GIRFEC Hub (Jenny Hamilton)
  • Strategy and Children’s Services Planning Strategic Leads Network (Bryony Revell)
  • Secretariat (Peter Donachie, Emily Aitchison)
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