Family Support Advisory Group minutes: 5 May 2022

Minutes of the Scottish Government Family Support Advisory Group meeting which took place on 5 May 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Jane Moffat, Scottish Government (SG) Strategy, The Promise and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)


  • Andrew Fraser, SG Child Poverty
  • Ann Sangster, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum, Third Sector Interfaces
  • Anne Lee, Public Health Scotland
  • Brian Houston, The Promise Scotland
  • Bryony Revell, SG Strategy and GIRFEC Hub
  • Chris Martin, SG Children and Families Analysis
  • Claire Burns, Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection (CELCIS)
  • Franca Macleod, SG Children and Families Analysis
  • Fraser McKinlay, Consultant
  • Gavin Russell, SG Children and Young People's Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC)
  • Jackie Brennan, SG Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Jaime Neal, SG Family Support Unit
  • Joanna MacKenzie, SG Early Learning and Childcare
  • Laura Holton, SG Family Support Unit
  • Linda Johnstone, SG Family Support Unit
  • Lyndsay Fraser Robertson, Children in Scotland
  • Mary Glasgow, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland
  • Nadine Andrews, SG Centre of Expertise
  • Nancy Fancott, for Maureen McAteer, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland
  • Sarah Bruce, SG Family Support Unit
  • Sarah Waldron, SG Family Support Unit
  • Mary Sloan, SG Family Support Unit - Secretariat


  • Christine Carlin, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum
  • Susan McGhee, Social Innovation Partnerships
  • Jacqui Pepper, Co-Chair, Perth and Kinross Council
  • Jillian Gibson, COSLA
  • Morven Ross, East Lothian Council
  • Fiona Steel, Children’s Sector Strategic Forum
  • Judith Tait, Social Work Scotland
  • Joanna MacDonald, SG Deputy Chief Social Work Adviser
  • Wendy Mitchell, SG Chief Nursing Officer Directorate

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Jane Moffat welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised of apologies and substitutions.

Jane reminded members to let Mary Sloan know if they had problems accessing the Teams channel and for new members to give Mary Sloan permission to add them to the channel.

Jane also reminded the group to let Mary Sloan know the other SG groups they are on – only two responses had been received to-date.


  • members to provide permission for teams access where needed
  • members to let the SG know of other SG groups of which they are a member

Whole family wellbeing funding (WFWF) spending proposals

Laura Holton provided an update.

Proposals were updated in light of comments from the Family Support Advisory Group (FSAG) and the Collective Leadership Group (CLG), and then put to Directors who recommended the approach to Ministers. Ministers subsequently agreed the approach. There had been little substantive changes from the document that FSAG had seen, with the exception that, in line with the FSAG recommendation, the funding split between tranche two and tranche three had been reset to £6 million and £12 million respectively.

  • tranche one – FSAG and wider stakeholder comments on the funding distribution were considered in finalising the proposed approach, which was then agreed by COSLA Leaders - the letter to Children Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) setting out the spending criteria is currently being finalised and will be shared
  • tranche two - Gavin Russell reported three well-attended voluntary drop in sessions for CSPP strategic leads had taken place with much enthusiasm about the offer -  discussions had taken place with CELCIS to help shape the ask - invitations to submit expressions of interest will issue shortly
  • tranche three - the proposals template for policy teams to complete will be issued shortly with a deadline for submitting completed templates of 30 May - FSAG will be invited to comment on the proposals


  • SG to share the CSPPs’ spending criteria when finalised
  • SG to issue invitations to submit expressions of interest
  • SG to invite FSAG to comment on tranche three proposals

How Good Is Our Family Support Framework (HGIOFS)

Sarah Bruce reported HGIOFS was out for comments, with a deadline of the end of the week but would welcome any requests for follow up conversations. She thanked the project team for their work and re-affirmed the framework is not a final version but one to test and adapt moving forward as part of year one activity.

Evaluation update

Franca McLeod presented, pointing out that the year one evaluation will inform funding decisions for years two to four and will be needed before the end of 2022. It will focus on implementation and initial impact; and what worked well for tranches one and two. Years two to four will have longer term evaluation focusing on processes and outcomes.

Comments expressed included:

  • timescales and ability to asses impact are challenging - Jane acknowledged this but added an initial assessment of progress is essential to inform future years’ funding and to help better understand the readiness of areas to move forward with this work
  • suggestions to re-think timescale, revisit the routemap and original vision, and think of barriers to change to assess what can be evaluated - Franca advised there would be an opportunity to look at the questions and sub-questions including questions on a range of things such as building relationships etc

Commissioning and procurement

The Commissioning and Procurement Short life working group met on 14 and 28 March. It has provided input into commissioning and procurement spending criteria for tranche one and a commissioning, and procurement section in the how good is our family support toolkit. The group identified a number of longer term challenges that would potentially benefit from continued work over the next year.

Evaluation workshop: WFWF Outcomes

Sarah Waldron introduced the item by advising that the SG are working on a logic model to help understand what is achievable within the first year of the funding and to break down the short, interim and long term outcomes for the funding.

Chris Martin presented and asked for feedback on the following questions.

Are these the right outcomes (early, intermediate, long term) and are there any missing?

  • other possible 'inputs', ie expertise, learning, leadership, new approaches, ie family wellbeing budgets that could feature
  • linkages could be made to the children, young people and families outcomes framework, to the original routemap and to the original aims of what we’re trying to achieve
  • additional outcomes could include mention of children's rights, access to support, reduction in the number of families requiring crisis interventions
  • could also include links to The Promise and to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • useful to have an example of what we mean by “improved family wellbeing” as an outcome

Who will these changes be with and for?

  • delivery agents, including third sector service providers - changes will also be required at CSPP level
  • families, including awareness of what services are available to them, the principles by which they should be delivered and how they can/should be part of that process of development

As a result of these activities and outputs, what are the expected changes in their understanding and/or behaviour?

  • reporting mechanisms will need to become more streamlined and easier to access with data from a variety of sources
  • the principles and values of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) will be strengthened through the removal of siloed working and improved working relationships
  • strategic decision-making processes at CSPP level will need to become more flexible and driven by the needs of families
  • shifts in power, control, choice, respect and accountability - also a shift in culture, values and belief about families’ rights to support and to access the right support to remove barriers
  • concern we are not being radical enough and in danger of missing a real opportunity for transformational change - need to change the way we think and operate, and not just focus on the funding - possibly need two theories for change

SG acknowledged that, based on the comments, it would be helpful to continue this discussion with members who wished to do so. SG would set up a meeting as soon as possible.


  • email comments to
  • SG to share the logic model and questions
  • Family Support Unit is happy to talk over tranche two proposals - any inputs and insights would be helpful
  • SG to set up a meeting to further discuss the logic model with members who had expressed an interest

Any other business (AOB)

There was no AOB.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting will take place in early June.

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