Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport meeting with Care Home Relatives Scotland (CHRS): FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Details of the meetings the Minister for Older People, Christina McKelvie, has had with each of the following since March 2020:

  • Care home staff
  • Care home residents
  • Care home residents’ family members
  • Care home resident or family member lobbying groups
  • Representatives of Scottish care

Please detail the date, length and title/agenda of each of these meetings.

Please provide all information held relating to the above request, including but not exclusively all information held in the following formats: email, internal messaging, hardcopy, letter, file, report, graphic, publication, hand written notes, typed notes, minutes, transcript, website and social media.


The operation of care homes is the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

The Minister met with Care Homes Relatives Scotland on 2nd October 2020, along with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and the Minister for Mental Health and I enclose some of the information you requested, namely a copy of the agenda and a note of the outcome of the meeting.

Details of the Cabinet Secretary for Health’s engagements in relation to care homes as well as all ministerial engagements can be found at : Ministerial engagements, travel and gifts -
Exemptions under sections 38 and s30 (b)(i) of FOISA applies to the information you have requested.

Exemption under Section 38 of FOISA applies to some of the information requested and relates to personal information. We have therefore redacted some names of members of the public and officials to protect their right to privacy under the data protection legislation. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test'.

Exemption under section 30(b)(i) of FOISA (free and frank provision of advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. This exemption recognises the need for officials to have a private space within which to provide free and frank advice to Ministers and officials before the Scottish Government reaches a settled public view. Disclosing the content of free and frank advice will substantially inhibit the provision of such advice in the future, particularly because policy will continue to be revised to reflect the ongoing response to Covid-19.

This exemptions is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to consider these fully, in developing policy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport meeting with Care Home Relatives Scotland (CHRS) – 2nd October 2020


  • Progress on plans to open up further visiting options
  • Care Home Relatives Survey
  • Further engagement and discussions

CHRS: redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted
Scottish Government: Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Older People and Equalities, Fiona McQueen redacted redacted, Donna Bell, 

Next steps

  • Take forward the immediate updates to enhance visiting (SG)
  • Update Donald MacAskill on meetings with CHRS at next Ministerial meeting (SG)
  • CHRS – reach out to Scottish Care (CHRS)
  • Consider support for care homes to implement guidance
  • As part of this use adult social care winter plan as a way to underline the importance of visiting and the role of stakeholders in supporting care homes to adopt visiting.
  • Develop FAQs
  • Consider ‘go to’ website with information for families
  • Ministers and CHRS meet again to discuss progress

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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