GIRFEC Practice Development Panel: minutes February 2018

Minutes from the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) Practice Development Panel meeting on 13 February 2018.

Attendees and apologies


Ian Welsh, Chair
Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP
Professor Paul Martin, University of West Scotland
Mike Burns, Social Work Scotland
Norman Conway, Police Scotland
Maureen Falconer, Information Commissioner’s Office
Sally-Ann Kelly, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland
Jennifer King, Association of Directors of Education Scotland
Annette Holliday, Unite/Community Practitioners and Health Visiting Association
Joanna Murphy, National Parent Forum Scotland
Norma Shippin, Central Legal Office, NHS National Services Scotland
Chris Creegan, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability
Juliet Harris, Together Scotland
Susan Quinn, Educational Institute of Scotland
Helen Malo, Royal College of Nursing, attending on behalf of Lorna Greene


Lorna Greene, Royal College of Nursing
Ann Houston, Child Protection Committees Scotland
Eddie Docherty, Scottish Executive Nursing Directors
Peter Hessett, Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome and opening statements by Panel Chair and Deputy First Minister

Panel Chair

Ian welcomed and thanked members for joining the Panel. The Chair set out his ambitions for the group to focus on the practical issues that need resolving. Ian outlined his professional and personal experience. He is Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance and leads them to achieve the ALLIANCE vision for a Scotland where people who are disabled or living with a long term condition and carers have a strong voice and enjoy their right to live well. He is also a Non-Executive Director of NHS Ayrshire and Arran Board and East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership. Ian is also a former teacher and is a father to a learning-disabled adult son.

Ian also made clear he will ensure that the Panel’s independence is supported and promoted by his role as the Chair. Ian outlined that a transparent approach to the Panel’s work is expected. He noted that panel members will be able to share drafts with stakeholders, organisations and professional networks and they are encouraged to engage as widely as possible. Panel members highlighted that will take time to review responses from stakeholders and engage with their members and networks. Some had quite formal approaches to this, given the constitution of their membership organisations.

As part of this transparent approach, the Chair has offered to meet representatives of the main political parties, without prejudice, to understand their views.

ACTION: The Secretariat to support the Chair in arranging these meetings with representatives of political parties

Deputy First Minister statement

The Deputy First Minister (DFM) welcomed and thanked the Chair and Panel members for agreeing to establish the Panel. The DFM shared his firm belief that progress is required on information sharing. There were too many historic cases where wellbeing had not been safeguarded, promoted and protected, and where poor information sharing had been part of the reason why.

The DFM said that he had anticipated that Parliament would want to see a Code of Practice for information sharing as part of the introduction of the Bill in 2017. To assist the Committee, an illustrative draft Code was developed quickly and the DFM acknowledged that, as a result, this had been done without adequate consultation. The DFM shared that he had reflected on the Committee’s views and the evidence submitted, and had to accept that the illustrative draft Code, as it stood, had become a barrier to progression of the legislation.

The DFM stated that the authoritative draft Code of Practice for Information Sharing, when presented to the Education and Skills Committee, should not be so complicated that it is inaccessible. However, it needed to be sufficiently clear that good quality, binding practice will be delivered. The DFM informed members that he remains committed to having in place a Code that commands the confidence of stakeholders and practitioners.

The DFM also assured members that he expects the work of the Panel to be done in an independent and transparent way. DFM emphasised Ian’s role as an independent Chair and noted that he will only attend future meetings on the invitation of the Chair. He also noted that the Scottish Government officials will provide support to the Panel, when required.

Item 2: Introductions - Panel members and Scottish Government officials

Panel members, along with supporting officials, introduced themselves, the organisations they represent and their roles.

Item 3: Terms of reference

The Chair opened the floor for Panel members to ask any questions or express thoughts on the Terms of Reference. Some Panel members asked about sharing drafts of the Code with their stakeholders. The Chair encouraged a transparent approach and advises members to share drafts and engage with stakeholders, organisations and professionals networks as widely as possible.

The Panel requested some changes to the objectives in the remit to reflect two aspects of their ambition. The first that the objectives should reflect system wide change in public services, not just public sector or children’s services. Secondly, they asked that rights holders’ (i.e. children and their families) experience, expertise and practical knowledge should also be the foundation of the code.

ACTION: The Secretariat will circulate an updated remit to members.

Item 4: Framework for Primary Legislation, the Code of Practice, Statutory Guidance, resources and support materials

The Chair informed the Panel that a legal focus group including a small number Panel members with legal expertise will be established to work in lockstep with the Panel. This focus group will look in detail at the technical, legal aspects of drafting the Code and will include Panel members Norma Shippin, Peter Hessett and Maureen Falconer. In addition, Alison Reid, Child Clanlaw who is not a member of the Panel, has also offered her assistance with these legally focussed discussions.

ACTION: Legal focus group to prepare an update ahead of the second meeting of the Panel.


It was confirmed by officials that the liability for duties are on the Named Person Service provider, not on the individual practitioner.

ACTION: Secretariat to note that Panel would like to discuss the responsibility that practitioners hold and the role of regulatory bodies at a future date

Panel members discussed consent. Some highlighted that informed consent is the basis of current, best practice and the members wanted this be reflected more clearly. Others highlighted that that consent has to be only one of the options, as it would not be suitable as a mandatory requirement. Some members expressed interest in a potential amendment to the Bill on consent, particularly in relation to the changes under GDPR. While the Chair noted that amendments to the Bill are outwith the remit of the Panel, he noted that further consideration of consent would be helpful.

ACTION: Legal focus group to consider and provide views on consent to Panel at the next meeting.

Workforce training

The Panel acknowledged the need for training and support for workforce and welcomes work that the National Implementation Support Group (NISG) is considering under the workforce strand.

ACTION: Secretariat to keep the Panel briefed on progress on training and support for workforce led by NISG

Item 5: Future Planning

Stakeholder engagement

The Chair asked Panel members to suggest and build on existing stakeholder engagement plans, circulated in correspondence, to ensure transparency and to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views. Panel members agreed that they would like to engage with stakeholders, including but not limited to the following:

  • children and young people who are more likely to have their information shared
  • parents
  • regulatory bodies
  • practitioners groupings, including guidance teachers, ASL co-ordinators

The Panel agreed that it would like to test iterations of draft code with stakeholders groups.

ACTION: The Chair asked members to make recommendations on enhancing the existing stakeholder engagement plans.

ACTION: Secretariat to circulate summary of existing engagement with children and young people on information sharing as part of the Named Person service.

Priorities, date and agenda for the next meeting(s)

The next meeting is scheduled for 14 March.

ACTION: Panel Members are invited to submit agenda items for the second meeting.

ACTION: Secretariat will circulate minutes and action points to the Chair and members and when finalised, publish them on the Scottish Government website as soon as possible.

Information sharing bill and legal framework presentation February 2018.pdf



Post: GIRFEC Practice Development Panel
c/o Scottish Government
Children and Families Directorate
Victoria Quay

Telephone: 0300 244 4000 (0300 numbers are geographically neutral)

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