GIRFEC Practice Development Panel: minutes June 2018

Minutes from the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) Practice Development Panel meeting on 26 June 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Ian Welsh, Chair
  • Professor Paul Martin, Child Protection Committees Scotland
  • Mike Burns, Social Work 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
  • 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
  • Lorna Greene, Royal College of Nursing
  • Eddie Docherty, Scottish Executive Nursing Directors
  • Annie Hair, standing in for Annette Holliday, Unite and Community Practitioners and Health Visiting Association


  • Kenny Meechan, Glasgow City Council


  • Ann Houston, Child Protection Committees Scotland
  • Peter Hessett, Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators
  • Susan Quinn, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Brian Johnston, Police Scotland

Items and actions

The Chair welcomed members and asked if they were content with the minutes from the last meeting. Panel members confirmed they were content.

The Chair informed the Panel of his meeting with the Deputy First Minister to update him on progress made by the Panel on the draft Code of Practice for information sharing. The Chair confirmed that a letter would be issued to stakeholders informing of these developments. The Deputy First Minister was also informed of the CEL29, Local Authority and GIRFEC Lead Officer meetings which the Chair and Panel members attended.

The Panel were also updated on the discussion between the Chair and Ross Greer MSP which reflected cross party aspects and emphasis on stakeholder engagement.

Draft Code of Practice for Information Sharing

The Chair welcomed John Paterson, from the Scottish Government Legal Directorate to update the Panel on changes which have been incorporated into the draft Code which reflected comments received by Panel members and the discussion from the Legal Focus Group.

The Panel were informed that the Legal Focus Group had a detailed discussion on consent and emphasis on a rights based approach to be included within the draft Code. Suggested amendments were made to provide more clarity around informing rights holders before their data could be shared. In general, the Legal Focus Group are broadly supportive with the latest progress on the draft Code. The Panel were informed that further comments from Norma Shippin and Maria Galli were to be added into the draft Code.

Action: the Chair asked legal colleagues to add further comments from Norma Shippin and Maria Galli into a redrafted Code by Friday 29 June.

The Chair asked for initial views on the latest version of the draft Code from Panel members who are also members of the Legal Focus Group. Norma Shippin stated that she was content with the approach and suggested minor changes. Maureen Falconer stated that she was happy to the see the process for organisations and duty holders included, suggesting that this was a helpful addition. She suggested that additional introductory text may help to provide further clarity in some areas of the draft Code. Kenny Meechan suggested that the Code should not be restatement of existing law. He felt the safeguards were helpful and the current draft as a whole was a sensible approach. He suggested the addition of further content to explicitly show that the draft Code is aimed primarily at organisations and those who have duties under Parts 4 and 5 of the 2014 Act and not the individual named people.

The Chair invited views from the wider Panel on the latest version of the draft Code for information sharing. The Panel as a whole were happy with the latest progress with the draft, with some further suggestions made on language and structure. Juliet stated that she was happy to see more emphasis on a rights based approach incorporated but asked for the Legal Focus Groups views on referring to Article 8 more exclusively in the draft Code.

Action: Legal Focus Group to provide views on the suggestion made by Juliet Harris that Article 8 should be referenced more exclusively.

GIRFEC policy guidance

The Chair invited the GIRFEC policy team leader to inform the Panel on current work on policy context. She presented an outline on the process to deliver up to date guidance to strategic managers and others working in children services and support them to ensure local practice accurately reflects the national policy ambition. She stated that this guidance will accompany the draft Code of Practice, when the presented to the Education and Skills Committee.

Stakeholder engagement update

The Chair invited Helen Fogarty, Scottish Government, to present to the Panel the current plan and timescales of stakeholder engagements. She highlighted that similar to the Panel’s aspirations for open and constructive stakeholder engagement, the Deputy First Minister’s preference for engagement being inclusive and meaningful. The Panel discussed whether they thought a September deadline was still practical given this context and availability of stakeholder over summer holidays. Panel members agreed that engaging with stakeholders within the summer holidays particularly those in the education sector would not be a sensible approach and suggested pushing the September deadline later into the Autumn to ensure those who wish to engage on the draft Code have the opportunity to do so.

The Chair concluded that the original September timescale as per the terms of reference may not be realistic in order to fulfil a meaningful engagement process. He will write to the Deputy First Minister to seek his views on this approach.

The Chair asked Panel members for views and suggestions on the stakeholder engagement process. Members suggested holding road shows events and workshops and how these events could be structured. Jennifer King encouraged engagement with children and young people, in line with this being the year of young people.

The Chair asked the Panel of their willingness to be involved in engagement events relevant to their sectors and invited members to suggest other engagement opportunities.

The Chair concluded that engagement will be primarily on the draft Code of Practice but welcomes views from stakeholders on statutory guidance and other supporting materials. The Chair was keen that views on financial resources and training requirements should also be considered as part of the engagement process. He informed the Panel that some members of the Education and Skills Committee have stated that engagement with them should happen before September. Secretariat to support this engagement.

Action: Secretariat to circulate a draft communications and engagement plan for the Panel’s consideration ahead of next meeting.

Action: Secretariat to identify an engagement process with the Education and Skills Committee.

Action: Secretariat to plan events for the Panel’s consideration and invite members to facilitate considering relevant sectors.



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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