Human Rights Bill Governance and Engagement Executive Board minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 13 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Paul Johnston, Scottish Government

  • Alexis Camble, COSLA,

  • Alison Byrne, Scottish Government

  • Catriona Henderson, Police Scotland

  • Chris McCoy-Lavery, Visit Scotland

  • Erica Russell-Hensens, Scottish Funding Council

  • Hugh McAloon, NHS Scotland

  • Jackie Irvine, Care Inspectorate

  • Jillian Matthew, Audit Scotland

  • John McMorris, SQA

  • Kavita Chetty, Scottish Government

  • Luis Felipe Yanes, Scottish Human Rights Commission

  • Melanie Field, Equality and Human Rights Commission

  • Pamela Smith, Public Health Scotland

  • Ramsay Milne, Scottish Water

Lived Experience Board

  • Jacqui Dunbar, Together Scotland

  • Mhairi Snowden, Human Rights Consortium Scotland

  • Oonagh Brown, Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities


  • Alan Spiers, Police Scotland
  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland
  • Caroline Lamb, NHS Scotland
  • Carolyn McLeod, Audit Scotland
  • Edith McIntosh, Care Inspectorate
  • Fiona Robertson, SQA
  • Jim Savege, Aberdeenshire Council / SOLACE
  • Teresa Medhurst, Scottish Prison Service

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Paul Johnston welcomed members to the meeting, noted apologies received and highlighted those who are deputising on behalf of members.

Changes to the Human Rights Bill Team were outlined with new members of the Bill Team introducing themselves to the Executive Board.

The agenda was outlined with Mhairi Snowden, Oonagh Brown and Jacqui Dunbar welcomed to the meeting, to provide an update on the Lived Experience Board work that has been undertaken to assist with Bill development.

Human Rights Bill updates

Trevor Owen, Head of Strategy and Legislation at the Scottish Government, provided members with an update on the policy development work that has been progressing at pace in recent months. This included considerations of access to justice, method of incorporation, civil and political rights, and duties. The engagement undertaken with stakeholders from civil society, lived experience, duty bearers and academics was highlighted, with many of the Executive Board’s organisations involved in these discussions.

Neil Meehan, Bill Team Leader, discussed the engagement undertaken by the Bill Team with regards to forums such as the Advisory Board, Lived Experience Boards, internal work and noted we would be seeking agreement from members on the proposal for an Implementation Working Group in the new year.

It was also noted the Bill Team would be working to launch its consultation on the Human Rights Bill in the first half of 2023, with the aim of producing a clear and accessible document that is underpinned by engagement. There was an ask of Executive Board members to consider if there were any networks they are involved with that the Bill Team could speak to.

The importance of the Human Rights Bill being clear and actionable was stressed by members with devolved competence constraints also highlighted. Members were also clear that consideration should be given to alignment of reporting and monitoring within the Human Rights Bill so work can be joined up and drive progress.

Lived Experience Boards – update

Joe McKeown from the Bill Team introduced Oonagh Brown, Jacqui Dunbar and Mhairi Snowden to provide updates on the Lived Experience Boards.

Oonagh Brown provided an update on the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities Lived Experience Board and shared links to the reports completed by the group with Executive Board members. Key issues highlighted included the importance of access to justice, inclusion and accessibility.

Jacqui Dunbar from Together Scotland outlined the work of the Human Rights Detectives that are between the ages of 10 and 17 and providing views on behalf of children and young people to shape the Human Rights Bill. It was noted that a report on their work is due to be published by the end of this year which will focus on what a fairer Scotland would look like.

Mhairi Snowden explained the Human Rights Consortium Lived Experience Board includes 32 members from all backgrounds and have been nominated by civil society organisations. Mhairi described that discussions in this forum have been very positive with the group keen to ensure the Human Rights Bill is effectively implemented through clarity on rights and provides accountability.

It was noted that the consultation will look to incorporate the work of the Lived Experience Board within its structure and content and the Bill Team would share links to Lived Experience Board reports with the Executive Board when these become available.

Implementation Working Group proposal

Proposals for an Implementation Working Group were discussed. Executive Board members agreed with the proposal and advised they would get in touch with the Human Rights Bill Team to propose members to join the Working Group.

The importance of considering implementation at this early stage in the process was emphasised with key issues such as funds and capacity flagged as vital to the successful implementation of the proposed Human Rights Bill.    

Executive Board remit and focus

It was highlighted the remit and focus of the Executive Board would be reviewed in the new year to play a leadership role in linking wider work together. Further details would be shared with the Executive Board in due course alongside a flow chart showing how the forums will work together to develop the Bill.

Any other business  

Paul Johnston thanked members for their participation and noted the next meeting of the Executive Board is likely to be in April 2023.

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