Improving outcomes for children, young people and families: review of Children’s Services Plans and strategic engagement activity

Summary review of children’s services plans for 2020 to 2023, in line with the Children and Young Peoples (Scotland) Act 2014, statutory guidance part 3. Highlighting key strengths, areas for development and details from strategic engagement with local children’s services planning strategic leads.

Appendix D - Children's Services Planning Strategic Leads Network: Terms of Reference

Network Purpose

To improve wellbeing outcomes for all children, young people and families across Scotland[18]. The Network does this by promoting collaboration between and across Children's Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs), Scottish Government and key stakeholders, with an aim of strengthening the development, delivery and accountability of Children's Services Planning arrangements.

The Network facilitates a supportive forum through which Network members:

  • Connect to share knowledge, resources and reflect on learning
  • Showcase and share good practice to support scale and spread
  • Influence and inform national policy, legislation and priority action
  • Identify need, and progress national/ local action to address policy priorities and respond to emergent needs of children, young people and families
  • Embed approaches which support prevention and early intervention and in line with the statutory aims of Children's Services Planning
  • Identify and contribute to improvement activity as this relates to Children's Services Planning, working collaboratively to find solutions
  • Proactively contribute and provide constructive challenge to the development of national/ local strategic approaches to improve outcomes for children, young people and families
  • Play a key role supporting post-pandemic recovery arrangements, highlighting relevant information which informs national/local action required to address the needs of children, young people and families in vulnerable situations.

Legislative/Policy Context

Children's Services Plans are key to the delivery of Getting it right for every child, at a strategic, operational, and practice level. Children's Services Planning is a joint statutory requirement of the local authority and health board, to work in partnership with public bodies, statutory and Third Sector organisations, children, young people, families and communities, to locally exercise the functions conferred by Part 3 (Children's Services Planning) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.These functions cover both 'Children's Services and 'Related Services' as set out in Part 3 Statutory Guidance.

Network Membership

A list of current Network members is included at Table 1 below. This includes:

  • Strategic Lead representation from each Children's Services Planning Partnership
  • Representatives on behalf of key sectors and/ or bodies
  • Scottish Government policy leads.

Meaningful participation of children and young people is supported via local partnership youth participation networks and through the network of children/young people's forums engaged with national policy and strategic development work. Additional engagement and/ or consultation will be proactively considered by the Network. Additional local and national stakeholders may be invited to additional specific Network meetings or events where this widens engagement on a particular area of interest/ development.

Diagram 1 – Governance

An overview of reporting and accountability for the Children’s Services Planning Strategic Leads Network and associated governance groups. 

The Children’s Services Planning Strategic Leads Network is a subgroup of and reports to The Collective leadership Group.  In turn the 30 Local Children’s Services Planning Partnerships engage at a national level through the Network.  Though not directly accountable to one another the Network also reports information to and from representatives in Scottish Government Policy Teams/Working Groups; The UNCRC Implementation Board; and the GIREFC Leads Stakeholder Group.

Children's Services Planning legislation sets out statutory duties with direct accountability to Scottish Government Ministers mandated through a 3-year planning cycle and annual reporting. Updates from Network meetings will be shared, where appropriate, with the relevant Cabinet Secretary and Minister through portfolio meetings.

The Network may, where required, escalate issues for resolution or make recommendations to inform decision-making and consideration by the Collective Leadership Group. The Network is accountable for responding to requests from the Collective Leadership Group and Ministers in support of action required to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Network members have individual and collective responsibility to progress implementation of UNCRC, GIRFEC and The Promise as fundamental aspects of Children's Services Planning. The Network will support and contribute to this through co-development of approaches and collaboration with relevant governance, delivery, and stakeholder groups.

Ultimate accountability is to Scotland's children, young people and families.


The Network is co-chaired by Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families, Scottish Government and Carrie Lindsay, Executive Director for Education & Children's Services, Fife Council (Strategic Lead for Fife CSPP).


Secretariat is provided by the Scottish Government Strategy Team at: C& and will:

  • Prepare and provide the chair's brief
  • Provide a point of contact and communication for Network members
  • Organise/ facilitate Network meetings, and support engagement and connectivity
  • Inform members of meeting arrangements and circulate agenda/ papers
  • Capture Network minutes and issue these to members, highlighting follow-up action.

Role of Network Members

Network members should:

  • Promote ongoing development of the Network through contributing to agendas, sharing good practice and learning and engagement with Network members
  • Ensure regular attendance and proactive participation in the Network
  • Have sufficient authority to deliver the aims and agreed Network tasks with local/ national partners and colleagues, to support implementation of required policy or resource commitments as these relate to Children's Services Planning
  • Appoint an alternate attendee where unable to attend (alternate attendees for Strategic Leads will preferably be another agency/ Third Sector representative who is a member of the local strategic/ leadership group with responsibility for Children's Services Planning)
  • Share Network minutes with relevant colleagues, and where a strategic lead, with membership of the local CSP strategic partnership
  • Support agenda setting within their own partnership/ team/ organisation which ensures colleagues are cited on the strategic Network's activity and focus
  • Coordinate responses and progress action on behalf of their partnership, organisation or policy area, as agreed by the Network, or requested by the Collective Leadership Group.

Meeting Frequency

  • The Network will meet quarterly, with dates notified in advance.
  • Meetings remain virtual at present, with a move to a blended approach of virtual and face-to face meetings when pandemic-related restrictions permit. Continued arrangements to accommodate virtual attendance will be made as far as possible when members are unable to attend in person.
  • Additional topic-specific sessions will be and offered to support in-depth exploration of specific areas of policy and practice related to development/ delivery of aspects of Children's Services Plans as identified through Network engagement and national priorities.
  • Virtual engagement platforms will further support Network interaction.

Table 1 – Summary of CSP Strategic Leads Network Membership

Children's Services Planning Partnerships

Aberdeen City


Argyll and Bute


Dumfries & Galloway

East Ayrshire

East Dunbartonshire

East Lothian

East Renfrewshire

Edinburgh City



Glasgow City




North Ayrshire

North Lanarkshire



Scottish Borders


South Ayrshire

South Lanarkshire



(Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross)

West Dunbartonshire

Western Isles/Outer Hebrides

West Lothian

Other Organisations/ Professional Bodies


The Promise Scotland

Care Inspectorate

Public Health Scotland (PHS)

Third Sector Representation

CELCIS Representation

Children in Scotland

National TSI Network

Scottish Government Policy Representation

Children & Families Directorate

Strategy, GIRFEC & the Promise Division

Learning Directorate

Office of the Chief Social Work Advisor (OCSWA)

Family Unit

Midwifery & Nursing

Promise Implementation

Care, Protection & Justice

Improving Health & Wellbeing

Mental Health & Social Care

Early Learning & Childcare


Population Health

Poverty Division, Housing & Social Justice

Children & Young People's Collaborative (CYPIC)

Children's Rights/ UNCRC Implementation

Adverse Childhood Experiences & Resilience


Public Service Reform

Children & Families Analysis

Social Justice Delivery Unit


Email: C&

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