Independent Review into the Delivery of Forensic Mental Health Services - Planning and Collaboration Short Life Working Group: 19 November 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 19 November 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Mr Gavin Gray (Chair)
  • Ms Hannah Axon
  • Ms Kate Bell
  • Ms Catriona Dalrymple
  • Dr Ian Dewar
  • Mr Gary Jenkins
  • Mr Gordon Johnston
  • Ms Lorraine Keith
  • Mr James Meade
  • Professor Lindsay Thomson
  • Professor Angela Wallace


  • None

In attendance

  • Ms Jenny Coltman
  • Ms Innes Fyfe
  • Ms Maggie Young

Items and actions

Welcome & introductions and agreement of AOB

The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG) and introduced the task in hand to engage widely and to recommend a way forward on the planning, collaboration and governance of Forensic Mental Health Services. The group agreed that the work of the SLWG was not to re-run the Independent Review but to consider the findings of the Independent Review in the context of other developments in order that the implementation of changes will be beneficial to patients, families, professionals and the public.

The Independent Review Final Report was welcomed as an opportunity by the SLWG. The Chair reiterated that the Scottish Government response was clear in its support and that change is needed to address the issues highlighted. The SLWG will engage on options and steps to take in addressing the issues which led to the recommendation to create a single NHS board for Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland. 

There were no additional items to add to the agenda for this first meeting.

Remit and membership of the Short Life Working Group

The SLWG agreed the Remit and Terms of Reference (ToR) subject to the following amendments:

  • the inclusion of the role of the SLWG in taking account of any work/changes already underway and how it might impact on options
  • the inclusion of the explicit intention that work to improve or deliver services should not be impeded by the work of the SLWG
  • the inclusion of a description of the breadth of options to be considered. For example, planning and collaboration improvement could be part of an option that does not change accountability
  • the addition of a member with experience of forensic Intellectual Disability Services
  • the addition of members with insight on South East and North regions – including one with experience of regional planning

Members were invited to provide additional amendments by 23 November to allow publication of the ToR on the Scottish Government Website shortly afterward. Action: All

Inclusive approach to decision making

The SLWG agreed that timing will be a major consideration to ensure meaningful engagement and there were concerns as to how realistic it would be to have engagement events during January and February given the anticipated winter pressures. The Chair will advise the Minster for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care and the secretariat will draw up a new schedule to take account of this risk. Action: Gavin Gray/Innes Fyfe 

The SLWG agreed that transparency and engagement will be key to the success of the work and that all papers, minutes and materials should be published as soon as practicable. Action: Innes Fyfe

Kate Bell gave a presentation setting out the methodology for options appraisal and approaches to service change. Following discussion, the SLWG agreed that the Government Green Book (2020) methodology provides an inclusive, robust and evidence based approach. A project Initiation document will be drawn up, including a description of members’ roles and responsibilities, to support this approach and shared at the December meeting. Action: Innes Fyfe

The SLWG agreed that organisations such as National Services Scotland and Health Improvement Scotland should be aware of this work and that it would be helpful to hear from them on proposed contributions to this work. The Chair will write to both organisations on behalf of the SLWG. Action: Gavin Gray

The SLWG agreed that in addition to an emphasis on engaging with those with lived experience of using or being affected by forensic mental health services, that professional bodies and staff side partnership must be part of the work.

The SLWG discussed the varied definitions used in Forensic Mental Health Services and agreed to send to Innes Fyfe examples from literature and practice for collation and consideration. The SLWG agreed that carrying out a piece of early work on definitions is critical to the future service change process.

Action: All

Future meetings and timeline

December and January meeting dates will be circulated. 

Action: Maggie Young



Date of next meeting

To be confirmed.

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