National Child Protection Leadership Group: January 2019

Minutes from the January 2019 meeting of the National Child Protection Leadership Group.

Welcome and apologies 

1. The Chair welcomed members to the meeting and noted apologies. The Chair also welcomed new members; Nicola Dickie and Mairi Macpherson, and guest speaker Bill Alexander. It was noted that Kevin Mitchell is representing Peter Macleod, the new Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate.  

Minute of last meeting 

2. Alison Gordon asked that paragraph 18 of the minute from the last meeting on 2 October 2018 be amended to reflect that the discussion about the desirability of establishing a single point of contact was complementary rather than a substitute for existing channels. All members agreed with this. The minute of the last meeting was then agreed as an accurate record. [Action 1, Fiona Marshall]  

3. The Chair noted that action 1 from the last meeting was for the revised guidance to be issued through CPC Scotland to Child Protection Committees for final comment and invited Kevin Mitchell to provide an update.  

4. Kevin advised that a few further amendments had been made to the guidance which is on track to be published at the end of January. Following a meeting with the Scottish Government adult protection team it had been agreed that one or two lines would be added to refer to the possibility of the guidance being extended to cover other aspects of Chief Officer public protection responsibilities.

 5. The Chair noted action 2, which was for SallyAnn Kelly to provide a further update on feedback from the CCPS Children’s Committee regarding information sharing and the implications of GDPR and invited SallyAnn to update the group.   

6. SallyAnn advised that a further email had been sent to CCPS Children’s Committee members but that no responses had been received to date. The Minister highlighted anecdotal reports of concerns and asked what more could be done to draw out the issues. SallyAnn agreed to consider.  [Action 2, SallyAnn Kelly] 

7. The Chair also noted action 6, which was for Neil Hunter to provide an update on the CPIP Children’s Hearings recommendations. Neil advised that policy instructions were being prepared for the next phase of work on the Blueprint for processing Children’s Hearings cases. Further work on legal mapping is being done in relation to the proposed legislative change to include 16 and 17 year olds in the Children’s Hearing System. The work will be linked with the minimum age of criminal responsibility which will require a significant look at the power of Children's Hearings. 

GIRFEC Leadership Offer – Paper 1 

8. The Chair introduced Bill Alexander, Associate, Children in Scotland, as a guest speaker. Children in Scotland has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a leadership offer to support local partnerships to fully implement the GIRFEC approach and Practice Model.  Bill has been appointed as the Chair of the National Child Protection Guidance Review Steering Group and this appointment will help to ensure that the review is aligned with work to further embed the GIRFEC approach. The Steering Group will provide an update on the National Child Protection Guidance Review at each Leadership Group meeting in 2019. [Action 3, Bill Alexander]

 9. Bill provided the group with background information on the leadership offer, which aims to support local partnerships and local leadership to collaborate effectively and achieve sustainable integration. Rollout is planned for March 2019. This will be in the form of a leadership blueprint and work with a couple of partnerships initially.  Input about the nature of partnerships is being sought and this will be supplemented by volume seminars about collective leadership. It was agreed that the link should be made to child protection leadership activity. It was noted that permission and endorsement will be required from senior leaders before the offer is rolled out nationally. The group welcomed the update and highlighted the opportunity to link with ongoing strategic relationship events. 

Children’s Services Strategic Planning – Verbal Update

 10. Iona Colvin provided an update on the current programme of visits to CPPs to discuss children’s services strategic planning.  To date ten visits have been completed and local areas have been very welcoming.  From these visits it has emerged that local leadership is key to assessing priorities and needs in what can be a cluttered landscape. Themes emerging from the visits are:

  • Leadership at all levels
  • How partnerships are working together at a national level
  • Importance of changes to individual leaders
  • The level of data asks by Government and how to make sense of that data
  • Improvement support and the role of Government in supporting and sustaining in local partnerships

11. A strategic event will be held in June and it is proposed that a support network for children’s services leads will be established. The group welcomed the update and recognised that the work supports the early intervention and prevention agenda.

Priority Subgroup - Paper 2

12. Neil provided an update from the priority subgroup. The action plan has been refined to include ownership, timelines and purpose for each action and aligned with the agenda of Leadership Group meetings. Neil brought to the attention of the group the actions that are red; mandatory training for key health professionals and information sharing. Mairi Macpherson informed the group that a letter from the Independent Panel to the Deputy First Minister will be published on the Scottish Government website shortly. It was noted that engagement and participation of young people and parents is an amber action and requires more definition and timelines. Kay Tisdall offered to assist with this.  [Action 4, Neil Hunter, Secretariat].

13. It was agreed that updates should be scheduled in for areas of linked work to provide updates to the Leadership Group. Linked areas include CSE, neglect, internet safety and trafficking. It was agreed that the work of the Mental Health Taskforce would be added to the list of linked areas. [Action 5, Neil Hunter]

14.Iona provided an update on the Clinical and Care Governance events. To date there have been three events which have taken an appreciative inquiry approach and engaged with over three hundred professionals. An update paper will be brought to the next Leadership Group meeting. [Action 6, Iona Colvin]

Child Protection Chief Officer Induction - Paper 3 

15. Anne Houston provided an update on the action to ask CPC Scotland members about information currently given to new Chief Officers. Information was received from 25 of the 30 Child Protection Committees. One CPC indicated that a formal induction process had been developed with a variety of less formal arrangements being highlighted by others. Anne advised that there is openness and interest amongst CPCs for a formal induction. There was agreement in the group that a national induction programme is necessary to address the variation across the country. The Leadership Group had previously suggested that one induction covers child protection, adult protection, MAPPA and the prevent agenda given the structure of local public protection arrangements. It was noted that the programme will need to recognise the variability in scope of responsibilities with some areas core to all COGs and some areas (such as domestic abuse and substance misuse) which are additional areas of responsibility for some COGs. It was agreed that a paper would be brought back to the next meeting.  [Action 7, Lindsay MacDougall] 

COLEs Subgroup - Paper 4  

16. Sharon Glasgow provided an update on the work of the group.  The subgroup have made a number of recommendations for the next event based on feedback gathered from the attendees of the first events and from those who did not attend. It is proposed that this year’s event will be for Chief Officers only and designed as a peer support opportunity, where those with comparable responsibilities will have a safe space to explore challenges and achievements in their leadership. Based on views gathered at the first events, it is recommended that this year’s event is developed and facilitated primarily by Chief Officers themselves. The group agreed these recommendations.  It was also agreed that culture change should be on the agenda of the next event.  Nicola Dickie volunteered to join the subgroup to provide local government input [Action 8, COLEs subgroup]. 

17. At a recent meeting between Scottish Government child and adult protection policy leads it was suggested that the events might be widened to include aspects of adult protection given Chief Officer public protection responsibilities.  The group agreed to this suggestion if Chief Officers supported. 

Shared Dataset for Children and Young People in Need of Care and Protection – Paper 5

18. Sharon updated the group on the development of the dataset which is being currently being tested in three areas. There are challenges at national level around shared definitions and commonality. A further paper will be presented once feedback has been gained from the test areas.  It was agreed by the group that this will be minimum dataset with clear definitions to enable comparisons. [Action 9, Sharon Glasgow] 

Initial Case Reviews and Significant Case Reviews – Paper 6 

19. The Leadership Group discussed a paper on national standards for reviewers at its last meeting.  The group asked for work in relation to reviewers to be progressed alongside the other SCR recommendations and considered in the context of current evidence about what constitutes effective SCR practice.   

20. Sharon introduced the paper which summarises progress to date across the three existing recommendations and Leadership Group and CPC Scotland discussions to date, and recommends that a reference group is established to oversee all SCR improvement work, reporting to the Leadership Group in due course on progress. The group discussed the need to consider work on ICRs and SCRs in the context of wider work on Child Death Reviews. 

21. The group reviewed the progress that had been made in implementing the three recommendations. There was agreement that the pace of progress needs to increase and there was a discussion about the resources needed to do this. Iona agreed to discuss with Leadership Group members and come to the next meeting with a clear proposal. [Action 10, Iona Colvin] 

Child Protection Register iVPD Flag – Paper 7 

22. Elaine Galbraith provided an update on the Child Protection Register iVPD flag. The flag will quickly alert police call handling staff and police officers attending incidents that there has been sufficient previous professional concern about a child to warrant placing them on the child protection register and provide details of the lead local authority contact.  The next steps are to agree a Memorandum Of Understanding with local authorities, add information from local authorities to the database and undertake training.  

Revised Guidance for Health Professionals – Verbal Update 

23. Wendy provided an update on the initial scoping work for the revised guidance for health professionals. She highlighted the need to ensure that the guidance aligns with professional guidance, and the ethos and principle of the national child protection guidance. She also emphasised the importance of maximising the contribution of the NHS workforce, making the guidance relevant to them, providing clarity on safeguarding, and mitigating unwarranted variation. Wendy will provide a further update in April. [Action 11, Wendy Mitchell] 

Working with the Chief Social Work Officer – Paper 8 

24. Angela Leitch shared a draft paper that will support relationships between Chief Executives/Chief Officers of NHS Boards and local authorities and the Chief Social Work Officer. Angela asked members to provide any feedback before the paper is finalised. The group discussed how best to disseminate the paper and agreed that the Chief Officers Leadership Event would be one route.  

New and Emerging Risks 

25. Children and young people with disabilities. It was confirmed that the revised National Child Protection Guidance would include guidance on protecting children and young people with disabilities. It was also confirmed that the Children and Young People with Disabilities Child Protection Network is also being re-established. 

26. Paedophile rings The group was informed that a number of investigations have been conducted by Police Scotland. To date, nothing on the scale or level of organisation seen in England has been found in Scotland. Police Scotland work closely with the National Crime Agency and regularly review and respond to emerging risks in this area in the light of current intelligence.

Date of next meeting

27. Tuesday 30 April 2019 in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

Attendees and apologies


Maree Todd

Minister for Children and Young People (Chair)

Claire Burns

Co-Director, CELCIS & Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures

Peter Diamond

Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)

Nicola Dickie

Chief Officer for Children and Young People, COSLA

Alison Gordon

Chief Social Work Officer, North Lanarkshire & Social Work Scotland

Sharon Glasgow

Child Protection Programme Lead, CELCIS

Anne Houston

National Chair, Child Protection Committees Scotland

SallyAnn Kelly

Chief Executive,  Aberlour, and Chair of Committee on Care & Support for Children and Young People, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland (CCPS)

Angela Leitch

Chief Executive, East Lothian Council, Strategic Lead for Children and Education, including Child Protection SOLACE

Wendy Mitchell

Chief Nurse and Head of Child Protection, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Neil Hunter

Principle Reporter/Chief Executive, SCRA

Kay Tisdall

Professor of Childhood, Edinburgh University

Iona Colvin

Chief Social Work Adviser, Scottish Government

Mairi Macpherson

Deputy Director, Creating Positive Futures, Scottish Government



Eddie Doyle

Scottish Government Senior Medical Advisor for Paediatrics (attending on behalf of Catherine Calderwood)

Elaine Galbraith

Public Protection, Police Scotland (attending on behalf of DCS Boal)

Kevin Mitchell


Executive Director of Scrutiny and Assurance, Care Inspectorate (attending on behalf of Peter Macleod)

Janie McManus

Strategic Director for Scrutiny, Education Scotland (attending on behalf of Gayle Gorman)

Bill Alexander

Associate, Children in Scotland

Louise Ward

Child Protection, Scottish Government

Lindsay MacDougall

Child Protection, Scottish Government (Secretariat)

Fiona Marshall

Child Protection, Scottish Government (Secretariat)



Judith Ainsley

Head of Child Protection, Scottish Government

DCS Lesley Boal

Head of Public Protection, Police Scotland

Iona Colvin

Chief Social Work Adviser, Scottish Government

Gayle Gorman

Chief Executive, Education Scotland

Susan Hannah

Head of Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative, Scottish Government

Fiona McQueen


Chief Nursing Officer, Scottish Government


Catherine Calderwood

Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer

Susan Downes

Child Protection, Scottish Government (Secretariat)

National Child Protection Leadership Group: January 2019


Susan Downes
Senior Policy Officer

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