National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: December 2018

Minutes from the meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG), held on 10 December 2018.

Attendees and apologies


Ms Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair)

Mr George Dodds

Mr Toni Giugliano

Dr David Hall

Mr Nigel Henderson

Mr James Jopling

Dr Amy Knighton

Ms Lara McDonald

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie

Dr John Mitchell

Ms Ruth Moss

Ms Nicky Reid

Ms Angela Scott

Dr Michael Smith

Mr Billy Watson



Ms Jane O’Donnell


In Attendance

Ms Innes Fyfe - Scottish Government

Ms Katie Godfrey - Scottish Government

Ms Siobhan Mackay - Scottish Government

Professor Rory O’Connor - Academic Advisory Group (AAG)

Mr Allan Steele - Scottish Government

Ms Lyndsay Wilson - Scottish Government

Items and actions

1. Welcome from the Chair


1.1.       The Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) (the Group) welcomed members to their fourth meeting.

1.2.       Apologies had been received from Ms O’Donnell.  She was attending COSLA’s Health and Social Care Board to present the NSPLG Delivery Plan for the Board’s consideration.

Minutes from Meeting 3: 14th November 2018

1.3.       The minutes of the November 2018 meeting of the NSPLG were approved for publication.  ACTION 4:1

Actions from Meeting 3: 14th November 2018

1.4.       Academic Advisory Group (AAG) The Chair referenced the Terms of Reference for the AAG which had been circulated to members prior to the meeting.  It was noted that an update and opportunity for discussion would be provided at Agenda Item 3.

1.5.       Sponsor Specification and Innovation Fund: Further to discussion at the previous meeting, it was agreed that the Sponsor Specification and Innovation Fund documents will be published on Knowledge Hub. The Group agreed that it’s Terms of Reference should be updated to reflect the Innovation Fund paper. ACTION 4:2

1.6.       Knowledge Hub: The Chair thanked Secretariat for creating  a Knowledge Hub space for the Group and encouraged Members to use it to share information and engage with each other.

1.7.       Delivery Plan: The Chair thanked members for the significant effort that has gone in to producing the Delivery Plan and noted this would be discussed further at Agenda Item 2.

1.8.       Comms and Engagement Plan: Ms Mackay updated the Group on efforts to secure communication and engagement support for the Group.  This followed previous Group discussions about a collaborative Secretariat, as reflected in the Group’s Terms of Reference and in line with the intention of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (page 7) that this would be provided from organisations within constituent members of the Group with Scottish Government funding (i.e. from the £3 million funding allocated to support the Group and its work) announced in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

1.9.       Members of the Group had been invited to outline what support they could offer and details of the consequential expenses that would be incurred by them.  Ms Mackay reported that following Scottish Government consideration she could confirm that Samaritans would develop a Communications and Engagement Strategy on behalf of the Group with expenses reimbursed.  The Group was content that this would be a time limited exercise of 15 to 20 days work that would commence in the New Year. Mr Jopling and Ms Mackay agreed to take forward this work on behalf of the Group. ACTION 4:3

Discussion also  moved on to the broader point of how the Group worked with Scottish Government to inform any allocation of funding from the £3 million announced in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan to support both implementation of the Plan and the work of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG).  This would need to set out roles and responsibilities. It was agreed that Secretariat would provide further advice to the Group on spend. Action 4.4

1.10.    Mapping Exercise - Ms Mackay updated the Group on the approach to a policy mapping exercise.  Support had been offered by NHS Health Scotland and the Group had requested Secretariat to develop a proposal for consideration.  The scope of the initial mapping was agreed to draw together  the knowledge that already exists within the Group.  Secretariat would progress this with NHS Health Scotland. ACTION 4:5

1.11.    Lived Experience Event - The Chair invited feedback and discussion from those who had been in attendance at the Lived Experience Panel event on Monday 3rd December 2018.  This Event had been specifically organised through the Health and Social Care Alliance to provide an opportunity for  individuals with lived experience of suicide to comment on the NSPLG’s draft Delivery Plan.  It also provided an opportunity to explore how the voice of lived experience could continue to contribute to the work of the NSPLG.

1.12.    Members reflected that those with lived experience very much wanted their voice to be heard and to see real changes arising from the Delivery Plan. Mr Dodds commented that the lived experience attendees felt stigma still played a large role when talking about suicide and highlighted the huge importance of early intervention and having a long term investment in children and young people’s mental health.  Amendments were made to the Delivery Plan as a result of this meeting to reflect the views expressed. The Chair reaffirmed the Group’s  commitment to continue engagement with individuals with lived experience more broadly, as reflected in its draft Delivery Plan. As agreed at the November meeting of the Group, a number of NSPLG members would come together to agree an ongoing process for engagement.

1.13.    Ms Mackay confirmed that a meeting had been organised for Monday 14 January 2019 for the lived experience sub-group to meet. The Group consists of Mr Jopling, Mr Henderson, Mr Watson, Ms Moss, Dr Smith and Ms McDonald.

1.14.    Environmental Scanning - Members updated the Group on a range of activity and developments.   Mr Jopling had recently met with representatives from Nesta (a global innovation foundation). He noted potential learning for the work of the Group. Dr John Mitchell highlighted the publication of the NSPCC Childline Annual Report on 7 December 2018. This showed that engagement had slightly dropped  while the proportion of calls regarding suicide was sitting at around 9%.

1.15.    Professor O’Connor and Dr Mitchell raised that the Scottish Suicide Information Database (ScotSID) report which was published on Tuesday 4th December 2018 and flagged some of the observations - the link between inequalities and suicide, that two thirds of those who completed suicide had had contact with services and the level of those completing suicide who were in employment at the time.

1.16.    The Group discussed that a number of statistical publications had been published the same day as ScotSID and the impact that the timing of these had on the potential for suicide prevention awareness.

1.17.    Mr Dodds agreed to speak with colleagues at NHS National Service Scotland/Information Services Division around the timings of statistics and publications. ACTION 4:6

1.18.    Dr Mitchell highlighted two publications planned for around the same time as the NSPLG Delivery Plan. This included Review of the arrangements for investigating deaths of patients in hospital for treatment of mental disorder which is being produced by Professor Craig White under Section 37 of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 and  the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce Delivery Plan. Both of these reports would be relevant to the work of the NSPLG. He also highlighted a suicide prevention exhibition that was taking place at Scottish Parliament between 11-13th December 2018.  It was agreed he and Ms Reid would attend as members of  the NSPLG.

1.19.    Professor O’Connor highlighted a worldwide Suicide Prevention Conference which will be taking place in Derry in September 2019. The Group agreed that this will be added to the timeline of events. ACTION 4:7

1.20.    The Chair noted the establishment of an expert review of mental health support for young offenders, led by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) .  This would be an important piece of work for the Group to link in with.  The Chair had been invited to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by HMIPS on Thursday 13th December 2018 and a member of the Secretariat will attend in the Chair’s absence.  The Chair also updated the Group on discussions with Business in the Community (BITC). The Chair and Mr Watson met with Mr Thornburrow of BITC to discuss suicide deaths and the role of employees. It was highlighted that Suicide Prevention and Mental Health First Aid Training opportunities exist in smaller businesses is limited in comparison with larger business. BITC have a strong interest in the work of the Group and The Chair agreed to pass contact details to Ms Reid. ACTION 4:8

2. Delivery Plan   

2.1.       The Chair opened the Delivery Plan discussion with  feedback from her meeting with the Minister for Mental Health on 6 December. The Minister had been impressed with the draft Delivery Plan and wanted the Chair to feedback her personal thanks to members in meeting the milestone to publish by end of December 2018.

2.2.       During the course of the meeting, Ms O’Donnell sent feedback from the COSLA Health and Social Care Board that she was attending . COSLA requested a revision in partners for Action 1, 2, 4 and 5 which the Group accepted.  The Group also noted COSLA’s comments that certain actions, such as training and pilots could have a significant financial impact and that any new “burden” on local authorities should be  fully funded. 

2.3.       Ms Wilson gave an overview of the latest draft Delivery Plan,  based on discussions with  members since the last meeting and also the feedback from the Lived Experience Panel. The Chair also introduced the ‘Chair’s Narrative’ that will accompany the Delivery Plan. Some small adjustments were suggested and it was agreed that these, along with the amendment from Ms O’Donnell could be made by the Secretariat without further reference to the membership.  ACTION 4:9

2.4.       The Delivery Plan was discussed by members, considering individual actions as part of the whole. Members discussed and agreed the Delivery Plan for publication, noting that it addressed all of the Actions set out in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

2.5.       Members also discussed the needs of a range of audiences that they must engage with to take forward and communicate the work of the Group and the Delivery Plan.  Members agreed this would need to picked up through its Communication and Engagement Strategy, future iterations of the Delivery Plan and Annual Reports.  In light of that, Members agreed that the  Chair’s narrative should be explicit about the vital contribution made by those with lived experience and should express the intention of the group to keep interested parties informed as work progresses. ACTION 4:10

3. Academic Advisory Group (AAG)

3.1.       Professor O’Connor presented the proposed AAG Terms of Reference (ToR) and how it might support the work of the Group both through horizon scanning (new evidence / developments) and reacting to the needs of the Delivery Plan actions. The Group discussed areas of work which would be helpful to explore now, including a summary of what is happening elsewhere to help the Group consider if there are additional areas of interest or action to explore and also support around Action 7 – identifying risk groups.

3.2.       The Group agreed that the AAG should aim to reflect not just academic expertise but also improvement methodology and practice.  The Group also discussed how the AAG might support local as well as national activity, how it might support small tests of change as well as broader evaluation work, and how it might link in with developments around Scotland’s new public health body.   The Group suggested that that the AAG might ultimately aim to maximise its profile in order to impact more widely than just the work of NSPLG.

3.3.       The Group agreed the AAG’s ToR subject to the addition of a bullet on ‘working with NSPLG on production of its Annual Report’ Professor O’Connor stated that if the ToR was approved then they would begin approaching members to be a part of the AAG.

3.4.       The Secretariat will follow up with Professor O’Connor and Professor Steve Platt and amend the AAG ToR. ACTION 4:11

4. Delivery Plan publication

4.1.       Members reiterated that this was an initial Delivery Plan which would evolve with more detail over time. The Chair emphasised that the Delivery Plan, should focus as far as possible at this early stage on specific deliverables as well as enablers. The Chair and members agreed that publication would go ahead on Thursday 20th December 2018.

4.2.       Ms Moss and Ms McDonald offered to provide a quote for media use on publication of the Delivery Plan alongside that of the Chair. The Secretariat will collate all the lines and circulate to the Group prior to publication. The Group also agreed to circulate contact details for Member organisations communications officers in advance of the meeting.  ACTION 4:12

5. Meeting Close

5.1.       The Chair closed the meeting by thanking members for their clear commitment to the work of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group and their passion for delivering the commitments set out in the National Suicide Prevention Action Plan, which was evident in the volume and quality of the work being done between NSPLG meetings.

5.2.       The Chair proposed and it was agreed that a planning session would take place in January to establish a wider workplan for the Group. Dr Smith asked if the AAG could scope what they feel are important areas for the Group to focus on.  Mr Watson also highlighted that alongside Dr Smith, they had collated a list of who they felt were the most at risk groups and it was agreed he would present on this during the January and February meetings.

5.3.       The Chair reiterated the importance of spending time during the January and February meetings to establish how the Group will work together and the importance of covering issues such as mapping, sequencing and spend. ACTION 4:13 & 4:14 

Summary of Actions from the NSPLG Meeting held on 10 December 2018:

4:1 - Secretariat to publish November Minutes  

4:2 – Secretariat to update and publish Terms of Reference to reflect the Innovation Fund paper.

4:3 - Mr Jopling to work with Ms Mackay to put in place arrangements for Communications and Engagement strategy work and Samaritans contribution to the collaborative secretariat.

4.4 - Secretariat to provide advice on roles and responsibilities with regard to the funding announced in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

4:5 - Secretariat will progress the mapping exercise with NHS Health Scotland

4:6 - Mr Dodds to liaise with colleagues at NHS Scotland/ISD around the timings of statistics and publications.

4:7 - Secretariat to add the conference mentioned by Professor O’Connor to timeline (Sep 2019).

4:8 - The Chair to pass contact details for BITC to Ms Reid.

4:9 - Secretariat to amend Delivery Plan to reflect agreed adjustments.

4:10 - The Chair will work with Ms Mackay to reflect the Group’s comments on her narrative to accompany the Delivery Plan.

4:11 – Secretariat will amend AAG ToR to include ‘working with NSPLG on production of Annual Report’.

4:12 - Secretariat will make arrangements for communications on the publication of the Delivery Plan on 20 December 2018.

4:13 – Chair and Secretariat to plan agenda for the January and February meetings to allow the group time for planning. January as a session around prioritisation, sequencing and spend (including presentation / discussion on what works and at risk groups).  The February meeting for co-sponsors to present sequencing of work / interdependencies across actions and at-risk groups.

4:14 – The Secretariat will inform the planning work of the group with draft approach to spend from the Innovation Fund and programme management methodology.

Future NSPLG meeting dates:

23 January 2019 - Commonwealth House Glasgow

20 February 2019 – Saughton House Scottish Government - Edinburgh

20 March 2019  - Hampden Park – Glasgow – Ms Reid confirmed Hampden will host meeting




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