National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: September 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, held on 11 September 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Ms Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair) 
  • Mr Toni Giugliano
  • Mr Nigel Henderson
  • Ms Lara McDonald
  • Ms Ruth Moss
  • Ms Jane O’Donnell
  • Mr Billy Watson 
  • Ms Angela Scott
  • Chief Superintendent Davie Duncan


  • Dr David Hall 
  • Mr George Dodds
  • Dr John Mitchell
  • Dr Amy Knighton
  • Ms Nicky Reid
  • Dr Michael Smith
  • Professor Steve Platt 

In attendance

  • Ms Innes Fyfe (Scottish Government)
  • Mr Andy Grierson (Programme Manager)
  • Professor Rory O’Connor (Academic Advisory Group)
  • Mr Craig Wilson (Scottish Government)

Items and actions

1. Welcome

1.1. The Chair welcomed Members to the Stafford Centre for the eleventh meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) (the Group), thanking them for their attendance. 


1.2. Apologies were noted by the Chair.


1.3. The Group noted that Chief Superintendent McKenzie had left the Group and welcomed his successor Chief Superintendent Duncan. They also welcomed Mr. Wilson to his first meeting.

1.4. The Group noted that Mr Jopling had left Samaritans to take up a role as Director of ProjectScotland and had left the Group and that this would be the last meeting for Ms Moss as she takes on a new role as a delivery lead.  The Chair paid tribute to Ms Moss’ passion for suicide prevention and her generosity in sharing her lived experience of the impacts of suicide as a member of the Group.

1.5. Ms O’Donnell informed Members that Cllr Peter Johnston would be returning to his duties at COSLA and Cllr Currie would be stepping down from his role as Interim Spokesperson for Health and Social Care.

1.6. The Chair would write to Mr Jopling, Ms Moss, Chief Superintendent McKenzie and Cllr Currie thanking them for their contributions to the Group. Action 11.1

July minutes 

1.7. The Chair noted the new approach to the minutes and appreciated the new style of summarising the main points and actions. Prof O’Connor asked for his apologies to be added to the July minutes. Action 11.2

Action log

1.8. Mr Grierson presented the Action Log. Open and ongoing actions were discussed and updated.  Mr Grierson proposed to close action point 9.4, merge it with 10.6 and set a date for a crisis support workshop session mapping exercise. Action 11.3

1.9. Prof O’Connor noted that action 8.19 is not complete as funding still needs to be in place for the Academic Advisory Group research post. Action 11.4

2. Suicide pevention ation plan updates

2.1. Action sponsors provided a brief verbal summary of progress. Updates were discussed on Actions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.

Action 1: Local planning

2.2. Ms O’Donnell presented a revised proposal to improve understanding of suicide prevention planning and action at a local level.  The approach is for 3-5 local areas to take forward tests of change, using improvement methodology in a way that will then be able to be evidenced and shared as good practice for other areas to consider. The proposal is for £300k-£500k of funding to be made available for these tests. This funding would include evaluation and development costs.  The Group agreed to recommend this approach to the Scottish Government.  They noted that there would be no allocation of funds before details of applications had been received and evaluated by a subgroup of the NSPLG.  They also agreed that the subgroup would draw membership with the right expertise and would not be restricted to existing NSPLG members. 

2.3. Ms O’Donnell remarked that she had hoped to be able to use an existing resource to take forward the best practice guidance but that this had not been possible.  She offered to contact the Improvement Service and explore whether this work could be expedited. Action 11.5

2.4. Ms Scott suggested providing guidance for local areas on the expectations of the change model as well as the criteria for applying to become involved and seek funding.  She also spoke about the importance of taking an improvement science approach and working within Local Outcome Improvement Action Plans (LOIPs). She agreed to present on tests of change at the next meeting. Action 11.6

Action 2: Training

2.5. The Chair provided an update in Ms Reid’s absence.  She noted the work underway to tailor training material to different audiences and the interdependencies with  Action 3 – Public Awareness and Action 7 – At Risk Groups, which it was agreed would be progressed by the Programme Manager. Action 11.7

Action 3: Public awareness

2.6. Mr Watson confirmed that a plan/timetable had been established for delivering the first phase of the work and this starts from next week.  The Sponsors would like to be in a position to appoint an agency to take this forward in November/December.  However, he highlighted that for the work to continue funding needed to be in place for the Delivery Lead.  Mr Grierson assured the group that the approval process was in train.

Action 5: Crisis support

2.7. The Group noted that the Chair had written to Mr Jacques Kerr, Senior Medical Officer and had invited him to be part of the work to take forward Action 5.  Mr Henderson remarked that he had been included in recent work on unscheduled care and the Distress Intervention Group chaired by Mr Kerr.  Plans for the crisis support workshop are now underway.

Action 8: Children and young people

2.8. Ms McDonald provided an update highlighting the work being taken forward by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Implementation Group.  Ms O’Donnell, as co-chair of that group reiterated the opportunities for close collaboration on preventing deaths by suicide of young people.    

3. Programme updates

Delivery leads and financial matters

3.1. Mr Grierson updated the group on progress in getting Delivery Leads in place. He confirmed that he would update the delivery lead structure diagram with names and contact details as Delivery Leads are appointed and circulate to Members. Action 11.8

3.2. Mr Grierson also undertook to keep the sponsors and host organisations updated with regard to funding arrangements. Action 11.9

3.3. The Chair remarked that it was good to see the plans for the Delivery Leads meeting regularly together as the Delivery Group and that this would be a perfect opportunity for risks and interdependencies to be explored and highlighted to the Group.  She asked Mr Grierson to prepare a stakeholder map/approach with the Delivery Leads as an early action. Action 11.10

3.4. Mr Grierson will provide an update on finances before the next meeting and as a standing item at future meetings. Action 11.11

Lived experience panel 

3.5. The Lived Experience Panel was launched by the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Mr Joe Fitzpatrick MSP at SAMH Redhall Walled Garden on World Suicide Prevention Day, Tuesday 10th September.

3.6. The Group noted that Mr Keir McKechnie had been appointed as the Lived Experience Panel coordinator. The Group agreed to invite Mr McKechnie to the next meeting to give an overview of his plans for the Lived Experience Panel. Action 11.12

3.7. The Group noted that the process of recruiting members to form the Lived Experience Panel would start soon and Members expressed their wish to attract a diverse group of applicants.  Members wished to be able to point interested people to the application process for the Panel and it was agreed Mr Grierson would provide details of how to do this. Action 11.13

4.    Integrated motivational-volitional (IMV) model

4.1. Prof O’Connor reminded the Group of the main features of the IMV model and spoke about its use in Ireland and Australia. Action 11.14

4.2. Prof O’Connor updated the Group on discussions around evaluation of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan and using the IMV model as a way of understanding and checking progress against the interim outcomes of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.  He spoke about the further development that was needed to show the relationship between the outcomes identified.

4.3. The Group noted that the proposed interim outcomes echoed the National Performance Framework and agreed the language used in the evaluation model reflects the Actions and vision of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

5. 2019 anual report update

5.1. Ms Fyfe had shared the draft annual report with the Group prior to the meeting and had made amendments as requested.  The group thanked Ms Fyfe for her work on the report and suggested some other small changes.  Ms O’Donnell confirmed that the draft report and recommendations would be discussed at the COSLA Health and Social Care Board meeting on 13th September.

5.2. Ms Fyfe updated the group on the timeline of publishing deadlines leading up to the publication date of Monday 30th September. It was agreed that the Secretariat would email the Group on Friday 27th September to remind them of the publication date and handling plan. Action 11.15

5.3. Mr Giugliano raised the need to consider policy areas such as employment, welfare and justice as being critical to suicide prevention, but noted that these were not specifically covered by the 10 SPAP Actions and suggested that the Group consider its approach to these and other wider areas as part of its second year work.

5.4. The Group reflected on the past year and discussed the approach to strategic discussion for the second year as more implementation and delivery is taken forward by the new Delivery Leads. 

6. Future metings

6.1. Mr Wilson provided a summary of the actions agreed during the meeting.  In addition to those items to be brought forward to the October meeting, the Chair reminded the Group that there would be an update on Action 4 proposals and an invitation to Ms Wendy Halliday, Interim Director of See Me to discuss their work on stigma. Action 11.16

7. Meeting close

7.1. The Chair thanked Members for their attendance and valuable contributions, and on behalf of Members, thanked the users and staff of the Stafford Centre for their hospitality.

Summary of actions from the NSPLG meeting held on 11 September 2019:

  • 11.1. The Chair will write to Mr Jopling, Ms Moss, Chief Superintendent McKenzie and Cllr Currie thanking them for their contributions to the Group
  • 11.2. The Secretariat will add Prof. O’Connor’s apologies to the July minutes
  • 11.3.  Mr Grierson will close action point 9.4, merge it with 10.6  and set a date for a crisis support workshop session for mapping exercise
  • 11.4. Action point 8.19 not complete. Ms Fyfe will chase the Scottish Government funding letter regarding Academic Advisory Group research assistant post
  • 11.5. Ms O’Donnell will speak with Sarah Gadsden, Interim Chief Executive of the Improvement Service about drafting of Best Practice Guidance on Action 1
  • 11.6. Ms Scott will deliver a presentation on tests of change at the next meeting
  • 11.7. Mr Grierson will link up the appropriate Delivery Leads re the interdependencies between Action 7‘s requirement to identify and prioritise At Risk Groups before Action 2 can proceed on training development and email Ms Reid when this has been done
  • 11.8. Once funding approval on Delivery Leads has been confirmed Mr Grierson will  recirculate the delivery leads update with Delivery Lead names included
  • 11.9. Mr Grierson will notify the Group when Delivery Lead funding is approved
  • 11.10. Mr Grierson will produce a stakeholder map and interdependencies process as part of the Delivery Group responsibilities
  • 11.11. Mr Grierson will circulate delivery costs and projections to the Group in advance of the next meeting and add finances to all future agendas
  • 11.12. Mr Grierson will invite Mr Keir McKechnie, Lived Experience Panel Co-ordinator to the next meeting to give the Group an overview of his plans
  • 11.13. Mr Grierson will send a suggested response email to the Group for when they receive requests to join the Lived Experience Panel
  • 11.14. Mr Grierson will ask Steve Platt for outcome data regarding use of the IMV model in Ireland
  • 11.15. The Secretariat will email the Group on Friday 27th September to remind them of the annual report publication date and handling plan
  • 11.16. Mr Grierson will invite Ms Wendy Halliday, Interim Director of See Me to talk about stigma at the next meeting

Future NSPLG meeting dates:

  • 23 October 2019: Hampden Park, Glasgow, G42 9BA
  • 4 December 2019: venue TBC
  • 15 January 2020: venue TBC
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