National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 14 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Ms Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair) 
  • Ms Julie Cameron
  • Ms Nicola Dickie
  • Mr George Dodds
  • Ms Fiona Drouet
  • Dr David Hall
  • Dr Amy Knighton
  • Ms Nicky Reid
  • Ms Angela Scott
  • Mr Billy Watson

In attendance

  • Ms Danielle Rowley, Samaritans Scotland
  • Professor Rory O’Connor, Academic Advisory Group
  • Professor Steve Platt, Academic Advisory Group
  • Ms Claire MacBride-Stewart, Programme Manager    

Scottish Government

  • Mr Dan Curran
  • Mr Oliver Pointon
  • Ms Morag Williamson
  • Mr Craig Wilson

Guest speakers

  • Ms Haylis Smith (items 5 and 6)


  • Dr Carol Buchanan
  • Mr Mike Burns
  • Dr Alastair Cook
  • Ms Claire Sweeney

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members to the thirtieth meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) (“the group”).

It was noted that this was to be the group’s last meeting in its current form as its work supporting delivery of the current Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP) came to a conclusion and its role was reshaped to support future delivery and governance arrangements. 

The Chair welcomed Mr Dodds undertaking a listening brief on behalf of Public Health Scotland in Ms Sweeney’s absence and Mr Pointon as a new member of the Scottish Government’s policy team.

Death of HM Queen Elizabeth II

The group wished to put on record that it was deeply saddened by the recent death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The group mourned her passing, were grateful for her life and dedication to this country and offered deepest condolences to the Royal Family. It had been decided to continue with this meeting during the period of national mourning as the group’s work impacted directly on preventing suicide in Scotland; delivery of services such as bereavement support and reviewing deaths by suicide; and the finalisation and publication of Scotland’s new suicide prevention strategy and action plan.

The group observed a one minute silence in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  


Apologies were noted.

July 2022 minutes

The Chair noted that the minutes from the group’s meeting in July had been circulated for comment and requested that any further comments be collated by the secretariat and sent to her to sign off. Action 30.1

NSPLG legacy films

There was a viewing of two films recently produced by Electrify, the group’s communications service, to mark the conclusion of the group’s work supporting delivery of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP).  The first film, “It’s Not Rocket Science”, had been co-produced with the NSPLG Lived Experience Panel (LEP) and reflected on the process and learning taken from establishing the LEP. The second film reflected on the achievements and legacy of the NSPLG over the past four years and featured LEP members. The films had been shown at recent events to mark the conclusion of the SPAP and celebrate the achievements of the Lived Experience Panel and both were available on the group’s social media channels. The secretariat undertook to share the films with the group. Action 30.2

Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP) – programme management update

A programme update and milestone map was shared with the group prior to the meeting.  Ms MacBride-Stewart highlighted key updates.

The action 3 Better Tomorrow campaign had run from 1 July to 11 September 2022 and evaluation of the campaign would soon get underway. It was noted that planned events for World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September had been postponed due to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and would be rescheduled. This included the installation of a pop up stand at Edinburgh Waverley Station featuring suicide prevention ‘question’ cards which people would be able to take away with the aim to encourage conversations about suicide.

It was noted that this would be Ms MacBride-Stewart’s last meeting. The Chair thanked her for her support and in particular for leading work with the Delivery Leads throughout her time as Programme Manager.

NSPLG 2022 annual report

It was noted that the group’s fourth and final annual report would be published in October 2022. Mr Curran reported that it would reflect the huge amount of work undertaken by the group and would include a timeline of achievements since 2018.  A working draft had been sent to members and they were invited to contact the policy team with any comments. Action 30.3. It was noted that the final report would be circulated to the group prior to publication. Action 30.4

Suicide bereavement support pilot – evaluation report

A summary of the first annual report for the suicide bereavement support pilots had been shared with the group prior to the meeting. It was noted that more detailed management information on the operation of the pilots was available and Ms Cameron, as Chair of the Pilot Steering Group, undertook to share this with the group. Action 30.5

Ms Cameron provided an overview of the evaluation report, noting that it focussed on the establishment of the service and partnership working, and that the second year report would contain more focus on the impact of the service. It was noted that the report identified some of the barriers faced by Police Scotland when making referrals to the service. Ms Cameron reported that while there was an ongoing  need to ensure frontline Police Scotland staff were aware of the pilot service and promoted it with families, Police Scotland had been very supportive of the pilot service. It was also noted that establishing a network to share updates would be helpful. It was reported that discussions were underway with the Scottish Government policy team about upscaling and further roll out of the service, and that this was considered to be a priority in the forthcoming new strategy and action plan. It was noted that further discussions would also take place between the policy team, service providers and the evaluation team to understand more about the impact of the service. It was reported that the next wave of data collection would take place between now and March 2023 and further gaps in data would be filled before the publication of the second evaluation report in summer 2023.

The Chair thanked Ms Cameron and everyone involved with the work around the bereavement support pilots, and noted that the evaluation lead could be invited to a future meeting to provide more detail about the service.

Suicide prevention strategy and action plan - update

Ms Williamson reported that the new joint Scottish Government and COSLA ten year suicide prevention strategy and its first action plan would be published on 29 September 2022. It was noted that consultation had closed on 23 August with 212 individual responses, and over 70 responses from organisations, resulting from the high level of proactive engagement undertaken. Ms Williamson thanked the NSPLG network for their enormous and valuable contribution which had supported a collaborative and co-designed approach to the strategy’s development.

It was reported that, following the publication of the new suicide prevention strategy and action plan, a transition period would take place involving:  developing a detailed work plan; embedding new arrangements for delivery and governance; and finalising the outcomes framework. It was reported that consideration would be given to the new remit and membership of the group, while being mindful of the valued relationships that had been built and the intention to keep up the strong momentum sustained by the group. It was highlighted that continuing SPAP actions would help support a smooth transition to the new strategy.  Members were thanked for providing views on future arrangements for delivering the strategy, and all members were invited to contact the policy team to share any further views.

It was reported that detailed design work would now be undertaken to support the establishment of the Delivery Collective, which would implement the action plan. Members took the view that early decisions on resourcing the Delivery Collective, which should have a wide ranging membership with sufficient seniority from its member organisations, would be critical.  The strong ambition of the new strategy and the broad range of its action plan would require careful prioritisation of choices and effort, underpinned by clarity of decision-making processes. Consideration would also need to be given to ensure outcomes were linked directly to the work of the Delivery Collective, as well as how the suicide prevention and other national strategies would interconnect.

Action 10 – suicide reviews

A paper setting out options for next steps in progressing multi-agency reviews of deaths by suicide (which are not currently required to be reviewed through existing processes) had been circulated to the group prior to the meeting.  Action 10 sponsors had considered the pros and cons of each approach. It was clear that considerable time and resource commitment would be required to support any of the options to undertake reviews and most of the options identified would require a national IT system to support data collection and analysis for learning. It was highlighted that ongoing funding, rather than one-off funding, would be needed to support this work.

There was a discussion around the options set out in the report. Discussion focused on the fact that families were not currently engaged in existing review processes and further work was needed to explore what a family would require from a review, and on guidance to enable families who wished to be involved to do so in safe and supported ways. It was suggested that families involved in the review process could be referred to the action 4 bereavement support service.

The Chair thanked the action 10 sponsors and Delivery Lead, Ms Smith, for their considerable and sensitive work around suicide reviews, noting that there had been a huge amount of learning from the pilots on the complexities around reviewing deaths by suicide. It was noted that this learning, the options and funding estimates would now be fed into the new suicide prevention strategy and action plan, providing a firm footing for this to progress effectively.


The Chair closed the meeting by thanking all past and present members of the group for their outstanding contributions over the last four years to supporting delivery of Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Together with members of the group’s Lived Experience Panel and Academic Advisory Group, past and present Delivery Leads, Local Suicide Prevention Leads and government colleagues, they had transformed collaboration on suicide prevention nationally and locally. 

Much had been achieved on individual SPAP actions to prevent suicide, and the creation of the NSPLG’s powerful collaborative network would now provide a strong foundation for delivery of Scotland’s new suicide prevention strategy.  

The Chair expressed her personal gratitude for the opportunity to lead and serve the group, and to work with so many passionate and committed people. In return, the group and its members expressed their thanks to the Chair for her exemplary support and leadership over the past four years.

Summary of actions from the NSPLG meeting held on 14 September 2022 

  • members to send any amendments to the July minutes to the secretariat
  • secretariat to share NSPLG legacy films with the group
  • members to contact the policy team with any comments on the draft annual report
  • policy team to share final draft of annual report with the group prior to publication
  • Ms Cameron to share more detailed management information on the operation of the suicide bereavement service pilots with the group
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