Physical Intervention and Seclusion Working Group - Recording and Monitoring sub-group: 4 August 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Government group held on Wednesday 4 August 2021 from 2-3pm

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government (chair)         
  • Highland Council    
  • Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • The National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • British Institute of Learning Disabilities
  • The Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists
  • City of Glasgow Council
  • Education Scotland


  • North Ayrshire Council
  • Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland
  • Fife Council 
  • CALM Training

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies    

Actions from previous meeting – 2 June 2021:

Group members comments were received on the draft dataset circulated following the last meeting.

Introduction and update

The Scottish Government advised the group that they have considered all the feedback received from group members and have reflected them in the updated dataset shared immediately prior to the meeting. Key feedback from group members was that:

  • too much information was being captured, which was perceived to be overly prescriptive for local authorities
  • there was duplication
  • there were areas that were too health and safety focused in content and language
  • it was too detailed at this stage, given the group’s initial objective of agreeing the data fields that should be recorded as a minimum

Feedback received on the purpose of recording indicated that group members considered the primary purpose of recording is to better understand a child or young person’s needs by supporting a functional assessment and follow up support. The secondary purpose was to monitor the use of physical intervention at a local authority level by understanding current practice, identifying trends towards restraint reduction and addressing any safeguarding concerns.

Key areas of feedback for discussion on dataset

There were two areas within the dataset that the Scottish Government requested feedback on given differing views received by correspondence. The key points raised are noted below.

Information regarding the child or young person involved (their name, age, protected characteristics, health conditions and additional support needs):

  • this level of information helpful to record provided it is used to better understand and meet a child or young person’s needs. It can also help identify the risk of any discriminatory use of physical intervention
  • a child with a disability in a small school may be easily identified even if names are not recorded

The group concluded that this data field should be retained within the dataset.

First aid (recording of injuries relating to physical intervention):

  • the dataset should move away from health and safety reporting language and ensure it is child and young person focused. Consider the term ‘harm’ or ‘injuries’ for this section
  • while any injuries would be recorded as part of health and safety reporting, it is still helpful for the physical intervention report to include these details as it enables a full understanding and consideration of the intervention and its outcome
  • this information also allows further analysis of reasons behind a young person’s distressed behaviour, identify unmet needs, enable a better understanding of how their distressed behaviour can escalate and the identification of preventative approaches that can be taken at earlier stages

The group concluded that these data fields should be retained in the dataset, subject to a change in the heading.

Other comments

During the discussion, the following comments were made:

  • we need to know what the intervention was, the reason and what happened next
  • the language ‘witness and collaboration’ was not considered helpful to include in the dataset as this suggests an investigation rather supporting a child’s needs
  • should any national reporting be required, only high level information would be considered e.g. no of specific interventions
  • the dataset should align to wellbeing support forms from the GIRFEC model
  • links to coordinated support plans should also be considered
  • consider whether the term ‘incident’ should be replaced with ‘physical intervention’ throughout the form to align with the purpose of recording. This should be clear at the top of the dataset
  • it is important that recording supports local authorities to have challenging conversations with schools about practice
  • consideration should be given to overcome any barriers to reporting
  • it would be helpful for the guidance to outline reporting expectations around the roles and responsibilities of schools, local authorities, national agencies and government

The Scottish Government will update the dataset to reflect these comments.

Next steps

The Scottish Government will confirm to group members when final comments should be received on the dataset. These comments should indicate whether group members are content for the dataset to be included in the draft guidance prior to public consultation.  The document at this stage will still be considered as a draft and the group will consider any feedback from this consultation.

The Scottish Government will also update the draft reporting chapter of the guidance based on comments received around the purpose of the dataset and reporting expectations. This chapter will be shared with group members when available.


We will be in touch in due course with details of the next meeting.

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