Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 3 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Tom McNamara, Scottish Government (SG)Youth Justice and Children’s Hearings
  • Liz Murdoch, SG Youth Justice
  • Maureen Roberts  (Project lead & secretariat), Children’s and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Donna McEwan, CYCJ
  • Fiona Dyer, CYCJ
  • Katie Upsdale, Dartington Design Lab
  • Jillian Gibson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, (COSLA)
  • Vivien Thomson, Social Work Scotland (SWS)


  • Kate Tobin, Dartington Design Lab
  • Alison Melville, SG Youth Justice

Items and actions


Tom welcomed the group advising that he will take over the role of Chair from Liz.

Previous minutes and actions

Previous minutes agreed with no amendments.

  • Maureen updated terms of reference and project plan to reflect the breadth of stakeholder involvement in the project
  • Alison contacted Mark Crawford regarding project preliminary visit to Edinburgh Secure Care Centre. Maureen to follow up as awaiting rearranged date for May and to contact Liz if no contact made within a week
  • project team designed virtual consultation sessions for Chief Social Work Officer (CSWO), Social Work (SW) and Secure Care Group Meeting on 23 March 2023
  • Liz to clarify scope of the project in terms of health and mental health services with Tom (current agenda item)

Project scope

Members discussed the importance of health and mental health, particularly given links with Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill and potential for additional 16 and 17 year olds to be referred to secure care in the absence of suitable mental health provision. The scope of health is too large for the project however, mental health is an integral part of the secure care continuum and is wider than justice. Maureen and Donna advised that inconsistencies of mental health provision has been a theme of every stakeholder session.

Tom agreed that links should be made with the Mental Health Strategy Group to request an mental health representative from SG to join this group amplifying the focus at practitioner and strategic levels. This should be done formally from director to director.

Membership request

Fiona advised she was approached by a CSWO about membership to this group and had suggested that given SWS were members it might be more appropriate for her to be involved in the co-design process of the next phase. Vivien highlighted that CSWOs are very significant in secure care processes therefore, potentially anxious that they are heard within this project in light of the significance of their decision making role. Members agreed that CSWOs are key for engagement in the design process and should be involved as a significant stakeholder for professional and practice issues.

Katie explained that the project is currently gathering information through virtual sessions and will then be moving to co-design teams, so there will be opportunity for CSWOs to be involved at various stages. Katie explained the co-design process and how this allows for diverse opportunities to engage, and at different levels and various points across the process. The approach will engage smaller co- design teams looking at specific issues with their outputs reviewed by a larger group with diverse knowledge. Katie offered to provide a visual of the design process for Vivien to share with CSWOs as she attends their regular meetings. Members agreed this would be useful to share with the group and other stakeholders also.

Project team update

Discussion around engagement of stakeholders and activity to date with Maureen sharing the project Miro board to provide an overview of the sessions and priorities raised at this point:

  • 7 virtual workshops so far with 2 CSWOs, 3 SW’s, Secure Care Group and Governance Group
  • planning virtual sessions with commissioning leads, education, Police Scotland, SCRA, health, Care Inspectorate, and other relevant stakeholders, including in person sessions with staff from secure care centres
  • participation Workers recruiting an ‘Advisory Group’ of young people with secure care and justice experience to co-produce materials for sessions with children and young people in secure care, Young Offenders Institutions (YOI) and their parents/carers
  • data sharing agreements, project flyers and participant information sheets for stakeholders developed and shared

Members suggested sessions for Children’s Hearing Scotland (CHS) and panel members and Jillian to be invited to next virtual session to represent COSLA. Tom asked at what point do we decide where our focus will be with discussion that this group is where we can bring our sense of what the parameters and scope of the project will be upon completion of the stakeholder sessions. Tom and Liz suggested that the project should connect with the secure care boards to clarify their views of secure care. Maureen clarified that all 4 boards have been contacted with the offer of a virtual or in person session.

Accountability of the Reimagining Secure Care Project

Fiona asked for clarification around the final report of the project being published by SG once compiled by CYCJ. Vivien queried why the report would not be made public given this high-profile piece of work that has public impact, with some elements potentially kept private or anonymised. Tom advised that given the report will provide options for the future of secure care, we need to consider this in terms of sensitivity and confidential elements that might need to be excluded from the public report. Members discussed the importance of feedback loops to sense check information gathered with stakeholders with the current sessions informing the options, with the aspiration that the final options will not be unexpected.

The minutes from this group are to be accessible on the SG website given the need for transparency of the work of the project. Tom stated that the focus of the group is the development of alternative futures and given the nature of the work there is a need to protect some discussions around information sharing and privacy for children but agreed that key points should be communicated following group meetings.

Member feedback/issues  

There was nothing additional raised.

Next steps – key actions and timescales

  • Liz /Tom to invite Stephen McLeod, Professional Advisor in Mental Health Services or Aileen Blower from SG to join the group
  • Katie to provide a visual of the Reimagining Secure Care project co- design approach and process for Vivien to share with CSWOs (and can also be shared with other stakeholders)
  • Maureen to meet with Stephen Bermingham from CHS regarding virtual session for panel members and CHS staff and to invite Jillian to next virtual session
  • all to agree key points at the end of each meeting that can be communicated more widely
  • Maureen to outline key themes and priorities from stakeholder sessions for group to consider at next meeting.

Any other business

There was no other business

Date of next meeting

  • agreed to schedule in remainder of meetings until end of year with check ins towards end of July and August and, to confirm if project on track or whether there are pressures which mean a need for change
  • meetings every 6 weeks thereafter
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