Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group minutes: February 2024

Minutes from the meeting meeting held on 21 February 2024

Attendees and apologies

Tom McNamara (Chair), Scottish Government (SG) Youth Justice and Children’s Hearings

Liz Murdoch, SG Youth Justice

Alison Melville, SG Youth Justice

Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland (SWS)

Donna McEwan, Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ)

Maureen Roberts, CYCJ

Sally Howard (notetaker), CYCJ

Jillian Gibson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

Julie Harris, Dartington Design Lab (DDL)


Fiona Dyer, CYCJ

Vivien Thomson, SWS

Katie Upsdale, DDL

Donna Munro, SG Mental Health

Items and actions

Items and actions


Tom welcomed Julie from Dartington Design Lab to the group.

Previous minutes and actions

Previous minutes agreed with no amendments.

  • Alison raised that the updated terms of reference circulated had information missing regarding secure care centres. Maureen to review and re-circulate if necessary
  • Jillian to provide feedback following previous COSLA meeting with Councillor Buchanan and Ms Don
  • Liz to gather responses from secure care providers regarding circumstances during placement terminations. Liz confirmed that she had received limited information from one centre. Ben advised Vivien had contacted Chief Social Work Officers with a similar request
  • Sally has arranged further meetings until December 2024  

Project update

The develop phase of the project ran from October 2023 to January 2024, involving 10 online sessions. Stakeholders were separated into two groups of approximately 20 senior managers and 10 practitioners from across the sector. The importance of engaging key stakeholders has been a focus building relationships. Engaging participants with the ambition to reimagine secure care in Scotland through the process of co-design.

During this phase, participation advisors met with children within two secure care centres and have workshops arranged in March with children in the other two centres.

Parents/Carers survey was online for approximately 6 months before being withdrawn after being targeted by spam ware resulting with 6 legitimate responses from around 1200.

Extension proposal and next steps

A proposal to extend the project was submitted by CYCJ to the Scottish Government in December 2023. This proposed in person workshops with a small co-design team of 8 to 12 individuals consisting of stakeholders with strategic and practice experience from across the sector. This would focus on detail, solutions, opportunities, enablers, and challenges of a reimagined future across the continuum of secure care.

Tom confirmed that the project has now been extended to allow the detail of the high level options to be explored further. Maureen clarified that the co-design group currently consists of nine stakeholders. These include the Care Inspectorate, education, the Ivy Project, CAMHS, Foxgrove, STARR, speech and language therapy, third sector, social work and hope to have representation from Police Scotland and NHS. The response from those approached to be in the small co-design group has been extremely positive with workshops arranged at the University of Strathclyde between March and May 2024.

Donna advised that in addition to the co-design group, there will be a ‘expert/consultancy’ group to review outputs from the co-design group and identify any gaps, challenges/limitations. Secure Care heads will be included in this group alongside representatives from across the sector. Both groups will add value and will provide a wider perspective for the final report for completion in August 2024. There was agreement from members that the focus should be on a reimagined future where no child is deprived of their liberty. Recognising that secure care in some form, will be required for a small number of children who will be sentenced, or in situations of significant risk of harm to self or others. Maureen advised that as in previous phases, the project aims to be transparent. Working collaboratively with all stakeholders, including secure care, whose expertise and experience will be invaluable for informing potential options for the future.

A general discussion followed regarding the consultancy/expert group. It was agreed that it should be called the ‘Consultative Group’ given each group will provide a level of expertise and experience to the project. Tom agreed to email the heads of secure care on behalf of the group clarifying the remit of the extended phase of the project, including the objectives of the co-design and consultative groups.

Member feedback

Julie asked for clarity on the parameters of the extended phase, specifically in relation to the removal of children from Young Offender Institution and what end date the design process should consider. Tom advised that the Scottish Government are having ongoing discussions with COSLA and SWS regarding the decarceration of children. Which will be a short-term priority for the government team to provide support and preparations as the Care and Justice Bill develops. Tom stated that although 2030 is an important milestone, 10 years seems more realistic in terms of budget and timescales.

Key actions

Maureen and Donna to finalise consultative group membership

Tom to email secure care providers on behalf of project governance group clarifying objectives of the co-design and consultative groups

Any other business

There was no other business.                                                                                   

Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is 3 April 2024.




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