Reimagining Secure care Governance Group minutes: January 2024

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • Liz Murdoch (Chair), Scottish Government (SG) Youth Justice
  • Alison Melville, SG Youth Justice
  • Donna Munro, SG Mental Health
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Vivien Thomson, SWS
  • Donna McEwan, Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Fiona Dyer, CYCJ
  • Maureen Roberts, CYCJ
  • Sally Howard (notetaker), CYCJ
  • Jillian Gibson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Katie Upsdale, Dartington Design Lab (DDL)​​​​​​​


  • Tom McNamara, SG Youth Justice and Children’s Hearings
  • Nathan Sheach, DDL

Items and actions


Liz welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained she would be chairing the meeting in Tom’s absence. Liz advised the group that Nathan as now left Dartington Design Lab and will be replaced on the group by Julie Harris terms of reference (ToR) will be updated.

Previous minutes and actions

Previous minutes agreed by everyone and all actions from previous meeting completed.

Project update

Maureen explained to the group that since the last governance group meeting in November, the interim report has been published and the project now has a dedicated webpage. Liz advised that the Child Abuse Inquiry had expressed some interest in the interim report.

Online stakeholder sessions 

Two separate online workshops with seniors and practitioners were facilitated in December to integrate ideas/insights collated from this phase of the project. All of the participants were brought together for a final online session on 9 January 2024 to reflect and sense check four broad option areas which have emerged throughout the develop phase (October 2023 – January 2024):

  • integrated models of care and whole system approach
  • infrastructure development
  • continuum of care and whole family approaches
  • culture shifts and sustainable transitions

The importance of engaging key stakeholders has been a focus. Through the delivery of these sessions project leads have been able to build relationships and begin to actively engage participants with the ambition to reimagine secure care in Scotland through the process of co-design. However, it has been challenging to undertake design work with a large and varied group online, resulting with large amounts of information and insights from each session which has taken longer than initially anticipated to analyse and synthesis. Subsequently, at this stage in the project, the information gathered is likely to only provide high-level principles informing the final options report to the Scottish Government.

Overall, feedback from the sessions has been positive. Stakeholders enjoyed the opportunity to discuss issues with peers from across the sector who were keen to participate and engage in sessions which they considered to be open and transparent. However, having more people contributing than originally planned meant that more participants from diverse areas and organisations could be involved. This resulted with project leads being less able to focus on the detail of each broad option area as some participants struggled to consider what a reimagined future could incorporate.

Ben advised that the feedback from SWS members was similar and agreed that this type of work is challenging online. He agreed to forward some creative examples of similar work he has previously been involved in.

Children and young people workshops

Project participation advisors facilitated a workshop in November with children in St Mary’s Kenmure. The combination of absence and festive holidays resulted with sessions with children in secure care and Young Offender Institution (YOI) still to be facilitated. Ideally these would have run in conjunction with the online stakeholder sessions. STARR have agreed to support ongoing sessions with children and have offered their support with accessible versions of project reports.


Ongoing challenges with parent/carer engagement despite support from across the sector and an online survey since last summer. Since promoting a voucher for participating in the survey, 1200 responses were received before it appeared to have been infiltrated by malware resulting with around 6 legitimate responses. Members acknowledged the challenges of engaging parents/carers, particularly online.

Extension proposal and next steps

Members are aware from the last meeting that CYCJ/Dartington agreed to develop a proposal (including options and costings) to be considered by Tom/Liz, and Fiona confirmed this was submitted in December. Liz advised that she anticipated Tom to be at the meeting today to provide an update on considerations around the extension.

Maureen/Donna Mc advised that the proposed extension would involve in person workshops with a carefully selected co-design team consisting of stakeholders with strategic and practice experience from across the sector. The project team are considering various ways of doing this. Potentially with 4 small co-design teams (8-12) focusing on detail, solutions, opportunities, enablers, and challenges of a reimagined future across the continuum of secure care based on broad option areas above. Ideally, the project team would look for members to advise on those best placed to be involved in any further work given we have some gaps from health and education. Potentially extending the project by 3 months could also allow for further time to gather insights from children and young people in secure care and YOI and also consider other strategies to engage parents/carers.

Maureen and Donna Mc to consider a potential co-design group and forward to members for their comments and suggestions.

Member feedback

Liz explained that given previous discussions, and the slower than anticipated progress of the CCJ Bill, a 3 month extension could fit better with timelines and refine option details further in the project final report. Donna Mc explained that a 3 month extension could allow for in person all day workshops with the small stakeholder co-design group or groups. With a final draft of the options report by June, which could be reviewed by partners before final submission in August 2024.

Discussion between members regarding the need for other policy and strategic areas to be aware of the longer term aims of the project. Liz, Fiona and Ben agreed this should include other directorates within Scottish Government such as health, mental health, and education.

Jillian reminded members that Councillor Buchanan (COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People) and Ms Don were due to meet in December. This project would be raised as part of those discussions and the need for wider portfolio join up with health. This meeting has been re-scheduled for 6 February 2024. 

Vivien raised the importance of exploring what happens before, during and after the termination of secure care placements by providers e.g. reasons, outcomes, resources utilised, strategies to prevent etc. Liz advised that she has previously requested similar information from providers and is awaiting responses. Vivien suggested that SWS could support the gathering of this information from local authorities and could approach strategic leads and Chief Social Work Officers. Maureen /Donna Mc agreed to provide a list of potential questions for Vivien to take to local authorities.

Key actions

  • Maureen to update ToR and share with members
  • Sally to arrange more project governance group meetings after February
  • Tom to consider the extension proposal submitted by CYCJ/Dartington
  • Ben to share with Katie examples of design work he has previously experienced
  • Maureen/Donna Mc to consider a potential co-design group and forward to members for their comments/suggestions
  • Jillian will feedback following COSLA meeting with Councillor Buchanan and Ms Don
  • Maureen /Donna Mc agreed to provide a list of potential questions regarding information around the termination of placements for Vivien to approach local authorities
  • Liz to gather responses from secure care providers regarding circumstances during placement terminations

Any other business

Jillian provided the dates of the COSLA Children and Young People Board meetings:

  • 2 February 2024, deadline for papers is 19 January 2024
  • 5 April 2024, deadline for papers is 22 March 2024
  • 24 May 2024, deadline for papers is 10 May 2024
  • 9 August 2024, deadline for papers is 26 July 2024
  • 4 October 2024, deadline for papers is 20 September 2024
  • 22 November 2024, deadline for papers is 8 November 2024

Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is 21st February 2024

Back to top