Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group: October 2023

Minutes of the meeting held on 12 October 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Liz Murdoch (Chair), Scottish Government (SG) Youth Justice
  • Alison Melville, SG Youth Justice
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Vivien Thomson, SWS
  • Donna Munro, SG Mental Health
  • Donna McEwan, Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Fiona Dyer, CYCJ
  • Maureen Roberts, CYCJ
  • Elizabeth Paterson (notetaker), CYCJ
  • Katie Upsdale, Dartington Design Lab


  • Tom McNamara, SG Youth Justice and Children’s Hearing
  • Jillian Gibson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, (COSLA)

Items and actions


Liz welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised that she would chair in Tom’s absence.

Previous minutes and actions 

Previous minutes agreed with no amendments.

•    Reimagining Secure Care (RSC) team to arrange to feedback to stakeholders on progress to date and next steps in terms of the design process (completed)

•    all to consider design process options and any feedback or reflection on barriers and relevant stakeholder on miro board (completed)

•    CYCJ to forward save the date to members for roundtable discussion (completed)

RSC interim report

Maureen has circulated the report to members. It provides an update and progress of the project across the first two phases (Discovery and Define). The project has now entered phase 3 (Develop) where the online design sessions with stakeholders are scheduled between October and December. Ben suggested that the introduction to the report could be reframed to reiterate that the project objective is to reimagine secure care and its position within the continuum of care, aligning with the longer term aims of the Promise and Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) (CCJ) Bill not just the removal of children from Young Offenders Institution (YOI). Maureen agreed to update.

Fiona confirmed that CYCJ are keen to publish the report Liz suggested this could be more beneficial given timescales and processes associated with documents being published on the SG website and will clarify further with Tom.

Design sessions (phase 3 Develop)

Maureen provided the group with an update.

•    initial forming session yesterday brought senior managers and practitioners together (30 participants) to introduce the design process. Interest in the online sessions has resulted in twice the numbers of stakeholders anticipated and has restricted us to one manager and one practitioner representing each organisation/ local authority (LA)

•    organisations represented include 4 secure care providers, 14 LA’s, Care Inspectorate, Police, SCRA, CAMHS and Foxgrove. Those organisations who were unable to attend due to capacity issues or contacted us after the deadline can be involved at a later stage of this phase in terms of sense checking insights and ideas from online sessions

•    groups will separate into managers/practitioners for sessions between October and November to focus on themes and then integrate ideas before coming together in December to reflect on ideas gathered

•    sessions will focus on each of the three themes from the design briefs:
model of care
preventing children being deprived of their liberty
mindsets and culture

•    participation workers will support the online sessions alongside Katie/ Maureen /Donna Mc as these sessions will align with the in-person workshops currently being arranged with children and young people in the four secure care centres and YOI

•    the project continues to have difficulty engaging parents/carers despite support from Families Outside, SWS and Cyrenians

Ben initiated discussion regarding online sessions and queried the benefit and research evidence of online in comparison to in person sessions. Donna Mc agreed that we are likely to encounter challenges with online sessions although acknowledged there are also challenges of in person sessions including capacity and resource. Donna Mc agreed there can be richer relationships/connectivity face to face. Maureen also highlighted that participants are encouraged to share the miro board links within their organisations/teams and can input additional information following sessions. Maureen also added there is anonymous online survey for participants to provide feedback and are able to email out with the sessions.

Fiona suggested that given the challenges with parent/carer engagement, and the benefits of in person sessions, the governance group might consider an extension to the project following the online sessions in November. Liz highlighted that there are budget restraints and tight timescales around the project, however this would need to be considered further with Tom and would depend on progress made between now and the next governance group meeting. On this basis it was agreed to push back the next meeting until after the final design session.

Member feedback

Fiona reported on her recent visit to the new women’s prison in Stirling.

Next steps – key actions and timescales

•    Maureen to amend report to reiterate long term aims of the project

•    Liz to clarify with Tom regarding CYCJ publishing interim report

•    reschedule next meeting to a later date in November Elizabeth to arrange doodle poll

Any other business

There was no other business.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed that the group would meet again in November.

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