Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Youth justice: Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group.


The Independent Care Review (2020) and the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (2022) both state that there should be no under 18s held within a Young Offenders Institution (YOI) and the timeframe for change means that this is set to be achieved by 2024. It is argued that no child should be in prison but equally that development is needed to ensure that the ‘purpose, delivery and infrastructure’ that supports secure care is therapeutic, and trauma informed (The Promise, 2020).

‘Reimagining Secure Care’ as part of the ‘Reimagining Justice Service is designed to combine opinions, knowledge, and experiences of everyone involved to create a comprehensive understanding of what will be effective, meaningful and sustainable for secure care services to meet the needs of all children and young people deprived of their liberty. Our objective is to support transformational change to remove all children from YOI while encouraging relationship-based services, incorporating, and reflecting a human and children’s rights approach, demonstrating how children, young people and families can be meaningfully involved throughout service design alongside professionals and organisational priorities.

A four - phased process embracing the Scottish Approach to Service Design, will enable Reimagining Secure Care’ to gather the views of children, young people and their families, and all relevant partners who contribute to supporting children before, during and after secure care to meaningfully engage in the service design process to collaboratively provide options to the Scottish Government to assist in the redesign of secure care.


The Reimagining Secure Care Governance Group will:

  • provide expertise and knowledge to support the work undertaken by the ‘Reimagining Secure Care’ team
  • oversee delivery of the reimagining secure care transformational change
  • consider interdependencies and impact on other areas including National Care Service, trauma responsive strategy, mental health, and wider care reform agenda

The group will be chaired by Tom McNamara, Scottish Government

Project Management for the group will be provided by Maureen Roberts, Practice Development Advisor, Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ).

This will include secretariat tasks, supporting the development and oversight of the work of the group, working with the Secure Care group and any other relevant strategic groups as required, to ensure a collaborative approach is taken, providing updates on project delivery, and seeking views and agreement as work progresses.


The group will comprise of stakeholders with a key interest in transforming secure care and who are able to support delivery of actions to meet the priorities of the governance group.

A list of members as of March 2023 is provided. This will be updated as and when it is agreed new members may be required. The group may invite external consultants, specialists, advisers, or suitable professionals to attend meetings to assist discussions and to support delivery of specific actions. 

Members will:

  • take responsibility and actively engage in work agreed to meet the remit of the group
  • contribute to discussions to aid the delivery of this work by CYCJ
  • regularly review progress
  • bring a wealth of experience and knowledge 
  • represent the interests of their own organisations, ensuring that agreement is sought from their organisations, when appropriate/necessary

Structure of meetings

The group will meet every four to six weeks as required. Each meeting will last approximately two hours. Previous note of the meeting and an agenda will be circulated in advance.

It is envisaged that meetings will follow a structure that allows:

  • a review of previous minutes and matters arising
  • updates on progress since the last meeting and discussion around next steps
  • any issues to be addressed by the group

Life span of the group

The group will run for the entirety of the project over the four phases. 


A note of the meeting will be taken by CYCJ and circulated to members in advance of the next meeting. A copy of the note will be forwarded to the chair and published on the Scottish Government website.


Alison Melville

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