Restorative Justice Stakeholder Group minutes: May 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the group on 21 May 2021.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government:

  • Anna Donald (Chair)
  • Zak Tuck (SG)
  • John Wallace (SG)
  • Laura Jones (SG)
  • Leonie Stone (SG)

RJ action plan project team:

  • Ella Edginton (SG)
  • Pam Stott (SG)
  • Rachael Moss (CJS)
  • Mike Callaghan (COSLA)
  • Colin Convery (Police Scotland)

Third Sector organisations:

  • Mike Findlay (VSS)
  • Chloe Minish (VSS)
  • Liam Gale (Sacro)
  • Ashley Scotland (Thriving Survivors)
  • Ali MacDonald (Turnaround)
  • Louise Johnson (SWA)
  • Youth Justice
  • Amy Farmer (Children’s Hearings Service)
  • Neill Mitchell (SCRA)
  • Fiona Dyer (CYCJ)


  • Steve Kirkwood (Edinburgh University and RJ Forum)
  • Joanna Shapland (Sheffield University and RJ Forum)
  • Estelle Zinsstag (Napier University, RJ Forum and Scottish Network of RJ Researchers)


  • Kyrsten Buist (COPFS)


  • Greig Knox (SPS)
  • Community Justice Scotland
  • Gael Cochrane (CJS)


  • Jackie McRae (Children’s Hearings Service)
  • Alison Melville (SG)
  • Finlay Begg (SPS)
  • Pamela Morrison (CYCJ)
  • Gemma Fraser (CJS)
  • Kevin Carter (National Youth Justice Forum)

Items and actions

​​Welcome, introductions and review of minutes and actions

The Chair welcomed and introduced all, in particular those attending for first time:

  • Laura Jones (SG Intern in JAS working on restorative justice (RJ))
  • Chloe Minish (VSS - Policy and Research officer)
  • Leonie Stone (SG – Equality Unit)
  • Liam Gale (Sacro) – replaced Kirsten Abercrombie
  • Gael Cochrane (CJS)

It was agreed that agenda items would be moved to allow for sufficient time for discussion on ‘next steps’ - it was moved from item 5 to item 3, with each other item following on in order thereafter.

Minutes from meeting on 15 January were agreed. 


  • Gemma Fraser to follow up with Cyrus. If viable the proposal will be shared and considered by email - Gael not sure on status, but will chase it up if necessary
  • SG to discuss with Justice organisations not covered by the orders, an alternative statement of support - this work is ongoing and the group will be kept informed of progress

All other actions were completed.

Reports on funded project

The Animation Project

Rachael Moss (RM) provided an update on the animation project. The animation was initially embedded with a questionnaire on restorative justice. The questionnaire generated 130 responses which are being analysed by Laura Jones (LJ). A children and young person friendly version of the questionnaire was created which has received 400+ responses so far. It was agreed that the animation will be circulated again with the note of the stakeholder group meeting on this link.

Mike Findlay (MF) complimented the animation, noting that VSS had worked with the animator before. He asked whether there was ambition to share the animation further and what could the group do to help this? RM confirmed that the intention was to share the animation as widely as possible, and that she would be grateful if stakeholders could use their communication channels to do so. RM advised that should anyone wish to share it, they would not need to seek further permission to do so.

Survivors Voices

Ashley Scotland (AS) provided a presentation with an overview of the work undertaken and key findings from the project. A copy of the presentation is included with the minutes. It was agreed that the full report would be distributed in due course as the Group were keen to see the full findings from the research. 


  • secretariat to issue the Survivors Voices report to the group

AS noted that feedback she received through the consultation process indicated that there was an appetite for the conversation on RJ to continue with survivors. The Chair indicated that the Scottish Government would be willing to speak further with AS about engagement on restorative justice and wider issues.  

Louise Johnson (LJ) noted that Scottish Women’s Aid fed into the design and that Marsha Scott (Chief Executive) took part in one of the forum sessions. 

LJ also advised that SWA and the VAWG Network provided a paper to the SG titled “National Violence Against Women Network Position Statement on Restorative Justice”. 


  • secretariat to provide the SWA/VAWG paper to the group

The safety of restorative justice as a tool for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse was raised as a continuing concern for some members. Kyrsten Buist (KB) noted that going forward it is imperative that the guidance to practitioners balances the needs of the survivors against the criminal justice process. KB asked how do we balance those needs and rights noting that in some ongoing prosecutions, it would be difficult to facilitate restorative justice and not taint evidence. The Chair noted that the Scottish Government were aware of the relevant issues facing people who would participate in restorative justice, and the work done by Thriving Survivors and the comments in the paper from SWA/WAWG would be picked up on.

Sacro – Restorative Justice Portal development

Liam Gale (LG) provided an update about the website being developed for the Restorative Justice Forum. LG advised that Sacro would meet the ongoing hosting maintenance and support costs for the website. Joanna Shapland (JS) noted that content was being developed for the website and it would also be a place for people to find out about events and publications. Joanna invited the group members to comment on whether anything was missing on the website. 


  • secretariat to provided contact details for JS to the group for the purpose of commenting on the website

Sacro – Restorative Justice training programme evaluation 

LG also noted the progress being made on the training evaluation being undertaken by Sacro.

Engagement with young people 

CYCJ - Fiona Dyer (FD) provided an update advising that there has been a slight delay to the project after initial contract issues. They were waiting for final comments and sign off which is unlikely to happen until after the schools summer holiday period which could have an adverse impact on engagement. It was agreed to extend the deadline until early autumn to ensure the opportunity to maximise participation.

Next steps

Pam Stott (PS) spoke to the next steps paper and asked the group to consider four key questions:

  • should there be a ‘soft roll out’ this financial year
  • where should any roll out happen
  • should a small project team be convened to develop a ‘Code of Practice’
  • who should be involved, either in project team or another capacity

JS advocated for a simultaneous rural and urban soft roll out akin to what happened in Northern Ireland as this would allow for a proper evaluation to take place. Steve Kirkwood (SK) stated that it would be wise to build upon areas where the practice was already established, and that checking crime statistics would be useful in recognising areas where a roll out could be piloted, and where there may be a demand. The group agreed that before any roll out took place, that codes of practice would need to be established to ensure consistency.

The group was in favour of a soft roll with an urban/rural mix which could be evaluated to inform any further expansion. The chair noted that there would have to be a balance in what it would be feasible to achieve with evaluation this year and that all of the aspirations might not be able to be covered in the first step. She also noted that enough would need to be achieved that would enhance the further roll out by embedding best practice from day one. 


  • the group should contact PS with views on where a soft roll out should take place

Ella Edginton (EE) advised that she was working on modelling prevalence of types of crime using data from the Scottish Government criminal statistics as well as anonymised Victim Support Scotland referral data, which would help to gauge where there may be demand for RJ. 

The group discussed the formation of a project team to develop a code of practice. Various aspects of what should be considered by the team were discussed, including:

  • complaints procedures
  • protocols for referrals from regional to national practitioners
  • GDPR requirements
  • training and skills analysis

In relation to developing a code of practice JS noted that it would be better to refer to this as “codes of practice” as any documents can’t cover everything in the guidance. The documents should sit alongside existing RJ guidance, provide specific good practice on certain areas, and be reviewed regularly. The Chair noted that these were all points that would need to be considered and would not be lost sight of.

It was agreed that RM would lead on setting up the project team. The initial goal is for the team to produce a draft project plan before the next workgroup meeting. RM has had early discussions with Gael Cochrane (GC) about inviting particular practitioners, however group members were invited to email Rachael with expressions of interest or recommendations. 


  • RM and GC to identify and invite practitioners with required skills to participate on the codes of practice project team
  • group members to express their interest or recommend participants for the codes of practice project team

Annual report

RM advised the group that she and Pamela Morrison (PM) have produced the draft Restorative Justice Action Plan Annual Report. The report is included with these minutes. 


  • the group were invited to provide comments on the draft annual report

Current activities

EE noted that LJ was looking at literature on public awareness, and attitudes to restorative justice. 


  • group to pass on any RJ public awareness and attitudes publications to EE and LJ. Any international publications and contacts would be welcome

Upcoming events/news  

The Chair advised the group of the appointment of Keith Brown as the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans and Ash Denham’s reappointment as the Minister for Community Safety. She noted that SG officials would be bringing Mr Brown up to speed on the restorative justice landscape as quickly as possible and invited group members to let her know if there was any work or events which may be of interest to Mr Brown or Ms Denham as part of the usual new ministerial engagement. 


  • group members to inform officials of any RJ engagement opportunities for the new ministerial team

RM and PM will be attending a youth justice event in the summer to hold a workshop and run awareness surveys on the restorative justice action plan.

EE made a request for the group to provide details on any literature relating to restorative justice used in cases of animal cruelty and wildlife offences where one party being represented was non-human. Any literature would be welcome. 


  • group to pass on any non-human related RJ literature to EE

Date of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting should be early September.


  • a poll will be issued to seek availability

Papers associated with this meeting can be found on Dropbox.

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