Restorative Justice Stakeholder Group minutes: September 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the group on 22 September 2021.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Anna Donald  (Chair)
  • Zak Tuck
  • John Wallace 

RJ Action Plan project team

  • Nicola Robison (Replacing Colin Convery) - Police Scotland
  • Ella Edginton
  • Gemma Fraser – Community Justice Scotland
  • Rachael Moss – Community Justice Scotland
  • Martin Wightman (substitute for Greig Knox) - SPS
  • Pamela Stott

Community Justice Scotland

  • Gael Cochrane

Third Sector Organisations

  • Chloe Minish – Victim Support Scotland
  • Liam Gale – SACRO
  • Ali MacDonald – Turning Point
  • Ashley Scotland – Thriving Survivors
  • Louise Johnson - Scottish Women’s Aid


  • Steve Kirkwood – Edinburgh University/RJ Forum
  • Joanna Shapland - Sheffield University and RJ Forum


  • Kyrsten Buist - COPFS


  • Stuart Landels - Clackmannanshire Council.
  • Neill Mitchell - SCRA
  • Estelle Zinsstag – Restorative Justice Research Network
  • Catherine Bisset – JAS
  • Greig Knox - SPS
  • Milind Kolhatkar - ScoreScotland
  • Neil Mitchell - SCRA
  • Liz Murdoch - SG
  • Finlay Begg – SPS
  • Yvette O’Donnell (Mat Cover for Pamela Morrison) – CYCJ
  • Fiona Dyer - CYCJ
  • Ben Farrugia – Social Work Scotland
  • Mike Findlay – Victim Support Scotland
  • Colin Convery – Police Scotland
  • Amy Farmer - CHS
  • Kevin Carter – West Lothian Council - SWS
  • Alison Melville - SG
  • Mike Callaghan - COSLA
  • Nic Middlemiss – Turning Point
  • Julie Robson – Social Work

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and review of minutes and actions

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

  • Martin Wightman – (Scottish Prison Service)
  • Nicola Robison - (Police Scotland)

The chair also noted the apologies.

Agree minutes and review actions from 21 May meeting

Minutes from meeting on 21 May were agreed.

The chair noted that the Scottish Government would continue to engage with Justice Organisations with regards to an alternative statement of support and would report back to the group when more information was available.

Gemma Fraser noted that there was nothing to report at present in relation to the training proposal from Cyrus – The action will be closed off.

Codes of Practice progress report

Rachael Moss (RM) introduced herself and her role in leading on codes of practice working group. RM then gave a presentation on the work to date.

RM noted that decisions still had to be made on the final format of the codes including whether they would be split into an Adult and Child codes.

It was agreed that RM would circulate a short report along with a draft copy of the work done to date on the Codes of Practice, with the caveat that this was clearly regarded as a work in progress.


  • circulate a short report and working draft copy of Codes of Practice to Steering Group

RM noted that the work on the codes had highlighted to Joanna Shapland (JS) that whilst she knows that facilitators have a raft of measures which they will use to identify and mitigate risks in the practice of RJ, there is very little research literature which has gathered these measures into one place. JS suggested a research project to create a handbook which could then be an addendum to the Codes of Practice.

The stakeholder group agreed that this should be investigated and the chair asked JS to submit a proposal to the Scottish Government.


  • Sccottish Government to send RJ grant bid template to JS


  • JS to complete and return the bid template to SG with the risk and mitigation research proposal and costings

Soft roll-out

PS advised that the SG had received five responses to the survey. These responses have identified Glasgow and Edinburgh/Lothians as top 2 options. 

Gael Cochrane (GC) noted that working with an up and running project would be worth considering.

The Group was asked if they had knowledge of any RJ projects running already that could be built on/developed in these areas (e.g. by additional funding from us).

GF advised that in the current climate, community justice partnerships will be stretched due to the roll out of court work, and with COP 26.


  • GF to provide contact information to PS for any partnership that she thinks may have interest in participating in the soft roll out

Chloe Minish (CM) and JS both reiterated that any soft roll out should include a rural element to ensure an understanding of RJ ahead of a wider roll out

JS also noted that a good starting point would be to work with a partner who had had already established “buy-in”, had data sharing arrangements in place and had trained facilitators.

There was a discussion around the ongoing concerns of COPFS about where RJ fits within criminal justice. Ella Edginton (EE) offered reassurance that the model being discussed  would only take place post disposal. GF noted that RJ should be considered more along the lines of a support service rather than as a sentencing alternative.

The concerns of VAWG partnership were discussed. PS and the Chair advised that a round table was to be held with COSLA and VAWG partnership to discuss these ongoing concerns around RJ for domestic and sexual violence victims.  

National Hub for Restorative Justice in cases of sexual harm proposal

Ashley Scotland (AS) spoke to her proposal to develop a national hub for RJ in cases of sexual harm.

The presentation was in general well received by the stakeholder group. Louise Johnson (LJ) asked why there was no specific provision for people with disabilities or children. AS explained that the service would be aimed at adult participation in the first instance, but child participation could occur at the healing circles stage.

 The group were asked to provide any comments they have on the proposal.


  • stakeholder group members are asked to provide any comments on the National Hub for Restorative Justice in cases of sexual harm proposal to PS by Friday 22 October 2021

The Chair advised that the Scottish Government would then consider the proposal and comments before making a funding decision.

Date of next meeting         

The Scottish Government  will circulate a poll with suggested dates in January 2022 for the next meeting.


  • secretariat to issue a poll to seek availability for a Stakeholder Group meeting in January 2022

Papers associated with this meeting can be found on Dropbox.


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