Restorative Justice Stakeholder Group minutes: February 2022

Minutes of the meeting of the group held on 21 February 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

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

RJ Action Plan project team

  • Gemma Fraser – Community Justice Scotland
  • Rachael Moss – Community Justice Scotland
  • Pamela Stott – Scottish Government
  • Yvette O’Donnell – CYCJ
  • Pamela Terry - SPS

Community Justice Scotland

  • Gael Cochrane

Social Work Scotland

  • James Maybee

Children Focused

  • Fiona Dyer - CYCJ
  • Neil Mitchell - SCRA
  • Kevin Carter – National Youth Justice Advisory Group (NYJAG)

Third Sector Organisations

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


  • Joanna Shapland - Sheffield University and RJ Forum
  • Estelle Zinsstag – Restorative Justice Research Network


  • Katie Brown
  • Elisa Bevacqua

Scottish Prison Service

  • Laura Scofield


  • Stuart Landels - Clackmannanshire Council.
  • Catherine Bisset – JAS
  • Milind Kolhatkar - ScoreScotland
  • Liz Murdoch - SG
  • Finlay Begg – SPS
  • Ben Farrugia – Social Work Scotland
  • Mike Findlay – Victim Support Scotland
  • Amy Farmer - CHS
  • Nic Middlemiss – Turning Point
  • Julie Robson – Social Work
  • Ella Edginton – Scottish Government
  • Nicola Robison - Police Scotland
  • Alison Melville  - Scottish Government
  • Steve Kirkwood – Edinburgh University/RJ Forum
  • Kyrsten Buist - COPFS
  • Martin Wightman – SPS
  • Jackie McRae – CHS
  • Martin Wightman - SPS

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and review of minutes and actions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and each participant introduced themselves as there was a number of new attendees.

Apologies were noted.

Agree minutes and review actions from 22 September meeting

James Maybee (JM) asked for clarification of point 4.7 of the meeting note. The Chair noted that the position of the Stakeholder Group was that RJ should commence at point of completion on criminal justice cases, or if no criminal justice process will take place.

Rachael Moss (RM) noted that COPFS has had input on the Codes of Practice groups and whilst their input still required policy sign off at COPFS, their position on RJ is reflected in the Codes of Practice.

Minutes from meeting on 22 September were agreed.

Codes of practice progress report

RM and Yvette O’Donnell (YO) gave a presentation and progress report on the Codes of Practice which will be a live document for practitioners looking to deliver RJ.

RM advised that whilst sign off was still required on the COPFS input, and the documents could be liable to change, that the initial phase of work was nearing completion. Significant input would still be required from violence against women and girls partners going forward, and clarification of information sharing and referral pathways would also need to be finessed.

 YO noted that the children’s Codes followed the same pattern as the adult codes, but with child centred language and consideration of the additional rights of the child and the complexities around 16 and 17 year olds in the justice system.

RM and YO noted that the Codes of Practice would be distributed with the minutes of the meeting and requested that any comments, and suggestions on format, to be returned in writing by 25 March.


  • circulate Codes of Practice Documents with meeting minutes. Comments to be returned to RM and YO by 15 April

Kevin Carter (KC) asked if further liaison was needed with CYCJ to ensure all of the work linked together.  Pam Stott (PS) offered reassurance that the SG were already paying for a post within CYCJ and that conversations were ongoing with Fiona Dyer (FD) who offered to produce a proposal paper on future arrangements at the next meeting.


  • FD to produce a position paper in relation to the Codes of Practice

Joanna Shapland (JS) thanked RM and YO on the extraordinary amount of work that they had done to get the two sets of codes to the place they are now in. This thanks was echoed by the full steering group.

Development of the Community Justice Scotland national hub

Gemma Fraser (GF) introduced the Community Justice Scotland (CJS) board paper on developing a RJ hub which would provide national oversight for monitoring RJ in Scotland.

The proposal is currently awaiting ministerial approval and CJS are awaiting confirmation of funding before putting staff in place. The Chair advised that the Government were supportive of this approach and that it is just awaiting sign off.

Discussions are ongoing as to how to best incorporate the crimes of sexual harm (excluding domestic abuse) RJ hub model into the overall CJS oversight.

Some concerns were raised about staffing, communication and engagement, and the definition of restorative approaches. GF reassured the group that:

Staffing requirements would not become fully apparent until the soft roll-out was actually maturing on the ground,

That there was an intention to engage with stakeholders from the outset and on an ongoing basis with dialogue needed in both directions, and consideration was being given to whether certain stakeholder groups could represented in the hub, and

The language used in the board paper reflected the target audience, and that a definition would need to be developed for the Codes of Practice.

JM advised that although there is interest in the Highlands and Islands, there are currently no RJ provisions there, and to get them up and running by 2023 seems ambitious. He also asked about how this would be resourced locally.

The Chair and GF offered reassurance that there is currently a national budget and that there is a focus on setting up the national hub and the roll-out in Edinburgh, the Lothian’s and Borders, which will help inform future needs. The Chair noted that the stakeholder group would need to feed into any resource requests, to enable a comprehensive ask for funding from the next spending review as RJ is a key commitment in the Justice Strategy.

VAWG round table – action plan

PS and Katie Brown (KB) provided an update on the work taken forward since the roundtable event to develop an action plan which would be embedded within the overall RJ Action Plan. They noted that the roundtable event had been very positive, with helpful input from stakeholders that will allow a solid base for future partnership working.

Louise Johnson (LJ) raised a concern on how the actions from the plan would be incorporated into the soft roll-out and whether RJ for VAWG survivors would be offered at this stage. KB offered reassurance that we  were only at the beginning of the process, that further engagement would continue. GF noted that at the moment, there are survivors who have actively asked for RJ already, and to be properly victim centred their request should be considered and how it would be delivered, explored. However the recommended actions from the roundtable would have to be examined first. The chair noted that no decision could be made at this point without prejudicing the action plan developed from the roundtable.

As the actions from the roundtable event are being finalised, it was agreed that these will be circulated by email to the group for comment. This work will also help to inform the Codes of Practice and be incorporated in to the testing/initial roll-out phase, forming part of a firm foundation as part of the iterative process.


  • actions from VAWG roundtable to be emailed to group for comment

Awareness events

RM spoke to her slides on raising awareness of RJ across a variety of groups.

KC asked if an awareness event could be discussed with CYCJ. YO noted that discussions were ongoing with relevant academics who would be able to support this. FD asked whether KC would be able to engage with NYJAG on how this could be taken forward.

How to best publicise these events was discussed and PS noted that as the model would be rolled out in Edinburgh, Lothians, and the Borders first, that a local focus could be developed in the first instance. RM noted that this would then allow the engagement to grow organically.

JM offered to promote the events through Social Work Scotland, and LJ stated that she would take the presentation back to SWA and other VAWG colleagues, who she believed would have an interest.

RM asked for any notes of interest and comments by close of play on 1 April 2022


  • group to express notes of interest and any comments on the proposal by 1 April 2022

Any other business

JS provided a brief update on the Mitigation and Risk in Restorative Justice research, noting the dearth of information already published and that sensitive and complex cases would also be explored, with information being drawn from different countries, legal jurisdictions and different types of RJ.

JS also noted that there was a willingness in the international RJ community to help with the testing phase in Scotland where possible and therefore there would be no shortage of interviewees for the research.

Katie asked if the research would be looking at short, medium and long term risks and mitigations, and what the scope of the research was.

It was agreed that the research bid would be circulated.


  • mitigation and Risk in Restorative Justice research bid to be distributed to steering group

In conclusion, the chair noted that it would be important for everyone to continue to engage timeously with any requests for comments or contributions.

Date of next meeting            

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


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

Papers associated with this meeting can be found on Dropbox.

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