Restorative Justice Stakeholder Group minutes: November 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the group on Thursday 26 November 2020.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Anna Donald (Chair)
  • Alison Melville (SG)
  • John Wallace (SG)

RJ action plan project team

  • Ella Edginton (SG)
  • Gemma Fraser (CJS)
  • Pamela Morrison (CYCJ)
  • Pamela Stott (SG)
  • Colin Convery (Police Scotland)
  • Rachael Moss (CJS)

Third sector organisations

  • Mike Findlay (VSS)
  • Louise Johnson (SWA)
  • Kirstin Abercrombie (SACRO)
  • Milind Kolharkar (ScoreScotland)
  • Ashley Scotland (Thrive Survivors)
  • Ali MacDonald (Turnaround)

Youth Justice

  • Fiona Dyer (CYCJ)
  • Amy Farmer (Children’s Hearings Service)
  • Neill Mitchell (SCRA)


  • Steve Kirkwood (Edinburgh University and RJ Forum)
  • Joanna Shapland (Sheffield University and RJ Forum)


  • Kyrsten Buist (COPFS)

Items and actions


  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Agree minutes and review actions from 8 October meeting
  3. National and regional hub models (papers 1 & 2)
  4. Draft communications brief
  5. Funding
  6. Restorative Justice – plans for laying regulations in the New Year


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

  • Rachael Moss (CJS)
  • Milind Kolharkar (ScoreScotland)
  • Ali MacDonald (Turnaround)
  • Ashley Scotland (Thriving Survivors)

Minutes and actions from 8 October meeting

Minutes from meeting on 8 October were agreed and all actions completed.

National and regional hub models

Ella Edginton presented Paper 1 – a refreshed version of the National Model presented on 8 October. Amendments included adding reference to complaints and accountability processes.

Ella went on to present Paper 2 – setting out proposal for regional hub structure. The proposed structure aimed to have Regional Hubs covering similar population sizes, aimed to reflect existing administrative pathways - with partner organisations covering more than one hub kept to a minimum. Ella welcomed input on names for Regional Hubs. 

Discussion followed. Key points:

  • stakeholders generally supportive of proposed for Regional Hubs structure. Noted that National Hub would ensure consistency across country
  • manageable where there is overlap (e.g. some sherifdoms will straddle more than one Regional RJ Hub), as they have experience of working under similar administrative arrangements elsewhere
  • suggestion from Steve Kirkwood that the Regional Hubs should be expanded to include any organisations that may be set up specifically for Restorative Justice
  • inclusion of Community Planning partnerships (e.g. Health, Violence Reductions, education, etc) considered. Agreement that such organisations may well have important role, but that precisely what organisations need to be involved, and when, is something that would vary on regional – and even on case-by-case – basis. Agreement that this best be left to work out at regional level, but monitored at national level
  • point made by Milind Kolhatkar that involvement, particularly by third sector organisations, likely to require resources
  • Ashley Scotland welcomed proposals, and suggested good opportunity to obtain views on input/design of services from those with lived experience. Explained existing plans to carry out regional survey of survivors about RJ in first quarter of 2021, and that with support it would be easy to increase this to a national survey. Offer was welcomed, and agreement that it should be explored further
  • need to re-engage with COSLA – to ensure appropriate engagement with local authorities on RJ plans and proposals

Ella explained her next step would be incorporate modelling of potential demand into the Regional Hub structure, but would be helpful to have access to relevant data held by partners organisations to develop this. VSS, SACRO and SCRA agreed to share up-to-date contacts and data.

Action 1: Stakeholder Groups to share relevant data with Ella to enable modelling of demand by 24 December.

Action 2: Pam Stott to contact Mike Callaghan (COSLA).

Action 3: Ella Edginton to work on collecting data and developing a model to help estimate demand and resourcing required. Will update on progress on this at the next meeting.

Communications brief

Pamela Morrison presented Paper 3 – draft Communications Brief. She explained this brief is aimed at RJ Stakeholder Group members, to help ensure consistency of understanding, messaging and language use.

Initial feedback:

  • needs more information on positive outputs/outcomes for those harmed
  • issues of choice, control and power need more emphasis (e.g. only those harmed can instigate RJ process in cases that involve imbalanced power dynamics)
  • expanded to include information reflecting different youth justice process
  • sensitivity needed on use of language. General agreement that ‘those harmed’ and ‘those who have harmed’ are preferred terms initially, but footnote could be added explaining that terms used can be adapted on case-by-case bases to reflect preference of those directly impacted by the harm (e.g. ‘survivor’, not ‘victim’)
  • more information needed on where RJ sits within existing criminal justice process
  • implication in document at the moment is RJ will only be offered once – where evidence shows it should be offered/available at different/numerous points throughout person harmed journey

Action 4: Stakeholder Group asked to provide written comments and suggested text they may have to develop Communications Brief to Pamela Morrison (

Action 5: Pamela Morrison (with Project Team) to provide revised Communications brief for next meeting.


Anna Donald explained that funding remained in the Restorative Justice budget available for use in the current financial year. The funding is available to support activity consistent with, and that will help drive forward delivery of, the Restorative Justice Action Plan. She invited ideas/proposals from stakeholders for projects.

There was a general discussion about the on-going resource challenges as RJ services are developed and rolled out – and that we cannot assume organisations involved with delivery will be in the position to release people as and when required, particularly in face of current challenges. So in considering projects to fund this year, care needs to be taken to consider and build in ideas on how to maintain long-term sustainability 

  • support for Consultation work. Information collected could help inform development of Communications Strategy; build up data iro of potential demand – particularly for specialist facilitators; etc). Proposals included:
  • national survivors’ consultation (see paragraph 5)
  • engagement/consultation with young people, potentially using creative arts 
    • training – number of areas proposed where funding could be utilised including:
  •  measures that will increase accessibility to training, particularly for third sector organisations;
  • Strathclyde University developing RJ Practice Course online in new year. Number of options where support could be considered such as a bursary fund; an evaluative study; taster events
  • support development and delivery of specialist training
    • evidence gathering, including:
  • monitoring/evaluating how RJ services elsewhere (e.g. in England) are managing this year
  • review of digital capacity in rural areas (SACRO have work underway on this)
  • a mapping exercise

Joanna Shapland emphasised need to capitalise on existing resources and work of groups such as the RJ Forum Practitioners Network; the Research Network; RJ Toolkit.

It was agreed that a project proforma would be circulated with minutes, to allow stakeholder members to put forward proposals for use of the budget for discussion at the meeting in January.

Action 6: Pam Stott to circulate project proposal proforma with minutes

Action 7: Completed project proposal proformas to be sent to Pam Stott to enable circulation in advance of January meeting.

Proposal for next meeting

Group agreed next meeting should be held in January 2021.

Action 8: PS to circulate Doodle Poll

Our supporting documents are stored on Dropbox.

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