Secure Care Group minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 31 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Tom McNamara, Scottish Government (SG) Children’s Rights, Protection & Justice (Chair)
  • Mary Geaney, Rossie Young People’s Trust
  • Nick Hobbs, Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS)
  • Andy Sloan, Care Inspectorate
  • James Mackenzie, Scotland Excel
  • Vivien Thomson, Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Ruby Whitelaw, Child and Young Person's Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Melissa Hunt, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA)
  • Rod Finan, SG Office of the Chief Social Work Advisor
  • Sinclair Soutar, Kibble Safe Centre
  • Mark Crawford, Edinburgh Secure Services
  • Alison Gough, Good Shepherd Centre
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Tamar Jamieson, Police Scotland
  • Helen Smith, National Secure Adolescent Inpatient Service (NSAIS) Foxgrove
  • Aileen Blower SG Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Psychiatry Adviser
  • Jillian Gibson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Gill Robinson, Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
  • Donna Munro, SG CAMHS
  • Alison Melville, SG Youth Justice
  • Karen Strain, SG Youth Justice


  • Laura Caven, COSLA
  • Kevin Miller, St Mary’s Kenmure
  • Zoe Brawn, Scotland Excel
  • Janine McCullough, Education Scotland
  • Emily Casserly, NSAIS (Foxgrove)
  • Victoria McNulty, NSAIS (Foxgrove)
  • Chris Wright, Care Inspectorate
  • Lily Humphries, Children's Hearings Scotland (CHS)
  • Chloe Riddell, The Promise Scotland
  • Liz Murdoch, SG Youth Justice

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Tom welcomed all to the meeting and invited those present to introduce themselves. 

He explained that he has taken on the role of Acting Deputy Director for the Scottish Government’s Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice Division until next spring. Gita Sharkey, previously team leader in the Children’s Rights Team, will take on his previous role as Head of the Children’s Hearings and Youth Justice Unit from 12 September.

Note of last meeting

Tom gave an update on the action points from the meeting held on 1 June 2022.

Action point: transport specification to be shared with group members.

Progress: complete – the specification was shared with papers for this meeting.

Action point: issues outwith the scope of transport sub-group to be raised with Youth Justice Improvement Board (YJIB) and Social Work Scotland (SWS).

Progress: ongoing – a conversation has taken place with YJIB who are seeking information on numbers relating to justice v welfare cases. The meeting with CSWOs has not yet taken place due to annual leave.

Action point: Hannah Axton to provide Rossie with a contact for NHS Tayside

Progress: ongoing – Jillian will follow up with Hannah.

Action point: SG to circulate membership of the Forensic Secure care outreach CAMHS Advisory group

Progress: Complete


Scottish Government

Programme for Government (PfG): The forthcoming PfG contains a commitment to bring forward a Care and Justice Bill to ensure that children who come into contact with the care and justice systems are treated with trauma-informed and age-appropriate support. This includes a firm commitment towards a complete end to placing under 18s in Young Offenders’ Institutions.

There is also a commitment around funding the last bed to ensure capacity for Scottish children when required. Zoe and James from Scotland Excel have done the work to prepare the contract variation. There are legal checks to be done before sharing with centres, but we hope to be in a position to begin a six month pilot from 1 October 2022. 

Care and Justice Bill: the consultation closed on 22 June with around 100 responses. The analysis of these responses will be published in mid-September.

The consultation has highlighted many issues which have led to further discussions with key partners and stakeholders to give ministers a clear and accurate sense of where organisations are at prior to introduction. We will be continuing to work with partners regarding the practical implications and support that will be needed.

Post consultation refinement and refreshing of proposals are with ministers for decision. Following this we will be in a position to have candid discussions on next steps.

The Bill Team will give an update at the fortnightly call with secure care centres on 15 September. They are also planning to go to various other forums including CSWOs, YJIB and National Youth Justice Advisory Group (NYJAG). Any group member not represented on those forums is welcome to join the call on the 15th and should contact

Ministerial visits to secure centres: Ms Haughey, Minister for Children and Young People visited Good Shepherd and Kibble over the summer. She was very impressed by the services and facilities offered and it is helpful for her to visualise these are we enter discussions around the PfG commitments.

Mental Health: Donna confirmed that the Forensic/Secure Care Outreach CAMHS Advisory Group continues to meet bi-monthly. The last meeting focussed on national themes and she and Aileen are continuing to develop a national specification. They have also been meeting informally with each region to gain an up to date picture and understanding of provision for FCAMHS in their area and the meeting on 2 November will focus on community pathways.


COSLA’s Leaders approved our response to the Care and Justice Bill in June.  A further paper on the Children’s Care and Justice Bill will go to the COSLA Children and Young People Board on Friday 9 September.  We’ve been liaising with the SG Bill Team on this and are grateful for them sharing information as early as possible.

Child and Young Person's Centre for Justice (CYCJ)

Secure Pathway and Standards – Ruby reported that considerable progress has been made with local authorities engaging in this work. A workshop was delivered to a multi-agency group of around 80 people in Moray. She believes the Care Inspectorate’s Secure Care Pathway Review has been helpful. (An update on this review was has just been published.)

Research – Ruby highlighted a report on cross border placements by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory based on findings from CYCJ’s secure care censuses which took place in 2018 and 2019.


Membership: Beth-Anne will pick up work with COSLA on her return from leave to consider how to increase membership.

Ministerial meeting: Ms Haughey is meeting with STARR on the evening of 13 September to hear more about their work.

Secure transport sub-group 

National Specification 

The final draft National Secure Transport for Children Service Specification was shared with the papers for this meeting. Tom and Jillian thanked Ruby and all who have been involved in pulling together this incredibly comprehensive document.

Ruby explained that the views of children were sought both in developing the specification and on the final draft. She has also taken on board views shared by professionals throughout its development. If Secure Care Group members identify anything which hasn’t been covered or feel strongly that something is not right, they should let Ruby know at

There are still some gaps around data which will need to be inserted before the specification can be finalised. Gill suggested that the work SPS are doing to understand the size and characteristics of 16/17s housed in Polmont includes extensive information about admissions/departures would give an indication of future need for this population.


Jillian is due to meet CSWOs to discuss whether this should be a specification which 32 local authorities and Foxgrove can access or whether it will be a template which organisations can use to develop their own specification.

Part of the challenge is that the spend across Scotland for this service may be too low to result in a national contract. However, now that Scotland Excel have the draft specification, James is doing work to establish potential contractual options.

Jillian advised that the question of secure care centres providing transport is often raised and she is keen to hear whether there is an appetite amongst current providers of secure care for this.

It was agreed that a short term solution is needed while the current contract is in place, with an eye on what’s coming in light of the Care and Justice Bill and the wider Promise keeping work landscape. 

Tom explained that if a nationally funded approach is required, SG are moving into the period across the autumn where we need to gear up for budget bids for 2023/2024 and a clearer position within the next six-eight weeks would be helpful.

Action point: SG/COSLA, supported by Ruby, to arrange individual discussions with secure care centres.

Any other business

Anne’s Law

Alison gave a brief background to Anne’s Law, which is about giving adults in care homes rights to see and spend time with their loved ones. Provisions, have been included in the National Care Service Bill which will enable Scottish ministers to issue directions to adult care homes to maintain visits to residents, even during an outbreak like Covid19.

During the Bill consultation it became clear that there is support for extending its principles to additional settings and Ms Haughey has asked us to explore the possibility of including children’s residential and secure care.

This has been discussed this with secure care centres and whilst all agreed that they didn’t consider there to be a strong need for children’s services to be included given the current safeguards in place, they weren’t opposed to its inclusion. It was highlighted that if children’s residential and secure care were to be included, safeguards would need to continue to be in place to ensure that children are protected and not put at risk from visits which are not safe or agreed in the child’s plan.

Vivien explained that there was no legal context for the people Anne’s Law was developed for, the context for children is very different and the importance of contact with their loved once is already set out in legislation, contracts and standards. She felt it was important to consider whether this additional legislation would improve children’s rights.

Ben underlined this and made it clear that it would be SWS’ expectation that no amendments would be made to the Bill without partners having a chance to consider further. 

Date of next meeting

The next meeting will take place around the end of November, with COSLA in the chair.

Action point: SG to circulate date for next meeting.


Youth Justice

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