Secure Care Group minutes: June 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group in June 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Eddie Follan, COSLA (Chair)
  • David Cotterell, Scottish Government (Secretariat) 
  • Liz Murdoch, Scottish Government
  • Fiona McFarlane, The Promise
  • Alison Gough, Good Shepherd Centre
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Sinclair Soutar, Kibble Safe Centre
  • Ross Gibson, CYCJ
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland
  • Debbie Nolan, CYCJ
  • Rod Finan, Scottish Government - OCSWA
  • Karen Ralston, St Marys
  • Stephen McLeod, Scottish Government 
  • Mary Geaney, Rossie Young People’s Trust 
  • Melissa Hunt, SCRA 
  • Rebecca Green, Scotland Excel
  • Andrew Sloan, Care Inspectorate
  • Helen Smith, National Secure Adolescent Inpatient Service
  • Janine McCullough, Education Scotland
  • Helen Happer, Care Inspectorate
  • Liam Slaven, STARR
  • Jillian Gibson, COSLA 
  • Gill Robinson, Scottish Prison Service
  • Maria Gali, CYPCS


  • Tom McNamara, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Beth-Anne Logan, STARR
  • Peter McCloskey, ESS

Items and actions


Eddie Follan welcomed attendees to the group and agreed the note of the 2 February 2020 meeting.

Outstanding action points

Action point 1: Scottish Government to consider membership of the group and review the terms of reference, circulating to members in February for comments before the next meeting. – Agenda item see below

Action point 2: All members to provide Debbie with a list of names of those to be invited to the end of February event together with other views on implementation of the standards – by 5 February. CLEARED

Terms of reference

The Draft Terms of Reference were circulated prior to the meeting.

Eddie invited comments and suggestions from the group. Discussion included:

  • there are gaps around the remit, reporting and governance of the group 
  • it was agreed the remit of the group would support the implementation of the Promise
  • the Voice of Young People must be heard and should be on the ToR
  • call for a forum for practice and governance support, leadership and direction at a national level in relation to children in or on the edges of secure care
  • ensure children, young people and young adults with experience of being in or on the edges of secure care contribute to, advise, inform, influence and challenge policy and practice development and implementation programmes
  • HMiE should be invited to join the group
  • CYPCS had a number of suggestions they will share with secretariat
  • the Vision agreed by the Secure Care Board seems to have been lost, it is not in the new YJ vision. The Secure Care Board vision should be added to the ToR

It was highlighted there are always likely to be tensions as this group is trying to do two things, support the implementation of reform around secure care whilst reducing the need for secure accommodation. It must be recognised that the removal of all young people from YOI and the future of secure care are two different things and it will be a challenge.

The group must support the work of other groups and ensure there is no duplication of effort. The high level governance will be reporting to Ministers and COSLA Leaders. 

It was agreed that the ToR would be re-drafted to take account of comments from members.

Action point 1: Scottish Government to re-draft the ToR and circulate to members for sign off.

CYPCS published paper – statutory duties in secure accommodation: unlocking children’s rights

Eddie informed the group that the Minister for Children and Young People Ms Haughey and Cllr McCabe have met to discuss the report. Ms Haughey has also written to all CSWO offering support to ensure measures have been put in place and that the correct procedures are followed. A few responses have already been received to say remedial measures have been put in place.

Maria gave a brief summary for the reasons for the investigation and the findings.

The report was deliberately narrow and technical. CYPCS wanted to find out if children were aware of their rights in the wider sense not just UNCRC.

CYPCS had engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to find out if they had complied with their statutory duties in advising young people of their rights and the right of appeal. 

All local authorities were very helpful and took active role in the investigations. There were no surprises in the findings which highlighted a real inconsistency in practice and highlighted there had been failings.

Nearly all local authorities have confirmed they have taken remedial action and measures are now in place to ensure their duties will be implemented correctly. 

Discussion was opened up to the group. It was agreed that is it vital to consider and scrutinise the totality of a young person’s needs and journey not only on placement to secure accommodation, with young people at the heart of conversations. Whilst the investigation was helpful it would always be backward looking, assessment needs to be in real time to ensure that we are getting it right for all children, with local review teams in each local authority building and maintaining relationships.

It was noted that the Care Inspectorate plan to develop inspection methodology to consider the young person’s journey. The care Inspectorate are likely to carry out a small pilot before progressing and would welcome good practice examples from across Scotland.

The report highlights failings in correspondence but it does not tell us if young people understand their rights or not. It would also be good to gather information on how many young people appealed their placement decision. 

Action point 2: Melissa Hunt offered to look at the available data held by CHS to gather information on the number of young people who had appealed their placement in secure care.

Maria advised the group that the Commissioner Bruce Adamson plans to visit all five secure centres and the CYPCS will soon be in touch to agree logistics. Bruce will want to meet with young people in secure and will agree with centres how best to do that. CYPCS will consider the impact of COVID-19 and children’s right to recover.

The Promise

The Promise Action Plan 21 – 24 was published on 31 March and sets on the pathway to 2030.

The Plan captures the totality of the change required and focusses on two key areas - the need for a national approach to placements and regulation of inspection.

Secure Care will play a vital role in this approach. The plan highlights the need for a framework of what children and families value. We need to understand the young person’s journey and look at our approach to how we best gather information.

The Change Programme will be published on Friday 25 June. This is a live document and will take account of the role of this group. The document gives more detail around what is happening on the ground, how The Promise can lever change, and assessment on whether work is underway, work is underway but does not appear sufficient and there is little or not work underway. – There will be a table with actions and will identify who is responsible for change.

The Promise will take a leading role in, CHS, data and investment.

Focus needs to be on national and local elements. CHS, Care Inspectorate among others will have key role. Experience shows we tend to focus (particularly in national discussions) on the national part of the equation, as it is usually easier and cheaper than the local and front line issues.

With all the national changes we need to be aware of the impact this has on organisations and individuals. We must engage and involve the wider workforce to include everyone in the changes and ensure they are achievable in the timescales.

The Promise will demand change however they recognise it is vital to bring organisations and individuals along with them.

CYCJ – update 

Secure Care Pathway and Standards - CYCJ confirmed they have been in contact with 22 local authorities providing different levels of support to self-evaluate their implementation of the standards. The other 10 local authorities have all been contacted and CYCJ hope that all 32 will have received support by autumn.

CYCJ have also worked with Secure Care Providers delivering session on implementing the standards and the Promise.

CYCJ invited all organisations to contact them if they want help or to discuss what support is available.

All local authorities will be contacted by the end of the year to ask them to share their experience and good practice. This information will be formalised in to a report.

The Standards Champions Group is still on-going. This is a motivated group of organisations coming together to support implementation of the standards.

CYCJ are aware that not every organisation is engaged in this work. Debbie asked for the group to spread the word and support implementation. If required CYCJ can share presentations / resources.

Transport – This a long standing complex issue around local authority responsibility for transporting children in secure care. This links back to the ToR of the group and the totality of a young person’s journey.

Secure transport is a problem which we all have an interest in but no one has overall responsibility for.

Eddie accepted this is a challenging subject that needs to be addressed. This may be a good time to take this forward as we have a different group and landscape in terms of UNCRC.

Action point 3: Eddie to look at the transport issue in more detail and bring this topic back to the next meeting. 

Data – Ross gave a brief overview of the recent Secure Accommodation Census.

The four home nations have bid for funding to the National Institute Health and Research to study the journey before and after secure care. Funding will be difficult to obtain. An update will be provided once a decision has been made.

Greater Glasgow are working on a project looking at the Sexual Health Needs of young people in secure care.

Talking Hope – Emma Miller has secured partial funding and plans to soon launch phase 3 of the project. This includes direct staff training.

There has been a report that a wider data agenda will be captured under the new Youth Justice Vision. Liz is due to meet with Scottish Government analytical colleagues next month and will raise this at the next meeting.

Ross highlighted the online Work and Education Conference which is free to attend. There are a few inputs that are directly relevant to secure care. Register for it here. Register for it here.


Wendy Francisxavier is the new part time (2 days a week) Participation lead at CYCJ with responsibility for supporting STARR. Wendy plans to meet with all of the secure care providers over the coming months. The STARR group will meet again soon and plan to recruit new members. If you know young people who would be interested in joining STARR please ask them to contact or (Note following the meeting Wendy has left her post and no longer works with CYCJ)

National secure adolescent inpatient service

The new NHS assurance process will likely delay launch of the new unit by 5 to 6 weeks with the unit hoping to open in July - August 2022.

The facility is called Foxgrove and a new logo is being developed in consultation with young people.

The facility will include outreach services which will support and facilitate transitions out of the service supporting young people when they are ready to move on.

Plans for commissioning and funding streams that will support CAMHS Regional Hubs which secure services will be able to access are being considered by the Scottish Government Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

The Children and Delivery Board are reviewing this work and Scottish Government officials will ensure secure care issues are raised and considered at this forum to ensure that a joined up approach is taken and that the future of secure care is included in discussions.

For more information, please contact Helen directly


Scottish Network for Reduction of Restrictive Practices and Scottish Physical Restraint Action Group. It appears not all secure care providers are taking part in this work. For more information please contact David Cotterell.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting will take place in early September 2021. A meeting request will be issued shortly.

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