Secure Care Group minutes: May 2019

Minutes from the second meeting of the Secure Care Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Tom McNamara, Scottish Government (joint chair)
  • Nicola Dickie, COSLA (joint chair)
  • Lisa Muirhead, Care Review (observer) 
  • Andy Sloan, Care Inspectorate
  • Catherine Agnew, Care Inspectorate
  • Liz Murdoch, Scottish Government
  • David Cotterell (Secretariat)
  • Debbie Nolan, Secure Care Development Manager 
  • Gordon Cowan, CAMHS (observer)
  • Helen Smith, CAMHS 
  • Norma Corlette, Staf 
  • Sinclair Soutar, Kibble 
  • Ben Farrugia, SWS
  • Karen Dyball, Glasgow SW  


  • Rod Finan, Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Burleigh, Scotland Excel 
  • Beth-Anne Logan, Care Review / STARR  
  • Steven McPherson, Education Scotland 
  • Alan Muirhead, Police Scotland 
  • Peter McCloskey, Edinburgh Secure Services
  • Aileen Blower, NHS 

Items and actions

Welcome and introduction

TMc welcomed everyone and invited round the table introductions.

Action points from the previous meeting

All action points had been completed.  It was noted that a representative from SPS was still required.  It was agreed a follow up request would be sent to SPS.

Note of the 12 March 2019 meeting

The note was agreed.

Terms of reference

It was agreed that the terms of reference would be amended to be clearer about the group’s role and how we link to other boards and groups specifically the Independent Care Review.


NB was unable to attend the meeting. SS and LM attended the last commissioning workshop and provided a brief update confirming the work is on track with the award of the new contracts expected in early 2020.

Confirmation was provided that options around prioritisation of Scottish placements would not be considered by the commissioning group and that conversations are taking place between Scottish Government/COSLA and key stakeholders will be invited to take part in the wider conversations as and when appropriate. 

Future capacity is for the care review to consider, however, current capacity issues need to be addressed. 

Responses to Engagement with Stakeholders seeking validation of the standards and discuss how this group will work towards the implementation of the secure care national standards

LM advised the group that 19 responses had been received which were circulated to the group prior to the meeting. All the responses were positive and supportive of the standards.

There were some suggestions including:

  • too many standards, could these be condensed down
  • the transport standard is not clear or in the current situation achievable
  • there will be difficulty in implementing some standards which will require significant change in practice

It was agreed that there was some cross over with the Health and Social Care Standards and, therefore, some of the standards could be removed.  

There needs to be rigour around the timeline as we worked towards an implementation date of April 2020.

DN provided an update on her role as Secure Care Development Manager and her wider remit within CYCJ. It was agreed DN would share her job description and work plan with the group.

CA explained that the Care Inspectorate was working on a 'Secure Care Inspection Framework' highlighting expectations for grades 2-5. The framework may help with the implementation of the standards. The CI also hope to employ a member staff that may be able to assist with the implementation of the standards. This has still to be agreed and CI will keep the group informed. 

It was agreed that DN would produce a risk register for the standards including specific roles responsibilities and a timeline and provide a draft for both chairs by early June before wider circulation with the group.

The group agreed:

  • it was vital co-production remained central when agreeing the final standards 
  • we need to map out what the barriers are to implementation
  • need to set the scene explaining implementation will take time so practitioners do not feel overloaded
  • transport will be a major challenge. SS said this was on Kibbles work plan and as things progress he will keep the group informed
  • what practical support will be available for stakeholders?
  • highlighted challenges around implementation and LD requirements
  • the secure care standards will complement the Health and Social Care Standards and not replace them

Implementation will take time, we need take people with us and allow organisations to be candid in identifying risks and challenges. A small group should meet initially to discuss the responses to the standards.

We need to make use of the resources already available, stressing how important the use of a consistent language is.

It was agreed that not all the standards will be implemented quickly and some may require significant change or resource however this should not stop us including the difficult to achieve standards. Practitioners need to be clear about the challenges they face stating how and why they are not able to implement a particular standard.

Cross border placements: YP experience and practice; capacity issues

DN asked if there could be consistency around the advice given to LA’s that were finding it difficult to place a young person in secure care due to lack of capacity. In recent weeks DN and Scottish Government have received numerous phone calls seeking guidance.

It was noted that ongoing capacity issues will hamper LA’s ability to implement the standards. Whilst everyone appreciated the complexity around funding and the pressures on providers there is a need to be clear about the whole situation, including break down in placements etc.

Despite this the launch of the standards should not be put on hold and honest discussions need to take place around what we can be achieved and what will need time. Language is so important - practitioners don’t want to be set up to constantly fail.

The question was asked whether there was an identified reason for the lack of capacity. There is no single reason however it is clear the number of Scottish placements have risen considerably in the past 9 months. Cross border placements peaked at 43 and have since reduced to 27. With all units also having recently used their emergency bed this suggest there has been an increase of 16-19 placements from Scottish LA’s in that short period.   

Any other business

TMc asked the group if they were aware of the Justice Committee Inquiry on the provision of mental health services in secure care units and in HMP & YOI Polmont.

Most people were aware and their organisation planned to respond and or take part in the oral evidence session.

It was agreed that as most members would be responding individually to the enquiry, there was not a necessity for this group to provide a joint response.  TMc confirmed he would respond to the committee to advise the Secure Care Board met for the last time in December and this group would not be responding. TMc asked that the Justice Committee e-mail is forwarded to the Care Review to ensure they were sighted.

Next meeting

Tuesday 25 June, Victoria Quay Edinburgh, 10:30 – 12:30.

Action points:

  • AP 1: Contact SPS to encourage them to send a rep to the next meeting.  
  • AP 2: TMc/DC to update the ToR to make it clear how the group will take full account of the work of the Care Review 
  • AP 3: AS to match the standards again to the Health and Social Care Standards to see if the number of Secure Care standards can be reduced
  • AP 4: DN to share her work plan and planned  meetings.
  • AP 5: AS, DN and BL to meet to discuss the responses to the standards and make recommendations to the comments. This work will assist DN in drafting the risk register. This small group should consider seeking representation from one secure care provider and the Scottish Government.    
  • AP 6: DC to forward the Justice Committee email to Lisa Muirhead.
  • AP 7: DC to arrange for the papers to be placed on the SG website.


Secure Care Group


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