Skills: Shared Outcomes Assurance Group minutes: 15 March 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 15 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Stephen Pathirana (Chair) Director, Advanced Learning & Science (ALS)
  • Helena Gray, Director, Fair Work and Employability (FWES)
  • Adam Reid, Deputy Director (FWES)
  • Helen Webster, Deputy Director (ALS)
  • Jack Taylor, Future Skills Policy Lead (FWES)
  • Stephanie Sinclair, Team Leader (ALS)
  • Richard Murray, Interim Deputy Director (FWES)
  • Kim McLaren, Strategy Unit (ALS)
  • Stuart King, Senior Principal Research Officer (FWES)
  • Althea Maxwell, Secretariat (ALS)

Skills Development Scotland

  • Neville Prentice, Senior Director, Service Development Delivery
  • John Murray, Director of Change, Assurance and Development
  • Andrea Glass, Head of Regions and Enabling Sectors
  • Chris Brodie, Director of Regional Skills Planning and Sector Development
  • Diane Greenlees, Director, Critical Skills and Occupations
  • Lynne Robson, Head of Evaluation and Impact
  • Graeme Hendry, Senior Partnership and Delivery Manager

Scottish Funding Council

  • Claire McPherson, Deputy Director for Policy
  • Sharon Drysdale, Assistant Director Access, Learning and Outcomes
  • Seamus Spencer, Assistant Director/Outcome Agreement Manager

Items and actions


Welcome – review of minutes and actions from previous meeting

Confirm minutes of previous meeting and review action tracker.

Shared Outcomes Framework

An update on the publication of the Shared Outcomes Framework and reflections on the attendance of Scottish Government at the Public Audit Committee on 10 March in response to the Audit Scotland Planning for Skills Report.

NSET delivery and relationship to SOAG

Discussion on the National Strategy for Economic Transformation and the relationship with the Shared Outcomes Assurance Group

ESIF update

Update on progress of ESIF Project

Project updates

Roundtable updates from all project SROs on action undertaken since the last meeting and planned activity for the month ahead.


Welcome and introductions 

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. 

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed. 

The Chair noted the recent (9 March 2022) publication of the Shared Outcomes Framework (SOF), and that the Public Audit Committee (PAC) had taken evidence on 10 March 2022 in relation to the Audit Scotland’s “Planning for Skills” publication. 

Shared Outcomes Framework

The comments made by the PAC on 10 March, in relation to the timing of the SOF publication date, were acknowledged and it was noted that the PAC would review the SOF, and monitor its implementation, in more detail at a future date. 

The group discussed how the SOF will be used now, and in future, to ensure that there is clarity and a shared vision to deliver the various projects. 

It was agreed that agendas, minutes and papers of the group would henceforth be placed on the Scottish Government website. 

Action: Scottish Government to ensure placing of agendas, minutes and papers on the website.

It was confirmed that, as DG Education and Justice had advised the Committee, the Scottish Government will issue the 2022 to 2023 Letters of Guidance for both SDS and SFC by 31 March. 

Action: Scottish Government to issue the 2022 – 2023 Letters of Guidance by 31 March 2022; and to send copies (or links to published versions) to PAC.

National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) delivery and relationship to SOAG

The Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board (ESSB) will be replaced by the NSET Delivery Board, which will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy. The group acknowledged that NSET Delivery Board’s focus will be on delivery and accountability. 

It was confirmed that the final ESSB meeting will be held on 25 March 2022 and the first NSET Delivery Board meeting will be in June 2022. The current ESSB Chair will oversee the transition to the new structure. Potential members are being identified for the NSET Delivery Board; the group agreed that representatives of SFC and SDC would not sit on the NSET Delivery Board.  

The group noted that the DG Economy Portfolio Management Board will oversee the six NSET projects/workstreams.

The group agreed that governance outlined in the SOF must align with the SOAG governance structure and the work of SOAG must align with that of the NSET Delivery Board.

The group agreed that the SOF represents only some of the activity that SDS and SFC are responsible for, and that there will be a need for the organisations to engage with the NSET governance and delivery structures more broadly. 

The group agreed the activity and commitments as described in NSET, should also be reflected in the Letters of Guidance to both organisations.

The group recognised pathfinders represent only some of the range of projects on which SDS and SFC are collaborating. The ambition is for pathfinders to identify approaches that might be realised regionally or delivered more broadly. 

It was noted that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy was expected to give evidence in relation to NSET at the Economy and Fair Work

Committee on 16 March 2022. 

Action: Members agreed to work collaboratively to ensure information within the project templates is reviewed regularly to monitor progress and to ensure this aligns with our wider objectives outlined within the NSET.

Economic and Social Impacts Framework (ESIF) update

It was noted that there were two strands to ESIF work: 

  • econometric analysis, which covers employment and wage premia for different education and training interventions
  • social impact analysis, which explores the benefits of education and training, over and above economic benefits

SDS, SFC and SG partners were working to agree a consistent package for the high-level messaging of results.  

The group discussed timelines for this work, noting that ESIF is one of the projects on the SOF, and agreed to provide a progress report for the next SOAG meeting. 

Action: Scottish Government to ensure an update on these points provided in advance of the next SOAG meeting.

Project Updates

Adult upskilling and reskilling

The group noted that this was a key NSET action and that discussion was ongoing with agencies and partners via other forums at this stage.

Foundation apprenticeship and Graduate Apprenticeship (FA and GA) delivery

The group discussed the reporting template that SDS use for reporting progress on this work. The group agreed to consider how this tool could be used to standardise reporting across other projects within SOF.

The group discussed the need to continue to consider appropriate governance and reporting structures as the work programme develops.

Action: Scottish Government, SDS and SFC to develop the reporting tool for use across SOF projects.

Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP)

On work package one, it was confirmed that SDS and SFC have been working on developing a process map to capture the progress made in relation to green jobs, demand assessment and provision mapping and that this work would be accelerated in coming weeks.

On work package two, a detailed Work Plan had been drafted to complement the Project Initiation Document (PID) circulated previously. This had been shared with SFC and SG for comment, ahead of discussions with SDS.

Action: Scottish Government and SFC to provide feedback on the detailed Work Plan for work package two to SDS.

Regional pathfinders

Work on regional pathfinder projects was at an earlier stage than other projects discussed at the meeting  This was expected to accelerate as activity moved on from scope and development to implementation.

Action was underway to address increasing capacity; three vacancies in SFC were now being advertised, and plans to recruit external support were in place.

It was agreed that representatives of SG and SFC should meet ahead of the next SOAG meeting to agree timelines and support required to deliver this project.

The group agreed the importance of providing a clear description of progress and intended outcomes; SFC to consider the most effective way of communicating activity for future meetings, including Ministerial meetings.

Action: SFC and SDS to discuss before the next SOAG meeting in order to agree on timelines and support needed to progress this project.

Any other business

The agenda for the next joint Ministerial meeting will include reviewing SOF and pathfinders.

The group agreed that SFC and SDS members will work with SG leads to agree arrangements to ensure members have sufficient time to prepare and review papers for SOAG meetings

Action: SG SOAG leads to liaise with SFC and SDS to discuss arrangements for SOAG and joint Ministerial meetings including future meeting dates.




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