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Publication - Minutes

Social Renewal Advisory Board meeting: 23 July 2020

Published: 17 Aug 2020
Date of meeting: 23 Jul 2020
Date of next meeting: 29 Jul 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 23 July 2020.

17 Aug 2020
Social Renewal Advisory Board meeting: 23 July 2020

Attendees and apologies

Chaired by:

Aileen Campbell (Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government) and Shirley Anne Somerville (Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People)


  • Angela O’Hagan
  • Anna Fowlie
  • Bill Scott
  • Cllr Alison Evison
  • Emma Ritch
  • Eileen Cawley
  • Jim McCormick
  • Jon Sparkes
  • Leigh Sparks
  • Lindsay Graham
  • Lisa Maclean
  • Louise Macdonald
  • Maureen Sier
  • Neil McInroy
  • Sabir Zazai
  • Sally Thomas
  • Susan McPhee
  • Tressa Burke


  • Satwat Rehman
  • Fiona Lees
  • Etienne D’Aboville

Items and actions


Aileen Campbell welcomed the Board and thanked them for their work so far, specifically recognising the fast-paced nature of the Circles work which has been necessary for proposals to be considered in time for Programme for Government. 

Policy Circles Work – membership, emerging proposals, gaps, approaches to tackling inequalities

Shirley-Anne Somerville introduced the item, thanking Board Members for the work that had taken place in the circles, recognising the pace at which it was moving forward. A number of Board Members then provided an update and reflection on the Policy Circle meetings which had taken place so far. Each circle has taken a slightly different approach to the work. The need to ensure that cross-fertilisation of ideas between different circles was raised. There are clear overlaps between areas and the way they interact in people’s lives, and for specific groups the issues they face are often specific and need to be reflected in every circle. A number of ‘floating members’ have been suggested and there was an offer made to Circle member’s to use these as much as possible to bring in the specific interests of groups such as young people and women.

The challenges that Circles, and the Board are trying to solve are substantial and it was raised that our response also needs to be substantial, we need to ensure that our response means systemic change and affects the fundamental issues. The solutions will also differ depending on the locality, so we need to ensure that communities are involved in their own solutions. It was also recognised that there is an immediate need and a longer term need – and that solutions will have multiple tiers of engagement across the medium and long term. 

It was also noted that solutions need to be considered in light of the budgetary pressures and the current financial climate. Using available money to ensure the greatest effect and impact was raised as a way to partially overcome this. 

Update on lived experience engagement

Aileen Campbell provided an update on the two parts of the lived experience engagement that have begun. The Poverty Truth Commissions will be engaging with their members over the next two weeks with a paper being brought to the Board for consideration on the 5 August. The community listening events, held in local authorities will now take place in up to 28 local authorities across Scotland, so will be a wider ranging piece of work which will feed into the longer term recommendations of the Board.

The Board members discussed how lived experience had been feeding into the work of the circles and how they were keen to use their own networks to further this where possible, especially into phase 2. It was noted that Members were unclear on the boundaries around confidentiality and how this affected the lived experience work.

It was discussed that there are considerations we need to ensure are at the centre of how we approach this work. These included the need to consider how lived experience can sometimes ignore structural factors of inequality, that we should keep the people who we involve in the work up-to-date on how we use their evidence and intelligence and that we need to be conscious of the language we use which could be exclusionary. 


Shirley-Anne Somerville closed the meeting, thanking the Board Members once again for their attendance. The next meeting of the Board will take place on 29 July.