Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Expert Advisory Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Expert Advisory Group.


The terms of reference are made in relation to the Expert Advisory Group on trauma responsive social work services. This group has been established to support implementation of a trauma informed and responsive social work workforce and social work service provision.

This requires all members and/ or their organisations to commit to providing advice on a range of actions and activities required to develop a trauma informed workforce and services, and related implementation supports.


The primary role of the Expert Advisory Group is to provide advice, inform, share and discuss the implementation of the National Trauma Training Programme for social work services, to ensure Scotland’s social work services are trauma informed.

The group has a specific remit to:

  • provide feedback on the proposed actions related to workforce education, skills and training
  • provide advice, share information and inform activities to develop the national approach to implementation supports, as noted in Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Work Plan
  • ensure there are active and continued mechanisms for collaboration and participation in the proposed plan with those with lived experience of trauma
  • ensure the proposed work makes a considerable contribution to Plan 21-24 - The Promise, specifically in relation to supporting the workforce


Membership includes individuals providing social work services across Scotland from various practice areas, and those with lived experience of trauma and/or organisations representing them.

Membership of the expert advisory group will be at the invitation of the Scottish Government.

Membership responsibilities

Members will demonstrate commitment to make a positive, practical, meaningful and lasting contribution to the work of the Expert Advisory Group whilst working with members to drive action to develop a fully trauma-informed workforce across social work service providers in Scotland.

Members will communicate with and provide feedback to their organisations and ensure regular communication with the Expert Advisory Group and other relevant stakeholders.

Members will agree the format of each meeting. Substitution of a deputy is acceptable on the understanding that the deputy will provide a report on the meeting to the substantive member and/ or the group they represent. Members submitting apologies for meetings, and who are unable to send a deputy, should notify the secretariat in advance.

All members will make a full declaration of interests in writing to the group secretariat. Public confidence in decisions made by this Expert Advisory Group depends on it being clearly understood that decisions are being taken in the public interest and not for any other reason. In deciding whether to declare an interest (financial or non-financial), the key test is whether a member of the public would reasonably regard that a particular interest could influence your discussion or decision-making in your role as a member of the Steering Group. If a member is uncertain as to whether or not an interest should be declared, they should seek guidance from the secretariat in advance of attendance.

Leadership and links with other relevant activity

Meetings will be conducted by the chair.

To ensure that the work of the Expert Advisory Group is informed and effective at making links to other relevant areas of activity, the Secretariat will ensure appropriate communication and co-ordination with the wide range of other organisations, activities and Programme for Government commitments relevant to developing a trauma informed and responsive workforce.

This includes but is not limited to the National Trauma Training Programme; Advanced Practice Framework for Social Work; Collective Leadership Group (CLG) workforce development sub-group for Children and Families Services; National Child Protection Guidance Implementation Group; Children and Young People’s Taskforce on Mental Health; the GIRFEC Refresh; Chief Medical Officer’s Taskforce to improve services for victims of rape and sexual assault; Victims Taskforce; Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan; Suicide Prevention Action Plan; Equally Safe Delivery Plan; a renewed focus on prevention, early intervention and holistic family support and; work streams relevant to delivery of the Promise and the National Care Service.

Accountability and governance

The Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Expert Advisory Group will report to the Scottish Government Collective Leadership Group (CLG) workforce development sub-group for Children and Families Services.

The group will also report progress and updates to the National Trauma Training Steering Group for strategic oversight.

Community Justice Scotland, Social Work Education Partnership (SWEP), Heads of Social Work HEIs, Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), NHS Education for Scotland, the Improvement Service, Social Work Scotland and COSLA will be informed and updated on the work of the Advisory Group.

The Terms of Reference and minutes of meetings will be published. The Group retains an option to make other documentation and resources public where appropriate.

Frequency of meetings

The group will meet quarterly, however this frequency will be reviewed as we move through the process of implementation.

Extraordinary meetings may be convened for exceptional reasons.


Secretariat support for the group will be provided by the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser in Scottish Government.

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