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Best Start Grant Reference Group

Role of the group

The Best Start Grant Reference Group was set up in October 2016 to support Scottish Ministers to develop policy for the Best Start Grant (BSG), to be delivered from summer 2019.

The group:

  • helps inform the evidence base to support policy decisions
  • supports and assesses the development of options and processes for the BSG
  • represents the views and interests of people with 'lived experience' of the benefits system
  • helps facilitate co-production of certain aspects of the BSG with people who will be eligible or in receipt of the benefit
  • supports communication around the BSG
  • helps inform advice to Scottish Ministers

The group meets every three to four months.


  • Mark Willis – Child Poverty Action Group
  • Fiona McHardy – Poverty Alliance
  • Eddie Follan – Barnardo's
  • Vicky Crichton – Save the Children
  • Alys Mumford – Engender
  • Evelyn Fraser – Scottish Women's Convention
  • Marion Davis – One Parent Families Scotland
  • Jackie Tolland – Parent Network Scotland
  • Rossalind Bragg – Maternity Action
  • Nicola Dickie – COSLA
  • Kerry McKenzie – NHS Scotland
  • Jackie Gibson – Head of Service/ Lead Nurse, Children, Young People and Families Services, Dundee Health
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards – Early Years Scotland
  • Usman Ali – Action for Children
  • Kay McIntosh – South Lanarkshire and Scottish Local Government Partnership (SLGP)
  • Kathryn Farrow – Early Years Manager (South), Education Services, Glasgow City Council