Attendees and apologies
- Mark McDonald (Chair), Minister for Childcare and Early Years
- Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of CORRA Foundation for Scotland, independent Chair of the Review
- Katherine Hudson, Child Protection Team Leader, Scottish Government, attending for Judith Ainsley
- Neil Hunter, Principal Reporter/Chief Executive SCRA
- Peter Diamond, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
- Helen Fogarty, Head of Better Life Chances Unit, Scottish Government
- Ellen Birt, Girfec Bill Team Leader, Scottish Government
- Alison Gordon, Chief Social Work Officer & Head of Children Families and Justice Social Work Services, * North Lanarkshire
- Sally Ann Kelly Chief Executive, Aberlour, and Chair of Committee on Care & Support for Children and Young People, Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland (CCPS)
- Amanda Cronin, Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative improvement adviser, Scottish Government (attending for Susan Hannah)
- Kay Tisdall, Professor of Childhood, Edinburgh University
- Angela Wilson, SOLACE (attending for Angela Leitch)
- Jane Johnstone, Professional Social Work Adviser, Scottish Government (attending for Iona Colvin)
- Kevin Mitchell, Care Inspectorate (attending for Judith Tait)
- Alex McTier, Evidence and Evaluation Specialist, CELCIS, University of Strathclyde
- Claire Burns, Co-Director, CELCIS & Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures
- DS Elaine Galbraith, Police Scotland, attending for DCS Lesley Boal
- Wendy Mitchell, Head of Nursing, Performance & Strategic Management for Child Protection, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
- Cllr Stephen McCabe, Spokesperson for Children and Young People, COSLA
- Jane O’Donnell, Chief Officer, Children and Young People, COSLA
- Anne Houston, Chair, Child Protection Committees Scotland
- Leona Solley, Child Protection, Scottish Government
- Francois Roos, Child Protection, Scottish Government
Items and actions
1. Minute of last meeting (22 June 2017)
No proposed amendments to minute of previous meeting. Action points relating to the Regional Events working group and the CELCIS questionnaire are tabled on the agenda and will be covered in paper 1 and paper 3.
2. Presentation - Independent Care Review - voices of care experienced children and families and care leavers.
The Minster introduced Fiona Duncan, Independent Chair of the Care Review and Chief Executive of CORRA Foundation for Scotland.
- It was suggested that historically we have been better at capturing children with a care identity, rather than children who move in and out of the system and that there should be better continuity in engaging with children. In answer Fiona Duncan noted that a large number of conversations are being had with children who own their identity and in addition, conversations are now being undertaken with people who have never been spoken to before and they are looking in places they have never looked before. It is generally found that families on the edge of care are the least comfortable about having these conversations out of fear of the action that could potentially be taken. Building trust and breaking barriers takes time, especially when conversations are challenging.
- The Leadership Group were asked if the Leadership Group have given any thought on how learning can be taken from the Review. In answer Fiona Duncan confirmed she is happy to continue the conversation with the Leadership Group and that information can be found on the Care Review’s website. A key objective of the Review is to unpick what has been learned and how useful this learning will be to the care system.
- The Minister welcomed Fiona Duncan’s offer to return to the Leadership Group after the discovery phase to give further updates.
AP: To invite Fiona Duncan back to speak to the Leadership Group at the end of the discovery phase to provide a further update.
3. Paper 1 - Findings from the Child Protection Committee Questionnaire
- Celcis presented findings from a questionnaire that CELCIS had circulated to all Child Protection Committees. He noted that there is a large degree of variance in both the Chief Officer Groups membership and the size and naming of subgroups within Child Protection Committees.
- The Minister proposed any discussion/questions be moved to the next agenda item, Paper 2 – Role and Purpose of CPC Scotland.
4. Paper 2 - Role and Purpose of CPC Scotland
- Members of the Leadership Group had previously received a paper on the role and purpose of CPC Scotland and an annex to paper 2 was handed out. Views of CPC membership were sought and members welcomed the opportunity for this discussion at Leadership Group level. It was noted that CPC Scotland originated from what was previously called the ‘Chairs Forum’, it offers expertise and insight into knowledge of practice at a local level. Other agencies frequently ask to attend the CPC Scotland Quarterly meeting. CPC Scotland frequently hold discussions and consult with agencies such as Police Scotland, The Courts, Tribunal Service and the third sector.
- It was noted that CPC Scotland agreed their Terms of Reference should be reviewed after the conclusion of the Child Protection Systems Review and messages from the discussion at the recent CPC Scotland Quarterly meeting included:
- CPC Scotland’s key role and function is the sharing and promotion of good practice and knowledge, Informing National Policy and sharing issues, providing an opportunity for peer support and sharing learning.
- CPC Scotland is a multi and inter-agency group and is a partner in delivering and supporting the Child Protection Improvement Programme. A National platform is therefore vital in disseminating information. CPC Scotland creates the opportunity for experts to work collaboratively.
- CPC Scotland keeps Child Protection prominent in the current climate where areas are moving to an amalgamated public protection agenda.
- The level of budgets within CPCs are variable and this creates difficulty in delivering work nationally.
- The Minister noted that the CELCIS questionnaire reported the degree of variability of CPC representation and the number of meetings. The Minister asked if CPC Scotland is aiming to establish some form of standardisation. It was noted that there is difficulty in having a minimum criteria, but that there is real value in looking closely at the CELCIS survey, which is the first of its kind.
- The Minister noted that the Home Office is represented on one of the CPC Scotland groups and asked what the strategic level is of those attending individual CPCs. In answer it was noted that a national framework for CPC Scotland is being looked at to determine the required level and status of those attending and how actions are taken forward.
- The Minister noted to CELCIS that it would be helpful to investigate the seniority of the level of individual CPC membership across local authorities.
AP: Celcis to consider what additional analysis is possible around seniority of membership.
- It was noted that it would be beneficial to understand the reason behind non-attendance of individual CPC meetings and the level of deputies that are requested to attend.
- it is important to recognise the voice of the person using services as well as the voice of the practitioner implementing it.
- qualitative information would be helpful and that there appears a gap in representation from key agencies on CPCs and Chief Officer Groups. In answer it was agreed that there should be a minimum standard for the responsibilities of CPC Chairs.
- Health Improvement Scotland is not in all instances represented on Chief Officer Groups and representation from health and other bodies should be sought.
- The Minister referring to his statement to Parliament earlier this year, asked whether legislation is required with regard to CPCs, or whether changes could be driven simply by directives.
- The Minister asked for a paper for the next meeting on what could be developed as a basis for minimum standards/core components for CPCs, with a view to potentially establishing a short-term working group to take this forward.
- The Leadership Group noted that it was important to be clear about the link between minimum standards and effectiveness.
AP: A paper to be produced by the Scottish Government for the next Leadership Group meeting on the basis for minimum standards/core components for CPCs.
5. Paper 3 - Regional Events working group update
- An update was provided on the work of the Regional Events working group.
- The Minister noted that there is an expectation of follow-up action to the events. The Minister suggested that a window for holding events might be in late January to late February 2018
- The Minister suggested that events may not necessarily be one-off and that the group must ensure that the voice of the frontline is heard.
AP: Suggestions of content for events should be put on Leadership Group agenda for discussion.
- It was noted that half-day sessions might not be long enough and that in terms of attendees, the group must ensure that events are focused on quality discussions with key people.
AP: Scottish Government to work with the Regional Events working group to draw up a proposal of key points to be raised and suggested invitees.
6. Paper 4 - Child Protection Flagging on the Vulnerable Persons Database
- Police Scotland presented a paper setting out proposals for flagging children who are on the Child Protection Register on the Vulnerable Persons Database and plans to consult on what this would involve.
- A reference was noted to instances where a VPD flag is removed and asked whether those individuals would be taken off the system entirely. Police Scotland confirmed that to be the case.
- Agreement was noted to the proposal in principle and agreed to the consultation.
- It was noted that there were issues with the previous ViSOR system, as not all areas were able to access the checks and balances. VPD flagging should be accessible to all staff, from the control room to frontline practitioners and those in a national role. The process of transaction from Local Authority to Police needs robust business rules.
- The Minister commented that the Leadership Group could circulate the link to the consultation.
AP: Police Scotland to share VPD consultation with Leadership Group, to circulate and promote. AP: Police Scotland to work with Register holders alongside the consultation.
7. Presentation - Information Sharing
- Scottish Government presented an update on The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill. Main points included:
- The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will bring consistency, clarity and coherence to the practice of sharing information about children’s and young people’s wellbeing across Scotland.
- The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill introduces a duty to consider if sharing information with or by the Named Person service will promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of a child or young person. It provides the power to share relevant information with or by the Named Person service and in connection with a Child’s Plan only when certain conditions are met. This changes the 2014 Act which has a duty to share information.
- Every child up to the age of 18 (and beyond if still in school) will have access to a Named Person. The Named Person service will be available as an entitlement, with no obligation for children and young people or parents to accept any offer of advice or support. This remains unchanged from the 2014 Act. Where there are child protection concerns, then local child protection procedures must be followed without delay.
- The Scottish Government remains fully committed to applying the Getting it right for every child approach and will work with others to strengthen the approach and build public confidence as we move forward with the legislative process.
- It was noted that 2018 is the year of young people.
Future Meeting Dates 2017/18
- 20th December (9.30-12.30), Edinburgh
- 27th March 2018 (9.30-12.30), Glasgow
Action Points Summary
- AP: To invite Fiona Duncan back to speak to the Leadership Group at the end of the discovery phase to provide a further update.
- AP: Celcis to consider what additional analysis is possible around seniority of membership.
- AP: A paper to be produced by the Scottish Government for the next Leadership Group meeting on the basis for minimum standards/core components for CPC’s.
- AP: Suggestions of content for Regional Events should be put on Leadership Group agenda for discussion
- AP: Scottish Government to work with the Regional Events working group to draw up a proposal of key points to be raised and suggested invitees.
- AP: Link to Police Scotland VPD consultation to be shared with Leadership Group, to circulate and promote.
- AP: Police Scotland to work with Register holders alongside the consultation.
Policy Officer, Child Protection Team