December 10, 2018

Terms of Reference

C&YPMHS Taskforce Terms of Reference



The Taskforce has been jointly commissioned by Scottish Government and COSLA to take a whole system approach to children and young people’s mental health in Scotland. The aim is that children, young people and their families should know that they will be supported in good mental health and will be able to access help for mental health problems which is local, responsive and evidence based.

The Group will operate by collaborative leadership and will work with energy, pace, commitment and impact to ensure that immediate and longer-term changes to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing are efficiently and effectively supported.



Scottish Ministers and COSLA have set a scope for the Taskforce.  The Taskforce will focus on the areas and services that impact on and support the mental health and mental wellbeing of children and young people aged 0 to 25 years old, in recognition that whole-system change requires the input of many partners from a range of sectors.

The Chair has set out a preliminary view and initial recommendations for the Taskforce to consider and the Taskforce can add to and develop on those recommendations, ensuring the views of children, young people and families and the sectors and parts of the system involved are taken into account.


Taskforce Membership

Chair: Dame Dr Denise Coia

Co-Chair: A rotating Youth Commissioner from the SAMH and Young Scot Youth Commission on Mental Health will co-chair each meeting.


Jackie Brock, Chief Executive Children in Scotland

Amanda Croft, Interim Chief Executive NHS Grampian

Gary Hoey, Community Planning Partnership Manager South Ayrshire

Jackie Irvine, President Social Work Scotland

Kevin Kelman, Association of Directors of Education Scotland

Angela Leitch, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives

Elaine Lockhart, Chair of Child and Adolescent Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland

Carey Lunan, Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland

Stephen MacLeod, CAMHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board

Professor. Alex McMahon, Scottish Executive Nurse Directors

Joanna Murphy, Chair of National Parent Forum of Scotland

Billy Watson, Chief Executive Scottish Association for Mental Health

Mo Whelton, Project Manager Scottish Youth Parliament

David Williams, Integrated Joint Board Chief Officers

The Taskforce will seek advice and attendance from organisations, either on an ongoing or ad hoc basis.

Short-life working groups will be established and dissolved as directed by the Taskforce.  Any short-life group established shall minute their meetings and report back on findings to the Taskforce. Working groups may consist of a subset of members or involve co-opted others, as agreed by the Taskforce.

Members unable to attend a Taskforce meeting in person should inform the Chair and Secretariat in advance of the meeting.  Deputies should not be sent to Taskforce meetings if Members cannot attend.



The Taskforce is expected to run until the end of 2020.  It will set its own timescale for exploring options and making its recommendations to Scottish Ministers and COSLA throughout its life.


Accountability, Decision Making and Reporting

The Taskforce will report to Ministers and to COSLA, making recommendations and supporting partners in making the changes needed.  This is in recognition that partnership and collaboration between the Scottish Government and Local Government, and working with a broad range of partners, will be essential in making progress towards joint solutions and to get it right for every child.

Every three months the Chair of the Taskforce will update Ministers and COSLA jointly on the work of the Taskforce.  Extraordinary updates may also be made by the Chair to Ministers and COSLA.  The Taskforce is anticipated to provide its final report and recommendations at the end of 2020, but may also make recommendations during its life as well as in its final report.  Whenever made these recommendations will be presented to Ministers and COSLA jointly.

The Group is not established on a statutory basis. It is therefore not subject to the formal public appointments process and the requirements of the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland.  Members are appointed by Scottish Ministers and COSLA, taking into account the views of the Chair.

Decision making will be as far as possible by consensus, or by majority if consensus is not reached, with the Chair having the casting vote.

All members of the Taskforce and those asked to participate in work involving the Taskforce will be asked to declare any conflicts of interest. Any action to be taken on the basis of these declarations will be at the discretion of the Chair. If it is the Chair who has a conflict of interest, the Chair will ask another member of the Taskforce to lead in determining the appropriate course of action.



£5 million per annum is available to support implementation of Taskforce recommendations and to meet Taskforce costs.


Transparency and Communication

The Terms of Reference, reports, membership and minutes of meetings will be electronically published.

The Taskforce may make other documentation and resources public on relevant media platforms where appropriate and in accordance with its communication and engagement strategy.

In order to understand and effect change across the children and young people’s mental health landscape, the Taskforce will need to engage with individuals and organisations beyond the remit of individuals who are Members of the Group. This may include inviting individuals and organisations with specialist interest or expertise to provide insight and/or evidence at meetings of the Group as well as, for example:

  • establishing work streams that report to the Group
  • facilitating events
  • attending meetings of related groups and/or organisations
  • digital interaction and engagement
  • creation of a public facing communication and engagement strategy

It will be the role of the group to agree all communications and narrative in relation to the work of the group.



The success of the Taskforce will depend upon mutual trust and respect from all participants and observers.  There may, at times, require to be a degree of sensitivity around discussions in seeking to arrive at consensus. Open and frank discussion will be encouraged and supported with a general summary of key discussion and action points produced by secretariat following meetings.

The Taskforce will meet every six weeks until the end of 2020 with venues arranged by the Secretariat.  Any matters which need to be decided on out with the schedule of meetings may be dealt with by correspondence.

Any work streams or sub-groups established by the Taskforce will have the frequency of their meetings decided by the Taskforce, along with governance and membership arrangements.

Venues for Taskforce meetings will vary to different locations in Scotland when circumstances permit.



A Secretariat will be jointly provided by Scottish Government and COSLA in collaboration with members and contributing organisations. The Secretariat will circulate the agenda and papers in advance of meetings.