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Minutes of Forum Meeting

08th April 2019

National Confidential Forum

Meeting of the Forum Members

Monday 8th April 2019






Professor Kate Davidson, Board Member, National Confidential Forum (Chair)

Dr Tara Pennington-Twist, Board Member, National Confidential Forum (Minutes)


In attendance

Jamie Malcolm, Interim Manager of the National Confidential Forum

Safaa Baxter, Deputy Chair, Mental Welfare Commission


1     Welcome and Apologies

Apologies were given by Dr Aileen Blower and Moira Ramage, Board Members of the National Confidential Forum.


It was acknowledged that this would Jamie’s last meeting and thanks were given to him on behalf of the NCF Members, staff and the Board.                                                   


2     Minutes of meeting held on 18/02/2019

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.


3     NCF report progress update

Members of the meeting discussed Martin McKee’s (NCF Research Associate) ‘Proposed reporting activities’ document and it was agreed that this contained many good ideas. Jamie noted that given the original reporting schedule had changed with the extension of the Forum’s operation and the function carried out the Research Advisory Group set up for the originally planned “final report” was no longer required. Tara and Kate both agreed that the NCF Research Associate must be supervised by an experienced and skilled Qualitative Research Supervisor to ensure quality and adherence to any qualitative research/analytic approach and to ensure that the NCF makes the most of the information shared by participants. Meeting members discussed the possible need for a communications report.


4   Annual Report

Jamie gave an update on the NCF report. Jamie will complete an Annual Report prior to the end of his post. This report will include material based on participants’ experiences of attending NCF, supplemented by the work to date of the Research Associate. A summary findings report and a range of supplementary reports (including a follow up reflection report) will be subsequently produced.


5  NCF External review update

The last external review meeting was in February. The plan is that a progress report will be produced following the next meeting. This report will be available to NCF Members.


6   Member availability

Following the recent increase in applications to NCF and with three Hearings scheduled and a further six to be scheduled, Jamie has recently introduced a ‘doodle poll’ of member availability for NCF Hearings. It was acknowledged that this has been helpful.


7   Hearing process (revised hearing script)

Jamie has recently updated the script/ protocol for Hearings.


8 Supervision/ psychological support (proposed arrangements for NCF Members and staff)

Jamie has met with Dr Calum Munro (Consultant Psychiatrist) and it is proposed that he will offer a bi-monthly Reflective Practice Group (RPG) with all NCF staff members. The RPG is intended to provide a safe space for reflection on feelings relating to and the impact of the work, on relationships between members of the NCF team and any difficulties or conflicts which might arise in the course of this work.  There will also be the option of confidential individual support for wellbeing should staff members feel this would be of benefit.


9 Health in Mind Support Line contract renewal

Currently, if participants require support before or after their Hearing, they are able to access either telephone or face-to-face support via a contract with Health in Mind. This contract has been renewed.


10 Staff

The new NCF Head is being recommended to the Minister.

The new NCF Manager is Susan Abbate, who is currently interim Chief Executive of Deaf-Blind Scotland. She is due to start in post in April.

The new NCF Engagement Officer is Gregory Hill-O’Connor, due to start in post in April.


11 Communications update

Jamie acknowledged that much effort had gone into communications in the last year but this unfortunately did not lead to an increase in NCF participants. Jamie will meet Mandy Gallagher, a communications specialist in social marketing, who will analyse past communications outputs and make recommendations going forward. Four more bus ticket adverts in other areas including Lanarkshire, Aberdeen and Dundee are going ahead.


12 Forum Members- Hearing Review and reflective practice meetings

Jamie is hoping to establish the chance for Members to talk about what happens in the room during Hearings, including reflecting on the process, sharing learning and creating a culture of reflective practice.


13 Forum Members’ items

Kate discussed her concerns with regards to the NCF database, suggesting that a minimal dataset could be systematically collected (i.e. basic demographics) by Hearing Co-ordinators.


Tara and Kate both shared that feedback from participants during the Hearings indicates that the NCF application process is too onerous and unnecessarily formal, requiring good literacy and IT skills. Both shared concerns that this is likely to be prohibitive or off putting for many potential participants and ultimately may reduce the number of participants who give their testimony at Hearings. It was agreed that this would be discussed further with the incoming Head and Manager.



14 Any other business




Date of next meeting

17th June 2019

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