The on-line consultation on the Draft East Lothian Poverty Plan 2021-2023 is now live

From Paolo Vestri, Service Manager – Improvement, Policy & Communications, Communities & Partnerships, East Lothian Council

Tackling the causes and effects of poverty in East Lothian is one of the, if not the, most important priorities for East Lothian Council as we begin to recover from the COVID pandemic.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”      Nelson Mandela

Following publication of the East Lothian Poverty Commission report in 2017 much has been done over the last few years to reduce poverty and inequalities, but much more still needs to be done.

The pandemic and lockdowns have increased poverty in East Lothian. (Read the leaflet, ‘Poverty in East Lothian’ for more information.) So it is vital that we put in place a new Plan to reduce poverty and improve the economic and life chances of all our citizens.

A Draft Poverty Plan for 2021 – 2023 has been prepared for the Council by a working group including representatives from key council services, NHS Lothian and community and voluntary groups. 

The Draft Plan sets out objectives and actions that should be prioritised over the next two years.

It can be accessed using the following link.

NHS Recovery Plan published today

From Cat McMeeken, Deputy Director, Leadership, Wellbeing and Culture Division, Directorate of Health Workforce, Scottish Government

Today the Scottish Government has published its NHS Recovery Plan, committing more than £1 billion to the recovery and renewal of Scotland’s health service as we emerge from coronavirus.

NHS Recovery Plan – (

Throughout, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care identifies that support for staff wellbeing is an essential and vital component. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the time and effort you have dedicated to working with us to co-design the proposals in the plan and ensure that they will deliver the maximum impact across our health and social care organisations.

Publishing the recovery plan today is a key milestone in achieving our ambitions for the wellbeing of the workforce, but I also know that there is further work to do in this space to ensure ongoing sustainability of these proposals. I look forward to continuing to work closely with you in the future.

Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit launched!

The Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP has officially launched a new engagement toolkit for organisations and services.

Developed by the Scottish Recovery Network the Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit provides a guide and resources to help you engage people in meaningful discussions about what is important to them and their communities.

Providing a different approach to engagement a recovery conversation café moves away from traditional consultation. It creates a welcoming environment where people are not just passive responders but active participants, listening to each other and building on ideas. Using the approach organisations and services are providing the opportunity for people to participate in:

  • The design, delivery and evaluation of support
  • Influencing local and national planning and strategies
  • Events that bring people together to connect and share ideas on mental health and wellbeing

You can order free Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit(s) from the Scottish Recovery Network (Scotland only) by calling  0300 323 9956 or emailing

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us directly by using contactSCOTLAND-BSL

The toolkit can also be download from

Chair appointed to Public Health Scotland board

The Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd MSP and COSLA, Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Councillor Stuart Currie today announced the appointment of Angiolina Foster CBE as Chair of the Public Health Scotland Board.

Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport said:

“As Chair of Public Health Scotland, Angiolina will bring considerable experience and insight that will be invaluable as the organisation continues to innovate, adapt and transform.

“She will play a significant role in ensuring Public Health Scotland strengthens and supports a whole system, partnership approach to understanding and tackling our public health challenges, making best use of our considerable public health assets to realise the vision of a Scotland where everybody thrives.

“I look forward to working with her as Public Health Scotland continues to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

Councillor Stuart Currie, COSLA’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson said:

“I am delighted with the appointment of Angiolina as Chair of Public Health Scotland. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from a number of high profile positions.

She has exactly the skill set required for this exciting role and will play a key role in bringing the organisation’s vision of a Scotland where everyone thrives.

From a personal point of view I look forward to working alongside her and the fantastic team we have in place at PHS.’

Angiolina Foster CBE is a respected public service leader whose work has spanned local government, national government and the third sector. She most recently held a Chief Executive position within Scotland’s NHS. In all her roles, she has aimed to put people at the heart of service design and delivery. This has afforded her rich learning in system leadership, strategy and service transformation, all of which she will bring to her role as Chair of Public Health Scotland. She was awarded a CBE in 2011 for her contribution to Scotland’s public services.

This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2025.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Meet Nikki Donald, our new ELHSCP Senior Organisational and Workforce Development Officer

Find out more about Nikki Donald , our new Senior Organisational and Workforce Development Officer, in the interview below.

I began working life in the Procurator Fiscal’s office in Edinburgh as a team supervisor in charge of witness citations.  It was an eye opening role which cemented me into the public sector knowing that my work supported the people on the front line who were providing assistance to those who had been exposed to some really unpleasant circumstances but also to some of the more vulnerable people in our communities.

I joined Lothian and Borders Police in 2001 as a Fleet Administrator where I managed logistics for the G8 operation in 2005 and for Vin Diesel and his team when the MTV Awards came to Edinburgh in 2003.  Working with physical resources rather than people didn’t really suit me, so I took on the role of Police Recruitment Manager right before Alex Salmond promised an extra 1,000 police officers on Scotland’s streets. I was responsible for bringing new recruits into the Force through a ten part recruitment process, and seeing them through an intensive induction course (which involved me role playing as a criminal, and also having to escort the probationers to the city morgue to observe post mortems in a controlled environment – a very varied role!). 

After a reorganisation of the function, I moved into the role of Career Development Advisor which involved the development, specialist training and promotion of police officers.  After a number of restructures and changes to my title, mainly due to the advent of Police Scotland, a new Chief Superintendent came in to head up the team in 2017 and decided to reorganise and move the team once again, which broadened my remit to include all things development for officers and staff.  I was now a Leadership and Talent Consultant (but they wouldn’t give me the big red button for my desk), in a centralised team based at the Scottish Police College in Kincardine.

I live in Dalkeith, so the trip along the city bypass, M8 and M9 every day during rush hour was not an easy option.  When the pandemic hit, all ‘non-essential’ staff were no longer allowed in the college, so I was asked if I could go to our call centre in Bilston to answer 101 calls to cover the staff who were shielding.  This was the start of my realisation that I didn’t have to travel an 85 mile round trip every day to support the front line, but also that the front line included far more than police officers when I was taking calls from staff and patients in hospitals and care homes, social workers and also vulnerable people who had been isolated from the world.  Twelve months later I was successful in my application for this post.

I have created myself an ever expanding to-do list and really looking forward to putting it all in place.  I like hearing about what the people who I support need and want, which is why I have sent out a survey to all of the staff (although would have preferred a lot more face-to-face meetings than the Teams meetings I’ve been having).  This way I can make sure that everyone is getting something relevant that they are enjoying the development they are getting rather than getting something just because it’s always been that way.

I used to enjoy gardening which really helped me with my mindfulness, but then we got a wee pug, Joti, who just ate all the plants!  I have now dug up all of the plants and found them new homes.  I find swimming also helps with mindfulness, and keeping me active but much preferred it when I could turn up at the pool any time I wanted rather than having to plan and book it days in advance.  On sunny days that I’m not at work I like to combine two of my other hobbies by walking (the healthy/active part) with my husband to the Sun Inn and sampling some of their many different gins on their river terrace.

Timescales for preparation of adult carer support plans and young carer statements

Consultation on the draft carer's charter of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016  - Scottish Government - Citizen Space

From Joanne Pierce, Policy Officer, Carers Policy, Social Care Policy and Delivery Division , Mental Health and Social Care Directorate, Scottish Government

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care,  would like to highlight the new legal duties in relation to unpaid carers who support people with terminal illness in his attached letter. These duties are in The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 (Adult Carers and Young Carers of Terminally Ill Persons: Timescales for Adult Carer Support Plans and Young Carer Statements etc.) Regulations 2021(SSI 133/2021) (the Regulations) and in the Directions attached to this letter. Both which came into force on 31 July 2021.

The Regulations set timescales for preparation of adult carer support plans and young carer statements. They were approved by the Scottish Parliament in March this year and come into force on 31July 2021. The Directions set timescales for offering carers an adult carer support plan or young carer statement. They are attached to this letter and can also be accessed through these links : Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 – Directions (Integration Authorities) and Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 – Directions (Local Authorities).

In order to support implementation of the Regulations and Directions, we have also updated the  Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, Statutory Guidance.

Once again, thank you for everything you do to support individuals and their unpaid carers.

Kind Regards

Joanne Pierce

First steps towards a National Care Service

‘Real life experts’ to help focus on what really matters to people receiving social care.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart have welcomed the first meeting of a Social Covenant Steering Group, set up to help guide the development of a National Care Service.

Establishing the group, made up of people with day-to-day experience of social care, was a key recommendation of Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Adult Social Care and marks the fulfilment of one of the commitments for the first 100 days of this government.

Find out more at the link below.

First steps towards a National Care Service – (