COSLA Elected Members Bulletin 26 August 2020

From Stephanie McCourt at COSLA

The Headlines…

  • Scotland remains in Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown.
  • Foreign travel health rules have been extended.
  • A fund to tackle child poverty, the Scottish Child Payment, has been announced by the Scottish Government.
  • Programmes to help raise the attainment of care experienced young people are to benefit from £11.6 million of funding.
  • Funding to deploy low carbon heat in existing social housing has been fast-tracked to support Scotland’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full bulletin here.

Job Vacancy – School Counsellors x 4 (East Lothian)

School Counsellors x 4 (East Lothian) 35 hours per week. Salary £30,473 – £32,260.

The posts are funded for an initial fixed term until 31st March 2023 (This is a three year agreement with the option of 2 additional periods of 1 year extensions). Based in Dalkeith.

The postholders will be responsible for providing counselling with children and young people aged 10-18 who reside in East Lothian. The postholders will assist in establishing, developing, delivering, evaluating and reporting on, the School Counselling service.

Get an application form and more details here.

Violence against women and girls update

By Veronica Campanile

Dear VAWG local network

I hope you find this information useful – still some focus on Covid-19 but as we move forward the sections are interspersed with wider information.


  • What About the Men: The safe and together implementation group is undertaking a scoping exercise within local areas to identify what support is available for men in relation to parenting and domestic abuse. This is with a view to developing an information resource for men and staff to allow easier signposting and clear pathways for referral  Can you please consider the following question and submit any relevant information to Veronica  (it can also be sent to Lesley Watson or Jen Fraser by 10/08/20:  ‘What organisations in the local area work specifically with men in relation to their parenting or domestic abuse?’
  • Midlothian Pride Survey The Midlothian People’s Equality Group (MPEG) would like your help. They have compiled a short survey asking for people’s views on the possibility of creating a Midlothian Pride event for 2021.  Get involved and have your say – this survey is managed by the charity Pink Saltire.
  • East Lothian and Midlothian MARAC – SafeLives Scottish Marac Survey   This survey of Scottish MARACs  was carried out during the early stages of Lockdown (April—May 2020) . It’s worth noting that most would have had a couple of MARACs since lockdown, when there were still a lot of teething issues around remote MARACs and things have moved on for many areas since this data was gathered. It is an interesting report on how MARACs in Scotland faired during those first few challenging months. It was interesting that some areas have struggled with agency attendance. We are heartened that in East Lothian and Midlothian we have continued to work effectively together despite the disruption to our normal working arrangements – this is testament to the our collective continued commitment to MARAC.


  • Ending childhood adversity a public health approach  In a new report published on 23rd June 2020, Public Health Scotland sets out the importance of taking a public health approach to ending childhood adversity. This involves evidence-based action at a population level, acting on the social determinants of health in order to prevent poor outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need to prevent and mitigate childhood adversity, making it more important than ever to share the learning and progress made in this area. Sexual abuse, domestic abuse and other forms of gender based violence feature in the report.
  • Poverty, Inequality and Covid 19, Improvement Service: The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world, but there are certain groups of people for whom the virus and the measures to stop the spread of the virus will have a greater negative impact. Research on influenza has found that in an epidemic, poverty and inequality can exacerbate rates of transmission and mortality for everyone.  This useful overview includes a section on gender based violence.
  • Women’s Fund for Scotland: Covid Response, Recovery, Resilience:  Grants of up to £5,000 are available under these 2 areas: Emergency Response and Recovery and Resilience.  The Emergency Response strand is intended to equip organisations to deal with the changes required because of the covid-19 outbreak, to provide – so far as possible – the seamless provision of services.  The Recovery and Resilience strand is intended to support organisations adapting their normal working practices to conform to any Government guidelines relating to Covid-19, whilst continuing to meet the needs of the women and girls they work with. In 2020 there will be one round, the deadline for receiving completed application forms and supporting documentation is  4pm, 10th of August 2020. You can get more information here
  •  Social media materials for FE/HE institutions to support victims of GBV:  New social media materials have been produced to help universities and colleges across Scotland support staff and students who might be experiencing GBV while social distancing measures are in place.
  • Gender Based Violence:  Disabled people and women with learning disabilities in particular are at a greater risk of experiencing Gender-based Violence. Public Health Scotland, SafeLives and partners have published easy read posters to highlight the risks of Gender-based Violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. The posters can be found here  EASY READ.
  •  Upstream Prevention Pack  Stop It Now! Scotland have created an Upstream Prevention pack designed to help keep children safe from sexual harm.  The pack contains practical advice and resources for professionals, individuals and families. Leaflets are designed for online use and print. . If you wish to receive printed copies of any of these items, please contact
  •  Safe Lives Scotland – new Domestic Abuse Network: Meeting No 1: June 2020 – practitioners explored the challenges and needs of services as we prepare to move out of lockdown read briefing no 1  *** biggest challenges moving out of lockdown– capacity, safety, meeting staff needs / what services need – staff, logistics, clarity, partner flexibility …
  •  Free learning opportunities:  We are excited to inform you that Public Health Scotland’s Workforce Development Team has launched two new learning hubs.
  1.  Challenging poverty stigma learning hub –                     
  2. Making communication even better learning hub –
  •  Do you work with young people? The NHS has developed a short and anonymous survey for staff working with a young people in a wide range of settings. This is to try and find out a bit more about the risks of teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health to young people across Scotland and help shape the response to young people in the coming months. If you work with young people then please fill in the survey


  1.  Forced Marriage Unit Statistics 2019:  The Home Office Report and Foreign and Commonwealth Office published the Forced Marriage Unit Statistics for 2019 on 25th June 2020. 


COVID-19 and ending violence against women and girls (2020)

Safe & Together – free materials 

Videos / CORE training data / Podcast

 New programmes on BBC I-Player

  • Mrs America –  excellent accurate drama on the feminist movement’s struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States from 1960 until 2018 sand the counter republic Women’s movement!
  • I May Destroy You – a  ‘must see’ fast paced comedy-drama series with and by Michaela Coel on sexual relations, rape, consent, friendship, speaking out, young and black in the publishing world … Find out more about Michaela Coel in this fab James McTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival

Veronica Campanile
Violence Against Women and Girls Coordinator
East Lothian and Midlothian Public Protection Office, Room F28 Brunton Hall, 16 Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AF
Direct tel: 01620 827475 
Mobile: 07540 101 227
EMPPO Tel: 0131 653 5150

New website for MELDAP

Midlothian and East Lothian Drugs and Alcohol Partnership’s (MELDAP) new website is now open for business.

Simply go to and there you will find helpful information for adults, parents, carers and young people who want information about local and national services to help them deal with their own or some else’s alcohol and drug use.

Harm reduction advice for people who use alcohol and drug is provided for both the public and professionals. The website also contains people’s personal stories explaining the impact of their alcohol and drug use on their own and other’s lives.

These real stories also show how people can, with help, change and regain control over their lives.

The website also provides the opportunity to share information about local events and activities. If you have something to say or share then please tell us.


New post or new to ELHSCP?

The ‘new normal’ means that we don’t get to see each other in the office as much as we used to. But we are still part of one big virtual team.

When someone joins that team or moves to a new post in it, it really helps the rest of us to know a bit about them and what they will be doing.

We share this news here on Alison’s Blog so we can still get to know people even if we won’t be meeting them in an office for a while.

If you know someone who has just joined or moved, please help by encouraging them to contribute a very short article about themselves and sending a photo (JPG or PNG) that we can use on the blog – selfies are fine.

I’ve attached a little template that people can use to get them started.

Don’t be shy!

Your chance to help the Chief Scientist Office to explore the impact of Covid-19 on our communities

The Sustaining Resilience and Wellbeing project is a research study funded by the Chief Scientist Office, and carried out by a research team at the University of Stirling. The project was funded by the Scottish Government and the Chief Scientist Office as part of a large initiative seeking to understand and address the challenges that COVID-19 poses to the people of Scotland. This research will explore the impact of the pandemic on the staff and volunteers of small community-based organisations who provide support to older people, with an aim to identifying what support they need to remain well while delivering services in the time of COVID-19 and beyond.

If we get enough people taking part in East Lothian, we can set up an East Lothian Action Learning Set. The project is looking for input from paid staff, volunteers and community activists.

Find out more here.

Having a Skyping nightmare?

Some top tips from ELC’s IT Team

Investigations are continuing into ways to resolve this issue. We are seeing various issues with Skype facilities, including slow connection to calls and meetings. The problem is particularly noticeable in the morning.

We would ask that in order to help reduce the impact of the busy networks all staff continue to follow this guidance:

  • When using Skype for Business (corporate) or Google Meet (schools) please only turn on video if necessary. Voice calls use less bandwidth over the network.
  • When planning meetings, particularly those with more than 2 or 3 recipients, please consider scheduling later on in the day if possible – avoiding the current peak usage window of 9-10.30 am.
  • Please limit non-essential use of resources such as BBC iPlayer, online radio stations, Youtube etc.
  • If you need to contact the IT Service Desk please do so by email ( ) rather than by phone if possible. If calling, please try to avoid the peak usage window mentioned above.

Your continuing support is appreciated.

Covid-19 Mental Welfare Commission Advice Note

Mental Welfare Commission publish results of independent stakeholder survey

The survey is overall very positive, although some respondents – particularly people with experience of care and treatment and their families/carers – want the Commission to do more.

  • Seventy six per cent gave a good or excellent rating on the Commission’s trustworthiness, while over two thirds were satisfied with their experience of the Commission.
  • Around three quarters of all respondents felt that the Commission has a clear human rights focus, both within its own work, and in helping to ensure that human rights are respected by others.
  • Seventy three per cent of all who took part said it was easy to make contact with the Commission, 76% said it was easy to get information and 65% said getting advice from the Commission was easy.
  • Sixty three per cent felt that the Commission was influential in relation to national policy and legislation, and 40% had seen the Commission speaking out in the media.
  • A key part of the Commission’s work is to visit individuals and services, the majority of which are on visits to hospital wards. Few non-professional respondents had direct experience of those visits. Fifty nine per cent of the professional respondents had, with 64% of those saying that the visit had been useful. Fifty seven per cent of those visited had seen the published visit report, with 80% saying that any recommendations for improvement made by the Commission had been at least partially implemented.

Whilst the results overall are encouraging, people with lived experience of mental ill health, learning disability, dementia or related conditions and their families/carers say they are both less aware and less satisfied with the Commission compared to professionals working in the area.

Half of all survey respondents had used the Commission’s advice line, of which, between 71% and 96% agreed with positive statements about it. The only area which was not regarded so highly was the advice line’s ability to solve problems, where 55% agreed their problem had been solved by using the advice line. Professionals were significantly more positive than non-professionals on this.

Action plan

Julie Paterson, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission, said:

“While there are many positive results and comments in the survey, people are also telling us where they want us to improve or change our work.

“One priority is for us to raise awareness of our role amongst people who have lived experience, and their families or carers. We are a small organisation, but we recognise we need to find new ways of continually ensuring that people who might benefit from contacting us are aware of who we are and what we do.

“The survey also shows that people want us to challenge services (in hospital or in the community) more, and apply more pressure to make sure our recommendations are followed. Some are calling for the Commission to be granted more powers to enforce change.

“Along with the full survey results, we have published and action plan that details how we will address these issues. I would like to thank everyone who took part and gave us their views.

“Personally, as I have just taken up the post of chief executive at the Commission, this document will be invaluable to me in taking the organisation forward.”

The full survey is available here

The action plan is available here

In total, 342 people responded to the main online survey; 248 (73%) from a professional perspective and 94 (27%) from a personal perspective. 
A further seven people completed an easy read version, consisting of two professionals and five individuals with lived experience or family/carers. Further interviews were completed with 14 respondents, including eight professionals, five non-professionals, and one person who covered both perspectives. Twenty six people who attended either a national event or an advisory committee meeting provided further feedback (including one person who provided a written response as they could not attend on the day), again, covering both professionals and those with a personal interest. 

The survey was conducted at the start of the year, just before the pandemic affected organisational business, by Wellside Research Ltd on behalf of the Commission.

Business as usual for Dunbar Basics

From Lorna at Dunbar Basics Foodbank

Hi all

Just a wee email to let you know that we are still up and running on the system we implemented on 1st April which continues to work well and safely for volunteers and clients alike.

There is no cafe facility and groceries are still being delivered to the clients by our new team of volunteer drivers.

The CoVid19 referral form we’ve been getting you to use since mid-March (attached) takes account of the hugely reduced “contact” we currently have with the clients.  We are still asking you to provide more in the way of information about allergies and special dietary requirements, and also to assess for us how many weeks of support you think the household you have referred will need.  It’s useful for us to know whether they have a cat or dog as, if we have pet food in stock, we will provide them with this “non-essential”, and if there is a baby in the house, it would be helpful for us to know what size of nappies they wear.  Until further notice, you can ignore the delivery box.

We hope you, like us, are managing to get through these difficult times well and safely, and look forward to the days when we will be able to resume business as usual!

Many thanks for your continued support.


More info from

Download referral form here

Carers of East Lothian Annual Summary report

From Jess Wade, Chief Executive Officer, Carers of East Lothian

Dear colleagues and friends

I hope you are keeping well in these ever changing times.

I am delighted to share with you Carers of East Lothian’s most recent Annual Summary report, covering the period April 2019 to March 2020. This is a short summary of highlights and achievements for that year, with full Accounts and Trustees Annual Report to follow in due course, along with details of our AGM, due to take place later this year.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like further detail on any of our activities.

Many thanks for your continued support at what has been a particularly difficult time for carers.


Jess Wade
Chief Executive Officer
Carers of East Lothian (CoEL)
Directline:  0131 653 1056
Mobile:  07483 052 175