Scottish Government Blogs

May 29, 2015
by Sarah Griffiths
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A Day of Great Conversation!

Education Scotland together with partners held a conversation day in Lochgilphead on 20 May, involving 10 schools and 78 pupils from local primary schools. Young people talked in their groups about what they wanted to be when they were older.

Some examples of future careers in consideration:

  • Games designer
  • Navy (Royal or Merchant)
  • Scientist (Experiments)
  • Chef
  • Diver
  • Architect
  • Olympic swimmer
  • Vet
  • Radiographer


Rufus (aged 9) attended the event and said: I really enjoyed the day and I learned the skills that you need for different jobs. The part I most enjoyed was programming the robots to do what you wanted them to do.

Rufus’s Mum said: My son Rufus had a fantastic day at the Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce event at Lochgilphead Joint Campus. He came home absolutely buzzing and did not stop talking about the event until he went to bed. He gave us a full presentation on what he had done, showing us the worksheets and talking about the skills analysis activities. The day was fun, engaging and a really positive learning experience. Thanks so much to the facilitators!

These conversation days for teachers, pupils and practitioners aim to start conversations about careers early in young people’s experience, ensuring they have more choices earlier in their learning and understand how their learning connects to the world of work. This is one part of many activities by Education Scotland, Scottish Government and delivery partners like Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council – to deliver the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

Aileen Goodall DYW representative for Argyll and Bute Council spoke about the day by saying a “Huge heartfelt thanks to the Education Scotland team for researching, developing and hosting the event.  Our staff and pupils have got a considerable amount out of attending the event”.

We would like to thank the following partners that helped make the conversation day a success:

  • Argyll and Bute Council
  • Generation Science
  • Close the Gap
  • Young Enterprise Scotland
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Young Engineer
  • STEM Ambassador through UHI

Career education and work placement standards – Have your say. New standards for ‘Career Education (3-18)’ and ‘Work Placements’ have been developed and Education Scotland is looking for feedback on the work so far.

 Tell us what you think?

Take the Career Education standard (3-18) survey.
Take the Work Placement Standard survey.

Both surveys will be open until 03 July 2015.

For more, join our mailing list, explore the DYW pages on Education Scotland’s website and use #youngworkforce to share your DYW stories. To post a blog, email

May 29, 2015
by Linda White
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Health and Social Care Integration: New Policy Delivery Structure


Following the departure of Kathleen Bessos, Deputy Director, Integration and Reshaping Care Division at the end of April 2015, a new structure for the Directorate is being put in place as we move forward into the implementation of health and social care integration.

Over the next 12 months, local Integration Authorities will come into existence and begin to take on new powers and responsibilities.  Our key objective over this period is to support local areas with implementation and provide strategic direction.  The following structure has therefore been put in place within the Directorate to support this:

Acting Director of Health and Social Care Integration

Geoff Huggins, Acting Director of Health and Social Care Integration will be supported by two new Deputy Directors:

  • Deputy Director – Strategy

Ian Mitchell has been appointed to lead on the strategic components of integration and on social care. This is a key leadership role with responsibility for the governance and strategic direction of the integration programme including liaison with various national bodies and for social care policy in Scotland for adults and older people.

  • Deputy Director – Partnerships

This Deputy Director (to be appointed) will be responsible for implementation and will work with and provide support to local health and social care partnerships to secure the outcomes from integration. Alison Taylor, Head of Integration Partnerships will take on this role on an interim basis until the post is filled.

In addition, Gillian Barclay and her team will be reflecting the aim to bring the needs of people with Dementia to the heart of integration and partnership working, moving the Dementia Innovation Team into the directorate delivers a strong signal.  The team will be focusing on the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Dementia Strategy and the dementia work funded by the EU.

Spotlight on Ian Mitchell

Deputy Director, Ian Mitchell, has taken on a new role leading on the strategic components of the integration of health and social care.

Ian has undertaken some varied and busy roles within Government, working in Enterprise, Local Government, Public Service Reform, Environment, Regeneration and for an agency.   For the last few years, Ian has been Deputy Director in the Scottish Government Learning Directorate with responsibility for teacher support and school infrastructure.   After a short career break in the early part of the year (see below), Ian has now moved to this newly created position and has taken some time out to answer a few questions about his new post:

1. What attracted you to this role?

To play a part in the Scottish Government’s largest and most challenging reform programme.  And because this is a role with considerable and immediate importance to people and families across Scotland.  Finally if handled well, I think it will make a huge contribution to tackling inequality and helping those most in need.

2. In your view, what would you say are the key factors to successful integration?

It would be insulting of me to presume knowledge of the key factors for Health and Social Care Integration after such a short time, however from my experience of other reform programmes I would say that a strong political will and a strong platform are critical.  We seem to have both of these and colleagues take immense credit for the strong platform that is the Act and all its associated guidance which is most impressive.

But we all know that this may not even be half the battle won – even tougher challenges lie ahead in helping make it all work.  In this – people are key, relationships are key: from the leadership roles to the frontline we must support and generate ownership of health and social care integration.  Finally, we should not be shy in addressing issues where people are finding it challenging.  Sometimes this may be down to commitment being weak or half-hearted but more often than not it is simply challenging to move away from what is familiar or what has worked to some degree in the past.

3. How do we ensure that social care is sustainable given the demographic shift taking place?

We need to ensure that the social care system is properly funded and sustainable well into the future and is responsive to the challenges and opportunities of Scotland’s ageing population. This is partly about valuing the vital work being done in social care so we can attract and retain the right people into the profession to deliver quality services. Some work has already been done to improve pay for staff in residential care homes and we also need to consider working conditions for people providing care to people in their own homes.

It’s important to ensure that the right resources are in place and that we work towards getting more from what we already have.  The quantity and quality of social care that our people require is vital, and any charges for care need to be affordable and reasonable and align with our commitment on tackling inequality.  As I’m rapidly finding out, the social care system is complicated. We need to consider what more we can do to help people to access, navigate and understand the system.

4. How important is working in partnership with other agencies to achieving positive outcomes for people?

The integration of health and social care and the platform provided in the Act takes partnership to a different level.  It goes without saying that sharing information and forward planning with partners is very important.  But even more important is acting in partnership and ensuring that the needs of the person is the deciding factor in who does what.

Partnership does not always mean doing everything together.  Playing to our respective strengths and respecting the value of others is a critical aspect of partnership.

5. What do you see as the key challenges for your area of work over the coming months?

There are some big organisational challenges in the months ahead.  Supporting the Chief Officers and the Joint Integration Boards for example.  There is also a job of work internal to Government to share the progress from integration and to fully realise the potential of integration.  There is also a need to build on the work we have underway to gather relevant evidence and data, make sense of this and be prepared to learn and adapt to what it is telling us.  On a personal level I need to get out and understand the challenges and pressures for those delivering and receiving front line services if I am going to make the best of my strategic and national role.

No change programme can afford to stand still and we need to stand ready to support and learn from those partnerships that want to go further and/or deeper with integration and to facilitate healthy learning between partnerships across Scotland.

6. So what did you get up to on your career break?

I decided to take a short break between posts to get away from it all – some would say a mid-life crisis! I headed off with my bicycle to Southeast Asia, cycling around Myanmar (Burma), across Thailand and finishing in a very hot Cambodia.  Met some inspirational people – particularly in the mountains of Myanmar where tourists are rarely seen – and managed to help out with some education projects in the border area of Myanmar and China.

I appreciate this is not everyone’s idea of relaxation but I count myself fortunate enough to be able to do this and what better way to get close up to a country and its people.

For those who may be interested take a glance at Ian’s blog to find out more about his bike journey:

For more information on the work of the team contact:

May 29, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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MarCRF welcomes Professor Kelly Benoit-Bird

Professor Kelly Benoit-Bird

Professor Kelly Benoit-Bird

On Friday 22nd May, MarCRF Research Fellow Jacqui Tweddle  hosted Professor Kelly Benoit-Bird, from Oregon State University in the U.S.A., on a flying visit to Aberdeen.

Prof. Benoit-Bird is a distinguished marine scientist, having received many awards and honours, including a MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the “genius grant”) and the U.S.A. Presidential Early Career Award. She met with staff and students from Marine Scotland Science and the University of Aberdeen throughout the day, including a meeting with the “Zoo & Roots” postgraduate student group (who provided a very tasty cake).

Prof. Benoit-Bird’s fantastic seminar drew a large crowd and she told us about her use of acoustical measurements to investigate diverse ecological questions in our oceans. Her talk included some extraordinary acoustical “images” of spinner dolphins herding fish, and squid “dancing” together as they hunted.

Related Information

May 27, 2015
by Linda White
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Readiness Towards Implementation


Integration started to go live around Scotland from 1 April 2015, with the new Health and Social Care Partnerships taking on responsibility for planning and delivering joined-up and seamless health and social care provision for adults, and also, in some areas, children’s services. Integration Schemes from each Health Board and Local Authority were submitted on time for Ministerial approval, by 1 April 2015.

The three Health and Social Care Partnerships in East, North and South Ayrshire were the first to become fully functioning under the new legislation, with their Integration Joint Boards legally constituted on 2 April 2015.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing is in the process of signing off further Integration Schemes, with a further eleven signed off so far: Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Shetland.  The Order to establish these eleven partnerships has been laid in Parliament. Officials from Integration and Reshaping Care Directorate at the Scottish Government are providing support on completion of Schemes and readiness for implementation more broadly.

A Chief Officers’ Network has also been established to bring together the leads for each partnership area on a regular basis to share learning, challenges and good practice as implementation progresses.

If you have any questions on the implementation of health and social care integration email or contact

May 27, 2015
by Linda White
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Innovative Health Intelligence – Augmenting Integration and Quality


We all know that Health and Social Care Partnerships will play a pivotal role in improving the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland. Effective information is going to be essential to ensure intelligence underpins local strategic planning and decision making.

Here at the Information Services Division, part of Public Health and Intelligence within NHS National Services Scotland, we have been commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a social care data collection that will enable the measurement of social care activity that can be linked with health data collected nationally. This development work is part of our ‘Health and Social Care Data Integration and Intelligence Project’. The information that results from this will provide the basis for a wide range of analyses of resources and outcomes across health and social care at various levels from individual up through localities and partnerships to national level.

Putting detailed information at the fingertips of partnerships gives those partnerships a greater understanding of historical patterns of service to put alongside  a strong basis for strategic planning and improvement. Through this work, resource use can be more clearly understood, showing costs, activity and variation for different population groups. This information can also facilitate better anticipatory care planning, early intervention, and prevention.

We are also putting our staff on the ground through our Local Intelligence Support Team to develop a collaborative working with our colleagues in partnerships. This important team  augments our support for improvement across health and social care. Partnerships are responding to our offer to discuss requirements very positively, with many requesting support for strategic commissioning; needs assessments; performance indicators; information management; locality analysis and ‘high resource individuals’.

Scotland has some of the best health data in the world. We are keen to support our colleagues involved in health and social care with our knowledge, experience and expertise. By working together we can improve health and social care outcomes through robust and innovative intelligence.

If you think we can help you to make a difference in the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland, get in contact with us at

Professor Mahmood Adil (Medical Director, Information Services Division and Health Protection)

May 27, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Scotland Science helps with ‘Aquaspace’ aquaculture project

As Europe’s reliance on seafood imports increases, a team of marine scientists has embarked on a three-year project to investigate why the continent’s own aquaculture industry is flat-lining, while countries outside the European Union (EU) enjoy boom time in the sector.

The AquaSpace project, led by Professor Kenny Black of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), and including colleagues from Marine Scotland Science, brings together a global team of experts on aquaculture in the environment.

The team will look at case studies across the world to find out how the EU can kick-start the industry to create more jobs and make the continent more self-sufficient. The scientists will also consider what impact planning and public perception has on the industry

“As the world population grows, we will have huge issues regarding food security. Aquaculture, if managed in a sustainable way, could be part of the solution,” said Professor Black, University of the Highlands and Islands Professor of Aquaculture and Environment Interactions.

“We aim to find out how we can make space for sustainable aquaculture and use Marine Spatial Planning to increase food security and employment opportunities through economic growth. We will also look at how society views aquaculture, whether their fears are justified or not and whether this creates uncertainty for farmers looking to start up a business.”

The aquaculture industry within the EU has failed to grow in recent years, while countries outwith the EU, including other European countries like Norway, have expanded theirs. In China alone, the industry was worth more than $66 billion in 2012 and it continues to grow year on year. Europe produces around 2 per cent of the world’s aquaculture and imports 80 per cent of all its aquatic produce.

By 2020, the Scottish Government aims to increase finfish production sustainably to 210,000 tonnes (the 2013 figure was 165,256 tonnes) and shellfish production to 13,000 tonnes (6,757 tonnes in 2013).

Minister for the Environment Aileen McLeod said: “The Scottish Government is committed to the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in Scottish waters, and wishes to see expansion in the most environmentally suitable locations. Therefore we welcome this new project and hope that the innovative approaches employed will provide guidance to help Scottish aquaculture develop sustainably.”

AquaSpace member Professor Jon Grant, from the Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, said: “We already know that into the future there will not be enough land to grow all the crops we need to feed the planet. Fisheries have a huge variety of problems through being over exploited, so aquaculture is one sensible way to be able to farm the seas.

Dr Øivind Bergh, from the Institute of Marine Research, Norway, is also on the AquaSpace team. He said: “The coastline has lots of different uses: tourism, people want to live there, energy production and so on. Most of these sectors are more mighty than the aquaculture industry, so if Europe wants to develop aquaculture and become more self-sustaining regarding fish production we have to address these problems and utilise space in a smarter way.

More Information

AquaSpace is one of the first projects funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education and engagement with society.

Based near Oban on the Scottish west coast, SAMS research strengths include marine renewables, aquaculture, marine biotechnology, marine policy, deep-sea systems, environmental change and polar science.

SAMS is a founding partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, delivers national capability and ocean observation for the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council and is an associated institution of the United Nations University.


May 26, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Reminder: SEWeb Hackathon – 30th & 31st May

SEWeb EcoHack-Logo

SEWeb EcoHack-Logo

It’s only 5 days to go until the EcoHack Countdown - Scotland’s Environment Web first Hackathon event at the weekend.

If you’re a student who likes to create and innovate to help the environment, there’s still time to register to get involved in EcoHack on the 30th & 31st May at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.

If you have any questions about the EcoHack at the weekend, just contact the folks at Scotland’s Environment Web.


May 26, 2015
by Linda White
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Chief Officers Spotlight: Christina West


Argyll and Bute is geographically the second largest local authority area in Scotland. We have 23 inhabited islands, scattered, remote rural communities and a number of large towns.

Locality owned, locality planned and locality delivered – this is the guiding principle for developing integrated health and social care services in Argyll and Bute. Our plan is based upon our recognised four administrative localities with operational delivery organised around our natural communities.

What does it mean? It means that in Argyll and Bute we are fortunate to have local knowledge and community involvement informing the provision of services that meet the needs of the people who use them. This is critical in planning and delivery of sustainable services in remote communities.

To deliver effective integrated health and social care services, the plan is to draw on the expertise, resilience and ingenuity of our communities in finding solutions that will work for different areas. It will be about recognising that one size does not fit all, using information about the health and social care needs of a locality and designing services to meet these needs, while drawing on the range of existing local groups, organisations, the independent and voluntary sector . This is how we can ensure people receive a high quality and responsive service when it is needed.

An essential component in supporting the delivery of accessible services is the use of technology to allow the self-management of long term health conditions, which means people remain in their own homes, linked to local teams who provide person centred care.

Our staff are our greatest asset and they live and work in their own local communities which really helps us build local knowledge and skills.

Health and social care integration will make the services we deliver more focused on the person’s needs, high quality and resilient to changing demand. This is the core of our vision – that people in Argyll and Bute live longer, healthier, happier and independent lives.

May 22, 2015
by blog administrator
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Fiona Hyslop: Celebrating Film in Scotland at Cannes

Film in Scotland at Cannes

Earlier this week, I attended the Cannes International Film Festival and I spoke at the Creative Scotland Reception which was attended by hundreds of Scottish, UK and international film professionals. This gave me the chance to highlight the Scottish Government’s continued support for the film sector in Scotland. The event provided the opportunity to celebrate Film in Scotland in an international setting and the calibre of attendees was impressive – from international film producers to production Executives to Directors and media corporation representatives.

The Creative Scotland Reception is part of Cannes ‘Scotland Day’ when Creative Scotland take over the UK Film Centre on the Croisette for the day and hosts events and panel discussions with focus on Scottish Locations. The whole of Scotland Day comes under the brand ‘Film In Scotland’. I was also pleased to hear from Scotland’s major film festivals, Edinburgh and Glasgow, who highlighted their outstanding programmes. I look forward to seeing first hand some of the world class endeavours they are showcasing.

Fiona Hyslop at Scotland Day Reception

I spoke to many film sector representatives last night and impressed on them all Scotland has to offer in terms of a location for future filming opportunities. I also reaffirmed my commitment as Culture Secretary to supporting the hard work of Scottish filmmakers at festivals in Scotland, the UK and overseas.

Meeting Lizzie Brown, Dan Hogson and Eva Riley.

I was also delighted to meet Lizzie Brown and Eva Riley who are showcasing their young Scottish talent to the world by reaching the shortlist for the short film Palme d’Or competition on Saturday. Good luck to them both!

Cannes 2015 takes place this year from 13-24 May