Results 181–200 of 1492 for speaker:Mark McDonald

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare ( 8 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: A high-quality experience for children is key to our approach to early learning and childcare and will remain at the heart of the expansion of entitlement to 1140 hours. The quality of early learning and childcare is regulated through co-ordinated inspections by the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland. Ultimately, the delivery of a quality ELC experience is driven by a highly skilled and...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare ( 8 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Thank you for the unexpected promotion, Presiding Officer. Those points have been raised with me repeatedly in the chamber, and I have met the fair funding for our kids campaign group to discuss those very issues. The Government has a manifesto commitment to deliver 1140 hours of early learning and childcare by 2020, we have recently undertaken a wide-ranging consultation on our blueprint for...

Scottish Parliament: Early Learning and Childcare ( 8 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I am aware of the research undertaken by the Family and Childcare Trust. However, we have raised with the trust a number of concerns about some of those research findings in the Scottish context—for example, we do not feel that it accurately reflects policy and practice in Scotland, and we are already taking forward all of the actions that the report highlighted and called for. On business...

Scottish Parliament: Education ( 8 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Iain Gray cites teacher shortages. Does he feel that it is sensible for Labour-led Aberdeen City Council to have written out to teachers to offer them voluntary severance or early retirement while complaining of a teacher shortage?

Scottish Parliament: Education ( 8 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Monica Lennon has raised—as she has done before—the allocation of resources to local authorities. For 10 years, we were told by Labour politicians in this chamber and in local authorities that we needed to unfreeze the council tax and to free up local authorities to raise revenue locally. We have done that. Can Monica Lennon tell me what her local authority in South Lanarkshire did and...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: A year ago, the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning set out the Government’s intention to implement a child protection improvement programme. In doing so, she acknowledged the strengths that are inherent in the current system but recognised that there are weaknesses that require to be addressed to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect Scotland’s...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I am grateful to Liz Smith for her constructive and consensual approach to the steps that I have outlined. Liz Smith will be aware of the evidence that Aileen Campbell and I gave to the Health and Sport Committee last week, and I can announce that I have published the terms of reference for the review of the PVG scheme. I have written to the conveners of the Education and Skills Committee and...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I thank Iain Gray for his comments on the Government’s approach to the recommendations. On the 2014 Brock report and the subsequent statement, if he looks at page 49 of the systems review group report, he will see that Jackie Brock was one of the members of that group, whose recommendations I am accepting, so she has been involved in the formulation of those recommendations. Iain Gray will...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: The children’s hearings improvement partnership was asked to scrutinise the impact of recent legislative and practice changes on the children’s hearings system and to identify action to strengthen consistency and effectiveness across the system. CHIP specifically considered the impact of increased legal representation at hearings. It is taking forward work to ensure that practice and...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: As Donald Cameron knows, I said at the Health and Sport Committee that, if legislation is required off the back of the review, we expect to pass it by 2019. Based on that, I anticipate that the review will conclude its work within this calendar year. However, I will get back to him with firm timescales. In response to Donald Cameron’s second question, I am afraid that I am just going to...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I want to ensure that joint inspections of services for children and young people are underpinned by prevention, early intervention and partnership working. Inspections should recognise that child protection is a collective responsibility, be transparent with regard to learning, use evidence to effect practice improvement, and enable practitioners to make the right decisions at the right time...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I point to headcount in relation to the Scottish social service workforce, particularly in children’s services. Data collected for us by the Scottish Social Services Council shows that from 2012 to 2015, the number of social workers who work in children’s services has increased from 5,550 to 5,960. I also highlight to Monica Lennon, as I have highlighted either to her or to her colleagues...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I welcome the committee’s interest in and input to the child protection improvement programme. I will be more than happy to engage with the committee and provide regular updates on its progress. I am currently giving careful consideration to membership of the national leadership group, but it is clear that it must consist of individuals who have demonstrated a track record of strong...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I thank John Finnie for his question, although I should correct him—I think that he mentioned section 11 of the 1937 act, when what we are looking at is section 12. I just want to make sure that that is correctly understood. Mr Finnie also mentioned his member’s bill, which I have committed to discussing further with him. However, the Government will obviously wait until the bill is...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: If Liam McArthur wishes to write to me with any specific questions about funding implications as a result of actions that the Government is taking forward, I will be more than happy to respond to him with specifics. With regard to experience in assessing risk, I think that it is important to ensure that that is not just the responsibility of those at the front line, although I take on board...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Last month, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and I met groups representing children and victims of domestic abuse to discuss how the law can be reformed to reflect the impact of domestic abuse on children. At that meeting, we agreed to continue to work with those groups on the issue. As Christina McKelvie will be aware, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice is going to introduce a bill during...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: Jeremy Balfour is correct in saying that, as well as strategic leadership, in the form of local authority officers, there is political leadership and direction, which is given to those officers by local authority councillors. I will give careful consideration to how best we can ensure that that leadership mentality is embedded at an elected member level as well. With the upcoming local...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I had discussions with the Care Inspectorate before we produced the recommendations, so I am confident that it is in a position to accommodate the role that I am asking it to take on. I would not ask it to take on the role if I did not feel confident in its ability to manage that function. I am happy to reply to Daniel Johnson in writing with more detail. My clear focus is on ensuring that...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: I want all children and young people to be able to benefit from the opportunities that the internet has to offer. However, we must also ensure that they are safe and protected from the risks that can be posed. Richard Lyle may be aware of operation Lattise, which Police Scotland ran last year. The operation identified more than 500 children aged between three and 18 years who were victims or...

Scottish Parliament: Child Protection Improvement Programme ( 2 Mar 2017)

Mark McDonald: The approach that we will take will be to ensure that we raise awareness among the public and professionals about the services that are available to children who have been victims of trafficking. They will continue to be supported through standard child protection processes. As a Government, we have a zero-tolerance policy in relation to issues around trafficking. The specific point that...


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