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Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum Elections 2023: a member's reflections

We are now accepting applications for election to the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

The Forum, which brings together sector leaders to discuss issues of strategic importance for the children’s sector, meets at least four times per year and takes a pro-active and evidence-based approach to improving children’s lives at a national level.

A member of the Forum for more than seven years, Christine Carlin, Board Trustee of Voluntary Health Scotland, shares her first-hand experience of the collaboration, influencing and knowledge-sharing that the Forum has facilitated between leaders working across the children's sector.

Why was it important for you to become a member of the Forum?

Working in smaller charities, where resources are tight, the Forum has offered me an invaluable gateway for keeping up to date about wider challenges being faced across our sector. The policy updates have been superb. The Forum offers opportunities to engage with Ministers and other speakers; to debate key issues with colleagues; to shape joint responses; and, at times, to influence Scottish Government thinking on future policy, legislation, or funding.

During the time you have been a member what have been some of the key areas you have worked on with the group?

We have covered a lot of ground over the years, and I’ve been privileged to contribute my tuppence-worth on many topics. Lots about our sector’s funding of course. But over longer periods of time, I was involved, with other group colleagues, in working with (and challenging) the Scottish Government on supporting young people with Additional Support Needs in Education; and, more recently, on Family Support, including the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.

The Forum is made up of 30 members working across different areas of the children’s sector. Is it valuable to be able to discuss issues with such a wide range of expertise between the members? 

That range of expertise, and the opportunity for discussion and genuine debate, really is a strength of the Forum – plus the fact that we are working jointly for the benefit of the whole sector, not in opposition to each other’s organisations.

How is the Forum different from other groups you have participated in?

It is one of those groups (and yes, there are a few others) where I really look forward to the meetings. Every participant is going to learn something, and everyone has a real chance to contribute, no matter how small their own organisation. Plus, as Judith Turbyne (Children in Scotland's Chief Executive) sits on the National Leadership Group, we are updated on the latest thinking, and are able to feed in our joint thinking to the debate.

Have there been any other benefits to being a member of the Forum that you perhaps did not expect?

Not unexpected (we are a friendly bunch) but a huge bonus to have built some lovely friendships along the way!


Children in Scotland members who are interested in applying for the Forum, should confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria, which can be found in the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum Election Process 2023 documents. Click here to view the document

The application process will remain open for three weeks until Wednesday 29 November. To apply for election, please contact Hannah Priest at confirming your eligibility along with a 200-word statement outlining your reason for standing and why you think your input will be of value to the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

If you have any questions about the election process, please contact Hannah Priest:


About the Author

Christine Carlin is the Board Trustee of Voluntary Health Scotland.

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2023 Election Process

Find out more about the eligibility criteria for becoming a member of the forum in our information document

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