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Our board

We are very lucky to have a diverse and committed Board of Directors who guide and support the work we do.

The Board is responsible for our overall governance and strategic direction and accepts ultimate responsibility for the sound professional, legal and financial management of Children in Scotland as a charity. They also agree our vision and values, set overall strategy and policies for all key activities, oversee implementation and monitor our progress to plans.

As well as sitting on the Board, Directors may also undertake other roles within the organisation such as being part of working groups or committees involved in the planning or delivery of our work.

Children in Scotland and our Board of Directors function within the legal requirements set out by the Office of the Scottish Regulator (OSCR).

Annual Report: 2016-2017 Achievements

Read about our activities up to 31 March 2017

Download report

Annual Report: 2016-2017 Finances

Read our financial statements up to 31 March 2017

Download report

Dr Dame Denise Coia


Dr Dame Denise Coia is Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland and a Board Member of the Care Inspectorate in Scotland. She is also the Chair of NHS Scotland Board Chairs Group and the Chair of the General Medical Council Quality Scrutiny Group in London.

A psychiatrist by background, she was previously Senior Principal Medical Officer - Mental Health (2006-2011) for the Scottish Government and Mental Health Advisor to Greater Glasgow Health Board (1998-2006).

She has a longstanding interest in professional and service regulation and was Vice President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK), Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Scotland, Secretary of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges in Scotland and Board member of the Allied Health Professions Council UK.

Her research interests have been in supporting individual and families of those with schizophrenia and she was Medical Advisor to the National Schizophrenia fellowship in Scotland. She supported the work of young researchers through her former position as Board member of Medical Research Scotland.

Karen Conaghan


Karen Conaghan is currently a local councillor at West Dunbartonshire Council.

She is Convenor for Educational Services, a member of the Council’s Fostering and Adoption Panel, and sits on Cosla’s Children and Young People’s Board. She joined the Board of Children in Scotland in October 2017.

Ms Conaghan graduated in 1993 from Strathclyde University with a BSc Hons in Technology & Business Studies and has worked in a variety of different roles since then, ranging from insurance to housing and roads, with an ongoing interest in education.

Previous jobs have allowed her to see first-hand the real effects of poverty and deprivation on so many within our communities and how damaging this is to the life chances of children in Scotland. She is passionate about improving the lives of children.

Ms Conaghan is married with three daughters, two cats, and an extended family. She enjoys walking in the beautiful countryside around West Dunbartonshire and beyond, relaxing with friends, and reading.

Professor Brigid Daniel


Professor Brigid Daniel joined Children in Scotland’s Board in 2016.

She originally studied psychology and carried out research in infant perceptuo-motor development.

Following qualification as a social worker, she practised in Edinburgh before moving to Dundee University to teach on post-qualifying courses in childcare and protection. She moved on to Stirling University as Senior Lecturer in Social Work and then returned to Dundee as the Professor of Child Care and Protection and Director of Studies of Child Care and Protection.

She was Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling.

In 2017 she moved away from social work to a take up the post of Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Professor Daniel has written and researched in the areas of child neglect, the child protection system, children’s resilience and child development. Her recent research projects include Permanently Progressing?, the first stage of a planned longitudinal study of outcomes for children in Scotland looked after away from home under the age of five.

She was Scottish lead for the Nuffield-funded four UK nation study Identifying and Understanding Inequalities in Child Welfare Intervention Rates.

She has an MA (Hons) degree, a PhD and Certificate of Qualification in Social Work.

Jane Devine


Jane Devine has been a member of Children in Scotland’s Board since 2016.

She is the Director of Social Work Scotland, the professional leadership body for social workers in Scotland. She joined the organisation in December 2008, initially as a Parliamentary and Communications Officer.

She has held posts in national organisations throughout her career, including COSLA and Audit Scotland, and also previously worked at the Scottish Parliament. Her interests lie in organisational development and relationship building. She has a particular interest in communications and from 2012-2014 wrote a weekly opinion column for the Scotsman newspaper. She currently chairs a national work stream focussed on promoting the public value of social services on behalf of the Scottish Social Work Services Forum.

She has a Masters Degree in Politics and Geography and a post-graduate Masters Degree in Scottish Politics and Sociology from the University of Edinburgh. She also has a postgraduate qualification in Management and Leadership of Public Service from Glasgow Caledonian University.

She lives in Edinburgh with her partner and two children, is a keen cyclist, and has too many bikes.

Alastair Duncan


Alistair Duncan has been a Board member since 2016. He is also an active Trustee of New Lanark (World Heritage Site) and an occasional independent examiner of accounts for a number of small charities.

Most of his career was spent in private sector business, particularly the manufacturing industry. Over 25 years as a professional interim manager he also worked in different public sector organisations, including Visit Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and two further education colleges.

His professional interests lie in management information systems, supply chain, customer relations, and organisational development.

His first degree was in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Edinburgh, followed by Business School and further post-graduate qualifications in Finance and Accountancy.

He now lives in St Andrews, playing golf badly, travelling extensively, particularly to France, and enjoying involvement with a rather scattered family of adult children and very young grandchildren.

Dr Patricia D Jackson

Vice-Convener and Member of Children in Scotland’s Child Protection Group

Dr Jackson joined Children in Scotland’s Board in December 2011. Although now retired from her NHS work as a consultant paediatrician, she continues to hold an honorary position at the University of Edinburgh, teaching and participating in research work.

She is co-chair of the SIGN guideline group for diagnosis of children affected by alcohol in utero, and a board member of a small number of other charities concerned with improving life chances for children, particularly those with a disability.

Previous work in the NHS involved the planning and development of services for children with a learning disability, particularly those with severe complex needs. She set up the National Managed Care Network for this group of children.

Her recent areas of work relate to children affected by alcohol in utero (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – FASD) and sleep disorders in children.

Brought up and educated in Northern Ireland, she trained in Medicine, specialising in Paediatrics, at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Jackson is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

She has three children and four grandchildren and is a member of a Curling Club. Dr Jackson was delighted to be asked by the Scottish Youth Parliament to be an ‘Unfeartie’, a role she is trying to live up to!

Robert Parry

Vice Convenor

A registered nurse by profession, Robert Parry has held many senior positions within clinical practice, academia and professional regulation.

Prior to his retirement in 2015 he was Associate Director, NHS Education for Scotland, leading on work to support the workforce with the integration of health and social care. Before this he was Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Hull (2004-2007).

Since retirement he has undertaken a number of interim positions including Director, Institute of Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), and Head of School at the University of Birmingham’s School of Nursing.

Robert Parry is currently a Registrant Member of Council on the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK. He is also a board member of Key, an organisation that supports adults and young people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

He is a keen traveller and lives in St Andrews, Fife, with his wife. They have two grown-up children.

Satwat Rehman


Satwat Rehman is the Director of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), an organisation that works to support single parents and their families through the delivery of services, advice, information and support. She has been its Director since 2011.

She joined Children in Scotland’s Board in November 2016.

She has more than 25 years’ experience in the voluntary and public sector in Scotland and England, working in the fields of equalities, education, employability, economic development/regeneration and early years and childcare.

Since joining OPFS in 2011, she has been a member of a number of commissions and advisory groups such as the Commission for Childcare Reform, Fairer Fife Commission, Dundee Fairness Commission, the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty, and the Scottish Government’s Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum. She is on the boards of the Poverty Alliance and Families Outside.

She lives in Edinburgh with her partner and two children.

Declan Welsh - Board memeber

Declan Welsh


Declan joined Children in Scotland's Board in 2015. He studied Law at Strathclyde University, Glasgow and is also an established singer / songwriter and spoken word artist. He is a passionate campaigner for an equal and fair society and has worked with the charity sector in driving awareness and fundraising for Foodbanks, Additional Support Needs, and Child Poverty. Declan has also recently become the voice of Children in Scotland through our new film which can be accessed here

Lady Wise (Morag Wise)


Lady Wise joined Children in Scotland’s Board in 2017.

She is a Judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, having been appointed in February 2013.

She is currently one of the two judges with responsibility for family cases in the Court of Session and is also a Judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Since 2013 she has chaired the Access to Justice Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council.

Lady Wise was a qualified solicitor and then an Advocate at the Scottish Bar for 20 years, becoming Queen’s Counsel in 2008. Her primary area of interest was Family Law, including Adoption and general Child Law. Between 2008 and 2013 she was a Director of Family Mediation Lothian.

Lady Wise holds an Honours degree in law (LLB Hons) from the University of Aberdeen and a Master of Laws (LLM) from McGill University, Montreal.

She is married with three children and lives in Edinburgh.