SCRA operates under the direction of a Board, which reflects a range of experiences and backgrounds in relation to children and young people. The Board plays a significant role in setting the strategic direction and in challenging and supporting SCRA to deliver its plans. As a Non-Departmental Public Body, SCRA’s Board, although acting independently, is accountable to Scottish Ministers.
Board meeting papers are available here.
Chair – Michelle Miller (appointed 2018)
Michelle has worked primarily in local authority children and criminal justice social work services, first in England, moving to Scotland in 1985. In 2002, Michelle took up the post of Depute Chief Inspector of Social Work with what was then the Government’s Social Work Services Inspectorate. Michelle was Chief Social Work Officer for the City of Edinburgh from 2007 to 2018. She was President of the Association of Directors of Social Work (now Social Work Scotland) in 2010/11.
Michelle’s experience includes managing all forms of statutory social work and social care, with a special interest in children and community justice services. Michelle is a passionate believer in the Children’s Hearings System, which sits at the heart of Scotland’s policies on inclusion, promoting rights of children and young people and tackling inequalities.
Board Member – Martin Toye (appointed 2016)
Martin is a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Before undertaking a PhD in Psychology he trained as a Teacher and served as a chairing member of the Children’s Panel.
Martin has worked in three Local Authorities and three Scottish Universities. He was chief investigator on a National Research Ethics Service registered project as part of his PhD and held honorary contracts with two NHS Health Boards.He is an elected member of the Developmental Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society.
Board Member – Suzanne Vestri (appointed 2016)
Suzanne Vestri is Director of Koru Consulting where she provides training and organisational development services to third sector organisations and Scottish Local Authorities. She specialises in governance, board development and strategic planning. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
Prior to this Suzanne was Director of ‘see me’ – a government-funded national programme to end the stigma and discrimination related to mental illness. The programme won media-industry awards and promoted the active involvement of people with lived-experience of mental illness, as well as over a thousand young people in shaping the campaigns. Suzanne has worked in the third sector for 30 years, in the areas of mental health, education, equalities and social housing. Having grown up within the care system, Suzanne became a Children’s Panel Member in 1994 and retired as a member of SE Scotland Area Support Team in September 2016.
Board Member – James Edgar (appointed 2017)
James Edgar is a qualified accountant with substantial finance and operational experience in the public sector at Director level. Most of his experience has been with DWP and its predecessors and he also had a spell as Finance Director at the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Jim also has experience as a Non-Executive Director, first with (the then) Stevenson College, Edinburgh serving two terms including four years as Chair. Most recently until August 2016 he completed two terms with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, including as Chair of the Audit Committee.
Board Member – Kay Barton (appointed 2021)
Kay worked in social policy and housing roles for Scottish Government before she retired, and previously at Barnardo’s Scotland and in the social security system. She has experience of developing policy and strategy as well as managing operations, risk and finance systems.
Kay has been a board member of several Third Sector organisations, both national and local over many years. For the last 6 years she was a trustee at Home-Start Leith & NE Edinburgh and chaired the board. She has also been a volunteer mentor with teenagers, who keep her active and grounded.
Lorraine spent 9 years advocating for children and young people attending children’s hearings. Lorraine was a board member of the “Stop Go Group” – part of the Independent Care Review, Scotland. Lorraine has her own experience of childhood trauma, care experience and adverse childhood experiences and uses this experience to influence and develop her work. Lorraine is committed to keeping The Promise Scotland.
Board Member – Ying Zhang (appointed 2022)
Ying Zhang is the Strategy and Development Manager at Capital City Partnership, leading on an integrated service for children, young people and families from ethnically diverse communities in Edinburgh to tackle poverty and inequality. Prior to joining the board, Ying was the Area Convener of East Dunbartonshire Children’s Hearings, and Board Trustee for Fife Women’s Aid.
Ying is a registered Social Worker. She spent 7 years as a Children and Families Social Worker in the North East of Glasgow. In addition, Ying has research experience in gender based violence and global strategy development in private sector. Ying holds qualifications including LLB, MPhil in Social Science and Economic Studies, MsC in Social Work, Post Graduate certificate in Child Protection and Executive MBA with specialisation in Strategy.
Board Member – Hazel Smith (appointed 2022)
Hazel is a former care-experienced young person and someone whose career path has primarily focused on working with disadvantaged groups and communities. Starting out in community education 30 years ago, Hazel set up, developed and managed organisations and projects combatting exclusion and inequality working with third sector and public sector services and economic development agencies. Much of the work has focused on children, young people and women: managing Youth Agencies and Women onto Work in Edinburgh; working with the European Commission on research and development projects that promoted women and young people’s participation in education, enterprise and employment.
She returned to Scotland after a stint volunteering in rural Senegal with women and children’s charities and set-about developing social enterprises that supported women and families. One of those enterprises has won numerous awards for promoting egalitarian values and empowering vulnerable women to be leaders in their lives, careers and communities. She is a former Board Member of a number of charities working on behalf of women, children and other disadvantaged groups.
In March 2020, Hazel was appointed to the Board of the new Economic Development Agency – South of Scotland Enterprise and had a particular remit around the Third Sector, young people and social enterprise. She is also an Associate Consultant for Community Enterprise in Scotland