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Meet the Scotland Committee

What does the committee do?

The Scotland Committee is responsible for making sure our work meets the needs and priorities of people in Scotland.

Our committee members come from all walks of life. They bring with them a breadth of experience, which is essential for our work.

The committee sets our strategic direction and steers our work in Scotland. This includes:

  • developing our strategic and corporate plans, in particular in relation to Scotland
  • developing and approving our programme of work for Scotland
  • advising on how we use our powers, when they affect Scotland

See the Scotland Committee minutes.

Committee members

Dr Lesley Sawers (Chair)

Lesley is currently a non-executive director of Crosswinds Developments Ltd and a Trustee of Age Scotland. She is also a Director of GenAnalytics Ltd, a specialist analytical and market insights consultancy. Previously Lesley was Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor for Business, Enterprise and Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and Deputy Chair of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. She has also held senior executive positions at Scottish Power plc, Royal Mail, CACI Inc and VisitScotland. She is also a past Trustee and Chair of Action for Children (Scotland), Chair of the Royal Mail Advisory Board Scotland and Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance.

As Scotland Commissioner, she also serves on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Board of Commissioners. Find out more about our Commissioners. 

Mariam Ahmed

Mariam works for a NGO providing advocacy for women experiencing domestic abuse and specialising in support of women from migrant and ethnic minority backgrounds. She is a Director for Scottish Women’s Aid, Chair of the Glendale Women’s Cafe and a member of the Scottish Minority Ethnic Women’s Network.

Phil Arnold

Phil is Head of Refugee Support for the British Red Cross (BRC), which is the largest independent agency supporting around 40,000 people seeking asylum and refugees in 2019 in the UK. The role includes operational responsibility for BRC’s personnel, services, and relationships in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Phil has worked extensively on protection issues supporting survivors of persecution and violence to exercise their rights, engage with public services, and access support.

Phil is BRC’s strategic lead for resettlement and integration work, which includes establishing programmes of co-production, participatory advocacy approaches, and integration programmes for refugees in the UK.

Phil is also an Honorary Research Fellow with Strathclyde University focusing on refugee issues and human rights, and a trustee with Asylos, a charity working to ensure that people seeking asylum (and their counsel) have access to crucial information and that asylum determinations are evidence based.

Marsali Craig

Marsali has professional skills and experience as a local authority Social Worker and as a civil court Solicitor.

She has personal experience of working (and then not being able to work) as a disabled person and 12 years’ experience of travelling in her wheelchair.

Marsali sits on MACS (the Mobility and Accessibility Committee Scotland), which advises the Scottish Government about issues facing disabled people when travelling. She leads on UNCRPD questions and was co-lead on the Rail work stream.

Marsali was a member of the Scottish Council and then a Trustee and Director of the MS Society.  She was a Director of North-East Sensory Services, a successful Aberdeen based charity supporting people with vision and hearing loss. Marsali sat on the Aberdeen City Children’s Panel for two terms and currently volunteers as an “expert patient” with the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen.  She sits on the Fitness to Practice Committee at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practise.

David Crichton

David formally retired from the Scottish Policy Authority in February 2021, the body responsible for maintenance, oversight and scrutiny of Police Scotland. David was interim Chair from December 2019 to January 2021. He was originally appointed to the Authority in April 2018, becoming Vice-Chair the following month. The Authority is one of Scotland’s largest public bodies with an annual budget of around £1.1 billion. David was Chair of NHS Health Scotland until March 2020, having been appointed in December 2016. NHS Health Scotland was Scotland’s public health improvement body with a particular focus on reducing health inequalities before being merged into the new Public Health Scotland in April 2020.

Before joining NHS Health Scotland David worked as an international development advisor for nine years, primarily in Afghanistan and Montserrat with shorter spells in Tanzania, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. In Afghanistan he led economic development projects for the UK, US and Canadian international development agencies. He also worked with the NATO forces in southern Afghanistan and Kabul. In Montserrat he worked on trade, investment and tourism projects.

Earlier in his career, David was global Director for Country and Economic Research with the Economist Intelligence Unit, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Forest Industries and Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian.

Charlie McMillan

Charlie McMillan is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities. He has previously held senior roles in the third sector for leading disability, mental health, HIV, LGBT and children’s charities and as a Policy Implementation Manager for equalities in Scottish Government Health Department.

Lindsey Millen

Lindsey is the Policy Manager at Close the Gap, Scotland’s expert policy advocacy organisation working on women's labour market participation. She leads on Close the Gap’s work on the public sector equality duty and education and skills policy, alongside working with employers to enable them to take action to tackle gender inequality in their own organisations.

Having worked at Close the Gap for over seven years, Lindsey has extensive experience in policy advocacy and development, employer engagement across the public, private and third sectors, and collaboration with colleagues across the women’s and equalities sectors in Scotland and the UK. Alongside this, she is a member of the board of Rape Crisis Scotland, working to end violence against women in all its forms.

Bernadette Monaghan

Bernadette is Director of Community Empowerment and Equalities with Glasgow City Council. Under The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, her team’s responsibilities include locality planning, community asset transfer and participatory budgeting, as well as Community Justice, supporting community councils, engaging with the third sector, as well as the Glasgow Equalities Working Group and Equalities Forum.

She studied Law and then Criminology and is passionate about a just society. She has held a number of leadership roles within the third and public sectors, including Head of Operations with Sacro and Chief Executive of Apex Scotland, working to support the reintegration of (ex) offenders into the community and improve their employment opportunities. She was the first National Convener and Chief Executive of Children’s Hearings Scotland.

She is a member of the Council of SASO (Scottish Association for the Study of Offending).

Until recently, she served on The Law Society of Scotland’s Criminal Law Committee (since 2005) and was Chair of The Young Women’s Movement – YWCA Scotland. She was previously a member of The Sentencing Commission for Scotland, the Scottish Government’s National Advisory Body for Offender Management, Programme Board for The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Justice Leaders Network.

Tatora Mukushi

Tatora is a UK-based human rights lawyer currently working in the Scottish Government Legal Department.

Tatora is on the Solicitors' Roll in England and in Scotland, with litigation and advocacy experience in criminal defence, asylum, immigration, mental health and incapacity including pioneering cases in each of these areas.

As a Legal Officer for the Scottish Human Rights Commission Tatora undertook the Commission’s intervention into the leading case in the Lock-Change eviction litigation wherein he participated an award-winning social justice collaboration. He led the commission’s work in relation to digital forensics and advocated to the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland. His current work with Shelter Scotland is centred around structural flaws in the system for housing and sustaining refugees and asylum seekers, and the legal framework for EEA nationals as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU.

Tatora is registered as a curator-ad-litem to the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. 

Tatora convenes the Racial Inclusion Group for the Law Society of Scotland for whom he has published on racial justice.

Rami Okasha

Rami is the Chief Executive of CHAS, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland. In this role, he leads work to support children with life-shortening conditions, and their families, in hospital, homes and hospices. Previously, he was the Director of Transformation and Innovation at CHAS.

Until 2018, he was Executive Director of Strategy and Improvement at the Care Inspectorate, Scotland’s largest scrutiny and improvement body. There, he was responsible for leading the Care Inspectorate’s improvement support activities across the care sector, and directed approaches to scrutiny methodology, intelligence, organisational development, corporate reporting, involving people who experience care in decisions, communications and policy development. He co-led the development of Scotland’s Health and Social Care Standards, working with people who use and provide care to ensure these are outcomes-focused, based on human rights and wellbeing, and person-led. Before joining the Care Inspectorate in 2013, he worked in public affairs, communications, policy development, and also as a trade union officer for the EIS, where he represented teachers in the workplace, including involving discrimination issues.

Register of Scotland Committee Members’ interests

The governance framework sets out rules and guidance for Scotland Committee Members on conflicts of interests, and we maintain a publicly available register of Committee Members' interests. Declarations of interests are available to download as Word documents, below.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2021