A busy crowded street

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 co leads 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. 

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 Millen is the Head of Policy for Close the Gap, a Scottish NGO specialising on women’s participation in the labour market. She has a wide background and experience of gender equality and in the union movement and is a board member of Rape Crisis Scotland.

Bernadette Monaghan

Bernadette studied Law and 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 employment opportunities. She was the first National Convener and Chief Executive of Children’s Hearings Scotland.

As Director of Community Empowerment and Equalities at Glasgow City Council, her team’s responsibilities include locality planning, community asset transfer and participatory budgeting. They also work on Community Justice, supporting community councils, and engaging with the third sector and Glasgow Equalities Working Group and Equalities Forum.

Bernadette is a member of the Scottish Government’s PADS (Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland) Quality Working Group and 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), the Programme Board for The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Justice Leaders Network.

Tatora Mukushi

Tatora Mukushi is a Human Rights lawyer with a strong interest in, and experience of, developing the rights of destitute migrants. He currently leads work for Shelter Scotland on supporting migrant destitution and has previously worked for the Scottish Human Rights Commission and in various private practice.

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: 02 Mar 2021