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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity leader set for prestigious commissioner post


Nicola Killean OBE has been nominated to become the next Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland.

A Scottish charity leader is set to be appointed as Scotland’s next Children’s Commissioner. 

The Scottish Parliament will be invited to nominate Nicola Killean to His Majesty the King for appointment as the new Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland.

The Commissioner’s general duty is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people in Scotland.

Nicola Killean OBE was the very first employee of the charity Sistema Scotland in 2007 and worked with the Board to create and grow the organisation to a charity of national significance.

It supports children and young people to gain vital life skills such as confidence, resilience, team work, pride, creativity, and aspiration, and aims to strengthen community cohesion and tackle inequalities in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas.

The charity delivers a social change programme called Big Noise in 5 cities in Scotland, using music and nurturing relationships to support over 3,500 children and young in Scotland.

Ms Killean is set to succeed Bruce Adamson who leaves the position next month following the completion of his six-year term of office.

Reacting to the news, Sistema’s CEO wrote on social media: “Big News! Thank you Bruce Adamson. It's an honour to be nominated for such an important role for children and young people in Scotland.”

A motion to agree Ms Killean’s appointment will be considered by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 26 April.

The appointment follows an open recruitment process. The position attracts a starting salary of £77,260 and is for a single term of six years.

Mr Adamson said: “I’m delighted by the selection of Nicola Killean as the nominee as the next Children and Young People’s Commissioner. She is an outstanding nominee who brings incredible passion and expertise to the role. 

“Our Young Advisors were part of the recruitment process, and they have a welcome message for the new Commissioner: ‘The Commissioner has such an important role in ensuring that children and young people have their rights upheld. We’re excited to see what change you bring, what ideas you implement, and what you do for children and young people of Scotland’. 

“As the fourth Commissioner, Ms Killean will continue an amazing legacy started by Professor Kathleen Marshall 19 years ago and continued by Tam Baillie and the team in the Commissioner’s office.” 

Sistema Scotland’s CEO graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a degree in music education and has had a particular focus throughout her career in creating opportunities for children and young people from more disadvantaged communities.

She previously worked as a nursery teacher, as one of the first cultural coordinators in Scotland focusing on designing arts projects as social development and intervention models, the Scottish Officer for the charity Youth Music, as well as music leader and freelance project manager.

Ms Killean is a Saltire Foundation Fellow, and has also previously held voluntary roles within the Children’s Panel in Scotland and on the Board of Horsecross Arts.

She was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list for 2020, for services to 'Music, children and community cohesion'.  She believes passionately in the potential of all children and young people.

Benny Higgins, chair of Sistema Scotland, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of Nicola’s enduring commitment to supporting and promoting the very best outcomes for children and young people throughout her career. 

“Nicola’s leadership of Sistema Scotland has been exemplary and impressive; from the establishment and testing of the very first Big Noise programme in Raploch, Stirling working then with 35 children in 2008, through the growth of the organisation to one of national significance working with 3,500 children and young people in six targeted communities across Scotland, and backed by an extensive evidence base of independent evaluation.”



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