Chapter 2: Services Fit for the Future
Public services and those who work in them are vital to the success of our economy and our society. Over the last 10 years, public services have become better integrated and more responsive to the needs of our diverse communities.
To ensure our services are fit for the future, it is essential that we take a number of actions now to address future challenges. By focusing on those who most require support and redesigning the way in which some services are provided, we will make sure we are using public resources in the long-term interests of the country.
Our focus on prevention from the earliest years of a child's life, including improving the rights of young people, will reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences and ensure our young people begin their adult lives from strong foundations.
Taking action to increase activity levels, tackle poor diet and obesity and improve air quality will reduce the long-term challenge facing our health service, while focusing on diverting people from crime, reducing reoffending and supporting communities ensures more people are able to live fulfilling lives and make their full contribution to society.
For our older people, and for all those who require care in our NHS, we will continue to break down barriers and provide more support in people's homes and communities, enriching their lives and extending healthy life-expectancy.
The best place in the world to grow up
Improving the education and life chances of children and young people is the defining mission of this Government. We will build on our reforms to deliver our vision for education, close the attainment gap and raise attainment for all. We remain focused on giving all our children the best possible start in life through the Getting It Right For Every Child approach: from before birth, throughout their education and beyond. All children are equal in Scottish society, but not all have the same opportunities. We need to ensure that the barriers to success that children and young people experience can be addressed quickly and that the right help is given at the right time.
We are reforming the whole education system. The early years experience is being revolutionised by the expansion of early learning and childcare to almost double current levels. Schools will see a fundamental change, with more power and money in the hands of headteachers to drive improvements in attainment. And in our universities, we will drive wider access so that going to university is based on ability not background.
Our investment in education and skills is an essential element in increasing productivity and encouraging inclusive growth; ensuring that all our children get equal chances and choices to succeed, not just at school, but in life.
The early years
Support for new families
Our support for young people begins with support for new parents to give their children the best start in life. Recognising this, we will:
- deliver the Baby Box to all newborns
- implement the recommendations of our maternity and neonatal services review
- increase the numbers of health visitors by 500
- complete our roll-out of Family Nurse Partnerships to all eligible first-time mothers in Scotland
We are now offering Baby Boxes to all babies born in Scotland. This is helping to address deprivation and support parents in the first few important months by including materials to promote the best possible outcomes for children. The box itself provides a safe space for babies to sleep near their parents, promoting bonding and early attachment.
To support families in those early years, we are also establishing the Best Start Grant which will provide financial support at key points in the early years of a child's life for those who need it, ensuring no child is left behind at this crucial stage in life.
Early learning and childcare
The importance of high quality early learning and childcare (ELC) in ensuring that our children and their parents are able to fulfil their potential cannot be overestimated.
Those children who receive a Baby Box this year will be among the first to receive 1,140 hours of fully funded early learning and childcare from 2020, almost double the entitlement available now. Our support for childcare is available to all families because we recognise that it helps all children, not just those where both parents work. These children will also receive free meals at nursery, building on the principle established by the Baby Box that all children are born equal.
Over the coming year, we will:
- back our ambition with investment by guaranteeing a multi-year package of funding for local authorities - to be published this autumn - to support the recruitment and training of staff and the delivery of new premises, and to ensure that some communities begin to benefit from the increase to 1,140 hours ahead of 2020
- work towards all childcare workers delivering funded ELC being paid the Scottish Living Wage from August 2020
- publish a Quality Action Plan that will set out measures to support early years professionals to continuously improve the care and learning experience our children receive, including by sharing best practice from centres of innovation across the country, providing mentoring for new members of the childcare workforce and improving the transparency of inspection arrangements to enable parents to make informed choices and to minimise the burden on providers
We will also publish our Funding Follows the Child model by the end of March 2018. This will include a national standard for a more open process for private and third sector providers and childminders accessing funded ELC.
Tackling Adverse Childhood Experiences
What happens to us as children can have a huge impact on us throughout our lives. Childhood experiences shape who we are and how we respond to events in our lives, especially if those experiences are adverse ones involving abuse, neglect, harm, violence or poverty. We now know through research and experience that preventing adverse childhood experiences where we can and tackling their impact where they do happen, can change a child's life and, importantly, their life chances.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), like parental drug and alcohol abuse, parental incarceration, physical or sexual abuse or neglect, are linked to poorer physical and mental health in adulthood, risky health behaviours, violence and homelessness.
We will embed a focus on preventing ACEs and supporting the resilience of children and adults in overcoming early life adversity across all areas of public service, including education, health, justice and social work.
As part of our wider Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) approach, we will focus effort on preventing ACEs and on addressing their impact on our children, young people and adults, in particular parents. We will build on existing interventions, including:
- measures to reduce parental incarceration by moving to a presumption against short sentences
- more support for children and families in the very earliest years, through expansion in Health Visitor numbers and roll-out of Family Nurse Partnerships
- the expansion of high quality early learning and childcare, including action to increase take-up of provision for 2 year olds
- investment in projects and services which support parents and families to cope better, keep children safe and prevent children going into care
- providing funding direct to schools to tackle the attainment gap
Excellence and equity in our schools
School governance and funding
Our children will only achieve their full potential with the highest quality education at every level. To achieve that, we must ensure that children, parents and teachers are at the heart of our plans.
In the coming year, we will introduce an Education Bill, that will empower parents, teachers and children to make the key decisions about the life of their school, ensuring decisions about a child's education are taken as close to that child as possible.
This significant legislation will give headteachers new powers and responsibilities, formally establishing them as leaders of learning and teaching with key roles and functions that will be set out in a Headteachers' Charter.
We will back this greater responsibility with more money and more support, increasing the amount of investment that is directed at the discretion of headteachers and providing greater expert learning support to teachers in the classroom through the creation of Regional Improvement Collaboratives.
Following the conclusion of a wider consultation on school funding - 'Fair Funding to Achieve Excellence and Equity in Education' - we will develop an approach to funding that better reflects schools' needs, setting out firm proposals by summer 2018.
In addition, we will continue to bring forward new proposals under the Scotland's Schools for the Future Programme.
We will strengthen the role of parents in schools, increasing the opportunity for parental engagement both as part of the Education Bill and through a set of key actions including:
- ensuring that every school has access to a 'home to school' link worker to support parents and families who find it challenging to engage in their child's learning and feel excluded from the work and life of their child's school
- publishing a National Action Plan on Parental Engagement and Family Learning covering early years and schools and focusing on family learning in the home, parental representation and effective communication with parents
- working with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council to ensure that schools support parents to play an active part in school improvement
- ensuring there is a teacher or professional in every school with responsibility for promoting parental, family and community engagement
In this Year of Young People 2018, we will strengthen the voice of children and young people by:
- consulting on a requirement that every school should pursue the key principles of pupil participation
- considering new methods for children and young people to influence the relevance and implementation of Scotland's curriculum
Reforming school governance is only one of the major actions we will take in the coming year to ensure our young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential. Closing the attainment gap and improving attainment for all is our central focus in education. To achieve that, all children, whatever their background or circumstances, should have the opportunity to enjoy a broad, engaging curriculum.
The first key to improvement is providing clarity on our ambitions and goals. Last year we carried out significant work to embed new benchmarks on literacy, numeracy and other curricular areas. We issued clear advice - stripping away thousands of pages of unnecessary work for teachers - on learning, teaching and assessment, and implemented a new inspection model for literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
This year, to bring even greater focus to improvement in our education system, we will:
- create new Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide streamlined and strengthened support to teachers, including access to teams of attainment experts drawn from local authorities and Education Scotland
- roll out national standardised assessments to all schools, providing robust, consistent evidence of children's progress for teachers and parents
- establish a Scottish Education Council to ensure system‑wide focus on improvement
- align the current functions of key national education bodies to ensure that inspection, curriculum development, improvement, professional learning and leadership are supported in a coherent way which is relevant and useful to teachers, children and parents
Scottish attainment challenge
The £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund will continue to support schools and local authorities in tackling the attainment gap, with £170 million already allocated for 2017-18.
Our £120 million Pupil Equity Fund is already beginning to transform schools by enabling headteachers to secure the additional staffing or resources they believe will support pupils affected by poverty and boost attainment levels.
To support the next phase of this activity, we will:
- continue to invest in the Challenge Authorities and Schools Programme along with a number of national programmes, with £50 million allocated in 2017‑18 through the Attainment Scotland Fund
- work with professional associations and stakeholders to develop a learning programme for schools and other professionals to address attainment
Year 1 of the First Minister's Reading Challenge was a success, with 1,558 primary schools (74%) participating in 2016-17. This year, the Challenge will be extended from P4 - P7 to cover all primary school age groups. It will also be piloted in selected secondary schools from autumn 2017.
To support the success of the Reading Challenge, and recognising the role of school libraries in improving attainment, we will introduce a national School Library Improvement Fund, investing £1 million over the next three years.
We will establish an annual 'Maths Week Scotland' initiative, led by the Deputy First Minister, to raise the profile of the value and relevance of maths and to highlight the vital role of maths in education, work and life. The first Maths Week Scotland will be held 11 to 17 September 2017.
We will publish a new education infrastructure plan, which will set out proposals to improve the condition of existing schools within the lifetime of this Parliament and our longer term ambitions to build more '2-18' campuses and establish an estate that is world-leading in energy efficiency.
To ensure that we have skilled, confident, collaborative teachers who are able to educate, energise and inspire our young people and to continue to improve the professional skills of our existing education workforce, we will:
- develop a new route into teaching to attract high quality graduates into priority areas and subjects
- develop a national approach to support the recruitment of teachers from outwith Scotland
- create a specific recruitment campaign for headteachers
- take action to ensure that all initial teacher education programmes, including student placements, are high quality, consistent and deliver appropriate content, particularly around literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and equality
- take steps to strengthen the early years experience and qualifications that teachers gain through initial teacher education
- continue to support Masters level learning, with additional investment of £800,000 in 2017-18
- consult on the establishment of a new Education Workforce Council to take on the responsibilities of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Community and Learning Development Standards Council
We will ensure that the growth of Gaelic medium education remains a priority in Scottish education. This will include the publication of the latest version of the National Plan for Gaelic in 2017 with targets. The Plan will seek to promote the growth of Gaelic in Scotland, increase the number of Gaelic schools and promote new routes into Gaelic teacher education. In addition, we will maintain our investment in MG Alba in 2017-18 and press the BBC to increase funding for BBC Alba programming.
After‑school and holiday childcare
We recognise that it is not just activities during the school day that contribute to the success of our young people. Extra‑curricular activities can also help to boost attainment and build the skills that young people will need in the future.
There is also a challenge for parents, particularly working parents, in securing accessible, affordable and flexible childcare that does not end when their children start school. Over the course of this Parliament, we will develop a strategic framework for after‑school and holiday childcare, beginning by assessing the availability of existing provision and setting out what we can do to better meet the needs of families.
The transition from school into further and higher education, training and employment is one of the key points in a young person's life. As part of our commitment to ensuring that all young people can fulfil their potential and that Scotland benefits from all the skills and talents of our young people, we are taking a number of steps to improve the choices and opportunities available, including providing more opportunities for those who need greater support to succeed.
Putting students' needs and interests at the heart of further and higher education
During the Year of Young People in 2018 and as part of our Developing the Young Workforce programme, we will run a national campaign to promote the new opportunities on offer for young people from S4 and above who undertake work-related learning.
To improve access to university, we will drive forward the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access's Report 'Blueprint for Fairness', so that every child, no matter their background or circumstances, has an equal chance of going to university by 2030. We expect every university to take action now to ensure that, by 2021, 10% of entrants to each university are from Scotland's 20% most deprived backgrounds. We must also ensure that people are supported not just to go to university, but to stay the course to graduation. Through the newly formed Access Delivery Group, we will consider what actions can be taken to increase retention and completion.
Every care-experienced young person who meets the entry requirements should be offered a place at a Scottish university and we expect universities to make clear how they will meet this commitment in the coming year. Every care-experienced student under 26 going to university this autumn will receive a full £7,625 non-repayable bursary to finance their studies.
The independent review of student support will report this autumn. We will consider its findings as part of our drive to reform student support so that funding follows individual students rather than places of study. We will continue our work to raise the repayment threshold for Student Loans so that, by the end of the Parliament, graduates do not start to repay loan debt until they are earning £22,000 and the repayment period is reduced to 30 years.
University education will remain free of tuition fees for Scottish domiciled undergraduate students and those from EU countries. In particular, we will:
- meet the tuition costs for all EU undergraduate students starting a course at a Scottish university in 2017-18 or 2018 -19
- continue to press the UK Government to ensure the right of those students to stay and complete their studies
- expand the postgraduate support package to ensure that financial support is available for those who undertake courses by distance and digital learning
We want education for young people to be as effective and efficient as possible and provide more opportunities for those needing the most support to succeed. We will publish the findings from the first stage of our review of the learner journey for 15-24 year olds in the autumn, including research on the views and experiences of young people. The first stage of the review will be set out by the end of 2017 and will further test and implement improvements to careers advice, applications processes and a better join-up between schools, colleges and universities.
Stretching our aspirations to deliver excellence and equity
Our further education and higher education sectors have contributed significantly to our ambitions for inclusive economic growth, and particularly to our actions on young people's employment. Graduates from Scotland have the highest employment rates anywhere in the UK and record levels of college students now achieve higher education qualifications. We must build on this success to ensure colleges and universities play their part in our economic ambitions. In 2017-18, we will:
- continue through our improvement programme to focus on how colleges can raise attainment levels and increase the numbers of students who successfully complete courses and achieve the qualifications they are studying for
- review outcome agreements to create greater alignment with our key priorities
- apply a sharp focus on employability and STEM so that our colleges and universities help us produce the right skills and talent for industries of the future
- work with colleges and universities to address gender inequality at all levels from course choices to senior staff
- work with college leaders to develop a collective and collaborative approach to leadership
- engage with our universities and main research providers to monitor and address challenges related to Brexit so they can continue to attract the best research talent, forge international research collaborations and access EU funding
Supporting the further education and higher education sectors
We have demonstrated our commitment to Scotland's colleges and universities through investment of more than £6 billion for colleges since 2007 and more than £1 billion for universities in each of the last six years. That commitment remains, but in order to secure long-term financial sustainability and best value for our investment, the Scottish Funding Council will work with colleges to produce a financial plan that includes options for income generation whilst protecting access to further and higher education which is free of tuition fees.
We will consider the findings of the college estates' survey to plan future capital investment and set out proposals as part of an education infrastructure plan. We will explore with universities and colleges new approaches to build Scotland's reputation as an attractive place for international students to live and study.
Creating a confident digital society
Inclusive growth that combines increased prosperity with greater equality, creates opportunities for all, and distributes the benefits of increased prosperity fairly is a key pillar of our economic strategy. Providing everyone with the skills and confidence to become responsible digital citizens is part of this. Digital technologies are fully integrated into the lifestyles of our young people which gives them a clear understanding of the issues we all face in the digital realm. The rights and responsibilities that comprise responsible digital citizenship are being developed following the '5 Rights' Report by Youth Commissioners from Young Scot.
We will work with organisations across all sectors to implement the recommendations set out in the 5 Rights Report and we will use the Year of Young People 2018 as a platform to secure a wider public debate on rights and responsibilities in the digital world.
STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) education and training
Developing Scotland's STEM talent and capability is critical to generating inclusive and sustainable economic growth, equipping our young people with skills for the future and realising our ambitions for Scotland's economy.
We will publish our strategy for STEM education, training and lifelong learning this autumn. Built around the aims of excellence, equity, inspiration and connection, the key actions will include:
- creating a new network of STEM specialist advisers to support classroom teachers and raise STEM attainment
- enhancing opportunities for children in early learning and childcare to establish STEM fundamentals, learning particularly about their natural environment through outdoor play
- improving the supply of STEM talent into the teaching profession
- increasing support to improve STEM learning and teaching in the school curriculum through enhanced career-long professional learning for teachers
- developing a Scottish Young STEM Leaders programme to grow and spread inspiration and enthusiasm for STEM, starting in the early and primary years of education
- embedding best practice from the successful Improving Gender Balance project to improve participation by under-represented groups in STEM learning, courses and training, particularly for women and girls
- growing successful STEM partnerships between schools and employers through the Developing the Young Workforce Programme
- expanding STEM hubs to strengthen partnerships between schools, colleges, universities, science centres and employers
- supporting science centres and festivals to attract all ages and backgrounds
- expanding the number of work-based opportunities for students within STEM curriculum areas through an increase in college and university student placement opportunities, graduate internships and apprenticeships with employers
- publishing a STEM skills supply and demand study to improve understanding of what STEM skills are needed in the labour market
Children and young people's rights
We believe taking a rights based approach to policy making and public service delivery secures the best outcomes for all of our people. This is particularly true for our young people where, especially in their earliest years, many decisions are taken on their behalf.
Year of Young People 2018
A global first, the Year of Young People 2018 is the latest in our programme of themed years. The Year will aim to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to our communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.
Young people have been involved in every stage of planning, delivery and decision-making of the Year, deciding on the aims, objectives and branding. Young Scot and its partners are supporting young people to co-produce the Year and are recruiting young people to act as champions for the Year in each local authority area.
This partnership model will help to deliver our ambitions for the Year. We are working to deliver policy objectives under six key themes to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of Scotland's young people.
In particular, we will take steps to embed children's rights within the fabric of Scottish society by progressing a range of actions to promote their wellbeing and enhance and protect their rights.
- undertake a comprehensive audit on the most practical and effective way to further embed the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into policy and legislation, including the option of full incorporation into domestic law
- support John Finnie MSP's legislative proposals to remove the existing defence for parents and outlaw all forms of physical punishment
- prepare for implementation of the change in the law, including raising public awareness
- commence a three-year programme to raise awareness of children's rights, including among children and young people themselves as part of our Year of Young People
- increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12, including measures for exceptional cases where it is necessary to investigate harmful behaviours by those under 12 years old and to recognise the impact on victims
- provide training, advice and information on the need to secure consent to sharing information by Named Persons and in developing a child's plan
- develop a young inspectors programme within Education Scotland's school inspections programme
- implement key measures in the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People, including:
- hosting events to help parents and carers support their children's online activity
- supporting children and young people to build their resilience online
- working with digital media providers and industry to ensure better access to appropriate information and support
- piloting the 'Click: Path to Protection' training module in Scotland on safeguarding children who have been sexually abused and exploited online
Meeting the additional support needs of children and families
We are developing a framework to support disabled children, young people and their families around information and rights, accessibility of services and transitions. We will consult later this year, and publish the framework in late summer 2018.
We are committed to exploring further the introduction of a Young Carer's Allowance to provide extra support for young people with significant caring responsibilities.
We will consult on and introduce new guidance to reaffirm the presumption of mainstreaming in Scottish schools and clarify decision-making and provision for children with additional support needs.
Putting children's interests at the core of the design and delivery of services
We will listen to the voices of our most vulnerable children and young people through the independent Care Review to understand how we can create a system that puts love for the children it cares for at its heart. Established earlier this year, the independent Care Review will run for two years. We will begin implementation of the recommendations as they emerge.
Additionally, through the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative, we will:
- continue to support local authorities, health boards and the third sector to embed quality improvement in their work through a team of advisers
- help local authorities, health boards and the third sector to train their own improvement experts so that activities to improve outcomes for children and families are embedded in their services
- showcase good practice and share learning about approaches that are making a difference
We will continue to fund the Realigning Children's Services programme which supports Community Planning Partnerships to improve collaborative decision-making on the use of the total available resource to best meet the needs of - and improve outcomes for - individual children in their areas.
We will continue to fund partners such as the Lloyds Partnership Drug Initiative and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs to support vulnerable children and to develop a strategic approach to responses to children and young people in and on the edges of secure care in Scotland.
Improving how we support and protect our children and young people
The Getting It Right for Looked After Children and Young People Strategy sets out our approach to improving outcomes for looked after children.
In the coming year, we will:
- roll out 'Permanence and Care Excellence' to all local authorities to improve the processes to find secure and permanent homes for children who can no longer stay with their parents
- through 'Realigning Children's Services', map the availability of services in local areas to ensure the right services are in place, including for those looked after at home
- launch a National Kinship Care Advice Service for kinship care families and professionals in autumn 2017
- review Foster, Kinship and Adoption Allowances to bring forward proposals for national kinship care and foster care allowances in summer 2018
- ensure that all local authorities are referring children and prospective adopters to Scotland's Adoption Register by March 2018
- review the legislative framework around children and young people's contact with parents and families and ensure that best practice for safe, secure and appropriate contact is supported and shared
- require corporate parents to publish their plans by the end of March 2018 to allow Scottish Ministers to report to Parliament by July 2018
- commission a progress review on the use of family support services to prevent children going into care
- develop Secure Care National Standards to improve experiences and outcomes for our most vulnerable young people
- establish a transformative model for secure care in Scotland through a new Secure Care Strategic Board, which will report by end 2018
As part of our Child Protection Improvement Programme, we will implement the recommendations from the Child Protection Systems Review, including:
- publishing a new national child protection policy, including a National Child Abuse Prevention Plan, by March 2018
- exploring a system on the National Police Vulnerable Persons Database to identify all children placed on a local Child Protection Register
- working with the Care Inspectorate to ensure a revised framework of inspections which focuses on the experiences and outcomes of the most vulnerable children
- consulting on revising the criminal offences of abuse and neglect of children
- taking forward a programme of action to tackle neglect, working with agencies in three local authority areas to look at how practice change can be made and sustained
- implementing actions in the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation on improving the collation of information on child sexual exploitation by the end of 2018
Building a skilled and competent social services workforce
Our social services need a skilled, competent and valued workforce to lead the delivery of improved outcomes for children and young people. In the coming year, we will:
- complete the final phase of workforce registration - opening in October 2017 the Scottish Social Services Council register for support workers in care at home and housing support
- develop and start to implement the social care part of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan
- promote the social work profession and wider social service workforce as a valued place to work through a range of activities to embed Fair Work approaches, and support investment in workforce engagement and development
- appraise the delivery options, costs and investment required, and stakeholder views on introducing a supported first year in practice for newly qualified social workers
- build leadership capacity in the sector by encouraging uptake of the SCQF level 11 award for Chief Social Work Officers
- work with sector partners to strengthen leadership in social services, as set out in 'Enhancing Leadership Capability'
Building strong and safe communities
Our justice system
The changes we have made to the justice system over the last 10 years have been some of the most significant policy changes since devolution - ensuring that Scotland's justice system is internationally recognised for its focus on prevention and rehabilitation, while support for victims has been enhanced.
Recorded crime is down 41% since 2006-07, with crime now at its lowest level for 42 years. Scotland's reconviction rate is at its lowest level in 18 years. People feel safer in their neighbourhoods, with 74% of adults feeling safe to walk alone after dark, up from 66% in 2008-09.
In July 2017, we published 'Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities', providing an over-arching framework for everyone working in the justice system. It acknowledges that appropriate custodial sentences will always be required for those people whose offences are the most serious, or where there are significant risks to public safety. However, it also firmly focuses our efforts on prevention, diversion and early intervention, and includes a strong focus on the impact of adverse childhood experiences.
At the same time, we must also ensure that where people are victims of crime they have confidence that the right support will be available, from the emergency and specialist services and the courts.
In the coming year, we will continue to reform the way in which Scotland deals with offenders, including female offenders; provide enhanced support for victims, including new protection for those who face domestic abuse, and respond to new and emerging challenges such as cyber crime and terrorism.
Preventing and reducing offending
Our work on penal reform has seen reconviction rates fall to their lowest level for 18 years. Robust community sentences and reducing the inappropriate use of remand play a key part in breaking the cycle of offending. Evidence shows that individuals released from a custodial sentence of 12 months or less are reconvicted nearly twice as often as those who are given a community sentence.
As a result, we will extend the presumption against short sentences to 12 months. This will encourage the greater use of community sentences, which in turn will reduce the numbers serving ineffective short custodial sentences. However, final decisions on sentencing in each case will remain a matter for the independent judiciary. We will implement this change only once relevant provisions of the Domestic Abuse Bill are in force.
Electronic monitoring, or 'tagging', is a powerful tool to aid the delivery of community justice. As part of the Management of Offenders Bill, which we will introduce this year, we will expand and strengthen the use of tagging as part of our commitment to reducing offending and making our communities safer.
The Bill will also modernise the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, reforming disclosure of previous convictions. This will help people move on from their offending and improve opportunities for gaining employment and training, further reducing reoffending rates and enabling people to contribute positively to society.
We are also consulting on proposals for legislative change to deliver some of the aims of the Parole Reform Programme to clarify the role of the Parole Board.
During 2017-18, we will continue ring-fenced funding of around £100 million to local authorities for criminal justice social work services, including the delivery of community sentences. An additional £4 million was provided in 2016-17 to expand access to community sentences and this is being maintained in 2017-18.
Diversion from prosecution
Interventions which address the underlying causes of offending are the most successful. Diverting people, particularly young people, from the formal mechanisms of the criminal justice system can be effective in reducing their reoffending. It can also be associated with positive long-term impacts in their lives such as reduced drug use.
- continue our efforts to make criminal justice interventions occur earlier, promoting the least intrusive intervention at the earliest possible time, and free up resources to be reinvested in the community
- work with partners in criminal justice social work and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to maximise the availability and appropriate use of diversion schemes
Supported and supervised bail
Bail support and supervision is aimed at people who would otherwise be held on remand and allows them to be monitored and supervised in the community. Unlike remand, this allows families to stay together and does not adversely impact on employment opportunities or stable housing, which is proven to reduce reoffending.
Over the next year, we will:
- share good practice and learning with partners in criminal justice social work and revise existing guidance
- administer £1.5 million of funding to local authorities specifically for bail support services for women to improve provision of these services nationally
Between 2011-12 and 2016-17, the average number of women in custody has fallen from around 470 to around 370. A progressive new model for the female custodial estate, with a smaller national women's prison and local community-based custody units is being developed. The model offers access to intensive support to help overcome issues such as alcohol, drugs, mental health and domestic abuse trauma which can often drive offending behaviour. The Scottish Prison Service will open the first two community custody units and the new national prison by the end of 2020.
The Scottish Prison Service has also committed to developing a highly skilled, qualified and professionalised workforce, to unlock the potential of those in its custody and care and empower offenders to transform their lives through rehabilitation and support them in their reintegration into their communities. This is being taken forward through their Prison Officer Professionalisation Programme. The Scottish Prison Service is working with key strategic partners to establish the foundations for the professionalised workforce by summer 2019.
Improvements in taking evidence from children and vulnerable people
We will introduce a Bill on Vulnerable Witnesses and Pre‑recorded Evidence, which will enable much greater use of pre‑recorded evidence for child witnesses, reducing the need for children to have to give evidence in court during a criminal trial.
We will also consult on the introduction of a statutory duty to provide 'appropriate adults' to support vulnerable adults who have communication difficulties during police processes.
Administration of justice: evidence and procedure
In collaboration with justice organisations, we are investing £1.1 million to further develop a digital evidence sharing capability which will enable a transformation of how evidence is accessed across the justice system, allowing for more efficient sharing of evidence and earlier resolution of cases.
Supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse: forensic examination services
We will improve the quality and delivery of forensic examination services, which are appropriate and sensitive to the needs of victims of sexual assault or rape.
In March 2017, we established the Taskforce for the Improvement of Services for Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer.
Working with that group, we have commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland to develop National Standards for Healthcare and Forensic Medical Services for people of all ages who have experienced rape or sexual assault, including a series of consultation events across Scotland and specific sessions for people with lived experience. We are working with NHS Education Scotland to achieve a workforce which meets the needs of victims in being able to choose the gender of their examiner, encouraging the uptake of specialised training by female doctors, and delivering at least 50 new trained forensic medical examiners by the end of 2018-19. We will explore opportunities to develop new services for victims of sexual assault and pilot a project to design trauma informed processes in Shetland and Orkney.
Domestic abuse and violence against women and girls
Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated and we are maintaining our focus on dealing with this crime and improving the outcomes for victims. Our police and prosecution services have already done much to identify and prosecute offenders. We will build on that work and:
- establish a specific offence of domestic abuse covering both physical and psychological abuse
- implement a delivery plan for 'Equally Safe', our strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls
- take steps to comply with the Istanbul Convention in preparation for it being ratified by the UK Government
- expand the innovative Caledonian Programme so that more male perpetrators of domestic abuse can receive specific rehabilitation services designed to address the issues giving rise to their offending behaviour
- consult on changes to the law to prevent direct cross-examination of victims of domestic abuse by their alleged abusers in child contact cases before the civil courts
Human trafficking and exploitation
We will work with civic Scotland to deliver our Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. Trafficking and Exploitation Risk Orders will come into force in October 2017, allowing the police to take preventative action in response to risk and in order to protect potential victims from harm.
Access to justice
The Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) Bill, introduced earlier this year, is another part of our commitment to make the civil justice system more accessible, affordable and equitable. It will make the costs of civil action more predictable, extend the funding options for pursuers, and bring more equality to the funding relationship between pursuers and defenders in personal injury actions.
Independent reviews of legal aid and the regulation of legal services are underway to consider how best to reform the legal aid system and what regulation is necessary. We will consider the recommendations and engage with the legal profession and users of legal services to ensure that arrangements for the regulation of legal services support the needs of those who rely on them.
The Damages Bill will amend the law on the Personal Injury Discount Rate. The Bill will also enable courts to impose periodical payment orders when making an award of damages in respect of a personal injury.
The Prescription Bill will address a number of issues within the law of negative prescription that can cause difficulty in practice. Among other reforms, it will:
- extend the application of the five‑year prescription period
- change the rules for determining what facts about a damages claim the pursuer must have knowledge of before the prescription period begins to run in relation to the claim
As part of improving how family cases are dealt with by the courts, we will consult on a review of the provisions of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 on parental responsibilities and rights and contact and residence cases involving children, with the goal of placing children and young people at the centre of family court cases. In 2014 and 2015, we consulted on reform of the law of succession and we made a number of major changes in the Succession (Scotland) Act 2016. During 2018, we will publish our response to the remaining issues.
Services that keep us safe
We will support Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to deliver their Policing 2026 Strategy, ensuring that the service works with communities, responds to their needs and keeps people safe. Our provision of £61 million of reform funding in 2017-18 will support the delivery of the priorities for improvement of the service while enhancing specialist capability by ensuring more experts to tackle emerging threats like cyber crime and online fraud.
We are protecting the police revenue budget in real terms for this Parliament - delivering an additional £100 million investment over five years. We continue to make the case to the UK Government to extend a VAT exemption to Scottish emergency services, which would release £23 million for frontline policing and £10 million for the fire and rescue service.
Following the Railway Policing (Scotland) Act 2017, we will work with the UK Government to ensure secondary legislation is in place for the smooth integration of British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland on 1 April 2019.
As part of the implementation of Scotland's new Mental Health Strategy, we will provide additional investment over the next five years, rising to £35 million in the fifth year for 800 extra workers in key locations, including police and justice settings.
Fire and Rescue
We are supporting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in its modernisation to meet existing demand and emerging risks. The role of the fire-fighter is expanding, not just in vital preventative work but also in responding to medical emergencies, often in more rural areas working alongside the ambulance service.
We will support the introduction of new technologies and delivery models such as the use of Rapid Response Units where these can benefit the service operationally, improve fire-fighter safety and better serve the communities.
All our emergency services are adapting to the terrorism threat we currently face and we will ensure that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service are supported to fulfil their roles in any emergency response.
We are committed to playing our full part in ensuring the safety and security of our citizens from the threat of terrorism. We meet this challenge by working with the UK Government to take informed decisions about the appropriate and proportionate measures required to protect Scotland. While we do so in partnership with the UK Government, the delivery of the counter-terrorism response falls heavily on us, our emergency services, local authorities, businesses and communities. We have a truly multi-agency approach, best demonstrated at the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh which contains over 17 agencies working collaboratively to keep Scotland safe. We will continue to ensure that our agencies have the capabilities they need.
Cyber resilience and security
'Safe, secure and prosperous: a cyber resilience strategy for Scotland' sets out our vision for Scotland to become a world-leading nation in cyber resilience by 2020.
The global cyber attack in May 2017, which affected more than 150 countries and had a high-profile impact on some areas of the NHS in Scotland and England, underlined the seriousness of cyber threats. We will ensure the Scottish public sector can cope with threats like this and be a model of cyber resilience. This will involve achieving the National Cyber Security Centre's Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, providing effective protection against the most common forms of cyber attack.
We will work with the private and third sectors to develop complementary action plans in order to raise levels of cyber resilience.
People are our strongest line of defence. To help them operate safely and confidently in the digital world, we will implement a learning and skills action plan in our education system that instils cyber resilient knowledge, attitudes and behaviours from an early age. We will also ensure our citizens have opportunities to develop cyber specialist skills with career paths to help retain talent in Scotland. As the importance of cyber security increases, so do the opportunities for Scottish cyber security businesses to develop and sell products and services across the world. We will work with Scottish Enterprise, ScotlandIS and other partners to implement an economic action plan to support new ideas and cutting-edge research through collaboration between industry, academia and government.
We want to live in a Scotland where no one dies on our roads. This year, we are continuing to install highly visible and reliable average speed camera systems: the upgrade of the A77 is now complete and the A90 network upgrade with be finished in the autumn.
We support Gillian Martin MSP's Seat Belts on School Transport Bill, which will make it a legal requirement for local authorities and grant-aided and independent school providers to ensure that seat belts are fitted in all dedicated vehicles used for home-to-school journeys and school excursions. We expect to start implementing the Bill in 2018.
In 2014, we prioritised introducing a lower drink drive limit to help save lives on our roads. This year, subject to the UK Government commencing the relevant enabling legislation, we will introduce secondary legislation for a new drug driving offence, which would come into force in 2019, once training and necessary technical approvals for testing equipment are in place. When the new offence is in force, alongside the lower drink drive limit, Scotland will have the most stringent drink and drug driving laws in the UK.
Animal welfare and wildlife crime
Irresponsible or illegal breeding and sale of dogs with associated fraud, animal welfare and public health risks are major concerns. We will work with charities and enforcement agencies to take forward the recommendations of research we have commissioned on illegal importation and sale from 'puppy farms'. This will include a communications campaign on the risks of buying puppies advertised on-line and rehoming dogs supplied from abroad. We will prepare to amend the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to increase the maximum penalty for the most serious cruelty offences to five years' imprisonment as well as allowing fixed penalty notices for lesser offences.
We will prepare legislation for a modern system of registration and licensing of animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities, allowing for independent accreditation of applicants to reduce the burden on local authority inspectors. This will be followed by similar improvements to licensing for dog, cat and rabbit breeding, dealing and selling so that conditions in breeding units in Scotland can be properly controlled and breeders identified when advertising animals for sale.
We will tightly control the use of electronic dog training collars to allow responsible use under supervision while minimising the potential misuse of low quality devices.
We will consult on the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter at abattoirs in Scotland to aid enforcement of welfare requirements by abattoir management and Food Standards Scotland.
The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Bill, introduced earlier this year, will prohibit the use of any animal not commonly domesticated within Britain for exhibition, display or performance in a travelling circus in Scotland. We will also develop new licensing requirements to protect the welfare of wild and domesticated animals used for public performance or display in other circumstances.
We will also progress Lord Bonomy's recommendations to strengthen the law on foxhunting and Professor Poustie's recommendations to increase penalties for wildlife crime.
The best place in the world to be cared for and be healthy
Our vision is for people to live longer, healthier lives at home or in a homely setting. Achieving this will not only mean ensuring continued investment in high quality integrated services, but also the transformation of the way we deliver health and social care to drive improved performance. We will do this by acting on our Health and Social Care Delivery Plan through:
- better care: ensuring everyone gets the right help at the right time
- better health: developing an approach to health and care based on prevention, early intervention and self‑management
- better value: getting better services from all our resources
To support this, we will ensure at least a real terms increase in the revenue budget of the NHS, as part of our commitment to increase health funding by £2 billion over the life of this Parliament.
Delivering better care
To build on the principle of a service that is free at the point of need, we are taking steps to extend free personal care to all those under 65 who need it - a move that has become known as 'Frank's Law'.
To ensure people get access to the right services more quickly, we are building capacity in primary and community care and reducing unnecessary demand for acute and secondary services. Through action by Integration Authorities and hospitals, we will reduce delayed discharges, avoidable admissions and inappropriately long stays in hospital while sustaining Accident and Emergency performance.
We are investing an increasing proportion of the budget in primary, community, mental health and social care services - to support the shift in the balance of care that is required.
We are transforming primary and community care by developing more effective models of primary care in every NHS Board, funded by £23 million investment.
We are investing in the workforce by:
- increasing the number of pharmacists with advanced clinical skills, creating 50 more community link workers, training more paramedics, health visitors and advanced nurse practitioners, investing £2 million in additional training for GP nurses and delivering an estimated 2,600 more training places for nurses and midwives
- negotiating a new General Medical Services contract, to support multi‑disciplinary community care teams around a renewed leadership role for GPs
- starting two pre‑medical entry courses at Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, targeted at those from lower socio‑economic backgrounds
We are driving quality improvements in acute and secondary care, building resilience in elective services and reducing waiting times. We will:
- implement the Modern Outpatients Programme to reduce unnecessary attendances and referrals to hospital outpatient services
- invest in our £100 million Cancer Strategy for earlier detection and diagnosis, and quicker treatment and post-treatment support
- increase scheduled care through £200 million investment in new elective facilities, as well as developing a major trauma network, and delivering the Patient Flow Programme to reduce private care spend and cancellations across Scotland
- develop a new National Improvement Collaborative with clinical specialists to support the way elective services are configured to meet demand
We are enhancing the social care sector's ability to meet increased demand and provide better services, including adult social care reform, jointly delivered with local government and Integration Authorities.
Extension of free personal care
Scotland is rightly proud to have Free Personal Care for those aged over 65, ensuring that older people who require this support receive it. Following the last Programme for Government, we have conducted a feasibility study to examine the possible extension of Free Personal Care to people under the age of 65 who are assessed as needing it. We sought the views of stakeholders, not least Mrs Amanda Kopel of the Frank's Law campaign, to examine potential benefits, unmet need, and the interaction with social security.
While there are challenges to be addressed, we will take the necessary steps to make it a right for Free Personal Care to be provided to all who need it, regardless of age. This will include ensuring that those diagnosed with a terminal illness receive the personal care they are assessed as requiring for free. We will now work with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and a range of stakeholders to shape implementation and to put in place the capacity that will be needed to meet the demand - while ensuring a sensitive interaction with the social security system.
Delivering better public health
Our focus is on delivering an early intervention and prevention approach to public health, balanced by efforts to support everyone to lead healthier lives regardless of their circumstances.
We will consult this year on a range of actions to deliver a new approach to diet and healthy weight management - including on support to lose weight for people with, or at risk of, type-2 diabetes. To support this, we will also progress measures to limit the marketing of products high in fat, sugar and salt which disproportionately contribute to ill health and obesity.
Alcohol and Drugs
Addressing the use and impact of drugs is a challenge that is not unique to Scotland, but it is one we are determined to meet. We have begun an overhaul of our drug strategy, guided by a principle of ensuring the best health outcomes for people who are, or have been, drug users, our aim being to seek, keep and treat those who need our help.
Equally, we will this year deliver a refreshed alcohol framework to continue to take on Scotland's often problematic relationship with alcohol misuse. We await the decision of the UK Supreme Court on minimum unit pricing and, should they find in our favour, we will move as quickly as is practicable to put the measure in place and help save lives.
This renewed focus on alcohol and drugs will be backed by additional investment of £20 million in treatment and support services.
Population health, active lives, and sport
Alongside what we are doing on active travel, we will launch a new Active Scotland Delivery Plan with a wide range of actions across all sectors, including:
- strengthening Community Sport Hubs, improving opportunities for older people in care to be physically active and ensuring Scotland becomes the first 'Daily Mile' nation
- encouraging more women and girls to take up sport by maintaining our Sporting Equality Fund with a £300,000 investment
- establishing a Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Group to help shape our future actions
- showcasing the contributions of football clubs to delivering positive outcomes, including the Football Fans In Training programme and Walking Football
Efforts to improve public health are not for the NHS or the health portfolio alone. One of the key drivers behind our efforts to deliver the 'Cleaner Air for Scotland' plan is an absolute recognition of the impact of pollution on health, not least more vulnerable groups such as the young and old.
We will look to local authorities to ensure that our towns and cities support people to live an active lifestyle with access to walking and cycling and places to participate in physical activity.
We will also seek to set overarching public health priorities with local government to direct improvement across Scotland, and establish a new, single, national population health improvement body by 2019.
Delivering better child and maternal health
As part of our commitment to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up, we will take forward the recommendations of the recent review of maternity and neonatal services so that we improve services for mothers and their babies.
As well as universal support for new-borns, as demonstrated by the Baby Box and the significant expansion of health visitor numbers, we will also ensure that those who need it get extra support through the full roll-out of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.
We will also increase resources for breastfeeding to support mothers, particularly in the days immediately following birth, and support the maternal and infant nutrition framework.
To ensure that this focus on the needs of children and young people is carried on beyond just the earliest years, we will develop a new 10-year child and adolescent health and wellbeing action plan.
To continue to drive improvements in IVF performance and access, we will invest £8 million to deliver the third cycle of NHS IVF treatment for those who are eligible.
Part of our efforts to help deliver the best possible healthcare for children is to give new impetus to preventing avoidable deaths, which is why we will be creating a system to ensure that any such deaths are properly reviewed.
Delivering better mental health care
Through our new Mental Health Strategy, we are shifting the balance of care towards mental health, increasing the level of investment in mental health services and improving support in the crucial period from birth to young adulthood. We are:
- re-designing primary and community services to meet the increasing demand for services
- developing the skills and capacity of our workforce to support people with mental health problems, including delivery of an additional 800 workers over the next five years to ensure access to mental health professionals in A&Es, GP practices, police custody units and prisons
- improving transitions for young people moving from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services, including potential flexibility for those aged 18-25 to continue their care and treatment with CAMHS
- supporting the Rural Mental Health Forum to help people in rural areas maintain good mental health
By the end of this year, we will begin:
- a review of Personal and Social Education (PSE), the role of pastoral guidance in local authority schools, and services for counselling for children and young people
- to carry out an audit of CAMHS rejected referrals, and act upon its findings
- a review of whether the provisions in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 fulfil the needs of people with learning disability and autism, with a view to determining what future legislative measures may be necessary
- work with stakeholders to examine the scope of reform required to the Adults with Incapacity legislation
Delivering better services
Following our National Clinical Strategy and our Health and Social Care Delivery Plan, we are continuing our twin approach of investment and reform, including:
- developing Regional Delivery Plans to set out services which can best be planned and delivered at regional level, and support services that can best be delivered closer to home
- supporting national NHS Boards to develop a plan of where improvement in national services should be focused, including where appropriate a 'Once for Scotland' approach
- examining opportunities for greater sharing of support services away from the delivery of frontline care
- developing a Digital Care Strategy to support a digitally-active population and workforce and make better use of the opportunities of modern technology
We will introduce a Safe Staffing Bill, which will require use of evidence‑based workload and workforce planning tools, beginning with the existing nursing and midwifery tools.
To further build on progress on improving access to new medicines, we will complete the implementation of the recommendations of Dr Brian Montgomery's recent review, and the establishment of a single national formulary.
While we have no plans to change the law on abortion, we will extend coverage to ensure that women from Northern Ireland can freely access abortion services in NHS Scotland.
Blood, organ and tissue donation
We will progress an Organ and Tissue Donation Bill to introduce a 'soft' opt-out system of organ and tissue donation in Scotland to encourage people to support donation, as part of our approach to increasing the number of organ donors and transplants.
Following the recent recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, we will implement the necessary changes to reduce the blood donation deferral period for men who have sex with men to three months. We have asked that further work be carried out into researching a safe system of individualised assessments, rather than blanket deferral periods.
Paying for public services
It is widely accepted that austerity has failed both Scotland and the rest of the UK. It has stymied economic growth, held down wages, led to cuts in social security and damaged our public services. This Government has worked hard to protect our key public services during this near decade of austerity. The NHS has continued to see additional funding, police numbers have remained well above pre-recession levels, local government has been shielded from the swingeing cuts experienced elsewhere in the UK, and social house-building has been at a rate unmatched elsewhere in the UK.
It is a key responsibility of any government to provide the vital public services that our people expect and to ensure that they are sustainable and affordable. It is also a key responsibility of government to support the economy.
The Scottish Government will continue to press the UK Government to end austerity at source. However, in the absence of any indication that they intend to do so, and with the future economic impact of Brexit becoming clearer, we believe it is time to have an informed discussion about the ways in which our income tax powers could support both our public services and our economy.
This Government has taken a responsible and considered approach to taxation. During the most difficult years following the financial crash we froze Council Tax. We have ensured thousands of small businesses have been sheltered from business rates. In the last year, we have asked those with the highest incomes and most valuable property to pay modest amounts more than people in England while ensuring first-time buyers are able to access the property market and buy homes to live in.
We do not underestimate the impact which changes to taxation can have and will always take decisions in a careful, considered and responsible way, with the interests of households, businesses and the wider economy at heart.
Ahead of publishing our draft budget for 2018‑19, we will publish a discussion paper on Income Tax to open up the debate about the best use of our tax powers. It will:
- set out the current distribution of Income Tax liabilities in Scotland
- analyse the implications of different options around Income Tax, including the proposals of other parties represented in the Scottish Parliament
- set out the importance of the interaction of Income Tax policy with the fiscal framework
- provide international comparisons of Scotland's Income Tax policy
- better inform the Parliament and people in Scotland about the choices open to us to invest in our public services and support the economy in the context of austerity and Brexit
As set out last year, the First Minister has asked the Council of Economic Advisors how, and to what extent, the revenue risk associated with an increase in the additional rate of Income Tax can be mitigated. Their advice will also inform our Income Tax policy development in advance of the 2018-19 draft Budget.
In entering into discussions about the future of Income Tax, this Government recognises that taxation must be used responsibly and progressively and that taxpayers value certainty. These principles will underpin our decisions.
Supporting the public sector workforce
We have always sought to offer a distinctive pay policy - one that is fair, supports those on the lowest incomes and protects jobs and services while delivering value for money. We were the first government to pay the living wage to public sector employees and, within the confines of recent austerity, we have been able to provide higher increases for those on lower salaries.
We recognise the valuable contribution public sector employees make, working hard to ensure the effective delivery of services at a time when budgets are being squeezed. Furthermore, we are acutely aware of the impact that rising inflation and social security cuts are having on working households.
We will remove the 1% pay cap from 2018-19. Future pay policy will take account of the cost of living, continue to protect the lowest paid and ensure public sector budgets remain in balance. We aim for pay rises that are affordable, reflect the real life circumstances people face and recognise the invaluable contribution of the public sector workforce.