2. What impact will your policy/measure have on children’s rights?
In assessing the impact on children’s rights, we have considered the collective impact of the 16 interventions as a suite of improvement measures rather than assessing each and every intervention on its own.
Nevertheless, while we recognise that by and large the impact of the 16 interventions should be positive, intervention 9 (refinement of accommodation offer) could return both positive and negative impacts. While the overall intention of the proposed policy change is to reduce programme costs, align with wider housing schemes and to also encourage uptake of longer-term accommodation in hosted accommodation and social housing, the most immediate impact on children and young people would be adjusting to changes to our welcome accommodation offer, including the removal of lunches and the potential removal of dinner provision.
Officials are working to mitigate the impact of any such policy changes through ensuring local authorities are providing interim payments on arrival, supporting guests access their full social security entitlement including Universal Credit, Scottish Child Payment and free school meals, and sign posting to discretionary support including the Scottish Welfare Fund. As we start to move away from a focus on welcome accommodation to longer term and more settled housing, targeted closures of hotels in rural areas should mean those still in welcome accommodation can access local amenities.
In addition, existing policy within Scotland means that school age children should be able to access free lunch and snacks and would not be adversely impacted by the removal of lunch provision.
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