A Connected Scotland: our strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger social connections

The Scottish Government’s first national strategy to tackle social isolation and loneliness and build stronger social connections.


Working towards a Connected Scotland

At the beginning of this strategy, we set out a clear vision which is underpinned by core values of kindness, dignity and compassion. This is complemented by clear links to the most relevant of Scotland's National Outcomes and associated National Indicators. The specific strategic outcomes that we'll work towards realising in this context are:

  • Understanding increases around social isolation and loneliness and its causes/impacts, along with an understanding of what works to reduce it.
  • Social isolation and loneliness is reduced.
  • Harm resulting from the effects of social isolation and loneliness is reduced.
  • The conditions which help to reduce social isolation and loneliness are increasingly widespread.

There are two important steps that we need to take if we're to support implementation with clear actions, and build an understanding of how we're making a difference. In early 2019, we'll begin work to shape a prioritised delivery plan for the Strategy, and in tandem with that build a performance framework with clear and measureable indicators so that we can understand and report on progress in subsequent years.

Taking a collaborative approach

We've already said that all parts of Government need to be working together to realise the ambitions of this strategy, and that Government can't deliver these ambitions on its own. So in order to build and maintain an effective cross-cutting collaborative approach, we will:

  • Establish a Ministerial Steering Group, chaired by the Minister for Older People and Equalities and comprising Ministers from key portfolios to maintain oversight of activity, drive forward progress and tackle emerging issues; and
  • Establish a National Implementation Group, chaired by the Minister for Older People and Equalities and comprising key organisations with a role in driving progress to embed a cross-sectoral approach through the development and implementation of a shared delivery plan for the strategy along with a shared performance framework to understand the difference we're making. Part of the Implementation Group's work will be to consider how best to reach and take account of a range of views and voices in shaping plans for implementation, including engagement with initiatives like the Action Group on Isolation and Loneliness which comprises a range of third sector organisations. We will announce the remit of the Implementation Group and the membership early in 2019.

Timescales and reporting on progress

Recognising the importance of a long-term approach, this first strategy will run from 2018 to 2026, after which it will be reviewed and updated to reflect progress and the current climate. We will provide updates on progress every two years (in 2020, 2022 and 2024). In the meantime – recognising the need to ensure that everyone takes ownership of this agenda – we will develop a communications plan for the strategy to create the widest possible awareness of it across Scotland and encourage every individual and every community to think about the part they can play in building A Connected Scotland.


Email: Trevor Owen

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