Information

Coronavirus Acts: ninth report to Scottish Parliament (October 2021)

This is the ninth, two-monthly report on the Coronavirus Acts in which we set out the status and operation of the legislation necessary to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This report is the latest in our regular reporting on coronavirus-related legislation.

This document is part of a collection


6. Status update

6.1. Table One below provides detail on the status and operation of the provisions under Part 1 of the first and second Scottish Acts, and the provisions of the UK Act for which the Scottish Parliament gave legislative consent.

6.2. This includes information on the provisions which have been expired or suspended in this reporting period.

6.3. Where it is indicated in Table One that provisions have been expired as they are 'spent' provisions, this may mean that the provisions make amendments to other legislation and therefore the provisions themselves no longer need to remain in force. The operation of section 15(2) (d) of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 means that the expiry of these provisions does not affect the amendments they have made to other legislation. The effect of the expiry is simply to remove the 'spent' provisions in each of the Scottish Acts. Other provisions have been expired as 'spent' as they no longer have any practical effect as their purpose has now been served.

6.4. As outlined above, this approach to reporting will ensure that the Parliament is given as much information as is available across all of the provisions in the relevant legislation, but with a particular emphasis on those provisions which have been identified as being likely to have the most significant impacts or interest. Where supplementary information has been provided, this is indicated within the 'description of provision' and 'operation of the provision in the reporting period' columns within Table One, and further information is provided at section seven.

Table One – Status and operation of provisions (Provisions in rows marked in grey have been expired)

Ref.

Act

Provision

Description of provision

Operation of the provision in reporting period nine (ending 30 September 2021)

Status at the end of reporting period nine (30 September 2021) and details of any change of status since last reporting period

1.

First Scottish

Act

Section 2 and schedule 1 –

Eviction from dwelling-houses

See section 7.1.1

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.1 for further information

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period.

2.

First Scottish

Act

Section 3 and schedule 2 - Temporary extension of moratoria on diligence

The provisions extend the period of any new moratoria to a period of six months, and removes the limitation that only one such moratorium can be applied for in any twelve month period.

In operation

Extended moratorium is available for individuals to apply. As at 30 June 2021, 2,731 applications had been granted under the new powers.

Commenced and still in force.

Section 3, schedule 2, paragraphs 1 and 4 (6 month moratorium period) still in force.

Section 3, schedule 2, paragraphs 2 and 3 (moratorium on diligence: multiple applications) expired at the end of 30 September 2021 as part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021.

3.

First Scottish Act

Section 4 and schedule 3 –

Children and vulnerable adults – Part 1 – Children

See section 7.1.2

Child protection provisions – in operation

Children's hearings provisions – in operation

Looked after children provisions – in operation

Supplementary information provided - see section 7.1.2 for further information

Expired:

Paragraph 2(2)[4] expired on 30 March 2021 and paragraph 6[5] on 29 September 2020..

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021, all remaining provisions of Schedule 3, Part 1 expired at the end of 30 September 2021, subject to transitional and saving provisions[6]

4.

First Scottish Act

Section 4 and schedule 3 –

Children and vulnerable adults – Part 2 – Vulnerable adults

See section 7.1.3

Not in operation

Paragraph 11(1) expired on 29 September 2020[7] and the rest of Paragraph 11 was suspended as from 30 September 2020.[8]

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 the whole of section 4, schedule 3 in respect of vulnerable adults expired at the end of 30 September 2021.

5.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 1 - Courts and tribunals: conduct of business by electronic means

These provisions allow documents produced by a court or tribunal, or connected with criminal or civil proceedings, to be signed and transmitted electronically, removing the requirement for physical movement and contact. This enables documents to be sent, served and lodged by means of email or other electronic means.

The provisions also provide that any participant in either criminal or civil proceedings (judge, clerk, legal representatives, parties to proceedings, accused, convicted persons, appellants and witnesses) can take part in any proceedings by way of live visual (television) or audio (telephone) link from any location.

In operation

Remote hearings and electronic processes have increased across all areas of criminal and civil business. The Lord President has previously stated the use of written submissions, the digital transmission of documents and the use of electronic signatures has enabled swift process changes which are necessary to operate court services efficiently.

The conduct of virtual courtroom trials has been piloted and criminal justice organisations are working together to develop a model for trials to be conducted virtually where appropriate.

Recent statistics published by Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service outlined that that the use of remote jury centres, established across Scotland, have enabled jury trials to operate at pre-pandemic levels while Sheriff Court Summary business showed solid progress too.

  • Remote Jury Centres (RJCs) will continue and will be expanded as part of the increase in additional Court capacity announced from 6 September.
  • SCTS are planning to transition the majority of jurors from remote jury centres back to court buildings by end March 2022.
  • A small number of these jury centres will continue to be required beyond March 2022 to support court rooms which are not jury enabled as they deal with the backlogs in solemn trials.

Civil business continues to operate virtually and remotely, as has been the case throughout the pandemic - almost all civil court and tribunal business is now conducted online or by telephone with all documents in civil cases lodged electronically; all new summonses signetted electronically and evidential hearings for civil cases being held remotely. In the Sheriff Appeal Court almost all civil hearings are being conducted remotely.

From 13 July 2020 the All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court (ASSPIC) transitioned to a remote basis. The first ASSPIC proof hearings (for hearing evidential cases remotely) commenced in early August and since late November Scotland's Sheriff civil courts are now conducting proofs, debates, evidential and Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) hearings virtually using the WebEx video platform. The first blended civil proof (proof using both in person and video evidence) has taken place. Arrangements are currently being made for further blended commercial proofs in the Court of Session and work continues on plans for civil jury trial resumption both in the Court of Session and ASSPIC.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

6.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 2 - Fiscal fines

The provisions enable a wider range of cases to be dealt with by fiscal fine and, thereby, mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.

In operation

In accordance with the revised policy guidance issued by the Lord Advocate in relation to fiscal fines, the increase in fine amounts enables alternative action to be taken in a wider range of cases, where such action is assessed as appropriate by prosecutors.

Prosecutors are directed to first consider offering a direct measure, in particular a fiscal fine, in relation to appropriate cases which would otherwise have proceeded in the Justice of the Peace court.

In the period since 7 April 2020 up until 30 August 2021, 18,932 people or approximately 25% of individuals who received a first marking action for a Direct Measure were offered a fiscal fine. Since implementation of the revised scale on 7 April 2020, 537 people or 3% of individuals offered a fiscal fine have been issued a fine amount above the previous scale maximum of £300.

For as long as court business is affected by COVID-19, these provisions will continue to be required.

COPFS will continue to monitor and review the use of the measure, which will only be used where such action is considered appropriate in the public interest.

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period

7.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 3 - Cases beginning with an appearance from custody

The provisions introduce Scotland wide jurisdiction for sheriffs dealing with first appearances from police custody. This enables custody proceedings to be heard in any sheriff court in Scotland by a sheriff of any sheriffdom, no matter where the alleged offence took place. The provision also enables the court to hear any continuation of a case, up until a not guilty plea is tendered, if that occurs.

In operation

The provisions continue to enable custody proceedings to be heard in any sheriff court in Scotland by a sheriff of any sheriffdom, no matter where the alleged offence took place.

The provision creates the necessary flexibility to ensure the continued safe and effective operation of custody courts during the coronavirus outbreak and allows the court to deal with guilty pleas and move them out of the court system, and in doing so, minimise the number of cases that have to be transferred to local court.

For as long as court business is affected by COVID-19 and/or public health measures remain in place these provisions will continue to be required.

This provision enables the effective continued operation of custody court business and allows custody courts to be conducted in a way which minimises unnecessary travel and congregation of people, and allow Police Scotland and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to operate a smaller number of centralised police custody suites and court hubs in response to Coronavirus.

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period

8.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 4 - Extension of time limits

See section 7.1.4

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.4 for further information

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period

9.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 5 - Evidence

The provisionsallow evidence by statement where a witness is unable to attend court because their attendance at court presents a health risk connected to coronavirus.

In operation

The provisions are intended to ensure that the inability of witnesses to give evidence in court because, for example, they are self-isolating due to coronavirus, does not unnecessarily prevent criminal trials from proceeding.

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021, this provision expired at the end of 30 September 2021 subject to saving provision in the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 (Evidence) (Saving Provision) Regulations 2021.

10.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 6 - Community orders

Schedule 4, Para 12-13 extend time limits for unpaid work in Community Payback Orders (CPOs) by 12 months, and require similar time limits to be imposed in any new orders made.

----------------------------

Schedule 4, para 12(3) – regulation making power to further extend time limits

----------------------------

Schedule 4, Para 14 introduce regulation making powers to postpone requirements in CPOs or Drug Treatment and Testing Orders.

----------------------------

Schedule 4, Para 15 - introduce regulation-making powers for the Scottish Ministers to vary, or revoke requirements in CPOs.

In operation

-------------------------------------------------

Not in operation

--------------------------------------------------

Not in operation

-------------------------------------------------

Schedule 4, para 15 – power to vary requirements in CPOs - draft regulations to vary unpaid work and other activity requirements as part of a CPO were laid on 29 January 2021, and these were approved by Parliament on 11 March 2021 following scrutiny[9].

The Community Orders (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 vary the unpaid work or other activity requirements imposed in existing CPOs (except those imposed for domestic abuse, sexual offences, or stalking), reducing these by 35%. This is a necessary and proportionate action to reduce the overall volume of hours to be delivered and ensure that the community justice system can operate effectively.

Para 13 commenced and still in force

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 para 12 expired at the end of 30 September 2021

-----------------------------------------

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 para 12 expired at the end of 30 September 2021

-----------------------------------------

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 para 14 expired at the end of 30 September 2021

-----------------------------------------

Commenced and in force. The application of this regulation making power was restricted as part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 at the end of 30 September 2021. The regulation making power can no longer be used in relation to drug treatment and testing orders made under s.227U of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

Regulations came into force on 15 March 2021.

11.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 7 - Parole Board

The provisions allow parole hearings to continue and avoid postponements. They also provide the power for the Chair of the Parole Board to delegate their functions to another member of the Parole Board, should they become incapacitated for any reason.

Provisions in Paragraphs 17, 18(1) and 18(3) are in operation

The Parole Board continue to hold hearings almost unaffected. In the period 23 March 2020 to 6 September 2021, virtually all Tribunals/Oral Hearings scheduled were heard successfully (only 4 of 1,873 were unsuccessful). In the period 23 March 2020 to 28 June 2021, over 99% of Tribunals/Oral Hearings scheduled have been heard successfully with only 4 of 1,620 unsuccessful.

Given the success of remote hearings, the Scottish Government expired provisions which allowed cases involving extended sentence prisoners recalled under section 17(3) of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 and serving the extension part of their sentence, to be heard at casework meetings by two rather than three members, rather than at an oral hearing. These provisions became non-essential and were expired early.

The Government was also of the view that provisions which allow for the Parole Board to decide cases subject to Part IV of the Parole Board (Scotland) Rules 2001 on paper rather than by conducting a hearing face to face by allowing them to determine that an oral hearing would only take place if it was in the interests of justice to have one were no longer essential given the successful use of the provisions which allow for the use of a live link for oral hearings.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Early Expiry of Provisions) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 were made to provide for the expiry of the provisions in paragraph 18(2), (4) and (5) provisions once they were identified as no longer essential.

Provisions in Paragraphs 17, 18(1) and 18(3) are commenced and still in force.

Paragraph 18(2), (4) and (5) expired on 14 June 2021 by The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Early Expiry of Provisions) (No. 2) Regulations 2021

12.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 8 - Release of prisoners

See section 7.1.5

Not in operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.5 for further information.

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period

13.

First Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, Part 9 - Legal Aid

The provisions allow for a reduction of the level of scrutiny required before interim payment may be made, enhanced powers of recovery in the event of overpayments resulting from interim payments, and removal of conditions for counsel to be able to apply for interim payment.

In operation

Arrangements were introduced on 12 January 2021[10] in the Scottish court system.

Many providers of legal aid services will continue to experience disruption to cash flow and the provisions will support access to payment prior to a case concluding.

As we emerge from the public health crisis, maintaining a legal aid sector will be crucial to the recovery of the justice system and the resolution of problems associated with the pandemic and resulting economic shock.

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period

14.

First Scottish Act

Section 6 and schedule 5 –

Alcohol licensing and

section 7 and schedule 6, Part 1 - Licensing other than alcohol licensing

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and associated statutory instruments provide the legislative framework to support licensing of activities such as the sale and supply of alcohol and taxi and private car hire. The legislative framework contains strict timescales and deadlines with little or no flexibility available to the relevant authorities. Without legislative change, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak would result in people losing their licences through no fault of their own.

In operation

Licensing Boards and licensing authorities are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the civil licensing regimes in Scotland. Information on the operation of the civil licensing regimes and how these powers under the first Scottish Act have been used is not held centrally.

Examples of licensing authorities continuing to make use of the provisions include holding virtual licence hearings and meetings to progress day to day licensing business due to the coronavirus outbreak and physical distancing requirements.

The provisions require to remain in place to enable the licensing regime to function effectively and to ensure, as far as practicable, people do not lose licenses through no fault of their own.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

15.

First Scottish Act

Section 7 and schedule 6, Part 2 – Freedom of Information (FOI)

See section 7.1.6

Section 7, schedule 6, part 2, paragraph 6 - in operation

Section 7, schedule 6, part 2, paragraph 7 – in operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.6 for further information

Commenced and still in force: para 7

Expired: para 6

16.

First Scottish Act

Section 7 and schedule 6, Part 3 - Duties in respect of reports and other documents

The provision allows statutory reporting requirements to be postponed, and documents to be made available online instead of being made physically available.

In operation

These are generic provisions that apply to reporting and publication requirements across the public sector. The suspension of physical publication requirements is in use, since it is not certain that physical access to documents can be provided in all circumstances while the potential for re-imposition of restrictions remains and while there is a continuing encouragement for people to work from home where possible and appropriate. The power to postpone reporting should only be used as necessary to enable public authorities to focus on the coronavirus response. Given the aim of reducing undue burdens, it would be disproportionate to request authorities to report on the individual uses of these powers, however the provision continues to be necessary for the reasons set out above.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

17.

First Scottish Act

Section 7 and schedule 6, Part 4 - Local Authority meetings

The provisions allow Local Authorities to exclude the public from Local Authority meetings on the basis that the presence of the public constitutes a real and substantial risk to public health relating to coronavirus.In addition, the requirement to provide hard copies or extracts of a document requested by a member of the public in their offices will only be provided if it is reasonably practicable and will no longer be compulsory.

In operation

All 32 councils have arrangements in place for remote meetings. It is the responsibility of councils to determine for themselves the governance arrangements they put in place and it is not appropriate for the Scottish Government to intervene.

A briefing prepared by the Improvement Service in October 2020 highlighted around half of councils reported or were found to be livestreaming meetings or allowing members of the public to participate (deputations etc.) in at least one meeting. Many of the councils that did not have the ability to livestream or allow the public to participate, were exploring options for doing so.

This provision will remain in place until it expires at the end of 30 September 2021. At that time, it is anticipated that councils will continue to operate meetings remotely until it is safe to resume physical business. Access to recordings of meetings and minutes will continue to be made available where required."

Paras 11(b), 12 and 14 commenced and still in force

Para 13 expired as part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 at the end of 30 September 2021.

18.

First Scottish Act

Section 7 and schedule 6, and Part 5 –

Duties under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

The provisions allow Scottish Ministers, by further regulation, to amend the statutory reporting deadlines of Scottish administration annual accounts.

Not in operation

The provisions allowed for amendment of the statutory deadlines for annual accounts as set by the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. The deadlines for such accounts is 31 December 2021.

The powers under schedule 6, Part 5 do not currently require to be used, the provisions therefore expired at the end of 30 September.

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021, these provisions expired at the end of 30 September 2021.

19.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 1(b) and 5 - Social security

See section 7.1.7

On re-determinations – Since the last reporting period, Social Security Scotland received no requests to extend timescales for re-determinations. All decisions have been made within the required timescales

Expired

Paragraphs 1(a), 2, 3 and 4 are expired[11] as they are spent provisions.

Paragraphs 1(b) and 5 expired at the end of 30 September 2021 by the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021.

20.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 6 and 7 -Irritancy clauses in commercial leases: non-payment of rent or other sums due

The provision allows for the statutory period for non-eviction of commercial tenants for non-payment of rent to be extended from 14 days to 14 weeks.

In operation

As a preventative measure it is not possible to quantify how effective it has been. However, anecdotally it has been working well in conjunction with the Code of Practice for the Commercial Property Sector, which has also been extended to at least 22 March 2022, to prevent evictions for non-payment of rent. Rather landlords and tenants are continuing to arrive at mutually beneficial agreements on lease. Restructuring, Rental deferments, holidays and reductions. There is accordingly little evidence of evictions taking place although this has always been possible under the Scottish Act.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

21.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 8 to 10 - Duration of planning permission

The provision provides that if planning permission or planning permission in principle was to lapse during the emergency period, then the period within which development is to be commenced is extended.

In operation

It would be disproportionate to request authorities or applicants to report on the individual uses of these powers. Whilst some restrictions remain in place, this means that further delays can be expected and it may take some time to deal with the backlog of developments.

The ScottishGovernment will continue to liaise with stakeholders as part of the ongoing review of the operation and continued necessity of these provisions.

Commenced and still in force

The emergency and extended periods, as amended by The Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 under powers conferred by these provisions mean that the "emergency period" will now expire on 31st March 2022 with the "extended period" expiring on 30 September 2022.

Otherwise no change to status since last reporting period.

22.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 11 to 19 – Land Registration

The provisions enable the digital submission of applications to the property registers and extend the period of protection provided by advance notices.

In operation / expired

The portal for the submission of digital applications continues to operate successfully. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland will continue to update Parliament on its operation via the Economy and Fair Work Committee.

The advance notice provisions (paras 15 to 19) were fully expired by 30 June 2021.

Commenced and still in force

Paragraphs 11 to 14

Expired

Paragraphs 15 to 19

No change to status since last reporting period

23.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 20 to 22 - Anatomy Act

The provision extends the three year statutory time limit under the Anatomy Act 1984 for the retention of bodies which have been donated for anatomical research, to that of the life of the emergency legislation. This ensures that during this pandemic, licence holders are not committing an offence by possessing a body beyond the statutory three years from the date of the deceased's death.

Not in operation

As cremations have generally been able to proceed without issue, albeit with further advanced planning, this provision was expired on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93[12].

Expired

No change to status since last reporting period.

24.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 23 to 30 - Scrutiny of subordinate legislation in urgent cases

Paragraphs 23 to 30 of schedule 7 allow subordinate legislation which is subject to the affirmative procedure to be instead made under a made affirmative procedure where necessary by reason of urgency.

Not in operation

The provision has not been used in the reporting period and has not been used during the period in which it has been available.

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021, the provision expired at the end of 30 September 2021.

25.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraph 31 – Business Improvement Districts

The provision extends to 31 March 2021 the duration of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that were due to end prior to that date, without the legal requirement to hold a ballot.

Not in operation

The provision expressly states that it extends some BIDs to 31 March 2021, and no further. Therefore, it has no legal effect beyond that date and so was not operational in this reporting period.

Regulations[13] to expire the spent provision were laid in Parliament on 26 May, following the return of Parliament after the 6 May election. These Regulations came into force and expired the provision on 30 June 2021.

Expired

These provisions were expired on 30 June 2021 by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Early Expiry of Provisions) Regulations 2021

26.

First Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 32 and 33 - Muirburn

The provisions ended the current Muirburn (management of moorland by burning and cutting) season early and they suspend Muirburn for the period in which the provisions are in force. In ordinary circumstances, Muirburn season runs from 1 October to 15 April inclusive in Scotland.

Not in operation

As provided for by SSI 2020/260[14], which came into effect on 1 October 2020, the provision was expired on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93[15].

Expired

No change to status since last reporting period.

27.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 1 –

Student residential tenancy: termination by tenant

See section 7.2.1

In operation

Supplementary information provided at 7.2.1

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

The following provisions of paragraph 3 expired at the end of 30 September 2021 as part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021: sub-paragraph (2)(b)(i); certain words in sub-paragraph (2)(b)(ii); sub-paragraphs (3) and (4).

28.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 2 –

Tenancies: pre-action requirements for order for possession or eviction order on ground of rent arrears

See section 7.2.2

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.2 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

29.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 3- Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement

Paragraph 6 modifies the effect of section 81 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. This has the effect of adding an additional £230.10 to awards of Carer's Allowance Supplement for the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. This addition is known as the Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement ('CCAS').

In operation

Some backdated payments of Carer's Allowance Supplement made in December 2020 and June 2021 included payments of CCAS.

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021, these provisions expired at the end of 30 September 2021.

30.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 4

- Social Care Staff Support Fund

Paragraph 7 makes provision to require the Scottish Ministers to establish a Social Care Staff Support Fund as soon as is practicable when the second Scottish Act came into force. Paragraph 7(2) sets out what the fund is to be used for. The Scottish Ministers must use the fund to provide financial assistance to workers in the social care sector who have a restricted ability to work due to coronavirus and, as a result of that, have a reduced income and consequently are experiencing, or would experience, financial hardship while the second Scottish Act is in force. Paragraphs 7(3) to 7(7) require the Scottish Minsters to make further provision by regulations about the establishment, maintenance and administration of the fund.

In operation

The Social Care Staff Support Fund (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 established the Fund. These were amended by SSI 2020/469[16], which extended the Fund to cover a small group of social care workers who were shielding, but were not placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme between March – October 2020. This element of the Fund closed 24 February 2021.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

31.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 5 – Bankruptcy

The provisions protect those in unsustainable debt by making bankruptcy more accessible, they provide that: the Minimal Asset Process (MAP) fee is reduced to £50; no fee will be payable in MAP cases for those receiving certain benefits, including when those benefits are not the applicant's sole income; the maximum debt level for MAP is increased to £25,000, and student loan debt is removed from that calculation; the Full Administration fee is reduced to £150; no fee will be payable in Full Administration cases for those receiving certain benefits, including when those benefits are not the applicant's sole income; and the minimum debt level for creditor petitions is increased to £10,000. All bankruptcy-related forms and circulars may be sent electronically.

In operation

The provision for increased minimum debt level for creditor petition bankruptcy remains in operation along with those that enable electronic service of documents and virtual meetings in bankruptcy procedures.

Not in operation

The following measures have already been placed on a permanent footing through The Bankruptcy (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 which commenced on 29 March 2021. This SSI also expired the equivalent Coronavirus Act provisions from the same date. These measures are:

  • Paragraph 9 – The financial criteria for Minimal Asset Process bankruptcy.
  • Paragraph 11 – Deadline for sending proposals for debtor contribution orders.
  • Paragraph 13 – Enabling electronic signatures on forms.
  • Paragraph 14 – Revision to fee structure for bankruptcy debtor applications

Commenced and still in force

Paragraphs 8, 10 and 12 of Part 5 of Schedule 1

Expired Paragraphs 9, 11, 13 and 14 of Part 5 of Schedule 1[17]

32.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 6 –

Mental health: named person nomination

The second Scottish Act temporarily removes the requirement for a nominated person to have their signature witnessed by a prescribed person when they agree to become a named person.

This change applies to section 250(2A) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and only affects the process for the proposed named person (nominee). There are no changes to the process for the patient (nominator).

In operation

These provisions retain all the safeguards for the patient and are being applied to minimise any delay in the operation of the Mental Health Tribunal Scotland which is responsible for determining certain detentions. In addition this change ensures that people can continue to be treated and cared for in a way which respects their rights and allows services to be delivered effectively.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

33.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 7 –

Care Homes

See section 7.2.3

Not in operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.3 for further information

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

34.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 8 –

Powers to purchase care home services and care at home providers

See section 7.2.4

Not in operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.4 for further information

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

35.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 9 –

Care homes: further provisions

See section 7.2.5

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.5 for further information

Suspended

These provisions were suspended at the end of 30 September 2021 as part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021

36.

Second Scottish Act

Section 2, schedule 1, Part 10 –

Marriage and civil partnership

Schedule 1, Part 10, paragraph 24 requires the Scottish Ministers, in conjunction with the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland, to take such steps as they consider necessary to ensure that the solemnisation of marriages and registration of civil partnerships continue to be available in Scotland whilst paragraph 24 is in force. It specifies that the steps taken must ensure that a person's right to marry, which is protected by Article 12 of the ECHR, is not disproportionately interfered with for reasons relating to coronavirus. It also requires the Scottish Ministers to report on the steps taken and on the number of marriages and civil partnerships that have taken place.

Not in operation

This provision was suspended on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93.[18]

Expired

As part of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 these provisions expired at the end of 30 September 2021

37.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2, Part 1 –

Criminal justice - Criminal proceedings: extension of time limits

Paragraph 1 of schedule 2 makes provision to extend certain statutory time limits contained in the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 relating to criminal proceedings.

In operation

Delays in progressing criminal cases as a result of the impact of coronavirus on the court system (in particular, jury trials) continued to remain a significant issue in this period and this provision ensured that there did not need to hold further hearings to re-adjourn cases on a case-by-case basis when time limits on individual adjournments were reached, placing further pressure on the courts at a time when their capacity is limited.

Sheriff Summary court business resumed on 19 April 2021 with trial courts returning to the pre-January lockdown loadings of three programmed trials and two back-up cases with witnesses on standby.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

38.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2 and Part 1

Criminal justice - Arrangements for the custody of persons detained at police stations

The provisions under paragraph 2 of schedule 2 allow Scottish Ministers to make arrangements for the transfer and custody of prisoners in police stations in connection with appearances before the court by electronic means, and administrative functions connected with such appearances, to be performed by Prisoner Custody Officers.

In operation

These provisions continue to be necessary to support the operation of vital custody hubs across Scotland.

There are currently fourteen sites where Prisoner Custody Officers are facilitating the movement of detained persons for their remote appearance for court.

Police Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service and Scottish Prison Service are actively considering how these provisions can further extend the use of new custody hubs to reduce the physical appearance of people within the court estate.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

39.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2, Part 1

Criminal justice - Expiry of undertaking under section 25(2)(a) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016

Paragraph 6 of schedule 2 makes provision which enables the court to prevent the expiry of an undertaking given under section 25(2)(a) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 by changing the time at which the person who gave it is to appear at court when certain conditions are met.

In operation

This provision provides the court with the power to prevent the expiry of an undertaking and any conditions attached to it by changing the time the person is due to appear at court.

By preventing the expiry of undertakings in this way, the measure has allowed COPFS to review the previously extended undertaking timescales, so dates may revert back to within 28 days of liberation, and 14 days for domestic abuse cases.

Retaining this provision will ensure the court continues to have the power to prevent the expiry of an undertaking and any conditions attached to it if a person fails to appear at court as required by the terms of their undertaking, the court considers that the failure to appear is attributable to a reason relating to coronavirus and it is not appropriate to grant a warrant for the person's arrest.

This enables the preservation of protective conditions of undertaking that may otherwise be lost where a person fails to attend court due to coronavirus and is a key measure to preserve public and victim safety during the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in sensitive cases of domestic abuse.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

40.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2, Part 1 –

Criminal Justice – Fixed Penalty Notices under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations

2020

Schedule 2, Part 1, paragraph 7 amended regulation 9 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 so that fixed penalty notices under those regulations could not be given to those aged 16 or 17. As a consequence, a police officer could only issue a Fixed Penalty Notice under these regulations where the officer reasonably believed that the person is aged 18 or over.

Not in operation

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 have been revoked. Regulations[19] in place since then provide that a police officer[20] can only issue a Fixed Penalty Notice where the officer believes that the person is aged 18 or over. This provision is therefore no longer necessary and was expired on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93.[21]

Expired

No change to status since last reporting period

41.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2, Part 2 –

Proceeds of Crime

Paragraph 8 inserts a new subsection (4A) in section 99 (confiscation orders: postponement) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ('the 2002 Act'). Subsection (4A) specifies that, for the purposes of section 99(4) of the 2002 Act, "exceptional circumstances" includes the effect (whether direct or indirect) of coronavirus on the proceedings.

Paragraph 9 inserts section 116A to the 2002 Act and makes provision for an accused to make application to the court for a further extension of the time to pay a confiscation order where the court accepts that an accused's inability to pay has been affected (whether directly or indirectly) as a result of coronavirus, and dis-applies the payment of interest on the outstanding amount as set out at section 117 of the 2002 Act.

In operation

The disruption to usual court business is expected to continue despite the relaxation in Covid restrictions. Moreover, the Lord President issued a directive taking effect from 12 January 2021 which has again sought to prioritise only High court cases as well as priority and custody Sheriff Court cases. Application of that direction to confiscation in the Sheriff Court has been patchy resulting in a number of the confiscation cases again being administratively adjourned to later dates.

These provisions will help to ensure that the confiscation process is not frustrated due to these delays. The provisions also ensure that individuals are not treated unfairly or disproportionately throughout this period if they have been unable to pay a confiscation order for reasons related to coronavirus.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

42.

Second Scottish Act

Section 3, schedule 2, Part 3 –

Intimation, etc. of documents

Where there is provision requiring or permitting a document to be displayed on the walls (or any other part) of a court building, or to be made publicly available within a court, that is instead to be done by publication of the document on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) website. Paragraph 1A (2) and 1A (3) provides direction making powers for the Lord President - providing latitude for the courts to adjust the operation of the new rule as necessary. This could allow, for example, redaction of sensitive information to account for any issues arising from the potential publication of sensitive data on the SCTS website.

In operation

The disruption to usual court access by members of the public is expected to continue. In addition, the expansion of remote hearings has further reduced public attendance in court buildings. These provisions help to ensure that documents can continue to be made publically available, as required or permitted by statute. There are no alternatives which would prevent users of the justice system from adhering to rules for physical distancing and minimising contact.

Reverting to placing documents on the walls of court as a means of public display would be irreconcilable with rules for physical distancing and minimising contact.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

43.

Second Scottish Act

Section 4, schedule 3, Part 1 –

Reports, etc. under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

Paragraph 1 of schedule 3 amends the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 in relation to the dates by which; i) a Citizens Assembly on climate change is required to have completed its deliberations and reported to the Scottish Ministers and Scottish Parliament (such that if the Assembly is unable, for a reason relating to coronavirus, to report by 28 February 2021 then it must do so as soon as reasonably practicable after that date), and ii) the Scottish Ministers are required to have established – via regulations - a national Nitrogen Balance Sheet (the deadline is changed to 24 months after the relevant section of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 came into force, which in practice means by 23 March 2022).

Not in operation (expired).

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period

44.

Second Scottish Act

Section 4, schedule 3, Part 2 –

Accounts of registered social landlords

Paragraph 2 of schedule 3 amends section 70 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. It dis-applies the duty, in respect of the financial year ending 31 March 2020, for Registered Social Landlords to submit audited annual accounts to the Scottish Housing Regulator within six months of the end of the period to which they relate. Instead, they must be provided within nine months of the end of the period to which they relate.

Not in operation

In operation for the financial year ending 31 March 2020 only.

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period

45.

Second Scottish Act

Section 4, schedule 3, Part 3 –

Accounts under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

This provision makes an amendment to the first Scottish Act to reflect the periods most likely to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak (i.e. financial years 2019/20 and 2020/2021), as part of the response to the accounting timetable disruption caused by the outbreak.

The provision allows by further regulation amendments to the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 as it applies to accounts that are required under section 19 or 20 of that Act.

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period.

46.

Second Scottish Act

Section 4, schedule 3, Part 4 –

Housing (Scotland) Act 1987: statement under section 33B

Paragraph 4 of schedule 3 amended section 33B (1) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 ('the 1987 Act') to extend, by six months, the deadline for the Scottish Ministers to publish a statement on the circumstances and criteria for exercising their power, in section 33A of the 1987 Act to modify referrals between Scottish Local Authorities on the grounds of local connection. The deadline is now 18 months (by 7 May 2021) rather than 12 months after the coming into force of section 33B (1) (on 7 November 2019.) The provision also gives the Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations to further extend the period by up to an additional six months (by 7 November 2021), on a one-off basis, should this be necessary.

Not in operation (expired)

The regulation making powers have not been used since the provisions came into force.

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period

47.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 1 –

UEFA European Championship

Part 1 of schedule 4 modifies the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Act 2020.

Not in operation (expired)

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period

48.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 2 –

Listed buildings and conservation areas: consents

Paragraph 2 amends section 16 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 (the '1997 Act') to extend the duration of a listed building consent or a conservation area consent that would otherwise lapse during the emergency period because works authorised by the consent have not begun.

In operation

It would be unduly burdensome to request authorities or applicants to report on the individual uses of these powers. Whilst construction sites are permitted to remain open, it may take some time to deal with the backlog of developments. The Scottish Government will continue to liaise with stakeholders as part of the ongoing review of the operation and continued necessity of these provisions.

Commenced and still in force

The emergency and extended periods, as amended by The Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 under powers conferred by these provisions mean that the "emergency period" will now expire on 31 March 2022 with the "extended period" expiring on 30 September 2022.

Otherwise no change to status since last reporting period.

49.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 3 –

Registers kept by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland

Paragraph 3 makes provision for registration or recording in the Register of Inhibitions to proceed on the basis of electronic submission of documents and copies of documents to the Keeper of the Registers.

Paragraph 4 makes provision for registration in the Register of Judgments and the issuing of documents to proceed on the basis of electronic submission to and by the Keeper of the Registers of documents and copies of documents.

In operation

The portal for the submission of digital applications providing access to the Register of Inhibitions and Register of Judgments is operating successfully. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland will continue to update Parliament on its operation via the Economy and Fair Work Committee.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

50.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 4 –

Care services: giving of notices by the Care Inspectorate

See section 7.2.8

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.6 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

51.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 5 –

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax: additional amount

The second Scottish Act extends to 36 months, for certain transactions, the period within which a previous main residence can be sold and a repayment of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) claimed. It provides a power for the Scottish Ministers to amend, by order, the period of 36 months or the period of transactions to which the Act applies, where the Scottish Ministers are satisfied that this is appropriate for a reason related to coronavirus.

Not in operation (expired)

Expired as a spent provision

No change to status since last reporting period.

52.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 6 –

Non-Domestic Rates relief

Paragraph 7 amends section 153 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 to allow the Scottish Ministers, during the financial year 2020/21, to make regulations prescribing rules that reduce or remit the amount payable as non-domestic rates. Those rules may reduce or remit the amount either for the whole of that year (including the period prior to the regulations being made), or for such period within that year as is specified in the regulations (including a period beginning prior to the regulations being made).

Paragraph 8 provides that no Non-Domestic Rates are payable in respect of premises used wholly or mainly for production of newspapers and related news platforms. This relief applies on a daily basis, from the day after Royal Assent to the Act. The regulations that are amended provide for such relief to continue until and including 31 March 2021.

Not in operation

Expired as spent provision

No change since last reporting period

53.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 7 –

Execution of documents, etc.

Paragraph 9 of schedule 4 removes the requirement for the physical presence of Scottish notaries public, solicitors and advocates in specific circumstances where an oath, affirmation or declaration is made, or where a document is executed, thus allowing for other methods for the duration of the operation of the second Scottish Act.

In operation

Personal attendance to execute documents and administer oaths in person etc. remains difficult as a result of physical distancing, and the continuing Scottish Government's position to advise home-working where possible. To support this position these provisions require to remain in place.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

54.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 8 –

Freedom of information

Paragraph 12 requires the Scottish Ministers to lay reports before Parliament every two months on their responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests during the period that Part 2 of schedule 6 of the first Scottish Act is in force. Paragraph 12(2) sets out the information to be included in each report.

In operation

Paragraph 12 is in operation and the Scottish Ministers laid their eighth report before the Parliament on 8 October – covering the period 27 July to 26 September 2021.[22]

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

55.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 9 –

Low emission zones

Paragraph 13 places a requirement on the Scottish Ministers to lay a report before the Scottish Parliament by 4 December 2020 on progress towards establishing low emission zones under Part 2 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

Not in operation

Report[23] was laid in theScottish Parliament thus meeting the 4 December 2020 deadline.

Spent provision expired on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93[24]

Expired

No change to status since last reporting period

56.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 10 –

Council Tax: exempt dwellings

Paragraph 14 creates an exemption from paying Council Tax for those properties that were occupied by one of the groups of individuals listed at paragraphs 10 and 12 of schedule 1 of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997, and which are unoccupied on or after 17 March 2020 for a reason relating to coronavirus. This exemption applies until the property is occupied or the second Scottish Act ceases to be in force.

In operation

There is no central data collected on the extent of use of this provision, and there are no plans to collate information of this nature.

The provision is proportionate and the status of commenced and still in force is appropriate for the time period covered by this report.

This measure therefore provides support to those businesses that rely on students renting their

properties during term time.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

57.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 11 –

Traffic Regulation

Paragraph 15 of schedule 4 has the effect of extending the maximum duration of Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs) made under section 14 of the Road Traffic Act 1984 (the '1984 Act') which can restrict or prohibit the use of certain types of roads, from 6 months to 18 months.

Those roads are existing footpath, bridleway, cycle track or byway open to all vehicles. The maximum duration of TTROs on all other roads is unchanged and remains 18 months (see section 15(1) (b) of the 1984 Act).

It also substitutes a reference to the 6 month time limit with a reference to 18 months in section 15(3) of the 1984 Act which deals with the power of the national authority (the Scottish Ministers) to direct that a TTRO may continue in force for a further period.

Not in operation

Provision expired on 30 March 2021 by SSI 2021/93[25]

.

Expired

No change to status since last reporting period

58.

Second Scottish Act

Section 5, schedule 4, Part 12 - Restriction on giving grant to businesses connected to tax havens

Schedule 4, Part 12 introduces new conditions in relation to tax havens that must be met before the Scottish Ministers, or any public body administering grants on their behalf, may make a coronavirus-related grant to a company.

In operation.

Commenced and still in force.

No change to status since last reporting period.

59.

UK Act

Section 2 - Emergency registration of nurses and other healthcare professionals

Section 2 introduces schedule 1 which modifies the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, and the Health Professions Order 2001, to permit the independent statutory regulators, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to add people they consider to be "fit and proper and suitably experienced" to an emergency temporary professional register for the duration of a public health emergency as declared by the Secretary of State.

In operation

Both temporary registers under the UK Act have been in operation continuously since the onset of the pandemic. They are still required to bolster capacity in responding to the resurgence of new variants of the coronavirus while standing up normal services and providing crucial support for the national vaccination programme, and 2021/22 winter pressures.

The Health and Social Care Directorates Workforce Directorate has worked with the regulators with temporary registers (both under the Act and under their own legislation) to maximise the uptake of available posts in the Health Boards.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

60.

UK Act

Section 4 and schedule 3 – Emergency arrangements concerning medical practitioners: Scotland

Section 4 introduces schedule 3 which makes temporary modifications to the National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Performers Lists) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and creates a limited exception to the requirement that NHS GPs must be accepted on a register with their local Health Board (called a "performers list") before beginning to practice in any GP surgery which provides NHS care in that Health Board's area.

In operation

The use of the powers is largely an administrative process and it is for Health Boards to decide whether GPs can perform whilst their application is pending. As such there is no central oversight of the extent of the use of the powers in the reporting period.

The provisions continue to be required due to the continuous risk that Health Boards will be subject to staff shortages which could delay the standard processes around the performers list. Powers to further modify the application process by regulations have not been used.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

61.

UK Act

Section 7 and schedule 6 - Temporary registration of social workers: Scotland

The provision increases the available social work workforce during the pandemic by inviting those on a career break, recently retired and final year students to join the register and return to/join frontline services.

In operation

A direction was made by Scottish Ministers on 30 March 2020 (under section 46C(1) of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001) - directing the Scottish Social Services Council to consider applications for registration as a temporary social worker in accordance with section 46D of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001. The temporary social work register has been established and over 200 registrants are available to be deployed to frontline services. Details have been shared with Local Authorities in order that they can access registrants should they need to recruit additional social workers. An increase in demand for all social work services still remains with employers using the register for recruitment therefore the temporary social work register continues to be necessary.

Commenced and still in force

No change in status since last reporting period

62.

UK Act

Section 10 and schedule 9 - Temporary modification of mental health legislation

See section 7.3.1

Not in operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.3.1 for further information

Not yet commenced

No change to status since last reporting period

63.

UK Act

Section 12 - Indemnity for health services activity: Scotland

The provision grants Scottish Ministers the discretionary power to make indemnity arrangements for any person who is working within the NHS in Scotland, where the indemnity relates to coronavirus.

Not in operation

Scottish Ministers issued a direction[26] on 7 April 2020 under existing powers (the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978) to Health Boards to indemnify staff engaged in the coronavirus response.

As directions were made under existing powers in the first reporting period, the provisions around indemnity arrangements under section 12 of the UK Act have not had to be used by Health Boards in this reporting period. Professional negligence claims relating to coronavirus treatment received during the pandemic may still be under investigation or otherwise pending.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period.

64.

UK Act

Section 16 –

Duty of Local Authority to assess needs: Scotland, and section 17 – section 16: further provision

See section 7.3.2

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.3.2 for further information

Suspended for children's services. Section 16 to be suspended as from 29 September 2021 by The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Suspension: Children and Young Persons Social Care) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/315)

Suspended for adult services.

Section 16 was suspended in respect of adult services from 30 November by the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Suspension: Adult Social Care) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020/377).

No change to status since last reporting period.

65.

UK Act

Section 18 and schedule 13 - Registration of deaths and still-births etc.

Section 18 introduces schedule 13 which contains temporary modifications relating to the registration of deaths and still-births across the UK. Part 2 of schedule 13 relates to Scotland.

In operation

The provisions have continued to operate successfully in this reporting period, facilitating remote registration of deaths and still-births to the same standard of accuracy as in-person registration but without unnecessary exposure to coronavirus, and given the efficiency of the process, to enable Local Authorities to better address other remaining registration priorities such as birth and marriage/civil partnership.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

66.

UK Act

Section 20 and schedule 14 – Review of Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and cremation: Scotland

Provisions under Part 1 enable Scottish Ministers to suspend the review of randomly selected Medical Certificates of Cause of Death by the Death Certification Review Service (DCRS) and pause interested persons reviews under the Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011.

Provisions under Part 2 give Scottish Ministers the power to dis-apply the offence under section 49 of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016, insofar as it relates to the signing of an application for cremation.

It also enables Scottish Ministers to suspend sections 53-55 of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 and relevant associated provisions of the Cremation (Scotland) Regulations 2019.

Part 1 – Not in operation.

Use of the power that was in operation for part of the first reporting period was revoked by direction[27] on 11 May 2020.

Rather than full suspension, Ministers can choose to reduce the percentage of random reviews to be undertaken, as a temporary measure. This is by agreement and does not require legislative change. Parliament are notified via a letter to the Health and Sport Committee.

Part 2 – Not in operation.

Use of the powers that were in operation from 8 April 2020 to 22 July 2021 were revoked by determination on 22 July 2021.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

67.

UK Act

Section 22 - Appointment of temporary Judicial Commissioners

The provision relates to the appointment of Judicial Commissioners under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. Judicial Commissioners are appointed by the Prime Minister, following consultation with Scottish Ministers.

The purpose of this provision is to allow the Secretary of State to make regulations allowing the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to appoint temporary commissioners for a 6 month period, renewable to 12 months.

Not in operation

The Investigatory Powers (Temporary Judicial Commissioners and Modification of Time Limits) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/360), made under the power in this section, which came into force on 27 March 2020, expired on 27 March 2021.

The appointment of Temporary Judicial Commissioners has ensured that warrants needed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies continued to be considered. The temporary judicial commissioners are no longer in post, and the regulations expired during the sixth reporting period.

No further regulations are currently planned therefore the provision has been suspended by UK regulations. This will allow the provision to be revived quickly at a future time should it be decided that further regulations are required. The Scottish Ministers agreed to the suspension of these provisions on a UK wide basis.

Suspended

Section 22 was suspended from 21 April 2021 by the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Suspension: Temporary Judicial Commissioners, Urgent Warrants, and Disposal of Bodies) Regulations 2021

68.

UK Act

Section 23 –

Time limits in relation to urgent warrants under Investigatory Powers Act

The provision relates to time period for urgent warrants under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and gives the Secretary of State the power to make provision by regulations which extend the time periods applying to urgent warrants, should this be necessary given the impact that coronavirus is having, or is likely to have on the capacity of Judicial Commissioners to carry out their functions.

Not in operation

The Investigatory Powers (Temporary Judicial Commissioners and Modification of Time Limits) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/360), made under the power in this section, which came into force on 27 March 2020, expired on 27 March 2021.

The appointment of temporary Judicial Commissioners provided the independent Investigatory Powers Commissioner with resilience against the risk that their existing cohort of Judicial Commissioners may not be available as a result of the pandemic.

No further regulations are currently planned therefore the provision has been suspended by UK regulations. This will allow the provision to be revived quickly at a future time should it be decided that further regulations are required.

The Scottish Ministers agreed to the suspension of these provisions on a UK wide basis.

Suspended

Section 23 makes provision in relation to time limits in relation to urgent warrants etc. under Investigatory Powers Act and is currently suspended.

Ministers consider that it is appropriate that this provision is in force as at 30 September. Ministers have also taken the view within this reporting period to expire this provision earlier than March 2022. Further updates will be included within forthcoming reports.

69.

UK Act

Sections 25 to 29 and schedule 15 –

Food supply

These provisions empowered Scottish Ministers, by regulation, to require those involved in a food supply chain to provide information to help determine whether there was disruption (or risk thereof) to the supply chain. The provisions also provided enforcement powers and imposed restrictions on the use of information.

Expired

Industry was very collaborative in sharing data and information throughout the Covid-19 response and so it was decided that there was not enough evidence that the provisions remained proportionate to the risk.

The then Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Tourism agreed to the early expiry of these provisions on a UK wide basis.

Expired

Expired by The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Early Expiry) Regulations 2021 which came into force on 16 July 2021.

70.

UK Act

Sections 34 and 35 - Temporary disapplication of disclosure offences: Scotland and Power to reclassify certain disclosure requests: Scotland

See section 7.3.3

Not in operation

Supplementary information provided – section 7.3.3 for further information

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

71.

UK Act

Section 36 - Vaccination and immunisation: Scotland

The provisions amend section 40 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978.

The requirement in that section, that vaccinations and immunisations be administered by medical practitioners or persons acting under their direction and control, is removed.

In operation

In the first reporting period (on 7 April 2020), Scottish Ministers made directions[28] under section 2(5) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, to support vaccination delivery by GP practices where they are affected by coronavirus. The provisions have continued to be in operation in this reporting period.

Scottish Ministers have since directed Health Boards to take responsibility for delivering the Influenza (September) and COVID (December) immunisation programmes.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

72.

UK Act

Section 37 and Part 2 of schedule 16 and section 38 and Part 2 of schedule 17 - Temporary closure of educational institutions and childcare premises, and temporary continuity: education, training and childcare

See section 7.3.4

In operation

No further directions have been issued – see 7.3.4 below.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

73.

UK Act

Section 46 –

NHS pension schemes: suspension of restrictions on return to work: Scotland

The provision suspends pension scheme rules which prevent retired NHS staff from returning to work for more than 16 hours per week and require that some staff's pensions are abated upon return to work. It also suspends the requirement that NHS staff reduce their pay by 10% if they elect to 'draw down' their benefits and continue working.

In operation

The suspension of pension scheme rules has allowed former NHS staff to return to frontline NHS roles, including supporting the vaccination programme, adding vital capacity to the NHS workforce. The measures allow skilled and experienced staff who have recently retired from the NHS to return to work, and they have also allowed retired staff who have already returned to work to increase their commitments if required, without having their pension benefits suspended.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

74.

UK Act

Section 49 and schedule 19 –

Health Protection Regulations: Scotland

See section 7.3.5

In operation

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.3.5 for further information

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

75.

UK Act

Section 51 and Part 3 of schedule 21 - Powers relating to potentially infectious persons

See section 7.3.6

Schedule 21 powers were "switched on" by way of statutory declaration in March 2020, however the powers have not been used in this reporting period.

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.3.6 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

76.

UK Act

Section 52 and Part 3 of schedule 22 - Powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises

See section 7.3.7

Schedule 22 powers were "switched on" by way of statutory declaration in March 2020, however the powers have not been used in this reporting period.

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.3.7 for further information

Commenced and still in force

Ministers consider that it is appropriate that this provision is in force as at 30 September. Ministers have also taken the view within this reporting period to expire this provision earlier than March 2022. Further updates will be included within forthcoming reports.

77.

UK Act

Section 58 and schedule 28 – Powers in relation to transportation, storage and disposal of dead bodies etc.

Section 58 and schedule 28 contain powers relating to the transportation, storage and disposal of dead bodies and other human remains.

If advice indicates that the number of people who might die from coronavirus is likely to significantly exceed the capacity to locally or nationally manage the deceased, designated Local Authorities and Scottish Ministers have the ability to take control of a component or components of the death management process.

The powers have not been used in the reporting period. Following discussion with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), the Scottish Government brought forward legislation to suspend Parts 2 and 3 of Schedule 28, which mirrors the position in England and Northern Ireland.

Parts 1, 4 and 5 commenced and still in force.

Parts 2 and 3 were suspended during the reporting period by The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Suspension: Disposal of Bodies) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.

Ministers consider that it is appropriate that this provision is in force as at 30 September. Ministers have also taken the view within this reporting period to suspend this provision earlier than March 2022. Further updates will be included within forthcoming reports.

78.

UK Act

Sections 69 and 70 - Postponement of elections: Scotland

The provisions enable Returning Officers and the Presiding Officer to respectively postpone local government by-elections and by-elections for constituency seats to the Scottish Parliament.

Section 69 – not in operation

The provision would only have been relevant if a vacancy for a Scottish Parliament constituency seat occurred during the period of the provision being in force.

Section 70 – not in operation

In the eighth reporting period the provision was not in operation. The provision was used a total of 20 times to postpone 13 by-elections during it being in force.

Expired

The provisions expired during reporting period seven on 6 May 2021 (date of the Scottish Parliament election)

79.

UK Act

Section 75 –

Financial assistance for industry (disapplication of limit under section 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982)

This provision provides that financial assistance provided under section 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 is not to count towards the limits set out in the subsection of section 8, if the assistance has been given in relation to the coronavirus.

In operation

This provision has elements of both reserved and devolved competence. As set out within section 75(3) of the UK Act, there are alternative reporting requirements in place for this provision, however these only relate to designated assistance provided by the Secretary of State. It does not cover assistance provided by the Scottish Ministers or Welsh Ministers. The Scottish Government continues to consider how devolved elements of this provision might aid industry in ever changing circumstances, including as part of Covid recovery. Ministers consider it appropriate that provision which might provide a source of support should not be prematurely expired. It is therefore proportionate and appropriate that this provision remains commenced and still in force, although not operational in this period.

Commenced and still in force

No change to status since last reporting period

Contact

Email: covid.leg@gov.scot

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