Publication - Progress report

Coronavirus Acts: first report to Scottish Parliament (June 2020)

First two-monthly report to Scottish Parliament on the use of the emergency powers contained within the Coronavirus Act 2020 and Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, covering the reporting period up to 31 May 2020.

Coronavirus Acts: first report to Scottish Parliament (June 2020)
6. Status update

6. Status update

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

6.2. As outlined above, our reporting approach will ensure that 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 'operation of the provision in the reporting period' column within Table One, and further information is provided at section seven.

Table One – Status and operation of provisions

Act

Provision

Description of Provision

Operation of the Provision in Reporting Period

Status at End of Reporting Period

Scottish Act

Section 2 and schedule 1 - Eviction from dwelling-houses

The provisions increase the notice period across all eviction grounds in the private and social rented sector, except the abandonment and vacant property grounds, and for short Scottish secure tenancies, the antisocial behaviour grounds. The provisions provide the flexibility to extend the notice period for any grounds to a maximum of six months, should this be required. For the private rented sector, the provisions amend all of the eviction grounds a landlord can use to regain possession to make them discretionary. Prior to these provisions coming into force, some grounds for eviction were mandatory if all the conditions were met, meaning a Tribunal had to grant the order. This provision ensures that the Tribunal – once operational again – will be able to use discretion and take all factors into account before deciding whether to issue an eviction order or not.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.1 for further information

Commenced on 7 April 2020 but no delegated powers used

Scottish Act

Section 3 and schedule 2 - Temporary extension of moratoriums 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 use

Extended moratorium is available for individuals to apply. As at 18 May 2020, 90 applications for moratoria had been made under the new powers.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 4 and schedule 3 - Children and vulnerable adults – Part 1 – Children

Child protection provisions: The provisions remove the requirement for a second working day hearing to be held following the issuing of a Child Protection Order, and to amend timescales in relation to the issuing of Child Assessment Orders.

Children's hearings provisions: The provisions relax existing requirements for the composition of children's hearings, the administration and conduct of children's hearings, and there are extensions to the timescales for when certain legal orders must be reviewed and appeals against legal orders lodged.

Looked after children provisions: The provisions extend the timescales for review of children's cases when they are placed in different forms of accommodation and enable Local Authorities to use foster carers more flexibly to look after additional children when necessary.

Provisions around Child Assessment Orders – not in use

Provisions around Child Protection Orders – in use

Provisions around children's hearings – in use

Looked after children provisions - in use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.2 for further information

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 4 and schedule 3- Children and vulnerable adults – Part 2 – Vulnerable adults

Paragraph 11(1) modifies the application of certain principles of existing legislation relating to adults with incapacity and makes changes to guardianship rules. Paragraphs 11(2) and 11(3) effectively 'stop the clock' on the duration of guardianship orders and certificates authorising medical treatment for the period the emergency legislation is in force.

Section 11(1) – not in use

Sections 11(2) and 11(3) – in use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.3 for further information.

Section 11(1) – not yet commenced

Section 11(2) and 11(3) - commenced on 7 April 2020 but no delegated powers used

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.

This extends to the ability to conduct fully audio or video-enabled procedural hearings, where no one is physically in the same place, or in a court or tribunal building. The provisions create a default position in which requirements for physical attendance at any court or tribunal hearings are suspended. This presumption can be overridden by the court or tribunal in any case by directing the physical attendance of any party.

In use

Justice organisations have made rapid progress in utilising these provisions. Some documents are already being served and transmitted electronically. Remote hearings have begun in some areas of civil business including the use of video conferencing in civil appeals and the conduct of some civil hearings by telephone. A direction[3] under paragraph 1(5) was made by the Lord President on 9 April 2020.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The provision has commenced. In principle, the change could apply to any offence which is capable of being prosecuted in the summary courts. It is a matter for the Lord Advocate to determine the prosecution policy which prosecutors will apply as a result of this change. The Lord Advocate has advised Scottish Ministers that prosecution policy proceeds on the basis that the increase in fine amounts is intended to enable alternative action to be taken in a wider range of cases, where such action is assessed as appropriate, and not to increase the fine amount in individual cases which would previously have been dealt with by way of fiscal fine. The Lord Advocate has directed prosecutors to first consider offering a direct measure, in particular a fine, in relation to appropriate cases which would otherwise have proceeded in the Justice of the Peace court.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The provision has commenced, introducing a Scotland wide jurisdiction for sheriffs dealing with first appearances from police custody.

This has allowed Police Scotland to put into operation its contingency plan to address the coronavirus outbreak which involves moving to a smaller number of more centralised custody suites. Across Scotland, 17 centralised police custody centres are now in operation. The consequence is that, for some of those held in police custody, it will not be possible for their first court appearance to take place in a court in the sheriffdom where the relevant offence was allegedly committed.

The provision which is now in use 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, providing sheriffs with jurisdiction throughout Scotland to deal with first appearances from police custody and any continuation of a case up until a not guilty plea is tendered.

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, minimising the number of cases that have to be transferred to local court.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

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

The provisions suspend certain time limits contained in the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 so that a six month extension applies to all time limits in effect on the date of commencement, or taking effect during this period, with the exception of those relating to summary cases where the accused is held in remand, where the extension has effect for a three month period. This is intended to address delays in court cases caused by coronavirus.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.4 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, part 5 - Evidence

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

In use

However, given that there have been no jury trials since the provisions came into effect, and only a limited amount of summary court business, it is likely that it has been used only to a very limited extent.

It is likely that there will be a greater need for this provision as and when solemn court business re-commences. 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. As such, it is likely to continue to be necessary for as long as public health guidelines around self-isolation and coronavirus remain in effect.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 5 and schedule 4, part 6 - Community orders

The provisions have extended time limits for unpaid work in Community Payback Orders by 12 months.

Provisions also introduced powers for Scottish Ministers to postpone, alter, or revoke requirements in Community Payback Orders or Drug Treatment and Testing Orders.

Extension of time limits for unpaid work – in use

Powers to postpone, alter or revoke requirements in Community Payback Orders or Drug Treatment and Testing Orders, which need to be made under the affirmative procedure – not in use

Social Work Scotland is providing a weekly assessment based on Local Authority justice social work returns which comment on the impact of coronavirus on services. To date, evidence suggests that the immediate effect of the provision (to extend timescales for unpaid work) has been sufficient to relieve pressure on justice social work during the lockdown period, though data will continue to inform decisions on whether powers to postpone, vary or revoke requirements may need to be used, which is considered reasonably likely as part of the recovery phase. Future deliverability of orders and capacity taking account of return of court business and the existing backlog will also inform decisions.

Commenced on 7 April 2020 but no delegated powers used

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.

In use

Parole hearings have been continuing, and during the period 23 March 2020 to 5 May 2020, 155 cases were considered using Skype, 135 cases were heard successfully by teleconference, 107 witnesses have provided oral evidence, and 45 different legal firms have represented clients during teleconferenced tribunal/oral hearings.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

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

The provisions allow that Scottish Ministers, may by regulations, provide that a person who falls within a class of persons specified in the regulations, is to be released from prison early.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.5 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

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.

Not in use

The Scottish Government is reviewing the requirement to use the powers under the provision and it therefore continues to be necessary.

Commenced on 7 April 2020 but no delegated powers used

Scottish Act

Section 6 and schedule 5 – Alcohol licensing and

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

The alcohol licensing regime as set out in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 ('the 2005 Act') contains a number of strict timescales and deadlines with little or no discretion available to Licensing Boards, if they are not adhered to. The provisions make modifications to the operation of provisions in the 2005 Act relating to: Licensing Boards holding hearings and producing reports; premises licenses; personal licence holders; the duties of Licensing Standard Officers; and notifications by the Chief Constable. The operation of the Licensing (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 is also modified. These modifications introduce additional flexibility into the alcohol licensing regime. For example, they empower Licensing Boards to extend timescales and deadlines and they also give further time to key licensing partners such as Police Scotland, when views are being sought on licensing decisions.

The Civic (Scotland) Act 1982 ('the 1982 Act'), amongst other matters, sets out the framework for a number of civil licensing regimes (other than alcohol). For example the licensing and regulation of taxis and private hire cars, metal dealers, second hand dealers and the control of sex shops. The provisions set out a number of modifications to the operation of provisions in the 1982 Act and the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Order 2006. These modifications introduce additional flexibility. For example, they enable licensing authorities to extend timescales and deadlines.

In use

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 the powers under the Act have been used is not held centrally. Examples of licensing authorities making use of the provisions include holding virtual licence 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

Scottish Act

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

Paragraphs 3 and 4 extend the deadlines for responding to FOI requests and reviews by an additional 40 working days.

Paragraph 5 gives Scottish Ministers the power, by direction, to specify circumstances where a Scottish public authority could extend the deadline.

Where an appeal is made to the Scottish Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) in respect of a failure to comply with a relevant deadline, paragraph 6 gives the Commissioner discretion, taking into consideration the public interest in prompt compliance, to decide that, where that is due to the effect of coronavirus or resulted from the repeal of the powers at paragraphs 3 and 4, an authority has not failed to comply.

Paragraph 7 allows the Commissioner to issue notices by electronic means.

In use until 26 May 2020 (the direction making powers under paragraph 5 were not used in the reporting period).

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.6 for further information.

Powers under paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 - repealed by the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Act 2020

Powers under paragraphs 6 and 7 - Commenced and still in force

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 use

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 currently possible to provide physical access to documents. 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

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 public health grounds.

In use

The majority of Local Authority meetings have been cancelled and temporary decision making arrangements have been implemented.

It would be disproportionate to request Local Authorities to report on the individual uses of this power when they are at the core of the coronavirus response and many of their services are under significant pressure and therefore, there is no central picture of the extent of the use of the provision. It is expected that these provisions will be needed until council offices can reopen to the public and/or other relevant aspects of Local Authority business resumes.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 7 and schedule 6, and part 5 - Duties under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act

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

Not in use

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

Section 8 and schedule 7, paragraphs 1 to 5 - Social security

These provisions relax timescales which apply to clients seeking (and Social Security Scotland making) a redetermination, and clients bringing an appeal before the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland, where standard timescales cannot be met for reasons related to coronavirus. The provisions also require the Agency to complete a redetermination as soon as reasonably practicable within the new extended timescale. The original timescale of 16 working days is extended by an additional 9 weeks.

Other provisions modify timescales for making applications where these have not been able to be met directly as a result of coronavirus. The provisions allow late applications across all forms of assistance where the lateness is due to coronavirus.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.1.7 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The measure came into force 7 April 2020 and as such, the first date an eviction could take place would be 14 July 2020.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

It would be disproportionate to request planning authorities to report to the Scottish Government whenever this provision has been employed however, the provision continues to be necessary. The Scottish Property Federation has indicated that extending the duration of planning permission has been well received by its members, and that in some cases this has been a vital intervention to ensure that the development remained viable.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The portal for the submission of digital applications was opened for public use from 27 April 2020 and is operating successfully, with use gradually being widened by way of a phased introduction. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland has written to the Economy Energy and Fair Work Committee about volumes. The Keeper has agreed to consult with the Law Society of Scotland prior to declaring the property registers fully reopen, which in turn will end the extended protection for advance notices.

Commenced and still in force

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 after anatomical examination has concluded to that of the life of the emergency legislation. This ensures that during this pandemic, licence holders are not committing an offence by retaining a body beyond the statutory three years.

In use

Anatomy schools have suspended their activities during the pandemic and are likely to continue to do so for the duration of the emergency legislation.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The provisions have not required to be used in the reporting period.

Commenced and still in force

Scottish Act

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

The provision extends the duration of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that are due to end in the coming months or have recently ended, without the legal requirement to hold a ballot.

In use

The provision has been extremely helpful. BIDs such as Clarkston, Edinburgh West End and Dunblane which would have had to reballot during this period have all been able to deliver critical coronavirus responses in partnership with their Local Authorities and others.

Given the impact of coronavirus on local economies, a further amendment to BIDs legislation is being explored.

A £1 million BIDs Resilience Fund was also announced by the Scottish Government to enable BIDs to cover running costs and support communities and local businesses between April and October 2020.

Commenced and still in force

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.

In use

The powers commenced on 7 April 2020, resulting in the muirburn season ending earlier than the scheduled date of 15 April 2020. The provision continues to be necessary in order that the situation can be reviewed in autumn, including whether there remains a risk of muirburn placing unnecessary pressure on the emergency services, prior to the commencement of the next muirburn season.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

While the significant bulk of this provision is reserved, it intersects with devolved competence through two professional groups – Practitioner Psychologists and Operating Department Practitioners – regulated by the HCPC. As such, reporting on this provision was also included in the report to UK Parliament which was published on 29 May 2020[4].

The provisions have been exercised incrementally on a UK-wide basis by the NMC and HCPC in consultation with the four administrations, based on the anticipated service demand for an expanded workforce.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

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

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 use

A direction[5] 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 2001 Act.

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.

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

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

The provision introduces schedule 9 which makes temporary modifications to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 and associated subordinate legislation, for example, permitting a reduction in the number of members required to constitute a mental health tribunal, and to permit a tribunal to make a decision without holding an oral hearing.

Not in use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.1 for further information.

Not yet commenced

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.

Scottish Ministers issued a direction[6] on 7 April 2020 under existing powers (the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978) to Health Boards to indemnify staff engaged in the coronavirus response.

The powers around indemnity arrangements have not had to be used by Health Boards in the reporting period.

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

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

The provisions under section 16 make modifications to the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) Act 2013 to give Local Authorities flexibility for social care decision making in an emergency by discharging duties to conduct needs assessments and prepare carer support plans/young carer statements. Section 17 gives Scottish Ministers the power to issue guidance to Local Authorities about the exercise of their functions in consequence of the changes made by Section 16 of the UK Act.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.2 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

Provisions made by UK Ministers, with the consent of Scottish Ministers, commenced by regulations[7] on 26 March 2020 to allow death registrations without the need for in-person attendance at a registration office, and the provisions continue in active use.

During the period 27 March 2020 to 20 May 2020 inclusive, 13,433 deaths and 31 still-births were registered.

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

Section 20 and schedule 14 – Review of cause of death certificates and cremations: Scotland

Provisions under part 1 enable Scottish Ministers to suspend the requirement for registrars to refer randomly selected Medical Certificates of Cause of Death under the Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011 for review by the Death Certification Review Service.

Provisions under part 2 give Scottish Ministers the power to disapply 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 sub-sections 53-55 of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 and relevant associated provisions of the Cremation (Scotland) Regulations 2019.

Part 1 – in use – a direction[8] under paragraph 2(2) of schedule 14 came into effect on 26 March 2020. Scottish Ministers, in consultation with the Senior Medical Reviewer of the Death Certification Review Service directed National Records of Scotland to stop referring Medical Certificates of Cause of Death to the Death Certification Review Service for review.

From 26 March to 11 May 2020, any certificate which was referred prior to the suspension was stopped, and the death registered. Any application for an interested persons review was paused.

The suspension was lifted by a revocation direction[9] which was exercised by Scottish Ministers on 11 May 2020, and the Death Certification Review Service started reviewing Medical Certificates of Cause of Death again.

Part 2 – in use - on 8 April 2020, Scottish Ministers made two determinations[10] which suspended certain provisions within the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Cremation (Scotland) Regulations 2019. These provisions have been used to provide a certain degree of flexibility for cremation authorities and funeral directors working under different and challenging circumstances.

Commenced and still in force

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.

In use

The Investigatory Powers (Temporary Judicial Commissioners and Modification of Time Limits) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/360)[11] came into force on 27 March 2020. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner has appointed 10 temporary Judicial Commissioners. Further detail can be found on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office website[12].

This provision has elements of both reserved and devolved competence and as such, reporting on this provision was also included in the report to UK Parliament which was published on 29 May 2020[13].

Commenced and still in force

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.

In use

The Investigatory Powers (Temporary Judicial Commissioners and Modification of Time Limits) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/360) came into force on 27 March 2020[14].

The variation to the urgent warrant procedure has ensured that intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the flexibility they need to protect national security and prevent serious crime.

This provision has elements of both reserved and devolved competence and as such, reporting on this provision was also included in the report to UK Parliament which was published on 29 May 2020[15].

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

Sections 25 to 29 and schedule 15- Food supply

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

Not in use

The provisions continue to be required, to hold in reserve, in the event that voluntary provision of information by food supply chain participants breaks down. The voluntary provision of information continues to work well.

Not yet commenced

UK Act

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

The provisions under section 34 give Scottish Ministers the power to issue a direction that disapplies or modifies the offences under section 35 (organisations not to use barred individuals for regulated work) and section 36 (personnel suppliers not to supply barred individuals for regulated work) of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 ("the PVG Act").

The provisions under section 35 give Scottish Ministers the power, where they receive certain types of disclosure requests under the PVG Act, to treat those as a disclosure request which simply confirms whether or not the individual is in the PVG Scheme and if they are barred.

Not in use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.3 for further information.

Commenced on Royal Assent

but no delegated powers used

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 use

On 7 April 2020, Scottish Ministers made directions[16] 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.

Commenced and still in force

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

Section 37 introduces schedule 16 which relates to the temporary closure of educational institutions and childcare premises. Scottish Ministers are given the power to issue directions to restrict access to schools and other educational premises. Part 2 of schedule 16 relates to Scotland.

Section 38 introduces schedule 17 which makes provision allowing directions requiring the provision, or continuing provision, of education and childcare. Part 2 of schedule 17 relates to Scotland.

Schedule 17, Part Two – in use

Schedule 16, Part Two – not in use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.4 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

The suspension of pension scheme rules has allowed former NHS staff to return to frontline NHS roles, 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

UK Act

Section 49 and schedule 19 - Health Protection Regulations: Scotland

Introduces schedule 19, which gives Scottish Ministers the powers to make regulations for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination in Scotland.

In use

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.5 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

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

Introduces schedule 21 which sets out powers which can be exercised in respect of persons where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they are "potentially infectious". This includes powers for public health officers, constables and immigration officers to direct or remove a person to a suitable place for screening and assessment (or, in the case of public health officers, to request a constable to remove a person to such a place). There are also powers to require the person to stay in that place for the purposes of screening and assessment and powers for public health officers to impose or extend necessary and proportionate restrictions on a potentially infectious person.

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

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.6 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

UK Act

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

Introduces schedule 22 which gives Scottish Ministers direction making powers in relation to events, gatherings and premises. In particular a direction may prohibit or impose requirements or restrictions in relation to the holding of events, gatherings or impose prohibitions, requirements or restrictions in relation to the entry into, departure from, or location of persons in premises.

Schedule 22 powers have been switched on by way of statutory declaration, however the powers to make a direction have not been used in this reporting period.

Supplementary information provided – see section 7.2.7 for further information.

Commenced and still in force

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.

Not in use

The powers have not been used in the reporting period. However, although the powers have not been used in the reporting period, the provision is judged to continue to be necessary in order to ensure that the powers can be used in future if needed and in particular to ensure the ability to respond to particular pressures in a specific Local Authority area should these emerge at any point.

Commenced and still in force

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 use – the provisions will only be relevant if a vacancy for a Scottish Parliament constituency seat occurs during the period of the provision being in force.

Section 70 – in use – in the reporting period ten local government by-elections have been postponed.

Commenced and still in force

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 use

This provision has elements of both reserved and devolved competence. As set out within the provision, there are alternative reporting arrangements in place for this provision. A similar approach was taken by the UK Government and this was set out in its report to UK Parliament which was published on 29 May 2020[17]. The provision as it applies in Scotland continues to be necessary.

Commenced and still in force


Contact

Email: covid.leg@gov.scot