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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Covid Recovery Strategy Programme Board - programme approach

How we will work alongside local government and more widely to ensure the actions of the Covid Recovery Strategy are delivered.


Update on the Strategy Delivery Plan actions presented in the Covid Recovery Strategy (Winter 2021/Spring 2022)

Financial security for low income households actions

Publish Fuel Poverty Strategy

The Fuel Poverty Strategy was laid in Parliament on 9 November 2021. In line with the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019, a period of forty days must pass before the Strategy can be published. Subject to the outcome of Parliament’s consideration of the proposed Strategy, the Fuel Poverty Strategy will be published in December 2021.

Welfare rights advisors in 150 GP surgeries

Since the service’s launch in September, welfare rights advisors have been embedded in more than 50 surgeries in Scotland’s most deprived areas. The rollout of the full service will result in advisors in 150 surgeries.

Expand free school lunches to all children in primary 5

The next phase of expansion of the universal provision of free school meals, during term-time, to all children in primary 4 from August 2021 will be the roll out to all children in primary 5, during school term-time, when they return to school after the Christmas holidays from January 2022. 

Parental Employment Support Fund (PESF)

PESF helps low income families identified as being most at risk of experiencing poverty, including disabled parents to increase their earnings, by gaining and progressing in fair work, and providing intensive, person centred key worker employability support. Work includes exploring the creation of a bespoke Lone Parent offer and a ‘guarantee approach’ for holistic employability services.

Wellbeing of Children and Young People actions

Establish Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science (STACS)

A first year grant has been issued to the University of Glasgow to host STACS. Recruitment of two Computer Science teachers to lead the network is underway and they will be in place in early 2022.

Tackling childhood obesity and adult weight management

Actions to tackle childhood obesity and adult weight management will be funded, recognising that for people living with obesity and diabetes, new vulnerabilities were exposed by Covid. This includes supporting pilots and the evaluation of a Whole Systems Approach to diet and healthy weight in three NHS board areas, focussing on children and health inequalities, and acting upon the findings of the evaluation.

Mental health and wellbeing support for 5 to 24 year olds

Improving access to community mental health and wellbeing support through support for local authorities to fund over 230 new and enhanced supports and services for children and young people. New and enhanced services include play and art based therapies, digital and text based services, family support and counselling services for those experiencing emotional distress.

Develop a student mental health action plan and deliver commitment for additional in universities and colleges

The commitment includes an additional 80 counsellors and supporting equity of access for college students. A short life Equity Group has been formed to help shape the allocation model and related guidance for the last year of the commitment in 22/23. The Scottish Government will, working with a restarted Student Mental Health and Well Being Working Group, take forward the development of an evidence and evaluation informed Student Mental Health Action Plan in 2022.

Young Person’s Guarantee

The Scottish Government aims to create 24,000 new and enhanced employment, training and education opportunities for young people, including:

  • 11,000 opportunities for young people through local employability partnerships
  • 9,000 additional places in colleges, including short, industry-focused and fast track courses
  • 2,600 opportunities for vulnerable and care experienced young people
  • connecting over 1,000 disabled young people to fair work and education
  • up to 500 graduate level placements to support progression into sustainable, graduate level employment
  • 110 additional formal volunteering opportunities

This builds on the strong foundations and significant investment in education, employability and skills sectors.

Trial tailored trauma training

As part of the National Trauma Training Programme, a tailored package of trauma training resources and support for organisations who support care experienced babies, children and young people is currently in development by NHS Education for Scotland and will have been tested in three pilot areas by Spring 2022.

Additional investment in CAMHS

Funding from the Recovery and Renewal fund will be used to address CAMHS’ waiting times, implement the National CAMHS Service Specification, improve community CAMHS and provide access to out of hours assessments, intensive and specialist CAMHS’ services. This is part of a longer term commitment to ensure that by 2026, 10% of frontline NHS budget is invested in mental health, with 1% directed specifically to children and young people.

Good, green jobs and fair work actions

National Training Transition Fund

The Scottish Government will continue to support the National Transition Training Fund for a range of projects in sectors affected by the pandemic, EU exit and future skills transitions. Project delivery commenced in late summer 2021.

Funding for adult social care to ensure staff are paid the real living wage

Funding has been delivered to Local Authorities to distribute to commissioned service providers, enabling them to uplift the hourly rate of pay from £9.30 to £9.50 for 21/22, reflecting the Scottish Government policy of ensuring all direct care works receive at least the real Living Wage.

North East Recovery and Skills Fund

The Scottish Government has invested in a range of skills projects to boost employment prospects for people across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and accelerate economic growth in the region. Project delivery commenced in October 2021.

Fair work statement on race

Development is underway alongside the Ethnicity Pay Gap Strategy to be published in Spring 2022.

Workplace Equality Fund

The Workplace Equality Fund (WEF) is a programme of funding to support employers to address long standing barriers that exist for some equality groups in the labour market. The current WEF, which will be launched in 2021/22, will provide support for employers in relation to equality groups impacted by the global pandemic and its resulting economic impact.

Zero emissions affordable homes strategy

The strategy is in development with stakeholders and an Offsite Construction and the Affordable Housing Supply Programme Factsheet, setting out progress and issues under consideration, was published in October 2021.

Retail Strategy

The development of the Retail Strategy has been informed by a Steering Group of industry representatives, trade unions and academia, chaired by the Minister of Planning, Public Finance and Community Wealth Building. The Steering Group has met throughout 2021, most recently on 18 November when the drafting of the strategy document was largely agreed. The retail strategy is due to publish by the end of December.

Review of regional policy in Scotland

Scoping document drafted articulating four papers that make up the review, ToR and refreshed Membership of the Regional Economic Policy Advisory Board (previously ESIF Steering Group), Paper 1 to be drafted by year end with review completed by April 2022.

A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan

A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan was published in December 2018 setting out the initial actions to deliver the ambition to at least halve the disability employment gap by 2038. We have published two progress reports of our Action Plan, in March 2020 and in March 2021.

  • we are taking a range of actions to reduce the disability employment gap
  • established a Public Social Partnership to support employers
  • funded Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF)
  • boosted Workplace Equality Fund 2020 Carried out reviews of Individual Placement Support
  • supported employment.
  • established Scottish Access to Work Stakeholder Forum

We are currently refreshing our Employment Action Plan, with a view to publishing in Spring 2022.

Women Returners’ Fund

The Women’s Returners Programme aims to help women to develop the confidence, skills, work experience and networks they may need to ease the transition back to work. The programme will support up to 1,500 women this year delivered through Skills Development Scotland. The programme aims to contribute towards reducing the gender pay gap, improving women’s economic position in the labour market and delivering fair and inclusive economic growth.

Ethnicity Pay Gap Strategy

We are engaging with stakeholders and will publish our ethnicity pay gap strategy in spring 2022 alongside and aligned with refreshed action plans on Fair Work, Gender Pay Gap and Disable People’s Employment Gap.

Rebuilding public services actions

Centre of expertise for transformation

An iterative development approach is being taken to establish the centre of expertise and the minimum viable project version of the centre will be in place by Spring 2022. Work has started to scope two pilot projects, with the centre of expertise approach being used to support aspects of work on The Promise, The Whole Family Wellbeing fund, and Child Poverty (employability, childcare and transport integration work).

Launch of central cyber co-ordination function for Scotland

Project team in place to establish the Scottish Cyber Coordination Centre (SC3) for Ministerial launch during CyberScotland Week 2022. Close engagement with key partners such as Police Scotland, National Cyber Security Centre, National Services Scotland going forward to determine priorities for year one (22/23) – these will likely include improved early warning of cyber threat across sectors, intelligence sharing and roll out of exercising with a focus on the public sector.

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