Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - overview of public engagement

This report outlines the themes emerging from a rapid analysis of the public engagement exercise on our approach to decision making with regard to changes to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown arrangements.

1. Foreword

When I launched our Framework on Decision Making I invited people to contribute ideas for how we collectively tackle this virus. Our online platform was open between 5 May and 11 May and in that time we received more than 4,000 ideas and almost 18,000 comments.

That is a fantastic response from the Scottish people and I would like to thank everyone who contributed.

This report attempts to summarise the breadth of those views submitted and to provide an insight into what our fellow citizens are thinking.

Clearly it is incumbent upon us a Government to take those views into account. I can assure those that contributed that their ideas and comments are being used to inform the decisions we will be taking on moving out of the current lockdown.

At its heart, this report shows that the people of Scotland, like us as their Government, are trying to balance tackling this virus with seeing our friends and family and helping our economy recover.

And it is timely, as this week we have also published our route map for easing lockdown restrictions. Respondents were clear that there was little support for a complete lifting of lockdown immediately but also that they were looking for a defined timeline or plan to do so in a phased way.

It is also striking that the ideas that generated the most interest were about contact with other households and improving our quality of life. There is a shared impatience to see families and friends, for some sense of normality to resume.

There's also a strong sense from the comments of people taking personal responsibility and expecting that of their fellow citizens, of the trade-off between asking the Government to ease the restrictions on their freedom based on a commitment to take personal responsibility for their role in controlling the virus.

This is a key theme in our route map, the route to first living with and then defeating this virus is for everyone to know the advice and stick to it. The message to Government from this report is that we need to be crystal clear in that advice to allow that to happen.

That demand for clarity also comes through in the comments on the test, trace and isolate programme - highlighting its key role in providing confidence and reassurance to people as more activity is allowed.

The report also highlights the concerns for individuals and families that the lockdown exacerbates existing inequalities. It also asks for clarity around shielded groups and others who are more vulnerable to the virus. A plea to not be left behind, we hear you.

It also provides a wealth of ideas on how we will open both our schools, childcare facilities and businesses. On the latter there is a clear will for people to be creative in how they can work and operate their businesses safely. On schools and childcare there are a variety of views about how we can reopen these vital services for the benefit our children and allowing people more flexibility to work.

Finally the report highlights people's thoughts on what the future after this virus will look like - from changes in the workplace, to how we travel and how we use public services. It also focusses on those areas where we should seek to learn lessons on how to respond to such a crisis in the future, not least in our care homes.

To be clear, this is not the end of engagement on our response to the virus. We are looking at further ways in which we can encourage ideas and listen as we move carefully into the next phase.

As I have said previously, I understand that we are asking a lot of you in handling this lockdown. But if we continue to work together, and listen to each other, to manage our way through this virus, we will be able to get back to the freedoms we all enjoy and deserve.

This virus has taken the lives of too many people and it has imposed a lockdown on us unprecedented in living memory. This document shows the people of Scotland want to take personal responsibility for protecting their fellow citizens, they want to get out, they want to see their friends and family and they want to get back to work.

This report will help us help them to do so.

photograph of Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister of Scotland



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