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.

2. Introduction

This report sets out the results of a rapid analysis of the key themes that emerged from the public engagement exercise launched following the publication of Coronavirus (COVID-19): Framework for Decision Making - Further Information on 5 May 2020. The engagement also sought views on the Test, Trace, Isolate, Support strategy, published on 4 May.

The First Minister launched the digital platform at her briefing on 5 May 2020 for immediate engagement. The platform was available from 12.30 on 5 May until 22.00 on 11 May. All ideas and comments published on the platform are available to view at

The platform represented one of the means of dialogue with the public during the pandemic and was designed to meet "the immediate need for public engagement on the decision-making process concerning the current restrictions, [so that] we may also develop tools and habits of discourse that can be adapted to inform the longer-term recovery and renewal process to come."

This analysis is being considered widely across the Scottish Government, alongside more detailed consideration of information that is relevant to specific issues. It will provide context to Scottish Ministers on the range of public attitudes as they set out the next steps for recovery.

The digital platform involved the submission of 'ideas'[1] by registered users. The contributor had the opportunity to provide a title for their idea, and say 'why the contribution is important'. Registered users could rate the idea on a five-star scale, and/or provide comments. All contributions to the website were pre-moderated in accordance with the published moderation policy before appearing on the site. The site was visible to members of the public, whether or not they registered as users.

Eight ideas were 'pre-seeded' by the Scottish Government Digital Communications Team in order to encourage people to engage with the themes in the Framework and the Test, Trace, Isolate, Support Strategy. The Scottish Government pre-seeded ideas were consistently among the top five ideas with the most comments. A full overview of the top 20 threads by comments and number of ratings is provided in Annex B.

In addition two ideas were added to prompt users with a broad topic that would allow them to outline key concerns. These were: 'What one change to the current restrictions would have the most positive impact on your life?' and 'What could help enable people to comply with the lockdown restrictions?' Users were encouraged to join an existing discussion on an idea similar to their concerns, but were free to add their own idea. Moderators locked discussion on ideas where it was thought they were duplicating something already on the site and signposted contributors to comment on the existing idea instead.

Engagement, in terms of ideas, comments and new users, was broadly consistent throughout the week.



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