Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment
A general description of the policy/measure
The purpose of the Coronavirus (Scotland)(No. 2) Bill ("the Bill") is to respond to the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The Bill complements and supplements the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, passed by the Scottish Parliament on 1 April 2020, and the Coronavirus Act 2020, passed by the UK Parliament on 25 March 2020, which the Scottish Parliament gave its consent to on 24 March 2020. The Bill will put in place necessary and urgent measures in order to address the continued threats posed by the outbreak in Scotland.
The coronavirus outbreak is a severe and sustained threat to human life in Scotland. The Scottish Government is committed to taking all steps necessary to address that threat. A severe pandemic could infect a large proportion of the population, and the public health measures required to control and limit the spread of the outbreak require a significant adjustment to the lives of those living in Scotland, to business in Scotland, and to the way public services are delivered and regulated.
Even beyond the new restrictions on living and working in Scotland, the coronavirus outbreak continues to have an effect on essential public services which demands a response. The continuing shift in resourcing and prioritisation for central and local government, and those involved in health and social care, will require a number of the obligations and duties on public services in Scotland to be adjusted temporarily, to reflect the importance which the Scottish Government places on responding to the coronavirus outbreak, and protecting the health of people living in Scotland.
In deciding to progress further emergency legislation in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Scottish Government has taken into account its responsibility first and foremost to protect the lives and health of people living in Scotland. It has also borne in mind the unprecedented pressures on Scottish business and on the public sector in Scotland, and the effect of the substantial adjustment to the way people are being asked to live by public health guidance, and required to live by the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
To support these aims, the Bill takes the following measures:
- it makes adjustments to laws which protect individuals to ensure their effective operation during the coronavirus outbreak;
- it makes adjustments to criminal procedure, and to other aspects of the justice system, to ensure that essential justice business can continue to be disposed of throughout the coronavirus outbreak;
- it makes a range of provision designed to ensure that business and public services can continue to operate effectively during a period where controls on movements have been imposed, and when pressures on public services are acute.
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The responsible team or division. If this is a cross-cutting policy, name the team that has overall responsibility
Constitution and External Affairs – Constitution and Cabinet Directorate
What the policy or measure is trying to achieve; what are the expected outcomes
The Bill contains a wide range of policy measures to put in place all necessary measures to address the coronavirus outbreak. Specifically in relation to child rights and wellbeing the Bill will make provision to:
- Give students in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), and university and college accommodation (a) a 7 day notice to leave period for those currently tied into a student accommodation contract; and (b) a 28 day notice to leave period in relation to the forthcoming academic term, during the time the provisions are in force and for Covid-19 related reasons only
- Provide for a Coronavirus Carer's Supplement Allowance
- Make bankruptcy more accessible to debtors and less accessible to creditors
- Temporarily remove of the requirement for a prescribed person to witness a named person agree to the role under mental health legislation
- Extend the specified period for payment of a confiscation order where payment cannot be made for reasons relating to coronavirus within 12 months of the date that the order was made and disapplication of interest where an extension is granted
- Extend the time period during which a previous main residence must be sold in order for house-buyers who have paid the LBTT Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) prior to a particular date to claim a repayment from Revenue Scotland
What is the time frame for a policy announcement/ consultation/ implementation
As this Bill is part of the on-going response to the coronavirus outbreak and complements and supplements both the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the UK 2020 Act, the Bill will be introduced and published on 11 May 2020. As the Bill is introducing emergency measures it will be considered by the Scottish Parliament between 12 May and 20 May 2020.
Given the unprecedented circumstances presented by the coronavirus outbreak and the need to react quickly to protect all in society, including children and young people, it has not been possible to consult extensively with all stakeholders. However, stakeholder have been consulted on specific elements of the Bill.
The Bill contains necessary measures required to respond to an emergency situation. The Scottish Government is satisfied that all of the measures contained in the Bill are appropriate and proportionate. In line with requirements set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, the Bill contains the following safeguards:
- Part 1 of the Bill will automatically expire less than six months after it comes into force. The Scottish Parliament may extend this for two further periods of six months, giving Part 1 of the Bill a maximum duration of 18 months;
- where a provision in Part 1 of the Bill is no longer considered necessary, Scottish Ministers may bring it to an end earlier than on this six-monthly schedule;
- Scottish Ministers are required by the Bill to report on the continued need for the measures, and on the use of powers in the Bill, every two months.
The Scottish Government is committed to keeping the provisions of this Bill under review at all times, under the scheme set out above.
6 May 2020