Publication - Transparency data

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Route Map - supporting evidence for the 15 October review

Supporting evidence to inform decisions about timings of changes within Phase 3 as set out at the review point on 15 October 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Route Map - supporting evidence for the 15 October review
WHO criterion 6: Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.

WHO criterion 6: Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.

This report provides a snapshot of engagement activity during the period 22 September – 15October. It does not comprehensively list all engagement undertaken during this time, and does not reference activity completed outside of these dates.

Informing the Public

Intention: to ensure the public is aware of the public health measures in place, able to access support if they require it, and has trust in the Government's decision making and advice.

Ministerial briefings to the public continue. These are generally led by the First Minister supported by medical and scientific advisors, as well as a forum to outline economic and social actions to mitigate the harms caused by the Pandemic. They continue to provide clear and consistent messaging and are followed by Q&A with journalists. They have also been used to launch and direct the public to new publications, information and services to mitigate the harms of Covid-19. YouGov polling (29-30 September) showed that 48% of adults across Scotland claim to use the First Minister's daily briefings on a regular basis (i.e. at least three times a week) to access information about the current Coronavirus situation[1].

The messaging provided by the daily briefing has been supported by marketing campaigns, primarily focused on increasing awareness of and compliance with restrictions and public health measures, but also highlighting support for those who need it (including for domestic abuse, mental health and managing finances). Messages have evolved as restrictions have changed and activity includes:

  • Restrictions: a public information campaign to explain the new 16 day restrictions from 9 October, with specific executions for the Central Belt highlighting the different restrictions there
  • Compliance: the current campaign explains how the guidance helps stop the spread to encourage compliance
  • Test & Protect: the current campaign explains the importance of self-isolating and booking a test immediately at the first sign of symptoms, and how to find support if needed (National Assistance Helpline).

All of this activity references FACTS and encourages the public to 'Stick with it. For yourselves and each other.'

In terms of current work with other audiences:

  • ParentClub activity which provides a range of messaging and support products for parents is on-going.
  • We have been working closely with Young Scot to devise a campaign to inform and support secondary school pupils in Scotland on guidance and restrictions in relation to behaviours in and around schools and on public transport.
  • We have been working with the National Union of Students to create a toolkit of digital assets that will be distributed throughout Scottish universities and colleges.

These campaigns direct people to relevant websites for further information, including,,, and

These campaigns are supported by other channels which cover the more nuanced, audience-specific information that is being updated and changed on a regular basis. Through our Partnership Team we also engage regularly with various stakeholders, partners and third sector bodies by providing assets via Stakeholder toolkits or for download on NHSInform.

Advice and Guidance continues to be published on a wide range of issues on the Scottish Government website to support individuals and businesses through this period. Additionally, we continue to share information around Scotland's route map, including supporting evidence for each review.

Data on the pandemic continues to be published on the Scottish Government website daily, and is also available in Open Data format. Public Health Scotland's dashboard is regularly updated with health data, while data on the Four Harms are shared on dedicated dashboard. Findings on modelling the epidemic continue to be shared online as well as reports of research on public attitudes and behaviours.

Next steps:

Marketing and public health campaigns; the First Minister's briefings, and data publication will continue responding to current needs.

Finding out about the public

Intention: To develop a clear understanding of how Covid-19, and the response to it, are impacting different sectors of the public. To gain an understanding of the attitudes and beliefs held by the public at this time.

Marketing activity has been developed following insight gathering qualitative groups among different audiences in Scotland. Creative work has been co-created and tested in qualitative research for effectiveness ahead of production. Impact of paid-for-media campaigns has been closely tracked, to ensure that marketing campaigns have been effective.

The Marketing and Insight Unit and Covid analytical hub have carried out a range of research, tracking the impact of Covid on communities to support effective action to mitigate the harms of the pandemic. This has included polling to monitor public attitudes, behaviours and some of the harm indicators (trust, loneliness and health). This has involved the production of weekly summaries of trends for wider policy/analysis, and regular summaries published for external audiences, with the most recent summary published on 9 October. Recent findings have indicated that[2]:

  • Compliance with rules and guidance has been high, with a large and stable majority of people claiming to following the rules completely or almost completely[3] (78%, 6-7 October).
  • The virus has impacted on personal and societal wellbeing, with 39% reporting high levels of anxiety[4], 68% feeling worried about the coronavirus situation and 45% reporting feeling lonely at least some of the time (6-7 October).
  • Trust in Scottish Government advice and guidance is strong, with 66% viewing the Scottish Government as doing a good job to help Scotland deal with recovery following the pandemic (6-7 October) and 73% trusting the Scottish Government to work in Scotland's best interests (22-23 September).

Recognising that the impact of Covid-19 affects certain areas of the community disproportionately, the Scottish Government has worked with partners and stakeholders to understand the impact of Covid-19 on their work. This includes work to improve understanding of the existing data and to identify gaps in the data to help manage risks for both the population and the workforce.

Next steps:

Policy teams will continue to gather data and information on how Covid is affecting the public and stakeholders throughout our response.

Engaging the public

Intention: To give the public the opportunity to give their opinion on decisions which are being made, or problems which we face.

Policy teams across the organisation continue to engage with stakeholders and members of the public around specific decisions and programmes of work.

The Social Renewal Advisory Board is undertaking a broad programme of engagement, which will feed into its work. Recently this has included a "call for ideas" from organisations which supported communities through the response to Covid-19. This call asked for ideas as to what changes need to take place to bring about a Fairer Scotland, based on their learning from the pandemic.

The National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership has been undertaking an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement over recent months, Recently, this has included Civil Society Reference Group and Public Sector Reference Group meetings on 29th September, and a Faith Groups Roundtable on 8th October.

An exercise was launched on 5 October asking the public to submit their ideas on what issues should inform future decisions on Scotland's approach to tackling Covid-19. Promoted across Scottish Government social media accounts, the site received 20,000 visitors and 70,000 unique page views over the 7 days the challenge was open. 564 ideas were published in this time, along with 1635 comments, submitted by 981 users. Analysis of these submissions and the discussions following will provide a valuable snapshot of the balance of opinion around crucial aspects of Scotland's approach – though all analysis will make clear that this cannot be assumed to be a representative sample of the population.

Two citizens' assemblies are underway in Scotland. The first, on the future of Scotland, met face to face previously, but reassembled online for the first time on 5 September and again on 3 October. In 2 remaining weekends running to December 5, it will consider the future of Scotland in the context of the pandemic. Scotland's Climate Assembly will meet over the autumn 2020 with the context of the Covid-19 pandemic as a major part of the context. The membership of both of these assemblies were selected to be broadly representative of the adult population across a number of criteria, including age, gender, socio-economic class/household income, ethnicity, and geography.

Next steps:

The public engagement expert advisory group along with a Scottish Government team with expertise from across government are continuing to develop a strategic approach to engagement and participation during the pandemic.

On the basis of the evidence summarised above, the assessment is that this criterion has been met.