WHO criterion 6: Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.
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 (15-17 September) showed that 48% of adults across Scotland claimed 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.
The messaging provided by the daily briefing has been supported by marketing campaigns, primarily focused on increasing awareness of and compliance with public health measures and support for those who need it (including for domestic abuse, mental health and managing finances). Messages have evolved as restrictions have lifted, but now, with frequent changes to restrictions, marketing activity focuses on three main areas:
- Compliance (We Are Scotland - an emotive values-based campaign designed to empower the population to comply)
- FACTS (protection messaging)
- Test & Protect (Scotland's approach to implementing the test, trace, isolate and support strategy).
FACTS protection messaging has been on-going, the latest Test & Protect campaign has promoted the Protect Scotland app and the latest compliance campaign (Don't give coronavirus to those you love) launched on September 18 but only ran for a few days before being put on hold to be updated to reflect the restriction changes. . ParentClub activity which provides a range of messaging and support products for parents is also on-going.
These campaigns direct people to the nhsinform.scot, parentclub.scot and gov.scot websites for further information. They 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.
Marketing and public health campaigns; the First Minister's briefings, and data publication will continue; responding to current needs.
Finding out about public attitudes and beliefs
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 5 August. Recent findings have indicated that:
- 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 (81%, September 15-17).
- The virus has impacted on personal and societal wellbeing, with 36% reporting high levels of anxiety (8-10 September), 67% feeling worried about the coronavirus situation (15-17 September) and 46% reporting feeling lonely at least some of the time (8-10 September).
- Trust in Scottish Government advice and guidance is strong, with 73% viewing the Scottish Government as doing a good job to help Scotland deal with recovery following the pandemic (8-10 September) and 73% trusting the Scottish Government to work in Scotland's best interests. (8-10 September).
The Covid hub also published two reports of research, on 17 September. This includes: 'The impact of Covid-19 on Wellbeing in Scotland' and 'The Impact of Covid-19 on Communities, and Priorities for Recovery: Perspectives of Organisations Working in Communities'
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 as lockdown is lifted.
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. For instance, the team responsible for shielding policy have used feedback from the shielding community to underpin their approach to informing and engaging with this group. For example, a need for more localised case numbers to help those who were shielding assess risk has been identified through this channel, and data is being developed and designed to meet this need.
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 5th September. In three remaining weekends between 3 October and 5 December, 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.
Planning for a second Dialogue Platform public engagement exercise is underway, with an overarching theme around how Scottish Government can help and support people to live with the adjustments required to maintain suppression of the virus (e.g. face covering, physical distancing, Test and Protect). It will run from 5 – 11 October
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.
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