Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery - justice system, health and public services reform: consultation

Consultation on supporting Scotland's recovery from coronavirus.

Ministerial foreword

The Scottish Government’s highest priority is to continue to lead Scotland safely through and out of the Covid pandemic and to re-open the country as quickly and safely as possible. We therefore now also have a real opportunity to achieve a fairer and more equal post-Covid Scotland, where no one is left behind.

That is why we are developing a Covid Recovery Strategy focused on key outcomes, with the highest priority tackling child poverty. People have told us they want a Scotland that achieves financial security for all: through good quality work and sustainable employment; that supports health and well-being for young people in particular; that promotes equalities; and that strengthens people’s rights. We recognise that achieving our ambitions will need a range of transformative measures in that strategy. We also know that we must take the time to learn from the country’s experience of the pandemic so we don’t lose what people welcomed and have now come to expect.

The global Covid pandemic was an unprecedented public health emergency in our time. No government could envisage having to take the action and steps we did to keep citizens safe. We all had to live differently and laws and restrictions were introduced to keep us safe

Within this time, we saw communities come together, neighbours reach out, volunteers step up and across society people respond to support each other in a time of need. We also saw a change in how public organisations delivered their services to respond to the pandemic and keep employees and the public safe whilst still ensuring provision of services to the public. Some of these changes have been welcomed by people who now don’t want to lose transformations that have been innovative, beneficial, and increased access to services.

Therefore as one of the steps to harness lessons from the pandemic, the Government is committed to reviewing the impact of Covid on the Scottish statute book. We want to ensure we remove measures no longer needed in order to respond to the pandemic whilst keeping those where there is demonstrable benefit to the people of Scotland.

This consultation focuses on reviewing the legislative powers that have supported our response to Covid. It begins with discussion of our ambitions for Covid recovery and ends with an open question, to invite comments on the action that respondents think is required to support a fair, safe and secure recovery.

The Chapters of this consultation invite views on specific legislative proposals that have the potential to support Covid recovery:

  • Proposals for greater public health resilience, to protect Scotland against future public health threats;
  • Proposals for public services and justice system reform, to ensure that the benefits of practical modernisations put in place during the pandemic are maintained; and
  • Proposals to respond to the impact of Covid in the justice system specifically, where backlogs have unavoidably built up.

I look forward to hearing your views on how our proposals can support a strong recovery from Covid.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery



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