Developing a local child poverty action report: guidance

Guidance for local authorities on developing a local child poverty action report.

Guidance on report contents

Contributing to the targets: measures taken and proposed

The Act requires descriptions of measures taken and measures proposed to contribute to meeting the child poverty targets.

It is up to local partners to identify how best to tackle child poverty in their local area and the actions that are most sensible, relevant and practical.

Evidence tells us that the three drivers of poverty are

  • income from employment
  • cost of living
  • income from social security and benefits in kind

We know that impacting these drivers will impact levels of child poverty and so a focus on them is strongly encouraged. Local partners may wish to make clear in their reports which driver(s) each activity aims to address and how their contribution might be assessed. As set out in ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’, supporting families calls for a holistic approach so, often an action will influence more than one driver.

As well as documenting actions contributing directly to the targets, local partners might consider how their actions will:

  • reduce poverty between now and 2030
  • have potentially longer term preventative outcomes (See Part C of ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’ on supporting the next generation to thrive.)
  • improve the wellbeing of families experiencing poverty
  • deliver on ambitions of related plans, e.g. local Children’s Services Plan
  • support care experienced communities and Keeping the Promise

Income maximisation

The Act requires that local authorities and NHS boards must report on income maximisation measures including providing advice about eligibility for financial support and assisting applications for financial support for pregnant women and families with children.

Note that an important part of action to maximise income is marketing these services, so local leads might include reporting on how they ensure priority families are aware of and accessing the support available.

See ‘Reporting on income maximisation: examples’ for examples of Local Child Poverty Action Reporting on income maximisation.

Protected characteristics

The Act requires LCPARs to describe measures (taken and proposed) relating to children in households whose income or expenditure is adversely affected because a member of the household has one or more protected characteristics.

Protected Characteristics, as set out in the Equality Act 2010:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Note that, under The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012, public authorities are required to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy on those with protected characteristics. By example, see the Equality Impact Assessment produced alongside ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’ which details how different sectors of the population are likely to be affected by the plan’s actions, in relation to the above characteristics. Whilst a full Equality Impact Assessment will be required for new and revised policy contained within the LCPAR, rather than for the LCPAR itself, it may be useful to link to these assessments and provide a summary assessment for the LCPAR as a whole.

Priority families

Several of these protected characteristics are also reflected in the six priority family groups, which evidence tells us are at highest risk of experiencing child poverty. 90% of children in poverty live in these priority groups so a focus on these families in anti-poverty strategies is strongly encouraged. ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’  targets its actions toward the priority family groups and local leads are encouraged to give particular consideration to these groups in their practice and reporting on tackling child poverty.

This evidence pack highlights key issues for each of the priority family types. The pack explains that there is a need for a person-centred, holistic approach, within a framework of understanding structural barriers, in order to avoid perpetuating stereotyping and stigma.

The priority family types are listed below alongside links to information about the group and the targeted support they need:

Lone parents

Families where a member of the household is disabled

Families with 3 or more children

Minority ethnic families

Families where the youngest child is under 1

Mothers aged under 25

N.B. Local organisations composed of/representing the interests of priority families may be able to offer good insight into barriers/challenges facing each group. They may also be able to assist in developing engagement particular communities or be connected with trusted intermediaries who could help with this.

Giving special consideration to priority groups involves understanding the unique barriers and needs associated with each group and tailoring support accordingly, as well as recognising the intersectional effects of belonging to more than one priority family type. Key to ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’ is a focus on transforming how we deliver for families, ensuring support is holistic and person-centred. Local partners are essential to achieving this objective and uniquely placed to report on its progress. This should be reflected in LCPARs, highlighting how actions taken/proposed address priority families’ needs in a tailored, integrated way.

Examples of local reporting on priority families in LCPARs can be found in ‘Reporting on priority families: examples’.

Care experienced

Although ‘care experienced’ is not presently a protected group, our shared commitment to Keep The Promise by 2030 provides opportunity to consider how our approach to families who are on the edge of care as a result of poverty are best supported to help them stay together where it is safe to do so.

Local Joint Need Assessments identify groups of children, young people and families who may be in need of extra support or particular consideration, including e.g. those impacted by involvement of a young person or parent/carer in the justice system, and those subject to child protection measures.

[1] The Act uses “measure” to refer to policy/action. Unless quoting the Act, this guidance uses “action” in its place to avoid confusion with “measure” as in measuring impact.

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