Developing a local child poverty action report: guidance

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

Guidance on the reporting process

Working in partnership 

The Act requires that LCPARs are prepared and published jointly by Local Authorities and Health Boards.

Local Leads are also encouraged to engage with third sector partners and with experts by experience in creating their reports. This is in keeping with wider duties on local authorities and their planning partners to ensure they are involving local communities in decision making (Community Empowerment Act, Equalities Act, Best Value, Children’s Services Planning).

Partnership: experts by experience

LCPARs should be developed with the involvement of people with direct experience of poverty. As the Poverty & Inequality Commission has stated:

“We know that people with lived experience are experts because of their experience and bring knowledge and ideas that are needed to successfully tackle poverty. Scotland needs their expertise at the centre of work to reduce poverty.”

Advice on engaging people with direct experience of poverty in designing and implementing anti-poverty action has been produced through ‘Get Heard Scotland’.

Note that the priority family groups have varying experiences of poverty and so it is important to consult with multiple priority groups in designing local approaches to tackling poverty.

Engaging with lived experience – case studies

Case study: Perth & Kinross Scorecard

Perth & Kinross teamed up with parents from priority families to co-produce a Children’s Scorecard to measure the reach and effectiveness of the Perth and Kinross Offer to families and children affected by poverty.

Case study: Midlothian & Get Heard Scotland

In 2019, supported by Poverty Alliance, Midlothian held conversations with 41 people who had been affected by poverty. Their feedback on what was going well in the area and what change was needed was included in the Year 2 LCPAR and is intended to inform a 2022-25 Child Poverty Action Plan for Midlothian.

Case study: End Poverty Edinburgh

End Poverty Edinburgh is an independent group of citizens formed in 2020 to raise awareness of poverty in Edinburgh, influence decision-making and hold the city to account. Supported by the Poverty Alliance, group members have worked together over the last year to build their knowledge and capacity. Group members were involved in the process of preparing the LCPAR, by meeting with officers to discuss progress and sharing their views on progress and priority next steps

Case study: West Lothian Young People’s Anti-Poverty Consultation

The council’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) Youth Services Team worked with a group of 18 teenagers to find out more about young people’s lived experience of poverty. The findings of the consultation were presented in a video followed by opportunities for the young people to become Anti-Poverty Champions and form a steering group.

The effectiveness of case studies in communicating local action on child poverty can also be seen in this selection from PHS.

Partnership: local partners

LCPARs are intended to support a strategic and joined up approach to policy and practice across the wide range of services and policy areas. Existing partnerships might facilitate collaborative creation of LCPARs.

The Policy memorandum to the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act highlights that Community Planning Partnerships may be helpful vehicles in co-ordinating Local Child Poverty Action Reporting.

Local leads may also consider engaging the following groups in their work to develop and deliver their LCPAR:

  • Integration Joint Board
  • Local Employability Partnership
  • Regional Economic Partnership
  • Equality Councils
  • Local organisations representing the priority family groups

Children’s Services Planning Partnership:

In line with local authority, health board and ‘other service providers’ duties under Part 3 (Children’s Services Planning) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, action to tackle child poverty should clearly align with the local realisation of Children’s Services Planning duties to safeguard, support and promote wellbeing. This includes making sure delivery of local support to children, young people and families at a strategic, operational, and frontline practice level, is experienced in a joined-up way.

It is helpful for LCPARs to clearly reflect the range of partners involved in action at local level to tackle child poverty, including information on:

  • the range of organisations who were involved in delivering the activity set out in the reports
  • how local authorities and health boards have engaged with partners on a  strategic basis across key areas such as education (including further and  higher), economic development, money advice services, childcare, housing, transport, physical and mental health care, and children’s services.
  • the role played by each organisation in both planning and delivery of the activity outlined
  • how local partnership working is enabling more holistic support for families

Local governance

It is up to local authorities and health boards to decide on an appropriate approval process for LCPARs. As noted on p4, the nature of that approval process may differ depending on whether the LCPAR is a multi-year strategic report, an annual update, or a document combining other reporting duties.

A key function of the LCPAR process is building connections at local level. Reports can inform and bring together local stakeholders and officials to unite efforts on tackling child poverty. The Poverty and Inequality Commission’s review of year one LCPARs highlighted the importance of leadership at all levels to effectively delivery on the tackling child poverty agenda. To ensure shared focus and prioritisation of tackling child poverty, it is suggested that chief executives from each Local Authority and Health Board sign off on their LCPAR.

When should LCPARs be published?

The Act says: “as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each reporting year”

Beyond this requirement, there is no set deadline for publishing LCPARs - local areas are to schedule annual reporting as they see fit.

The Scottish Government’s annual progress reports on the delivery plan are required to be submitted by the end of June. Local partners may wish to align with this timescale. It is also advisable to take into account the meeting schedules of relevant committees and boards when scheduling the LCPARs approval process.

Local authorities and health boards should ensure their report is published on their organisation’s website and relevant partnership websites. Where possible, local leads should also make national partners aware of the publication of their report via the contact details on the Improvement Service (IS) website including where this has been incorporated with other aligned planning and reporting duties.

Links with other local reporting duties

Being aware of other local reporting duties may highlight sources of relevant information, help to avoid duplication of efforts, and inform the scheduling of LCPARs in light of the demands on local officials. It is helpful if links to other reporting/strategies are made clear in the LCPAR. If appropriate, LCPARs can be produced in conjunction with a related local plan/strategy.

Some of the local reporting duties relevant to tackling child poverty are summarised below.

Children & Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Part 3)

A joint duty is placed on Local Authorities and Health Boards to produce:

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

A duty is placed on CPPs to produce:

  • Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) (Annual progress reports)
  • Locality plans, at a more local level for areas experiencing particular disadvantage (Annual progress reports) LOIP and locality plans - statutory guidance

Education (Scotland) Act 2016

A duty is placed on Education Authorities to report on:

Tackling child poverty overlaps with the Fairer Scotland Duty which requires various public bodies to demonstrate due regard for reducing socioeconomic inequalities when decision-making. Read this guidance on this duty for public bodies.

Island Local Authorities and Health Board should also note that the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 sets out the requirement to complete an Island Communities Impact Assessments in relation to any policy, strategy or service which is likely to effect an island community differently to other communities (including other island communities) – See this Guidance and toolkit for Island Communities Impact Assessments.

*Children’s services plan

Each local authority and relevant health board are also required to ensure relevant national outcomes and objectives are reflected within their Children’s Services Plan. This includes the national commitment to reducing child poverty, and it therefore may be beneficial to align with this annual reporting. The third cycle of Children’s Services Plans 3-year plans runs from 2023 to 2026.

Part 3 statutory guidance on Children’s Services Planning recommends that actions and indicators on child poverty recorded in the Children’s Services Plan also form a key element of the annual LCPAR, and that each report should cross-refer to the other.

Information on child poverty, should inform the evidence-based joint strategic needs assessment required as part of developing each area’s Children’s Services Plan, to ensure this is robust and explicitly set out needs of the current local population of children, young people and families.

Linking reports

As highlighted previously, local leads may choose to amalgamate LCPARs with other reporting duties, e.g. Children’s Services Plans. The Care Inspectorate’s ‘10 steps to successful Children’s Services Planning’ highlights opportunities to reduce the number of separate and sometimes disconnected local planning forums, through including related agendas - e.g. children’s rights, child protection, child poverty - as a discreet section of the Children’s Services Plan.

As with LCPARs, Children’s Services Plans and Local Outcome Improvement Plans and Annual reports call for local needs assessments, connecting with local partners, and development of local indicators and outcomes. Combing efforts on these activities for the benefit of more than one report and/or providing links between reports can prevent duplication. 

If combining LCPARs with another plan/report/strategy, it is vital that the statutory requirements for LCPARs and the principles of good reporting set out in this guidance remain clear.

Timeline of child poverty reporting and related reporting requirements 2022-2030

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