Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID 19 risk assessments: FOI release

Published: 21 Jul 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
21 Jul 2021
COVID 19 risk assessments: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100216190
Date received: 22 Jun 2021
Date responded: 20 Jul 2021
Information requested

1.The complete set of Risk Assessments, including the Risk Matrix and detailed procedure on how the risk is assessed that covers all industries, including the lockdowns of the general population and restrictions and how the risk of Covid-19 is affected by age across the whole of Scotland, including dates the risk assessments were created and how often/when they are reviewed.

2. Who the authority is on creating the risk assessments that result in the control measures currently in place in Scotland, and where the authority is laid down in law?

3. How the likelihood versus severity is measured, and the supporting evidence used to ascertain the likelihood and severity.

4. How the risk assessments form part of the road map out of restrictions.

5. What means has been used to allow members of the public and private sector the opportunity to review the risk assessments and how you are managing the communication of those with the general public.

6. The complete set of risk assessments related to the vaccination program across all age groups which includes pre-existing medical conditions, interaction with current medication and known allergies and what steps have been taken to evaluate the risk on persons who take or do not take the vaccination in regards to the aforementioned conditions and how this relates to the public's wellbeing, health and basic human rights and how those assessments are communicated to people prior to getting vaccinated via informed consent.

Response

Questions 1-5:

Scotland has been following a strategic approach to suppress the virus, based on five levels of protection. This is outlined in Scotland’s Strategic Framework. This was most recently updated in June 2021, to set out how and why our COVID-19response strategy is changing in light of new conditions and what a move beyond Level 0 will look like. You can read this here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework update - June 2021 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The Scottish Government’s response to the pandemic has been rooted in the ‘four harms approach’, as outlined in our Framework for Decision Making. The four harms include societal impacts – acknowledging that restrictions can have an impact on people's wellbeing – as well as direct COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health impacts, and the impact on our economy. Further details of this and how these are considered in our decision making are provided on our website at: https://data.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/.

Evidence has been published which outlines the four harms process for the assessment used to establish when coronavirus restrictions could be safely lifted after lockdown and the scientific evidence underpinning these decisions. If you would like to read this in further detail, it is available on the Scottish Government website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - assessing the four harms - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

By way of explanation, it is not ‘risk assessments’ which are carried out but the aforementioned Four Harms assessment process which informs the levels-based approach to restrictions. The legislation that implements this levels-based approach is the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. These regulations are regularly reviewed to ensure they are proportionate and justified. You may also be interested in the Impact Assessments which accompany each set of regulations which are laid before Parliament; these can be read online here: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (legislation.gov.uk).

This levels-based approach was developed in order to take a tailored, proportionate approach to curbing the spread of COVID-19. The evidence which informed the rationale for these decisions is available on the Scottish Government website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): protection levels - reviews and evidence - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). This also outlines that Scottish Government engages on an ongoing basis with its public sector partners, and we also continue to engage with key stakeholder groups such as the Scottish Trades Union Congress and business leaders in the formation of policy and decision making in relation to COVID-19 measures.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

You may also be interested to know that in September, the Scottish Government will publish a review paper which outlines the conditions which supported our approach to easing lockdown measures alongside World Health Organisation criteria. An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to this information, as the Scottish Government already plans to publish this information within the next 12 weeks. This information will be made available upon publication on the Scottish Government website: Publications - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG