Publication - Impact assessment

Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill: business and regulatory impact assessment

Published: 8 Oct 2021

Business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) for the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill.

Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill: business and regulatory impact assessment
Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

1.0 Title of Proposal

1.1 Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill

2.0 Purpose and intended effect

Background

2.1 The Bill underpins the work that is already underway, or planned, across the Scottish Government to deliver the Good Food Nation ambition.

2.2 This ambition was set out in 'Recipe for Success: Scotland's National Food and Drink Policy – Becoming a Good Food Nation'[1] published in 2014. This set out a vision for Scotland: that by 2025 Scotland will be "a Good Food Nation, where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve and eat day-by-day".

2.3 To help with this vision, the non-statutory Food Commission was established in 2015 to provide advice on the existing and future challenges facing Scotland's food culture and to advise how these might be addressed. The Commission submitted its recommendations in December 2017, and held its final meeting in June 2018.

2.4 Much work is being carried out to achieve the aim of becoming a Good Food Nation as set out in the 'Good Food Nation Programme of Measures'[2], which was first published in September 2018 and updated in November 2019. The Scottish Government undertook to consult on proposals for legislation that would help to underpin the significant work already undertaken across Government in terms of key measures and activity to deliver a Good Food Nation.

2.5 The 'Consultation on Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation'[3] was published in December 2018 and the Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation: analysis of consultation responses'[4] was published in September 2019.

2.6 Programme for Government 2019-20 contained a commitment to lay a Good Food Nation Bill before Parliament and work was well underway to prepare a Bill for introduction.

2.7 The need for Parliamentary time to debate and implement emergency Covid-19 legislation means this Bill was not introduced in the last Parliamentary term. The 2021 SNP manifesto (published April 2021) committed to bringing forward a Good Food Nation Bill in this term and the introduction of the Bill forms part of the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Shared Policy Programme.

Objective

2.8 The Bill is high level and places duties on the Scottish Ministers to set out a national good food nation plan and makes provision as to the effect of that plan. The Scottish Ministers are required to have regard to the national good food nation plan in the exercise of functions to be specified in secondary legislation. The Bill requires the Scottish Ministers to have regard to certain international instruments with preparing the national good food nation plan.

2.9 The national good food nation plans required by the Bill must set out:

  • the main outcomes in respect of food-related issues which the Scottish Ministers want to be achieved in relation to Scotland;
  • indicators or other measures by which progress in achieving the outcomes may be assessed; and
  • the policies which the Scottish Ministers intend to pursue in order to secure the achievement of the outcomes.

2.10 Similar requirements are placed on health boards, local authorities and other public authorities (collectively referred to as "relevant authorities") as may be specified, who are required to publish a good food nation plan and to have regard to that plan when exercising specified functions. They are required to have regard to the Scottish Ministers' national good food nation plan when preparing their own good food nation plan.

2.11 The good food nation plans may include such other material in relation to food-related issues as the Scottish Ministers or relevant authorities consider appropriate. The Scottish Ministers or relevant authorities are to have regard to the scope for food-related issues to affect outcomes in relation to social and economic wellbeing; the environment; health; and economic development when determining the content of the plans.

Rationale for Government intervention

2.12 The Bill underpins work already being carried out or planned and establishes a statutory requirement for Scottish Ministers and specified relevant authorities to consider a good food nation plan when carrying out specified functions.

2.13 The cross cutting nature of the Bill is reflected in the contribution it makes to several National Outcomes that are set out in the National Performance Framework. Consideration of the good food nation plans will lead to a more co-ordinated approach to delivery of the Good Food Nation ambition in Scotland and to the National Outcomes listed below.

  • Health: We are healthy and active;
  • Children and Young People: We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential;
  • Education: We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society;
  • Poverty: We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally;
  • Economy: We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy;
  • Environment: We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment;
  • Communities: We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe;

Human Rights: We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination

3.0 Consultation

Within Government

3.1 The Bill was developed with input from a wide range of policy areas and the BRIA was discussed at a framing workshop for the impact assessments associated with the Bill. The following government departments have been consulted in the preparation of this BRIA:

  • Social Justice Delivery Unit
  • Zero Waste Delivery
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit
  • Creating Health Branch
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Local Government Policy and Relationships Unit
  • Food and Drink Industry Growth
  • Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services (RESAS)

3.2 The consultation across government departments has helped shape the policy making process by confirming that there would be limited impact on businesses as the Bill does not impose new duties on businesses. However, the importance of obtaining the views of businesses and the need for ongoing engagement during the process of development of the Bill was emphasised and this was taken into account during the drafting of this BRIA.

Public Consultation

3.3 In December 2018 the Scottish Government published the 'Consultation on Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation'[5] on proposals for legislation. The consultation closed in April 2019 and the Good Food Nation Proposals for Legislation: analysis of consultation responses[6] was published in September 2019.

3.4 From the 1,360 responses received, once blank responses, duplicates and campaign responses were removed there were 802 formal responses to the consultation, 175 from organisations and 627 from individuals. There were two campaigns submitted to this consultation, one initiated by the Trussell Trust (40 submissions) and one initiated by the Scottish Food Coalition (457 submissions).

3.5 The key findings from the consultation analysis report were:

  • the overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposal for the preparation of plans of policy on food (good food nation plans) by the Scottish Ministers and specified public authorities;
  • almost all respondents agreed that Government should encourage and enable businesses to play their part in achieving the Good Food Nation ambition (this would not be through legislation or obligations);
  • most respondents did not agree with the proposals for accountability and 44% of respondents saw a need for an independent statutory body to oversee all aspects of food in Scotland;
  • more respondents agreed than disagreed with the proposal for targeted legislation relevant to specific policy areas (e.g. on health, education or food waste) as an alternative to a single piece of legislation;
  • although the consultation did not include a question about the right to food, there were requests from around a third of consultation respondents for the right to food to be enshrined in law, although not explicitly through the Good Food Nation legislation; and
  • the most significant campaign response, from the Scottish Food Coalition (with 457 submissions) outlined 5 key elements for the Bill, i.e. the 'right to food' in law; setting targets for improving the food system; setting new requirements for public bodies; having a Scottish National Food Plan; and the creation of a statutory Food Commission.

Business

3.6 The Bill does not impose any duties on businesses and no major concerns were raised by businesses in response to the consultation, which included a question asking to what extent Government should encourage and enable businesses to play their part in achieving the Good Food Nation ambition. The responses to this question demonstrated that almost all respondents to the consultation agreed that businesses should be involved in achieving the Good Food Nation ambition. Half of those that responded to this question thought this could be via means other than legislation and that businesses needed to be supported, encouraged or incentivised as opposed to being forced or regulated to play their part in achieving the Good Food Nation ambition.

3.7 The Bill does not require private companies to set out a good food nation plan. The intention is that the Scottish Ministers and relevant authorities will provide a public lead on the delivery of the Good Food Nation policy and in doing so will provide an example for other organisations, including private businesses, to follow.

3.8 This was taken into consideration in the framing workshop on impact assessments during the development of the Bill. The conclusion from the workshop was that input from businesses into the BRIA should be based on obtaining their views on the proposals for the Bill via the ongoing stakeholder engagement during the development of the Bill rather than by carrying out face to face interviews with businesses.

3.9 As part of the engagement during the development of the Bill representatives of Food and Drink Federation Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink and Scottish Retail Consortium attended a meeting in February 2020 with key third sector stakeholders and the then Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism. The discussion at this meeting focussed on the proposals for the Bill as set out in the consultation document and the aim was to obtain views from a range of stakeholders on what they expected from the Bill.

3.10 The organisations representing food and drink businesses were supportive of the concept of a Bill with a food policy led focus. They cautioned that incorporating too much detail into the Bill could have unintended consequences for businesses. The importance of having evidence to support incorporating specific actions into the Bill was emphasised and there was some concern from business representatives that without such evidence there was a risk of a negative impact on businesses.

4.0 Options

4.1 Option 1 – Continue the work to achieve a Good Food Nation without a Bill.

4.2 As outlined in the updated Programme of Measures published in November 2019 there is a wide variety of work that is being undertaken, or planned, to achieve the ambition of Scotland being a Good Food Nation. This work would continue in the absence of legislation such as the Bill but would lack the statutory requirement for the Scottish Ministers or relevant authorities to consider the good food nation plans when carrying out specified functions.

4.3 This would mean the ongoing work would not benefit from a more co-ordinated approach to the setting of main outcomes which the Scottish Ministers and certain other bodies want to be achieved in relation to food, and their policies to achieve those outcomes, supported by indicators or other measures to assess progress.

4.4 There would be no change in the sectors or groups affected who would continue to benefit from the ongoing work.

4.5 There would be no change to the costs of delivering this work as there would be no extra requirements placed on those delivering the work.

4.6 Option 2 – Lay a Good Food Nation Bill before Parliament to place duties on the Scottish Ministers to set out a national good food nation plan with regard to food and have regard to this plan in the exercise of relevant functions. Similar requirements would be placed on specified public authorities, i.e. local authorities and Health Boards.

4.7 This was the chosen option and a commitment was made in the Programme for Government 2019-20 to lay a Good Food Nation Bill before Parliament.

4.8 After a pause when the Bill was dropped from the legislative programme owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the commitment to introducing a Bill has been restated in the SNP manifesto (published April 2021) and the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Shared Policy Programme.

4.9 The duties in the Bill will affect the Scottish Ministers and relevant authorities. There will be costs involved with regard to preparing, consulting on and publishing the good food nation plan and complying with the reporting requirements as set out in the Bill.

4.10 Estimates of costs have been provided for the Scottish Administration and local authorities (see Table 1). Health Boards will have similar requirements to local authorities but as they already have policies in place in order to report on various matters relating to food and nutrition in hospitals it is not considered that the Bill will result in additional costs.

4.11 There are no costs on other bodies, individuals and businesses arising from the provisions of the Bill.

Table 1: Costs for developing good food nation plans and consulting, publishing and reporting on these plans
Year 1 Staff resource Consultation (range) Publication (range) Total (range)
Scottish Administration £23,272 £5,500-£10,000 £500-£1,000 £29,272-£34,272
Local authorities £744,704 £80,000-£144,000 £16,000-£32,000 £840,704-£920,704
Total       £869,976-£954,976
Every other year subsequently Staff resource Consultation (range) Publication (range) Total (range)
Scottish Administration £6,173 N/A £500- £1,000 £6,673 - £7,173
Local authorities £197,536 N/A £16,000-£32,000 £213,536-£229,536
Total       £220,209-£236,709
Every fifth year subsequently Staff resource Consultation (range) Publication (range) Total (range)
Scottish Administration £6,549 £5,500-£10,000 £500-£1,000 £12,549-£17,549
Local authorities £209,568 £80,000-£144,000 £16,000-£32,000 £305,568-£385,568
Total       £318,117-£403,117

5.0 Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring

5.1 The Scottish Ministers and the specified relevant authorities are required to publish and, in the case of the Scottish Ministers, lay before the Scottish Parliament, a report that sets out progress towards achieving the outcomes set out in the good food nation plans. The reports will refer to the indicators or other measures that are contained in the relevant good food nation plan. The Bill requires a report to be published every two years.

5.2 As the Bill does not impose duties on businesses there are no reporting requirements for businesses.

6.0 Implementation and delivery plan

6.1 After the Bill has received Royal Assent some provisions will commence immediately and others will be commenced by regulations made by the Scottish Ministers. There will be a requirement for the Scottish Ministers and relevant authorities to publish the relevant good food nation plan within 12 months of the relevant section of the Bill coming into force.

7.0 Summary and recommendation

7.1 The Bill does not impose duties on businesses so this BRIA is high level and summarises views in relation to businesses from the consultation and the ongoing engagement with businesses during the development of the Bill.

8.0 Declaration and publication

Sign-off for Final BRIAs:

I have read the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that (a) it represents a fair and reasonable view of the expected costs, benefits and impact of the policy, and (b) that the benefits justify the costs. I am satisfied that business impact has been assessed with the support of businesses in Scotland.

Signed:

Date: 7th September 2021

Minister's name: Mairi Gougeon

Minister's title: Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands

Scottish Government Contact point: Tracy McCollin


Contact

Email: goodfoodnation@gov.scot