Improving the lives of Gypsy/Travellers: 2019-2021

Joint action plan by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Our Actions

  • Provide more and better accommodation
  • Improve access to services
  • Improve incomes in and out of work
  • Tackle Racism and Discrimination
  • Improve Gypsy/Traveller Representation

Our actions provide more and better accommodation

Everybody has the right to a safe and secure home. We will work together to understand, consider and better meet the accommodation needs and aspirations of Gypsy/Travellers and support their right to travel.

Three commitments will help us make progress towards this goal. We will:

  • Ensure the needs of Gypsy/Travellers are appropriately and collectively resourced.
  • Ensure we understand the accommodation needs and preferences of Gypsy/Travellers to inform future provision.

We will do this by:

1. Making an additional capital investment up to £2m between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 in public sector Gypsy/Traveller sites, designed to improve quality of life.

2. Reviewing our housing and investment programmes to ensure the needs of Gypsy/Travellers are included and are appropriately and collectively resourced.

3. Working with Gypsy/Traveller communities so that we have a better understanding of their accommodation needs and preferences. Gypsy/Traveller accommodation will be considered as part of our approach to, and engagement on, housing to 2040. We are developing a vision for how we want our homes and communities to look and feel in 2040 and a route map to get there.

4. Taking action to ensure that all public sector sites meet the minimum standards and work with residents as part of this process.

5. Testing out positive approaches in five local areas that can strengthen the way we support families who are travelling.

6. Through the review of national planning policy we will ensure that Gypsy/Travellers have a stronger voice, at both national and local level, in guiding the future development of their places.

7. Holding a workshop with Gypsy/Travellers with lived experience of fuel poverty to understand how the Fuel Poverty Strategy and our programmes may need to be adapted to reflect the particular needs of the community.

Improve access to public services

Everyone should expect good quality public services. We will work together to ensure that Gypsy/Traveller communities understand their rights and are able to benefit from all of the services they are entitled to.

Three key commitments will help us make progress towards this goal. We will:

  • Work with Gypsy/Traveller communities to raise awareness of rights and entitlements.
  • Ensure that our public services are responsive to Gypsy/Travellers’ needs and preferences.
  • Test and share effective approaches to improving experiences of health and education services.

We will do this by:

8. Producing clear, accessible and appropriate information on rights and entitlements and how to access them (for example on Patient Rights).

9. Providing good quality training and advice to frontline public sector staff, on how to support Gypsy/Travellers to access services fairly (for example working with NHSScotland and Health and Social Care Partnerships to address specific health and social care needs, with solutions co-produced with Gypsy/Traveller communities).

10. Recruiting and supporting Community Health Workers from Gypsy/Traveller communities, to provide health advocacy on a wide range of health and social care issues, learning from good practice in other countries.

11. Improving Gypsy/Traveller access to maternal and child health services, including, offering dedicated income maximisation services to Gypsy/Traveller mums as part of the project, building on experiences from other projects.

12. Supporting community pharmacists to use health literacy tools and techniques, developed as part of the Health Literacy Action Plan for Scotland (2017-2025) and Primary Care Transformation.

13. Working with Gypsy/Traveller communities to identify what information and support they feel they trust and need to improve their mental health and well-being, as part of the Mental Health Strategy in Scotland (2017-2027).

14. Exploring barriers to Gypsy/Traveller uptake of early learning and childcare, with a view to increasing uptake of the enhanced funded entitlement of 1140 hours from August 2020.

15. Developing partnerships with young people and their families to improve our understanding of the barriers to taking part in learning and develop strategies that will address them.

16. Working with Gypsy/Traveller families in four areas to trial new approaches to increase digital access, skills and confidence to participate in learning.

17. Providing professional learning resources and support networks for education staff across all stages of learning so that they have the knowledge and skills to support the educational needs of Gypsy/Traveller pupils and their families.

Better incomes in and out of work

Gypsy/Traveller communities are at high risk of poverty. We will work with Gypsy/Travellers both in and out of work to maximise family incomes, address financial exclusion and improve opportunities for good quality employment.

Three key commitments will help us make progress towards this goal. We will:

  • Help to maximise incomes and increase uptake of social security.
  • Support Gypsy/Travellers to overcome barriers to work, and in-work poverty.
  • Take action to reduce daily living costs.

We will do this by:

18. Developing and delivering appropriate training and guidance to ensure that Social Security Scotland provides the best possible service to Gypsy/Traveller communities.

19. Working in partnership with the third sector to maximise the take-up of benefits administered by Social Security Scotland amongst Gypsy/Traveller communities.

20. Delivering proactive and focused work to enable Gypsy/Travellers to benefit from services provided by Skills Development Scotland. This will include careers information, advice and guidance, work-based learning and employability programmes as well as promoting the opportunities offered through Scotland’s Enterprising Schools.

21. Providing paid work experience opportunities for Gypsy/Travellers within the Scottish Government and its agencies (for example Social Security Scotland).

22. Offering tailored support to Gypsy/Traveller communities to encourage people to consider and apply for permanent jobs in Social Security Scotland.

23. Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF) will offer key worker support for Gypsy/Traveller parents, as part of our wider strategy to address child poverty. This targeted support helps parents to access employment. For those already in jobs it helps to develop their skills to ensure they can sustain and progress in employment, increasing their income and lifting them and their families out of poverty.

24. Working with Gypsy/Traveller women and local authorities to ensure access to free sanitary products, whether in fixed locations on sites or in mobile units. This will be supplemented by training provided by the “Hey Girls” Education Officer to key staff who work with Gypsy/Traveller communities.

25. Working with Gypsy/Traveller communities to develop a pilot “community larder” project and promoting the Fair Food Fund amongst Gypsy/Traveller networks.

26. Providing initial support/training to increase digital participation on sites.

Tackle racism and discrimination

Gypsy/Travellers experience high levels of racism and discrimination and are often stigmatised because of their identity. We will work to bring about a zero-tolerance approach to racism and unfair treatment towards Gypsy/Traveller communities.

Three key commitments will help us make progress towards this goal. Working in partnership, we will:

  • Provide leadership to challenge racism and discrimination.
  • Promote Gypsy/Traveller’s rights.
  • Recognise and value Gypsy/Traveller history and culture.

We will do this by:

27. Bringing together senior leaders from across the public sector to strengthen the way services respond to discrimination towards Gypsy/Travellers including through the provision of training.

28. Creating a “Local Leaders” network of politicians from across Scotland to champion Gypsy/Traveller’s rights and help to deliver the action plan in local communities and supporting local actions.

29. Working with Gypsy/Traveller communities to design a “One Scotland” marketing campaign, raising awareness of Gypsy/Travellers’ positive role in Scotland’s communities, and promoting strong messages to counter discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

30. Supporting Gypsy/Roma/Traveller History Month (June) with financial and practical help, as a valued contribution to Scotland’s cultural calendar.

Improve Gypsy/Traveller representation

Too often, Gypsy/Travellers are not represented in our decision-making forums. We will work to make sure that Gypsy/Travellers have opportunities, encouragement and any support they might need to take a seat at the table and have a voice in decisions that affect them and their communities.

Improve Gypsy/Traveller representation

Three key commitments will help us make progress towards this goal. We will:

  • Strengthen community development and engagement.
  • Work with Gypsy/Travellers to improve their involvement in national and local decision-making.
  • Support a national Gypsy/Traveller “movement for change”.

We will do this by:

31. Helping to secure representation on key advisory groups and decision-making bodies on issues that are important to them (on a national and local level).

32. Supporting local authorities and the wider public sector to listen to Gypsy/Travellers in their areas in a meaningful and supportive way and engage them through local policy, planning and budgetary processes.

33. Providing practical and financial support to enable Gypsy/Traveller communities to shape national policy agendas and local priorities and to assess the progress we are making (£100,000 in 2019-2020).



Back to top