Investing in planning - resourcing Scotland's planning system consultation: impact assessments

This consultation on resourcing Scotland’s planning system responds to current resourcing challenges. It builds on ideas generated in a stakeholder workshop held in November 2023, and sets out a series of proposals which aim to improve capacity and build resilience.

What are the impact assessments?

What is the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)?

The Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) is used to identify, research, analyse and record the impact of a proposed policy on children's human rights and wellbeing. CRWIA helps the Scottish Government consider whether it is: advancing the rights of children in Scotland; and protecting and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people.

CRWIA is a Ministerial duty under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

What is an Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA)?

An EQIA aims to consider how a policy (a policy can cover: activities, functions, strategies, programmes, and services or processes) may impact, either positively or negatively, on different sectors of the population in different ways.

The Equality Act 2010 harmonised existing equality legislation. It covers the characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, sex including pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.

The Equality Act 2010 includes a public sector equality duty ('the general Duty') which requires public authorities to pay due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation or any other prohibited conduct;
  • Advance equality of opportunity; and
  • Foster good relations between different groups – by tackling prejudice and promoting understanding.

In 2012 Scottish Ministers made regulations that placed specific duties on Scottish public bodies to help them meet the general Duty. These include a requirement to assess the impact of new policies or practices.

What is the Fairer Scotland Duty (FSD) assessment?

The Fairer Scotland Duty is set out in legislation as Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, and came into force in Scotland from April 2018. The aim of the duty is to help the public sector to make better policy decisions and deliver fairer outcomes. The duty focuses on socio-economic inequality issues such as low income, low wealth, and area deprivation.

The Fairer Scotland Duty applies to 'decisions of a strategic nature' – these are the key, high-level choices or plans that the public sector makes.

What is an Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA)?

An Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) tests any new policy, strategy or service which is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from the effect on other communities. This became a legal duty in December 2020 under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.

What is Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)?

In Scotland, public bodies and private companies operating in a public character, such as utility companies, are required to assess, consult on, and monitor the likely impacts their plans, programmes and strategies will have on the environment. This process is known as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and is required under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

SEA helps to better protect the environment, aims to ensure that any development is sustainable, and increases opportunities for public participation in decision-making. It ensures that expert views are sought at various points in the preparation process from the public and the consultation authorities, who are:

  • Scottish Natural Heritage (now known as Nature Scot)
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Historic Environment Scotland.

What is the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)?

A Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) looks at the likely costs, benefits and risks of any proposed primary or secondary legislation. It also covers voluntary regulation, codes of practice, guidance, or policy changes that may have an impact on the public, private or third sector.

The BRIA explains:

  • the reason why the Scottish Government is proposing to intervene;
  • options the Scottish Government is considering, and which one is preferred;
  • how and to what extent new policies may impact on Scottish Government, business and on Scotland's competitiveness; and
  • the estimated costs and benefits of proposed measures.



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