Recommendation and Conclusion
The Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme will likely have a positive impact on a wide range of children with protected characteristics. This policy will provide an opportunity to enhance a child or young person's wellbeing by learning about good nutrition, a healthy diet and positive eating habits which will encourage good practice so it can be taken forward into different times in their lives. Similarly, a balanced diet and good feeding habits are essential for the healthy growth and development of children during the early years of life. While this Scheme is universal, a key driver of this policy is around prevention and early intervention, and we would expect to see positive impacts for some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland attending registered day care and childminder settings in Scotland.
Increasing the eligibility age of the new Scheme to include all preschool children will enable a larger number of children to benefit from this Scheme. Increasing the available animal milks (goat and sheep) and including unsweetened calcium enriched non-dairy alternative drinks and the offer of a healthy snack item (a portion of fresh fruit or vegetables) within the Scheme will provide a greater choice to those children who do not drink cow's milk for medical, ethical or religious reasons. While non-dairy alternative drinks are not nutritionally equivalent to animal milks, they nonetheless provide more nutritional advantage than no alternative.
As a result of this EQIA we have not identified any specific negative impacts based on the equalities assessment.
We did receive one piece of feedback highlighting that should the Scheme not be administered or funded properly, this could have a negative impact on the provision of milk and healthy snack to children. However, these comments did not pick up any specific equalities issues, and the issues raised around administration and delivery are reflected in the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.
We also received feedback querying the impact of the Scheme for provision of milk for children under 5 in schools. Again, these did not raise any specific equalities issues, so have been picked up in the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.
We have engaged with relevant stakeholders throughout this policy making process and will continue to do so to make sure the policy is well informed and that any equality issues that may arise will be dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. The EQIA has been at the forefront when developing this policy and has allowed us to identify and engage with key groups to help make a meaningful impact on helping to improve the outcomes for children.
There are no new areas identified in this EQIA at this point which have not already been considered in delivering this policy. As the EQIA has not identified any new policy areas to address, the cost implications are not expected to differ from what was previously envisaged.