Child Rights and Wellbeing Screening Sheet for the National Test Programme
1. Brief Summary
Name the policy, and describe its overall aims. Which National Outcomes does this policy/measure contribute to?
The National Test Programme sits in the wider context of transitioning agricultural support from the previous EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regime to a domestic future rural support framework delivering sustainable and regenerative agriculture. The learning provided from the National Test Programme will inform the further development of the future support framework and service design.
Participation in the Programme will be voluntary, but as the longer term future rural support framework is developed, it is intended that the certain measures and actions will become a mandatory requirement for accessing support. The Programme is therefore an opportunity for the Scottish Government to test potential options for some of these actions and measures.
The Programme will be split into two tracks:
Track One – Preparing for Sustainable Farming
This aims to encourage farms to improve their knowledge of their own current environmental performance and efficiency. Support will incentivise businesses to engage with and adopt measures that will create a baseline of information and understanding in sustainable agriculture. It will support activities that will aid transition towards a productive, highly resilient agriculture sector, based on the appropriate management of land and soils.
Every farmer, crofter and land manager in Scotland will be offered support to undertake a Carbon Audit. Once they have completed a Carbon Audit, or if they have already completed one, they can receive support for soil analysis. In addition, farmers and crofters with cattle will be provided with access to performance data relating to their herd.
Track Two – Testing Actions for Sustainable Farming
Track Two will include detailed testing of how new conditions or activities could be applied to future support, and to ensure delivery of environmental outcomes in a way that supports sustainable businesses. Once tested as part of the Programme, these can then inform future rural support which will be rolled out nationwide. As part of the livestock digital data project under this track, SAOS (3rd party) will work with a small number of beef farmers, in different geographic areas, to demonstrate the impact of agri-tech and specialist advice to inform future decisions on how advisory services and capital funding can support Scottish beef farming businesses to improve productivity.
The purpose of this track is to develop and test actions that are being considered as conditional elements of future direct support and to determine the data and metrics required to demonstrate they deliver against outcomes. The intention is that this will create a robust understanding of how new conditions or activities could be applied to future support, and ensure the delivery of environmental outcomes in a way that supports sustainable businesses.
The Programme is therefore aimed at the following outcomes of Scotland's National Performance Framework, as it supports the ongoing shift in rural policy towards being more environmentally sustainable and accountable and actively driving towards a greener economy:
- That people have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.
- That people value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment.
2. What aspects of the policy/measure will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?
The Articles of the UNCRC and the child wellbeing indicators under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 apply to all children and young people up to the age of 18, including non-citizen and undocumented children and young people.
The National Test Programme will provide support to farmers, crofters and land managers to encourage them to be aware of the environmental actions and metrics associated with their activities, in preparation for this becoming mandatory in the future as part of the shift towards a long term future rural policy framework.
The support that will be offered under Track One is being aimed at every farmer, crofter and land manager in Scotland that is currently eligible to receive support under the domestic continuation of the EU CAP. Participation is voluntary, and entry requirements are being set at a deliberately low level to try to minimise barriers to entry and encourage as many businesses as possible to participate. In addition, the support for soil analysis is being structured in such a way as to provide enough flexibility to meet the wide range in both size and type of farming systems across Scotland.
For Track Two, the number of participants will be limited in order to explore issues in more detail in a manageable fashion. Work is underway to establish a methodology for this, with statisticians from the Scottish Government Agricultural Analysis Unit designing a representative sample across all types of agriculture in Scotland. The sample will include a broad range of businesses, from those early adopters, likely to be ahead on the issues we wish to test, to those harder to reach businesses who may perceive greater barriers and are likely to need more support. Participation will still be voluntary, however.
Anyone aged 16 or over is able to submit an application to receive support under the domestic continuation of the CAP (and therefore support under Track One), although they also have to meet other eligibility requirements relating to active farming, cross-compliance, land eligibility, etc. It is therefore possible that a young person aged between 16 and 18 could participate in the Programme, if they wanted to.
It is not expected that the support provided under either Track One or Track Two of the Programme will have any other effect on children or young people up to the age of 18.
3. What likely impact – direct or indirect – will the policy/measure have on children and young people?
'Direct' impact refers to policies/measures where children and young people are directly affected by the proposed changes, e.g. in early years, education, child protection or looked after children (children in care).
'Indirect' impact refers to policies/measures that are not directly aimed at children
but will have an impact on them. Examples include: welfare reforms, parental leave, housing supply, or local transport schemes.
The majority of the agricultural workforce in Scotland is over the age of 55, while only 10% of the workforce is under the age of 41. It is therefore unlikely (although not impossible) that participants in the Programme will be under the age of 18.
In addition, the support offered under the Programme will focus on encouraging farmers, crofters and land managers to begin establishing their own baseline for climate change and biodiversity metrics through the use of carbon audits and soil analysis, and on the testing of more involved tools and advice that will establish a robust method through which they can record the benefits to climate and nature they deliver through their businesses. Participation in the Programme is also voluntary.
The Programme is therefore not likely to have an impact, either directly or indirectly, on children or young people under the age of 18.
4. Which groups of children and young people will be affected?
Under the UNCRC, 'children' can refer to: individual children, groups of children, or children in general. Some groups of children will relate to the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. 'Groups' can also refer to children by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance: e.g. preschool children, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children, young people who offend, victims of abuse or exploitation, child migrants, or children living in poverty.
Although it is unlikely that the Programme will impact on children and young people under the age of 18, as set out above, if there were to be any impact it would most likely affect children in rural areas.
5. Is a Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment required?
Please state if a CRWIA will be carried out or not. Please explain your reasons.
The National Test Programme offers support to farmers, crofters and land managers who are eligible for existing rural support payments under the current domestic extension of the EU CAP. Participation is voluntary, and although a young person aged between 16 and 18 could choose to apply (as long as they met the various other eligibility criteria), given the current age composition of the agricultural workforce in Scotland it is thought this would be unlikely. Furthermore, the support offered by the Programme is focussed on encouraging the collection of environmental metrics by individual businesses, and testing methods by which they can record the benefits to climate and nature they deliver, and so it is not thought that this will have any wider impact on children and young people, either directly or indirectly. A CRWIA is therefore not required.
6. Sign & Date
Policy Lead Signature & Date of Sign Off: Joanna Storer 11/08/2022
Deputy Director Signature & Date of Sign Off: John Kerr 26/8/22
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