Programme for Government 2016 to 2017

The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2016 to 2017 sets out the actions we will take in the forthcoming year and beyond.

This document is part of a collection

3 Transforming Public Services - Nurturing Our NHS, Working For A Healthier Scotland, and Making Scotland Safer

Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

High quality public services play a vital role in making Scotland stronger and fairer and delivering inclusive economic growth.

The integration of health and social care, police and fire reform, and the consolidation of further education provision have all been designed to increase efficiency, expand collaboration and place the needs and aspirations of the people at the centre of the work of our public services.

The scale of current financial challenges and increasing levels of demand remain with us. We value our public services and we want everyone to have a say in how they are run and to benefit equally from the services provided. The digital revolution is transformational, creating opportunities for services to be more user-friendly and cost-effective.

We have also supported an increased role for our social enterprise sector in delivering the services that people want and care about. We champion social enterprises as living examples of what an inclusive economy looks like.

We believe our NHS is a precious service to our nation and must remain true to its founding principles - free at the point of need, and publicly owned and operated.

Increased investment must be coupled with health and care services that continually evolve to take full advantage of the latest advances and meet the welcome challenge of being a nation whose people are living longer. We need to tackle poor public health and prioritise prevention and early intervention. This will enable us to drive down demand for more expensive acute services and consequently improve productivity and growth.

The balance is shifting from acute care to community health services as we explore different ways of working and bring more services out of hospitals and into communities re-prioritising spend on these universal services.

High quality public services play a vital role in making Scotland stronger and fairer and delivering inclusive economic growth

We have four underpinning priorities for our actions in the coming year that will help bring about long-term improvements to our population's health:

  • empowering a truly community health service - working with integrated authorities, social care, community care, primary care, and general practice to deliver the reforms needed for successful community health services
  • enhancing mental health - improving mental health services through investments in more effective and accessible treatment
  • improving population health - working across government to help raise attainment, promote inclusive growth, and progressive human rights. These can all contribute towards improving the health of the people of Scotland
  • supporting clinical leadership of transformation - acting on the principles of the National Clinical Strategy and Chief Medical Officer's aims of 'Realistic Medicine'

We will introduce a Bill that makes domestic abuse a specific offence

Just as we will always support our precious NHS so we will continue to invest in other public services, including in justice. Scotland is a safe place to live. Recorded crime has reduced significantly. We will continue to invest to respond to the changing nature of crime and to create safer, stronger communities. We will work with our partners to refresh our Justice Strategy during 2016-17, focusing on prevention and working collaboratively to build community resilience and cohesion.

By spring 2017, we will establish Community Justice Scotland as a new national strategic body to work with local community planning and community justice partners to reduce re-offending and make our communities safer places to live.

We will invest in a modernised custodial estate for our women offenders and we will take action to reduce the number of short-term prison sentences for both men and women.

We will introduce a Bill that makes domestic abuse a specific offence, allowing law enforcement agencies to bring to justice those who commit abuse, including coercive and controlling behaviour.

Police Scotland will get the necessary resources to protect the people of Scotland through real-terms protection of the police revenue budget which will deliver an additional £100 million of investment by the end of this Parliament to support frontline services.

The Fire and Rescue Service will keep homes and communities safe when emergencies such as flooding or fire occur and work in collaboration with other public service partners to prevent these and other emergencies arising in the first place.

Our Emergency Services are well prepared to ensure that Scotland plays its part in securing the UK against the threat of terrorism. We will work closely with Police Scotland and other agencies to keep emerging threats under review and ensure we have the capability to respond accordingly.

Our NHS - free at the point of need, and publicly owned and operated

Programme detail

Health and Care Investment

By the end of this Parliamentary term the health resource budget will rise by at least £500 million more than inflation, which means that it will increase by nearly £2 billion in total. This will give the NHS the funding it needs to invest in modern ways of working, adapt to the needs of an ageing population and shift resources into the community where they can be used more effectively.

We will continue to provide new infrastructure to support better integrated care and enhanced community care. We have broken down administrative barriers by creating 31 new local integration bodies to deliver adult health and social care services directly in the communities where people live.

Over the next five years we will invest £200 million in expanding the Golden Jubilee hospital and creating five elective care centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and Livingston

We will continue to invest significantly in primary care transformation, investing £85 million over the next three years, and working across Scotland to deliver new patient-centred models of care.

Our £100 million Cancer Strategy is under way and over the next five years will enhance cancer services, including initiatives to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities as well as addressing inequities in access to treatment across the country. This year's actions include investment of £2 million for two further prostate cancer surgery robots in Glasgow and Edinburgh, £8 million for new radiotherapy equipment, £2 million to improve cancer diagnostics, £1 million to increase capacity across Scotland, and £1 million to improve waiting times performance.

£150 million in Mental Health Innovation

Over the next five years we will invest £200 million in expanding the Golden Jubilee Hospital and in creating a new network of five elective and diagnostic centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and Livingston to handle routine procedures like hip and knee replacements.

The £274 million new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary is nearing completion and will become operational in March 2018 while construction continues on the £230 million project to deliver the new Sick Children's Hospital and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

The new National Trauma Network Implementation Group will, by the end of this year, complete preparatory work for the creation of a new trauma network based around four major trauma centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In line with our overall intention to realise Scotland's full potential as a leader in digitally-enabled public services, targeted investments in digital technologies and data analytics will be central to our continuing evolution of health and care services and shifting the balance from acute care to our community health services.

In the coming months we will publish our new 10 year Mental Health Strategy, based on the principles of 'ask once, get help fast' and parity of esteem with physical health services. We will also start the roll out of new performance indicators that will better measure what mental health services do for people and how well they do it.

The health resource budget will be at least £500 million more than inflation which means that it will increase by nearly £2 billion in total

Investing £100M over five years to improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer

Investing £3 million over five years to train an additional 500 Advanced nurse practitioners

Increase in GP training places from 300 to at least 400 in coming years

Our ambition to improve mental health care will be supported by mental health receiving an increasing share of the NHS budget in each year of this parliament. We are committed to targeting £150 million of expenditure on innovation and improvement. In the coming year, for example, this will include funding over 30 pilot projects to improve mental health support in primary care, and five pilots developing innovative approaches to distress.

Planning for the Future

To ensure we have the right staff for our health and care services now and in the future we will shortly publish a new draft National Workforce Plan. This will outline a range of workforce planning improvements required to deliver enhanced primary and secondary care in Scotland, including work on bringing together a range of professionals into GP surgeries.

We are mindful as we develop our workforce plans of the uncertainty caused by the result of the recent referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, not least for EU citizens living and working in Scotland.

Scotland's health and care sector benefits from the contribution of staff from across the EU. For example, in our NHS nearly one in 10 of our doctors are from the EU. Our message to those EU citizens and those staff is simple - we greatly value your work and your wider contribution to our society, and we will be working to see that your rights and place in our nation are protected.

We have for many years maintained a policy of no compulsory redundancies in Scotland's NHS, and we are committed to continue it throughout this Parliament.

We are expanding training opportunities for health professionals, including investing £3 million over five years to train an additional 500 advanced nurse practitioners, with the first intake beginning their training in the coming year.

We are increasing medical trainee numbers, with a particular focus on GPs, through 50 more medical undergraduate places for the 2016 intake and sustaining the increase in GP training places from 300 to at least 400 in coming years.

Delivery plan to create an additional 1,000 training places for nurses and midwives

We will train 1,000 new paramedics over the next five years, beginning with 200 this year, including 50 specialist paramedics with enhanced skills to work in the community, helping to reduce pressure on accident and emergency services.

Before the end of this year we will set out a delivery plan to create an additional 1,000 training places for nurses and midwives in this Parliament, building on the 5.6% increase in the 2016-17 student nursing and midwifery intake.

In contrast to Westminster, we will keep tuition for nursing and midwifery students free and we will retain the nursing and midwifery student bursary at least at its current level. This year we will be launching a discretionary fund of at least £1 million to provide a 'safety net' for those in most need, and will conclude a review on what additional support nursing and midwifery students might need to enable wider participation and increased retention.

Work will also begin this year to engage with stakeholders to shape the consultation on enshrining safe staffing levels in law, starting with the nursing and midwifery workforce planning tools.

To diversify our medical workforce we will be creating Scotland's first graduate entry programme for medicine. Subject to the approval of the GMC, the programme will be based in Dundee and St Andrews medical schools working in collaboration with the University of Highlands and Islands, with staff recruitment starting in 2017 for a course beginning in 2018.

Planning the right structure and direction for the NHS is vital to deliver the services that the people of Scotland need now and in the future. NHS targets, and the indicators that measure progress towards integration of health and social care, are being reviewed to ensure they lead to improved outcomes for people.

We will also begin work to examine the number, structure and regulation of health boards, as well as their relationship with local authorities, so that we can reduce bureaucracy and remove any barriers to effective patient care.

In recent years we have made significant reforms and investment to improve access to new medicines. As a result Scotland is now one of the top nations in the world for accessing new medicines for cancer.

More can be done to build on this progress and an independent review on access to new medicines will report shortly. The aim of the review is to provide safe and timely access to clinically effective medicines at a fair price.

Alongside implementing the review recommendations, we will also work towards the creation of a single national formulary and the introduction of the option of a pause in the medicines appraisal process to allow for negotiation and potentially avoid the need for reapplication.

As part of our investment in research our Chief Scientist Adviser will, from 2017, fund three new PhDs in Motor Neurone Disease, and three in Multiple Sclerosis.

We will launch a consultation before the end of 2016 on measures to increase organ and tissue donation

We will invest £85M over the next three years in Primary Care Transformation to deliver new, patient-centered models of care

We aim that by 2021 everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it

We will launch a consultation before the end of 2016 on measures to increase organ and tissue donation, including soft opt-out, to enable any potential legislation to be introduced during this Parliamentary session.

Community Health Service

To support the shift in the balance of care away from acute settings towards primary and community settings we will support more multi-disciplinary teams working with GPs.

In 2017 we will be working with the British Medical Association to bring forward a new GP contract to support our efforts to reshape primary care and improve accessibility to GP services. We will also continue to invest significantly in primary care transformation, investing £85 million over the next three years and working across Scotland to deliver new patient-centred models of care.

During the lifetime of this Parliament we will recruit up to 250 community link workers to work in GP surgeries, with at least 40 being recruited in the coming year.

In the coming year we will continue our three year programme to recruit up to 140 full time equivalent additional pharmacists with advanced clinical skills training to work in general practice settings. By the end of this Parliament all GP practices will have access to a pharmacist with these skills.

£10 million will be invested this year to implement the recommendations of the National Review of Primary Care Out-of-Hours Services.

A consultation on the future of oral health services in Scotland is to be carried out this year with a focus on reducing oral health inequalities, shifting dental services to a more preventative-focused approach for children and younger adults and meeting the challenge of an ageing population.

We will continue to protect free prescriptions. We will also pilot an expanded Minor Ailments Service for all patients through community pharmacies in Inverclyde to explore its impact on increasing access to appropriate primary care.

We will recruit up to 250 community link workers to work in GP surgeries

Free eye examinations will also be maintained and we will conduct a comprehensive review of Community Eyecare Services.

Our aim is that by 2021 everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it, and we will be investing a further £3 million over the next three years to drive improvement across the sector. This includes providing funding to Healthcare Improvement Scotland in this financial year to assist six health and social care partnerships to improve the identification of those needing such support, and the coordination of care to those who are dying and to their carers.

In the coming year we will also appoint a new national coordinator of childhood bereavement services to review and advise on steps to improve support.

Child and Family Health and Care

Recognising that our children's health and wellbeing is key to Scotland's future, we will bring together health, social care and education to build on the good work already underway to produce a Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy that will set the direction for the next 10 years.

We will consider the recommendations from the Review of Maternity and Neonatal Services when they are submitted with a view to taking forward an improved model which puts mothers and babies at the centre and delivers a safe and high quality service for families. This will include a continuing focus on reducing perinatal mortality in Scotland.

We will invest £1.3 billion from the NHS to integrated partnerships to build social care capacity

Scotland already leads the way on access to in vitro fertilisation ( IVF) treatment, and in 2017-18 we will provide an additional £2 million to further expand access. Couples with children in the home, but where one partner does not have a biological child, will be able to access fertility treatment from September 2016, and the number of available cycles on the NHS will be increased from two to three during 2017. We have no plans to change the law on abortion.

Roll-out of the Family Nurse Partnership will continue to provide targeted support to all first-time teenage mothers by the end of 2018. We will also expand the programme to reach vulnerable, first-time mothers aged 20-24 who could also benefit from the programme.

To ensure that every child in Scotland receives quality health development support, we will continue investment to deliver 500 additional Health Visitors, including investing over £800,000 this year to train 180 Health Visitors in addition to those already funded since June 2014. We will also provide continuing professional development to the existing Health Visitor workforce.

Social Care and Caring

Building on the integration of health and social care over this Parliament, we will invest £1.3 billion over the life of the Parliament from the NHS to integrated partnerships to build up social care capacity.

Health and social care integration and primary care transformation is significantly changing community services and providing opportunities to better support people in their localities.

We are working with local authorities, providers and other partners to deliver a major programme of reform to adult social care. This will consider the commissioning of residential care and the role of new models of care and support in home care. This will enable progress towards our aim to end 'time and task' based care and shift to care that focuses on outcomes. In the summer of 2017 we will consult on the terms of a future review of long-term care capacity.

Through Self-directed Support we are embedding a new approach to social care which gives adults, children and carers more choice and control over how their support is delivered

The Carers Act will come into force in April 2018. Building on this, we will consider a national or regional approach to supporting carers and cared-for people. We are also working to increase the use of the Carer Positive scheme with the aim that at least 30% of employers in Scotland are signed up over the coming years.

We will build on the successful establishment of the new Scottish Independent Living Fund ( ILF) through which we have safeguarded the rights of disabled people to live independent lives and launch an ILF scheme for new users. On top of the £47.2 million a year for support of the scheme's 2,700 existing Scottish users, a further £5 million a year of new funding will be made available. We are developing the new scheme in co-production with disabled people, carers, representative organisations and local authorities. The new users' fund will open within the next year, with the aim of making the right support available to allow people with disabilities to live a fuller, more rewarding life.

We have safeguarded the rights of disabled people to live independent lives and launch an ILF scheme for new users

Through Self-directed Support we are embedding a new approach to social care which gives adults, children and carers more choice and control over how their support is delivered.

From April 2017 we will exempt from consideration in assessments of care charges War Pensions for veterans and Guaranteed Income Payments under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for those injured after April.

We have invested to ensure that adult social care workers, like NHS staff, are paid at least the Living Wage from October 2016.

Free personal and nursing care for older people has provided important services to some of the most vulnerable in our society and we are committed to protecting it. We will also conduct a feasibility study of expanding free personal and nursing care to people with dementia who are under 65, and examine the potential relationship with social security provision through this study.

Increasing the number of Community Sports Hubs from 150 to 200 by 2020 ensuring everyone has the opportunity to lead an active lifestyle

A new three-year dementia strategy will be published this year which will explore the relocation of post-diagnostic services into primary care to increase accessibility and so that people can be supported to live well at home for longer and which will determine how palliative care for people with dementia can be improved.

Public Health and Active Lives

In 2017 we will consult on and bring forward a new strategy on diet and obesity which aligns with other health improvement initiatives. This will include support for those at high risk of, or recently diagnosed with, Type 2 diabetes, and families with young children. We will underpin this with a new national outcome for diabetes to support progress in addressing Type 2 diabetes and we will support people with Type 1 who need an insulin pump through investment of £2 million.

Building on the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow we will implement the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework which sets out Scotland's ambitions for sport and physical activity and underpins our ambitions to get the nation more active. We will increase the number of Community Sports Hubs from 150 to 200 by 2020, targeting the areas of deprivation to ensure everyone has the opportunity to lead an active lifestyle. We will also complete Scotland's first National Performance Centre for Sport and the first fully inclusive para-sports facility at sportscotland's National Centre at Inverclyde. These national assets will be complemented by a network of regional sports centres around the country with a mixture of facilities for both community and elite use so that more people can fulfil their sporting potential.

To improve overall health by encouraging the removal of barriers to participation in sport, including those for women and the LGBTI community, we will establish an Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum and develop a £300,000 Gender Equality in Sport Fund to address the barriers specific to women's participation.

Building on work already in place via the Scottish LGBTI Sports Charter launched in May 2015, sportscotland will ensure that funding for all sports includes conditions on specific actions to tackle LGBTI discrimination. We have provided £38,800 to Leadership Equality and Active Participation ( LEAP) sports in 2016-17 to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sports.

The Government is committed to further the development of a culture which promotes equality, values diversity and recognises the human rights of those working within the NHS in Scotland. We have entered into a new national partnership agreement with Stonewall Scotland to support Health Boards in their approaches to supporting LGBTI understanding, initiatives and service provision.

We will implement the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework, including work to deliver on our commitment to eliminate Hepatitis C as a public health concern. Our work to reduce transmission of HIV will continue, including funding for Waverley Care a nd their work to raise awareness of HIV and reduce stigma in healthcare settings, and funding for HIV Scotland. We will appoint a new research manager to support research on reducing HIV transmission, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis ( PrEP ).

Separately, a multi-organisational PrEP short life working group, chaired by an HIV clinician, is currently examining the clinical utility of PrEP in Scotland. We will ensure that the NHS in Scotland gives early consideration to that group's recommendations.

In addition, we will invest an extra £20 million over the next three years to increase the financial support provided to people affected by infected NHS blood and blood products. We are working hard to ensure that the existing UK support schemes can start making increased payments in 2016. A new Scottish scheme will then be up and running in 2017 to support those who are infected with Hepatitis C and/or HIV and their families.

We are working with a number of organisations that provide services for adult survivors of child abuse across Scotland to deliver the In Care Survivor Support Fund. The fund will become fully operational in the autumn.

The £13.5 million fund will work over the next five years with survivors and the services that support them to expand and enhance existing survivor support. It will offer survivors personalised care and treatment based on their individual needs, aspirations and personal goals.

National Improvement

Improvement methodologies have been used successfully in Scotland to improve safety in the NHS through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme which has seen 20,000 fewer than predicted deaths in our hospitals.

The Early Years Collaborative [1] has contributed to an 18% reduction in the stillbirth rate. It is likely that the methods used in these programmes can bring about transformational change in other areas of public life.

We are now examining the feasibility that improvement methods might be used more widely to support the delivery of the Government's aim of achieving sustainable, inclusive growth in Scotland. Recommendations will be developed by the end of November 2016.


Female offending

In June 2015, we committed to the development of a new model for the female custodial estate, including a smaller national women's prison and local community-based custody units with access to intensive support to help overcome issues such as alcohol, drugs, mental health and domestic abuse trauma which evidence shows can often be a root cause of offending behaviour.

By spring 2017 we will publish the first National Community Justice Strategy

Milestones during 2016-17 are:

  • by this autumn a proportion of women in custody will be transferred from HMP Cornton Vale to HM Young Offenders Institution Polmont to allow for the construction of a new smaller national women's prison at the Cornton Vale site, due to open in 2020
  • from summer 2016, the Scottish Prison Service is engaging with stakeholders to confirm the locations and designs for community-based custody units for women
  • we will review the progress of and lessons from the pilot problem-solving court in Aberdeen

Reducing re-offending and electronic monitoring

Evidence such as the 'What Works to Reduce Re-offending' analysis (2015), confirms that short-term prison sentences are less effective at reducing reoffending than community sentences.

During the previous session of Parliament, the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 established the statutory basis for a new model for community justice at national and local levels. This forms part of our wider approach to provide robust community-based alternatives to address disproportionate use of ineffective short-term prison sentences.

During 2016-17 we will:

  • continue to drive forward our vision for penal reform reflecting the values of a modern and progressive Scotland, including taking action to further strengthen the use of robust community sentences, where appropriate, as alternatives to short-term prison sentences, helping to tackle the revolving door of short-term imprisonment
  • invest an additional £4 million in community-based alternatives to short-term sentences
  • take forward the recommendations of the National Working Group on Electronic Monitoring to expand the use of electronic monitoring and associated technology as an alternative to remand and as one of a suite of options within a Community Payback Order ( CPO)
  • explore the potential use of GPS technology to protect public safety
  • publish by spring 2017 the first National Community Justice Strategy and a national outcomes and improvement framework to ensure all community justice partners are working towards shared outcomes, focused on public safety and reducing re-offending
  • establish Community Justice Scotland as the new national body to oversee implementation of the Strategy and delivery of the outcomes, initially in a shadow capacity during 2016 and then taking on its full powers from spring 2017

We will introduce a domestic abuse Bill to help prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls

Domestic abuse and violence against women and girls

Around 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse are reported to the Police each year, of which 79% involved a female victim and male perpetrator. However, we know that this is not the whole picture as there is a significant under-reporting of the true levels of abuse experienced by victims, including both physical and psychological abuse.

During 2016-17 we will:

  • introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament
  • publish delivery plans to drive the implementation of Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls
  • put in place by April 2017 sustainable arrangements to protect the interests of individuals whose sensitive records and documents are requested in criminal court proceedings, building on the interim arrangements we have already put in place
  • continue to provide funding to expand the Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland programme and train a further 1,860 young mentors in an additional 93 secondary schools across Scotland by 2018, including tackling the issue of abuse within relationships
  • continue to provide funding to expand the current Medics Against Violence Ask, Support, Care programme to train more healthcare students, NHS staff and non-health care professions ( e.g. hairdressing, beauticians and vets) to spot, document and respond to the signs of potential abuse. This programme has the potential to reach out and support thousands of people who may be affected by domestic abuse

Child and vulnerable witnesses

Positive progress is being made across a wide range of measures to better support and provide access to relevant information for the victims of crime. However, it is too often the case that victims' and witnesses' experience of the justice system, in particular child and vulnerable witnesses, does not give them the best chance to provide their evidence or protect them from further harm from the trial process itself.

During 2016-17 we will:

  • review with key partners the need to update guidance for joint investigative interviews, minimising distress for child witnesses and ensuring that they are supported to provide the best possible evidence
  • take urgent action to review the communication support provided to help child and vulnerable witnesses and accused persons within the criminal justice system, including consideration of the current role of appropriate adults and the potential benefits of introducing intermediaries
  • work with the senior judiciary, courts and other key partners to progress the recommendations of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service's Evidence and Procedure Review, including the necessary steps to enable child witnesses to provide pre-recorded evidence

Civil litigation

We will introduce a Bill to implement recommendations from the Review of the Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland to make Scotland's civil justice system more accessible, affordable and equitable.

We will introduce a Bill to lift the Time Bar on the right of survivors of child abuse experienced after 1964 to bring forward civil claims.

We will introduce a Bill to replace the common law on third party rights in contract with a modern updated statute. This will represent further reforms in relation to contract law in Scotland as part of the wider general review of contract law being undertaken by the Scottish Law Commission.

Human trafficking

We are committed to continuing the implementation of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, and we will work with key stakeholders to develop Scotland's first Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy by the end of 2016-17. The Strategy will raise awareness of the new offences, improve measures to bring offenders to justice and better identify and support both child and adult victims of trafficking and exploitation.

We will introduce a Bill which will make scotland's civil justice system more accessible, affordable and equitable

Justice reform

We will continue to improve the administration of justice. We will create a modern, user-focused justice system through the greater use of digital technology to deliver simple, fast and effective justice. We will also consider the proposals emerging from the Evidence and Procedure Review to reform the summary justice system. We will work with key justice stakeholders to develop, by April 2017, proposals for an information sharing capability that will transform how evidence is shared across the justice system to enable the right people to have access to the right information at the right time. This will facilitate the faster sharing of evidence, processing and resolution of cases.

We will commission by spring 2017 independent jury research to consider the dynamics of decision-making by juries, including the current jury majority and three verdict system, helping to inform future proposals for the reform of the criminal justice system.

We will engage with the legal profession and others to identify during this year specific measures to reform Scotland's system of legal aid, maintaining access to public funding for legal advice and representation in both civil and criminal cases alongside measures to expand access to alternative methods of resolving disputes.

Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland programme:
We will train a further 1,860 young mentors in an additional 93 secondary schools across Scotland by 2018

Police reform

We will continue to support Police Scotland and ensure that they have the necessary resources to protect the people of Scotland. We will do this by protecting the police revenue budget in real terms for the entirety of this parliament - delivering an additional £100 million of investment by the end of this Parliament to support frontline delivery of services which is vital in preventing and detecting crime and disorder.

We will set the future strategic direction for policing through the publication of refreshed Strategic Police Priorities. Building on this, we will work with the Scottish Police Authority ( SPA) and Police Scotland to ensure these priorities are reflected in delivery plans at both local and national level, making the necessary links to national outcomes and strengthening the community focus of policing.

We will continue to support Police Scotland delivering an additional £100 million of investment over the next five years

We will support Police Scotland and the SPA in transforming the service, reflecting the changing nature of crime and society. Through the Policing 2026 project, the SPA and Police Scotland will develop a long term vision for policing. This will be supported by a new target operating model and implementation plans which will develop and strengthen the way that progress is measured and reported. It will also ensure that Police Scotland has the right mix and numbers of officers and staff, including more specialists in cyber-crime and counter fraud to respond to the changing nature of crime.

We are pressing the UK Government to strengthen the Proceeds of Crime legislation to make it more difficult for criminals to avoid paying up. We will argue for changes in the law at Westminster to enable the police to seize items of monetary value from criminals, such as high value betting slips and casino chips.

Fire and Rescue reform

This autumn we will formalise a new Fire Framework with, and for, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service ( SFRS). This sets 10 priorities which span the need to respond effectively to fire and other emergency incidents and encourage people and businesses to take action to prevent fires and other emergencies occurring, through to working in partnership with others to build communities' own resilience and safety.

We will work with SFRS so the service can continue to keep the people of Scotland safe. This means supporting their plans to modernise and redesign services to achieve a transformational shift to prevention and collaboration, as well as continued effective response to emergency incidents.

Emergency services

We remain deeply concerned about the glaring disparity of treatment between the Police and Fire Services in Scotland and those in other parts of the UK where none of the other forces in the UK have to pay VAT. This unfair treatment from the UK Treasury has cost the public purse more than £76 million in three years. We will continue to press the UK Government to bring their VAT status into line. with all other British and Northern Irish police and fire services.


Email: Gavin Henderson,

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