Recommendations and Conclusion
56. This EQIA process did not find evidence to suggest that this policy will discriminate against people who share the relevant protected characteristics. In addition, this process identified a number of areas where the Order could advance equality of opportunity for families with particular protected characteristics.
57. The process did identify that current uptake of statutory ELC for deferred children (i.e. children who defer with January and February birth dates) is higher from families from the least deprived areas. National and local government both have a role to play in making sure parents/carers are aware of their child’s funded ELC entitlement. Although there is no obligation for parents to take up their child’s ELC entitlement and the option to defer may not be taken by all parents, it will be important that all parents are aware of their children’s entitlement to funded ELC and can make an informed decision for their child so that families in the least deprived areas are equally able to take up this option if they feel it is right for their child.
58. We will be setting up a Working Group to consider the implementation of the policy and we hope to learn from authorities that are already delivering this policy in part or in full, or those who adopt the policy in advance of August 2023 as a result of local policy decisions. We are considering opportunities to work with any authorities participating in early adoption of the obligation, including potential data collection and evaluation of the implementation process. Part of this work will assess communications and information approaches to support parental choice.
59. When the policy is fully implemented, it is expected that the future ELC census, which will be fully established by 2022, will allow for more substantive research on how different families use ELC in a deferred year and help to identify if there are any particular groups where uptake is significantly different and where the Scottish Government and local authorities may need to further explore why this is in order to establish whether policy adjustments should be made. Where there are early adopters of this policy we will consider whether an evaluation approach will allow us to gather additional evidence to inform the wider implementation.
60. The Scottish Government will also continue to engage closely with stakeholders and local authorities to ensure that equalities issues are considered during any policy development and implementation.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback