Local child poverty action reports: year 4 review - 2021 to 2022

This research publication summarises key trends and actions undertaken by local areas to reduce child poverty over the period April 2021 to March 2022 so that key learnings can be shared and lessons learned.

Research approach

The overarching aim of the research is to summarise actions undertaken by local areas to reduce child poverty over the period April 2021 to March 2022, so that key learnings can be extracted and shared.

The key research questions are:

  • What is (not) working well in the national and local governance structure and support?
  • To what extent do local areas understand, engage, and further the national goal of tackling child poverty?
  • To what extent do reports use data, analysis, and knowledge of what works to drive their improvements?
  • Has the national mission encouraged collaboration? Is there greater collaboration within/across local areas? If so, in what ways is this being encouraged?
  • What types of local actions and initiatives have taken place? In what ways are they aiming to improve outcomes and opportunities across the three drivers of poverty (income from employment, income from social security, and costs of living)? Are interventions aiming to provide support which falls out with the drivers?
  • Where interventions are taking place, to what extent have they focused on the priority family types?
  • How have local interventions been targeted? To what extent have the interventions been successful in reaching their intended target groups?
  • To what extent have interventions achieved their short and medium term outcomes? What is working well and less well across the range of interventions?
  • To what extent are interventions contributing towards a reduction in child poverty rates?
  • Have any unintended consequences from the interventions been identified?


A thematic analysis of the LCPARs has been carried out. This approach involves using a coding framework to categorise the content of the reports into several themes. These themes were chosen based on preliminary reading of the documents and after discussions with the policy team and the Improvement Service on what had emerged from local child poverty peer support network discussions. Information was then drawn out of the reports by studying their content and sorting information into a database based on their relevance to the chosen themes. For example, information relating to 'data' was common to all reports but used and presented in different ways. In the analysis different examples of data use were gathered and organised into themes, such as use for improvement, problems with collection, and types of presentation. This approach allowed for the systematic handling and analysis of the information contained in the LCPARs..

The LCPARs analyse cover the period from April 2021 to March 2022. Local areas are asked to submit their progress reports as soon as practicable after the financial year end. There were delays in receiving some of the reports. 16 out of the 32 local authorities submitted their reports in time to be included in this review (which was completed from November 2022 to January 2023). The reports analysed were:

  • Angus
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dundee
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • Glasgow
  • Inverclyde
  • Midlothian
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Orkney
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire

The reports analysed comprised a mix of urban and rural areas, as well as differing levels of deprivation.

Limitations and Gaps

There are some limitations that need to be borne in mind when reading the report.

Limited scope. As noted above, this report summarises activity from 16 out of the 32 local authorities (across 9 of 14 health boards). While it represents a balanced mix of urban and rural areas, and various levels of deprivation, it is not an exhaustive analysis of activity happening across the country.

Lack of standard structure. These reports do not have a prescribed, standard structure and so vary considerably in content. Neither have they been checked for accuracy to ensure they are a complete and fair reflection of all activity taking place within the area.

Unclear timescale. While the timescale of reporting is from April 2021 to March 2022, the reports were handed in later in the year and some reflect event that took place after the reporting period. A common example being the references to the Best Start, Bright Futures delivery plan which was published at the end of the reporting period.

Short life project. The breadth and depth of the analysis has been limited by the short timescale available to the review project, from the end of October 2022 to the end of January 2023.


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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