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.


This review has found that the national plan to tackle child poverty is strongly embedded across all Local Child Poverty Action Reports reviewed. There is a strong sense of commitment to deliver on the national mission, with areas tailoring action to their own local needs and resources.

Collaboration within local areas features strongly. This is the case with third and private sectors organisations as well as other governmental partners. Where governance structures worked most effectively there seemed to be clear frameworks and procedures in place to influence decision making. Some local areas engaged people with lived experience in service design and delivery.

Awareness and use of data and evidence varied across local areas. There are some examples of local data being used to identify and target families in need, or for monitoring the delivery of certain actions. At a more strategic level, there were fewer examples where data had been used to shape approaches and identify priority areas for poverty reduction action in a local area.

There is no single lever to tackle child poverty at a local level. Instead, approaches require a combination of policies across the three main drivers of poverty. This understanding came through strongly in the local reports, with the three drivers of poverty often used to define the scope of different interventions.

To support families with the cost of living a range of actions were taken including: emergency payments; free/discounted provision of transport, food, and childcare; and advice or counselling services.

Increasing income from employment featured strongly throughout the plans. A range of employability schemes were made available, often in collaboration with local colleges and funded by the Scottish Government. There were also several efforts to raise the number of Living Wage employers.

In order to boost income from social security, both cash-first and benefits in-kind approaches were used. The influence of COVID-19 was still evident, with some councils devising pandemic-related support payments. Councils worked to maximise take-up of services, and sometimes targeted support to priority families and/or locally identified groups in need of support.

Finally it should be noted that this report is based on 16 LCPARs submitted. While it represents a balanced mix of urban and rural areas, and various levels of deprivation, it is only a partial view of activity happening across the country. Moreover, with no structured template for collating local progress, each area has the flexibility to decide what to report on. As such, this report can only analyse and extrapolate from the range of actions captured in LCPARs and may not fully reflect the wide range of actions happening at local level across Scotland.


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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