Health and social care - strategic plans: statutory guidance

Statutory guidance, focused on integration authority strategic plans, which supports the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) 2014 Act.

Annex A: Wider planning duties

Alcohol and Drug Partnerships

Scotland’s 30 Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) bring together local partners, including health boards, local authorities, police, voluntary agencies and those from the local community with lived and living experience. They are responsible for commissioning and developing local strategies, which direct constituent local partners, to support those individuals, families, and communities affected by the use of alcohol and drugs and promote recovery, based on an assessment of local needs.

It should be noted that, whilst ADPs are tasked with developing multi-agency/partnership planning, both integration authorities and health boards retain duties for provision of certain statutory services, and so their strategic planning should reflect their actions as partners under wider ADP plans.

Alcohol and Drug Partnership contact details are published online. Read more in the Alcohol and Drug Partnerships: delivery framework.


Section 31 of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 requires each local authority and relevant health board to prepare a local carer strategy.

The duty under section 31 applies to local authorities and relevant health boards but can be delegated to IJBs under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Prescribed Local Authority Functions Etc.) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2017 and the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Prescribed Health Board Functions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017. In the case of a local authority, the duty must be delegated insofar as it is exercisable in relation to persons aged 18 or over.

Read more in the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016: statutory guidance.

Children’s Services Planning

Part 3 (Children’s Services Planning) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) 2014 Act sets out the legal framework for children’s services planning, which requires each local authority and health board to work in partnership with other public bodies and third sector organisations to exercise a range of functions conferred by Part 3. IJBs have duties under Part 3 as a specified ‘other service provider’.

Each area’s Children’s Services Plan includes consideration of services for children (e.g. early learning and childcare, schools, children’s services social work, community child health, child and adolescent mental health services), and also ‘related services.’ Related services include community-based supports such as housing, libraries or advisory services, and adult services provided to parents/carers or family members (such as support for drug and alcohol use, needs arising from mental health or disability, care management, and social work/social care) which also have an impact on child wellbeing. This is fundamental in ensuring local availability of holistic whole family support, as well as to support smooth transitions for young people as they move from receipt of children’s services to adult services.

A Children’s Services Plan should be prepared with a view to securing the achievement of aims to improve outcomes for babies, children, young people and families across Scotland by requiring local planning and delivery of services to:

  • be integrated (experienced as joined-up by children, young people and families)
  • to safeguard, support and promote wellbeing (Safe Healthy Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible, Included)
  • focus on securing quality and value (workforce, assets, budgets)
  • promote early intervention, and where possible, preventative approaches.

The focus of each area’s Children’s Services Plan is on securing a joined-up whole-system approach between local partners as one of the foundations of Getting it right for every child, and as a key pillar of the Scottish Government’s public service reform programme, including action to tackle child poverty and Keep The Promise. This requires collaboration at every level (strategic, operational, frontline practice) across public and third sector providers to ensure resilient and cohesive strategic planning and supporting workforce arrangements.

Children’s Services Planning involves a number of key tasks over each three-year cycle with opportunities to align development of the integration authority strategic plan. These include:

  • Mapping existing provision
  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
  • Community engagement
  • Planning services (making best use of collective assets, workforce, budgets)
  • Identifying improvement activity
  • Reporting on progress, and use of data to demonstrate impact

Further information can be found in statutory guidance on Part 3: Children’s Service Planning and the improving outcomes for children, young people and families: review of Children’s Services Plans and strategic engagement activity (2020-2023).

Climate change

IJBs have a key role in the shared national endeavour in responding to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. As public bodies under section 44 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, in exercising their functions, IJBs are required to act:

  • in the best way calculated to contribute to national emissions reduction targets (known as mitigation)
  • in the best way calculated to help deliver the Adaptation Programme and
  • in a way that it considers most sustainable.

IJBs have had a statutory duty since 2015 to report on their climate action annually. The 2015 Order asks public bodies to submit reports detailing their carbon emissions, and asks questions on mitigation, adaptation and procurement. These regulations were strengthened in 2020 to include questions on reporting of targets on direct and indirect emissions, and alignment of spend.

IJBs, through their strategic planning function, have the potential to play a key role in supporting the climate resilience of many of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in Scotland.

IJBs should embed climate change in their strategic plans; and consider the work undertaken throughout the year between the IJB and their partners on climate change policies and how climate change is taken into account in decision making and planning service delivery. This should include work on mitigation, adaptation, climate risk assessments and sustainability.

Community justice

The preparation of Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plans and reports on performance in relation to community justice outcomes for each local authority area in Scotland is required under sections 19-23 of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (‘the 2016 Act’).

By virtue of section 24 of that Act, community justice partners for the area of a local authority must have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers about the exercise of their functions under sections 19-23.

Statutory guidance to support the community justice partners to understand their roles arising from the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 is contained within chapter 6 of the Guidance for Local Partners in the New Model for Community Justice.

This statutory guidance will be revised following the publication of the revised Community Justice Performance Framework (set out under section 17 of the 2016 Act).

Community planning

IJBs are community planning partners under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Community Planning Partnerships are required to prepare local outcomes improvement plans (LOIP), publish locality plans, and report on progress towards their LOIP and locality plans.

Read more in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, part 2 Community Planning: guidance.


Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the Public Sector Equality Duty, known at the Equality Duty, which applies to all public authorities, including IJBs.

IJBs are also subject to the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012, which set out specific requirements as regards complying with the Equality Duty.

Information and guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty and Scotland Specific Duties is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.


Health board planning requirements, and related guidance, are primarily communicated directly to health boards through letters from the Scottish Government. These include annual delivery plans, workforce plans, and medium term plans.

The requirement for three-year workforce plans also extends to integration authorities.


Guidance outlining responsibilities to involve housing services in the integration of health and social care focusses on housing services as an integral part of person-centred approaches and the wider delivery of health and social care integration. It especially applies to the preparation of integration authorities’ strategic plans, which must include a housing contribution statement.

Read more in the Housing services and integrated health and social care: housing advice note.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory requirement on local authorities to produce a Local Housing Strategy that sets out its strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services.

When preparing a Local Housing Strategy, local authorities are expected to engage with integration authorities. In guidance published to support local authorities with preparing Local Housing Strategies, it states that a Local Housing Strategy should include a summary of the shared outcomes and priorities contained within a Housing Contribution Statement and to set out what support services have been delegated to the integration authority to deliver and which are the responsibility of the local authority.

Read more in the Local housing strategy: guidance.



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