Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting people at higher risk - qualitative research

Findings from interviews with representatives of 16 local authorities across Scotland, exploring how they have been supporting people at higher risk during COVID-19.

Reflections on working with SG and what could be improved

LAs were asked if they had any reflections on working with the SG, which are outlined in this section. LAs recognise that, due to the emergency situation, everyone has been working at pace and learning as we go. One LA described it as 'quite a good response all round, everyone pulling together'. A number of LAs said that the things that could have gone better in working with SG were at least partly a reflection of the crisis context and in particular the pace of change – 'we were all learning as we were going'.


Many of the LAs interviewed would like less burdensome data requests and more clarity around why it is needed and what will be done with it. There was a call for more alignment of data requests and communication between COSLA and SG. Some LAs felt that changing data requirements had been requested without enough time for preparation and they would like longer lead-in times for them to revise their scripts and data collection processes.

Communications and working together

Clear, advance communication on when policy changes are likely to happen and what they involve was requested by some LAs, since they rely on this to get their support in place.

Some LAs felt that new policies, programmes and processes were developed by SG and then passed down to LAs. A number thought it would be useful to have more working groups to test things out before launching, and would be happy to be involved.

A number of LAs are looking for a steer on how long SG thinks the increased level of support will be needed. Others were keen on clarity on how the support systems that will be needed in the future are to be funded.

Other suggestions

A number of LAs felt the distinction between shielded and non-shielded is overly complicated and difficult for the public to understand. One suggestion was to 'break down the language barrier and think of it in practical terms…'.

Some LAs felt that more thought should be given to the accessibility of support services, for example people who are not digitally confident but need to book supermarket deliveries or those without mobile phones or good phone reception.



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