Scottish Government Policy
Scottish policy should contribute to, and benefit from, reducing inequalities, supporting independent living and implementing the UNCRPD. A number of high-level policies contribute to these aims.
Scotland's Economic Strategy and the National Performance Framework
The Scottish Government's purpose is "To focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth."
The Strategy is based on boosting competitiveness and tackling inequality and is supported by four key areas: Investment, Innovation, Internationalisation and Inclusive Growth.
Delivery of the Scottish Government's purpose is monitored through the National Performance Framework with five strategic objectives and 16 national outcomes for the public sector.
Removing the barriers that stand in the way of independent living fits well with three of these strategic objectives which are:
- Wealthier and fairer
It also fits well with many of the national outcomes, including:
- We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.
- We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
- Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to people's needs.
- We realise our full economic potential with more and better employment opportunities for our people.
- Our people, including disabled people, those with long-term conditions or those who are frail are able to live, as far as reasonably practicable independently at home or in a homely setting in their community.
- We live our lives free from crime, disorder and danger.
Single Outcome Agreements
Helping to deliver the National Performance Framework are Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) between Scottish Government and local level Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs).
SOAs originated from an agreement (concordat) between national and local government in 2007. This helped the Scottish Government to set out its policy direction and key outcomes. Local authorities can decide how best to deliver those outcomes to suit their own for local circumstances and priorities.
In 2012, the Scottish Government and COSLA reviewed the CPP and SOA Framework, producing a Statement of Ambition. It set out key principles for future community planning, stating that SOAs must:
- Make real improvements to people's lives
- Deliver clear performance commitments and cost-effective models
- Prioritise outcomes, interventions and resources
- Promote early intervention and prevention approaches.
SOAs will provide a strong foundation for effective co-production towards independent living and real opportunities for disabled people to have their say and improving our understanding of local needs.
Ongoing reform programmes
In addition to the National Performance Framework and SOAs, there are a number of ongoing reform programmes that support the aims of UNCRPD. These include:
- Healthcare Quality Strategy - launched by the Scottish Government in 2010, the Strategy aims to deliver the highest quality healthcare to the people of Scotland to ensure that the NHS, local authorities and the Third Sector work together, with patients, carers and the public towards a shared goal of world-leading health care.
- Social Care (Self-Directed Support) Scotland Act 2013 - came into force in April 2014. It places a duty on local authorities to give people eligible for support, choices to meet their care and support needs. Information and advice should be made available to people to make those choices. A range of options should be offered for how much control a person wants over decision making. Our financial investment has helped specialist organisations ensure that disabled people, including children and young people are able to direct their own support if they wish to.
- Integration of Health and Social Care - the Scottish Government has integrated health and social care to improve outcomes for individuals by person-centred planning and quality, sustainable care services, including those for disabled people.
- Independent Living Fund (ILF) - following closure of the UK ILF in June 2015, a new Scottish ILF has been established by Scottish Ministers to safeguard the interests of existing ILF users living in Scotland. ILF Payments offer disabled people with highest needs the flexibility they may not otherwise have to live an independent life in the community rather than residential care. This also includes taking up employment or education and being able to socialise like any other citizen. From 1 July 2015 payments to all existing Scottish Fund users have been made by ILF Scotland, the new independent company set up to administer the Scottish Fund. The Scottish Government has also made a commitment of additional funding of £5 million to open up the scheme to new users for the first time since 2010. It has committed to co-produce the scheme for new users along with disabled people, Disabled People's Organisations and statutory partners in 2015.
- Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015 - will come into force in April 2016 placing the Scottish Welfare Fund into law and putting a duty on each local authority to maintain a welfare fund. It helps people on low incomes with essential household goods and living costs in a crisis. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has new powers to scrutinise local authorities' decisions on behalf of people who apply for help from the fund. Prioritisation will be given to applicants with additional needs, which includes disabled people and those with terminal illnesses.
- Education (Scotland) Bill - was introduced to Parliament in March 2015 to progress the Scottish Government's commitment to recognising, respecting and promoting children's and parental rights including extending children's rights in existing additional support for learning legislation. The Bill will require local authorities to reduce the attainment gap and report on progress.
- The Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach - aims to join up public sector services for children, young people and their families, ensure that there is a shared understanding of what wellbeing means and that appropriate support is available to any child, young person and their families if needed. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is part of the GIRFEC approach and puts a number of initiatives into law including the 'named person' and the 'child's plan'.
- Carers (Scotland) Bill - the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all carers are supported to manage their caring responsibilities with confidence and good health. The introduction of the Carers Bill to the Scottish Parliament in March 2015 is a significant step in recognising the contribution that carers make to their family, friends, communities, and to the wider economy. The Bill will widen access to support for both adult and young carers, and the support delivered under the Bill will be centred on achieving the outcomes that the carer wishes to achieve. We expect it to be passed before the end of this parliamentary session in March 2016.
- British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill - the Scottish Government formally recognised British Sign Language as a language in 2011. We acknowledge that while Deaf BSL users are covered by the Equality Act 2010, they still experience significant marginalisation because they do not have linguistic access to information and services. For this reason, we fully support the BSL (Scotland) Bill and have been working to strengthen its provisions. The Bill will require Scottish Ministers to promote and facilitate the promotion of the use and understanding of BSL, including tactile BSL. The Scottish Government will be required to publish a BSL National Plan covering 40 national public bodies. It will set out our strategy for promoting BSL and our expectation of what other public bodies should do.
Creating a Fairer Scotland
At the heart of the Scottish Government's approach to Social Justice is our ambition to build a Fairer Scotland. The Scottish Government has launched a national discussion on how we can tackle deep-rooted inequalities that prevent people from achieving their full potential. We will be engaging with communities and individuals across the nation.
Success as a nation depends on us working together to deliver a strong economy whilst supporting a fairer society. These go hand in hand and we cannot have one without the other. Our approach to creating a more productive and fairer Scotland is set out in Scotland's Economic Strategy.
The Fairer Scotland conversation is about showing that we are a Government that listens to peoples' views and takes action as a result. Tackling inequality, including disability, is relevant across all government portfolios as described earlier in this section in the Programme for Government. We are going to use this process to start to change the way we do work in Government.
We are already taking action to prevent poverty and inequalities through developing and delivering our anti-poverty work including child poverty; developing our new approach to race equality in Scotland to tackle racism; and responding to the impact of the UK Governments welfare reforms.
By supporting Fair Work, we will lead the way in gender equality. We have funded the Poverty Alliance to promote take up of the Living Wage Accreditation Scheme and are providing 30,000 new modern apprenticeships every year by 2020. The Scottish Government are aware that we need to encourage employers and disabled people to take on modern apprenticeships (MAs) and increase representation and are tackling this through our work on Developing the Young Workforce. We will develop an Equalities Action Plan by autumn 2015 to address equalities issues across the MA programme, including specific improvement targets for MA participation among disabled people. For more information on what we are doing to tackle unemployment, please refer to outcome 3.
In the lead up to the Referendum and again in the election, people all over Scotland were talking about what a better Scotland would look like. This year will see a move from early conversations to a series of more structured events with a wide range of people across Scotland. This will result in recommendations on how we can create the fairer Scotland we all want to live in.
Email: Catherine Hewit