Welcome to Scotland – a guide for Service personnel and their families in Scotland (updated 2022)

Provides practical information to service personnel and their families on topics such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.

Other Useful Information

Elections and Scottish Parliament

You can find out who your local MSP, MP and Councillor is by entering your postcode at

Serving personnel, along with their spouses or partners, can take part in elections and referendums. You can find out more information about how you can register to vote in Scotland at

Local Authority Champions

All Local Authorities within Scotland have nominated an Armed Forces and Veterans Champion who acts as an advocate on behalf of the Armed Forces Community within that area. The Champions are in place to support the Armed Forces Community to identify any issues which need to be addressed and resolved. As well as this numerous other organisations, including NHS Boards and other statutory bodies have also nominated Armed Forces and Veterans Champions.

You can find more information on who your Local Authority Champion is on Veterans Assist Scotland website at


The Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach in Scotland is a way for everyone to work together to help children and young people grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential. We want all children and young people to live in an equal society which enables them to flourish, to be treated with kindness, dignity and respect, and to have their rights upheld at all times. GIRFEC is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It provides a shared framework for the many services and agencies that work with children and families to take a co-ordinated, holistic approach which puts the rights of the child at the centre.

One of the core components of GIRFEC is a named person or equivalent role, who is a clear point of contact for children, young people and parents to go to for initial support and advice. A named person can also connect families to a wider network of support and services so that they get the right help, at the right time, from the right people. However, there is no obligation on children and families to accept the offer of advice or support from a named person.

Children, young people or their families can expect their contact to respond to their wellbeing needs, to respect their rights, choice, privacy and diversity. Children should also be included in decisions that affect them.

A named person is usually a health visitor until children start school, and a head or senior teacher thereafter.

Another core component of GIRFEC is a single, shared approach to planning for children and young people’s wellbeing where support across services is needed. A personalised child’s plan will be available when a child needs a range of extra support planned, delivered and co-ordinated. This should explain what should improve for the child, the actions to be taken and why the plan has been created.

GIRFEC Case Study – Education

Lucy joined the school after moving into the area with her family. There was little information passed on from her previous school, so her teacher began to get to know more about what she had been learning, how she liked to learn and what progress she had been making.

Lucy was a bright, friendly and chatty girl who really seemed to enjoy learning at school. She particularly enjoyed learning outdoors and with her peers but was reluctant to write or to read aloud, often finding ways to avoid these tasks.

Her teacher quickly noticed this and discussed it with an experienced pupil support teacher in the school and the headteacher. The teacher also chatted to Lucy to learn more about how she felt about her learning and progress. Lucy’s parents were also included in conversations about her learning and progress, with the teacher sharing her concerns about Lucy’s reluctance to be involved in some aspects of learning at school. Her parents were able to share more information on her learning journey to date and some concerns they had about her progress.

Through careful class observation by the teacher, the expertise of other school colleagues and crucially, through sensitive conversations with Lucy and her family, it was agreed that further discussions and assessments related to her learning styles and progress could be undertaken. This allowed the teacher to build up a really clear picture of gaps in Lucy’s learning and to put personalised learning plans in place for her. The plans were overseen by the headteacher who was also Lucy’s named person.

Lucy was involved in the design of her learning plans to ensure she understood what was going to happen to help her become a more confident and successful learner. Planning was flexible and fluid, and supports were responsive to need. Regular check-ins were arranged with her teacher to ensure Lucy could discuss how much and how well she was progressing, as well as any ways in which she felt she could be better supported. Lucy’s parents were also updated on her progress.

As a result of the highly regarded GIRFEC approach in Scotland, a partnership approach to identifying and addressing barriers to learning successfully met the needs of the child in an inclusive and participative way.

GIRFEC Case Study – Health

The Jones family had just moved to Glasgow from overseas. The family had one child, a 2 year old girl called Penny. They had registered with the local GP practice and were awaiting a visit from a Health Visitor.

Penny’s mum was anxious as Penny was not yet talking and she was worried as Penny was going to be starting nursery in a few months.

The Health Visitor contacted the family via phone to introduce herself and to arrange a suitable time to visit the family at home. At the visit, she listened to Penny’s mum’s concerns and observed Penny at play. She noted that Penny could babble but had no words. She reassured Penny’s mum and discussed some strategies she could use and suggested a referral to a speech and language specialist service. She also suggested that it may be useful to contact the senior nursery staff to discuss her concerns. Mum agreed that she would be happy for her to do so.

Following the visit, on returning to the office, the Health Visitor contacted the speech and language service regarding a formal referral to the service. She also organised a visit with the nursery head for Penny, her mum and herself to meet the nursery staff and discuss any anxieties Penny’s mum had. At this visit it was suggested that the nursery head liaised with the speech therapist regarding how the nursery staff could best support Penny when she was in nursery and it was agreed by everyone that a personalised plan was written to ensure this was followed by all nursery staff.

A few weeks later Penny’s mum received an appointment to attend the speech and language department and commenced treatment from them. The family attended a number of group sessions over a period of a few weeks and Penny’s speech began to develop.

Penny started nursery being able to speak a few words and there was a clear plan in place so that nursery staff could support the family with her speech development.

The Health Visitor continued to provide support for Penny and her family.

As a result of the highly regarded GIRFEC approach in Scotland, a partnership approach to identifying and addressing the barriers to child development and wellbeing successfully met the needs of the child in an inclusive and participative way.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019

In Scotland, the criminal law can be different to that of the rest of the UK. For example, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation in 2019 that made all forms of physical punishment of a child unlawful.

Scots Law

Scots law is the legal system in Scotland, and although elements in the Scottish legal system are similar to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are important differences between Scots law, English law and Northern Irish law. You can find out more about Scots law on the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (Scotland’s prosecution service) website at

The civil law, including family law, may also be different in Scotland to the position elsewhere in the UK.

Taxes in Scotland

Similar to a majority of countries around the world, tax plays an important role in Scotland because it helps to pay for the public services we use.

There are three different types of tax in Scotland:

  • Local taxes, which are managed and collected by your local authority area. An example of a local tax you might pay is Council Tax.
  • Devolved taxes, which are taxes either fully or partially controlled by the Scottish Government. These are either collected by Revenue Scotland or Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Examples of devolved taxes you might pay are Scottish Income Tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
  • Reserved taxes, these are controlled by the UK Government and collected by HMRC. Examples of reserved taxes you might pay are National Insurance and VAT.

Each year, the Scottish Government announces its plans for tax and spending in the Scottish Budget. Devolved taxes make up a large part of the Scottish Government’s revenue for this, with more than 40% of what Scotland spends coming from these taxes. More information on the purpose and principles of tax and how the Scottish Government makes decisions on devolved taxes is set out in the Framework for Tax.

Income Tax, which is a tax on money you earn, is the largest of the taxes the Scottish Government controls. Scotland has its own rates and bands which are different from the rest of the UK, which you will pay as a resident of Scotland. Your tax code will begin with the letter ‘S’ if you pay the Scottish rate. HMRC is responsible for the collection of Income Tax in Scotland.

The revenue raised from taxation in Scotland supports the most comprehensive range of free to access public services available in the UK, including free prescriptions and tuition fees.

The Scottish Income Tax Mitigation scheme is applicable for those posted in Scotland to ensure they pay the same amount of tax regardless of where they live. This is a policy created by the UK Government and Ministry of Defence, and is therefore not a policy that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. You can find out more information on this scheme at

Find out more about devolved taxes at, local taxes at, and reserved taxes at



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