‘A unique opportunity’ – Scottish Government consults public on keeping Covid innovations

Written by Jack Thomson and Sam Trendall on 18 August 2021 in News
News

Authorities seek citizen views on legal and operational developments

Credit: Hash Milhan/CC BY 2.0

The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation seeking views on legislative changes made during the pandemic, and how to ensure innovations necessitated by the crisis are not lost.

Between now and 9 November, citizens are being asked to contribute their feedback and suggestions on a range of issues. 

John Swinney, Covid recovery secretary, claimed that the government wants “to ensure we remove measures no longer needed in order to respond to the pandemic, whilst keeping those where there is demonstrable benefit to the people of Scotland”. 

"This is an opportunity to maintain changes that have been welcomed by people who now don’t want to lose transformations that have been innovative, beneficial, and increased access to services,” he said. "While the pandemic has been incredibly disruptive, its urgency has forced the public services we rely on to adapt and continue and still deliver, driving the pace of digital adoption, and in some cases more efficient ways of working.”


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Swinney added: "As we enter the recovery phase, we now have a unique opportunity to reimagine how health and social care, learning and justice services can be designed and delivered around the lives and needs of the people who use them. I invite everyone to have their say on what this future should look like to support a fair, safe and secure recovery.”

Proposals under the scope of the consultation include maintaining provisions in the UK Coronavirus Act that enable Scottish ministers to enact measures via public health regulations for any future public health threats.

A number of other reforms have been suggested, such as a change in the law that would allow a wider range of health professionals – such as nurses, midwives and paramedics – to give vaccinations and immunisations, and maintaining pre-eviction protocols relating to rent arrears in the private rented sector to ensure that tenants have all the information they need about their rights.

It has also been proposed that the extended statutory time-limits for criminal proceedings should temporarily remain in place to help the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service manage the backlog of cases from the pandemic.

The consultation also asks people to suggest any additional measures or legislation not covered in the consultation that could support recovery.

About the author

Jack Thomson is a journalist at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets as @jackr_thomson.

 

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