Response 73434842

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Introduction

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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(Required)
Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your name or your organisation's name?

Name/orgname (Required)
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland

The Scottish Government generally seeks to publish responses to a consultation, in summary and where possible in detail. We would like your permission to publish:

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(Required)
Ticked Your response along with your full name
Your response only (anonymous)
Please do not publish my response at all

Section A - A Use of SHS

1.. What are the main social survey topics that you use in the SHS? Please tick all that apply. Please distinguish between the topics in your following answers.

Please select all that apply
Household composition & characteristics of all occupants
Ticked Employment status of the highest income householder
Ticked Household income from employment and other sources
Ticked Health /disability
Transport – cars, fuel spend, and bicycles
Ticked Accommodation - type of property, tenure, housing aspirations
Ticked SHCS social survey - use of heating, repairs, adaptations
Ticked SHCS social survey - energy efficiency and renewables
Ticked Internet access
Recycling
Ticked Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent)
Ticked Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel)
Other - please indicate
Please select all that apply
Ticked Key adult characteristics
Ticked Health/disability and caring responsibilities
Accommodation/housing experiences
Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination)
Ticked Education - qualifications
Ticked Employment/economic activity
Ticked Transport – Travel Diary
Ticked Transport – use of private/public transport, congestion
Ticked Perceptions of local government and services
Ticked Participation in sports activities
Ticked Participation in cultural activities
Ticked Environment – access to the outdoors, green space, land use
Ticked Environment – climate change
Ticked Internet access and use
Volunteering
Other - please indicate

2. . What do you use the SHS for? We are particularly interested in how analysis of SHS data is used for informing, monitoring and evaluating policy and practice decisions, including examples of where analysis has influenced decision making. Please be as specific as possible in your answers.

Please explain
Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the one in five children in Scotland growing up in poverty. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. We provide training, advice and information to make sure hard-up families get the financial support they need and carry out high profile legal work to establish and confirm families’ rights. While we do not have particular expertise in the SHS we are keen to highlight some of our concerns about the impact that changes to the nature of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) might have on local and national understanding of child poverty and its effects. As is noted in the consultation document, data gathered annually through the SHS informs over a quarter of the 37 indicators that underpin the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland’s measurement framework. These measures include; - The percentage of households with children in the bottom three income deciles not managing well financially - The percentage of adults in 15% most deprived data zones who agree they can influence decisions affecting their local area. - The percentage of adults in 15% most deprived data zones satisfied with the quality of local transport - The percentage of household in the 15% most deprived SIMD who can access green space within five minutes’ walk or less. - Gap in personal internet use between 15% most deprived and the rest of Scotland - The percentage of adults from households with children in bottom three income deciles that are satisfied with local schools - The percentage who say neighbourhood is a good place to live. - The percentage who say drug dealing or misuse is common in their area. - Children in households in the bottom three deciles in which someone has a bank account. Option A Biennial topics, i.e. halving the number of topics covered by the survey every year and collecting data on each topic every second year, with a small reduction in sample size (from 10,700 to 10,100). Option A would result in the SHS gathering data on many topics (including those indicators listed above) on a biennial rather than an annual basis. This raises several concerns. Firstly, the Scottish Government currently reports annually on its progress under the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland. It is difficult to see how this could be done meaningfully, accurately and comprehensively in the absence of data in relation to progress under nine of the strategies key indicators. The absence of annual data will make it increasingly difficult to establish causal links between policy interventions and changes in the experiences and perceptions of low income families. Where the impact of a policy cannot be seen for up to two years after its introduction, the process of holding local or national government to account becomes more difficult. Biennial collection of the data used in relation to the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland will also affect local authorities and their community planning partners. At a policy seminars hosted by CPAG in 2015, local child poverty leads noted the existing shortage of relevant, up to date information on the circumstances of low income families. They noted the need for more, “up to date information on poverty and the factors which underlie it to allow action to be targeted and the impact of policies to be measured effectively.” A representative of Dumfries and Galloway Council also noted, “We need detailed info and analysis of poverty locally but local authorities just don’t have the staff to do that kind of analysis”. These concerns are particularly pressing given that rates of child poverty are expected to rise dramatically in the coming years. The Institute for Fiscal Studies projects that by 2020 the number of children in the UK living in poverty will have risen by up to 50%. It is therefore more vital than ever that local and national government, service planners and third sector bodies have accurate, up-to-date information on child poverty and its affects. As well as affecting monitoring of progress in relation to child poverty, the absence of relevant annual data could also affect local and national accountability in relation to Children’s Services Planning requirements under the Children and Young People Act (which require local authorities to establish how the delivery of their services will increase child wellbeing) and numerous other initiatives impacting on poverty reduction and socio-economic equality. Option B: Reduction of the overall survey sample size by around a third, from 10,700 to 7,450, with a small reduction in topics covered by the survey. Again, there is a concern that reducing the sample size will have a negative effect on the extent to which the impact of policy change on children in poverty can be understood. The consultation document notes; “In line with the national sample size reduction under option B, all local authorities would receive a reduction in their sample size. This means annual local authority results would no longer be available under Option B. Instead the Scottish Government proposes to publish local authority results on a two year rolling average basis each year, i.e. two years' worth of data would be combined on a rolling basis to produce average figures each year.” As noted above, many local authorities already feel that there is a lack of relevant up to date information on the impact of child poverty. The consultation document also acknowledges that, “Rarely occurring characteristics and/or subgroup breakdowns – either at national or local level – that already require a combination of two years’ worth of data to achieve a sufficient sample size would need to combine non-consecutive years of data (e.g. 2017 and 2019)” CPAG is keen to know whether this could lead to a lack of information about those subgroups at increased risk of experiencing poverty (such as disabled people, BME households and/or lone parent families). As a result of these issues we have concerns about both the options presented in the current consultation. We would therefore ask the Scottish Government to commit to performing a Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment in relation to the current consultation. As part of this we would ask the Scottish Government to consider the impact changes in the nature of data collection under the Scottish Household survey will have on its ability to measure progress in the delivery of its Child poverty strategy and ability to tackle, eradicate and reduce child poverty in Scotland generally.

3.. Are there any alternative evidence sources available for the topics and/or questions you use in the SHS?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

Section B - Views on options for 2017

4.. What would be the impact of SHS option A for your organisation’s use of the SHS? Please distinguish between the different topics you use when answering.

Please explain
Option A would result in the SHS gathering data on many topics (including those indicators listed above) on a biennial rather than an annual basis. This raises several concerns. Firstly, the Scottish Government currently reports annually on its progress under the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland. It is difficult to see how this could be done meaningfully, accurately and comprehensively in the absence of data in relation to progress under nine of the strategies key indicators. The absence of annual data will make it increasingly difficult to establish causal links between policy interventions and changes in the experiences and perceptions of low income families. Where the impact of a policy cannot be seen for up to two years after its introduction, the process of holding local or national government to account becomes more difficult. Biennial collection of the data used in relation to the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland will also affect local authorities and their community planning partners. At a policy seminars hosted by CPAG in 2015, local child poverty leads noted the existing shortage of relevant, up to date information on the circumstances of low income families. They noted the need for more, “up to date information on poverty and the factors which underlie it to allow action to be targeted and the impact of policies to be measured effectively.” A representative of Dumfries and Galloway Council also noted, “We need detailed info and analysis of poverty locally but local authorities just don’t have the staff to do that kind of analysis”. These concerns are particularly pressing given that rates of child poverty are expected to rise dramatically in the coming years. The Institute for Fiscal Studies projects that by 2020 the number of children in the UK living in poverty will have risen by up to 50%. It is therefore more vital than ever that local and national government, service planners and third sector bodies have accurate, up-to-date information on child poverty and its affects. As well as affecting monitoring of progress in relation to child poverty, the absence of relevant annual data could also affect local and national accountability in relation to Children’s Services Planning requirements under the Children and Young People Act (which require local authorities to establish how the delivery of their services will increase child wellbeing) and numerous other initiatives impacting on poverty reduction and socio-economic equality.

5.. What would be the impact of SHS option B for your organisation’s use of the SHS? Please distinguish between the different topics you use when answering.

Please explain
Reduction of the overall survey sample size by around a third, from 10,700 to 7,450, with a small reduction in topics covered by the survey. Again, there is a concern that reducing the sample size will have a negative effect on the extent to which the impact of policy change on children in poverty can be understood. The consultation document notes; “In line with the national sample size reduction under option B, all local authorities would receive a reduction in their sample size. This means annual local authority results would no longer be available under Option B. Instead the Scottish Government proposes to publish local authority results on a two year rolling average basis each year, i.e. two years' worth of data would be combined on a rolling basis to produce average figures each year.” As noted above, many local authorities already feel that there is a lack of relevant up to date information on the impact of child poverty. The consultation document also acknowledges that, “Rarely occurring characteristics and/or subgroup breakdowns – either at national or local level – that already require a combination of two years’ worth of data to achieve a sufficient sample size would need to combine non-consecutive years of data (e.g. 2017 and 2019)” CPAG is keen to know whether this could lead to a lack of information about those subgroups at increased risk of experiencing poverty (such as disabled people, BME households and/or lone parent families).

6.. Do you prefer option A or option B?

What is the reason for your option preference?
We have concerns about both the options presented in the current consultation. We would therefore ask the Scottish Government to commit to performing a Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment in relation to the current consultation. As part of this we would ask the Scottish Government to consider the impact changes in the nature of data collection under the Scottish Household survey will have on its ability to measure progress in the delivery of its Child poverty strategy and ability to tackle, eradicate and reduce child poverty in Scotland generally.

7.. Under option A (biennial) half of the topics would be asked in 2017 (odd year) and half in 2018 (even year) (assuming this is the model adopted for 2018-2021). Do you have any views on what topics should be asked in 2017 and 2018?

Please explain
Topics which feed into the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland and those relating to the incidence of fuel poverty.

Section D - Any other comments and information about your organisation

14.. What sector do you work in?

Please select one item
Central government
Local government
Parliament
NHS
Other public sector (e.g. NDPB)
Higher/further education (excluding students)
Ticked Third sector (Voluntary and charity)
Private sector
Student
Journalists / media
Other (please specify)

15.. What is the main topic area(s) that your organisation as a whole focuses on?

If other, please specify
child poverty