We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

We sought views on the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018: proposed amendments. The consultation opened on the 15 December 2023 and closed on 30 March 2024.

You said

We received 50 responses to our consultation questions. These included responses from 42 organisations and 8 individuals.

Respondents were generally supportive of:

  • the proposals on the technical provisions relating to water, waste, and industrial activities;
  • the four proposed new activities and changes to the process in relation to the public consultation and call-in procedure;
  • the various amendments to the common procedures in the 2018 Regulations and technical provisions for radioactive substances activities.

A full analysis of the consultation is available on the Scottish Government website.

We did

The analysis of responses received has been published, along with the individual responses (where permission was granted). The Scottish Government intends to implement the proposals set out in the consultation to amend the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018. We will now take all the comments and suggestions made as a result of the public consultation into consideration when preparing the Scottish Statutory Instrument.

We asked

We asked for your views on Community Learning and Development (CLD) in Scotland. We asked learners, potential learners, practitioners and stakeholders of CLD what they think is working well and what could be done better.

We did this to help the Independent Review of CLD provide information and recommendations to the Scottish Government relating to measuring outcomes delivered through CLD, delivering positive outcomes and improved life chances for marginalised and vulnerable learners and a suitably professionalised CLD workforce equipped to deliver high quality outcomes for learners.

You said

We received a total of 1140 responses on Citizen Space, of which 717 were from learners and potential learners and 423 were from practitioners.

Awareness and visibility of CLD was highlighted as a key issue. Respondents suggested that awareness can be limited by CLD being a poorly defined sector and having insufficient policy profile. There were calls for better communication to improve awareness of CLD provision, and especially around the positive impacts being delivered.

Poor awareness of CLD opportunities was also highlighted as a particular issue for people who want to access learning. Respondents suggested that access can be easier for those who have already engaged with CLD and who are aware of local opportunities. Reaching those who might benefit from CLD but who have not yet engaged with services remains a challenge. 

Flexibility of learning provision was seen as a key strength for CLD, especially in terms of making opportunities as widely accessible as possible. However, respondents referred to multiple barriers to access. These included access to and cost of transport, digital exclusion, and maintaining CLD alongside other time commitments. Funding challenges were also highlighted as impacting the CLD workforce and learner journey.

Practitioners were clear about the positive outcomes they deliver for learners, and the contribution that CLD makes to national policy priorities. However, there was a perception that CLD is undervalued. Respondents wished to see change to increase the profile and status of CLD across the wider learning and skills sector.

Learners reported that they felt well supported by CLD practitioners throughout their learning. This included support to build on their current learning, and specifically around transitions during their learning journey. Practitioners referred to a range of methods used to assess the effectiveness of outcomes, but saw scope for this to improve. It was suggested that consideration should be given to data collection around national outcomes against a set of agreed KPIs.

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to these consultations. The responses have been helpful in informing the review report and recommendations to the Scottish Government, which will be published in due course. We have published all non-confidential responses to the review. The analysis of these responses will be made available in the overall Evidence Report, which will be published alongside the review report and recommendations. Direct links to these will be added below once they are published.

We asked

We asked for your views on Community Learning and Development (CLD) in Scotland. We asked learners, potential learners, practitioners and stakeholders of CLD what they think is working well and what could be done better.

We did this to help the Independent Review of CLD provide information and recommendations to the Scottish Government relating to measuring outcomes delivered through CLD, delivering positive outcomes and improved life chances for marginalised and vulnerable learners and a suitably professionalised CLD workforce equipped to deliver high quality outcomes for learners.

You said

We received a total of 1140 responses on Citizen Space, of which 717 were from learners and potential learners and 423 were from practitioners.

Awareness and visibility of CLD was highlighted as a key issue. Respondents suggested that awareness can be limited by CLD being a poorly defined sector and having insufficient policy profile. There were calls for better communication to improve awareness of CLD provision, and especially around the positive impacts being delivered.

Poor awareness of CLD opportunities was also highlighted as a particular issue for people who want to access learning. Respondents suggested that access can be easier for those who have already engaged with CLD and who are aware of local opportunities. Reaching those who might benefit from CLD but who have not yet engaged with services remains a challenge. 

Flexibility of learning provision was seen as a key strength for CLD, especially in terms of making opportunities as widely accessible as possible. However, respondents referred to multiple barriers to access. These included access to and cost of transport, digital exclusion, and maintaining CLD alongside other time commitments. Funding challenges were also highlighted as impacting the CLD workforce and learner journey.

Practitioners were clear about the positive outcomes they deliver for learners, and the contribution that CLD makes to national policy priorities. However, there was a perception that CLD is undervalued. Respondents wished to see change to increase the profile and status of CLD across the wider learning and skills sector.

Learners reported that they felt well supported by CLD practitioners throughout their learning. This included support to build on their current learning, and specifically around transitions during their learning journey. Practitioners referred to a range of methods used to assess the effectiveness of outcomes, but saw scope for this to improve. It was suggested that consideration should be given to data collection around national outcomes against a set of agreed KPIs.

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to these consultations. The responses have been helpful in informing the review report and recommendations to the Scottish Government, which will be published in due course. We have published all non-confidential responses to the review. The analysis of these responses will be made available in the overall Evidence Report, which will be published alongside the review report and recommendations. Direct links to these will be added below once they are published.

We asked

We asked for your views on policy proposals for water, wastewater and drainage services and how we can adapt these services to the risks posed by climate change. The consultation opened on 21 November 2023 and closed on 21 February 2024. 

You said

The consultation responses show broad support for our policy proposals. Respondents understood the need to make changes in order to protect our services, whether this is by using water more efficiently, managing rainwater more sustainably or being more responsible with what is disposed of into sewers. There is an understanding that these changes will require investment and that there need to be changes to how the water industry operates, but that change is necessary.  

We did

The Scottish Government would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide a response to the consultation. The consultation responses are now available to view online where permission to publish has been provided. A full consultation analysis report has been published and is available on the Scottish Government website. 

We asked

We asked for views on proposals for a Wellbeing and Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill (WSD Bill), which aims to further improve decision-making and the implementation of the National Performance Framework to ensure that all policy and delivery is focused on increasing the wellbeing of people living in Scotland, both now and in the future.

We also asked for your views on further improving accountability and scrutiny of the National Outcomes, including the case for a Future Generations Commissioner.

The consultation opened on 6 December 2023 and closed on 14 February 2024.

We received a total of 180 responses. During the data review process one response was removed as it did not relate to the questions. A joint response from various public and third sector organisations was counted as two responses. There were 117 responses from organisations (65%) and 63 from individuals (35%).

Below is a short summary of general views, however this is not exhaustive and does not represent every view expressed. The consultation analysis, available here, includes further detail, although this is still not exhaustive. A full list of all publishable responses is available here.

You said

A majority of respondents were in favour of statutory definitions of ‘wellbeing’ and ‘sustainable development,’ with various benefits identified, including providing greater clarity and consistency in their meaning and application to decision-making. Challenges were also identified, including the broad, subjective, and multi-faceted nature of the terms and subsequent difficulties in setting statutory definitions.

Some respondents said the current duties on the National Outcomes were not clear or robust enough and that a stronger legal duty, or wording of a legal duty, could provide a more explicit requirement to work towards the National Outcomes. Some expressed it would be worthwhile to review existing duties and how strengthening duties on the National Outcomes would align with these. Those in favour of legislation broadly agreed it should cover all areas of decision-making and those not in favour of legislation thought it should exclude all areas.

Most agreed that the strengthening of a legal duty should apply widely and include Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Government explicitly. Some argue this should go further and apply to private and third sectors, and few feel duties should not be applied to any organisation.

Some agree that it is important for the Scottish Government to explore ways to improve reporting on the achievement of wellbeing objectives. A common point made is that this would help to hold public bodies to account and aid learning. However improved reporting should not become unduly onerous or bureaucratic and duplicate other existing processes. Instead, a proportionate approach should be taken, including guidance and support for public bodies in fulfilling duties and reporting.

Views are mixed on whether Scotland should establish an independent Future Generations Commissioner (FGC). Less than half of respondents agree with this, and a sizeable proportion were unsure or did not answer, with some against the proposal. Further clarity and consideration are needed on the role, remit, purpose, functions and powers of the FGC and its integration with the existing landscape of Commissioners, including the risk of overlap. Some see significant value in an independent body with adequate resource and powers, which can provide support and keep public bodies, including Scottish Government, to account.

Respondents who feel that there is not a requirement for an FGC or who said that the case for such an appointment has not yet been made by Scottish Government, raise concerns including the risk of under-funding for other bodies, dilution of their duties or remit and fragmentation of the landscape. The cost of an FGC and risk of additional bureaucracy are also raised. They state alternative options could be identified and assessed.

Scottish Government will issue a Final Consultation Report, summarising views in more detail than done so here and outline the subsequent decisions taken.

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to this consultation. The consultation responses have been independently analysed and the analysis report has now been published, along with the individual/organisation responses (where permission was granted). These responses have been carefully considered as part of further policy development and advice to Scottish Ministers. Ministers will take these views and considerations into account in their decision-making on how to progress. We will update this section and all stakeholders once next steps are determined.

We asked

We asked for your views on the policy proposals for the Care Leaver Payment. This included questions on the intention of the payment, the proposed eligibility criteria of the payment, the application process and what support is required when applying for and after receiving the payment.

You said

The consultation closed on 26 January 2024 and 80 responses were received, including 32 individual responses and 28 organisational responses. These have been published on the consultation hub.

We did

An independent analysis has been commissioned by the Scottish Government and is currently underway. The analysis report will be published in Spring 2024.

The responses, along with reports from engagement events during the consultation period, will inform the policy development of the proposed payment.

We asked

We sought views on the Scottish Government's proposal to:

  1. Introduce secondary legislation that will permit and regulate the production and marketing of plant reproductive material of an organic and heterogeneous nature in Scotland
     
  2. Method of delivery:
  • The legislative mechanisms by which OHM might be marketed
  • The scope of species any new legislation should apply to

You said

The consultation closed on 23 January 2024 on the Scottish Government Citizen Space website and gained a total of 30 responses.

The majority of respondents (77%) supported permitting the regulation, production and marketing of OHM, with a majority (80%) supporting the scope of this legislation being applied across all plant types.

However, a number of respondents whom are well placed in the seed production industry, whom did not support permanent legislative change, provided a range of valid concerns.

We did

The Scottish Government’s analysis of the consultation has been published as well as the consultation responses (where permission was granted).

In response to the consultation results, recognising the majority support of permanent legislative change, a review current Scottish legislation is being held with the aim of making revisions to allow the regulation, production and marketing of OHM.

However, further investigation is currently being conducted into the issues of OHM. This is being handled by directly contacted plant breeder's rights organisations as well as industry (seed producers).

We asked

The consultation opened on 6 October 2023 and closed on 22 January 2024.

We proposed measures, and sought your views on changes, to strengthen existing enforcement powers and increase penalties for offences under sections 21, 27 and 48 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

Under section 21 if owners should be held accountable for offences where they allow unauthorised occupation of a new, extended or converted building without a completion certificate. 

Under Section 27, proposals were to include an option for removal of work, introduce a standalone stop notice, clarify the scope of section 27 to take action after acceptance of a completion certificate for High Risk Buildings (HRBs) and set a time limit for serving enforcement notices. 

Under section 48 proposals were to increase penalties for offences from £5000 to £50,000, and include a  two-year custodial sentence to act as a greater deterrent for those persons who undertake building work that does not meet the building warrant or Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

You said

In total, 43 consultation responses were received. Individuals provided 18 responses to the consultation; the remaining 25 were from organisations. The largest number of organisations were from local authorities and their associated bodies (15), professional associations and membership organisations (7) and commercial organisations and manufacturers (3).

Many individuals and organisations with detailed knowledge took part in the consultation, sharing their views on the proposals to strengthen the existing enforcement powers of local authorities and change the penalties for building standards offences.

Overall, there was broad support for the proposals. Respondents typically agreed that the proposals provide a clearer, stronger deterrent that should help to improve compliance, enable more effective enforcement and ensure building safety. The proposals were also seen as offering greater flexibility to relevant parties and helping to align Scotland with other parts of the UK.

Nine in ten respondents agreed with the proposal to hold owners accountable for new/converted buildings which are occupied illegally (section 21), and between two thirds to over four fifths of respondents supported a new provision for the removal of work, a standalone stop notice, and the ability to take enforcement action after the acceptance of a completion certificate for High Risk Buildings (section 27).

Views were more mixed on introducing a time limit for local authorities to take action on all work subject to a building warrant and building regulations (section 27). While seven in ten agreed with the introduction of a time limit, just under half favoured the proposed 10-year limit. Other respondents either felt a 10-year limit was too long, or that there should be no end date to being able to take action on non-compliance.

Very high levels of support were noted for increasing the level of a fine to a maximum of £50,000 and the option to include a custodial sentence (section 48). However, many caveated their agreement by noting the need to ensure penalties are proportionate to the level or nature of non-compliance.

While perceived impacts of the proposals were generally limited, there was concern from many respondents, particularly local authorities, that the proposals could put additional pressure on the time and resources of local authorities and their verifier teams. Across the consultation, some organisations noted additional costs and risks which builders and developers could face. There were also calls for the Scottish Government to provide further guidance and clarification about how the provisions could be used in different scenarios, and to consider how the provisions would work alongside existing legislation.

A full analysis of the consultation is available on the Scottish government website.

We did

The Scottish Government will seek to amend sections 21, 27 and 48 of The Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

We asked

As part of the Pension Age Winter Heating Payment consultation, we explained our intention to replace the UK Government’s Winter Fuel Payment on a like for like basis. As part of this, we asked questions about whether the proposals were likely to meet the policy intent; whether the eligibility criteria is clear; the naming of the benefit; the amount, format and timing of the payment; the impact of the policy as well as requesting views on the longer term development of the benefit.

You said

We received 906 responses to the consultation, 881 from individuals and 25 from organisations. Most respondents indicated that they support the like for like introduction of a new benefit to replace Winter Fuel Payment, and there was strong support for maintaining universal eligibility of the payment. However, some also expressed reservations about the proposed universal eligibility criteria, and called for payments to be better targeted at those experiencing fuel poverty. These views were also reflected in the work undertaken with stakeholders alongside the consultation.

Concerns were also expressed around the timescales for clients to request a redetermination following an unsuccessful application. Respondents raised concerns that clients would have 31 days to request a redetermination, whereas Social Security Scotland will have 56 days to consider this request. Respondents suggested that older people may need longer than 31 days to gather the evidence required to challenge a decision. Similarly, many suggested that 56 days may be too long for clients to wait for the outcome of a redetermination, as this long period may leave individuals without funds at the start of the winter period.

Respondents highlighted a range of ways in which the payment could be made more effective for rural and island communities. Highlighting the difficulties for those living off gas-grid in sourcing alternative fuels, and the rising prices of these fuels across the winter period, many called for higher payment values and earlier or more flexible payment timings for rural communities.

Similarly, many respondents highlighted other groups who could benefit from the payment, calling for the expansion of eligibility to include vulnerable groups such as adults with disabilities and unpaid carers.

We did

We considered the consultation responses and the impacts that the suggested changes would have if they were implemented. We have taken into account the extent to which any changes to the policy may present a significant financial challenge or potentially risk our ability to deliver the benefit in winter 2024-25, due to the requirement for a substantial redesign of the delivery systems of the payment.

In response to concerns raised within the consultation about redeterminations, we have now changed these timescales to give clients 42 days to challenge a decision, rather than the originally proposed timescale of 31 days. This will provide clients with greater flexibility, giving them more time to challenge a decision on their application.

Due to the complexity of decision making within Pension Age Winter Heating Payment, which may involve a process of household matching as well as seeking additional information in relation to the qualifying week, we have not changed the timescales for Social Security Scotland to respond to redetermination requests. It is important to note that 56 days would be the upper limit for completing a re-determination, and that we expect most re-determinations to be completed more quickly. This benefit will have the largest caseload of all Social Security Scotland benefits, with over 1 million people eligible. Considering the scale of the eligible cohort and the complexity of decision-making, even a small volume of re-determinations could have significant operational impacts. A timescale of 56 days to complete re-determinations will allow Social Security Scotland to more effectively manage these requests, reducing the risk of re-determinations going out-of-time.

As proposed, we will maintain universal eligibility to ensure the safe and secure transfer of the benefit this winter. The Scottish Government will continue to consider options for the longer term development of the benefit post-launch. The responses to the consultation will support this work.

We asked

We asked for views on two minor amendments to road works legislation. Firstly,  on the proposal to revoke the Scottish Statutory Instrument,  “The “Scottish Road Works Register (Prescribed Fees) Regulations 2022” and replace it with a new Regulation to account for the overall running cost in the 2024/25 and secondly, Secondly, we sought views on amending “The Road Works (Qualifications of Operative and Supervisors (Scotland) Regulations 2017”, and the Road Works (Reinstatement Quality Plans, Qualifications of Supervisors and Operative and Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2023, by expanding the list of approved awarding organisations to include two additional bodies, “Highfield Qualifications” and “EUIAS ”

You said

In total, thirteen responses to the consultation were received, primarily from roads authorities. One response was received from an individual, seven from local authority roads teams, four from statutory undertakers and one from a public body responsible for the regulation of road works in Scotland. Brief analysis of these responses is detailed below:

There was strong support for both proposals; ten of the thirteen responses gave full support for the proposal on Fees. One roads authority noted no objection or preference, and two statutory undertakers objected to the current splitting mechanism. Of the two undertaker responses in opposition to the proposal, one made no alternate suggestions, but noted that undertakers appear to be paying more than roads authorities generally. However as the mechanism is use based, and at present utility firms undertake 75% of works, this is to be expected. Another undertaker suggested a new splitting model for future years in addition to opposing the current one. Twelve of the thirteen responses gave no objection to the addition of two new awarding bodies in road works training for Scotland, with one response skipping the question. One comment was received caveating their ‘no objection’ response,  on the condition that the bodies in question meet the relevant standards

We did

The consultation responses have been carefully considered, most of the respondents supported the proposal to replace the 2022 Scottish Statutory Instrument. As a result, we will now revoke the Scottish Statutory Instrument, “The “Scottish Road Works Register (Prescribed Fees) Regulations 2022”, and replace it with a new Regulation as proposed. We have also added the two new awarding bodies, “Highfield Qualfications” and “EUIAS” to the appropriate statute. We have passed on the single request for a new apportionment model for fees and amounts with the Roads Authority and Utility Committee (Scotland), as the industry body representing the road works community. We have advised that if the group wish to review, amend or replace their current proposed splitting mechanism, comment must be returned to Transport Scotland by September 2024, to allow for sufficient consultation ahead of the next financial year.

We asked

We asked for your views on allocation of Additional Quota. We presented seven possible allocation methods and asked for input on four additional areas for consideration in the longer term. We did this because the Joint Fisheries Statement requires us to periodically review how we distribute fishing opportunities, in consultation with industry and other stakeholders.

You said

There were 91 responses to the consultation. These consisted of 36 private individuals (40%) and 55 organisations (60%). Organisations which responded included: fishing associations, environmental/conservation organisations, sectoral groups and fishing businesses.  

The responses demonstrated expertise, practical knowledge and conviction about the management of Scotland’s fishing opportunities. We thank all of those who took the time to provide a response.

We did

We concluded our analysis of consultation responses and published the outcome report on 7 June 2024. We will shortly update and issue allocations and new Scottish quota management rules. 

We will explore further the potential of a greater role for community quota initiatives, and the use of AQ to encourage greater compliance with regulatory requirements related to fishing. 

We asked

We asked your views on SSSC’s proposals to streamline and improve registration. In order to achieve this, we asked your views on reducing the number of Register parts from 23 to 4, requiring employees to apply for registration within three months of starting a new role and be registered within six months. We also asked about SSSC’s proposals to include more information on the public facing Register, such as specialist qualifications for social workers, and information relating to fitness to practise which is currently available on a different parts of the SSSC website. The consultation opened on 4 October 2023 and closed on 2 January 2024.

You said

A total of 69 responses were received; of these, 53 were from individuals and 16 were from organisations. 

The vast majority of respondents were supportive of the proposals, with many highlighting that reducing the number of register parts will help improve the process of registering with the SSSC. 87% of respondents agreed with this proposal, with 77% agreeing with the proposals to reduce the timescales for applying and 77% also agreeing with the proposals to include more information on the public facing Register.

There were also some respondents who had some concerns with certain aspects of the proposals. Several respondents highlighted that they believed 3 months was too short a timescale to expect a worker to apply for registration and others believing that sharing additional information on the public facing register could have a negative impact on individuals.

A full analysis of the consultation is available on the Scottish Government website.

We did

The Scottish Government intends to implement the proposals set out in the consultation by amending Regulation of Care (Social Service Workers) (Scotland) Order 2005, The Scottish Social Services Council (Appointments, Procedure and Access to the Register) Regulations 2001 and The Registration of Social Workers and Social Care Workers in Care Services (Scotland) Regulations 2013. More information is available on the Scottish Parliament Website.

We asked

We asked for views on our proposals to replace the SQA and approaches to maximise the role inspection plays in providing assurance and supporting teachers and other practitioners to improve education in Scotland, including through legislation. The consultation opened on 7 November 2023 and closed on 18 December 2023.  

You said

We received a total of 386 responses; of these, 234 were from individuals and 152 were from organisations. 

There was general agreement on the need for a new qualifications body which works collaboratively with partners and stakeholders as part of a system-wide holistic approach. Generally, the proposals for increased involvement and representation in the body through adjustments to the Board and the introduction of an Advisory Committee and Charter were welcomed, although views varied on the future membership of the Board and Advisory Committee. 

On Inspection, 69% of respondents agreed with the purposes of inspection set out in the consultation and 66% agreed that education inspection should be provided to the full range of establishments and services set out. Views varied on the necessity of legislating for establishing a new approach to inspection, by way of creating the role of ‘HM Chief Inspector of Education’ as an independent office-holder and for an Advisory Council for the inspectorate to be established.  

A full analysis of the consultation is available on the Scottish government website. 

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to this consultation. The consultation responses have been independently analysed and the analysis report has now been published, along with the individual/organisation responses (where permission was granted). These responses have been carefully considered and we have sought to incorporate these views into the Education (Scotland) Bill. For instance, feedback showed that Qualifications Scotland would benefit from additional teaching experience on the Board of Management. We therefore doubled both the number of board members who are required to be providing teaching or training as a registered teacher and the number of board members who are providing relevant teaching or training in colleges from our original proposals (outlined in Schedule 1, Part 2 of the Bill). The Scottish Government introduced the Education (Scotland) Bill to Parliament on 4 June. 

We asked

We sought views on a revised Code of Practice for constables in Scotland when they search people, premises or vehicles for cash, listed assets or cryptoasset-related items under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which may have been obtained through unlawful conduct or be intended for use in unlawful conduct.

You said

The revised Code was generally welcomed by respondents, but a few points were raised. It was noted though that the revised Code would be used to assist in producing further guidance and training documents for constables.

Other points raised included strengthening the guidance in Annex A of the Code in relation to the search of children and young people where issues of child protection are identified by the constable, and for further clarification of the advice and guidance for constables on the search of transgender persons in Annex C to the Code.

Further points were noted in the body of the Code around the procedures that constables should adopt, particularly on the training of constables.

We did

As a result of the helpful responses received we have made some, although relatively minor changes to the Code. We have introduced a new paragraph A.29 in Annex A to assist constables where additional child protection measures have been identified. We also  amended Annex C to clarify issues around how constables treat transgender persons. We have also sought to improve the Code for the benefit of constables although issues relating to training are a matter for the Police Service of Scotland.

We asked

We asked for views on the revised Code of Practice for Proper Persons in Scotland in relation to the exercise of powers to execute warrants and orders conferred by Chapter 3 of Part 8 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

You said

Three responses were received on this Consultation. One response suggested some minor textual changes in Chapter 1 of the Code, other pertinent points were raised concerning disclosure and the safety of Proper Persons executing a warrant or order.

We did

As a result of the responses received we have made the suggested changes to Chapter 1 and have amended the Code to clarify when a Proper Person should provide their name and that they need not do so if they believe that doing so might endanger themselves or others.

We asked

We asked for views on amending the Building Standards system to mandate gigabit-capable connectivity in new build developments up to a cost cap of £2000 per premise to the developer. Where this cap was exceeded a requirement to install a connection using the ‘next best’ available technology available within the cost cap would exist in addition to installing the passive infrastructure required to facilitate a gigabit-capable connection at a later date.

The consultation opened on 19 September 2023 and closed on 12 December 2023.

You said

In total 22 responses to the consultation were received of these 7 were from individuals, 7 from public sector organisations and 8 from organisations in the telecoms or housebuilding sectors.

The majority of responses considered that the proposals would ensure that gigabit-capable digital infrastructure would be placed in the best location to connect to a network distribution point and to ensure early engagement between telecoms operators and developers through the Connectivity Plan. Half considered the costs to be reasonable with a recognition that there was the potential for factors off-site, such as the rurality of a location, or third party land issues considered to be a potential cause of exceeding the cost cap.

Among the respondents a majority supported the inclusion of reference to existing road works guidance within the Technical Handbooks for external physical infrastructure and best practice advice to improve connectivity within an individual dwelling.

A full analysis of the consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/new-build-developments-delivering-gigabit-capable-connections-public-consultation-analysis-report/

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to this consultation. We are carefully considering the results to inform the development of secondary legislation and associated statutory guidance to mandate gigabit-capable connectivity up to a cost cap through the Scottish building standards system.

Revised Building Standards Technical Handbooks will be published and regulations laid later this year to enable these changes.

We asked

Effective regulation of independent healthcare is an important element in supporting public safety. We asked if you agreed that the regulation of independent healthcare services should continue to be funded through fees charged by HIS to private providers. We also asked if, given the increasing costs required to regulate independent healthcare, you agreed that the proposed maximum fees HIS can charge, as outlined in the consultation, was required. Finally, we asked, If you do not agree with the proposed maximum fee adjustment, what alternative approaches or strategies you believed would be fair and effective, and how should HIS address the challenges of the rising costs while minimising the impact on their stakeholders.

You said

We received 105 responses, of which 83 were from individuals and 22 were from organisations. The majority of respondents identified themselves as being affiliated with an independent healthcare service, either identifying as the owner or working for such businesses. The responses we received showed a fairly even split between those who agreed that the regulation of independent healthcare services should continue to be funded through fees charged by HIS to private providers (46%) and those who did not (53%). 83% of respondents did not agree with the proposed maximum fees that HIS can charge for the commencement of the regulation of independent medical agencies. 87% of respondents did not agree that the increase to proposed maximum fees HIS can charge, as outlined in the consultation, is required given the increasing costs required to regulate independent healthcare. 50% of respondents who elected to add additional information suggested that non-healthcare professionals should also be registered with HIS. 34% of these respondents felt that fees should be based on the size of the business.

We did

We have published all non-confidential responses to our consultation and the analysis of these responses. Direct links to these publications can be found below.

The response to the proposals was considered by Scottish Ministers. It was decided that the proposals are essential to ensure effective regulation of independent healthcare, which ensures public safety. It is vital that HIS has the necessary resources to fund its regulatory responsibilities, but in response to the large majority of respondents who did not agree with the proposals, we are proposing a reduced maximum fee cap in a number of areas. Further information can be found in our government response to the consultation analysis.

We asked

We asked for your views on whether Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) should be continued as part of the range of policy measures in place to address alcohol related harm, and, in the event of its continuation, the level the minimum unit price should be set going forward. The consultation opened on 20 September 2023 and closed on 22 November 2023. We asked for your views on whether Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) should be continued as part of the range of policy measures in place to address alcohol related harm, and, in the event of its continuation, the level the minimum unit price should be set going forward. The consultation opened on 20 September 2023 and closed on 22 November 2023.

You said

We received 545 responses to our consultation questions. These included responses from 432 individuals and 113 organisations. Respondents included public health organisations, alcohol industry representative bodies and alcohol producers.

Two fifths of all respondents (39%) supported MUP continuing, three fifths (59%) were opposed, and 2% did not answer. There were, however, significant differences between individuals and organisations. Just over one quarter (27%) of individuals supported MUP continuing, compared to nine in ten (88%) organisations. All public health organisations who responded to the consultation agreed MUP should continue; however, 83% of alcohol industry representative bodies and 60% of alcohol producers were opposed.

One third of respondents (32%) agreed with the proposed minimum unit price of 65 pence. Two thirds (66%) disagreed, and 2% did not answer. Individuals and organisations held almost exactly opposing views. While 79% of individuals disagreed and 19% agreed, among organisations 79% agreed and 17% disagreed.

Most respondents held firm views either for or against MUP. One third (32%) supported a continuation and a price increase, while three fifths (59%) opposed both proposals. However, 7% were in favour of MUP continuing, but opposed to the specified price.

A full analysis of the consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website.

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to this consultation. The consultation analysis report has now been published, along with the individual/organisation responses (where permission was granted). We have also provided feedback which can be read on the Scottish Government’s website. Following extensive evaluation, the evidence supports that MUP has had a positive impact on health outcomes, namely a reduction in alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions, particularly in men and those living in the most deprived areas, and therefore contributes to addressing alcohol-related health inequalities. It is our intention to lay draft orders before Parliament to continue minimum unit pricing beyond 30th April, and to set the price per unit at 65 pence.

We asked

We sought views to inform a review of the Scottish Government’s National Islands Plan published in December 2019. The consultation opened on 18 July and closed on 7 November 2023.

You said

The consultation received 167 responses submitted by 39 organisations and 128 individuals. Most respondents (82%) said they were permanent island residents. In addition, a total of 231 individuals participated in consultation workshops (13 in-person on islands and 3 online) delivered by the Scottish Government’s Islands Team.

There were mixed views, both among organisations and individuals, about whether the National Islands Plan had had any effect on their lives, with organisations (50%) more likely than individuals (10%) to say the plan affected them positively.

There were also mixed views on the contents of the current National Islands Plan, with 37% of respondents saying they had positive views, 36% saying they had negative views and 27% saying they had no views at all.

A large majority of respondents wanted to see a new (or revised) National Islands Plan.

We did

The Scottish Government will commence work to develop a second National Islands Plan, to be published in 2025. The new document will be informed by the feedback received through this public consultation as well as close collaboration with island communities, island local authorities and delivery partners. We will continue the implementation of the commitments set out in the current plan whilst the new document is developed.

We asked

We asked for feedback on revised draft statutory guidance focused on integration authority strategic plans and annual performance reports, which are requirements under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014.

The draft statutory guidance documents were revised in collaboration with a working group of partners from across health and social care. We were seeking further feedback and views through the public consultation.

You said

28 consultation responses were received in total. 19 of these responses were from organisations and 9 were from individuals.

On the whole, the responses indicated general support for the overall approach taken in updating and revising the guidance.

There was also a lot of useful, detailed feedback on information and areas of the guidance that could potentially be changed or improved.

We did

We published the responses to the consultation and a consultation report.

Using the feedback from the consultation, we further revised the guidance documents before final publication.

Changes made to the guidance included:

  • adding a ministerial foreword
  • re-ordering some parts of the guidance
  • adding new sources of information
  • clarifying and amending some of information already in the guidance
  • making further links to other planning duties

Some feedback would have required changes to legislation. These views are helpful in considering and progressing development of the National Care Service.

We have also published an easy read version of this 'We asked, you said, we did' summary.