We Asked, You Said, We Did

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

We asked

On 13 April 2022, the Scottish Government published a consultation seeking views on key aspects of the revised National Strategy for Community Justice, including proposals for four national aims and associated priority actions which the Scottish Government and community justice partners should seek to deliver. 

The current model for Community Justice came into operation on 1 April 2017, underpinned by the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (the Act), which places duties on a group of statutory partners to engage in community justice planning and to report against a set of nationally-determined outcomes.

The Act required Scottish Ministers to produce a National Strategy for Community Justice, which was published in 2016. As per section 16 of the Act, Scottish Ministers reviewed the current strategy by 24 November 2021. Following this review, the consultation analysis report was published and proposals for the revised strategy were developed and consulted on. Once published, the revised strategy will supersede the 2016 strategy.

You said

There were 75 responses to the consultation. Of these the majority (57) were received from groups/organisations, and 18 were received from individuals.

Overall, respondents to this consultation generally supported the national aims for the revised National Strategy for Community Justice. In addition, the majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with all of the priority actions associated with the national aims. Just over half (56%) of respondents felt that the four national aims captured the most important aspects of community justice. Some respondents however felt that parts of the strategy required further clarity and that the aims could include more of a focus on victims of crime, and trauma-informed and person-centred approaches. Where applicable, respondents also provided suggestions for improving each priority action.

There were also several recurring themes mentioned by respondents including reflections on the need for collaborative work and resources to meet the aims of the strategy, and recognition of the need for consistency of access to services, but that flexibility is required for delivery in order to respond to local needs.

We did

The Scottish Government's analysis of responses to the National Strategy for Community Justice: Revision Consultation has been published.

The responses, along with accompanying workshop discussions and engagement and other evidence, have informed the finalisation of the revised National Strategy for Community Justice. The Scottish Government will publish an accompanying delivery plan in due course.

We asked

On 13 December 2021, the Scottish Government, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), published a consultation seeking views on key aspects of a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy in three key strategic themes:

  • behaviour change
  • services and infrastructure
  • enforcement.

Public events and stakeholders workshops were also held to gather views.

You said

There were 978 responses to the consultation. Of these the majority (892) were received from individuals, and 86 from organisations.

Overall, responses indicate a high level of support for almost all proposed actions within the consultation document.

We did

The Scottish Government's independent analysis of responses to the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, including an executive summary of key findings, has been published.

The responses will inform the development of a final National Litter and Flytipping Strategy and accompanying action plan.

We asked

To inform the development of the Scottish Government’s Resource Spending Review, a consultation was launched on 9 December 2021. The associated paper, Investing in Scotland’s Future: Resource Spending Review Framework, invited stakeholders to provide views on the future of Scotland’s public finances.  The public consultation asked six questions covering: 

  • the Government’s suggested priorities for the Resource Spending Review;   

  • the drivers of public spending;  

  • opportunities to maximise the impact of the public sector workforce;   

  • opportunities to achieve the best value for citizens from limited funds;   

  • equalities and human rights impacts; and   

  • future public engagement around Scotland’s public finances.    

You said

You provided us with 72 responses to our consultation questions. These included responses from 57 organisations and 15 individuals. 

In summary, respondents said: 

  1. Respondents generally agreed with the priorities outlined in the Framework, whilst some also made suggestions for additional priorities or specific focuses within the priorities. 

  2. Some respondents agreed with the drivers of public spending listed in the review RSR framework while many respondents recommended the inclusion of other drivers of public spending, with an emphasis on climate adaptation and mitigation. 

  3. Respondents’ suggestions on how policy interventions can be used to maximise the value achieved from the public sector workforce spanned several aspects with most suggestions focused on investment and financing, the third sector, workforce remuneration, recruitment, retention, training and development.  

  4. Some respondents broadly agreed with all the proposed approaches aiming to maximise the positive impact of Scotland’s public spending, while more respondents suggested further approaches centred around policy decisions, administrative actions, financial steps, and issues relating to mental health, and technology, among other aspects. 

  5. Several respondents supported the decision to conduct an equality assessment of the Spending Review's findings and provided their views on equality and human rights impacts centred around spending, including on mental health, gender equality, alcohol use, science and education, among other aspects. 

  6. Views on how best to continue the engagement featured recurring themes including improving the timing for consultations, including lived experiences in decision making, and the need for diversity of views and deeper levels of engagement.  

  

We did

The information gathered through our online consultation was analysed alongside the output from a programme of external engagement. This analysis was collated into a report, which was published alongside the Resource Spending Review on 31 May 2022. Where permission was granted, responses to our consultation have been published.

The responses to the consultation have informed the outcomes of the Resource Spending Review and development of the plans detailed within that publication. In addition to this, the responses will be used to inform the next steps and reform options outlined in the Resource Spending Review.  The full Resource Spending Review can be found here: Resource Spending Review and supporting documents

The findings of the consultation will also be used to inform the work the Scottish Government, especially Director General Scottish Exchequer, is taking forward to improve transparency and participation in public finances (including in relation to our Open Government Action Plan). This information provided in responses to this consultation will be used to improve our public engagement for future budgets and spending reviews. 

We would like to thank all of those who took the time to respond to our consultation and / or participated in our programme of engagement. 

We asked

On 29 December 2021 the Scottish Government published a consultation seeking views on the range of actions that have been identified as priorities within the refreshed Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland.

These priority actions encompass reducing sources of marine litter, preventing litter reaching the marine environment, and supporting initiatives to remove marine litter.

You said

A total of 220 responses were received to the consultation. The majority (166) were submitted by individuals, and 54 were from organisations.

The vast majority of respondents (both individuals and organisations) agreed or strongly agreed that the planned actions would contribute to the successful implementation of the strategy.

We did

The Scottish Government’s independent analysis of responses to the Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland consultation has been published. This report includes an executive summary of key findings and a response from Marine Scotland Directorate.

All consultation responses will be taken into consideration while the strategy is being finalised.

We asked

The next revaluation of non-domestic property in Scotland is due to take effect from 1 April 2023 based on rental values as at 1 April 2022 (the 'tone date'). At revaluation Scottish Assessors review rateable values resulting in a new valuation roll for all non-domestic properties in Scotland. While most rateable values are based on estimated annual rent, around 9% of subjects, accounting for 22% of total rateable value are derived using the contractor's basis method of valuation.

In the contractor's basis method of valuation, the capital value (cost of rebuilding) of a property is estimated, then a decapitalisation rate is applied to give an annual equivalent rateable value.

The purpose of the consultation was to seek views on the prescription of the decapitalisation rate(s) to be used when non-domestic subjects are valued using the contractor’s basis for the 2023 revaluation.

The consultation asked for views on four questions:

  1. Should the Scottish Government continue to prescribe decapitalisation rates to be used for the contractor’s basis method of valuation at the 2023 revaluation?
  2. Should the Scottish Government continue to prescribe two decapitalisation rates?
  3. If prescribing two decapitalisation rates, should the Scottish Government continue to maintain the current groupings of properties in each rate?
  4. Do you have any further views on the decapitalisation rates for the 2023 revaluation?

You said

We received 13 responses to the consultation. Twelve responses were from organisations and one was from an individual. All of the responses received have been considered.

All of the respondents would welcome continued prescription of decapitalisation rates for the 2023 revaluation, and all respondents either supported or had no objections to there being two decapitalisation rates (standard and lower).

A range of comments were received in relation to the groupings for each of the decapitalisation rates, the decapitalisation rates adopted by other UK administrations, and the methodology used to inform the rates.

We did

A consultation analysis report has been published on the Scottish Government Website.

The responses, together with other relevant information, informed the considerations for the appropriate decapitalisation rates for the 2023 revaluation which have been confirmed at 4.6% and 2.9% for the standard and lower rates respectively. This is also confirmed in Local Government Finance Circular 7/2022: Decapitalisation Rates for the 2023 Revaluation.

A Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment has also been published on the Scottish Government’s website

We asked

We asked for your opinion on the Scottish Government’s proposed policy in relation to the Section 52 Regulations (Exemption Order Process) and the Ministerial Directions.

You said

We received a total of 626 responses to the public consultation.  Of these, 20 were submitted by local authorities and 3 by Community Councils.  15 other respondents also identified their organisation, and 589 were listed as individuals.  All feedback received will help inform the content of the Ministerial Directions and the Section 52 Regulations.

We did

We have published non-confidential responses to the consultation and an analysis of the consultation responses (link below).  Preparations are now underway on the Ministerial Directions and Section 52 regulations and the feedback received from this consultation will help shape that process.

The full analysis report can be found here.

We asked

The Scottish Government set out an ambition to develop a new Framework for pain services to better meet the need of people living with chronic pain in Scotland.   Chronic pain is estimated to affect 30 – 50% of the adult UK population, with an estimated 5% of the Scottish population experiencing disabling, high-impact pain

The draft Framework set out a comprehensive summary of the evidence on the impact of chronic pain. It contained a series of proposed Aims and Commitments which were intended to drive discussion and engagement with stakeholders to inform our approach to service improvement.

The consultation was launched on 6 December 2021 and closed on 28 February 2022. The consultation paper can be found at: Draft framework for pain management service delivery - Scottish Government - Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)

You said

114 responses were received to the consultation, of which 88 were from individuals and 26 from organisations. Where consent has been given to publish the response it can be found on the Scottish Government’s Citizen Space public consultation portal Published responses for Draft framework for pain management service delivery - Scottish Government - Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)

There was a very high level of support for the Aims and Commitments set out in the draft Framework from both individual and organisational respondents. We have published an independent analysis of all the response which can be found at Pain management - service delivery framework: consultation analysis - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

A consistent theme which emerged from the feedback included a call for greater clarity and articulation of the specific actions that would be taken to deliver the Aims set out in the draft Framework.

It was highlighted that there is considerable variation in what information and advice is provided to people with chronic pain which should be addressed by the Framework. This included the importance of ensuring all health and care workers have an understanding of the challenges of living with persistent pain so that they provide informed and compassionate care. Feedback was provided on opportunities to improve referral and planning of care as well as suggestions for what services should be accessible for everyone with chronic pain to help them maintain their quality of life.

It was also indicated that greater clarity is required on the range of options that should be considered as part of care planning. Respondents also provided views on how to improve consistency in clinical practice, including a focus on updated clinical guidance, improved education and greater skill-sharing across professional groups.

It was felt that alongside ensuring more consistent advice was provided to patients, there is a need for improved education and training on pain management, and views were provided on what this should include, how it should be delivered and how best to engage both trainee and existing healthcare professionals on this issue. In relation to the data proposals in the draft Framework there were calls to ensuring continued progress to improve quality and transparency of the existing data that is reported.

Respondents to the consultation highlighted the importance of clear leadership and governance arrangements being in place in order to ensure the success of any service improvement initiatives in support of the Framework Aims.

We did

Based on the findings of the independent analysis of your responses, we carried out work during 2022 to review, update and refine the Aims and Commitments which had been set out in the draft Framework. In doing so we have developed a ‘Framework for Pain Management Service Delivery – Implementation Plan’ in order to reflect the urgency for service improvement expressed in the responses to the consultation. This is available to view at: Pain management - service delivery framework: implementation plan - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

In response to the feedback for greater clarity, the Implementation Plan sets out 18 specific Actions we intend to deliver in the next year to improve care, support and services for people with chronic pain. This will provide a clear ‘roadmap’ to guide both Government and stakeholder activity to address the priorities you have identified.

We have developed dedicated Actions to deliver new information resources on NHS Inform and other sources of information, which will be overseen by a dedicated expert working group. We will also work to increase the healthcare workers’ knowledge and skills in supporting people with chronic pain with Actions to establish a Chronic Pain Knowledge Hub supported by NHS Education for Scotland and to promote a ‘pain informed’ approach to care.

We have developed Actions on the challenges people with chronic pain face in accessing the care they need, when they need it. This includes establishing a new pain service managers Network to improve local coordination and planning of services for people with chronic pain. We will also identify, scale-up and roll out best-practice ways of working that have been developed in different Health Board areas to improve care across for people across all of Scotland.

We will deliver Actions to help reduce the unwarranted variation in services and care that people responding to the consultation highlighted. This includes Actions to update existing clinical guidance to drive more consistent and appropriate decisions about care and prescribing of medication for chronic pain.

Actions have also been developed in response to the feedback from the consultation on the need for increase healthcare professional skills on chronic pain, including establishing a new national pain education group. We are also acting to deliver new pain management training pathways. We will respond to calls to improve data collection and reporting through work with Public Health Scotland and delivering national data on pain and its impact through the Scottish Health Survey.

Finally, we have acknowledged the challenges raised in the consultation on ensuring all partners views are heard and involved in national policy and improvement activities. In response to this we have developed new Governance arrangements which are intended to increase coordination, engagement and the pace of action to improve care and services for people with chronic pain.

We asked

What evidence is there of the effective regulation of heat in non-domestic buildings?

You said

Respondents provided a wide variety of evidence from both Scotland and internationally of both proposed regulations and the operation of regulations in practice.

We did

We will be using the evidence provided to guide the development of regulations within Scotland. A consultation on proposed regulations for the heat in non-domestic buildings uis planned for summer 2022.

We asked

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017 a Ministerial Working Group (MWG) was set up to oversee a review of building and fire safety with two expert review panels being created. One of the panels considered Compliance and Enforcement. 

The review panel on Compliance and Enforcement in Scotland concluded that the Scottish system is not broken but that evidence clearly shows there is a need to strengthen compliance, both in relation to statutory procedural requirements and in addressing non-compliant work on site.  The review panel concluded that, whilst simultaneously maintaining the core elements of the system, some reshaping would be advised to ensure that it addresses the identified weaknesses. The focus of this reshaping is to improve aspects of the current system and its implementation, not to fundamentally change it. 

In 2018 the Scottish Government consulted on the review panels recommendations which have already been accepted as part of the new Compliance Plan process.

The 2021 consultation sought to build on the findings from 2018.  The public consultation on Compliance and Enforcement took place between 11 November 2021 and 9 February 2022. 

We asked for views on the development of a new Compliance Plan Manager role within the building standards system which will apply to specific High Risk Building (HRB) types, the definition of these HRBs which proposed:

  • Domestic building or residential building with any storey at a height of more than 11 metres above the ground.
  • Educational establishments (schools, colleges and universities), community/sport centres and non-domestic buildings under local authority control/where they have an interest in a building.
  • Hospitals
  • Residential care buildings.
  • Housing sites (low-rise).

We sought views on the need for new-build low-rise volume house building to follow the same rigorous process as proposed for HRBs following feedback from the Compliance Plan Working Group (WG).  The WG considered that the effect of non-compliant housing, where designed energy compliance is not realised on site, may result in a performance gap.  This concern was raised given the current climate concerns.

We also sought views on the level of fines where work is not carried out in accordance with building regulations.

You said

We received a total of 91 responses to the consultation, comprising 36 answering as individuals and 55 answering for/on behalf of their organisation.  The main points covering each area were:-

Creation of a new Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) oversight role on High Risk Building types on behalf of the Relevant Person (normally the owner or developer);

The majority of respondents (82%) agree with the CPM role as outlined in Annex B of the consultation document, on projects for all High Risk Buildings (HRBs). The strength of agreement is marginally stronger among organisations compared with individuals.  The most prominent reason for agreeing with the CPM role is ensuring greater compliance with building regulations, including better compliance in the case of HRBs.

The definition of High Risk Buildings requiring a CPM;

A high proportion of respondents agreed with the proposed HRBs with support ranging from 74 to 96 per cent.  The only outlier was in relation to housing sites (low-rise), which received a more mixed response with support at 36 per cent, undecided 40 per cent and those disagreeing 24 per cent.  The strength of agreement is marginally stronger among organisations compared with individuals. 

Level of penalties/fines relating to enforcement action under the building standards system;

The majority of respondents (84%) confirmed that they have a view on the introduction of a new enforcement power for local authorities to take action on non-compliant work after the acceptance of the completion certificate.   Of those respondents providing supporting comments, approximately half expressed general agreement, albeit with some caveats.  It was highlighted that the introduction of such enforcement powers would have varying implications for local authorities, including the need to increase staff and/or funding resources, as well as clarifying additional responsibilities.

We did

An analysis of the responses to the consultation is available and responses have been published on the Scottish Government website where respondents indicated permission to do so. 

Following the publication of the consultation analysis report and support for the proposals, we are working with industry stakeholders through Working Groups to develop the policy for strengthening the Scottish building standards system and the approach to compliance and stronger enforcement.  This will lead to future legislative changes and associated guidance for system users.

We asked

The 2021/22 Programme for Government [Programme for Government - gov.scot ] included a commitment to introduce legislation in this parliamentary term to change the way that imprisonment is used, with a consultation on initial proposals relating to bail and release from custody law.

The Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill consultation ran for 12 weeks closing on 7 February 2022. It included 32 questions, with a mix of both open and closed questions, allowing for more detailed feedback on proposals. As well as informing development of legislation, the consultation was designed to be a first step in a wider discussion about how custody should be used in a modern, progressive Scotland. The consultation sought views on a range of possible proposals, not all of which have been progressed in the Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill which was introduced to Parliament on 8 June. 

This consultation was separated into two parts: the first part focussed on proposals surrounding bail and remand, and the second part on proposals in relation to the release of prisoners.

You said

The consultation attracted a response from a broad range of stakeholders. There were 142 responses to the consultation, the majority of which were received from organisations (74) and the remainder (68) from individuals. The analysis of the responses received can be found here: Bail and Release from Custody Arrangements in Scotland: Consultation Analysis (www.gov.scot)

Part 1: Bail

There was support for almost all of the proposed reforms to bail law contained in the consultation. Notably just under two thirds of respondents agreed with the proposal that judges should only refuse bail if there were public safety grounds for doing so, however, several expressed the need for greater clarification over the term ‘public safety’. Another concern raised was that some flexibility would be needed to allow for those with repeated breaches of bail and/or repeated failure to appear in order to minimise costs to the public purse of pursuing those with no regard for orders of the court. Over two thirds of respondents agreed that having victim safety as a separate consideration would be compatible with a victim centred approach to justice, however it was also suggested the legislation should be clear about whether risk of harm includes physical and/ or psychological harm to victims. The proposal that time spent on bail with electronic monitoring should be taken into account at sentencing was generally supported, however, it was felt that requiring the court to “have regard to” time spent on bail with electronic monitoring would preserve the discretion of the sentencing court.

Part 2: Release

There was considerably more divergence in the views offered in relation to the consultation proposals around release from custody, with some proposed reforms being almost unanimously supported and others attracting less support. The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal that enabling a prisoner to serve part of their sentence in the community could help their reintegration. There was considerable agreement with the proposal that releases on a Friday (or the day before a public holiday) should be restricted. The vast majority of respondents also agreed or strongly agreed that information on individuals being released from custody can be shared with third sector victim support organisations, however, there were some reservations related to GDPR concerns and prisoners’ rights expressed. Whilst the majority of respondents agreed that a ‘specific duty to engage’ in release planning was required, it was seen as important that this duty involved collaboration between all community justice partners.

Across all of the proposals it was generally felt that key to the success of the proposed changes would be collaborative working (including between statutory and third sector organisations). Overall, subject to refinement and suitable safeguards many of the proposals were seen as potentially contributing to the underlying aim of reducing crime, reducing reoffending and having fewer people experience crime.

We did

The Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 8th June 2022. Further details are available here: Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill – Bills (proposed laws) – Scottish Parliament | Scottish Parliament Website.

We would like to thank all who participated in the consultation process. The views offered through the consultation were extremely valuable in helping inform the approach taken in the Bill. Below are some examples of how the policy was affected by the feedback received through the consultation, as well as, other events held during the consultation period:

Part 1: Bail

  • The Bill makes provision to refocus the legal framework within which bail decisions are made by a criminal court, so that the use of custody is limited to those accused persons who pose a risk to public safety, including the safety of the complainer from harm, or to prevent a significant risk of prejudice to the interests of justice.
  • Prejudice to the interests of justice means the accused person evading justice as a result of either the proceedings being delayed or discontinued. It also means the course of justice in the proceedings being impeded or prejudiced as a result of the destruction, concealment or withholding of evidence, the giving of false or misleading evidence or the quality or sufficiency of evidence being diminished.
  • Relating to public safety, harm is defined as meaning physical or psychological harm. Psychological harm is defined as including fear, alarm and distress.
  • This approach has been taken to balance the overarching policy objective of minimising the use of short periods on remand pre-conviction, which should be reserved only for those who mainly pose a risk to public safety, whilst ensuring the court retains a power to remand those who it considers pose a substantial risk of preventing the delivery of justice if admitted to bail.
  • The Bill provides that, at the sentencing point of the criminal justice process, time spent by an accused person on electronically monitored bail awaiting trial or sentence may be accounted for against any eventual custodial sentence. This will be achieved by requiring the court to have regard to any period of time spent on bail subject to a qualifying electronically monitored curfew condition with the court being required to determine if some, all or none of that time should count as time served against a custodial

Part 2 Release:

  • The Bill will end liberation on a Friday or the day before a public holiday, adding these days to the existing list of ‘excepted days (Saturday, Sunday, Public Holiday).
  • In recognition that enabling a prisoner to serve part of their sentence in the community could help their reintegration, a new reintegration licence will be made available to long-term prisoners (replacing Home Detention Curfew for this cohort)..
  • The Bill also introduces a power for Scottish Ministers to be able to release specified groups of prisoners in an emergency situation to protect the security and good order of prisons and the health, safety and wellbeing of prisoners and prison staff. A specific duty will be placed on identified partners to engage with release planning for prisoners (including those on remand). These identified partners include local authorities, health boards, Skills Development Scotland and Integration Joint Boards (IJBs).
  • The Bill introduces a requirement for Scottish Ministers to publish national statutory throughcare standards. This is intended to promote a consistent approach to the provision of throughcare support across Scotland. The Bill includes a list of named partners who must comply with these standards when providing throughcare support services.
  • The Bill also enables a victim who is registered to receive information relating to the release of the prisoner in their case to nominate a Victim Support Organisation to receive that information at the same time as they do, or on their behalf. This is intended to enable a VSO to work proactively with a victim to provide support including safety planning.

Only VSOs which have been prescribed by regulations made by Scottish Ministers can be nominated by victims. This will ensure that the policy intention of facilitating better support for victims can be delivered, whilst also helping to ensure the sharing of information about prisoners is carried out in accordance with the law. 

We asked

The Onshore Wind Policy Statement consultation was launched on 28 October 2021, which includes our ambition that an additional 8-12 GW of onshore wind be installed by 2030.  The consultation considered other key themes such as barriers to deployment, positive environmental impacts, community benefits and shared ownership, circular economy and supply chain opportunities.

You said

There was 160 responses to the consultation of which 111 were from organisations and 49 from individuals.

General support from a large minority (including a large number of renewable energy respondents) was expressed in favour of the 8-12GW target.  Across all respondent sub-groups there was a broad desire for support to be given to community wind and local ownership of developments. 

We did

The Scottish Government’s Draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement Refresh: Analysis of Responses to Consultation has been published.

The responses will inform the finalisation of the Onshore Wind Policy Statement.  The Scottish Government will publish a finalised Onshore Wind Policy Statement in due course.

We asked

The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) requires the Scottish Ministers to produce statutory guidance which relates to the provisions contained within the legislation that extend to Scotland.  The 2019 Act also requires the Scottish Government to consult on draft guidance before it can publish the final version of the statutory guidance.

Therefore, the purpose of the consultation was to seek views on the draft statutory guidance only.  The consultation ran from the 15 November 2021 until the 25 January 2022.

You said

We received 12 responses to the consultation.  3 responses were from organisations and 9 were from individuals.  Separate from the online consultation system, we also received one e-mail addressed to the Scottish Government on the draft guidance.  All of the responses and correspondence received have been considered.

Most of the responses related to the overall policy contained in the 2019 Act rather than the content and structure of the draft guidance.  Only 2 responses (which were from organisations) provided detailed comments on the guidance with another 3 responses providing limited views on the content of draft guidance along with comments on the overall policy.  Only one respondent (individual) asked for their response not to be published.  We received a variety of comments in relation to the draft guidance.  The majority of which fell broadly into the following areas:

  • Guidance should cover sections 1 to 5 of the 2019 Act.
  • Clarity on age verification/labelling and the delivery to residential premises.
  • Clarity on the types of corrosive products and the level of acidity of such corrosive products for an offence to be suspected of taking place.
  • Clarification on the definition of bladed articles and bladed products.
  • Other general comments included:
    • A better description in relation to public place.
    • Clarity in relation to outdoor activities (e.g camping) and what is and is not acceptable as a bladed weapon for such outdoor activities.
    • Clarity on requirements necessary in order to stay within the law while traveling with corrosive substances and or bladed weapons.
    • Guidance on acceptable proof of age documents.
    • Guidance on what constitutes residential premises and what constitutes a business.
    • Guidance on what constitutes, taking all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to ensure that, when finally delivered, the package would be delivered into the hands of a person aged 18 or over.

We did

We have considered the responses received and made changes where deemed appropriate.

We have also set out the Scottish Government’s response to some specific comments made.

Guidance should cover sections 1 to 5 of the 2019 Act.

As stated in the ‘Overview’ section, the guidance covers provisions in the 2019 Act that extend only to Scotland and others which apply throughout the UK but which have a different effect in Scotland to other parts of the UK.  It is separate from similar guidance issued by the UK Government in respect of the 2019 Act.  The UK Government’s guidance covers sections 1 to 5 of the 2019 Act in relation to the sale and delivery of corrosive products and other aspects of the 2019 Act (e.g. firearms under Part 6) which extend to Scotland but which relate to areas of responsibility reserved to the UK Government.  The two pieces of guidance should be read together for those provisions.  The UK Government’s final draft statutory guidance on the 2019 Act was published by the Home Office on 18 January 2022.

As such, it was deemed not appropriate to include guidance on section 1 to 5 of the 2019 Act in the Scottish statutory guidance as these sections are covered by the UK Government’s statutory guidance. 

Clarity on age verification/labelling and the delivery to residential premises

Age verification

In order to avoid committing an offence under certain provisions in the 2019 Act relating to remote sale of certain items to under 18s, a seller requires that, amongst other matters, to have in place a system that was likely to prevent purchasers who were under 18.  This is an age verification system.  The 2019 Act does not prescribe what system should be used in respect of the verification of an individual’s age and there are a range of age verification processes or systems available on the market.  Both the UK Government and the Scottish Government are of the view that they do not want to issue standards for systems for electronic age verification.  This is because decisions on which systems, or courier/delivery companies, to procure and use to meet the requirements of the law must be a matter for the relevant seller.  It will be a defence for sellers to demonstrate that they took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing an offence and this includes the element above relating to a system for checking that purchasers are not likely under 18 .  Therefore sellers will wish to decide themselves which system or arrangement works best for them to allow them to rely on this defence.

Labelling

The Scottish Government’s position is similar on the requirements in relation to labelling packages under measures in the 2019 Act.  The 2019 Act requires that, where a package is to be collected from a collection point, a package containing a bladed or sharply pointed article, or corrosive product, must be clearly marked to indicate that it contains an item with a blade, a sharp point or a corrosive product and that it should only be delivered into the hands of a person aged 18 or over.  The 2019 Act does not stipulate the type of labelling or any of its characteristics, and so sellers will need to determine how best to comply with the labelling requirement.

However, in the draft guidance it stated that, in the Scottish Government’s view, it is unlikely that electronic labels used on handheld signature devices as often used by delivery companies and couriers would satisfy the requirements of the 2019 Act, and that clear and visible labelling will be important for retail and delivery staff and couriers so that they are fully aware that the package contains an article that must not be handed to someone under 18.  If the package is not labelled as required by the 2019 Act for the sale of a bladed article, then the defence to the offence of selling a bladed article to a person under 18 will not be available.

Residential delivery

In relation to residential delivery of a bladed product there is no requirement for the package to be labelled but the seller needs to prove that they had procedures in place which were likely to ensure that any bladed product would be delivered into the hands of a person aged 18 or over, and that they have taken all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to ensure that the package has not been delivered to someone aged under 18. The draft guidance states that the seller may be able to satisfy this requirement by following measures in respect of an adequate age verification system, labelled packaging and ensuring age checks are undertaken at the point of delivery.

Clarity on the types of corrosive products and the level of acidity of such corrosive products for an offence to be suspected of taking place

As stated, the Scottish Government’s and the UK Government’s statutory guidance should be read together for sections 1 to 5 of the 2019 Act.  This feedback relates to sections 1 to 5. 

Within this context, it is noted that a similar point was raised in relation to the UK Government’s draft statutory guidance.  As a result, the UK Government incorporated additional guidance into their final version of the statutory guidance.  They have suggested that the content of various corrosive products is clarified by manufacturers through the REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which will be of assistance in helping sellers identify products.  It places a specific duty on suppliers (whether manufacturers, importers or distributers) of hazardous chemical substances or mixtures to provide a Safety Data Sheet where the substance or mixture is placed on the market and this allows information to be passed down through the supply chain to ensure that these chemicals are safely managed.

Additions to the guidance have also been made to clarify the relationship between the 2019 Act and the Poisons Act 1972 and these additions remind businesses, who sell or supply regulated and reportable substances, that they must report any suspicious transactions to the national contact point and any significant disappearances and thefts of these chemicals to their local police force.

Clarification on the definition of bladed articles and bladed products

The guidance includes material already in this area.

In particular, it is noted that the 2019 Act builds on existing legislation in relation to a ‘bladed article’ as set out under section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (“the 1988 Act”) which applies to three separate categories of items: knives, knife blades and razor blades; axes; and any other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed and which is made or adapted for causing injury to the person.  These items must not be sold to under 18s.

‘Bladed products’, as introduced by the 2019 Act are a subset of ‘bladed articles’ and must not be delivered to residential premises unless certain conditions are met if sold remotely (online, over the phone or by post).  To fall within the definition of a bladed product within the meaning of the 2019 Act the item must have a blade and be capable of causing serious injury to a person that involves cutting that person’s skin.  This means that knives that could not cause such an injury will not fall within the definition of bladed product and can be delivered to residential premises.

Most cutlery knives, for example, are therefore unlikely to be considered as bladed products but would be a “bladed article” for the purposes of the 2019 Act and sellers would therefore need to carry out age verification checks, both in-store and online, in relation to sales of these items but they would not be subject to age verification checks on delivery to residential addresses.

We considered carefully the comments made in relation to this issue and were of the view the guidance clearly sets out the differences between a ‘bladed article’ and a bladed product’.  We are also of the view the examples provided in the guidance aid the readers understanding of this difference.  As such, we felt it was unnecessary to amend the guidance in relation to this point.

We did however, make it clearer in the guidance that it is not an offence to sell or supply a pocket knife to someone under the age of 18 providing that the knife in question has a folding blade which is 3 inches (7.62 cm) or less in length and, therefore, pocket knives are not caught by any of the measures in the 2019 Act.

Other general comments

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, there is a need to add UK driving licences to the list of prescribed documents.  The Scottish Government intends, subject to approval being received from the Scottish Parliament, to add UK driving licences to the list of prescribed documents under the 2019 Act.

The purpose of the guidance is to provide a readily accessible discussion of the key features of the 2019 Act that extend only to Scotland and others which apply throughout the UK but which have a different effect in Scotland to other parts of the UK.  This could be helpful for anyone interested in the relevant provisions, but in particular those required to comply with, or enforce, the measures contained within the 2019 Act.

Nothing in this guidance is intended to change how the legislation should be interpreted.  It is for those operating the legislation and, ultimately, the courts to interpret the legislation.

As such, the Scottish Government considers that the statutory guidance provides a useful overview of the principles of the 2019 Act, but for obvious reasons cannot specifically cover every potential factual scenario that might arise.

We asked

To help inform the development of a Scottish Government Aviation Strategy, we asked for views on what this strategy should include. The consultation focused on four key areas: the transition to low and zero-emission aviation, Scotland’s international connectivity, Scotland’s domestic connectivity and airfreight.  We also sought views on what else the aviation strategy should cover.

You said

In total 93 responses were received to the online consultation. 38 responses were from individuals and 55 from organisations, with a broad range of different organisations and interests represented. We also ran four stakeholder workshops to discuss specific consultation topics.

Respondents had different views on what the Aviation Strategy should try to achieve. Some suggested that the strategy should be ambitious in seeking to restore and grow Scotland’s connectivity, taking action to increase Scotland’s competiveness in the global aviation market and responding to the challenges resulting from COVID-19. Others put forward the view that, in the light of the climate emergency, Scotland should not be seeking to restore 2019 levels of connectivity and should instead consider introducing measures to reduce aviation demand. There was, however, broad support for measures to support the development and use of hydrogen/electric aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels that meet strict environmental criteria.   

A number of respondents also highlighted the important role that air services play in providing connectivity in the Highlands and Islands and suggested how these could be improved.

Some respondents put forward suggestions for other areas to cover in the Aviation Strategy including noise, surface access (travel to and from the airport) and General Aviation. 

We did

We have published non-confidential responses to the consultation and an independent analysis of the consultation responses. The independent analysis of the consultation responses can be found on the Transport Scotland website.  It includes the reports of the stakeholder workshops.

Work is now underway to develop the aviation strategy, building on the ideas and suggestions from the consultation as well as relevant Scottish Government strategies and polices.

A number of respondents to the consultation offered to work with the Scottish Government on the next stage of developing the Aviation Strategy. We will consider these offers, alongside what other engagement might be needed, as we progress the work to develop the strategy.

We expect to publish the Aviation Strategy at the end of this year/ beginning of 2023.

We asked

We asked for your views on the draft Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs, specifically on the Market Rent Only lease and guest beer agreement provisions.

We also asked for your views on impacts of the proposals and for comments on a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

You said

We received a total of 34 responses to the public consultation, with 14 individuals and 20 organisations responding. 11 responses were from tied pub tenants and 6 responses were from pub-owning businesses.

Respondents generally had mixed views on the proposals. Tenants broadly welcomed the proposals around Market Rent Only (MRO) leases and guest beer agreements. However, pub-owning businesses had a number of concerns, especially on the unintended consequences of the proposals.

Respondents had mixed views on the proposal to exempt leases from MRO after investments for 5 years; tied pub tenants tended to disagree whilst pub-owning businesses agreed.

On guest beer, some participants felt that the focus in terms of eligible products should be on the type of brewery rather than on the production level of brands of beer.

On the partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) some pub-owning businesses expressed a number of concerns with the partial BRIA.

We did

Progressive Partnership was commissioned to undertake an independent analysis of responses. The report presents the findings from the public consultation and explains the methodology that was used to analyse responses.

Where permission to publish has been provided, the consultation responses are now available to view online.

The responses, together with the analysis report, and the second consultation, will inform and shape the final Scottish Pubs Code regulations which will be laid in the Scottish Parliament in Autumn 2022.

We asked

You to share your views about what should be contained in Scotland's new Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan. 

You said

A summary of views gathered is available at this link: Suicide prevention strategy development: early engagement - summary report

We did

We are using the report to inform development of the strategy and action plan and will go out to public consultation again in Summer 2022. A link will be provided here when the consultation is live. 

We asked

The Scottish Government is committed to providing clarity and certainty to taxpayers and their customers regarding the application of Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT), reflecting the Scottish approach to taxation and to ensure a level playing field across the waste and recycling industry. 

We asked for your opinion on a proposed amendment to the Scottish Landfill Tax (Prescribed Landfill Site Activities) Order 2014, intended to provide confirmation regarding when a taxable disposal has occurred.

You said

We received a total of 15 responses to the Public Consultation. A summary of responses has been published on the www.gov.scot and full responses have been published where respondents indicated permission to do so.  

We did

The Scottish Government thanks all organisations who responded to this Consultation. 

We noted the broad support from respondents for greater clarity in relation to taxable disposals and will therefore continue with plans to introduce the amending Order. This order will ensure that SLfT continues to support the Scottish Government’s circular economy ambitions. 

We recognised however that a number of respondents expressed concern that the proposed legislation might inadvertently expand the scope of SLfT, therefore a number of alterations have been made to the amending Order.

Further details on the alterations made to the amending Order are available at www.gov.scot

 

We asked

We asked for your views on the opportunities, challenges and the actions you think need taken for Scotland to become a Fair Work Nation.

You said

We received 97 responses.  Of those responses, 77 were from organisations and the remaining 20 were from individuals. The largest share of organisational responses came from the third sector (22), representative/membership associations (20) and local authorities (10).

Positive support for Fair Work in practice was the most prevalent theme. In the current economic climate, many felt delivering Fair Work could contribute to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. To maximise opportunities, respondents called on organisations and bodies promoting Fair Work to take sector specific approaches and work in partnership with key sectors. The cost of adopting fair work practices was the most commonly identified challenge, particularly for smaller organisations. Respondents suggested a variety of actions the Scottish Government and other organisations should take to meet the ambition of becoming a Fair Work Nation. The most common was for the Scottish Government to provide more support to organisations through funding, centralised guidance, and free training and mentoring schemes.

For more information and support on Fair Work, you may wish to consider the following:

  • The Fair Work Conventions’ Framework offers helpful information on the five dimensions of Fair Work
  • Workers can complete the Self-Assessment Tool, developed by the Fair Work Convention. It is designed to help workers make an assessment of their own experience of Fair Work and suggest actions they can take to improve on it.
  • Employers can complete the Fair Work Employer Support Tool, developed by Scottish Enterprise, in conjunction with the Scottish Government, the Fair Work Convention and other partners. It is designed to help employers understand and fully embed the dimensions of Fair Work.
  • The Fair Work First Guidance offers helpful information for those who are involved in awarding public sector grants, other funding and public contracts as well as those who receive funding through public sector grants, sponsorship arrangements with the Scottish Government and/or are involved in the delivery of contracts.

We did

We have published responses to the consultation where permission was given and an independent analysis of the consultation responses has also been published.

Fair Work is integral to our National Strategy for Economic Transformation. The consultation responses will inform the development of the refreshed Fair Work Action Plan later this year. We will use the consultation analysis report findings and further engagement with stakeholders (including those with lived experience to barriers to employment) to inform the refreshed Action Plan. The Action Plan will bring together work to support Scotland becoming a Fair Work Nation, including our commitments to reduce the gender pay gap and to at least halve the disability employment gap by 2038, alongside our new Ethnicity Pay Gap strategy.  This will enable us to better align collective action across these agendas where there is clear synergy to improve conditions for all workers (e.g. real Living Wage, effective voice), whilst still addressing the discreet structural inequalities that perpetuate labour market inequalities. 

We asked

For your views and comments on a draft Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022 (“The Framework”), which is a statutory document (under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 as amended by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012), outlining Scottish Ministers’ expectations of, and setting 7 strategic priorities for, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) over the next few years.

You said

We received 48 responses, the majority of which were broadly supportive of the 7 strategic priorities and the text of the document.  A range of constructive comments were submitted on both the strategic priorities and the text of the Framework.

We did

A consultation analysis report has been published on the Scottish Government website (http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781804351017). Having carefully considered all views expressed in the consultation responses, we made a number of amendments to the Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022, which was published on 29 March (http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781804351024).  These amendments include revision to the narrative within every section apart from the narrative within the strategic priority on climate change.

We asked

We asked for your views on five draft Scottish Statutory Instruments (a mixture of regulations and orders) that relate to complex technical reforms to the non-domestic rates system following the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020. The reforms include the requirement for assessors to publish a draft valuation roll before revaluation; additional content required in valuation notices; and the introduction of a two-stage appeals system which is scheduled for 1 January 2023. The consultation which ran from 22 September to 15 December 2021 asked for views on the following draft Scottish Statutory Instruments:

  • The draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment Order 2022
  • The draft Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022
  • The draft Valuation (Proposals Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2022
  • The draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2022
  • The draft Valuation Roll and Valuation Notice (Scotland) Order 2023

The ‘We asked, You said, We did’ has published in multiple phases with the final update published 12 July 2022.

You said

The consultation attracted 37 responses from organisations and groups of stakeholders, most from commercial real estate/surveying firms and business organisations. A full consultation analysis is available on the Scottish Government website. A brief analysis of these responses in relation to the draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment Order 2022 and the draft Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 is detailed below.

The draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment Order 2022

Many respondents did not comment on the proposed date of publication of the draft roll (30 November the year before a revaluation year). Amongst those who did, there was some support for this date. One response called for this to be 15 January in the year before revaluation instead, while a few others called for it to be earlier, for instance on 1 October. One response questioned whether 30 November was the most appropriate date given that draft rateable values were likely to be useful for ratepayers only once the proposed poundage for the revaluation year is available. It was further suggested that the publication date of the draft roll be tied to a working day rather than a specific date.

It was highlighted that valuations for the next valuation roll are to be made on the basis of the physical circumstances of properties as at 1 January in the year preceding a revaluation year; and that this creates a long period - between 1 January and the revaluation date - when physical changes cannot be reflected in the new valuation roll. It was recommended that this gap be reduced and the cut-off date changed to match the date the valuation roll is made up and sent to local authorities and the Scottish Government (15 March).

The draft Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 

The objective of the draft regulations was to require that the assessor publish alongside each valuation notice, the addresses of let properties the rental evidence of which was used to inform the basic rate used in the valuation, specifically for ‘standard’ shops, offices, warehouses and workshops valued using the comparative method, as recommended by the Barclay Implementation Advisory Appeals sub-group.  

There was broad agreement that applying the use classes set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997, as proposed, was not appropriate and that descriptions more closely matching those used in rating valuation should be adopted.   

Many respondents called for the information-sharing requirements in valuation notices to be expanded, both in terms of the properties covered by the requirements and the information to be provided. For instance, some respondents called for a full rental analysis of each property used in comparison for the valuation, on the basis that a list of these properties’ addresses in and of itself would be of limited use. It was conversely argued that such a list would in fact provide owners and/or occupiers with sufficient information to do their own research.  

Concern was raised that the information used in some valuations was commercially sensitive and confidential, and should not be included in Valuation Notices (e.g. turnover). 

There were also calls for these new information-sharing requirements to apply to all non-domestic properties on the basis of fairness and for there to be different deadlines for lodging a proposal depending on whether additional information was provided in the valuation notice or not.  

The draft Valuation (Proposals Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2022

There was concern that the proposed new information-sharing requirements at the point of lodging a proposal were overly onerous, especially for those who are not professionally represented, or with large portfolios, and that the proposed approach would result in unfairness and disadvantage. The importance of maintaining access to justice and of not discouraging applicants through overly complex processes was highlighted.

Suggestions included less onerous information-sharing requirements at the point of lodging a proposal, maintaining the current information-sharing requirements that exist under the non-domestic rating appeals process whereby the issuance of a citation for a hearing triggers statutory deadlines for exchanging information, and/or a longer time period to lodge proposals, such as six months instead of the proposed four.

A number of responses voiced concern that the right to refuse an incomplete proposal would give the assessor too much power. The draft legislation requires that incomplete proposals ‘must’ be refused by the assessor; some respondents suggested that this be amended to ‘may’ on the grounds this would give the opportunity for any queries found within a proposal to be considered and rectified without the need for formal review of the decision that the proposal is incomplete. It was further suggested that the assessor should, if they deem a proposal to be incomplete, send the proposer a notice specifying what information is missing within certain timescales. This would give the proposer the opportunity to send an updated version of the proposal to address the points, rather than having to make a fresh proposal.

Some responses called for the assessor to provide to the proposer the same level of information as the proposer would have to share at the point of lodging a proposal. Others suggested that the assessor’s written statement in response to the proposal should be specifically ‘in relation to the detailed grounds and evidence on which the proposal was made’.

The draft regulations as consulted upon provide that information can only be shared after lodging a proposal if it was ‘not in existence’ at the point of lodging and that further information ‘may’ be accepted at the discretion of the assessor.  In respect of the provision of additional evidence by the proposer, there were calls for the proposer to be able to share information that was not ‘known’ at the time the proposal was made, after the proposal is lodged.   There were also calls for the assessor to be required to take this information into account.

Certain respondents stated that once the proposal is lodged and the assessor has provided their written statement in response, the proposer should have 28 days to respond to that, rather than the proposed 14, though it was noted that if no additional information were allowed at this point, this right of response would not be meaningful.

A small number of responses stated that the assessor should not be able to postpone the Proposal Determination Date (PDD), or that if they could do so, the proposer should be able to do so as well.

There were also calls for the assessor to have to provide written reasons to the proposer if they fail to make a decision by the PDD, and many thought that the assessor should statutorily be required to issue a decision on the proposal.

The draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2022

While one response called for the time period during which a proposal could be lodged to be reduced to three months instead of the proposed four, the majority of responses called for a longer timescale with some suggested a period of six months.

A number of responses called for it to be possible to lodge a proposal on the basis of error at any time whilst the valuation roll is in force as is currently the case, rather than as proposed (four months after the valuation notice containing the alleged error is issued or, where this is later, 31 July in the year of revaluation). 

Equally, there were calls for it to be possible to lodge a proposal on the basis of a material change of circumstances until six months after the roll is in force, as is currently the case, rather than the proposed four.

Some respondents called for the proposed deadline of 30 June the year before the next revaluation for revaluation proposals to be disposed of to be shortened to March the year before revaluation, or for the deadline to be 12, or 18 months after a proposal is made. One response conversely called for this deadline to be extended to 30 September in the year before revaluation. 

A number of respondents called for the deadline for lodging an appeal to be extended to 21 or 28 days instead of the proposed 14 days.

The draft Valuation Roll and Valuation Notice (Scotland) Order 2023

A number of suggestions were made for additional information to be provided by the assessor in valuation notices beyond those set out in the Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations which were also consulted on, for instance further supporting evidence for the valuation including the lease details or analysed rent/unit costs of the property. Issues of confidentiality were raised over the provision of commercially sensitive information however, such as financial data and lease details to third parties.

There was support for valuation notices to be consistent across Scotland, for the schedule setting out the information which valuation notices must contain to be shorter and more comprehensive, and for the valuation notice to be required to include the reason for issue.  

A number of respondents were concerned that the assessor may be able to alter the valuation roll with effect before the beginning of the financial year in which the entry is made, or a correction is made for instance; conversely some criticised the possibility that the assessor would not be able to do so unless a proposal/appeal had been lodged in that financial year, for instance where there is a Material Change of Circumstances.

Further comments

A number of respondents called for new non-domestic rates legislation to be drafted to consolidate existing legislation given the large number of successive amendments that have been made to the legislation over time and the complexity this creates. 

We did

The publication of the draft valuation roll will take place on 30 November the year before revaluation. The draft roll in respect of the 2023 revaluation will therefore require to be published on 30 November 2022.

The date on which valuations are to be made on the basis of the physical circumstances of properties for the next roll will be 15 March in the year preceding a revaluation instead of 1 January, in order to reduce the period during which alterations cannot be reflected in the new valuation roll. This date will also be the date for the valuation roll for the revaluation to be made up.

The Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment Order 2022 was laid on 22 April 2022.

Given the arguments made against the use of the use classes set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997 in order to identify the classes of property for which additional information is to be provided in valuation notices, we will not use this categorization as a basis for identification of the properties for which the assessor must provide additional information in the valuation notice; instead the categories will reflect the Scottish Assessors Association’s (SAA) valuation Practice Notes published on the SAA Portal.  

In response to calls for more property classes to be covered, whilst being mindful of the practicability of expanding the requirements at this point for the 2023 revaluation, we have now included over thirty property classes valued using the comparative method in the draft Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 for which the assessor must provide the addresses of let properties, the rental information of which was used to produce the rate per square metre applied in the valuation.  

The Scottish Government commits to exploring from 2023-2025 how more property classes might be covered from the next revaluation, though it notes the issues of commercial sensitivity and data confidentiality raised in consultation responses around the information used for some valuations such as company turnover. 

The Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022  came into force on 15 June 2022. 

The Barclay Review highlighted that “many ratepayers, including those in the public sector […] tend to lodge appeals as a matter of course” and that while everyone should have a right of appeal, the current resulting volume of appeals “inevitably clogs the system and measures should be taken to reduce the number of appeals.” It is important as we move to a three yearly revaluation cycle to avoid this.

On this basis, it is important that under the new system, proposals can only be lodged if there is a clear reason, hence the maintained requirement to provide supporting grounds, and evidence as well as a statement to support those grounds at the point of lodging a proposal.

We will require that the assessor, in the written statement which they must send no later than 70 days before the Proposal Determination Date (PDD), send to the proposer comments in relation to the detailed grounds and evidence on which the proposal was made. We will allow the proposer, in their response to the assessor’s statement, 28 days  to respond to this rather than the proposed 14. The proposer will be able to share information that was not in existence at the time of lodging the proposal up until 28 days before the PDD. It will however remain at the discretion of the assessor, as proposed in the consultation, to accept information that was in existence at the time the proposal was lodged, but not shared (for whatever reason) at that time.

The assessor will retain the right to refuse to consider an incomplete proposal but this will no longer be a requirement, and we will also require the assessor, when deeming a proposal incomplete, to specify what information is missing within 56 days of receiving the proposal. The proposer will then have 28 days to provide this information before the proposal is deemed withdrawn. This will avoid the need to submit a fresh proposal.

The assessor will retain the right to postpone a PDD. This mirrors the current arrangements in place for valuation appeal committee hearings. Recent events such as the COVID pandemic have demonstrated the importance of this administrative flexibility. The proposer will have the right to request an earlier PDD if they deem this to be too late.

The assessor will not be able to postpone the last date for issue of a decision on the proposal (these will be statutorily set out), which also mirrors the current situation with valuation appeal committees.

The  Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975, as amended by the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020, specifies that in response to a proposal, the assessor may alter the entry, or not alter it. If the assessor alters the entry in accordance with the proposal, or a subsequent agreement reached with the proposer, we will not require that they issue a reason for amending the value.

We agree that in cases where the assessor fails to issue a decision on the proposal, the assessor should  be required to provide a written notification to the proposer with an explanation of why this is the case.

The time period for lodging a proposal, where it is made in response to the issue of a valuation notice, will be four months as proposed in the consultation. Combined with  publication of the draft roll on 30 November the year before revaluation, this means that proprietors, tenants and occupiers will have four months between the publication of their draft rateable value (30 November the year before revaluation) and revaluation (1 April), and four months thereafter (1 April to 31 July in the year of revaluation), in other words eight months to scrutinise their rateable value and consider whether they want to lodge a proposal.

Under changes made to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975  by  the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020, a legally binding agreement on value can further be reached with the assessor before revaluation. Where such an agreement is reached, proprietors, tenants and occupiers are excluded from making proposals.

We will further allow for a proposal to be lodged on the basis of error at any time while the roll is in force, and for a proposal on the basis of a material change of circumstances to be lodged within four months of the relevant valuation roll ceasing to be in force.

We will also extend the proposed deadline for the disposal of proposals to whatever is the later of 30 September in the year before the revaluation year,  30 September in the year after the year in which the proposal is made, or the last day of the period of 12 months beginning with the date on which the proposal is made.  

The draft Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2022 as consulted on provides the proposer with the right to lodge an appeal within prescribed timescales even if the assessor does not issue a decision on the proposal and we will extend this from 14 to 28 days. The dates for bringing an appeal in relation to a proposal will now be set in the Valuation ( Proposals Procedure)(Scotland) Regulations 2022.

The Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Amendment 1995 will be revoked and replaced with a new consolidated Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Order in order to address the calls for simplified legislation.

Given the recommendations of the Barclay Implementation Advisory Appeals sub-group as to the phased approach to the inclusion of additional information in valuation notices, the confidentiality issues highlighted in consultation responses, the workload of assessors in 2022-23 with a one-year tone date, the transfer of valuation appeal committees to the Scottish Tribunals on 1 January 2023 and the volume of COVID appeals in the system; and taking into account ongoing efforts by the Scottish Assessors’ Association to improve the provision and presentation of data on the Portal (e.g. the recent introduction of a mapping tool), no further information than that provided for in the Non-Domestic Rates (Valuation Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 will be required on valuation for the 2023 revaluation. The exception to this is the reason for issue, which we agree should feature in valuation notices. We will therefore require that this be provided from the 2023 revaluation onwards.

We support the consistency of valuation notices across Scotland and encourage Scottish Assessors to introduce a consistent format in time for the 2023 revaluation.

The Schedule of the draft Valuation Roll and Valuation Notice (Scotland) Order 2023 specifying how a proposal can be lodged, etc. will be simplified, and given the support in the consultation responses for electronic communication where possible, we will also allow assessors to provide an indication as to where this information can be viewed on the valuation notice (e.g. a website) rather than routinely require that this be sent by post. Recipients of notices will, though, be entitled to request that the material be sent in hard copy.

The Valuation (Proposals Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2022, Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Order 2022 and Valuation Roll and Valuation Notice (Scotland) Order 2022 are scheduled to be laid on 7 October 2022.

We asked

In October 2021, The Scottish Crime Recording Board sought your views on the future of Recorded Crime and Police Activity Statistics. This included inviting views on the production and dissemination of Scotland’s recorded crime statistics, and on the possible development of new statistical products covering other types of policing activity. The consultation ran from 22 October 2021 to 10 December 2021.

You said

You provided us with 17 responses to our consultation questions. These included responses from 14 organisations and three individuals.

In summary, there was consensus among the respondents on:

  • support for greater disaggregation of recorded crime statistics compared to the current approach
  • continued support that common assault should be reclassified as a crime, and split into with and without injury;
  • broadly content with the proposed definition of Common Assault with and without injury, with a few minor amendments suggested
  • support for having commentary to contextualise the findings and in favour of Excel format tables to present the data within the National Statistics Annual bulletin
  • support for comparisons being provided between findings from recorded crime and the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, as well as information on cyber-crime within the National Statistics Annual bulletin
  • support for reducing the frequency of the monthly statistics publications, suggesting quarterly releases would best suit their needs
  • support for of the User Guide as a complementary document to the statistical bulletins
  • generally supportive of the potential addition of demographic characteristics for those involved in crime
  • support for the level of geographical disaggregation currently offered
  • generally not supportive of the potential development of a Crime Severity Score
  • support for the potential production of new statistics on non-criminal incidents recorded by Police Scotland
  • interested in the potential value of these statistics to widen the understanding of police activity and inform policy and decision making

 

A report detailing a summary of all responses received was published on 24 March 2022 and is available at A consultation on the future of recorded crime and police activity statistics - Summary of responses and discussion of next steps

We did

Responses to the consultation have now been published where permission has been obtained to do so and a report detailing a summary of all responses received has been published (see above).

The Scottish Crime Recording Board has considered the responses to this consultation, alongside feedback from both the previous consultation and other events run during the consultation period. Taking all this into account, the Scottish Crime Recording Board have approved a number of changes to the recorded crime statistics, including:

  • the current set of crime and offence groups will be replaced with a new set based on Option A (as described in the consultation); the 2021-22 annual Recorded Crime in Scotland National Statistics will be the first to reflect this change
  • common assault will be reclassified as a crime rather than an offence
  • stalking will be reclassified as a crime rather than an offence
  • common assault will be split into common assault with injury and common assault without injury, with the timing to be confirmed for the introduction of this change
  • the annual Recorded Crime in Scotland National Statistics bulletin will be published in June, brought forward from September
  • the annual Recorded Crime in Scotland National Statistics bulletin will be redesigned to ensure it meets accessibility requirements and statistical best practice
  • the Recorded Crime Monthly Official Statistics will be discontinued following publication of the March 2022 bulletin in April 2022
  • the Monthly Official Statistics will then be replaced with a quarterly release of National Statistics, which will present the latest rolling 12-month period

 

The 2021 consultation also asked for feedback on potential future developments for statistics on recorded crime and police activity. This evidence will be used to inform longer term planning of these statistics, and we will keep users informed of any developments via ScotStat.