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Publication - Research Publication

Becoming a Good Food Nation: an analysis of consultation responses

Published: 13 Feb 2015

Full analysis of responses to the consultation on development of a revised national food and drink policy.

57 page PDF

590.7kB

57 page PDF

590.7kB

Contents
Becoming a Good Food Nation: an analysis of consultation responses
2 OVERVIEW OF RESPONSES AND RESPONDENTS

57 page PDF

590.7kB

2 OVERVIEW OF RESPONSES AND RESPONDENTS

2.1 This chapter provides details of the number and types of respondents to the consultation and the types of responses received. A total of 229 submissions were received comprising written responses, submissions in the form of survey responses, and feedback from consultation activities run by stakeholder organisations. The breakdown of response types is shown in Table 2.1 below.

Table 2.1: Overview of consultation submissions

Type of submission Number of submissions %
Written responses 186 81%
Survey responses 33 14%
Feedback from consultation activities 10 4%
Total 229 100%*

*Figures do not sum to 100% because of rounding.

2.2 Each type of submission is described in more detail below.

Written responses

2.3 A total of 186 written responses was received to the consultation (one duplicate response was removed from the database). Two-thirds of these were from organisations with the remaining third coming from individuals. See below:

Table 2.2: Breakdown of individual and organisational respondents

Type of respondent Number %
Organisations / groups 125 67%
Individuals 61 33%
Total 186 100%

2.4 Respondents were classified as organisations or individuals on the basis of information contained in their response and, where available, the accompanying respondent information form. In a small number of cases (four) it was not clear if the respondent was submitting views in an individual capacity or on behalf of an organisation; such respondents have been classified as individuals and are included as such in the table above. Further, it was apparent from the responses that a number of individuals had a professional interest in the topic under consideration (e.g., they were employed or operated a business in the food or health sectors) and that this experience was informing their response.

2.5 The organisational responses included one joint response from two organisations. The individual responses included one joint response from two individuals.

2.6 Two organisations submitted multiple different responses from different sections / departments, and five responses were received from individual projects linked to a third sector organisation. These have all been treated as separate responses.

Types of organisational respondent

2.7 Organisational respondents represented a wide range of interests and perspectives, reflecting the cross-cutting nature of the topic under discussion. Respondents came from the public, private and third sectors and included local authorities; health and environment bodies (national and local); national third sector organisations and community groups with an interest in food, health and / or sustainability; commercial food producers, manufacturers and retailers. Fuller details are shown in the table below:

Table 2.3: Type of organisational respondents

Type of organisational respondent Number %
Public sector
  • Academia / research
7 6
  • Cross-cutting (includes local authorities)
9 7
  • Economic / business development
2 2
  • Environment
3 2
  • Food groups, projects etc.
3 2
  • Health
7 6
  • Regulation
3 2
  • Tourism and leisure
1 1
  • Other
1 1
Partnership bodies
  • Academia / research
1 1
  • Cross-cutting
4 3
  • Health
1 1
Third sector / not for profit
  • Cross-cutting
5 4
  • Economic / business development
5 4
  • Environment
10 8
  • Food groups, projects etc.
21 17
  • Food producers, manufacturers, retailers etc.
2 2
  • Health
5 4
  • Regulation
2 2
  • Social justice
8 6
  • Other
8 6
Private sector
  • Food producers, manufacturers, retailers etc.
11 9
  • Tourism and leisure
4 3
  • Other
2 2
Total 125 100%*

*Figures do not sum to 100% because of rounding.

2.8 Annex 1 provides full details of all organisational respondents, and the approach used in allocating organisations to categories.

Geographic location of respondents

2.9 For those respondents providing an address, postcode or other geographic identifiers, it was possible to determine that all but eight (all organisations) were based in Scotland. [6] These eight were all based in England and included a range of organisations with a remit which covered Scotland.

Standard and non-standard responses

2.10 Just over two-thirds of the written responses received (70%) followed the format of the consultation questionnaire, although a number of these respondents also provided additional comment, often providing background information about their organisation and its perspective on the issue, or emphasising the key points from their submission. The remaining third of respondents (30%) submitted non-standard responses (letters or emails) which did not directly address the consultation questions.

2.11 Amongst those providing written submissions to the consultation, not all provided a response to each question. Questions on the overall vision, the related priorities and the proposed Food Commission attracted most comment. However, given the very varied way in which people responded to the questions, with the same issues being covered by different respondents in their comments on different questions, no quantitative breakdown of the number of responses to individual questions is presented.

Development of responses

2.12 Information provided by respondents indicated that a variety of approaches had been used in developing responses. This included the use of internal consultation of various types, and consultation within wider stakeholder networks which then informed the responses submitted.

2.13 Consultations often attract 'campaign' responses, i.e., responses from multiple individuals / organisations based wholly (or almost wholly) on standard text provided by a campaign organiser. No such campaign responses were received in this consultation; however, it was apparent that a number of organisational responses contained sections of common text suggesting varying degrees of discussion and collaboration in developing responses. In some cases those submitting such responses had formal links or shared staff; in other cases they were part of existing networks and groups. This type of response development can be seen as very much in line with the document's aim 'to open up a platform for conversations across the country'.

2.14 Several organisations indicated explicitly that their submission was informed by consultation activity which they had undertaken. For example, Keep Scotland Beautiful ran a stakeholder discussion involving email debate and an afternoon workshop which then informed their response; the response from Broomhouse Health Strategy Group was based on discussion sessions with staff, volunteers and service users.

2.15 Further, a small number of organisations were particularly proactive in facilitating debate and encouraging others to participate in the Becoming a Good Food Nation consultation. Nourish Scotland encouraged people to submit their own personal or organisational responses. They provided a summary of the consultation paper on their website, highlighting key issues, offering prompt questions, and giving a series of tips for drafting consultation responses. They also provided suggested points for inclusion in responses, while making it clear that people were free to develop their own response. Nourish Scotland also provided an online survey and organised regional consultation events; these are both described below.

2.16 Another organisation, the Food and Health Alliance, held an event in Glasgow attended by around 25 people. Discussion focused on the vision, priorities, and indicators for success. The aim of the event was to facilitate debate, with participants encouraged to submit their own responses to the consultation either in a personal capacity or on behalf of their organisation. Feedback from the event itself was shared with Scottish Government officials and made available on the Food and Health Alliance website, although it was not formally put forward as a submission to the consultation, and as such was not considered in the analysis presented in this report.

Survey responses

2.17 In addition to providing guidance to encourage written responses (see above) Nourish Scotland also offered the opportunity for people to complete an online survey which was made available on their website. Thirty-three people completed the survey and these survey responses were then passed to the Scottish Government and have been treated as individual consultation responses. The online survey was based on the consultation questionnaire, and thus the responses are, to all intents and purposes, 'standard' consultation responses. However, the following points should be noted:

  • The responses received via this route were relatively brief compared to other types of response.
  • The survey did not seek respondent information in the same way as the standard consultation questionnaire, and the information provided was variable. Twelve out of the 33 survey responses were anonymous; further, for those providing their details, it was not possible to determine in a definitive way whether they were responding in a personal capacity or on behalf of an organisation. All the survey responses have therefore been classified as 'individual responses'.

Feedback from consultation activities

2.18 Two stakeholder organisations made submissions based on feedback gathered in the course of consultation activities they organised. Such activity very much reflected the Scottish Government's aspiration that the Good Food Nation discussion document should stimulate debate.

2.19 Nourish Scotland held eight open events in different parts of the country, hosted in association with locally based organisations. Each event followed a similar format and involved plenary sessions, 'springboard' presentations given by invited speakers, and group discussions focusing on key consultation questions, namely the Good Food Nation vision, the Food Commission, and priorities for action. The events attracted more than 230 people, ranging from 16 in Inverness to around 40 at the events held in Edinburgh and Falkland (Fife). Feedback from each individual event was submitted to the consultation, along with an overall summary of key common points from across the events. Each of these nine reports was treated as a separate submission to the consultation (see Table 2.1; feedback from consultation activities). This feedback has been considered alongside the comments submitted through other routes and is represented as appropriate in the analysis presented in the following chapters. More information about the Nourish Scotland events and summaries of the discussions held are available on the Nourish Scotland website. [7]

2.20 Keep Scotland Beautiful ran a stakeholder discussion and a Good Food Nation Youth Discussion. The youth discussion involved providing a resource pack for use in schools with ideas for structuring classroom discussion, and inviting schools to take part in an online vote on: the importance of being a Good Food Nation; aspects of being a Good Food Nation; priorities for action; the Food Commission; and other steps. A total of 156 secondary schools and 18 higher education establishments across all 32 Scottish local authorities (involving a total of 1089 young people) took part. The results of the online voting were collated by Keep Scotland Beautiful and submitted to the consultation. The collated results are accounted for as a single submission (see Table 2.1; feedback from consultation activities) and views represented are considered alongside other responses received in the following chapters.

Multiple responses representing the views of the same individual

2.21 The level of stakeholder activity undertaken in response to the consultation meant that it was possible for people to have contributed legitimately through more than one route without this being identified. For example, those present at a Nourish Scotland regional event may have had their views represented in the feedback submitted from the events; they may, however, also have completed the online survey or submitted their own written response. Alternatively, an organisation may have submitted a response and contributed to discussion which informed the drafting of the response from another organisation. Further, some individuals may have drafted or contributed to an organisational response while also submitting a personal response in their own name. Of, course, this type of activity is not unique to this consultation; and, given that the prime aim of the analysis is to provide an overview of the range of views expressed (and not to quantify those views), it is not seen as having any significant impact on the findings presented in this report.

Levels of engagement in the Good Food Nation debate

2.22 While it is not possible to be definitive about the exact number who took part in the Good Food Nation debate, the information presented in this chapter provides an overall sense of the level of participation. The 229 submissions received incorporated contributions from substantial numbers of people who participated in consultation activities, [8] and a further unknown number of people who contributed to organisational responses.

2.23 However, regardless of the levels of engagement achieved and the spread of that engagement, it is worth emphasising that the value of an exercise such as this is in generating debate and identifying views on an issue, rather than in quantifying the extent to which those views are held. As such, the findings are not meant to be representative of the population as a whole but rather to represent the range of views of those who participated in the discussion.


Contact

Email: goodfoodnation@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 9802

Post:
Scottish Government
Food, Drink and Rural Communities
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh
EH11 3XD