Longer Term Work Plan
The Commission will have flexible terms of reference so it can develop its own work streams in discussion with Ministers. It will operate transparently and accountably and will be available to discuss their work and progress to Parliament, for example, via an appropriate Committee.
Having listened to stakeholder views, including the process led by Oxfam Scotland to develop ideas about the Commission, there are broad themes that Ministers will ask the Commission to pursue. These include:
- The Commission will maintain a sharp focus on poverty and inequality, with working groups established, as necessary, to examine specific areas. These could include considering international best practice and whether and how this could be emulated in Scotland.
- Alongside this, it should advise Ministers how devolved powers can be used to their fullest to reduce inequality - including key areas such as tax and social protection, education, skills and training, economic development, procurement planning, public spending, childcare, housing, and financial inclusion.
- The Commission will have a focus on longer-term policies to narrow the inequality gap and work to a timeline which is consistent with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Fairer Scotland ambitions and Child Poverty Bill targets.
- It will monitor progress on recommendations made by the Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality in her reports over the remainder of the parliamentary term.
The Commission's work programme is expected to include a report on reducing economic inequality, which will include statistical and analytical overviews of the current position.
As set out in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, a major initial role for the Commission will be to provide advice to Ministers on the development of the first Delivery Plan, as set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill, due in April 2018. In order to provide its crucial input to the Delivery Plan, the Commission will be established and meet for the first time in summer 2017.
The process for involving the Commission, as set out below, has been agreed with the Chair. This is a three stage process to guarantee the independent advice and scrutiny roles of the Commission:
First, Ministers will make a formal request to the Commission for advice on, for example:
- What should be included within the first Delivery Plan (bearing in mind the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill);
- What policies and actions would deliver effective results;
- Whether there are particular policies and programmes which could be more effective or are not working as they should;
- How Scottish Government portfolios can maximise their potential for reductions in child poverty.
Second, the Commission will consider the request and will produce a detailed response utilising their expertise, and in conjunction with other specialists as they see fit. This response will be subsequently published on Commission web pages.
Third, the Commission will then provide feedback to Ministers on the final Delivery Plan. Again, this feedback will subsequently be published online in a timely way to inform debate.
Email: Andrew Fraser, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House