One of the aims of this Policy Scotland project is to amplify the work and evidence occurring among national and local partners during this crisis to inform and influence policymakers, practitioners and researchers. National membership organisations and advocacy organisations across Scotland have been mobilising their teams to capture evidence about local actions to address the current crisis, the priorities and needs of local organisations both in the short and medium/long term, and to capture and analyse both new and existing evidence on the ways coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting individuals.
These organisations are providing some of the best rapid insights into the issues facing communities today, particularly for communities who are being disproportionately impacted by the virus and the current policies in place to respond to it. We encourage you to access these resources to understand these issues from communities and organisations themselves. While this round-up is by no means exhaustive, we hope it is informative and assists you in finding out more.
This round-up focuses on curating links to evidence and briefings rather than providing links to information on community resources, volunteering or funding. To access information of this kind, a good place to start is the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub, hosted by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) in partnership with the Scottish Government. Many of the organisations whose evidence we highlight here also provide information to third sector organisations and community members.
Evidence, briefings, and voices: community organisations and those impacted by COVID-19 in Scotland
Issues related to poverty and income security
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has been working with the Standard Life Foundation to investigate the economic impact of Covid-19 in Scotland on families with and without dependent children. Preliminary findings show that around 1 in 3 Scottish families are struggling with economic insecurity at this time. Given this, they’ve also been exploring how current and emerging policy could be utilised and/or altered to meet the increased needs of families. See their current evaluation here.
The Poverty Alliance is producing bi-monthly National Organisations and COVID-19 briefings on the needs and priorities of their member organisations and the people they serve, highlighting key issues such as food insecurity, increasing income crises, access to social security systems, housing and homelessness, and equality and human rights. The team has also raised key policy priorities and longer term concerns. For example, in a recent blog post, they detail how covid-19 has exposed weaknesses in the Universal Credit system.
Glasgow Centre for Population Health has investigated how Covid-19 has negatively impacted and exacerbated food insecurity levels in the city, with some unable to leave their homes altogether, and some food banks closing temporarily because volunteers and food donations alike have dwindled or ceased. They have also reported on measures that have been taken to address this food insecurity, including volunteer food and grocery delivery services which have been developed for those unable to leave their residences.
Third/Voluntary sector responses
The Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector is asking those in the voluntary sector to take part in this survey, which will help develop an understanding of coronavirus’s impact on community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.
Bernardo’s Scotland has been posting weekly reports on responding to the needs of children, young people, and families which have appeared or gained more urgency during the coronavirus pandemic. This report discusses 16+ and homelessness services, along with the struggles that young adults are facing right now amidst Covid-19. Get informed on future reports, and find past reports on school based support, residential services, and family support services here.
Evidence and briefings: the impacts of COVID-19 from UK-wide perspective
We are also finding useful evidence and policy briefings from organisations working UK-wide that tackle issues related to poverty, inequality, and disadvantage. Here’s a few that we’ve found useful:
Income and social security
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has been publishing a variety of reports, think pieces, and news articles pertaining to the impact of covid-19 on those who were already struggling with poverty before the pandemic. All of this information is hosted on this page, which is updated regularly.
The Child Poverty Action Group continues to provide regular Mind the Gaps briefings related to income insecurity as a result of COVID-19. In the fifth briefing, CPAG reports on the ways that families are continuing to be negatively impacted by the benefit cap, through increases to universal credit (UC) standard allowance and local housing allowance (LHA) rates; where families who were previously on benefits but are now not deemed to be working enough; and families subject to the cap who are claiming for the first time.
CPAG has also provided a suite of resources on changes to benefits in Scotland as a result of COVID-19. You can access these resources here.
Citizens Advice has been undertaking many new research projects on how to best support those in the lowest income brackets during coronavirus. This research has included a proposed expansion to sponsor the adequate support for individuals across benefits systems, and has made the case for a crisis minimum income for individuals impacted by coronavirus.
Group-specific analysis and briefings
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has put together a report on the social impacts of coronavirus on those with disabilities living in Britain. They have also done research to determine which groups are disproportionately affected by the virus and how people’s health and wellbeing are being affected generally by covid-19.
The Refugee Council has compiled this list of the UK government’s response to refugees and asylum seekers amidst Covid-19, including temporary policy changes which address resettlement. The Refugee Council shares a concern with WHO that refugees and asylum seekers are at a greater risk of Covid-19, as they are often unable to access accommodation or support, receive limited support, or are in shared accommodation and may be unable to self-isolate.
Nasar Meer of The University of Edinburgh has just published this short report on the issue of nation-states denying refugees and asylum seekers entry into some countries due to the coronavirus. Meer makes the case that travel restrictions placed on the rest of the world in order to stop the spread of the pandemic should not be extended to displaced people seeking refuge or asylum.
Third sector responses
The Third Sector Lab has been hosting weekly online Zoom meetings to bring together third sector professionals with an interest in digital service delivery. You can view information on these calls, see when upcoming calls are scheduled to take place, and revisit past calls here. At this page, you will also find a whole host of case studies, examples & best practices of how technology has been used to deliver specific types of charity services, including this podcast on the intersection of online safety and disability.
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research has published a variety of briefings for the health sector and voluntary community and social enterprises (VCSE) leaders on the challenges, dilemmas, and worries that different fields are facing right now and the help that they need. For example, this briefing in particular discusses the pressures placed on VCSE leaders which stem directly from the uncertainty of not knowing how long the pandemic will last, what financial help from the government might be available to them, and what new services will be needed after the pandemic is over.
Share your information
New evidence and information is being produced by organisations every week that address issues in these theme, so we will be providing these evidence round-ups semi-regularly. If you are an organisation who has evidence you’d like to share, please get in touch: Sarah.Weakley@glasgow.ac.uk