By Dr Sarah Weakley, Policy Scotland Research and Impact Acceleration Officer
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 and briefings: community organisations and those impacted by COVID-19 in Scotland
Scottish Community Development Council (SCDC) has been surveying community organisations to understand the major issues that are coming up for them; what kind of funding support would be useful and what solutions, other than funding, would be valuable. See their survey results on the SCDC website. Communities Channel Scotland is a project of SCDC that is also producing news about local responses.
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 raises key policy priorities and longer term concerns.
Child Poverty Action Group Scotland’s Mind the Gaps briefings use data collected through their Early Warning Systems to inform policymakers of gaps in the social security system that children and families are facing in this time. These briefings alongside press releases and blogs from their team can be found on its dedicated Coronavirus webpage.
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE) is gathering case study evidence from their members to highlight the work of health and care organisations adapting and responding to COVID-19. Their Community in Action case studies cover voices from the field in particular. The ALLIANCE also produces podcasts on ALLIANCE Live that include interviews with practitioners and policymakers on health and social care issues: recent podcasts on COVID-19 include those with Engender Scotland, the General Medical Council, representatives from the European Patients Forum and more.
The Glasgow Disability Alliance has been reaching out to their 5000+ members to understand the specific needs and impacts of the pandemic, shielding and lockdown. They find that COVID-19 ‘supercharges inequalities already faced by disabled people’. The interim report is on the GDA website.
YouthLink Scotland has undertaken, in collaboration with Scottish Youth Parliament and YoungScot, a survey of young people to understand their concerns about COVID-19; headline results find that 96% of young people worry about the impact of coronavirus on their future, with 77% worried about their mental health and wellbeing.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission and The ALLIANCE have just published a report on Scotland’s budgetary procedures, calling for human rights to be at the heart of any decisions made by government both during and in the recovery period of the pandemic.
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:
The Women’s Budget Group, a UK-wide organisation that monitors the impact of government policies on men and women, published Crises Collide: Women and Covid-19, which sets out the immediate impact that Covid- 19 crisis is having on different groups of women and makes recommendations for action. Read the report here.
The UK Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee has published the results of their surveys on the experiences of the benefit system which will be useful to those interested in how the benefit system is (or is not) meeting people’s needs in this crisis. More than 6,000 people responded to the Committee’s call for submissions from people claiming benefits for the first time, from existing claimants, and from people who need support but have found they are unable to claim any benefits.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies is providing briefings and new analysis of evidence almost daily. Its commentary on analysis on family debt concerns, the need to reassess the benefit cap, and the impacts on different types of key workers are good places to start.
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.
Written content is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.