The research that we did with Stirling University looked at 30 local authorities and at where services were available and where they were not. It varies a lot. In two thirds of local authorities involved in the study, there were some barriers to accessing services. In 10% of areas, there were no support services available. In a third of areas, access to services was restricted by postcode. We know it really varies, which relates to the lack of duty and the instability around funding being an issue.
We really welcome the role of the commissioner, and it is fantastic to see that. We welcome that she has a specific remit on children and that she will have a child advisor as part of her office. We would really like to see children included in the statutory definition, just to strengthen it and ensure that it is absolutely clear. We would also like to see a bit more clarity in the wording—when she looks at the provision of services, it should include children’s services as well, because it could be a real tool if it was absolutely clear that she is going to look at that.