Covid-19 Recovery Consultation

– in the Scottish Parliament on 1st September 2021.

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Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to encourage people to engage with and respond to the Covid-19 recovery consultation. (S6O-00068)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

On 17 August, the Scottish Government launched a 12-week public consultation to review the legislative powers that have supported our response to Covid. It is a full public consultation that is open for views through to 9 November and aims to support Scotland’s recovery from Covid.

The consultation has been widely publicised on social media, and a dedicated web page with supporting information has been established. We have ensured that the 30 topics that the consultation covers have been brought to the attention of key stakeholders, and we are considering how best to include the voices of disabled people in the consultation process, following representations on that issue during the passage through Parliament of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021. I am pleased to say that the consultation has already attracted a lot of interest, and that more than 1,600 responses have been submitted so far.

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

During the pandemic, swift progress was made to set up remote jury centres. It is important that services can continue to operate in a way that does not impede access to justice. Can the cabinet secretary outline the Scottish Government’s proposals for helping our justice system to renew and recover from the pandemic?

I should say that I am just out of a meeting of the Criminal Justice Committee, at which we had a really useful session with the justice ministers.

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The consultation invites views on 30 specific legislative proposals that have the potential to support Covid recovery, including proposals for justice system reform to ensure that the tangible benefits of modernisations and practices that have been adopted during the pandemic can be maintained, where that is appropriate. I stress, “where that is appropriate.”

Proposals will also cover the response to the impact of Covid on Scotland’s justice system specifically where backlogs have, unavoidably, built up. There is an opportunity in the consultation to address a number of the aspirations that are inherent in Mr MacGregor’s question, and the Government looks forward to engaging with members of the public on those points.