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To ask the Scottish Government how quickly the provisions of the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill will come into effect after Royal Assent.


Answered by Maree Todd (03/05/2019):

I want the provisions in this Bill to start making a difference to children’s lives as quickly as possible. I therefore intend to stop the use of the offence ground for referrals of children under 12 to the Children’s Hearings system by Autumn 2019. From this time, no child under 12 will be treated as an offender. This timescale also allows for the needs and interests of victims to be taken into account and provide for preparation and implementation of the measures at section 22 of the Bill so that victims can receive appropriate information.

 

This Bill seeks to deliver profound and significant cultural change and it is essential to get it right. Implementation of the Bill’s provisions, many of which are radical and innovative, must proceed in a way which is safe, responsible and which holds public confidence.

 

Therefore, on disclosure, work will begin this summer to prepare the guidance required and appropriate supporting material. Careful consideration will be required as we move to introduce the new concept of an independent reviewer into this area and recruit and appoint someone to this role. I intend that this part of the Bill will be implemented within 12 months of Royal Assent.

 

In order to implement other key parts of the Bill, secondary legislation will need to be drafted and passed by Parliament, adhering to the required timescales; guidance will be developed in a collaborative and responsive way, consulted on and potentially revised before publication; and training materials and activity will be undertaken. Discussions are underway with key partner agencies to develop an appropriate timescale. There will also be a need for liaison with the UK Government to arrange for section 104 order to cover certain matters and timescales for that will be determined by their legislative priorities also.

 

I am determined that we move to full implementation of all the Bill’s measures as quickly as possible but that must also be done safely and responsibly and in a way which gives children and young people, as well as victims and communities, and professionals and agencies confidence that they have the knowledge and tools with which to make these radical changes to our approach to addressing the needs of children and young people. I intend to monitor progress in relation to implementation closely and will also update Parliament at appropriate points.


Current Status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Maree Todd on 03/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much Social Security Scotland has paid out in benefits since the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 was passed.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 08/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it can take to support vulnerable witnesses before, during and after criminal court proceedings.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 24/04/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the most recent Social Security and Child Support Tribunal statistics regarding employment support allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payment and universal credit appeals.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 27/03/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the recent survey by Give Them Time, which found that only 19% of parents knew of the right to defer entry into primary school for children born between September and December.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 20/03/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with businesses regarding the potential economic impact of Brexit.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 06/03/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to introduce the screening of adolescents for scoliosis.


Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (06/03/2019):

The Scottish Government works closely with the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC). This independent expert advisory group advises Ministers and the NHS in the four UK countries about all aspects of screening policy using the international research evidence base and establishing pilot programmes where appropriate to collect additional evidence.

The UK NSC last reviewed screening for Scoliosis in 2016 and did not recommend introducing a national screening programme. This is because there is no agreed cut off for the Adam Forward Bend Test where doctors would agree that treatment is necessary. The further test is an x-ray examination and this would expose people to radiation which is harmful. It is also unclear whether treating people found through screening is better than waiting for symptoms to develop.

Although the UK NSC does not currently recommend a national screening programme for Scoliosis, all policies are reviewed regularly and screening for scoliosis will be reviewed again in 2019-20. Any change to the recommendation will be carefully considered by the Scottish Government.


Current Status: Answered by Joe FitzPatrick on 06/03/2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its discussions with the UK Government regarding Brexit.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 30/01/2019

To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body what plans it has to raise the paternity leave entitlement for Parliament staff from two to four weeks, to bring it in line with that offered to Scottish Government staff.


Answered by Kezia Dugdale (29/01/2019):

Officials are currently reviewing our family friendly processes and policies for SPCB staff, including paternity leave entitlement. The review will conclude before the summer and the SPCB will then consider the findings.


Current Status: Answered by Kezia Dugdale on 29/01/2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to meet the commitment in its Programme for Government to increase the openness and transparency of the parole system.


Answered by Humza Yousaf (19/12/2018):

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of ensuring that parole processes are as transparent as possible and that the voice of victims and their families is heard more clearly.

That is why we are consulting on this important issue. The consultation is available via the following link: https://consult.gov.scot/justice/transforming-parole-in-scotland and will be open until 27 March 2019.


Current Status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Humza Yousaf on 19/12/2018
 
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