Programme for Government 2020-2021


Our Policy and Campaigns Officer, Rona Johnson looks at the recently published Programme for Government 2020-2021 and some key aspects that Epilepsy Scotland are particularly interested in.

At the beginning of September, the Scottish Government set out their Programme for Government 2020-2021.

The Programme for Government is published every year at the beginning of September and sets out the actions the Scottish Government will take in the coming year and beyond.

The Programme for Government is large and covers all aspects of society. There are some key aspects which we at Epilepsy Scotland are particularly interested in.


The Cumberlege Report

In a recent blog post, we discussed the publication of the Cumberlege report. The report details the ways in which people have suffered avoidable harm through pelvic mesh, Primodos, and sodium valproate.

One of Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendations in the report is the need for a Patient Safety Commissioner. The Scottish Government have decided to implement this recommendation.

The Commissioner will be the patients’ port of call, listener, and advocate. They will hold the system to account, monitor trends, encourage, and require the system to act. They will be accountable to Parliament and will be a key advocate to improving patient safety in the use of pelvic mesh, Primodos and sodium valproate.

The Scottish Parliament recently debated the Cumberlege report. During this debate, the Scottish Government said they will also actively consider the establishment of a sodium valproate registry.

We are pleased the Scottish Government are taking action on the recommendations in the Cumberlege report. Women with epilepsy and their children have been allowed to suffer unimaginable harm for too long.


Scottish Child Payment

Applications for the Scottish Child Payment, which will give families £10 a week for each eligible child, will open for children under 6 in November 2020. The first payments will be made from the end of February 2021.

There are no limits on the number of eligible children supported by the Scottish Child Payment.

The Scottish Child Payment will be administered by Social Security Scotland through an application-based process and will be paid on a four-weekly basis.

To find out more about the Scottish Child Payment please click here.

Programme for Government


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

 The Scottish Government are going to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law by the end of this Parliament, May 2021.

Public authorities, including the Scottish Ministers, will be under a statutory duty to protect children’s rights as stated in the UNCRC. If they do not, children, young people and their representatives can use the courts to enforce their rights.

The UNCRC, a legally binding international agreement, details 42 rights for children and young people which should be protected.

These rights can be grouped under the following:

  • Survival– a right to life, good food, water, and to grow up healthy
  • Development– a right to an education and time to relax and play
  • Participation– a right to contribute, be listened to, and taken seriously
  • Protection– a right to be treated well and not be hurt by anyone

This is a historic piece of legislation as it will ensure that the rights of children and young people will be protected in all aspects of public life in Scotland.

The Equality and Human Rights Committee at the Scottish Parliament are currently consulting on the Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law. Have your say here.


National Care Service

The Scottish Government are going to have an immediate comprehensive review into adult social care, with a report due to be published in January 2021.

The aim of the review will be to recommend improvements to adult social care in Scotland. It will centre on the experience of those who use services, their carers, and families, and the experience of people who work in adult social care.

COVID-19 has demonstrated that social care is the backbone of our society. For too long, governments have neglected this vital sector of our healthcare system which has resulted in falling standards of care.

We are pleased the review will also consider a national care service. We believe this will ensure good standards of care will not be reliant on private companies and profit. Instead people’s care and wellbeing will be at the heart of decisions, like we see in the National Health Service (NHS).

As we head to the next Scottish Parliament election in May 2021, it will be interesting to see how this Programme for Government plays out over the next couple of months. Let us know your thoughts on the Programme for Government by emailing