Coronavirus Changes to the law In order to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the UK and Scottish Parliament passed emergency legislation. The various temporary laws, discussed below, have largely been extended until March 2021, when Westminster and Holyrood will vote on possible further six month extensions. You will find detailed information about the emergency legislation here: Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Covid-19 Hub Commissioner for Children and Young People Scotland (CYPCS) information on children's human rights during the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland and what it is doing to protect these rights during the crisis Scottish Human Rights Commission statements and briefings In July 2020, CYPCS and the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland conducted an Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment on laws and polices around COVID-19. Read more here. The Scottish Government has issued impact assessments (links below) and published reports on its approach to children’s rights during COVID-19, setting out how it is addressing 11 recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child during the pandemic. Read more on Together (SACR)’s website here. Emergency UK legislation Coronavirus Act 2020: in force since 25.3.20, extended until 31.3.21. For more information on the provisions in the UK Act that apply to Scotland see Clan Childlaw’s Child Law Network summary from March 2020. Section 16 of the Act amends local authorities' assessment duties under sections 23(3) (assessment of the needs of children affected by disability) and 29(5) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (assessment of aftercare needs of care experienced young people). Local authorities are now not obliged to carry out these assessments if it is not practical or it would cause unnecessary delay in the provision of support. However, the Act does not affect the duties on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need under section 22 and to provide aftercare services under section 29 of the 1995 Act. In addition, local authorities are not obliged to prepare a young carer statement under section 12 of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 if it is not practical or will cause unnecessary delay in the provision of support. See the Statutory Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers: Coronavirus (COVID 19): changes to social care assessments - Statutory guidance for local authorities on sections 16 and 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, 8th April 2020. Emergency Scottish Parliament legislation Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020: in force from 7.4.20 and 27.5.20 respectively initially until 30.9.20, extended until 31.3.20, and can be extended again but not beyond 30.9.21. Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020: Section 4 relates to Children and Vulnerable adults and introduces Schedule 3 which contains temporary changes to the law - changes affect: children’s hearings composition, attendance and timescales for reviews and appeals; timescales for child assessment and child protection orders, CSOs, ICSOs and secure accommodation; placement of looked after children (extension of timescales for emergency placements, review etc, flexibility for foster carers to look after additional children). Read more: Clan’s blog explaining changes to Children's Hearings based on Schedule 3. Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 – Guidance on looked-after children and children’s hearings provisions, 7th April 2020 Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) Briefing Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: child rights and wellbeing impact assessment Children and Young People Commissioner Scotland Parliamentary Briefing Law Society of Scotland Briefing Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020: Makes changes to help public services continue during the coronavirus pandemic and provisions include changes to student tenancies and the criminal justice system and the introduction of a Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement for carers aged 16 or over. Following pressure from CYPCS and others, the Parliament agreed to amend The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 to prevent the criminalisation of 16 and 17 year olds via Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching lockdown restrictions. Read the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill: child rights and wellbeing impact assessment Secondary legislation: The Education (Deemed Decisions) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020- amends the time period after which failure of the education authority to hold an appeal committee hearing becomes a deemed decision from one month to four months following Education authorities' concerns that they will not have the capacity to meet the statutory requirements of the school exclusions appeals process this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Education (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020- relates to education placing requests during Covid-19 - Child rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment here. Blog by Iain Nisbet here The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 - amends the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) Order 2014 by extending its scope to include all homeless persons rather than particular types of household. The Rent Arrears Pre-Action Requirements (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 - introduces temporary pre-action requirements that apply when a landlord pursues a repossession/eviction on the grounds of rent arrears The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Eviction from Dwelling-houses) (Notice Periods) Modification Regulations 2020 - reduces the extended notice periods introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 for eviction grounds relating to antisocial behaviour and criminality to 28 days The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 (April 2020); The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment Rules 2020 (June 2020); The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Rules 2020 (August 2020) - amend the rules around the regulation and management of Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions and those detained (such as their classification, treatment, discipline, employment and control) The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) (No. 2) Revocation Order 2020- revokes the legal duty for councils to almost double (from 600 to 1140 hours) provision of free early learning and childcare by 1st August 2020 The Social Care Staff Support Fund (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 - provides for the establishment of the Social Care Staff Support Fund Go to Scottish Government Coronavirus Guidance See CELCIS' Covid-19 Coronavirus Information Point for Children's Care and Protection, which brings together published guidance, information and resources This is intended as a guide to the law in Scotland as at November 2020 and not as an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law. 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