The EHRC Report: Is Britain Fairer? Was published today though the press had an early look and reduced 208 pages of text to quite small reports essentially finding only bad news for Scotland:
So, I’ve been through it and shamelessly cherry-picked some bits of relatively good news mostly missed by our Nomedia and, sometimes, I’ve had to insert things the EHRC missed. I should note smugly that there are few cherries to be picked for England and wales.
There has been some progress in Scotland and Wales in enabling children to challenge legal decisions made by education authorities about support needs and school exclusion. There has not been similar progress in England.
The overall exclusion rate is on the rise in England and Wales. It is falling in Scotland.
In England and Wales, the proportion of children attending special schools, rather than mainstream education, has increased marginally. In Scotland, it has decreased slightly.
Scotland’s ‘Attainment Challenge’ was introduced in 2015. An evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund, which is targeted in the most deprived areas, found that it had led to an increased overall commitment to tackle the attainment gap.
However, the UN has voiced concerns about the education of disabled children in the UK. In 2017, it reviewed the UK’s progress against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It expressed objections to the UK’s growing reliance on special schools (this is more of an issue in England than elsewhere) and claimed that the education system is not yet equipped to deliver high-quality, inclusive education in mainstream settings. According to the UN, the UK should commit to ensuring all disabled children receive an inclusive education (UNCRPD, 2017). In Scotland there already exists a legal presumption that a disabled child will receive a mainstream education.
In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education provision not included in UCAS’s figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young, full-time undergraduate study in Scotland.
Security in Rented Accommodation:
A draft Bill to ban letting agent fees in the private rental sector was introduced to UK Parliament in November 2017 and the Welsh Government consulted on a similar move in the same year, although no new legislation has been proposed (such fees were banned in Scotland in 2012).
Part III of the Scotland Act 2016 devolved powers over some parts of the social security system to the Scottish Parliament, including the power to create new benefits, top up benefits in newly devolved areas, and administer benefits differently (e.g. splitting UC payments between individual members of a household).
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 replaced binding targets for England andScotland to reduce child poverty in the Child Poverty Act 2010 with a new duty on the UKGovernment to report annually on ‘life chances’ indicators relating to worklessness andeducational attainment. It also removed the measure of poverty based on family income. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 reintroduced these income-based targets and set statutory targets to reduce child poverty by 2030.
The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 includes a right to independent advocacyfor individuals who require assistance due to an impairment, restrictions on private-sector involvement in medical assessments and a duty on the Scottish Government to consider the effects of inflation with disability and employment-injury assistance.
In Scotland, the number of homelessness applications to local authorities decreased from a peak of 57,672 in 2008/09 to 34,570 in 2016/17. This reduction is likely to be caused by Housing Options and homelessness prevention strategies adopted by local authorities, rather than by changes in the underlying drivers of homelessness (Scottish Government, 2017a)
The proportion of children living in poverty in 2015/16 was lower in Scotland (26.0%) than in both England (29.9%) and Wales (34.1%).
Health of Prisoners:
The NHS does not collate information from prisoner health screenings to understand if there is unmet need (NAO, 2017c). During 2016/17, access to health services was impeded by the reduction in the number of prison officers and restrictive regimes leading ultimately to increased waiting times (HMCIP, 2017a). In contrast, the prison admissions process in Scotland was found to be robust in helping to identify healthcare needs (Scottish Parliament, 2017b).
In England and Wales, the infant mortality rate in 2016 was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, an increase from 3.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. The infant mortality rate had been following a downward trend since the 1990s, until 2015, where the rate began to increase (ONS, 2018). In Scotland, the infant mortality rate in 2016 was 3.3 (per 1,000 live births) (181 deaths), similar to rates for 2014 (3.6) and 2015 (3.2); lower than England but higher than Wales (National Records of Scotland, 2017).
Public confidence in the criminal justice system:
The 2016/17 Crime Survey for England and Wales has reported that half (53%) of adults
aged 16 and over are confident that the criminal justice system (CJS) as a whole is effective and about two-thirds (68%) are confident that the CJS as a whole is fair (ONS, 2017a)….In Scotland, approximately three in four people were confident that the system allows all those accused of crimes to get a fair trial regardless of who they are (78%) and treats those accused of crime as innocent until proven guilty (72%); and that everyone has access to the justice system if they need it (75%) (Scottish Government, 2018a).
Violence and abuse:
The number of race hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales increased by 67% from 2013/14 to 2016/17 The number of racially aggravated offences recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 27% from 2,712 in 2013/14 to 1,993 in 2016/17 (Scottish Government, 2017c).
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the number of sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 89% in England and Wales (to reach 121,450) and by 26% in Scotland (to reach 10,822) (ONS, 2018b; Scottish Government, 2017c).
The number of race hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales increased by 67% from 2013/14 to 2016/17 (Home Office, 2017a)….The number of racially aggravated offences recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 27% from 2,712 in 2013/14 to 1,993 in 2016/17 (Scottish Government, 2017c).
The % of people experiencing violence and abuse in 2016/17
Disabled: England 13.8%; Scotland 4.1%
Women: England 7.4%; Scotland 3.5%
Pages 139 and 40
The Scottish Government announced a new justice strategy in 2017, acknowledging that
female imprisonment grew at a faster rate in the decade to 2012 than for men and noting the benefits of women’s community justice services (Scottish Government, 2017b).. According to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), the population of men and women in custody have both fallen steadily from their peak levels in 2011/12, decreasing by 7% and 22%, respectively (SPS, 2017a).
Child Cruelty and Neglect:
Although there were increases in both England and Wales in the number of cruelty and neglect offences across this period, there was a decrease in Scotland.
In 2016/17, the rate of children held in the youth secure estate was 20.0 per 10,000 population in England and Wales, compared with 14.0 in Scotland.
The % indicating trust in most people in their area – 61.4% in Scotland but only 42% in England
Feeling they belonged in the immediate neighbourhood- 61.6% in England and 77.6% in Scotland
Right that’s enough. I’m knackered more than the average Brit.