How can local action make a difference?
Local delivery will play a critical role in the implementation
of the Child Poverty Strategy in Scotland. Many of the key levers
to drive the changes needed in Scotland are at a local level.
Providing appropriate local solutions and tackling issues is a
shared agenda across central and local government, the wider
public, private and third sectors and communities themselves.
Successful delivery of this strategy depends on all of Scottish
society playing a part in areas such as access to transport,
facilities for play and recreation, child care or
The Child Poverty Strategy has two key
aims maximising household
resourcesand improving children's wellbeing
and life chances. There are a range of local services
which span a variety of sectors which can have a major impact on
Child Poverty and help us achieve our national aims.
View explanations of how local action can help
tackle child poverty and case studies examples of how it can work
in practice by clickling the links below.
- Financial Inclusion and Capability
- Employment and child care
children's wellbeing and life chances
- Affordable, good quality housing
- Leisure and recreation
Making the case for Child Poverty
Making the case for Child Poverty
There are some strong arguments that can be made in support of
taking local action to tackle child poverty.
Child poverty is bad for the individual and bad for
society In addition to the significant human cost to
families and children of allowing high levels of poverty to
continue, research by the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation estimates that child poverty costs
£25 billion each year in costs to the Exchequer and reduced Gross
Domestic Product (GDP).
Tackling child poverty is a sound economic
investment Child poverty has long-term social and
economic costs. Effective preventative intervention helps to break
recurring cycles of poor social outcomes, and prevent extensive and
expensive responses from public services at a later stage.
Investment in early and effective interventions translates into
substantial savings to the public sector.
There are unacceptable levels of child poverty in
Scotland It is unacceptable that one fifth of
children in Scotland are growing up in relative poverty, and that
these children's future outcomes are so heavily influenced by their
parents' economic circumstances. Levels of child poverty in
Scotland have declined over the last decade. However, these
reductions have stalled, and there has been little change in levels
of child poverty since 2004/5. Clearly, further and faster progress
must be made.
The current climate may impact negatively on child
poverty The impact of the recession may make
tackling child poverty more challenging than ever. Reductions to
welfare benefits, the continuing low demand in the economy and the
impact on local services of constrained public finances are
impacting on low-income families.Analysis by the
institute of fiscal studies suggests that in 2012-13 the
numbers of children living in relative poverty will increase by
about 100,000 with an increase of 200,000 in
Government and their partners have a legal duty to
support equality. The
Equalities Act 2010 makes it a legal requirement for
Government and its partners to make sure that all groups are
treated equally and fairly. It is recognised that poverty is
unevenly distributed throughout Scottish society. The risk of
poverty is higher for children in families with lone parents (the
majority of which tend to be women), affected by disability, and in
some ethnic minority communities.
Child poverty is not inevitable When
economic conditions are favourable and when policy is used as a
tool to tackle poverty, child poverty can be reduced. Progress
toward the eradication of poverty in Scotland is possible and has
been achieved in recent years. 130,000 fewer children were living
in poverty in Scotland in 2004/05, compared to 1996/97. Many
European countries do not experience the levels of poverty and
deprivation that Scotland does.
Child poverty is a denial of a child's human
rights In affluent nations such as Scotland, there
are sufficient resources to ensure that children need not be denied
access to what is typically experienced by the majority of
citizens. Through the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child, countries have committed
to ensuring that children enjoy a decent standard of living -
'living in poverty' falls short of achieving
Getting the best from budgets and services
Getting the best from budgets and services
In the current economic climate we are all having to make tough
decisions concerning budgets, service provision and support that is
on offer. However, we need to make sure that the consequence of
these tough decisions don't impact disproportionately on the most
vulnerable children and families in our society.
What is poverty-sensitive
Poverty sensitive decision making helps to make clear the impact
of decisions made by services and organisations on people
experiencing poverty. Although it is hoped that more 'pro-poor'
decisions will be taken as a result of this process the aim is not
to introduce an overly restrictive bind on those responsible.
Rather it encourages a decision-making environment in which the
impact on child poverty is duly considered and any positive or
negative impacts are recognised, evidenced and justified. If the
decision has any negative consequences action to lessen the impact
should also be considered.
What could be gained through poverty-sensitive
Poverty-sensitive decision making could be a stimulus for more
effective anti-poverty work.
- It suggests a high level of commitment to tackling child
poverty and of an approach that is prepared to the address key
issues by identifying and mitigating possible negative impacts in
- It widens responsibility for tackling child poverty (beyond
field-based practitioners and those managing projects), to include
those with 'backroom' administrative responsibilities, such as
finance officers and treasurers. It is a means to demonstrate that
tackling child poverty is everybody's business.
- Establishing a culture whereby each decision is accompanied by
reflection on the extent to which it impacts positively or
negatively on child poverty may increase the probability that
positive initial decisions or budget allocations are taken
This drive to better understand the specific contribution to
tackling child poverty of any particular budget line, project or
organisation would heighten accountability and demand improvements
in how child poverty impact is to be understood, measured
You can view our more
detailed 'how to guide' on poverty sensitive decision
Key poverty info for others
Key poverty information people should know
If you are working to try and raise the profile of
tackling child poverty in your service or organisation the
following checklist may be useful to improve the knowledge and
awareness amongst colleagues.
- Definition - UK Government's four tiered definition of
- Concepts - Absolute poverty,
relative poverty, material deprivation, persistent poverty,
- Measurement - Income thresholds,
- Causes - Social, political,
economic, individual behaviour
- Population - Numbers living in poverty;
Composition of population experiencing poverty; Risk rate of living
- Policy - What are the key
(i) UK (ii) Scottish (iii)
local strategies and policies to tackle poverty
Understanding how poverty
- Cost of living - Cost of key
essentials; proportion of income that is expended
- Poverty premiums - Services that are
more expensive to people living in poverty
- Respect - Understanding of the ways
in which living in poverty can undermine the dignity and
self-respect of those who experience it
- Language - Understanding how to
avoid describing poverty in a manner that is offensive to those who
- Barriers - Knowledge and understanding
of the barriers that make it more difficult for those who
experience poverty to escape it.
Understanding how the local public
- Knowledge - Local knowledge of the facts
- Attitudes - Inclination toward people
- Media Image - Dominant media presentation
- Political Message - Key party
positions/messages toward poverty
Which of the arguments in this section would you use to convince
the following people that we should tackle child poverty in your
What would be most useful for them to know based on the key
poverty information section?
Poverty Awareness and Related Training
There are a number of organisations that offer poverty awareness
and other poverty related training. Training can help staff who are
dealing with people experiencing poverty to better understand the
impact that this can have on the life of the individual and their
families. It can also help identify ways in which to improve
service delivery. A selection of useful links are higlighted below.
This list is not exhasutive and there may also be a number of local
organisations which offer similar services.
Child Poverty Training Module - Children's Workforce
Index of training and materials to reduce the impact of childhood
poverty and disadvantage - Children's Workforce
Parent Families Scotland