Emergency powers unveiled to address COVID-19 pandemic

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 31st March 2020
Photo of the outside of the Scottish Parliament building

The First Minister has described the legislation as "an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation".

The Scottish Government has set out a range of temporary emergency powers designed to protect the public, maintain essential public services and support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, to be debated and scrutinised by MSPs on Wednesday 1st April, sets out a wide range of measures relating to three headline areas; the justice system, the public sector and protections for private and social sector tenants.

The provisions in Part 1 of the bill will expire on 30 September unless the Scottish Parliament approves an extension for a further six months.

Issues of relevance to ALLIANCE members include;

  • The Bill allows for the Scottish Government to amend timescales it has previously set out related to their plans to devolve 11 social security entitlements. It allows for relaxed redetermination timescales (if delay considered to have been because of COVID-19)
  • It removes the duties on local authorities to apply some of the principles of the 2000 Adults with Incapacity Act, aiming to take into account the present and past wishes and feelings of the adult and the views of other interested parties
  • It also allows local authorities to take steps to provide a community care service to an incapacitated adult despite them having a guardian, welfare attorney or an intervener with powers relating to the proposed intervention or guardianship orders
  • It also allows for authorities to ‘stop the clock running’ on the period of time they are granted for in certificates which authorise treatment for incapacitated adults.

You can access further detail on the Bill on the Scottish Parliament website (this link will take you away from our website).

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