Wellbeing Wednesday

From East Lothian Council’s Email Alert

Hello, how are you today?

In times of uncertainty, more restrictions and bad news, it can sometimes be hard to find something to smile about.  The unpredictability and not knowing can be draining because as humans we generally like certainty.  The more uncertain you feel the more important it is to dial up on what makes you smile, gives you light and laughter.  The NHS Feeling Good app is proven to help people with feeling more positive and confident during difficult times no matter what their situation.  Instructions to access are attached. 

More comedy wildlife photos to make you smile are here.

Standards Commission for Scotland Update

From Julie Scott, Administrative Assistant, Standards Commission for Scotland

Dear Colleagues

Please find attached the latest edition of our Standards Update for your information. We would be grateful if you could arrange for the Update and/or the link provided below to be circulated to your members and any colleagues who might find it of interest. Please also encourage them to follow us on Twitter: @StandardsScot and on Facebook: facebook.com/StandardsCommission/. If you require the Update in an alternative format, please let us know.

Standards Commission Update – September 2020

If you have any questions, or if you wish to advise of a change of contact details, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards


Julie Scott
Administrative Assistant
Standards Commission for Scotland
Room T2.21
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

New data shows rise in numbers of guardianship orders in Scotland

New figures published today by the Mental Welfare Commission show a continued rise in the use of guardianship orders in Scotland – up from over 6,400 people on a guardianship order in 2012, to almost 16,000 at March 2020. This is the highest figure ever recorded.

Guardianship orders are used to safeguard those who lack the capacity to make their own decisions.

The majority of guardians are private individuals, usually a relative or friend. Local authorities have a duty to make an application for welfare guardianship where it is needed and no-one else is applying.

A total of 3,199 guardianship orders were granted in the year 2019-20, a seven per cent rise on the previous year.

The majority of guardianship orders granted in 2019-20 were for people who either have a learning disability (49%), or dementia/Alzheimer’s disease (36%).

The Commission monitors the use of these orders in relation to the Adults with Incapacity Act and publishes details at national and local authority level in today’s report.

What did people think of their guardianship order?

The Commission also visits people who are on a guardianship order, and in 2019-20 met over 300 individuals. The new report contains example case studies of some visits, highlighting the views of both people subject to guardianship orders and their guardians.

In most cases people subject to a guardianship order were positive about how decisions were made on their behalf. Guardians, too, were mostly positive. In the few cases where issues were raised they mostly related to restrictions (from the individuals) or to the quality and level of care provided (from guardians).

Key gaps the commission identified

Three key gaps that the Commission itself identified during these visits include the lack of support and supervision for private guardians; only 76% had received a visit from a supervising officer in the past six months. A second concern was that only 76% had the correct medical certification from doctors for their medical treatment.  A final area of real concern was the fact that for 67% of individuals with a do-not-attempt CPR (DNACPR) form, it was either unclear if guardians had been informed, or guardians had not been informed.

Main findings 

The report’s main findings are:

  • The number of guardianship orders (15,973 in year 2019-20) is the highest ever recorded, and is up from 13,501 in 2017-18 when data was last published, and up from 6,407 in 2012.
  • A total of 3,199 guardianship orders were granted in the single year 2019-20, a seven per cent rise on the previous year.
  • The majority of granted guardianship orders in 2019-20 (74%) were private, from relatives or friends, which is similar to the last five years of reporting. The remainder were from local authorities.
  • Almost half (46%) of guardianship orders granted last year were for a period of five years or less, while 47% were more than five years and 7% were indefinite orders. The proportion of orders granted that are indefinite has declined steadily over time.
  • There has been a marked decline in indefinite guardianship orders, from 48% in 2010-11 to 2% in 2019-20.
  • The lowest rate of guardianship orders granted last year was in Inverclyde, and highest in South Ayrshire. 

Julie Paterson, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission, said:

“Guardianship orders are designed to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This new report includes a detailed statistical breakdown of what’s happening in relation to guardianship orders across Scotland, and also the views of people who are living with these orders – both individuals and their guardians.

“In previous years we have said that we believe the law needs to be modernised and streamlined to ensure care can be provided when it is needed, and to better protect the rights of people with dementia and learning disabilities. We welcome the commitment of the Scottish Government to reforming the Adults with Incapacity Act, which will be considered alongside the review of the Mental Health Act. 

“Meantime, we hope that local authorities, integration joint boards, health and social care partnerships and others find the information in this report valuable as they plan and operate their services. We particularly ask that the issues we raise in relation to findings on our visits are addressed.”

Read the AWI monitoring report here

COSLA Elected Members’ Briefing 30.9.20

Key messages

Pre-budget lobbying

COSLA is working on a lobbying strategy to ensure that a strong, positive and complementary campaign can be developed for pre-budget lobbying, building on last year’s ‘Essential Services’ campaign and on the new ‘Essential Everyday’ hashtag that was developed for the Blueprint for Local Government. The campaign will focus on the need for financial stability, if Local Government’s role in community wellbeing is to be maximised, and will highlight the essential role which Local Government has played in supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Leaders have agreed a series of actions to take forward the lobbying strategy, on the basis that there will be a Scottish Draft Budget introduced in the Scottish Parliament in December.  The timescale is however to be confirmed and may be impacted by the UK Government’s recent decision to cancel its Autumn Budget. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has announced £1.1bn for NHS Boards and HSCPs. This includes the £83m already received for local authority delegated services. This means that of the £1.1bn, £245m is allocated to HSCPs. From this, there will be an additional circa £67m for local authority delegated services and circa £95m for health delegated services over and above the £83m already received.

COSLA said this week that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high level of commitment and action shown by Local Government has ensured that our children and young people continue to get the most from their lives in extremely difficult circumstances. COSLA also said that it fully recognised just how difficult a situation this had been for our young people.

The COSLA Blueprint for Local Government commits to working to identify the opportunities to make sure children and young people get the very best education and wider learning and support that can be offered with a clear focus on tackling poverty and inequality.

COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “Our Blueprint has a focus on child well-being and Getting it Right for Every Child, closing the education attainment gap and effective digital connectivity to support learning especially for the most disadvantaged children and young people.

“It also recognises that whilst the pandemic has shown the resilience of both families and communities, there is little doubt that there will be greater levels of demand for the core services that Local Government provides moving forward. Social work, family support, services for looked after children and child protection are just a few examples of the services that need to be supported and resourced to ensure they are able to cope with demand.”

The full release can be read here.

Public Health Scotland launched its first Strategic Plan: Together We Can this week.
It represents a significant milestone in terms of setting PHS’s direction for the next three years.

Supporting Scotland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the wider social recovery, remains at the forefront of Public Health Scotland’s work.

The Strategic Plan also outlines how PHS will focus on key areas that make the biggest difference to the public’s health, such as mental wellbeing, communities and place, and poverty and children.

COSLA, together with the Scottish Government, is a sponsor of PHS and two Local Government/COSLA representatives are non-executives on the PHS Board – Councillor Jacqueline Cameron and Councillor Julie Bell.

The latest edition of the Trading Standards Scam Share bulletin  outlines scams which have been reported by consumers across Scotland, including those related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There is some very useful information for local communities, covering issues such as Test and Protect scams and more.

Trading Standards Scotland is the national team for trading standards in Scotland and is part of COSLA.

Read the full COSLA Elected Member’s Briefing here.