A set of resources is now available to Scotland’s local authorities and wider partners that can help make an impact in preventing and reducing child poverty.
The package from Public Health Scotland (PHS), from a pilot project Prioritise child poverty: a data and systems approach, aims to make it clear through better use of data what local issues are and what actions need to be taken around child poverty. The resources include a data spreadsheet that sets out local and national data sources, themed by drivers of child poverty, to help build a comprehensive picture of what child poverty looks like locally. There are also workshop templates, pen portraits of fictional low-income families and information slides on child poverty in Scotland to help councils engage with local service partners who support families.
Using the tools, in collaboration with partners, local areas can increase their understanding about child poverty locally and use this insight to make data-informed decisions about how best to support families and prevent them from being locked into poverty.
Dr Megan Watson, Public Health Intelligence Adviser at PHS said:
“Around us right now, one in four children in Scotland are living in relative poverty. Children experiencing this grow up with poorer diets, worse living conditions and barriers to opportunities in education and life, compared to more affluent families.
“Child poverty is rooted in causes many families have little or no control over, such as low paid work, high living costs and cuts or freezes to social security payments. That’s why it’s important to look at solutions to reducing child poverty through a public health lens.
“This new set of resources can be used to navigate often complex systems and really build a picture of what journeys look like for families through and between services. It supports better use of data collected about these families, so we can link these data to learn more about how we can best support them. This way, local services can be planned efficiently and effectively to meet local needs and make a real impact in reducing child poverty”.
The child poverty resources are the result of a pilot needs assessment project between PHS and the Child Poverty Action Group at Inverclyde Council using a data and systems approach. The pilot, led by PHS, formed part of the work plan of the Local Child Poverty Co-ordination Group – a group of national partners committed to providing support to local authorities and health boards in the development and implementation of their duty under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. It was developed in response to feedback from local partners that accessing and using data to understand child poverty locally was a real challenge. These resources could help local authorities, or any other interested party, replicate (or adapt) the approach applied in Inverclyde.
Louise McVey, Team Leader, Community and Poverty Initiatives at Inverclyde Council said:
“Working with Public Health Scotland on this pilot gave us an opportunity to have the space for local colleagues to discuss our local capacity and resources, and helped us better understand the needs of our community to set our priorities. When we work together across organisational boundaries we can achieve more.”
If you feel your local area could benefit from this process, take a closer look at our data and systems approach to prioritising child poverty.
Watch this animation to for an overview of our approach in Inverclyde, what we did in our workshops and who we worked with (external website).