A citizens’ panel will meet for the first time this weekend to discuss how Scotland is and should continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The panel will meet for the next four weekends before reporting its conclusions to the Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 Committee.
Participants in the 20-member panel, who have been chosen to broadly reflect the demographics of Scotland, and includes residents from all eight Parliamentary regions, will be asked to respond to the question ‘What priorities should shape the Scottish Government's approach to COVID-19 restrictions and strategy in 2021?’.
To help in forming a response to this question, a range of experts will give presentations on issues including public health, medical and behavioural science, epidemiology and virology, and the social, legal and economic aspects of the pandemic.
It is expected that the panel’s findings will help the Committee scrutinise the Scottish Government’s strategic approach to the pandemic, including what priorities should inform any future restrictions in 2021. The Committee will also reflect on the panel’s findings to inform its recommendations for how Covid scrutiny should continue after the election.
Speaking ahead of the first meeting, the Covid-19 Committee Convener, Donald Cameron MSP, said:
“In spite of the hope provided by vaccines, we find ourselves at a worrying juncture in this pandemic. Unfortunately, there is a going to be a need for restrictions for months to come, and the way we respond in 2021 is likely to shape our economy and society for many years to come.
“Therefore, it is critical that we have public support for Government plans to respond to Covid-19, and that we ensure areas important to the public are prioritised. While the Covid-19 Committee is able to provide robust scrutiny and recommendations, it will be immensely helpful to this work to have the informed opinion of a representative group of citizens.
“We are very grateful to the panel members and experts assisting them for giving up their time, and look forward to receiving the final report next month.”
The Citizens’ Panel will meet online on Saturdays 16, 23, 30 January and 6 February. A report will be produced thereafter.
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