Policy and Research
Policy and Research
Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland produces policy and research papers on mental health issues that matter to our members. This is a core part of our organisational mission to improve mental health policy and practice in Scotland. Find out more about our latest policy and research publications below.
This section lists recent policy papers, consultation responses, and position statements from Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland.
Scottish Government Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy
The Scottish Government consulted on its new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy during Summer 2022. Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland engaged with 51 people with lived experience of mental ill health to submit a consultation response. Participants emphasised concerns about the conflation of ‘wellbeing’ and ‘mental health’ within the strategy, questioned to what extent the Scottish Government will embed lived experience perspectives, and highlighted the importance of consistent relationships with empathetic and non-judgemental healthcare staff in improving mental health. Read the full consultation submission here.
National Care Service (Scotland) Bill
The Scottish Government has consulted on the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill, which allows Scottish Ministers to transfer social care responsibility from local authorities to a new, national service. This could include adult and children’s services, as well as areas such as justice social work. Scottish Ministers will also be able to transfer healthcare functions from the NHS to the National Care Service. Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland members raised concerns about the consultation process of the Bill and, while agreeing with many of the Bill’s underlying principles, questioned whether it would lead to improvements in mental health service delivery. Read our latest response here.
Scottish Mental Health Law Review
The Scottish Mental Health Law Review was tasked with improving the rights and protections of people with a mental disorder and remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare. The review’s final report was published in September 2022. Throughout the review, Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland engaged with people with lived experience of mental health difficulties to help inform the review. Read our response to Stage 3 of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review here.
Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill
In March 2022, proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act were published by The Scottish Government. The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would amend the Gender Recognition Act 2004 with the aim to simplify the Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) application process and criteria set, which enables trans people to have their gender legally recognised. The Bill proposes to remove medical diagnosis requirements in favour of self-declaration, reduce the time for applicants to have ‘lived in line’ with their gender from two years to three months, and change the minimum application age from 18 to 16.
Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland supports reforms outlined in the Bill to make the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate simpler and easier. We recognise the importance of removing bureaucratic barriers so that trans people can be formally recognised for who they are on official documentation. The reforms would also more closely align Scotland’s gender recognition law with that of many other European countries including the Republic of Ireland, Malta, and Iceland.
We fully welcome this progressive Bill to make the Gender Recognition process easier and fairer for trans people in Scotland. While the introduction of these reforms would be a positive step forward, we also acknowledge that wider work is needed to strengthen trans rights and tackle discrimination – including improving trans healthcare and mental health support.
For more information on the Gender Recognition Act, The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, and the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), you can find resources on the Scottish Trans website here: https://www.scottishtrans.org/our-work/gender-recognition-act-reform-2022/
Mandatory Calorie Labelling in the Out of Home Sector in Scotland
In April 2022, The Scottish Government launched its consultation on introducing mandatory calorie labelling in the out of home sector (such as cafes, takeaways, and restaurants) in Scotland. During the consultation phase, Voices of Experience (VOX) Scotland conducted a short survey of members to understand their perspectives. The majority were against the introduction of calorie labelling, citing the negative mental health impacts for those with eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours, as well as its lack of effectiveness as a public health interventions. Read our consultation response here.
Previous Consultation Responses