ENHANCING SEXUAL WELLBEING IN SCOTLAND - A SEXUAL HEALTH AND RELATIONSHIPS STRATEGY: Analysis of Written Responses to the Public Consultation
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 In September 2003, the Scottish Executive published proposals for a National Sexual Health and Relationships Draft Strategy, Enhancing Sexual Wellbeing in Scotland - A Sexual Health and Relationships Strategy. The Scottish Executive commissioned TNS Social to collate, analyse and report on responses to the consultation. The key aim of the analysis was to provide data to further inform the development of the Draft Strategy into a final form.
1.2 The Draft Strategy aims to provide a comprehensive framework for tackling sexual health issues across Scotland. It was commissioned to address Scotland's poor sexual health, as evidenced by the statistics on unintended teenage pregnancies, the rise in STIs and the poor comparison with the sexual health of other nations. As a consequence, an Expert Reference Group was established in August 2002. This group brought together the experience of a range of professionals in the sexual health services and education fields, as well as practitioners and representatives from a range of voluntary organisations and religious groups, in order to guide the development of a Draft Strategy, with particular reference to:
1.3 reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections;
1.4 enhancing the provision of sexual health services; and
1.5 promoting a broad understanding of sexual health and sexual relationships that encompasses emotions, attitudes and social context.
1.6 The official consultation process for the Draft Strategy was launched on 12 November 2003 and officially ended on 27 February 2004. However, because of the Executive's desire to hold as wide-ranging consultations as possible, responses were accepted as late as mid-April 2004. Responses to their consultation exercise were invited from a range of key stakeholder groups and individuals, and anyone who was interested was able to submit a response. Overall, 1,394 separate written responses were received from a broad range of respondents. The consultation process also involved a number of consultation events to address any 'gaps' in the consultation and ensure that as wide a range of stakeholders as possible were consulted on their views. This involved engaging directly or indirectly with some of those who are identified as having the greatest barriers to good sexual health. The analysis of the non-written responses to the consultation is reported on separately in 'Enhancing Sexual Wellbeing in Scotland - A Sexual Health and Relationships Strategy: Analysis of Non-Written Responses to the Public Consultation' (Scottish Executive 2004).
1.7 Consultees to the written consultation were free to comment on any aspect of the Draft Strategy, but in particular, were asked to give their views on the following:
Whether they thought the Draft Strategy provides an acceptable framework for improving sexual health in Scotland
Whether there were points or issues that should be given greater or less emphasis
Whether they considered certain issues to have been overlooked.
1.8 In undertaking the project, the researchers aimed to:
Analyse and present the key points of agreement and divergence and highlight where contradictions and anomalies emerge in the analysis of views
Identify the main interest groups responding to the consultation and those where the number of responses had been low and where, therefore, there might be under-representation.
1.9 The report is structured round the Chapters in the Draft Strategy and contains the individual recommendations (shown in shaded boxes). Where possible, comments relating to specific recommendations are discussed under the individual recommendation. However, as the majority of responses did not refer to specific recommendations but rather made broader comments around sets of associated recommendations or commented on a small number of recommendations, this was not always possible. Therefore, in some sections, groups of recommendations were grouped together and considered as a whole. Some specific recommendations did not receive any specific comments and this is reflected in the lack of commentary beneath those recommendations. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the methodology and analysis approach. The subsequent Chapters go through the different sections of the Draft Strategy in detail and the final Chapter provides a summary overview of views on the Draft Strategy. Appendix A provides a quantitative overview of respondent group, geographical location and overall perspectives on the Draft Strategy.