The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 24 November 2020 and gained royal assent on 12 January 2021. The Act requires local authorities to ensure period products are free of charge to anyone who needs them.
Period products must be reasonably easy to obtain in community venues, local and authority run education establishments. Products should be provided in a way that respects dignity, and there must be a reasonable choice of products available including reusable products.
Local authorities are required to produce and communicate a Statement on Exercise of Functions to summarise the arrangements in place to meet the legal duties, which includes carrying out one or more public consultation(s).
This statement sets out our commitment to free product provision and details current and future provision in education facilities and the wider community.
Our communities are at the heart of everything we do and the vast range of services we deliver are designed to support our communities to be strong, safe and vibrant, ensuring that we provide universal services for all of our residents, whilst at the same time protecting and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable among us.
Our overarching vision for our communities is shared with our Community Planning Partners:
East Ayrshire is a place with strong, safe and vibrant communities where everyone has a good quality of life and access to opportunities, choices and high quality services which are sustainable, accessible and meet people’s needs.
We are hugely ambitious for those we serve and the Council’s founding values of Quality, Equality, Access and Partnership remain as relevant today, as they were in 1996 when the Council was established. These core values underpin all that we do and reflect our commitment to promoting equality of opportunity and social inclusion for all.
We strongly believe that reducing the impact that inequalities have on local people and communities is of paramount importance and we are committed to delivering services that are fair for all and to upholding our responsibilities as specified in the Equality Act 2010 and Fairer Scotland Duty.
We recognise that easy access to free period products can make a difference to many people in our community and can support our strategic objectives:
- tackling poverty and inequality
- improving community wellbeing
- supporting children and young people
- delivering a clean, green East Ayrshire
We are committed to the provision of free access to products for those who need them. Provision is available for all our communities and visitors to East Ayrshire for work or leisure within our community buildings.
We have been providing access to a range of products since 2018 through our schools, Council venues and community locations and our online ordering facility launched in August 2020 in response to the pandemic. Our mission has been to do this in a way which makes products accessible and reduces embarrassment of those wanting to access products.
We will ensure that:
- all products are free of charge and accessible
- a reasonable choice of products are available (reusable and single use)
- provisions are available in the educational establishments, community facilities, East Ayrshire Council facilities and partner organisation premises
- due consideration is given to respect and dignity in our approach
- due consideration is given to those who may face additional barriers, including those from:
- black and minority ethnic communities
- disabled people
- victims of domestic abuse
A public consultation was undertaken in March 2022. The survey was open to members of the public and schools. In total there were 176 responses to the consultation.
In addition to having the opportunity to take part in the public consultation, to meet the needs and wants of their pupils, schools (primary and secondary), have been requested to regularly carryout their own surveys. They have been provided with a Stay Period Protected Guidance document and a sample GLOW form which they can adapt to suit their needs.
In the main respondents were aware of the provision of free access to period products and where these products could be accessed. They were also happy with the choice of products available and would be willing to try reusable products. Awareness of venues and products was reasonable but varied by location and by age group.
We will work to maximise awareness of local arrangements. An emphasis was placed on accessing products discreetly with most respondents suggesting the toilet area as the most suitable access point.
The results of our consultation confirm that people in East Ayrshire continue to want a range of period products from a range of local venues including schools. We therefore propose to continue to make a full range of products available.
Provision of free sanitary products
We launched a successful on-line ordering facility for free sanitary products in August 2020, which continues to grow.
This facility is open to anyone who needs products and is used by our communities and schools. We have partnered with Hey Girls who are a Scottish Social Enterprise and provide ethically sourced products which are bio-degradable. A variety of products can be ordered from single use products to reusable products.
Products are also available for collection by anyone who needs them, or by anyone collecting on behalf of another person. Products will normally be available within toilet facilities of a building. Those who wish to access products can do so without having to ask a member of staff in a way that respects their dignity.
We will also provide free products in all our schools. Products will be available in a way which respects the dignity of the pupils and can be accessed without having to ask a teacher. A reasonable choice will be available to pupils to ensure their needs can be adequately met whilst attending school. This will be monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Products will be available during term time in at least one building of the school which is normally used by pupils. For most schools, products will be located within in the toilet facilities. Other schools may have products available in multiple locations.
Information on stocked venues can be accessed via the PickupMyPeriod App.
PickupMyPeriod allows users to enter a postcode or location to see where free period products are available in their area. Users can filter what products are available, check building opening hours and also access a wide range of advice and support on various topics including health and wellbeing, financial support, domestic abuse and addiction support.
The app can be downloaded via these links:
We will ensure that information in relation to free access to period products is promoted regularly through a number of sources including, but not limited to:
- council and school websites
- council and school social media platforms
- local press outlets
We understand the complexities in relation to accessing free period products, and therefore, will continue to ensure that due consideration is given to respect and dignity in our approach.
We recognise that arrangements are dynamic and evolve and grow as more local organisations opt to become involved and make products available from their venues.
We will ensure that we review our arrangements regularly to bring on new partners and widen access to products.
We will also undertake an annual review in August each year to ensure that the service we provide continues to meet the needs of our communities and our pupils.