Attendees and apologies
- Claire McDermott, SG, Social Security, Scottish Government (Chair)
- Rachael McGruer, SG, Programme Management and Delivery
- Ruth Candlish, SG, Social Security
- Dr Anne Braidwood, Medical Advisor
- Nicola Dickie, COSLA
- Phyllis Craig, Clydeside Action on Asbestos
- Elinor Owe, Scottish Government, Justice
- Tommy Gorman, MacMillan Cancer Support
- Barbara Donegan, CPAG
- Liz Davidson, Social Security, Scottish Government
- Rosemary McGowan, Citizens Advice Airdrie
- Ian Tasker, STUC
- Carron Flockhart Young, Scottish Government, Fair work
- Roddy Duncan, Scottish Government, Creating Health
Items and actions
Welcome and minute
1. The Chair welcomed guests Ruth Candlish, attending to assist with the workshop and Rachael McGruer attending to provide and update on the SG’s approach to assessments for ill-health and disability benefits. Given the number of apologies, it was agreed that there was limited value in running the ‘Consistent and Inclusive language’ workshop.
Action: SG to consider how best to engage with members on the workshop.
2. The minute of 27 March 2017 was agreed. All action points were cleared with the exception of analysts obtaining figures on the number of successful appeals. It was noted that SG analysts are working with DWP to obtain anonymised data for IIDB and are currently looking at the variables available on the payment information system. Where the SG obtain this information it may not be possible to share it with group since DWP remain the owner. The SG will seek to share information with the group as and when it can.
Social Security (Scotland) Bill
3. The Chair confirmed that the Bill would be introduced before Summer recess. The Bill will embed in legislation the principles of the Scottish social security system, including a commitment to a human-rights based approach. It will require the production of a charter informed by the principles and it will require the SG to report to the Parliament on delivery against the charter. The Bill will also set out the basic machinery through which the SG will provide social security dealing with everything from applications through to appeals. It defines the types of social security assistance (e.g. assistance for disabled people, carers, maternity and funeral expenses, heating costs), providing a brief description of each of type of assistance, and confer powers on Scottish Ministers to set out the rules for eligibility and entitlement in subordinate legislation. The detail of how these will operate will be set out in regulations, the SG will engage with members on the development of regulations.
Action: SG to engage with the Group on the development of regulations.
First wave statement
4. The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security made a statement to Parliament 30 May 2017 setting out plans for delivery of the first wave of benefits these include, Best Start Grant, Funeral Payments, and the increase to Carer’s Allowance.
5. We are planning our continued engagement with new and existing stakeholders over the summer. If members are aware of any opportunities / events over the summer, we’d be keen to get involved.
Action: All to highlight any opportunities over the summer.
Assessments for Ill Health Disability Benefits
6. The SG has committed to reducing face to face assessments, using communication channels which suit the individuals‘ needs and to introducing longer term or lifetime awards for people whose condition is unlikely to improve. Developing a user centric approach will be informed by stakeholder groups, Experience Panels and the Disability and Carers Benefit Expert Advisory Group. Since IIDB assessments will be included within this work it is important this group can contribute to it.
7. There was some discussion around opportunities and problem areas for IIDB assessments and agreement that a longer session on this in future would be helpful. Key points raised:
- The importance of consistency and quality assurance
- The need to explore shared social security evidence, thinking about who in primary care and particularly hospitals who are likely to have most input for IIDB.
- The need for factual reports rather than opinion. Consider issues around clinicians duty to the patient and their ability to provide an impartial factual report without impacting on relationships.
- The need to reduce waiting times for home visits and timescales for confirmation of diagnosis.
- Important to ensure that medico legal experts can input into the assessment process and requirements for IIDB to ensure rigour.
- Information sharing between MOD and the agency to avoid duplicate claims and/or clarity about the appropriate scheme for claims.
- Needs to be user friendly and user centred.
- There is a need for a policy of balance of probabilities to promote fairness in the scheme.
- Close working with DWP to share information.
- Terminal conditions for IIDB do not require assessment – only confirmation of diagnosis.
- Need to ensure no detrimental effect on passporting benefits.
Action: SG to consider timing of a longer session on assessments.
Disability and Carers’ Expert Advisory Group
8. Following discussions and concerns about overlapping remits and ensuring links SG met with the Chair of the Expert Advisory Group, Dr Jim McCormick. He also recognises that the risk overlap and is keen to work with the Stakeholder Groups already established. The group discussed the potential for joint working on priority areas and agreed a joint workshop in September to consider scrutiny and replicating the role of expertise.
Action: SG to organise a joint workshop with the Expert Advisory Group in September.
9. The recruitment drive came to an end on the 12th May but had a soft close to 9 June to do final applications. Over 2,300 people signed up, 47 of those are likely to be on the IIDB panel. Registration data will be analysed and published in Summer. The Minister has written to all of the people who signed up for the Panels. The Chair thanked the group for their helpful input into the ‘About You’ research questions. Following a testing session with Experience Panels members to ensure that ‘About You’ was accessible, as a result it has been shortened and easier to understand. This is scheduled to be sent to individuals over the new few weeks. The Experience panels workplan will be driven by user research but members may wish to consider what areas might be useful for experience panel input. Where these align with what users highlight as an area they wish to see improved this could be prioritised.
Action: Members to consider potential areas for the experience panel input.
10. SG have developed a workplan for the group setting out topics and issues that the group has already contributed to. This should provide a helpful overview of the work of the group to date and allow members the opportunity to suggest future topics going forward. The group can also use it as a tool to seek feedback on work done previously. This will become a standing agenda item at future meetings. It was suggested that we consider wider support for individuals at future meetings.
Action: Members invited to provide suggestions for future meetings.
Action: SG to include ‘wider support’ on the agenda for a future meeting.
- SG to consider how best to engage with members as an alternative to the inclusive and consistent language workshop – SG Analysts – next meeting
- SG to engage with the Group on the development of regulations – SG/Members – ongoing
- Highlight any opportunities over the summer – all – N/A
- SG to consider timing of a longer session on assessments – SG Policy – next meeting
- SG to organise a joint workshop with the Expert Advisory Group in September – SG Policy – end July
- Members to consider potential areas for the experience panel input – all – next meeting
- Members invited to provide suggestions for future meetings – all – ongoing
- SG to include ‘wider support’ on the agenda for a future meeting – SG Policy – next meeting
Email: Claire McDermott