Social Security (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill - your views

Closes 12 Jan 2024

Opened 13 Nov 2023

Overview

The Scotland Act 2016 set in process a change to how social security is delivered in Scotland:

  • it devolved 11 existing social security benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to Scotland; 
  • it gave new powers to the Scottish Government to make top-up payments to benefits reserved to the UK Government. 

In 2018, The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) established a legal framework for a new Scottish social security system. It created the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS), an independent scrutiny body.

The Social Security (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill aims to enhance the Scottish system of social security in line with the social security principles. There is a particular focus on enhancements related to continuous improvement and value for money.  

If passed, the Bill would make changes to the Scottish social security system, including:

  1. New benefits - Creating the framework for introducing new social security benefits for children and care experienced people.  
  2. Late applications - Repealing COVID measures that allowed late applications. 
  3. Challenging decisions - Changing some of the rules about making and challenging decisions about social security assistance in Scotland
  4. Overpayments - Making some changes to when an individual or their representative must repay an overpayment and introducing a right to review and appeal.
  5. Appointees - Allowing an individual who has been appointed to manage a person’s DWP benefits to also manage their Social Security Scotland benefits. Where an appointee uses any funds outside of their common law or statutory duties, and does so in bad faith, they will be liable to repay those funds to the individual they represent.
  6. Providing information - Placing new duties on clients to provide information to Social Security Scotland in order to audit the monetary value of fraud and error in the Scottish social security system as a whole. Where they fail to do so their benefit may be suspended and, if they still fail to provide the requested information their entitlement can be reviewed.
  7. Compensation recovery - Where someone who gets social security benefits is awarded compensation for the same injury or disease, then Scottish Ministers will get some of the compensation. This scheme already exists for DWP benefits.
  8. Scottish Commission on Social Security - Changing the legal form of the Scottish Commission on Social Security and amending its functions to add additional types of social security regulations that it would consider. 

The Social Justice and Social Security Committee is looking at the Bill.

For each part of the Bill, the Committee is particularly interested in the extent to which the proposals reflect the social security principles.

The Social Security Principles are set out in the 2018 Act and are:

  1. Social security is an investment in the people of Scotland, 
  2. Social security is itself a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights, 
  3. The delivery of social security is a public service, 
  4. Respect for the dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the Scottish social security system, 
  5. The Scottish social security system is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland,
  6. The Scottish social security system is to be designed with the people of Scotland on the basis of evidence, 
  7. Opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which— 
    1. Put the needs of those who require assistance first, and 
    2. Advance equality and non-discrimination, 
  8. The Scottish social security system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.

How to submit your views

The Committee would like to hear views of individuals and organisations on the proposed changes.

It may be useful to have a copy of the Policy Memorandum (PDF) open while you complete the Call for Views.

You can share your views via a call for views, comprised of 8 parts, linked below. You do not have to answer all the questions.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. 

The call for views closes on Friday 12 January 2024.

Interests

  • SJSS