The Carer Assistance (Carer Support Payment) Amendment Regulations 2024: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Carer Assistance (Carer Support Payment) Amendment Regulations 2024

Phased rollout of Carer Support Payment

The draft regulations provide for CSP to be made available for those making new applications in the following local authority areas through a phased approach from the following dates:

  • Angus, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire on 24 June 2024
  • Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, East Ayrshire, Fife, Moray, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire on 19 August 2024
  • All 19 remaining local authority areas in Scotland on 21 October 2024.

While these provisions do not require formal SCoSS scrutiny, SCoSS initially noted that approach to roll out of the benefit should be evidence based and avoid any detrimental impact for carers in different parts of Scotland wherever possible.

In response to questions from SCoSS, officials clarified that the phased rollout has been developed by “working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, to ensure a safe and secure delivery that maintains these links with wider benefits and services so that carers can continue to get all of the support they are entitled to.” Officials clarified that an area-based approach to the pilot and national roll out was chosen following “detailed analysis… and the initial pilot areas were chosen as they provided a mix of different areas in terms of rural/urban classifications and island communities… that would allow us to properly assess how well the benefit was working and consider improvements.”1 Scottish Government response to SCoSS question (response received 11 March 2024)

SCoSS welcomes this clarification and acknowledges the work that has been undertaken by officials. We understand that this has focussed on data concerning the age and gender of Carer’s Allowance recipients. We note, however, that currently, a lack of data about existing clients means there could be unknown inequalities in the roll out, for example, affecting claimants with other protected characteristics under the Equality Act, and socio-economic disadvantage under the Fairer Scotland duty.2Scottish Government, Fairer Scotland Duty: guidance for public bodies, We encourage the Scottish Government to do all it can to effectively communicate its approach to phased roll out with a wide group of carers to prevent any detrimental impact.

Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government should communicate its approach to phased roll out of Carer Support Payment and engage with a wide group of carers and carer organisations with a view to having an early alert to any issues which could arise with roll out.

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