Business Plan 2024-25

Scottish Commission on Social Security's business plan covering the period of April 2024 to March 2025.

About us

The Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) was established in 2019 by the Scottish Parliament. We are an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). We undertake independent scrutiny of the Scottish social security system. Our relationship with the Scottish Government and the framework within which SCoSS operates is set out in a Framework Document.

The Commission has four Commissioners and is supported by a Secretariat of five staff provided by the Scottish Government.


  • Judith Paterson, Interim Co-Chair of SCoSS, Head of Advice and Rights (Scotland) for Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland (CPAG)
  • Dr Mark Simpson, Interim Co-Chair of SCoSS, Senior Lecturer in Law at Ulster University, researching social security and human rights
  • Dr Marilyn Howard, Commissioner, honorary research associate at the University of Bristol
  • Dr Jackie Gulland, Commissioner (until 31 July 2024), Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh.

Our purpose, vision and values

Our purpose

The Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) provides independent scrutiny of the Scottish social security system.  SCoSS is separate from the Scottish Government and from the Parliament. We carry out our work independently but we work closely with both the Government and Parliament.

Our functions are set out in Section 22 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018—

  • Scrutinising draft regulations and publishing reports with recommendations to the Scottish Government. Regulations set out in law the eligibility conditions for Scottish social security benefits and how they are administered.
  • Reporting to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament on whether the expectations in the social security charter are being met.  ‘Our Charter’ explains what people are entitled to expect from the Scottish social security system and how the Scottish Government will uphold the principles in the Act.
  • Responding to requests from the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to report on any matter relevant to social security when asked by either of them.

Our vision

We want a robust, effective, efficient Scottish social security system that meets its full potential to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland. We want to help achieve this by providing independent expert advice.

Our values

We are independent from Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. We scrutinise impartially based on evidence, while actively seeking out and carefully considering different views and perspectives.

We make sure human rights, the social security principles and the lived experience of people who use or need to use social security are at the heart of our work.

We provide expert, thorough scrutiny which helps people and the Scottish Parliament hold the Scottish Government to account.

We make a real difference to the lives of individuals by giving practical advice for improving social security regulations and making sure the commitments made in the Charter are fully realised.

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