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Framework Document

Framework document between the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) and the Scottish Government, setting out the broad framework within which SCoSS operates.

SCoSS responsibilities

SCoSS should aim to have a business plan in place for each financial year. SCoSS should agree with the SG the issues to be addressed in the plan and the timetables for its preparation and review. The finalised plan shall reflect SCoSS’s strategic aims and objectives as agreed with Scottish Ministers. Where possible, the plan should demonstrate how SCoSS contributes to the SG’s National Performance Framework (NPF).

SCoSS must publish an annual report of its activities together with its audited accounts after the end of each financial year. The annual report should comply with the Annual Accounts section of the SPFM and the Government Financial Reporting Manual (FReM) and outline SCoSS’s main activities and performance against agreed objectives and targets for the previous financial year.

The draft report should be submitted to the SG for comment and shared with Ministers prior to publication. Any factual inaccuracies, in relation to budget and other matters, should be addressed before publication. In order to promote transparency, the final version should be made available on SCoSS’s website. SCoSSshall be responsible for the publication of the annual report.

Paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 of the Act sets out a responsibility on the Scottish Ministers to “provide the Commission with such staff and other resources as it requires to carry out its functions”. As such, SCoSS secretariat and the sponsor unit will work jointly to ensure that SCoSS has the resources it needs to dispense its functions appropriately.

SCoSS will be responsible for managing its own budget. The sponsor unit may provide advice if necessary.

No automatic uplift for SCoSS’s budget will be applied, in line with other public bodies, other than for costs associated with secretariat salaries. Level of budget will set on a yearly basis based on standard budgetary process.

If SCoSS identifies a need for increased resource from a future budget or Spending Review, a case for additional funding should be submitted to the sponsor unit. This will subsequently be considered as a standard part of the budget setting process.

If additional resources are needed in-year, or underspends become apparent, SCoSS should raise these, in the first instance, with the sponsor unit.

Pay and conditions of service, pensions, redundancy and compensation

As above, secretariat staff remain civil servants employed by the SG. Changes to pay and conditions, etc. will be made in line with wider SG arrangements.

SCoSS’s budget should be reviewed to reflect any changes to staff remuneration.

Budget notification

Each year, in the light of decisions by the Scottish Ministers on the allocation of budgets for the forthcoming financial year, the SG will send to SCoSS a formal statement of its budgetary provision. This will include a note of any related matters and details of the budget monitoring information required by the SG. The terms of that letter, referred to as the Budget Allocation and Monitoring letter, should be viewed as complementing the content of this document.

SCoSSshall maintain management information and undertake effective budget management. It should review, in a timely and effective manner, its financial and non-financial performance against the strategic aims, objectives and milestones set out in its business plan. The results of such reviews should be reported on a regular basis to SCoSS Members and copied to the SG. The SG shall assess SCoSS’s performance proportionately, on a continuous basis and hold a formal review meeting with the Chair at least twice a year. These will be conducted by the sponsor unit and be attended by the SCoSS secretariat. Additionally the responsible Cabinet Secretary shall meet the Commission Chair as and when required.

The Chair and Board Members of SCoSS must make sure they are familiar with, and that their actions comply with, the provisions of the Code of Conduct which is based on the ‘Model Code for Members of Devolved Public Bodies’ and has been adopted by SCoSS.

SCoSS is not able to directly employ its own staff. Therefore, as per paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 of the Act, Scottish Ministers will provide SCoSS with such staff and other resources as it requires to carry out its functions.

All staff working for SCoSS are civil servants and bound by the Civil Service Code and other civil service requirements as to their conduct, impartiality and confidentiality, etc. (Section 4 of the Staff Handbook applies.)

Secretariat staff members owe their primary responsibility to the Commission. The SG or the sponsor unit must not instruct them in the performance of their duties except with the agreement of SCoSS.

The Chair, in discussion with Members, shall outline the key tasks and actions required to the Lead Secretary secretariat manager. The Chair and Lead Secretary shall review delivery of key objectives on a regular basis – any concerns with staff performance shall be raised with the Lead Secretary or, if appropriate, with the Accountable Officer.

The Chair and Members have been appointed to SCoSS through a public appointment round regulated and monitored by the Ethical Standards Commissioner. As such, their pay and conditions are the responsibility of the Public Appointments branch of the Directorate for People within the SG.

Remuneration (daily fees), allowances and expenses paid to the Chair and Members must comply with the SG Pay Policy for Senior Appointments and any specific guidance on such matters issued by the Scottish Ministers.

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