Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021 with recommendations for the Scottish Government.

Summary of Recommendations and Observations

Observation 1: When scrutinising draft Regulations that are proposed in light of a specific tribunal or court judgment, SCoSS needs to see the text of the judgment at the earliest opportunity in order to take a clear view of whether the draft Regulations represent a satisfactory response.

Recommendation 1: While recognising that an exhaustive list is likely to be impossible, SCoSS asks the Scottish Government to ensure that guidance on how the test envisaged by draft Regulation 6 will work in practice is as comprehensive as possible. Guidance should be clear that the objective is to ensure that the award goes to the person who, in the Scottish Ministers’ judgement, has main responsibility for the child.

Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government should consider a further amendment to allow Scottish Ministers to decide who should receive Scottish Child Payment (SCP) or Best Start Grant (BSG)in situations where the hierarchy in paragraph 5 of the schedule to the SCP Regulations (as amended by the draft Regulations) might result in an award being made to an individual, other than the person who currently has main responsibility for care of the child.

Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government should consider whether there is a case for deleting paragraph 5(5) from the Schedule to the SCP Regulations, or including an equivalent provision in Regulation 6 of the BSG Regulations, and explain its decision.

Recommendation 4: The Scottish Government should monitor the impact of the draft Regulations to ensure that the additional discretion conferred upon Social Security Scotland is used appropriately to enhance the role of SCP and BSG in reducing child poverty/deprivation.

Recommendation 5: The Scottish Government should ensure that learning arising from the need for these amendments is factored into the future use of top-up powers or passporting entitlement to Scottish social security assistance based on an award of a DWP benefit in general.

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