Winter Heating Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Amendment Regulations: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the Winter Heating Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Amendment Regulations

7. Time limit for determination of entitlement

Draft Regulation 6 amends WHACYP Regulation 5 to remove the requirement that Social Security Scotland makes a determination in favour of all individuals who are entitled to CWHA in a given year by the end of December. The Scottish Government has advised SCoSS that the extension of entitlement to young people in receipt of PIP could put challenging pressure on Social Security Scotland’s capacity to make determinations on behalf of all entitled individuals in accordance with this timetable while also implementing safe and secure transition to ADP. Further, SCoSS accepts that unforeseen changes, emergency legislation, and subsequent delivery challenges could arise at any time.

SCoSS would naturally prefer that everyone who is entitled to CWHA receives their award as per the originally planned schedule. Our scrutiny report on the WHACYP Regulations stressed the importance of prompt payment to households who do not have access to mains gas for heating in particular. We are pleased that the Scottish Government remains committed to making as many payments as possible by 31 December. While there is little point enshrining what could well prove to be an impossible schedule in the Regulations, the Commission believes it would be preferable to retain a deadline. This could mean substituting the end of December with a later date, or allowing determinations by ‘the end of December or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter’.

Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government should amend draft Regulation 6 so that WHACYP Regulation 5 requires that determinations of entitlement to CWHA be made by 31 December or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.

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