6. Policy impact and improvement
The Commission’s view is that upholding human rights to progressive realisation and the continuous improvement enshrined in the social security principle (g) can only be achieved if there are effective mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of specific social security policy interventions. Over time, such evaluation would provide a rich source of evidence to support effective scrutiny and informed policy development. Below the Commission proposes a number of relevant matters worthy of more detailed monitoring, evaluation or research.
Recommendation 17: Building on the analysis and recommendations offered throughout this report, the Commission recommends that the Scottish Government monitors, evaluates or researches:
Meeting the policy intent
a) The real world use and impact of the Grant and the extent of the positive difference YCG has made to young carers’ lives.
b) The extent to which this suggests that the policy aims have been fulfilled. If the policy aims have not been fulfilled, what factors have prevented this?
c) The extent to which the £300 grant is meeting the Scottish Government’s ambitious policy aims and whether the evidence suggests this sum should be revisited.
d) The extent to which the Grant contributed to a reduction in poverty for the people who receive it.
e) If the Scottish Government does not rethink qualifying period, whether there is evidence of an impact on take-up, including among specific groups of young carers.
Definition of care
f) If the Scottish Government does not follow the Commission’s recommendation on reverting to a broader definition of care, it should seek to evaluate the impact of the new definition.
Equality and Diversity
g) Gather evidence of varying take-up or wider impact on young carers with protected characteristics, intersectional characteristics or those belonging to seldom heard groups.
h) Gather evidence of the impact of the YCG on young women in particular.1General Comment 20 of the UN Committee on the Right of the Child stresses that adolescence is a time when girls in particular can be pushed into traditional gender roles that result in lifelong disadvantage. The provision of unpaid care seems likely to be an example of this, as reflected in the Scottish Government’s consultation document, where it is stated that 55% of young carers are female. As the consultation document notes, if young women are more likely to become carers, then they will be the main beneficiaries of YCG, which to an extent may lessen the disadvantage identified by General Comment 20. But it is also possible young female carers might benefit even more from nonsocial security measures (outside the scope of the Commission’s work) to e.g. reduce their caring load. But it is unclear whether this more subtle point has been considered.
i) Monitor the impact, should people subject to immigration control be granted exemption.
j) To monitor the impact of the operational approach to determining what should constitute a valid claim e.g. is this encouraging or restricting applications.
k) Consider whether the eligibility rules for devolved disability benefits, once decided, have implications for the eligibility and impact of YCG.
l) Consider the interface of YCG when developing Carers Assistance to prevent or remedy undesirable inconsistencies or complexity.