Winter Heating Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Regulations 2020: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Winter Heating Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Regulations 2020 with recommendations for the Scottish Government.

Summary of recommendations and observations

Observation 1: In the interests of good use of limited time, and acknowledging that factors beyond anyone’s control may prevent it, SCoSS asks the Scottish Government to make every effort to ensure clarity on all key policy areas and that impact assessments are provided at the same time that draft regulations are referred to us.

Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government should consider continuing to produce standalone regulations for provisions like CWHA and Short Term Assistance to enable consistency, clarity and in-depth scrutiny, and thereby better outcomes.

Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government should ensure that the voices of children and young people inform the development of assistance that affects them and that their views inform the future implementation and evaluation of the CWHA.

Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government should clarify further the rationale for targeting CWHA only on the highest rate care component and whether it intends to extend eligibility in the future.

Recommendation 4: The Scottish Government should produce clear, detailed, accessible guidance to ensure clarity about the process when CWHA becomes payable due to a retrospective award of DLA.

Recommendation 5: To maximise take-up amongst 16 to 18-year-olds, the Scottish Government should ensure that information on CWHA and interactions with DLA and Personal Independence Payment is clear and reaches young people and those who support them.

Recommendation 6: As soon as an opportunity arises to review CWHA, the Scottish Government should consider the feasibility of widening the qualification window to include children and young people in receipt of DLA at any point through the winter months.

Recommendation 7: The Scottish Government should extend CWHA entitlement to children in residential care so that they are treated the same as children in hospital.

Recommendation 8: The Scottish Government should remove regulation 4 (2), regarding a payment condition not being met where the individual has died before the qualifying week, and ensure there is clear, sensitive guidance in place concerning the recovery of payments.

Recommendation 9: The Scottish Government should ensure consistency across all types of social security assistance regarding the test of residency in Scotland.

Recommendation 10: The Scottish Government should clarify what will be treated as the day of application.

Observation 2: SCoSS welcomes the Scottish Government’s expressed intention to amend the regulations to make it clear that anyone who applies for CWHA will have a right to a determination and appeal.

Recommendation 11: The Scottish Government should develop processes for paying assistance to others that both protect and empower young people; and provide clarification that regulations are not required for appointees to act for children and young people in relation to applications, awards and payments.

Observation 3: SCoSS would welcome further clarity about the implications of the necessary DWP data not being made available when expected.

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