Date: 25 April 2024

Time: 14:00

Venue: Microsoft Teams


  • Dr Mark Simpson (Interim Co-Chair)
  • Judith Paterson (Interim Co-Chair)
  • Dr Marilyn Howard (Member)

Apologies: Dr Jackie Gulland (Member)

In attendance (SCoSS Secretariat)—

  • Stephen Herbert, Secretary
  • Andrew Strong, Head of Policy and Scrutiny
  • Andrzej Hagger, Analysis and Participation Officer
  • Christopher Galloway, Analysis and Participation Support Officer
  • Lisa Kinnear, Governance and Engagement Officer

Interim Co-Chair, Dr Mark Simpson, welcomed the Commissioners to the fourth meeting of the Board in 2024.

Marilyn Howard declared that she is a recipient of the DWP Winter Fuel payment.

The Minutes of the March Board meeting were considered and, following amendment, agreed.

In attendance—

  • Ellen Chrystal, Policy Manager,
  • Rohan Kennedy-Turner, Policy Officer, Winter Benefits; and
  • Owen Allen, Team Leader – Winter Benefits and Welfare Fund.

Scottish Government officials presented to the Board on the purpose and content of the regulations. This included the consultation, policy overview, impact assessments and longer-term development.

The Board discussed the content, and agreed the approach to scrutiny, of the draft regulations. The Board agreed that Marilyn Howard will lead on the report.

The Board previously considered a draft business plan at the February Board meeting.  Following that meeting Commissioners had provided further comment on the plan and the plan had also been considered by the Scottish Government Sponsor Unit.  The Board considered and agreed an amended version of the plan.  The Board noted that the plan would be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice for approval prior to publication of the plan.

The Board considered and agreed an approach to taking account of potential amendments to the Social Security (Amendment) Bill within the framework document which is currently in the process of being revised.

The Board considered a draft stakeholder engagement strategy at the February Board meeting and agreed to consider a revised draft taking account of discussion at the February Board meeting.  The Board had an extensive discussion on the strategy and agreed to a range of amendments.  The Board agreed to consider and sign-off a revised version of the strategy, via e-mail, prior to publication of the strategy.

The Board considered a finance update on the financial position for 2023-24. The Board noted that 2023-24 expenditure is expected to account for around 90% of the 2023-24 budget allocation.

The Board considered and agreed the 2024-25 budget allocation letter which set out that the SCoSS Budget in 2024-25 will be £450K and that a mid-term review of the SCoSS budget will be undertaken by the Secretariat and Sponsor Unit in mid-October 2024.

The Charter Sub-Committee met formally for the first time on 10 April.  The SCoSS Standing Orders require that the Sub-Committee formally report in writing to the Board after each meeting including providing an account of all decisions and recommendations the Charter Sub-Committee is proposing for Board approval.  The Board noted that the Sub-Committee had agreed to have a rotating Chair, with Dr Marilyn Howard chairing for the six months and Dr Mark Simpson the following six months.

The Board considered the Charter Sub-Committee minutes and agreed the decisions and recommendations which the Sub-Committee had proposed to the Board for approval.

The Secretariat also provided feedback on the content of engagement events held at the end of March, in conjunction with RNIB Scotland, as part of our Social Security Charter work.

The Board discussed a number of items of business.  Firstly, the Board discussed an invitation from the Social Justice and Social Security Committee to give evidence on the of the Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024 on 9 May 2024 and agreed that Dr Marilyn Howard provide evidence to the Committee on the regulations.

Secondly, the Board considered the Scottish Government response to the SCoSS report on technical amendments to Short-Term Assistance (STA) provisions, where the Scottish Government accepted the Commissions’ recommendations.  The Board agreed to follow-up on the availability of STA data with the Scottish Government in April 2025.  Thirdly, the Secretariat provided an update on Board recruitment with particular regard to the role of recruitment consultants in the recruitment exercise and the Board noted the closing date for applications of 1 May.

Judith Paterson highlighted her position as an employee of CPAG Scotland and left the Board meeting prior to Board consideration of potential SCoSS attendance at a forthcoming CPAG Scotland conference.  The Board then considered attendance at a forthcoming CPAG welfare rights conference on Friday 7 June in Glasgow. The Board agreed to SCoSS representation at the conference.


Meeting closed at 16:27

Date of next meeting: Thursday 30 May

Back to top Skip to content