SCoSS Board Meeting
Date: May 2021
Location: MS Teams
1. Attendance and apologies
- Dr Sally Witcher (Chair);
- Sharon McIntyre (Member) (for agenda items 2 – 4);
- Judith Paterson (Member);
- Dr Mark Simpson (Member).
- Sharon McIntyre (for agenda items 1 and 5 – 9).
- Shona Forrester – SCoSS Interim Lead Secretary
- Fiona Lodge – SCoSS Deputy Secretary
For agenda item 2:
- Matthew Duff – Scottish Government Disability Benefits Policy Manager
- Nathan Gale – Scottish Government Disability Benefits Team Leader
For agenda item 3:
- David Hilber – Scottish Government Carer Benefits Senior Policy Officer
- Jennifer Sinclair – Scottish Government Disability Benefits Policy Manager
1. Welcome and declarations of interest
The Chair welcomed the Members and Secretariat. Judith Paterson made a declaration of interest with regards to the work Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland had done on Child Disability Payment but made clear she had not contributed to it.
2. Adult Disability Payment
Members considered discussion points for the introductory meeting with Scottish Government officials.
The Chair then welcomed Nathan Gale and Matthew Duff to the meeting. Nathan updated the Board on the timelines for receiving the draft regulations resulting from the new Ministerial appointments.
Members agreed that briefings on the duration of awards and the constraints preventing more radical changes both during the benefit transition period and at the later review would be beneficial. Members also agreed to convene a further ad hoc meeting to discuss the client journey with officials.
- Action – Secretariat to organise an ad hoc meeting for Members and Scottish Government officials to explore the client journey, including client consultations, as part of the application process for Adult Disability Payment.
- Action – Scottish Government officials to provide SCoSS with briefing on the duration of awards and the constraints preventing more radical changes during the transition period and at the later review for Adult Disability Payment.
- Action – Secretariat to collate further questions from Members on Adult Disability Payment and send these to Scottish Government officials by the end of May.
- Action – Scottish Government officials to send SCoSS a timeline for receiving the Adult Disability Payment consultation responses and analysis.
Following the officials’ departure, Members discussed their approach to the Adult Disability Payment scrutiny process and the desirability of being as prepared as possible in advance of formal referral of the draft regulations.
3. Child Disability Payment
The Chair welcomed David Hilber and Jennifer Sinclair to the meeting. Jennifer provided background information about the purpose of the amending regulations. These will include technical fixes to eligibility, amendments and also to case transfer provisions. The latter do not require formal scrutiny by SCoSS however comments from SCoSS would be welcomed. There were also proposed amending regulations for suspending assistance which would require formal scrutiny by SCoSS. Officials also gave an update on the timelines for when the draft regulations would be referred to SCoSS.
The Chair highlighted that when the draft regulations would be laid in the Parliament, it would be helpful to clarify which parts of the draft regulations SCoSS had not formally been required to scrutinise.
- Action – Scottish Government officials to identify what would be appropriate and helpful to share on operational and programme walk through infographics on Child Disability Payment case transfers.
- Action – Secretariat to inform Scottish Government officials once Members agree who will be leading on the scrutiny of the draft Child Disability Payment, case transfer and suspension regulations.
4. Lived experience
Members discussed the paper prepared by the Chair and Sharon McIntyre. This reported on a meeting they had had with officials working with the Experience and Client Panels. Members considered potential ways for SCoSS to tap into the research work the Scottish Government Client and Experience Panel teams undertake and that a future discussion with those teams would be beneficial. It was felt it may be helpful to find out more about how DACBEAG draws on the work of the panels.
- Action – Scottish Government officials from the Client and Experience Panels to be invited to attend a future SCoSS Board Meeting to explore how SCoSS might tap into their work.
Members discussed the paper prepared by the Chair. Members considered the overlaps between SCoSS’s scrutiny framework and the Charter commitments.
The Board agreed that a Charter discussion later in the year with Chris Boyland would be beneficial, bearing in mind the requirement for a review of the Charter within 5 years.
- Action – Secretariat to arrange a meeting with Chris Boyland later in 2021 to discuss preparations for the review of the Social Security Charter.
Members discussed the draft public statement on SCoSS’s role in relation to the Charter. Members considered a process through which organisations or members of the public could provide evidence to SCoSS that Charter commitments were not being met.
- Action – Judith Paterson to share with SCoSS Child Poverty Action Group’s web-based form for reporting concerns.
- Action – Secretariat to set up a Charter Connect workspace for Members to access.
- Action – Secretariat to add the public statement on reporting Social Security Charter commitments not being met to the Charter Connect workspace for Members to add any comments to by the end of June.
6. Minutes of the previous meeting
The minutes of the Board meeting on 12 April 2021 were approved.
- Action – Secretariat to upload the April minutes to the SCoSS temporary webpage.
The Chair highlighted that she had a meeting with Paul Johnson, Scottish Government Director General for Communities, and invited the Members to send her any thoughts on issues to raise.
- Action – Members to send any questions for the Chair’s meeting with Paul Johnston before 10 June 2021.
Materials for the audit are due to be submitted by 14 June 2021. The secretariat will clarify if Members need to formally sign these off. If so, an ad hoc meeting may be required.
Members also noted that emails for action should be marked appropriately and actions should be sent in individual emails.
- Action – Secretariat to ensure any emails for actions are marked appropriately, with one action per email, a clear deadline, and that reminders are sent to ensure completion.
Date of the next board meeting: 30 June/ 1 July 2021.