Date: 11 August 2021
Time: 13:30 – 17:05
Venue: MS Teams

Present:

  • Dr Sally Witcher (Chair);
  • Judith Paterson (Member);
  • Dr Mark Simpson (Member).

Apologies:

  • Sharon McIntyre

In Attendance:

  • Fiona Lodge – SCoSS Deputy Secretary
  • Nathalie Leger – SCoSS Interim Secretary
  • Andrew Strong – SCoSS Interim Secretary

The Chair welcomed the Members and Secretariat. There was one declaration of interest from Judith Paterson regarding a recent submission on the draft Suspension of Assistance regulations from the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland however Judith was not involved in the submission to SCoSS.

As this was Andrew and Nathalie’s last Board meeting, the Board formally noted their thanks and appreciation for the work they had done.

Members discussed the scrutiny process for the draft Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021, in particular where there was a mix in the Statutory Instrument of regulations that were within and outwith SCoSS’s remit. Members considered the affirmative and ‘super-affirmative’ procedure for secondary legislation generally and agreed that exploring this would be helpful for future scrutiny.

  • Action – Secretariat to explore the approach taken by UK/ Scottish Parliament to legislation that involves both the negative and affirmative procedure.
  • Action – Chair to raise the issue of the implications of SCoSS not being required to report on all parts of social security legislation with the Committee Convener when they meet.
  • Action – SCoSS to consider updating the Protocol with Scottish Government to reflect that SCoSS can comment on anything referred to them.

Members discussed the time constraints for reporting on the draft Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 and considered ways that similar bodies approached the scrutiny process.

Members discussed the progress of the report on the draft Adult Disability Payment regulations and the next steps required. Judith gave an update to the Members on the meeting she’d had with the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

  • Action – Secretariat to undertake analysis of stakeholder responses once received.
  • Action – Secretariat to discuss reporting deadlines with Scottish Government officials.
  • Action – Judith to share the first draft of the Adult Disability Payment report with Members by 18 August with comments due back by 23 August.
  • Action – Secretariat to update the report schedule and provide an update and next steps to Sharon.

Members discussed temporary assistance with report drafting and Nathalie gave an update on the different ways that this could be progressed.

Members considered the health and disability green paper published by the Department for Work and Pensions on 20 July and that this could be a discussion point to raise with the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Members discussed the potential for eligibility changes to Adult Disability Payment now and for the 2023 review and agreed this required further consideration.

Members discussed the draft Winter Heating Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 and the proposed changes within them. Members agreed that it would be useful to look back on the previous scrutiny of the main 2020 regulations.

  • Action – Secretariat to find the official report from SCoSS’s evidence session at the Social Security Committee last year with regards to Child Winter Heating Allowance.

Members discussed potential recommendations arising from the draft regulations and what the next steps for reporting would be.

  • Action – Mark to circulate first draft of the report by Monday 16 August with comments to be received from Members by Friday 20 August.
  • Action – Secretariat to update Sharon of this timeline and required action.

Mark updated the Members on the progress of the report and the Board discussed and agreed various recommendations and observations for the report including advocacy, inclusive communications and safeguarding.

  • Action – Secretariat to seek clarification from officials on the terminology around suspensions.
  • Action – Secretariat to seek clarification from officials on the circumstances when the right to advocacy applies.
  • Action – Secretariat to update officials regarding deadlines for producing the Suspension of Assistance scrutiny report.

The Chair agreed that the Business Plan would be progressed with Sharon offline and circulated by correspondence for discussion at the next Board meeting in September.

  • Action – Chair to liaise with Sharon Mcintyre on the business plan and circulate the proposed approach to Members by correspondence.

Members discussed the health and disability green paper published by the Department for Work and Pensions in greater detail and agreed that further understanding of the key issues and implications in it would be useful to discuss with stakeholders.

  • Action – Secretariat to add the DWP health and disability green paper to agenda for meeting with David Wallace.
  • Action – Secretariat to arrange a meeting to discuss the DWP health and disability green paper with the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Members agreed the minutes of the previous meeting with minor amendments.

  • Action – Secretariat to publish the minutes of the June/July meeting once updated.

The Members noted and gave feedback on the rolling actions paper.

  • Action – Secretariat to update the rolling actions as per the feedback from Members.

The Members noted the work plan paper.

  • Action – Secretariat to follow up Ministers’ early agreement to attend a future SCoSS Board Meeting.
  • Action – Secretariat to seek confirmation of the start date for the Modern Apprentice.

The Board noted that Judith and Sharon were reappointed for a further three and two years respectively. As Members have staggered appointment terms, Judith and Sharon were the first of the cohort to be reappointed.

The Board discussed the imminent start date of the new Lead Secretary and the induction for them.

  • Action – Secretariat to liaise with SCoSS’s Accountable Officer to discuss temporary support for report drafting.
  • Action – Secretariat to schedule 2022 Board Meetings.
  • Action – Secretariat to provide Members with updated days used by the end of August.

Date of the next board meeting: 28/29 September 2021