SCoSS Board Meeting
Date: 26 January 2023
Venue: MS Teams
- Dr Mark Simpson (Acting Co-Chair)
- Judith Paterson (Acting Co-Chair)
- Marilyn Howard (Member)
In Attendance (SCoSS Secretariat)—
- Stephen Herbert, Secretary
- Andrew Strong, Head of Policy and Scrutiny
- Andrzej Hagger, Analysis and Participation Officer
- Lisa Kinnear, SCoSS Administrative Assistant
1. Welcome and declarations of interest
The Acting Co-Chair, Mark Simpson, welcomed the Board to the meeting. The Acting Co-Chair also congratulated Marilyn Howard on her recent appointment as a permanent Member of the Board.
No relevant interests were declared.
2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The Minutes of the December Board meeting, subject to some minor drafting changes, were agreed.
3. Scottish Government response to Ukraine regulations report
The Board discussed the Scottish Government response to, and the scrutiny process underpinning, the SCoSS report on the Social Security (Residence Requirements) (Ukraine) (Scotland) Regulations 2022. In particular, the Board considered the Scottish Government response to a recommendation made in relation to undertaking equality impact assessments of draft regulations. The Board agreed to consider the approach taken in previous SCoSS reports of equality impact assessments accompanying draft regulations at a future Board meeting.
4. Benefits Uprating 2023 report
The Board discussed the scrutiny process associated with reporting on the draft Social Security (Up-rating) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2023. It was noted that the Board had held two ad-hoc meetings, on 13 and 19 January 2023. Following the meeting on 13 January, draft recommendations were provided to Scottish Government officials in recognition of the tight timescales associated with the scrutiny process. The final report was agreed at the meeting on 19 January and published the following day.
The Board considered the impact of the limited time-scale available for scrutiny of the draft regulations. The Board agreed that the Secretariat should explore with Scottish Government officials how greater certainty around the timescale and scope for a longer time-scale for scrutiny could be provided prior to the 2024 up-rating regulations being referred to SCoSS.
The Board also agreed to seek to discuss the issues contained in the report with researchers from the Fraser of Allander Institute and the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.
5. SCoSS Review
The Board noted that the review of SCoSS, being undertaken by Glen Shuraig, was expected to be published in February and it was agreed to consider the report at the February Board meeting. The Board agreed, in principle, to respond to the report recommendations in due course.
6. Business Plan: review of the 2022-23 business plan
The Board noted the progress made against the strategic objectives and key priorities in the 2022-23 feedback on the Business Plan. The Board agreed to consider a paper on development of the 2023-24 Business Plan at the February Board meeting.
7. Work Programme
The Board considered and agreed the approach to scrutiny of forthcoming draft regulations which are expected to be referred to SCoSS in late February. The two forthcoming sets of regulations are—
- Disability Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) (Draft) Regulations 2023; and
- the Scottish Carer’s Assistance draft regulations.
In relation to the forthcoming Scottish Carer’s Assistance draft regulations the Board agreed to hold an ad-hoc meeting on Monday 6 February in order to discuss the forthcoming regulations with relevant Scottish Government officials.
8. Future Board meeting dates
The Board agreed on future Board meeting dates for the April and June 2023 meetings of the SCoSS Board. The Board also noted that the Audit Sub-Committee would meet on Thursday 16 March.
9. Any Other Business
The Board noted that the Secretariat were discussing with Scottish Government officials the research process underpinning the Scottish Government review of the Social Security Charter. The Board also asked the Secretariat to ascertain the process for commissioning research with a value of less than £5,000.
The Board had received an update from Ian Davidson on Board recruitment at the ad-hoc Board meeting on 19 January 2023. The Board discussed the outcome of the recruitment exercise and agreed to continue to actively monitor the position with regard to Board recruitment at future meetings.
Meeting closed at 16:32.
Date of next meeting – 23 February 2023.