Date: 1 June 2022
Time: 13:30 – 17:00
Venue: MS Teams
- Dr Sally Witcher (Chair);
- Sharon McIntyre (Member);
- Judith Paterson (Member).
- Dr Mark Simpson
- Alan Henderson, SCoSS Analysis and Participation Officer (Acting);
- Christopher Galloway, SCoSS Analysis and Participation Support Officer;
- Fiona Lodge, SCoSS Governance and Engagement (Lead) Officer;
- Steve Martin, SCoSS Acting Lead Secretary;
- Andrew Strong, SCoSS Head of Policy and Scrutiny .
In Attendance for agenda item 2:
- Graeme Hill, SCoSS Audit Adviser
In Attendance for agenda item 7:
- Ian Davidson, Scottish Government Deputy Director of Social Security Policy
The Chair welcomed the Board and Secretariat to the meeting and noted apologies from Mark Simpson.
There were no relevant interests declared.
The Chair extended a warm welcome to Andrew Strong as it was his first SCoSS Board meeting as SCoSS’s Head of Policy and Scrutiny Support.
The Chair noted that she and Sharon McIntyre had tendered their resignations. Both expressed their desire to support and contribute fully to SCoSS up until their departure and wished SCoSS every success going forward.
Graeme Hill introduced the paper he had produced which set out proposals for how SCoSS manages its governance responsibilities over the next two years, along with a two year transition plan.
Members discussed the proposals and indicated they were reassured by the changes. The Board agreed the proposed approach.
Members discussed draft recommendations and observations and agreed next steps to completion of the report.
- Action: Chair to ask for details on what the multiple priority one incidents are that the Agency has been dealing with recently.
- Action: Andrew Strong to share with members the response from SG to board member queries received just before the Board meeting.
- Action: Secretariat to arrange a meeting for the Board on 14 June after 3pm to agree the final recommendations and observations.
Members discussed progress on the draft report and the available data relating to the number of resettled people. Steve gave an update on a potential date for the Chair to meet the Scottish Refugee Council.
Members agree to a further ad hoc meeting to discuss the draft report.
- Action: Andrew Strong to lead on drafting the report with the Chair as lead Board Member.
- Action: Secretariat to draft a letter to the Minister (cc officials) to provide an update on expected timeline for submission of the Ukraine report.
- Action: Secretariat to schedule a meeting to review the report once updated.
- Action: Secretariat to share the informal note of the Ukraine discussion at the informal meeting on April 29.
Members discussed the response that SCoSS had submitted on the Adult Disability Payment Amendments regulations which concerned the transfer of people still on Disability Living Allowance to Adult Disability Payment. The Chair and Dr Mark Simpson had provided oral evidence on the report to the Social Justice and Social Security Committee on May 26. Issues raised by the Committee included communication of complexity around transferring from DLA to ADP and that the policy intention was to transfer people if they reported a change in circumstances, or requested to move, but there was no reported process for people outwith these categories, or who were over 74 years old.
The Board noted that Scottish Government had amended the regulations on the basis of a recommendation. This specifically referred to a technical issue in draft Regulation 19(5) regarding the transfer of people over pensionable age from Disability Living Allowance onto Adult Disability Payment.
Commissioners had requested confirmation that there was a clear legal mechanism to provide for Adult Disability Payment to be awarded, which included the mobility component, at review stage for those over the state pension age.
Steve Martin introduced the paper requested by the board setting out options for the board’s charter research work. Members discussed the approach to this work and the research resource required.
The Board agreed that option 2 would be preferred. This concerned procuring an external agency or contractor to take forward agreed work on seeking the views of people with lived experience on progress made so far in achieving the goals set out in section four of the charter. A tender specification was to come to the next Board meeting with a timeline for the stages and processes.
- Action: Secretariat to investigate the process for procuring the dedicated research resource needed to progress work on the Charter
- Action: Secretariat to give more detail on the tendering process at next board meeting
- Action: Steve Martin to meet with charter leads Sharon McIntyre and Mark Simpson w/c 13/6 to discuss progressing the Charter project.
Ian Davidson Deputy Director of Social Security Policy updated the Board on the stabilisation plan and the ongoing Secretariat recruitment. Members queried how the review of SCoSS would fit in with the current Scottish Government review of public bodies. Ian replied that it would function separately.
The Chair thanked Ian for attending the meeting and asked that he remain in close contact with the Board.
Business plan draft Strategic Objectives (and draft key priorities) had been sent to the Minister for Social Security and Local Government for his approval, as required by the framework document. This had also been sent to the Social Justice and Social Security Committee Convener for information, as discussed when they Chair and Convener met on 26 April .
Members noted that following the Board resignations and the ongoing uncertainties around secretariat resourcing there may be a need to scale back the key priorities to ensure confidence that what was in the Business Plan was deliverable.
They agreed that it would be desirable to produce the Business Plan in alternative, accessible formats.
The Members discussed minor changes to the text of the draft Business Plan. Steve agreed to bring edits back to the Members for their consideration along with a resource plan.
- Action: Fiona to progress Sally meeting with the Social Justice and Social Security Committee Clerks.
- Action: Steve to go back to Members with suggestions for trimming the business plan priorities.
- Action: Secretariat to table the final text of the Business Plan at the next Board meeting for sign off.
A revised model Code of Conduct had been issued for devolved public bodies. The Board needed to review and revise as necessary. The Board agreed to accept the model Code of Conduct without amendment.
- Action: Secretariat to forward the agreed revised Code of Conduct for Scottish Government approval.
Members gave feedback on the draft minutes of the meeting of 27/28 April, the rolling actions sheet and the work plan paper.
- Action: Chair to send her amendments on the minutes to the Secretariat.
- Action: Fiona to add 6 monthly meeting with the Minister, annual meeting with Cab Sec and future agendas to work plan paper.
- Action: Steve and Andrew to check if the Board needs an ad hoc meeting on LIWHA.
The Chair highlighted to the Members a recent meeting she had with Liz Sayce, the Vice Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee, to discuss the DWP health and disability Green Paper.
- Action: Fiona to send to the Chair her draft note of meeting with Liz Sayce (SSAC) for review.
- Action: Fiona to share the note of the meeting with Liz Sayce and the draft agenda for the quarterly meeting with Social Security Scotland in the next members update.
Date of next board meeting: 7 July 2022