SCoSS Board Meeting
Date: 24 March 2022
Time: 13:30 – 17:00
Venue: MS Teams
- Dr Sally Witcher (Chair);
- Judith Paterson (Member);
- Dr Mark Simpson (Member).
- Sharon McIntyre
- Alan Henderson, SCoSS Analysis and Participation Officer (Acting);
- Christopher Galloway, SCoSS Analysis and Participation Support Officer;
- Lisa Kinnear, SCoSS Administrative Assistant;
- Fiona Lodge, SCoSS Governance and Engagement (Lead) Officer;
- Steve Martin, SCoSS Acting Lead Secretary.
In Attendance for agenda item 2:
- Simon Coote, Scottish Government Policy Legislation and Operational Policy Unit Head;
- Kelly Donohoe, Scottish Government Policy Team Leader
In Attendance for agenda item 6:
- Ian Davidson, Scottish Government Social Security Policy Deputy Director;
- Marta Kuzma, Audit Scotland Senior Auditor;
- Helen Russell, Audit Scotland Senior Audit Manager.
1. Welcome and declarations of interest
The Chair welcomed the Board and Secretariat to the meeting and noted apologies from Sharon McIntyre.
The Chair extended a warm welcome to Christopher Galloway and Steve Martin to their first SCoSS Board meeting as part of SCoSS’s Secretariat. The Board noted that Steve had stepped in as the acting Lead Secretary following Lorraine Cairns’ departure. The Board recorded their very best wishes and thanks to Lorraine for her work with SCoSS.
There were no relevant interests declared.
2. The Social Security (Residence Requirements) (Ukraine) (Scotland) Regulations 2022
Regulations were referred to SCoSS for scrutiny on 21 March 2022. The regulations were laid before Parliament on the same day. The Chair welcomed Simon Coote and Kelly Donohoe to the meeting. Kelly and Simon explained the exceptional circumstances leading to the regulations being referred for retrospective scrutiny. There was a discussion about the differences between these regulations and the similar provisions brought in last year for people leaving Afghanistan which had also required retrospective scrutiny.
Kelly and Simon answered questions from the Board and the Chair invited them to attend an ad hoc meeting in the near future to discuss further.
Following the officials’ departure, the Board considered further questions for Scottish Government officials.
- Action: Secretariat to arrange a future ad hoc meeting for the Board to discuss the regulations with officials attending.
- Action: Secretariat to add the Ukraine regulations to the next meeting agenda.
3. Low Income Winter Heating Assistance
In advance of regulations being referred on Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, the replacement in Scotland for Cold Weather Payments, Scottish Government officials had provided information to SCoSS on the policy intention behind proposals and on the recent public consultation. Members discussed the proposals and considered questions for Scottish Government officials.
- Action: Secretariat to set up an ad hoc meeting for the Board on 13 April to discuss the regulations in detail.
Mark gave an update to the Members who considered the different options to report on. The Board agreed that their report would focus on section four of the Charter, ‘A better future’.
Members discussed the role description for a research specification for the Charter report.
- Action: Secretariat to make contact with the Scottish Government officials leading on reporting on section 4 and those leading monitoring and evaluation, with a view to the latter Scottish Government officials joining the April Board meeting.
5. Audit Assurance report
The Chair discussed the audit assurance paper with input from Secretariat. Members noted the mitigating actions that were being taken in relation to the audit recommendations.
6. Annual Audit Plan
The Chair welcomed Ian Davidson, Marta Kuzma and Helen Russell to the meeting.
Helen asked the Board whether they had any knowledge of any suspected or actual fraud within SCoSS and the Board responded that they did not.
Marta guided the Members through the key points of the annual audit plan. The Chair, Ian and Helen discussed the role and responsibility of the Accountable Officer in terms of advice and assurance.
Ian asked the Secretariat to confirm they were content with the audit plan. The Secretariat confirmed they were content with the plan.
The Chair thanked the attendees for their time and contributions.
- Action: Secretariat to detail dates and reminders for audit/ annual report and accounts touchpoints for members with details of what is required of them, and when and what their responsibilities are, by 1 April.
7. Update from the SCoSS Audit Committee
Members discussed the strategic objectives for the 2022-23 Business Plan and agreed to give feedback by correspondence.
Members discussed the appraisal process undertaken the previous year and agreed to replicate it for this years’ appraisal process.
Members discussed the risk update and agreed that the risk score of the Board being too small should be increased.
Members discussed the finance update and the Chair requested that future updates contain details of and expected expenditure that did not happen.
Members discussed the work plan paper and the Chair asked for a longer trajectory and benefits from the next Parliamentary term to be included in future versions.
A referral for scrutiny of draft regulations to roll out Scottish Child Payment for under 16 year olds and to make some other changes to the Five Family Payments had been received and would be circulated to the Board. The Board agreed to discuss proposals at an ad hoc Board meeting on 13 April.
The Chair highlighted the forthcoming meetings she was attending.
The Board agreed the minutes of the previous meeting.
- Action: Members to supply Chair with any discussion points for a meeting with the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC).
Next scheduled board meeting: 30 May/1 June 2022