Date: 22 October 2019


  • Dr Sally Witcher (Chair)
  • Sharon McIntyre
  • Judith Paterson
  • Dr Mark Simpson (by video conference)



In attendance:

  • Dawn Abell, Scottish Government, Head of the Stakeholder Insights and Strategic Engagement Unit (for agenda item 3)
  • Hannah Graham, Scottish Government, Child Benefits and State Pension Policy Team Leader (for agenda item 3)
  • Nicole Fraser, SCoSS Administrative Officer
  • Fiona Lodge, SCoSS Deputy Secretary (minutes)
    Terry Shevlin, SCoSS Lead Secretary


The board agreed not to produce a supplementary report on the Scottish Government’s uprating policy paper and analytical report at this stage, having taken into account the Social Security Committee’s recent evidence session on uprating with the Cabinet Secretary.

The board also discussed the drafting and publication of the SCoSS’s report and agreed ways in which its processes for drafting and signing off reports could be improved.

  • Action – Secretariat to ask Social Security Advisory Committee for information on how it agrees and signs off its reports

Members discussed draft Scottish Child Payment regulations with Dawn Abell and Hannah Graham, Scottish Government. Officials explained the key drivers for the legislation being introduced, highlighted the policy decisions that had influenced the draft regulations and outlined the next steps in the process.

Members welcomed the early sight of these draft regulations but noted that they may still be subject to some change and that it was crucial for the SCoSS’s report to be based on scrutiny of the final version of the draft regulations.

Members asked questions about how the Scottish Child Payment would operate in practice and the Scottish Government’s wider policy intentions, and identified several topics on which officials committed to provide further information. Given time constraints, the Board also agreed to write to officials to ask further questions about the draft regulations.

  • Action – Secretariat to request follow up information on the Scottish Child Payment from Scottish Government officials
  • Action – board members to supply any further questions for Scottish Government officials to Secretariat by 29 October

The board discussed the format and potential attendees for its engagement event on the Scottish Child Payment.

  • Action – Secretariat to circulate a more detailed event proposal to the Board by 23 October

Members discussed an approach to developing and maintaining a risk register for the SCoSS, and considered potential risks for inclusion in the register.

  • Action – Secretariat and Sharon McIntyre to develop the risk register, based on members’ comments, for consideration at November’s board meeting

Members considered a revised draft version of standing orders to govern its procedures, and agreed a final version subject to minor drafting changes being made.

Members also discussed the SCoSS’s informal working practices and considered whether any improvements could be made to the Board’s functioning.

  • Action – Secretariat to publish the final version of Standing Orders on the SCoSS’s website.
  • Action – Secretariat to request briefings from Social Security Scotland/ Scottish Government officials on aspects of the social security system, in order to inform members’ general consideration of draft social security regulations.

Members agreed the minutes of the September board meeting, subject to minor drafting changes being made.

Members noted the rolling actions record and suggested some formatting changes.

Action – Secretariat to change format of the rolling actions record

Members discussed the SCoSS’s work plan and suggested that any Scottish Government timelines for future draft social security regulations be included in future versions. Members also agreed to hold a board meeting on 18 November, after its event on the Scottish Child Payment.

  • Action – Secretariat to revise the format of the work plan.

The Chair noted a number of action points where little progress had been made and asked the Secretariat to provide a definitive list so that this could be raised with the Scottish Government.

  • Action – Secretariat to produce a list of outstanding action points for the Chair

Secretariat noted that the office of the Scottish Information Commissioner may be able to brief the SCoSS on freedom of information.

In the interests of transparency, Judith Paterson noted that she would be providing evidence to the Social Security Committee in her capacity as Head of Advice and Rights (Scotland) at CPAG Scotland.

Date of the next meeting – 18 November 2019.

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