Social Security (Scotland) Bill – share your views with the Social Security Committee

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill was published on 20th June and sets out a framework for the new social security system in Scotland.  The Scottish Government has decided to use regulation (as opposed to primary legislation) to set out most of the detail of the new system because this will make it easier to amend or change in the future.

The Social Security Committee has invited submissions setting out reactions to the Bill by the 23rd August.

The Bill sets out the intention to create a Charter which will show how the underlying principles of social security in Scotland will be put into practice. This is something which CCPS broadly welcomed at an earlier consultation stage.

The Bill sets out rules about how the social security system will work including how a person will apply for benefit and what information they need to provide; how decisions are made about individual cases as well as how decisions can be challenged and how decisions can be changed.  There are 11 benefits being transferred to Scotland such as Carers Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independent Payment.

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are already administered in Scotland but governed by UK Government primary and secondary legislation.  The Bill replaces this legislation and, in so doing, simplifies the way funding is transferred to Scottish local authorities for DHP.  In terms of the rules governing the use of DHP, the Scottish Government plans to produce statutory guidance for local authorities to follow rather than use legislation.  This means that the Scottish Government will be able to amend or make changes to the way DHP is managed more swiftly than having to go through primary legislation.  Currently local authorities are not required by the Scottish Government to provide a DHP Scheme and the Bill does not make it a requirement.

The powers coming to Scotland include the power to increase or ‘top up’ benefits which continue to be controlled by the UK Government as well as the power to create new benefits.  The Scottish Government does not deal with these powers in the Bill.

If you are submitting a response and wish to share it with CCPS please contact Yvette Burgess