The Social Security Committee would like to hear your views on the Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill.
Read the Bill and accompanying documents here
The Committee would like to hear from anyone with a general interest in the Bill or specific parts of it. The areas we would like to receive comments on are:
- Consultation and engagement
- Terminal illness
- Claimant appointees
- Top-up powers: offences and investigations
Submissions do not need to address all the themes and questions listed below – feel free to answer only the issues or questions that are relevant to you.
1. Consultation and Engagement
There has been no formal public consultation on this bill, the Scottish Child Payment regulations or the terminal illness guidance.
- Have you engaged with the Scottish Government on the issues addressed in this bill? If so, how have you been engaged with the Government?
- Are you content with the expedited timetable for this legislation?
2. Terminal Illness
The bill will bring the devolved position closer to the current reserved position that both doctors and certain trained nurses can enable fast-tracking of a disability benefit claim.
- Did you engage with the Scottish Government on the terminal illness amendment to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill in 2018, and if so, whether at the time they were content with the term ‘medical practitioner’, and if so, what has changed?
- What training and skills should nurses have in order to act under the terminal illness provisions?
- Should health professionals other than registered nurses should be included in the definition of ‘appropriate healthcare professional’
3. Claimant Appointees
An appointee can represent a claimant and receive payments on their behalf. The 2018 Act allows appointees where the person receiving the benefit payment has died or is an adult who lacks capacity.
- Are you content with the proposed provisions on appointees?
- Is further detail required in the Bill, or can that detail can be left to regulations and/or guidance?
- How can vulnerable adults be safeguarded so they are not pressured into agreeing to have an appointee?
- How do these new provisions compare with the provisions for DWP benefits?
4. Top-up powers: offences and investigations
The main reason for the bill is due to the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) being created as a ‘top up’ rather than a new benefit. The bill provisions would enabl rules on offences and investigations to apply to the SCP and any other ‘top-up’ that might be created in the future as would have been the case if it had been a new benefit.
- Do you agree that the same provisions on offences should apply to the SCP as they apply to benefits legislated for under part 2 of the 2018 Act such as the best start grant?
- Are there any other provisions that apply to benefits legislated for under Part 2 of the 2018 Act that ought to be applied to the SCP?
- Do you think that, on the same timescale, SCP could have been legislated for as a ‘new benefit’ under the 2018 Act?
- In the longer term, should SCP should be legislated for as a ‘new benefit’ rather than a ‘top-up’?
- More generally, reflecting on this early experience of using s.79, whether "top-ups" is a useful provision in the legislation?
- Do you have any concerns that top-ups will be subject to different rules from the reserved benefit they are topping up?
The bill allows temporary authorisation from other jurisdictions to ensure that the Social Security Chamber has access to a wider pool of judiciary to manage the anticipated case volumes from 2021 onwards. This would allow, for example, those currently working in Scotland on reserved social security tribunals to work in the Scottish social security tribunal for devolved benefits.
- Do you have any concerns about the preparedness of the tribunal service for dealing with devolved social security?
How to Submit your views
The Committee would like to receive written submissions by Thursday 14 May 2020. When making a submission, please indicate whether you would wish to supplement it by giving oral evidence on 21 May. Please note that it is for the Committee to decide who it wishes to hear from in person.
To submit your views please use this template to format your submission. Ideally submissions should be no more than four sides of A4.
Written responses should be sent electronically, in the template format, to [email protected].
Before making a submission please read our Privacy Notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process your personal data.
Please note that your written submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament's website and may be quoted in the Committee's report or in the Committee meetings (which are public and broadcasted).
We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language.
We regret that due to the current COVID-19 situation we are unable to accept hard copy submissions.
If you wish to request that your submission be processed anonymously or have any questions about the submissions process, please contact the Social Security Committee clerks at [email protected]