Scottish Firms Impact Test
There has been extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the SCP's development to understand the impact of the policy on the third sector and the groups they represent. We have held one to one meetings and attended a number of member events including with: the Scottish Campaign for Welfare Reform; the Social Security Consortium in Scotland; the Poverty Alliance; Inclusion Scotland; Fife Gingerbread; Who Cares?; CEMVO Scotland; religious groups; Engender; Women's Aid; and Shakti Women's Aid. The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People hosted a stakeholder roundtable in January 2020, which was an open discussion with key stakeholders about the policy and delivery of the benefit.
The response from stakeholders has been very positive, with John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) stating:
"This new payment is an absolute game changer in the fight to end child poverty. £10 a week for each child will make a real difference to families struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and pay for the ordinary school trips, sport and other activities that are fundamental to a decent childhood.''
It is expected that the introduction of the SCP could cause additional requests for information and support from existing advice services. In recognition of the work that they do, in the financial year 2020-21, the Scottish Government is investing almost £4.5 million in grant funding to support specific welfare advice services which enhance the capability of the sector more widely, aiming to maximise incomes, increase benefits take-up and to tackle poverty.
The Scottish Government will continue to engage with the advice services sector as the programme to implement the social security system in Scotland progresses. It is expected that many services will have increased interactions with Social Security Scotland, which will have staff working across the country to set up their local delivery (face to face) service, with staff in all 32 local authority areas. These staff will operate at the local level helping and informing clients of benefits available and assisting clients claim what they are entitled to. Currently Local Delivery staff in each area are engaging with external stakeholders, building networks to assist the delivery of a local, person-centred service. This includes relationships with local authorities, health and social care partnerships and third sector organisations to identify where to co-locate and deliver our services in local communities across Scotland.
Although the preference is to have Local Delivery support in place for the launch of SCP at this point it is unlikely that this will be fully functional due to COVID 19 restrictions. This is because it is not yet known which external locations/offices will be available to allow face to face contact nor the impact on clients allowing access to their households. In addition, supporting products and kit, such as a lone working solution, booking tool and pdf document access, need to be in place to enable a successful launch. This situation will be kept under close review in the coming months and alternative solutions found for clients with specific needs.
In recognition of the increased demands placed on organisations providing advice and support, the Scottish Government has launched:
- a new £500,000 Scottish Benefit Take-up Fund in November 2019, and available for 2020, to assist organisations who are preparing their services and staff to support people who will be applying for Scottish benefits
- a new £100,000 Income Maximisation Fund available for 2020 to assist organisations who support people to increase their household incomes, with an emphasis on ensuring people are aware of the financial support available to them.
As announced on the 27 February, a total of 26 bodies from across the country received allocations to support hard to reach groups applying for Scottish social security benefits.These funds are part of an overarching Benefit Take-up Strategy, which sets out the work on benefit take-up to date.
The Scottish Government does not believe that SCP will have an adverse impact on the competitiveness of Scottish companies or the third sector within Scotland, the UK, or elsewhere in Europe or the rest of the world. The benefit does not directly or indirectly limit the number of suppliers, nor does it limit the ability of suppliers to compete or reduce suppliers' incentives to compete vigorously. Additionally the Scottish Government does not expect there to be any significant impact on the operational business of local authorities or health boards as a result of introducing this provision.
Any procurement required to support the administration of SCP will be subject to the Public Contracts (Scotland) 2015 Regulations and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 which together provides a national legislative framework for sustainable public procurement. The Regulations and the Act provide the statutory foundations for the Scottish Model of Procurement.
|Will the measure directly or indirectly limit the number or range of suppliers?||No|
|Will the measure limit the ability of suppliers to compete?||No|
|Will the measure limit suppliers' incentives to compete vigorously?||No|
|Will the measure limit the choices and information available to consumers?||No|
Test run of business forms
No new business forms will be brought in with the implementation of the proposed legislation. A new form for applicants will be introduced. This form will only be introduced after extensive user testing. It will be possible to make applications online, by post or by telephone. Support from Social Security Scotland will also be available in all local authority areas.
The Scottish Government does not believe SCP will have an adverse impact on children/families or any other consumer either within Scotland, the UK, or elsewhere in Europe or the rest of the world. Social Security Scotland has published Our Charter detailing the service clients can expect from them.
|Does the policy affect the quality, availability or price of any goods or services in a market?||No|
|Does the policy affect the essential services market, such as energy or water?||No|
|Does the policy involve storage or increased use of consumer data?||No|
|Does the policy increase opportunities for unscrupulous suppliers to target consumers?||No|
|Does the policy impact the information available to consumers on either goods or services, or their rights in relation to these?||No|
|Does the policy affect routes for consumers to seek advice or raise complaints on consumer issues?||No.|