Ensuring Adult Disability Payments meet people’s needs

Edel Harris appointed to chair independent review.

Edel Harris OBE, former chief executive of the charity Mencap, has been appointed to chair the Independent Review of Adult Disability Payment.

The Independent Review – a Programme For Government commitment – will consider people’s experiences of the Scottish benefit to ensure it continues to meet the needs of disabled people.

Adult Disability Payment is paid to disabled working age adults in recognition of the extra costs of being disabled or having a long-term health condition. It is currently supporting 137,490 disabled people in Scotland and has provided £461.8 million in payments since it was launched in August 2022.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Edel Harris brings a wealth of experience to this important position, both from her leading roles in third sector organisations and her personal experience as a family carer.

“A year on from the national launch of Adult Disability Payment, we are fulfilling our pledge to have an independent review to ensure it is meeting the needs of disabled people both now and in the future. Ms Harris will ensure the views of disabled people and groups that represent them are heard throughout the review.

“I am committed to continuing to improve the experience of people receiving this benefit – to ensure they are supported in line with the principles of dignity, fairness, and respect at the heart of our social security system.”


Adult Disability Payment was introduced in August 2022 as a replacement for the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment. It is paid to disabled working age adults in recognition of the extra costs of being disabled or having a long-term health condition.

We estimate around 330,000 people will ultimately have their award transferred to this new benefit from Personal Independence Payment currently provided by the Department of Work and Pensions.

The Chair of the independent review will complete an interim report for Scottish Ministers by September 2024, highlighting initial priorities capable of early action, before submitting a final report by June next year.

Edel Harris OBE served as the CEO of Mencap, one of the UK’s largest disability charities from 2019-2023. Prior to this, she spent eleven years as the CEO of Cornerstone Community Care, a disability social care provider based in Aberdeen. She has also served as the Chair of The Life Changes Trust and the Scottish Government’s Social Investment Fund and was the first women to be President of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce from 2016-2018. Edel was awarded an OBE in 2021 in recognition of her services to the public sector and charity.

Mrs Harris has a son with a learning disability (Fragile X Syndrome). As a family carer she has personal as well as professional experience of disability and understands the important role of social security in supporting a social rather than a medical model of disability.


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