No private sector involvement in process.
Assessments for disability support will be carried out by Social Security Scotland, fully supported by public sector healthcare professionals – and people will be given greater choice and flexibility over their assessments.
Making the announcement to Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“In line with the important principle that social security is a public service, I have decided that our new public agency Social Security Scotland will deliver assessments to determine eligibility for disability assistance.
“It is clear to me that the new agency is best placed to provide a flexible, person centred assessment service, fully supported by public sector healthcare professionals. This decision has been taken following an extensive period of research, analysis and consultation with key stakeholders.
“It is clear that the UK Government are content with an approach that sees private sector assessment providers prioritise profits over people. We will not farm out assessments to private companies.
“Furthermore under the Scottish government system, people will be given greater choice and control over their assessment through four actions I have committed to today. People will be invited at a time that suits them and to a location that suits them. For those with difficulty travelling, the assessor will come to them.
“In addition we will introduce audio recordings of assessments as standard to ensure accuracy and transparency. And we will also allow the social security appeals tribunal to access the audio recording to help inform their decision.
“From application to award, we will provide a service that manages performance, quality and outcomes. And it is this approach that will see dignity and respect embedded throughout, and ensure people can have trust in the system.”
Dr Jim McCormick, Chair of the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group said:
“We welcomed the opportunity to advise Ministers on the delivery body for assessments earlier this year, and strongly agreed that agency delivery was the correct option, due to compelling practical, cost and presentational advantages. Therefore we welcome today’s announcement on this.
“We positively welcome the ongoing opportunities afforded to us as an independent group to provide advice on key issues of importance concerning the policy, design and delivery of the new social security system, a role which we look forward to continuing to play as it is put into place.”
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