Adult Disability Payment: consultation analysis

Our analysis of responses to the consultation on Adult Disability Payment regulations undertaken between 21 December 2020 and 15 March 2021.



Adult Disability Payment is a new Scottish benefit which will replace the existing Personal Independence Payment for people living in Scotland and will be delivered by Social Security Scotland (the 'agency'). This form of assistance will ordinarily be available for disabled individuals between the ages of 16 and state pension age to apply for, with entitlement arising prior to state pension age continuing beyond that age. It is intended to mitigate the additional costs of living with a disability or health condition.

In reflecting the Scottish Government's approach to social security, Adult Disability Payment is intended to be person-centred, taking into account the specific needs of each individual. It also aims to follow the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.

The eligibility rules for Adult Disability Payment will remain largely the same as under Personal Independence Payment in order to ensure a smooth and secure transition between the two. However, the Scottish Government will make changes to both the application and decision making processes linked to delivery of Adult Disability Payment in order to provide disabled people in Scotland with a fundamentally different experience of accessing the social security system.

The Consultation

Following an earlier consultation on Disability Assistance in Scotland in 2019[1], draft regulations were prepared to support the new Adult Disability Payment. These provide detailed rules relating to Adult Disability Payment, including eligibility, what assistance is available, the value of the payment, and the making of applications and determinations.

The Scottish Government ran a public consultation to gather feedback on the draft regulations, and to identify any gaps, issues or unintended consequences. The consultation ran for 12 weeks, between 21 December 2020 and 15 March 2021, and asked 35 questions in total, broken down as follows:

  • 15 questions were closed (i.e. invited yes/no/don't know responses); and
  • 20 questions were open (i.e. invited a free text response).

In addition to the online consultation, the Scottish Government ran a series of stakeholder engagement events in order to maximise opportunities for disabled people and representative organisations to take part.


The analysis and reporting of responses was carried out independently by a research team contracted by the Scottish Government.

All responses were logged into a database and screened to identify any campaign, blank, duplicate or non-valid responses (i.e. where responses were not relevant to the current consultation) - none were identified. Feedback was then analysed, and is presented under the appropriate sections below.

Closed question responses were quantified and the number of respondents who selected each response option is reported. Given the high number of 'non responses' to many of the consultation questions, both the raw percentage and the valid percentage are shown (i.e. the percentage of people who gave 'yes', 'no' and 'don't know' responses once the non-respondents had been removed).

Qualitative comments given at each question were read in their entirety and manually examined to identify the range of themes and issues discussed. Analysis was also conducted to identify any differences in views between respondent groups (i.e. between individuals and organisations, or between organisational sectors). Recurring themes that emerged throughout the consultation were recorded, and verbatim quotes were extracted in some cases to illustrate findings. Where there was strong consensus or where there were conflicting views, more than one quote was used to provide further illustration. Only extracts where the respondent consented for their response to be published were used.

Respondent Profiles

A total of 127 consultation responses were received - 78 from individuals and 49 from organisations. In addition, a total of six stakeholder events were run by the Scottish Government, with one large, mixed stakeholder event including four separate breakout groups. Overall, nine event summaries were made available for analysis. In order to aid accessibility for individuals participating in consultation events, a shorter version of the main consultation document which asked fewer, more specific questions was provided and two participants provided written responses to these questions.

Breakdown of responses by affiliation
Number of Responses % of Responses
Individuals 78 57%
Organisations 49 36%
Events 9 7%
Total 136 100%

Some of those who attended the events may have also provided written consultation responses and so some duplication in views can be expected.

Among the organisations that took part, there was a broad mix of Disabled People's Organisations, Deaf People's Organisations, third sector groups/charities and local authorities, among others.

It should be noted that several organisations undertook wider consultation with members in order to inform their consultation response. In some cases this involved surveys and webinars, while others collated feedback and comments and included this in their organisational response. As such, the true number of people who had contributed feedback to the consultation is unknown, but can be assumed to be higher than the number outlined above.

Report Presentation and Caveats

Findings are presented as they relate to each question in the consultation. Where individual respondents offered views at the open questions that differed from those submitted by organisations, or where views differed between the different organisational sectors, this was identified and outlined in the narrative of the report.

Some respondents opted not to answer closed questions, but did offer open-ended responses to the same question meaning that there was not always a direct correlation between the number of people who supported/did not support a particular statement and the number of people who gave a qualifying comment. For fullness, all responses were included in the analysis, even where the closed component of the question had not been answered.

While most respondents agreed with the Scottish Government proposals and provided supportive closed question responses, most of the open-ended comments that were provided came from people seeking greater clarification on specific regulations or people questioning the meaning, context and scope of specific draft regulations. The absence of positive open-ended comments provided by people who gave positive closed responses means that the detailed analysis presented below often appears 'negative' or presents a critical view of the draft regulations. To understand the balance of views, the closed and open responses must be considered with equal weight.

As a qualitative analysis exercise, responses to open questions were not quantified. As a guide, however, where reference is made in the report to 'few' respondents, this relates to five or less respondents. The term 'several' refers to more than five, but typically less than ten. Any views that were expressed by large numbers of respondents (i.e. ten or more) are highlighted throughout. It should be noted that, in all cases, less than half of respondents gave an open-ended comment to the questions and these were often very disparate. This means that the term 'several' often represents a relatively large proportion of the qualitative data generated for each question, even though the actual number of respondents is small. Any views expressed by only one respondent each are highlighted throughout.

Stakeholder event attendees were asked to comment on only some of the draft regulations, and more general prompt questions on themes raised in the consultation were asked instead of the consultation questions themselves. This means that event feedback is only available for some of the sections presented in the report, and is flagged where relevant.

For almost all of the substantive questions relating to different draft regulations, the same closed question was asked, i.e. "Do you agree the regulations reflect this policy intent?" Respondents were then invited to provide any additional comments to support their response. It should be noted that, at several places in the consultation, comments were made that this question was difficult to understand and some respondents were unsure exactly which regulations were being referred to at times. This meant that there were several instances of individuals and organisations providing a positive or supportive closed question response, but giving negative or caveated open-ended comments. Conversely, some people provided a negative or neutral closed response, but went on to provide positive supporting comments. While the tables that follow show the responses that were given, these should be interpreted with caution and should always be read alongside the wider context of the qualitative narrative.

Similarly, while the draft regulations were included as Annex C to the main consultation, some responses were vague in their nature and several were indicative that the regulations had not been read. Instead, responses were sometimes provided based on the summary information given in Annex B of the consultation document and therefore contained some misunderstanding or factual inaccuracies which affected the response given. Where such misunderstanding was evident, this is noted in the report.

In addition, several respondents gave answers to specific questions which would have been more relevant if given in response to other questions across the consultation, again often reflecting a misunderstanding of which part of the regulations were being referred to at each question. While qualitative data were extracted and moved in the reporting to ensure that it appears in the most appropriate place, some repetition of key themes raised at different questions does remain.

Throughout the consultation, respondents identified some specific anomalies within the draft Adult Disability Payment regulations (including typographical errors, inconsistency in wording, etc.) which they felt needed further consideration, editing or clarification. This feedback was collated and provided to the Scottish Government for consideration under separate coverage and is also attached as Appendix A.

Finally, the findings here reflect only the views of those who chose to respond to this consultation. It should be noted that respondents to a consultation are a self-selecting group. The findings should not, therefore, be considered as representative of the views of the wider population.



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