Best Start Grant: business and regulatory impact assessment

This business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) considers the potential effects of the The Early Years Assistance (Best Start Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2018 and how it impacts on businesses.


During the development of the policy we have engaged with colleagues from within the Scottish Government, a range of external stakeholders, service users and the wider public.

A New Future for Social Security Consultation [5] ran during summer 2016 (the report on BSG can be found on page 199 of the analysis of written responses to the Consultation on Social Security in Scotland [6] ). The BSG section sought views on key aspects of the benefit and received over 100 responses from both individuals and organisations. The views expressed, along with the findings from a stakeholder event held in May 2016, helped shape the initial proposals for BSG discussed with the BSG Reference Group.

Scottish businesses, including the third sector, responded to the consultation. Responses were received from 14 private businesses and 5 business organisations all of which requested that their responses remain anonymous.

There was no clear message from businesses regarding BSG. The BSG represents an additional spend into the Scottish economy and therefore there are likely to be impacts upon businesses. Some people will buy items that they would not have bought without a payment. The impact of additional spending by parents will be dispersed across the country and sectors of the economy.

The BSG Reference Group [7] was established in October 2016 to help gather evidence, bring a variety of informed perspectives and provide feedback on proposals.

Illustrative regulations for the BSG were issued to the Social Security Committee and the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament on 28th September 2017, during the passage of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, and were subsequently published on the Scottish Parliament's website. They were also shared with a range of stakeholders.

Early Years Assistance, a Consultation on the Best Start Grant Regulations [8] ran from 26 March to 15 June 2018, allowing us to gather further feedback on our proposals and develop final policy. A specific question was asked about the findings from the BRIA so far, to identify whether there were any gaps. There were 51 responses to the consultation from individuals, local authorities and the third sector.

Responses highlighted that the Scottish social security system will cause additional requests for information and support from existing advice services and that training may be required across a range of agencies.

Social Security Scotland is actively engaging with the advice sector to understand the impacts and identify how we can work in partnership to support clients. We held an initial workshop on 21 August and will continue to develop the work moving forward. We will ensure advice services get the information they need to be able to advice clients effectively and we are training our client advisers to be able to give people comprehensive advice and support on our benefits.

The Scottish Government has undertaken an internal strategic policy review of our support for advice services. As a consequence of this review we will focus our investment in advice services to ensure advice is accessible for everyone but that extra effort is made to engage and support those people who can benefit most from advice to prevent negative outcomes, particularly those at risk of poverty and inequality.

We continue to provide funding to support advice services to alleviate the impact
of welfare reforms and have increased our welfare advice services budget from
£3.1 million in 2017/18 to £3.6 million in 2018/19 to enable us to improve our support for advice, informed by key recommendations emerging from the review.

One respondent outlined the potential benefits of enabling people to build and own their own 'Digital Identity' to offer evidence of eligibility. A Digital Privacy Impact Assessment is being updated for the Programme to implement the BSG and will be published in due course.


Email: Alison Melville 

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