Carer Benefits Advisory Group minutes: April 2016

Minutes for the meeting of the Carer Benefits Advisory Group on 25 April 2016.

Attendees and apologies


  • Beth Hall, COSLA
  • Nicola Dickie, COSLA
  • Fiona Collie, Carers Scotland
  • Heather Noller, Carers Trust
  • Paul Traynor, Young Adult Carers Policy and Campaigns Officer, Carers Trust
  • Peggy Winford, Carers Policy, Scottish Government
  • Ellen Searle, Social Security Policy and Delivery, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Dawn Abell, Social Security Policy and Delivery, Scottish Government
  • Liz Davidson, Social Security Policy and Delivery, Scottish Government
  • Jamie MacDougal, Social Security Policy and Delivery, Scottish Government
  • Mel Giarchi, Communities Analysis, Scottish Government
  • James Marshall, Stirling Carers Centre
  • Carole Jones, Social Work, Falkirk Council
  • Suzanne Munday, MECCOP
  • David Formstone, Social Work Scotland


  • Ian McPhee, Stirling Carers Centre
  • Hazel Bartels, SG Finance

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

1. The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the new members.

Minutes of previous meeting on 29 February 2016 (paper CBAG 3/2016)

2. The previous minutes were agreed. All action points had been taken forward: membership of the Group extended; a Yammer Group was established and invitations would be issued shortly; and short-life working groups were being developed. The Members agreed to an expert panel to provide strategic input, the draft remit would be circulated prior to next meeting.

3. Scottish Government policy officials introduced Paper 3/2016 on outcomes explaining that they had been revised in line with comments following the last meeting. The amendments were minor and the most significant change was the inclusion of short-medium term outcomes for practitioners. The Group agreed the revised outcomes as drafted.

Developing a Scottish Carer’s Benefit (paper CBAG 4/2016)

4. Scottish Government policy officials introduced paper 4/2016 explaining that its purpose was to stimulate thinking about what a Scottish carer’s benefit might look like in the future, and that the options were based on feedback from stakeholders.

The focus was on the legal definition of a carer. It was anticipated that this area of work was more long term, with the safe and secure transition from the UK arrangement to Scottish arrangements the priority for Scottish Ministers. There was an extensive discussion about the scope and benefits of alternatives to cash payments for carers. These would be offered as a choice, rather than being the only option. There was a need to explore if there was evidence base in respect of the extra costs of caring and consider if it should be extended to individuals, or the caring household as a whole.

Workshop - Options for developing an Scottish Carer’s Benefit

6. SG analysts recapped on the scenario planning exercise from 29 February and the main issues identified by stakeholders with the existing UK Government’s carer’s allowance. Members split into groups identifying two areas for changing the legal definition of a carer and considered how the change would work in practice, what would need to change in the Scottish Government and outwith. Following feedback by each of the groups, members rated the options by desirability, affordability and feasibility. Please see Annex A

Date of next meeting

7. The Chair thanked everyone for their contribution. The next meeting would be held in early June 2016 when new Scottish Ministers would be place and thereafter quarterly with dates set in advance.

Action Points
SG: SG will issue the Expert Member Panel remit to CBAG members for comment.
SG: SG will feed Members views into Ministerial advice
SG: SG to send out future meeting dates to Members


Email: Ellen Searle

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