Carer Benefits Advisory Group minutes: June 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Carer Benefits Advisory Group, held on 16 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Fiona Collie, Carers Scotland
  • Paul Traynor, Carers Trust
  • Angela Toal, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Anne Baldock, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Mike Brown, Social Work Scotland
  • Shirley Morris, VOCAL
  • John Cunningham, COSLA
  • Fran Holligan, COSLA
  • Jane Sterry, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy
  • Lynn Shaw, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy
  • Sohel Ahmed, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy
  • Dawn Kane, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy
  • Sabina Lindsay, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy
  • Stephen McCabe, Scottish Government Social Security Programme
  • Laura Brown, Scottish Government Social Security Programme
  • Sanjin Kaharevic, Scottish Government Social Security Programme
  • Catherine Henry, Scottish Government Analysis 
  • Evelyn Bowes, Scottish Government Analysis
  • Joana Pierce, Scottish Government Carer Policy
  • Charlotte Bentley, Social Security Scotland
  • Pabby Johnson. Secretariat, Scottish Government Carer Benefits Policy


  • David Scott, Citizens Advice Scotland,
  • Stephanie Millar, Citizens Advice Scotland 
  • Sharon McGuire, Scottish Government Carer Policy
  • Jill Wood, Engender

Items and actions

It was noted that the previous quarterly meeting had not gone ahead in light of the focus on the Scottish Carer’s Assistance consultation period, and because there was no urgent business to discuss.


Members advised that they had observed delays in reserved disability benefits, particularly Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment decisions, and an increase in applications being refused. Instances of Carer’s Allowance not being fully backdated to the start of successful claims were reported. 

Action: Child Poverty Action Group to check with colleagues on the issue of backdating claims and revert to members. SG officials will also follow up and highlight this to colleagues in disability benefits.

SG officials provided an update on the Scottish Carer’s Assistance consultation, advising that the consultation closed with around 200 responses, these would be analysed over the summer. SG analysts informed the group about the consultation Experience Panel survey conducted to add to the evidence base from carers. Initial draft results would be available in the summer.

Carers Policy officials briefed the group on the development of National Carers Strategy.

Members provided updates on the impacts of the cost of living on carers, highlighting the following points:

  • the introduction of the UK Government recovery fund for food and fuel has been well received by carers, with carer centres promoting applications
  • energy costs are a big element of carers’ costs
  • energy voucher schemes are limited with the energy voucher scheme only benefiting carers on pre-paid systems
  • there has an increase in demand for financial and budgeting advice, with knock on impacts on demand for counselling, as these pressures are affecting health and wellbeing
  • limited funding has led to some organisations supporting other organisations who have run out of funds

Action: Officials to factor members cost of living input into Ministerial advice.

Scottish Carer’s Assistance policy at launch (CBAG Paper 2022/4)

SG officials presented on detailed plans for Scottish Carer's Assistance at launch policy, including Short Term Assistance (STA) and on situations with multiple applications for care of the same person.

In response to questions from members on STA, officials confirmed that the policy intention was:

  • that any STA paid during a challenge period would not be recovered unless in the event of fraud or error
  • that the carer would be able to receive SCA on the basis of any STA paid to the cared for person
  • that this would be available for the full period of STA being paid to the cared for person

Members noted the approach would only benefit carers once they transferred to the Scottish system. SG officials noted the limits to Scottish Government’s influence on reserved benefits.

On multiple applications for the same cared for person, members noted that:

  • this is an issue which occurs in other benefits, for example disputes over receipt of Child Benefit where more than one person may have, or claim, responsibility for a child. It was highlighted that this may be the case where there are complex family disputes and members felt that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may be reluctant to decide and determine who should receive the benefit
  • they were not aware of any particular issues with the way in which these situations were currently handled
  • there may be two carers genuinely both providing 35 hours of care a week for the same person, so there would be difficulty in deciding how payment is split. It was noted that looking at factors such as where someone has Power of Attorney for a person or other responsibilities could be considered

Members highlighted that it may be helpful to recommend family carers carry out benefit checks – which would allow them to decide who should apply for SCA in a way which would maximise overall income.

Action: SG officials to take these points into consideration in detailed policy development for Scottish Carer’s Assistance at launch.

Practice review: consultation and Carer Benefits Advisory Group (CBAG)

 The Chair asked for feedback on the approach taken on the consultation, including in respect of equalities.

Members made the following comments:

  • stakeholders felt well informed on the process, and that discussions on the Multi Criteria Analysis, policy options and the consultation content were useful, with members appreciating the early engagement
  • the approach made carers feel valued and included
  • this has been one of the best consultations held with good events, and engagement from carers and stakeholders
  • officials are knowledgeable about the subject and content more generally, for example in detailed areas such as Young Carer Grant exportability
  • there is potential to get more involved in equalities partnerships such as the Caldwell Partners

Action: SG officials to contact member from VOCAL regarding equalities groups.

The Chair sought views on CBAG practice and future.

It was agreed that quarterly meetings would continue, supplemented by specialist sessions if needed to meet the Scottish Carer’s Assistance development to launch timetable, including through short term working groups. Officials would continue to keep any such extra sessions to a minimum, providing papers in advance as appropriate, and with awareness of members’ busy diaries. 

Action: SG officials to provide schedule of upcoming events and key themes


Members highlighted that the Carers Parliament is in November this year, which will take the form of both hybrid and virtual event and provide an opportunity to engage with carers on carer benefits policy.

Scottish Young Carer Festival is upcoming scheduled for 2-4 August this year and will be an in-person event, providing another opportunity to engage with carers.

In response to a question from members, carer policy officials note that further information on the timetable for the National Carers Strategy would be provided over the coming period.

Actions as above


Target date

Member from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) to check with colleagues on the issue of backdating claims and revert to members. SG official will follow up and highlight this to colleagues in disability benefits.


CPAG Member and SG Officials

By next meeting

Updates on the impact of cost of living crisis and how this is impacting carers will be fed into Ministerial advice.


SG officials


SG officials to consider members’ input on STA and multiple carers for the same disabled person in advising Minister on Scottish Carer’s Assistance policy at launch.

SG officials


SG official to get in touch with member from VOCAL regarding equalities groups.


SG Officials

By next meeting

Schedule of upcoming events and key themes that the group would like to do this year.


SG officials

By next meeting


Actions from previous quarterly meeting (January 2022)


Officials to take forward the implementation of a working group on inclusive communications – stakeholders from VOCAL, Carers Trust and CBAG confirmed they would like to be involved in any subgroup workings


SG officials

Pending -communications work on SCA   

Officials to invite stakeholders from Inclusion Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Social Work Scotland, Oxfam to become core members of CBAG, and to seek islands representation.

SG officials


Members invited to share any other thoughts on how meetings are run and how they could be improved outside of the meeting.




Officials to ensure sufficient engagement with older carers on a long term carer recognition payment


SG Officials

Partially completed- Ongoing


Officials to share early accessible versions of consultation engagement tools with CBAG


SG officials


Invitation opened to members to join working group on YCG evaluation, which would take into account DACBEAG recommendations on YCG. VOCAL, One Parent Families Scotland and Carers Scotland have shared their interest.




Officials to share feedback on processing times from DWP


SG officials


Officials to consider how best to involve CBAG members in strategy development


SG officials


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