Carer Support Payment: equality impact assessment

The equality impact assessment (EQIA) considers potential impacts of the Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023 on individuals with one or more protected characteristics.

Executive summary

1. The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (‘the 2018 Act’) sets out the broad framework for the delivery of devolved social security in Scotland. On 1 April 2018, Scottish Ministers took executive and legal competence for Carer’s Allowance.

2. Since 2018, Carer’s Allowance has continued to be delivered during a transition period by DWP under the terms of an Agency Agreement with the Scottish Government. This is a key component of ensuring the safe and secure devolution of Carer’s Allowance.

3. The Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations set out how the Scottish Government will deliver our replacement for Carer's Allowance, Carer Support Payment. This was formerly known as Scottish Carer's Assistance which was the working title for the benefit. The aim of Carer Support Payment is to provide some replacement income for unpaid carers in Scotland who are less able to take on paid work.

4. In addition to allowing for new applications, the regulations make provision for the transfer of responsibility on behalf of Scottish Ministers for delivering carer benefits for individuals who are currently in receipt of Carer's Allowance in Scotland from DWP to Social Security Scotland. They also make provision to transfer the awards of these individuals from Carer's Allowance to Carer Support Payment, a process known as ‘case transfer’.

5. The awards for these clients will transfer to Social Security Scotland once new applications for Carer Support Payment are available. Based on data provided by the DWP, there are around 120,000 individuals whose awards will transfer from Carer's Allowance to Carer Support Payment.

6. The public sector equality duty is a legislative requirement that requires the Scottish Government to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice. Policies should reflect that different people have different needs. Equality legislation covers the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

7. This Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has considered the potential effects of Carer Support Payment and how it impacts on groups with protected characteristics, presented below in the Key Findings section. The findings here are based on stakeholder engagement and feedback (including extensive engagement with carers themselves), desk-based research and analysis of the responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the new benefit.

8. This EQIA has not identified any aspects of the final Carer Support Payment which would negatively impact on carers from protected groups, or to people in these groups who are cared for. As women are more likely to be in receipt of this benefit, and cared for people are more likely to be disabled people, we would expect a disproportionately positive impact on women and disabled people. As the evidence and data gathered indicate that overall the final policy will have a positive impact for carers and equality groups, no further changes have been made to Carer Support Payment policy as a result of the assessment to date. The Carer Support Payment policy therefore builds on the framework of the 2018 Act of a new system that is underpinned by dignity, respect and a human rights-based approach.

9. The EQIA has identified opportunities to improve our understanding of particular protected characteristics and carers, and to identify and address any barriers faced by carers in accessing Carer Support Payment. We will undertake further focused engagement with stakeholders to increase our understanding, which will be used to inform further policy development and implementation.

10. Our public consultation, which ran from February to May 2022, proposed changes to eligibility criteria which could be made in future to improve this benefit[3]. Equalities data was a key weighting to our Multicriteria Analysis when prioritising these changes (more information on this is included at Annex A). Any changes need to avoid creating a ‘two tier system’ which could disadvantage some carers. To avoid this, we do not plan to make eligibility changes until case transfer is complete.

11. We aim to raise awareness and understanding of Carer Support Payment through the implementation of the policy, across all groups and with a specific focus on particular groups, to increase take-up of the benefit where possible, and to reinforce the importance of the role played by unpaid carers in our society. It is intended that this will, among other things, address the issue that some people providing care may not identify as carers.



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