In August 2022 the Scottish Government launched the consultation 'Scotland's social security system: enhanced administration and compensation recovery' to seek views on proposals to effect ongoing improvement of the Scottish social security system across a range of topics. The consultation ran for 12 weeks and EKOS Ltd, an independent research consultancy, was commissioned to analyse the responses received. This report presents the findings from that analysis.
The Scotland Act 2016 transferred new social security powers to the Scottish Parliament, allowing Scottish Ministers to develop new policies on certain welfare benefits in Scotland. The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act), which received Royal Assent in June 2018, established a framework for the new system of Scottish Government benefits. Since the 2018 Act came into force, the Scottish Government has established a new agency, Social Security Scotland. It currently delivers 13 forms of assistance, including replacements for UK benefits and some completely new kinds of support which are only available in Scotland.
The Scottish system of social security is designed around the input of people with lived experience of the existing system, and seeks to take a person-centred, rights-based approach. The 2018 Act sets out seven core Social Security Principles which provide the foundation of the new Scottish system. These seven core principles deliberately correspond to some of the fundamental aspects of the right to social security, as set out in key human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the European Social Charter.
The principles include that opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which put the needs of people who require assistance first, and that the system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.
Social Security Scotland's Charter, which was co-designed with people with lived experience of social security, reflects the seven principles and sets out how they will be translated into more concrete actions and behaviours. In addition, the Charter commitments include undertaking to listen, learn and improve, to embed the Social Security Principles and Charter in the policymaking process, and to allocate resources fairly and efficiently.
The consultation sought views on proposals to inform the continuous improvement of the Scottish system of social security. In line with the Social Security Principles and Charter, the measures proposed are principally intended to improve client experience and deliver increased value for money.
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