Disability Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023: child rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Child rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) to consider the impacts of the Disability Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023.


26. Specific questions about key principles of social security in Scotland were asked as part of the Scottish Government's Consultation on Social Security (2016) and further detailed questions about disability benefits for children and young people were asked in the Scottish Government's Consultation on Disability Assistance in Scotland (2019) . Scottish Government officials also gathered evidence from a range of sources to identify options to support children and young people through the disability benefits system.

27. In July 2016 the Scottish Government launched a public consultation to support the development of a framework that would become the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. This received more than 200 responses to questions relating to disability benefits with an even split between organisational and individual responses.

28. There were 521 formal written responses submitted, of which 241 were from organisations and 280 from individual respondents. Of the 241 organisational responses, 81 were received from stakeholder groups relating to children/young people, equalities and human rights, disability and long term conditions, and carers. The independent analysis of the responses along with the Scottish Government response were published on 22 May 2017[1].

29. The Scottish Government has set up Social Security Experience Panels with over 2,400 people across Scotland registered as panel members when the Panels opened in 2017. The Panels involve people with lived experience of the benefits that have been introduced in Scotland.

30. Two surveys regarding the case transfer process were sent out to Experience Panel members in January and February 2019. 404 and 559 responses were received respectively. A series of individual and group interviews were also conducted. Results from both surveys and the interviews were published in 2019.[2] These surveys confirmed that of most importance to panel members was that they continue to receive the correct payment at the correct time. The changes we are making in relation to smoothing the journey for individuals moving from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment mean that the payment cycles for these individuals will be maintained and they will receive their Adult Disability Payment on the same date their Child Disability Payment was previously paid.

31. The Consultation on Disability Assistance built on the work on the Experience Panels and was published on 5 March 2019. In line with the principles of dignity, fairness and respect, the Scottish Government sought the views of the people of Scotland on the three proposed disability assistance benefits. The consultation closed on 28 May 2019, having received 262 replies, of which 74 were from stakeholder organisations and 188 were from individuals. The consultation helped to inform the development of the principal regulations for Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment, taking into account the views of people with a lived experience of social security.

32. The Scottish Government has also undertaken ongoing consultation with stakeholders through our independent Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (DACBEAG). DACBEAG is chaired by Dr Jim McCormick and comprises individuals with significant practical experience of the UK social security system, from a range of professional backgrounds. It is independent of the Scottish Government. The Group’s role is to advise Scottish Ministers on specific policy options for disability assistance and carers benefits due to be delivered in Scotland. DACBEAG’s advice helped to inform the development of Adult Disability Payment policy and the principal regulations that we are amending and considering the impact of these amendments on children’s rights and wellbeing.

33. The Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group was set up in March 2016 to inform and influence the development of policy options relating to devolved Disability Assistance. This group has advised on the potential impact of policy decisions as well as stakeholder engagement. They mostly advise on the impact of policy decisions on disabled people and the social security system as a whole.

34. On 21 December 2020, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation on its proposals for the delivery of Adult Disability Payment and on drafts of the accompanying impact assessments. The consultation ran until 15 March 2021 and received 127 responses from individuals and stakeholder organisations. The consultation wanted to gather views to ensure that the proposals were aligned with the principles of dignity, fairness and respect. These amendments are also intended to align with these principles and the overall policy intent which is to improve outcomes for disabled people and part of ensuring this is by considering the impacts of these proposals on children’s rights and wellbeing.

35. Overall these consultations and advice from stakeholder groups helped to inform the principal regulations for Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment which we are amending as part of these regulations. We are doing this to ensure that the journey of individuals moving between these forms of assistance is as smooth as possible. As part of the development of these amendments we have considered the current impact of these regulations on the Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment journey and the potential impacts of the amendments we propose to smooth this transition which are detailed below in the ‘key findings’ section.

Scope of the CRWIA, identifying the children and young people affected by the policy and summarising the evidence base

36. Consideration has been given to the impact of the policy on the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland. This policy should have a direct, positive impact on disabled children and young people, their families and carers.

37. The views of people with lived experience have been captured through the range of user research and stakeholder engagement activities outlined in the background section. These events have provided stakeholders the opportunity to feed into the early development of the principal policy being amended.

38. A recent report published by the Scottish Government[3] found that the youngest adults had the highest poverty rates. Between 2017-20, 28% of young adults aged 16-24 were in relative poverty (140,000 adults each year), compared to 15% of adults aged 65 and older (150,000 adults). The age groups in between all had similar poverty rates between 17% and 19%.

39. In 2017-20, 28% of children aged four and under were in relative poverty (80,000 children each year). This compares to 22% (100,000 children) of the five to twelve year-olds, and 25% (60,000) of teenagers[4].

40. After housing costs, the poverty rate was 29% (640,000 people each year) for people living with a disabled household member, and 16% (500,000 people) for those without when disability benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment were excluded[5].

41. There is also a positive correlation between disability and unemployment. Recent statistics have found that, compared to non-disabled people in the UK (81.7%), disabled people had a significantly lower rate of employment (53.6%).[6] In Scotland, 45.6% of disabled people were employed compared to 81.1% of non-disabled individuals.[7]

42. 14% of ‘workless families’ (defined as families where parents are predominately out of work or have little connection to the labour market; who live in social rented accommodation and are reliant on benefits for their income) have one or more children with a disability or long-term illness. A further 17% of ‘struggling to get by’ families (unemployed or working part-time, half of which are single-parent families) have one or more children with a disability or long-term illness[8]. Child material deprivation in households containing a disabled person reaches 20% compared to 8% of households without a disabled person[9].

43. Even where one or more parent in the household is in employment, within families with a disabled child, the same level of income secures a lower standard of living than it would for a disabled person.

44. Disabled people face higher costs than non-disabled people, such as the cost of specialist equipment, therapies and home adaptations to manage a condition[10]. Travel costs too, may be higher as families have to afford the cost of taxis to and from hospital where it is not possible to use public transport (and/or public transport may not be available).

45. By identifying the children and young people affected by the policy and summarising the evidence base, we are best able to make an assessment of the scale of impact this policy will have as well as helping us recognise the groups of individuals that would be most severely impacted. For example, as these regulations provide more financial certainty to families, this would have a positive impact on the significant proportion of ‘workless families’ with a disabled child as it would help them plan their finances.


Email: Jennifer.Robertson@gov.scot

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