Disability Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023: equality impact assessment

The equality impact assessment (EQIA) considers potential effects of the Disability Assistance (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023 on individuals with protected characteristics.

Who was involved in this EQIA?

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.

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. In particular comments were invited on a partial Equality Impact Assessment which represented the Scottish Government’s work on the impact of social security policy on people with protected characteristics prior to the consultation.

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].

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.

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 children and young people will be maintained and they will receive their Adult Disability Payment on the same date their Child Disability Payment was previously paid.

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.

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 individuals with protected characteristics.

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.

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 individuals with protected characteristics.

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.


Email: Jennifer.Robertson@gov.scot

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