Disability benefits: draft Suspension of Assistance (Social Security) (Scotland) Regulations

Draft legislation, letters and policy document for the Suspension of Assistance (Disability Assistance for Children and Young People) (Scottish Child Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.

This document is part of a collection


When Scottish Ministers propose to make regulations under section 79 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, they must:

  • tell the Scottish Commission on Social Security of their proposals
  • notify the Scottish Parliament that they have done so
  • make their proposals publicly available

To comply with this, Scottish Ministers have sent proposals in the form of the draft Disability Assistance for Children and Young People and Scottish Child Payment (Suspensions) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2021 to the Commission and the Scottish Parliament.

This page contains the covering letters addressed to the Commission and the Scottish Parliament along with a policy note. 

Letter to Dr Sally Witcher OBE, Scottish Commission on Social Security

From:  Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Social Security and Local Government

I enclose a copy of the draft Suspension of Assistance (Social Security) (Scotland) Regulations, made under sections 51 and 79 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. I am pleased to provide SCoSS with the formal request for scrutiny of these draft regulations.

As you know, the Scottish Government brought forward an amendment at Stage 2 of the passage of the Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill, to allow for the suspension of assistance in prescribed circumstances. Our high-level approach was informed by carefully considering the views of stakeholders, with a particular emphasis on not using suspensions punitively, as well as ensuring appropriate safeguards.

These Regulations set out in detail how we propose suspensions should operate within the Scottish social security system. As noted during the passage of the Bill, our view is that suspension for failure to provide information should be used as a last resort, where all other attempts to engage with a client have failed.

The power to suspend is also essential to help protect clients from economic or financial abuse, by allowing the individual to request the temporary suspension of payment. We also intend that Social Security Scotland will exercise the power to suspend in the small number of situations in which an appointee is no longer able, or suitable to act on behalf of an individual.

I also provide with the Regulations an explanatory note to assist SCoSS with their recommendations, a policy note and accompanying draft impact assessments. It may be helpful to note our intention to publish these regulations week commencing 21 June, and I have sent a copy to the Social Security Committee with the associated papers and documents.

I would be grateful if SCoSS could provide me with its report by 2 August 2021 in order to support laying these regulations before Parliament on 13 September, so that the provisions will come into force at the same time as the national launch of Child Disability Payment. I appreciate this timetable does not provide as much time as is usual for scrutiny. My officials stand ready to discuss any interim arrangements that may be necessary should it not be possible to provide a report within that timetable.

I am grateful for the constructive way in which stakeholders have helped us to formulate our position on the suspension of assistance, ensuring that we build upon our aims of dignity, fairness and respect. I am also grateful to SCoSS for scrutinising these proposals, which will be key to ensuring that we achieve those aims for the social security system in Scotland.

Letter to Neil Gray MSP, Convener, Social Justice and Social Security Committee

From: Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Social Security and Local Government

I am writing to inform you that today the Scottish Government sent the draft Suspension of Assistance (Social Security) (Scotland) Regulations, made under sections 51 and 79 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, to the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS). I am pleased to provide the committee with sight of these regulations.

The Scottish Government brought forward an amendment at Stage 2 of the passage of the Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill in 2020, to allow for the suspension of assistance in prescribed circumstances. Our high-level approach has been informed by carefully considering the views of stakeholders, with a particular emphasis on not using suspensions punitively, as well as ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place.

These regulations set out in detail how we propose suspensions should operate within the Scottish social security system. As noted during the passage of the Bill, our view is that suspension for failure to provide information should be used as a last resort, where all other attempts to engage with a client have failed.

The power to suspend is also essential to help protect clients from economic or financial abuse, by allowing the individual to request the temporary suspension of payment. We also intend that Social Security Scotland will exercise the power to suspend in the small number of situations in which an appointee is no longer able, or suitable to act on behalf of an individual.

I have asked SCoSS to provide me with its report by 2 August 2021 in order to support laying these regulations before Parliament on 13 September, so that the provisions will come into force at the same time as the national launch of Child Disability Payment.

I am grateful for the constructive way in which stakeholders have helped us to formulate our position on the suspension of assistance, ensuring that we build upon our aims of dignity, fairness and respect. I am also grateful to SCoSS for scrutinising these proposals, which will be key to ensuring that we achieve those aims for the social security system in Scotland.

Letter referring Suspension of Regulations to SCoSS

Letter to committee re Referral of Suspension of Assistance Regulations to SCoSS

Policy note

Draft: The Suspension of Assistance (Disability Assistance for Children and Young People) (Scottish Child Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2021

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