Disability and Carer Benefits Expert Advisory Group - beyond a safe and secure transfer: advice
This proactive advice outlines a number of recommendations the Disability and Carer Benefits Expert Advisory Group made on the additional positive impact which disability and carer’s assistance could make, following the safe and secure transfer of all clients on to new forms of Scottish assistance.
6. Further changes with the test and learn approach
The Scottish Government has previously committed to applying a 'test and learn approach' across the newly devolved benefits. The Group believes that any changes should be the result of this. Areas should be identified for improvement with the appropriate systems and processes in place to make these changes. These decisions should be based on the consolidation of a large volume of feedback and evidence on all aspects of the process once it is in delivery. For example, feedback from individuals and advisers, as well as data from Social Security Scotland, can be used to assess the effectiveness of three application channels being available for claimants. Changes should be continual and ongoing. They must contribute to removing barriers to claiming, further enhancing claimants' rights and ensuring Social Security Scotland is meeting its obligations as set out in the Charter.
Recommendation 43: Feedback from individuals, their representatives and supporting organisations, along with statistical evidence from Social Security Scotland processes, should be central to any improvements made to Social Security Scotland.
The Group would be keen to understand more about how this continuous improvement will be achieved, and how any lessons learned will influence updates and change to comply with the commitment to improve public services.
One area that we believe requires monitoring is the use of suspensions. Suspensions should only be used in the specific circumstances outlined in the regulations with the adequate safeguards in place. Proportionality of the application of a payment suspension should be a key consideration here.
Recommendation 44: The use of suspensions should be recorded, monitored and reported.
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