Early years assistance: consultation on the Best Start Grant regulations

This consultation asks questions on whether the draft Best Start Grant regulations will help to improve children’s wellbeing and life chances.


1. The Scotland Act 2016 devolved new social security powers to Scotland. One of the powers which has been devolved allows for an equivalent of the Sure Start Maternity Grant ( SSMG) to be provided. Scottish Ministers are using this power to create a form of assistance referred to as Early Years Assistance in the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. This will be delivered in the form of a new benefit called the Best Start Grant ( BSG). You can find the documents relating to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill [2] on the Scottish Parliament website.

2. The Social Security in Scotland Consultation ran from July to October 2016. The section on BSG received over 100 responses from both organisations and individuals. We have received, and are continuing to take, views from Experience Panel members and other parents, for example groups of kinship carers and lone parents on the design of the form and service to deliver BSG. This has been particularly helpful where we are thinking about issues which have an impact on dignity, respect and fairness.

3. The Best Start Grant Reference Group was established in October 2016. The group has met 6 times to help gather evidence, bring a variety of informed perspectives and provide feedback on proposals. In addition there have been smaller sub group meetings on specific areas and interests, such as developing options for when people can apply or the rules for kinship carers.

4. Illustrative regulations for the Best Start Grant were issued to the Social Security Committee and the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament on 28th September 2017 and subsequently published on the Scottish Parliament's website. They were also shared, with a request for feedback, with the BSG Reference Group, the Disability and Carers Benefit Expert Advisory Group ( DACBEAG) and its Scrutiny Sub Group, the Scottish Parliament Social Security Expert Panel members and selected stakeholders who have engaged in detail on the Bill. They were also included in the Social Security Newsletter on 15 November 2017.


Email: Barry.Pattison@gov.scot

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