These amendments will extend the option of payment flexibility across all benefits to which the Regulations apply and allow all clients to be considered, irrespective of which benefit they are receiving. No negative impacts have been identified on the basis of any protected characteristic.
However there are significant data gaps around protected characteristics. Social Security Scotland published an Equality Strategy on 22 June 2021 which will help us to meet our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. The strategy is accompanied by a set of Equality Outcomes. These measurable outcomes are based on information set out in our Mainstreaming Equality Report and are informed by our stakeholders.
Social Security Scotland has developed an action plan to put this strategy in place and achieve our equality outcomes. Under outcome three, "Delivering and improving our service" we have committed to taking forward a number of actions including actions to:
- Carry out more analysis of clients' diversity and equalities information, in particular the disabled people category and intersectionality.
- Build on the work of the National Engagement and Local Delivery teams to understand the needs of specific equality groups and communities. This includes demand for translated information, making our application process easier, and specific support needs.
- Be aware of and understand the findings from client panels, experience panels and equalities research when we are developing and improving our services.
- In line with our commitment under the Social Impact Pledge, encourage everyone to use their allocated volunteering hours. This will help to increase awareness of the differing needs and the specific inequalities faced by our current and potential clients.
- Improve joint working with our Policy and Directorate colleagues, particularly in relation to the Maximising Benefit Uptake Strategy and Policy Evaluation Strategy for Benefits.