Five Family Payments Reference Group minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on the 30 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Anne Baldock, One Parent Families Scotland 
  • Ben Sutcliffe, Scottish Government 
  • Ed Pybus, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Fiona King, Save the Children
  • Gail Wilson, Social Security Scotland
  • John Mowbray, Scottish Government
  • Katie Dee, NHS Lothian
  • Lynn Forsyth, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Merlin Kemp, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Torley, Scottish Government 
  • Richard Strachan, Scottish Government 
  • Sandra Stewart, Social Security Scotland


  • Polly Jones, The Trussell Trust

Items and actions


The Chair opened the meeting with introductions. All those present gave their name, job title and organisation.

Communications plan 

This was presented by Gail Wilson who works in Social Security Scotland.

The presentation covered various communications activities planned around the rollout of Scottish Child Payment (SCP) and auto-award of certain Best Start Payments.

Key points:

  • targeting recipients of bridging payments
  • ensuring that people who do not get bridging Payments (but who may still be eligible for SCP) apply
  • promoting the take-up of reserved benefits as a way to ensure maximum take-up
  • data sharing – Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has details of everyone who gets Universal Credit (UC) and Local Authorities have details of everyone who they support – could we use this info to target info/advice?


  • Lynn will speak to Scottish Government (SG) colleagues about promotion of reserved benefits

SCP and BSF evaluations 

This was presented by John Mowbray who works in Social Security Analysis, Forecasting and Evaluation.

Key points:

  • the need to consider comms/messaging for when child who is eligible for SCP turns 16 e.g. letter to explain and signpost to support/advice (e.g. Education Maintenance Allowance)
  • what happens when someone is denied as they have no Qualifying Benefit – can we provide info on how to get a qualifying benefit or leave the application open until they have one?
  • the tone of Agency communications is generally seen as good and will hopefully build up trust over time
  • there is still confusion around aspects of the system including around:
    • when entitlement ends
    • reserved and devolved benefits – with people receiving information from different sources (UK Government/Scottish Government) – for example some people assume the 2-child limit will apply to SCP as it does for Universal Credit
  • there is difficulty in reaching those who do not engage with services - warm handovers are useful
  • more needs to be done to identify who are the people not getting UC


  • policy officials to speak to programme colleagues about letters referring to DWP
  • policy officials to explore adding Money Team Talks signposting to decision letters

Consultation - Scotland's social security system: Enhanced Administration and Compensation Recovery 

This was presented by Richard Strachan who works in Scottish Child Payment Policy.

There was a brief discussion on the consultation, CPAG flagged up that they would be hosting a round table on the consultation and that attendance from SG would be welcome.

Update on amendments to Five Family Payments regulations 

This was presented by Ben Sutcliffe who works in Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods Policy. As well as Pauline Torley who works in Scottish Child Payment Policy.

Ben and Pauline led a discussion on the amending regulations including the fact that the regulations will add domestic abuse as a reason why someone may be able to receive the higher Pregnancy and Baby Payment. This was welcomed as was the Best Start Grant auto-award opt out provisions.


  • SCP team to check if SCP will count as income for kinship care payments.

Any other business and next steps

  • SG were asked to provide an update on plans to widen eligibility and move to cash for Best Start Foods and officials confirmed that current plans were for this to happen in 2023-24.
  • there was a brief discussion about issues of alignment, SG officials suggested it might be useful to discuss aligning the five family payments at the next meeting, with other members of the group also raising wider alignment issues for example in relation to Local Authority provided support including bridging payments and free school meals.


  • SG policy team to consider alignment (FFPs as well as wider areas such as free school meals etc.)

Lynn closed the meeting, saying that officials would be in touch with a date for the next one.

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