Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group: April 2017

Minutes from the April 2017 meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Donna Burnett, NHS
  • Dr Neil MacRitchie, BMA
  • Ed Pybus, CPAG
  • Gerard McFeely, NHS Lothian
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar
  • Graham Watt, University of Glasgow
  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • Nicola Dickie, COSLA
  • Richard Gass, Glasgow City Council representing SLGP
  • Rob Gowans, Citizen’s Advice
  • Yvette Burgess, Coalition of Care Providers Scotland
  • Pauline Davidson, Scottish Government, Chair of the Meeting
  • Diane Strachan, Scottish Government
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government
  • Dr Trish Brady-Campbell, Scottish Government
  • Naeem Bhatti, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Radley, Scottish Government
  • Pat McAuley, Scottish Government
  • Ross Trotter, Scottish Government
  • Ruth Candlish, Scottish Government


  • Anne Gunnar Logan, Coalition of Care Providers Scotland
  • Beth Hall, CoSLA
  • Emelia Crighton, NHS
  • Jim Carle, SG Disabled Children and Young Peoples Advisory Group
  • Michael McClements, CoSLA

Items and actions

The Chair welcomed new Member, Dr Neil MacRitchie, representing the BMA.

1. Minutes of meeting 17 November 2016

No comments had been received from Members in advance of the meeting.

Action 2017/11 – Minutes. Correct and update errors in 13 February 2017 minutes (April).

2. SG Update (Pauline Davidson)

SG provided an update on the Social Security Bill, noting the Bill was due to be introduced before Summer recess in June.

SG updated on results from the Benefits take-up campaign, which ran between 6 and 10 March, with thanks to Inclusion Scotland for their support.

Members noted the opportunity to draw on the work of co-locating welfare advisors as done by the NHS and asked about making sure the campaign was linked up with on-going work, particularly that within local authorities, to ensure the campaign was linked up and complimented local authority information and campaigns in this area.

SG gave a brief update on the review of the advice services that is currently being undertaken by the SG. Phase 1 has just completed which involved independent review of literature and primary research with funders and providers by Blake Stevenson. It is expected the report will be published over the coming weeks. An update on Phase 2 work was also provided. As part of that work, members were asked to consider the following questions:

  • What would the group like to see from advice services;
  • How does the sector need to change to better support people and in particular disabled people that the group represents; and
  • What would be helpful that doesn’t go to the advice sector.

SG also noted progress on the Making Advice Work Review and initial thinking on how the Scottish Social Security Agency will provide information and guidance to people.

In discussion, the following points were raised:

  • While it was important that the new Scottish social security agency was able to provide advice on devolved benefits, it would need to identify how it can support people seeking information or advice on other matters, ensuring a person-centred approach is maintained.
  • Models of co-location, such as welfare advice workers in primary care or in jobcentres, could provide useful models.
  • The importance of involving Community Planning Partnerships and Integrated Joint Boards in this area as well as other stakeholders was also raised.

SG noted that work on data mapping, as discussed at the last meeting, had been commissioned and SG colleagues were taking this forward, with thanks to CAS for providing case studies to help inform this work.

Members were keen for the August meeting of the Group to go ahead.

Action 2017/12 – Benefits take-up campaign. Circulate information about outputs of the benefits take-up campaign to Members for more detailed feedback / suggestions (April).

Action 2017/13 – Advice and advocacy. Organise a more detailed workshop on advice and advocacy at an upcoming Reference Group meeting (August).

Action 2017/14 – Advice and advocacy. Feedback comments / suggestions around the making Advice Work review to SG colleagues leading on this (April).

Action 2017/16 – Upcoming meetings. Circulate diary invite to Reference Group meeting on 14 August (April).

3. Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (Nicola Radley)

SG tabled Paper IHDBSRG-8c (‘Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group’) and provided an update on the Expert Advisory Group which was due to meet for the first time on 21 April, following which the full list of members will be announced. SG provided further information about the Chair and the workings of the Group.

Action 2017/17 – Circulate full list of members of Expert Advisory Group once they meet (April).

4. Role, Remit and Membership of the Ill-health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group

SG introduced Paper IHDBSRG-8a (‘Duration of Awards Working Group’) noted that more detailed discussion of the Reference Group’s role and remit may be more useful once the Expert Advisory Group has met.

SG asked Members to consider membership of the Reference Group, noting that the work of the Group was due to increase over coming months. Members agreed to commit to attending meetings and contributing via correspondence.

Action 2017/18 – Membership. SG to identify possible representatives, of learning disability, mental health, rural and social work, and circulate to group members in advance of the next meeting (June).

5. Experience Panels (Trish Brady-Campbell)

SG provided an update on the recruitment for the large-scale user research involving 2,000 people in receipt of benefits. There have been two routes for recruitment: direct recruitment via a DWP sampling mail drop to 18,000 people and open recruitment for wider participants. SG had also used a wide range of channels to promote the Panels – radio ads, attending events, blogs, including one from the First Minister, and face-to-face recruitment, which was proving especially fruitful.

Member made a number of suggestions to maximise recruitment for people on disability benefits including:

  • Taking a more targeted approach to seldom heard groups such as EU nationals.
  • Maximising recruitment for people on AA via the Scottish Older People’s Assembly. Alzheimer’s Scotland as well as Supported housing providers, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Scottish Care, the Independent Living Fund.
  • Focusing on DLA for children, contacting the SG Disabled Children and Young People’s Group, school additional support units.
  • Focusing on people living in rural areas, Inclusion Scotland to provide list of suggested organisations with rural focus to contact, targeted approach to Highlands and Islands, SG to contact local councils and ask SG colleagues working on Highlands and Islands Bill for contacts, include Dumfries and Galloway in rural group as some parts very remote.

Members also asked about how equality and diversity information, as well as other info such as location, was being captured. SG noted that the first phase of user research was a project entitled About You research which would ask this information from Experience Panel participants. SG could circulate draft About You questionnaire to Members.

SG also noted that the Experience Panels would have an annual research plan of research activity for each year. This was being worked up and SG would work with the Experience Panels and the Reference Group to design the research plan.

Action 2017/19 – Experience Panels recruitment. Members to provide suggested contacts to SG colleagues working on Experience Panels (April).

Action 2017/20 – Experience Panels recruitment. Contact suggested organisations to further promote Experience Panels (April).

Action 2017/21 – Experience Panels research. Circulate draft About You research to Members (April / May).

6. Duration of Awards Working Group (Ruth Candlish)

SG noted that Bill Scott of Inclusion Scotland, Rob Gowans of Citizens Advice Scotland and Dr Mini Mishra of the Chief Medical Officers directorate in SG had indicated interest in joining the Working Group at the 13 February meeting. SG asked for further volunteers and for Members to consider external experts supporting / joining the Group. Ed Pybus of CPAG volunteered to sit on the Working Group.

Members suggested that it would be useful to include a health and social care representative on the Working Group, and the draft Terms of Reference would need to be amended to reflect this. Members were keen to ensure that the Working Group considered how assessment fitted in with the approach to award duration, the draft Terms of Reference touched on this but, it was noted this was important to bear in mind.

Members also asked about how could they contribute if they were not a member of the Working Group. It was agreed that Members could contribute via correspondence and the Working Group would provide an update to the Reference Group at the 12 June meeting, as well as formally reporting to the Reference Group at the 9 October meeting.

Members were content to agree the Terms of Reference for the Duration of Awards Working Group, with minor amendments as set out overleaf.

Action 2017/23 – Duration of Awards Working Group. CoSLA / SG to identify and approach a health and social care representative (April).

Action 2017/24 – Duration of Awards Working Group. Update Working Group Terms of Reference and re-circulate to Working Group members (April).

Action 2017/25 – Duration of Awards Working Group. Confirm Chair and membership of Working Group and circulate to wider Reference Group (April).

Action 2017/26 – Duration of Awards Working Group. Working Group Chair to provide brief verbal update to wider Reference Group at next meeting on 12 June (June).

7. AOB and Agenda for Next Meeting (Pauline Davidson)

SG provided an update on SG response to the second independent review of PIP, conducted by Paul Gray. Members raised some concerns with the recommendation that put the onus on the claimant to collate evidence for their PIP assessment, noting that the recommendation was more nuanced within the review and that there is a need to be clearer about the evidence that is required.

Members also mentioned the SG Welfare Reform Scrutiny Group, which a number of them had sat on, and felt still had a vital role to play. SG to speak to colleagues about this.

No further AOB items raised.

Action 2017/27 – Follow-up on SG Welfare Reform Scrutiny Group with SG colleagues (April).

Action 2017/28 – Reference Group Workplan. Circulate workplan to Members with papers for the next meeting (June).

See Actions below for items for next meeting:
Action 2017/13 (Advice and advocacy possible session),
Action 2017/26 (Duration of Awards Working Group update)

Next Meeting: Monday 12 June (10:30 – 13:00) Victoria Quay, Edinburgh



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