Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group: April 2021

Minutes from the April 2021 meeting of the Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Nathan Gale, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Jane Beresford, Scottish Government
  • Julie Cruden, Scottish Government
  • Debbie Horne, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • David Hilber, Scottish Government
  • Ali Lord, CPAG
  • Patricia Moultrie, BMA Scotland
  • Danielle McCall, Scottish Government
  • Rachel McMurchy, RNIB
  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar

In attendance:

  • Rachel Amey, British Sign Language Interpreter  
  • Robin Briggs, Scottish Government
  • Leah Francisco, Scottish Government
  • Anne-Marie Monaghan, Scottish Government
  • Shonagh Martin, Scottish Government
  • Martin Moodie, Scottish Government
  • Julie McGrath, Scottish Government


  • Donna Burnett, NHS
  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • Emilia Crighton, NHS
  • Richard Gass, Rights Advice Scotland
  • Jim Hume, Support in Mind Scotland
  • Duncan McIntyre, Chair of Learning Disability Practice Network
  • Gerard McFeely, NHS
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government
  • Hannah Ross, COSLA
  • Cate Vallis, RNIB

Items and actions


Chair, Nathan Gale, welcomed members to the 21st meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Nathan introduced Ali Lord, who is replacing Ed Pybus as the groups CPAG representative, and Rachel McMurchy who is covering for Cate Vallis as the groups RNIB representative.

Minutes and Scottish Government update

Members signed off the minutes from the December meeting of the group. These will be published on the Scottish Government website.

Members did not have any comments on the Scottish Government update paper.

Case transfer presentation and discussion  

David Hilber talked the group through the case transfer process, expanding on the update included in the Scottish Government update paper.  

Stakeholders raised concerns about whether young people transferring to Social Security Scotland near their 16th birthday might miss out on the review process, which for existing clients will take place in advance of them turning 16 to review the appointee they have in place. These young people should still have a review to ensure they are aware that they can take control of their benefit at that point instead of waiting until they are 18. Officials clarified that entitlement will be reviewed within a reasonable period of clients transferring from DWP and will include consideration of any appointee arrangements in place. It is very unlikely a young person would not have their entitlement reviewed before they reach 18.

Presentation on CDP decision report

Julie Cruden did a presentation on the Child Disability Payment decision Report. The group were updated on the previous feedback the team had received and the actions that were taken as a result of this feedback, the Agile approach they are taking, their research findings and next steps. The presentation will be shared with members after the meeting.

Stakeholders raised that the reason stakeholders had asked for further information on how and why a decision was reached was to provide more information to representatives and advice workers to determine whether there were grounds for an appeal or not, rather than for clients who may not feel they need that information. Officials will feed this into the Disability Benefits Continuous Improvement Process. Stakeholders also felt that this information would be useful for clients who are not successful in gaining an award, however, it’s not necessary for clients who are awarded disability assistance.

ACTION: Officials to share presentation on Child Disability Payment Decision Report with the group.

Medical guidance update

​​​​​​​Jane Beresford and Danielle McCall updated stakeholders on the Primary Medical Guidance.

​​​​​​​Stakeholders raised concerns about the use of the BNF by decision makers as the BNF is aimed at health care professionals so decision makers may not be able to effectively interpret the information. It was suggested that this only be used when a practitioner is involved to ensure that it is used appropriately. Officials clarified that the BNF will only be used to check that medications listed in the application form are reasonable medications to be prescribed for a client’s condition. Stakeholders raised further concern that medication or dosages should not be used as a measure of severity of a condition and suggested that decision makers should record what they are using the BNF for and what they are inferring from it. Officials are testing the medical guidance in the model office and will update the group on the results at a future meeting.

​​​​​​​Stakeholders raised that decision makers shouldn’t rely on NHS Choices and NHS Inform only because they don’t believe these capture people’s lived experience with their conditions.

​​​​​​​Stakeholders raised concerns about the use of the condition related caseload information that was shared as part of the presentation. Officials clarified that caseload information is only being used to find out what clients put down as their “primary disabling condition” when applying for PIP to ensure availability of medical guidance for the most common conditions clients are likely to be accessing Adult Disability Payment for.

​​​​​​​Stakeholders also raised concerns over how the impact of having various medical conditions is being addressed as this is likely to be very common for clients applying for Adult Disability Payment. It would be useful to have an analysis of the extent of multi-morbidity and raising awareness of this with decision makers is very important. Stakeholders would be keen to discuss this at a future meeting. Officials confirmed that they are keen to record multiple conditions rather than focusing on the “primary disabling condition”.

AOB and close

​​​​​​​Nathan thanked members for attending the meeting and closed.

Back to top