Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group: August 2017

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

Attendees and apologies


  • Nikola Plunkett, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Jim McCormick, Chair of Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (guest)
  • Shaben Begum, CEO, Scottish Independent Advocacy (Agenda item 3 only)
  • Kate Burton, NHS Income and Welfare Reform
  • Donna Burnett, NHS Public Health Practitioner
  • Dr Neil MacRitchie, BMA
  • Ed Pybus, CPAG
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar
  • Graham Watt, University of Glasgow
  • Jim Hume, National Rural Mental Health Forum
  • Nicola Dickie, CoSLA
  • Emelia Crichton, Director of Public Health
  • Richard Gass, Rights Advice Scotland
  • Yvette Burgess, CCPS
  • Layla Thiener, DAS
  • Rhiannon Sims, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government
  • Liz Davidson, Scottish Government
  • Naeem Bhatti, Scottish Government
  • Ross Trotter, Scottish Government
  • Dean Pemberton, Scottish Government
  • Pat McAuley, Scottish Government
  • Jacqueline Brown, Scottish Government


  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Gerard McFeely, Occupational Therapy, NHS Lothian
  • Rob Gowans, Citizens Advice
  • Jim Carle, Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

1. The group welcomed new member Jim Hume from the National Rural Mental Health Forum and Rhiannon Sims, Citizens Advice Scotland, attending on behalf of Rob Gowans. Jim McCormick, Chair of the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group was attending as a guest.

2. Apologies had been received from Bill Scott, Gerard McFeely, Rob Gowans and Jim Carle.

Minutes and SG Update

3. Amendments received from members via email prior to the meeting had been incorporated and the minute was agreed.

4. Members had received the SG Update in advance of the meeting and no comments had been received.

Workshop 1: Advice and Advocacy – Shaben Begum, Scottish Independent Advocacy

5. Shaben Begum from Scottish Independent Advocacy gave a short presentation to the group on the role of Independent Advocacy in Scotland and how this helps to support people through the benefit process. See attached pdf.

6. Following the presentation the group held a workshop to consider 1) how the role of the new Social Security Agency staff providing advocacy and advice fits with the independent advocacy and advice sectors and 2) what changes the independent advocacy and advice sectors would need to make to meet demand.

Workshop 2: Use of Evidence and Data Mapping

7. Officials facilitated a workshop to look at the use of evidence and data mapping in respect of evidence required to support a claim for a disability benefit. The group were asked to consider four questions around the gathering of evidence and existing systems and sources of evidence.

Workshop 3: Auto Entitlement

8. Officials held the final workshop to obtain stakeholder views on approaches to an automatic entitlement for disability benefits. Members were asked to consider various questions on this issue and put ideas on the question boards.

9. Write-ups of all three workshops will be issued to the group for further comment following the meeting.

AOB and agenda for next meeting.

10. Due to time restrictions it was agreed that an email would be put out to members for ideas and suggestions on future meeting set up.

The next meeting will be held on the 9 October 2017 in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh. The Minister for Social Security, Ms Jeane Freeman is scheduled to attend.

Action Points

Meeting 10

Action Status Number Action Owner Completed
New 2017/42 SG to email members to ask for ideas/suggestions for future meetings SG

Meeting 9

Action Status Number Action Owner Completed
C/F 2017/28 To hold a session with members on the Experience Panels and About You SG
C/F 2017/21 CoSLA / SG to identify and approach a health and social care / Social Work Scotland representative SG / CoSLA
The role of Independent Advocacy in Scotland.pdf



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