Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group: December 2020

Minutes from the December 2020 meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Nathan Gale, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Donna Burnett, NHS
  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • Debbie Horne, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Ed Pybus, CPAG
  • Patricia Moultrie, BMA Scotland
  • Richard Gass, Rights Advice Scotland

In attendance:

  • Charles Frederick, Scottish Government
  • Dominika Pyzik, Scottish Government
  • Emel Zorlu, Scottish Government
  • Gemma Leishman, Scottish Government
  • Lesley Kelso, Scottish Government
  • Lynn Shaw, Scottish Government
  • Maureen Davidson, Scottish Government
  • Mhari Mcnaught, Scottish Government
  • Rachel Caldwell, Scottish Government
  • Shonagh Martin, Scottish Government


  • Duncan McIntyre, Chair of Learning Disability Practice Network
  • Emilia Crighton, NHS
  • Gerard McFeely, NHS
  • Hannah Ross, COSLA
  • Cate Vallis, RNIB
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar
  • Jim Hume, Support in Mind Scotland
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government

Items and actions


Chair, Nathan Gale (NG), welcomed members to the 20th meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Minutes and Scottish Government update

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

Ed Pybus (EP) flagged that CPAG are continuing to raise issues surrounding implicit consent with officials, as advisors have been reporting a number of issues.

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

Preview of ADP consultation

NG gave members a presentation on the ADP consultation that is forthcoming.

Members raised concerns over the transfer of clients on Adult DLA higher rate mobility to ADP, particularly the potential for these clients to have their mobility component reduced because of the 20 metre rule. Members suggested that remaining DLA clients be transferred over to the same award on ADP to prevent this. NG confirmed that officials are aware of this issue and are working on a solution. The Cabinet Secretary has made clear that she does not want Scottish clients to be transferred over and end up in a worse position. NG will speak to colleagues working on case transfer and update the group on this issue.

Members asked whether there will be a minimum award period. NG clarified that clients will be given a date for review, and that date will be when their award is re-considered.

Members raised concerns over the consultation period. It would be better if the consultation was launched in early January rather than December as 3-4 weeks are going to be lost over the Christmas period. This means 3rd Sector organisations will have to work at pace to prepare for the consultation engagement events. NG will feed this back to colleagues

Members flagged that there are some inconsistencies between different regulations. Rules that cover all regulations, but particularly the CDP and ADP regulations should be consistent. NG confirmed that this is something officials are working on and the solicitors working on the ADP and CDP regulations are working closely to ensure they are consistent.

NG clarified that all draft impact assessments will be published with the consultation.

ACTION: NG to speak to case transfer colleagues regarding transfer for clients on adult DLA higher rate mobility to ADP.

ACTION: NG to feedback concerns over consultation timings.

Presentation on ADP prototype application form

The Service Design team presented on the development of the ADP application form to give the group an early view into the design of the functional questions, which is a critical part of the application process.

Members will have opportunities in the future to provide more in depth feedback on the application process. NG is keen that a future meeting of the group focuses on the application process.

​​​​​​​Members were pleased with the usability and accessibility of the form however, they also raised a number of concerns regarding the prototype application and the questions.

​​​​​​​Members raised concerns that the form includes a number of tick boxes, which means the questions can be too specific and clients may not fit into that tick box. Clients will likely tick the exit question and fill in all their information there so that they don’t have to go through all of the other questions.

​​​​​​​Members were concerned that the focus has been too much on the usability for clients and decision makers, and not enough on the accuracy of the decisions that will be made. The PIP form collects the necessary information and officials shouldn’t change parts that work well. There is a risk that the application will become too complex. NG noted that for most clients who don’t have a welfare rights advisor, the PIP application is confusing as they don’t know what information to give and often there isn’t enough information included to understand someone’s needs to make an accurate decision.

​​​​​​​Officials explained that some user testing has already taken place and initial feedback was positive as it was much easier to fill in and to make decisions. The most recent user testing was done with 4 proxy decision makers using a set of answers from 5 people. One person had underreported their needs and decision makers were able to pick up on this and rationalise the decision because of their condition and the medication they were on. Officials are working with the Decision Making team who are developing the tools and the guidance for Case Managers. This application is still in the very early stages and a lot more user testing will take place before it is rolled out.

​​​​​​​Members were keen to make sure that the application meets all client and legislative requirements. NG ensured that this will reflect legislative requirements.

​​​​​​​Officials will produce a follow up pack that goes into more detail and share this with the group. Officials will also agree next steps on engagement with this group. 

AOB and close

NG thanked members for attending the meeting and closed.

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