Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group minutes: December 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 8 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Nathan Gale, Chair, Scottish Government

  • David George, Co-Chair, Scottish Government
  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Cate Vallis, RNIB
  • Claire Taylor, Social Security Scotland
  • Debbie Kyle, Social Security Scotland
  • Emilia Crighton, NHS
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar
  • John Cunnigham, CoSLA 
  • Leanne Kerr, Scottish Government
  • Margaret Kate-Dickson, NHS 
  • Moira Escreet, CPAG
  • Morven Littlejohn, Scottish Government 
  • Partel Unga, Scottish Government 
  • Patricia Moultrie, BMA Scotland
  • Shonagh Martin, Scottish Government 
  • Stephanie Miller, Citizen’s Advice Scotland


  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • Jim Hume, Support in Mind Scotland
  • Gerard McFeely, NHS
  • Duncan McIntyre, Chair of Learning Disability Practice Network
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government
  • Hannah Ross, COSLA
  • David Scott, CAS
  • Richard Gass, Rights Advice Scotland

Items and actions


Chair, Nathan Gale, welcomed members to the 23rd meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group. 

Minutes and Scottish Government update  

Members signed off the minutes from the September 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. 

Overview of local delivery 

Claire Taylor, local delivery Lead for Perth and Kinross presented on local delivery for Child Disability Payment and shared feedback following the launch of the pilot. Debbie Kyle, a Client Support Advisor for Perth and Kinross then did a walkthrough of the client’s experience. 

Members were pleased to hear positive feedback from the Child Disability Payment pilot. They were happy with the commitment shown by officials to provide clients with a supportive and compassionate service. 

Members raised concerns regarding the scalability of the service leading up to the launch of Adult Disability Payment. Members think that a huge increase in people using the service may make it difficult to replicate such a high level of service. Members noted that Social Security Scotland should also be signposting clients to other advocacy services, as this will help with the level of demand. Officials confirmed that local delivery are currently recruiting to ensure they are sufficiently resourced for the launch of Adult Disability Payment. Officials explained that the application form for Child Disability Payment typically takes around 90 minutes, but this will depend on each individual client’s circumstances. 

Members asked whether the Application Capture Tool would be made available to third sector organisations providing support to clients, and if a PDF version of the form would also be made available. This would make the process easier and faster for support workers and clients as they wouldn’t have to wait for a paper form to arrive with the client. Officials explained that neither the Application Capture Tool nor the blank PDF form are currently intended to be made available to third sector organisations. However, many stakeholders have expressed how useful this would be and it is likely that this will be a topic for ongoing discussion. Officials will provide an update if anything changes in this area.

Presentation from ADP Service Design

Service Design colleagues gave members a presentation on the Adult Disability Payment client journey. 

Members asked about the transfer of clients from Working Age Disability Living Allowance (Working Age DLA) to Adult Disability Payment. Officials confirmed clients on Working Age DLA would go through a separate case transfer process, which is currently being developed by a bespoke team. Clients will not lose out on their award due to the case transfer process. 

Officials also explained that clients who are about to reach the end of their award or have an upcoming review will automatically be moved over to Adult Disability Payment, with their amount staying the same. After case transfer, a review will be done, if necessary. 

Members raised concerns that due to the pandemic, user research carried out online has only captured feedback from the clients who are more confident using technology and may not have captured feedback from people who are less confident or don’t have internet access. 

Members raised further concerns that the length of the paper form is too long and could discourage clients from applying. Officials confirmed that during the online user research, some participants said they wouldn’t normally use the online form and would opt for the paper form. However, they managed with the online version. Officials also confirmed that they are currently doing a round of user research on the paper form. This involves posting out the paper forms to clients and then doing follow up interviews to discuss feedback, including their initial thoughts on the size of the form. 

Officials clarified that consultations would be done by a practitioner, and these would only be carried out if there was no other way to get the information they need. Practitioners will be part of the decision making team and will provide support to the case manager when making their decision. Practitioners will be able to travel around the country and do face to face consultations with clients who would prefer this approach.  

Any other business and close                                                     

No other business was raised. The chair thanked members for attending the meeting and closed. 

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