Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group: October 2016

Minutes from the October 2016 meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Rob Gowans, Citizen’s Advice
  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland
  • Richard Gass, Glasgow City Council representing SLGP
  • Nicola Dickie, COSLA
  • Yvette Burgess, Coalition of Care Providers Scotland
  • Donna Burnett, NHS Lothian
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Chief Medical Officer
  • Pauline Davidson, Scottish Government
  • Liz Davidson, Scottish Government


  • Emelia Crichton, NHS
  • David Formstone, Social Work Scotland
  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • Beth Hall, COSLA
  • Anne Gunnar Logan, Coalition of Care Providers Scotland

Items and actions

Minutes of meeting 9 June 2016

No comments had been received from Members and the minutes were agreed. A read out of the scenario planning exercise will be issued separately. The Chair reminded the group that the minutes would be published on the Scottish Government website in the near future.

SG update

Following on from the first Option Appraisal in which Ministers announced the creation of the new Social Security Agency, analysts are now conducting the second Option Appraisal to look at working with partners.

Officials had met with Paul Gray who is carrying out a 2nd independent PIP review. The formal response is expected in April 2017. DWP were holding a PIP stakeholder forum today in Glasgow and representatives were in attendance from the Scottish Government.

Action – aim to ensure stakeholder meetings are held on separate dates as members having difficulty fielding representatives if they overlap (SG)

Disability Benefits Commission – Stakeholder and working groups

Ministers made a manifesto commitment to a Disability Benefit Commission and SG is currently developing remit and identifying a Chair, Members and governance. The group discussed the potential role and purpose of the proposed Committee. Points included that the term Commission could be misleading, with suggestions that reference group or advisory committee would be more helpful terms. Members requested clarification of some of the detail, including scope and expertise of membership. The Chair said that SG is doing further work around the Commission and roles of other groups.

Action – to produce a matrix of all the current groups (SG)

Consultation – themes so far

There have been over 100 responses so far, mainly from individuals. All responses will be analysed and a Scottish Government response published. The broad themes emerging are mostly in relation to disability and the difficulties with the current system. Simplification of application and better data sharing are also coming through along with the potential to automate parts of the system.

It was suggested that workshops could look at how Social Security fits in with the broader landscape.

There was a lot of discussion on what was being done at this time to help people currently going through the system and what could be put in place to help. NHS has recently issued a leaflet on PIP and good practice was being shared. Evidence and research was needed on what happened when someone failed to qualify for PIP and what it added to costs elsewhere.

Action - To consider workshops on social security and fit with wider landscape (SG)

Action – To look at sharing good practice and learning in supporting people affected by the current system, in conjunction with local partners (SG)

Use of evidence and assessment

Members felt that there was inconsistency at present in the medical reports received from GPs and that DWP only seek further evidence at appeal stage. Members would like a system where information can be directly accessed from the individual’s medical records. There are some pilots in Scotland where an adviser is situated in a medical practice and can access the information required. More account should also be taken of the individuals own evidence.

Action – members views to inform on-going development of policy on assessments (SG)

Date of next meeting
Thursday 17 November – 10am – Atlantic Quay, Glasgow



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