Introduction and Background
1. This paper is the final report of the Independent Living Fund ( ILF) Working Group containing its recommendations for Scottish Ministers on the policy to open up the ILF to new users, as agreed at its final meeting on 11 November 2016
2. As set out in the Remit and Terms of Reference ( ILFWG-09(2016) - As Agreed), the ILF Working Group is a working group of co-production partners with an advisory remit, which convened to develop the policy options for opening the ILF to new users in Scotland, with new funding of £5 million committed from Scottish Government to do this.
3. The Working Group met from April to November 2016 with membership drawn from the key stakeholder interests including disabled people's organisations, local authorities, and representative bodies (including disability organisations and carers). The Group additionally included members who have direct knowledge and understanding of living with an impairment with high support needs, as a disabled person and as a carer. The full membership of the Group is included at Annex A .
4. The aim of the Working Group was to co-produce recommendations to advise Ministers on the policy to open the ILF to new users, including the eligibility criteria for new applications; and in doing so bear in mind that this policy should be affordable, within the available monies from Scottish Government (£5 million per year), and sustainable for the longer term.
Existing ILF and new ILF schemes
5. In March 2014, the UK Government announced the closure of the UK ILF from 30 June 2015, with funding for ILF support for disabled people passing to the devolved administrations and to local authorities in England. The Scottish Government committed to continuing those ILF payments to existing recipients, by establishing a new Scottish ILF and setting up a new body to administer this.
6. The existing £47.2 million ILF scheme was transferred to ILF Scotland from 1 July 2015. It currently supports more than 2,600  disabled people in Scotland, who have high support needs, to choose to live in their communities and live independent lives. ILF Scotland provides discretionary cash payments (on average £360 per week) to recipients to enable them to purchase care or support from an agency or pay wages of a privately employed personal assistant. The existing ILF scheme is an 'award for life', with payments continuing to be made to individual recipients, as long as they remain eligible.
7. At the same time as announcing the continuance of the existing ILF scheme for existing recipients in Scotland, the Scottish Government committed an additional £5 million a year of new money for new ILF awards. The £5 million available is a small sum, relative to the size of the current fund budget. Therefore, an early consideration for the Working Group was that reopening the ILF to new users on the same basis as the existing ILF scheme, was not a viable option (see paragraph 15 within the discussion below). The new ILF scheme, as considered by the Working Group, is therefore proposed as a distinct and separate fund to the existing ILF scheme. The shape and purpose of the new ILF scheme is the subject of the recommendations in this report.
8. As part of the Working Group's first considerations, the Group produced and agreed a set of Options Appraisal Parameters for Opening the ILF to New Users. These Parameters are included at Annex B . The Parameters have been used by the Working Group to develop and appraise the policy options for the new ILF scheme. They acted as principles for the new policy against which the options were assessed to see how well they would deliver the desired outcome. This has assisted with the identification of the final recommendations within this paper.
9. The Group considered the policy options for the new ILF scheme, drawing on the emergent themes from the responses to the Scottish Government consultation 'on the future use of resources devolved following the UK Government's decision to close the ILF', held in 2013, together with the learning from various reviews and reports provided as background to the work. This was then developed into a discussion paper for the ILF new scheme engagement events with disabled people, which in turn contributed to the formation of the Working Group's recommendations as set out in this report.
10. ILF Scotland organised and ran the series of ILF new scheme stakeholder co-production engagement events across Scotland to inform the Group's work. Eleven events were held, providing direct feedback from more than 270 disabled people, carers, organisations and wider interested stakeholders. Additionally a separate event was held in collaboration with Social Work Scotland, attended by local authority practitioners; and a formal written response was received from stakeholders in the Western Isles. The report from the stakeholder events has been published on the ILF Scotland website.
11. The Group's actions have included: thorough debate over the policy options for the new ILF scheme; consideration of the detailed feedback from the stakeholder events; noting of advice relating to the analytical information available; and consideration of advice from practitioners in relation to service mapping for the policy options that were tabled. All of this work was considered in the context of the Group's Parameters for the new scheme, and the results of these deliberations are the Working Group's final recommendations.
12. The Working Group's report and recommendations contain a high level identification of the considerations for a new ILF scheme. This is the start of a process which will require further exploration for the development and delivery of the new scheme in the short and longer term, in co-production with partners. Recommendations concerning the implementation of the new scheme are included within the discussion below.
13. As stated above, the Working Group was the mechanism through which advice was developed in co-production, for the policy to open the ILF to new users. The co-production definitions, as tabled and discussed at the first Working Group meeting are included at Annex C . The members of the Group were the co-production partners who developed the recommendations contained within this report, working as equals, co-producing from the start and working together to achieve an outcome. Integral to the overall process were the stakeholder events, as described in paragraph 10.
14. The Group worked collaboratively through this inclusive and participatory co‑productive approach, which was constantly modified in response to feedback from members. At the end of the process, members identified that the co-production approach had worked well and this was seen as a potentially helpful example of the model which might be useful to share more widely with colleagues across Scottish Government and elsewhere.
Email: Caroline Martin, CarolineMaria.Martin@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House