Islands communities screening assessment: regulations making provision in relation to social security appeals

Islands Communities Screening Assessment of the consultation on Regulations making provision in relation to Social Security Appeals.


4. The then Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities statement to Parliament on 30 May 2017 set out that the Scottish Government will begin to deliver the first wave of benefits Best Start Grant and Funeral Expense Assistance by summer 2019. The First Minister announced on 4 September in the Programme for Government that the first benefit to be delivered by Social Security Scotland (the agency) will be Best Start Grant ( BSG). The agency will start making payments for BSG by this Christmas.

5. The Scottish Government is introducing a different approach to decision making and appeals, one which aims to get decisions right first time. It is taking a rights based approach that respects the dignity of the individual. The Scottish Government has always been clear that people will have a right to challenge if they believe that the new agency, Social Security Scotland, has not made the right decision and that the process for challenging a decision is as simple and straight forward as possible.

6. To ensure an individual is able to challenge the decision of the agency through an independent institution, Scottish Ministers decided that a new chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland will be created to hear appeals in relation to social security cases in the Scottish system. This was decided against the background of discussions that are currently taking place with the UK Government on the devolution of the reserved tribunals, including the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, under the Scotland Act 2016. The transfer will not take place prior to the first wave of social security benefits being delivered and it has therefore been necessary to set up a Chamber within the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.

7. In embarking upon the process of drafting the necessary regulations for consultation, the starting point (particularly in the context of the rules of procedure for the Social Security Chamber) was to look at the approach of the rules of procedure of the existing chambers of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. A key consideration was ensuring so far as appropriate the aim of having broad uniformity of approach, across the chambers in Scotland. These were considered alongside the rules of the Social Entitlement Chamber (the 2008 Rules) which currently deal with social security appeals for the reserved benefits in Scotland. The regulations as consulted upon were framed with the overall principles of the Scottish social security system in mind, to establish what adjustments might be needed.

8. For the Upper Tribunal for Scotland, a similar exercise was carried out. The generic rules of procedure of the Upper Tribunal for Scotland were looked at, alongside the rules of procedure for the Upper Tribunal, as they apply to social security cases.


Naeem Bhatti

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