Attendees and apologies
- Russell Gunson (RG), Chair, Director of IPPR
- Andy White (AW), CBI Steering Group
- Bill Scott (BS),Chair of the Poverty & Inequality Commission for Scotland
- Chris Birt (CB), Associate Director for Scotland at JRF
- Ed Pybus (EP), Policy and Parliamentary Officer at CPAG
- Eilidh Dickson (ED), Policy Manager at Engender
- Eireann McAuley (EM), Policy Officer at STUC
- Fiona Collie (FC), Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers Scotland
- Gerry McCartney (GM), CBI Steering Group
- Mubin Haq (MH) Chief Executive at abrdn Financial Fairness Trust
- Peter Kelly (PK), Director of Poverty Alliance
- Rachel Statham (RS), Associate Director at IPPR
- Satwat Rehman (SR), Chief Executive of OPFS
- Vonnie Sandlan (VS), Children 1st
Expert Group nominees
- Brian Scott (BSc), GDA (for Tressa Burke)
- Elaine Moir (EM), Financial Wellbeing, Scottish Government
- Stephen Garland (SG), Fair Work, Scottish Government
- Chris Loh (CL), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
- Nicola Radley (NR), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
- Callum Smith (CS), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
- Ruth Steele (RS), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
- Tressa Burke, Chief Executive of GDA
Items and actions
- Review and revise equalities terminology in workplan.
- Contact members once workstream membership is finalised to confirm who will be co-leading each workstream, and set up dates for initial workstream meetings.
- The Chair and Secretariat will produce a new track changed version of the Principles paper taking member’s comments into account. Members will be given the opportunity to comment by email.
- The Scottish Government to set the tender process in motion as set out in the proposal paper.
Welcome and introductions
RG welcomed everyone to the meeting and led introductions.
The minutes of the last meeting were approved.
RG re-capped previously agreed expectations around how workstreams would work and outlined changes that had been made to the draft workplan following the last meeting. He invited comments from members.
Members welcomed the workplan as comprehensive. It was recognised that once workstreams get underway, they will be responsible for driving their own work forward. RG clarified that he expected active workstreams to meet at least once between regular Expert Group meetings, and that workstreams would feed back into said meetings. At the next Expert Group meeting members would discuss a timetable for reporting.
When discussing the text of the workplan paper members asked for references to ‘minorities’ to be changed to ‘groups with protected characteristics’.
Further discussion prompted by the workplan centred around the need to keep in view the extent to which universal basic services should be considered alongside this work, and play a part in delivery of MIG.
Action: Review and revise equalities terminology in workplan.
Action: Contact members once workstream membership is finalised to confirm who will be co-leading each workstream, and set up dates for initial workstream meetings.
RG gave some background on why founding principles had been developed, primarily for coherence and a common understanding of what was in scope of the group’s remit. He invited comments from group members.
Members welcomed the concept of foundation principles. They had a number of comments, and suggested changes to the principles set out in the paper, which were broadly agreed. The discussion centred around the following themes:
- emphasis on MIG being achievable and implementable.
- be clear about whether MIG is a single payment or a suite of interventions.
- consider more positive and ambitious terminology, e.g. a decent rather than basic standard to parallel current MIS terminology, and ‘dignity and respect’ to reflect Social Security Scotland values.
- ensure that equalities are front and centre from the start, including ensuring that legal obligations around equalities are met.
- be clear about what type of inequality and insecurity a MIG should tackle. Members were keen that people who cycle in and out of benefits should be included, and that debt management and income maximisation should be taken more explicitly into account.
- be clear about whether MIG can be for all in Scotland. Members discussed the ability to make payments to people with no recourse to public funds, and the importance of not tying MIG in to one single social security payment.
- be explicit on unintended consequences, particularly relating to MIG’s interaction with and effect upon levels of other benefits and services. This also related to getting the balance right between simplicity and targeted income maximisation, while taking into account accessibility, stigma, take up and technical / administrative constraints. Similarly, issues of conditionality and whether it is an individual or household payment should be set out explicitly.
- consider whether MIG should be defined as a minimum standard of living or a minimum income, i.e. define to what extent it is tied to the cost of goods and services.
RG acknowledged these points, highlighting that many of them would be explored more thoroughly by workstreams.
Action: The Chair and Secretariat will produce a new track changed version of the paper taking agreed member’s comments into account. Members will be given the opportunity to comment by email.
Experts by Experience
RG introduced the paper proposing to establish a panel of experts by experience.
Members discussion of the paper flagged up issues which would need to be addressed by the successful tendering organisation, including the importance of support, the representativeness of the people recruited, and the methods needed to encourage people to participate, particularly those who may be in hardship or fluctuating circumstances who currently have no contact with services.
Members accepted the following proposal: “It is recommended that the MIG Steering Group establish a panel of 10-15 experts by experience. The panel will put forward two representatives for each meeting of the Expert Group and meetings of the MIG Steering Group”.
Action: The Scottish Government to set the tender process in motion as set out in the proposal paper.
Next meeting date
The next Expert Group meeting will take place in March and a meeting schedule will be set out for the remainder of 2022.
Any other business
Work being carried out on developing a minimum digital living standard was flagged up for awareness and relevance to work of this group.
Group members took the remainder of the meeting for private discussion with no observers or secretariat present.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback