Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group meeting minutes: October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 13 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies

Expert Group

  • 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
  • Peter Kelly (PK), Director of Poverty Alliance
  • Tressa Burke (TB), Chief Executive of GDA
  • Wendy Hearty (WH), CoSLA

Expert Group nominees

  • Rebecca Graham (RGr), Standard Life Foundation (for Mubin Haq)


  • Dawn Abell (DA), Reserved Benefits, Scottish Government
  • Joanne Farrow (JF), Employability, Scottish Government
  • John Mowbray (JM), Research and Evaluation, Scottish Government
  • Jonathan Wright (JW), Scottish Government
  • Rachel Statham (RS), Associate Director at IPPR
  • Susan Gilroy (SG), Financial Wellbeing, Scottish Government


  • Callum Smith (CS), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Helen Robertson (HR), Reserved Benefits, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Radley (NR), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government


  • Mubin Haq, Chief Executive of Standard Life Foundation
  • Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive of OPFS
  • Vonnie Sandlan, Children 1st

Items and actions

Meeting papers

Papers for this meeting are published seperately.


  • Secretariat and Chair to produce a detailed decision paper on the inclusion of experts by experience.
  • Secretariat and Chair to produce a paper on MIG principles.
  • Secretariat and Chair to produce a more refined and detailed workplan
  • Secretariat and Chair to commence conversations with individual members with a view to getting the work of early workstreams underway.

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and led introductions.

As this was the first meeting of the Expert Group only, the Chair reminded members of some of the key aims of the group as set out in the remit and at the last meeting. In particular he highlighted that the group’s objective was not just to determine how to create a full Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) if the Scottish Parliament had all the necessary powers in relation to employment, tax and social security, but also to look at what could be achieved in the short term using existing powers. He was clear that the expectation was that group members would carry out work, rather than only acting in an advisory capacity, and that the group would include experts by experience.

The Chair announced that two new members would be joining the group, namely Satwat Rehman from One Parent Families Scotland and Vonnie Sandlan from Children 1st.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

Inclusion of Experts by Experience

The Chair set out the rationale for including people who were experts by experience, beyond the experience already brought by group members. It was acknowledged that it was right to adopt a co-production approach, both in practice and principle. He highlighted that the last meeting had shown group members were keenly aware of the importance of ensuring that the participation of experts by experience was done in a supportive and effective manner, and many group members had prior experience of this, and had access to networks that could facilitate it.

The Chair ran through the options set out in the meeting paper provided, and then opened the topic for discussion. To briefly summarise, the options were:

  • option 1: two or more members of the public recruited by the Expert Group to sit on the group
  • option 2: draw upon existing panels
  • option 3: a new panel of experts by experience of poverty and financial insecurity set up by Scottish Government for this work
  • option 4: a new panel to be set up and supported by members’ organisations
  • option 5: a tender for a new panel, developed and supported externally and funded by Scottish Government

The group decided to take a dual approach where a new panel would be established to run alongside the expert group and provide lived experience (options 4 or 5).

Given that it would naturally take some time to recruit members and establish a panel, it was suggested that at a workstream level a more flexible approach was adopted, perhaps drawing on existing networks and panels (options 2 or 4).

It was agreed that more consideration was needed in relation to the expertise and capacity to run such a panel, and the need to move at the same pace as the people led work. A further paper would be produced.

Action: Secretariat and Chair to produce a detailed decision paper on the inclusion of experts by experience.

Work planning

The Chair briefly talked through the meeting paper on work planning, which set out 11 workstreams. He invited comment from group members, particularly on whether there was anything missing, and whether the ordering and timing were right. He also invited members to indicate which workstreams they were most interested in taking part in. He indicated that workstreams would report back to the main group, whose purpose was to look at the big picture, that the work of the workstreams could overlap, and that external people could be brought in as necessary.

Some suggestions were made for further work, including:

  • considering approaches for updating and uprating of Minimum Income Standards
  • mapping out dependencies on UK systems
  • piloting – including building in evaluation
  • equalities

It was agreed that the inclusion of equalities would be critical and there was a discussion about the best way to achieve it, for example representing it on every workstream, or having a separate workstream. Further work would be undertaken.

Potential risks were identified such as the capacity to support workstreams, coherence across workstreams and consistency in definition of a MIG.

It was confirmed that Scottish Government secretariat support would be provided to workstreams. It was agreed that everyone would be involved in the first workstream on MIG principles to address consistency of definition. A revised workplan would be produced which would incorporate the points raised at this meeting and set out ways of working (cross-workstream communication, reporting back to the main group) which would promote coherence across workstreams.

Action: Secretariat and Chair to produce a paper on MIG principles.

Members’ interest in joining specific workstreams was noted.

The Chair summed up that the next steps were to draft a more detailed workplan and to assign members to workstreams. Early workstreams would then be able to start, while taking into account any dependencies on other work being completed first.

Action: Secretariat and Chair to produce a more refined and detailed workplan

Action: Secretariat and chair to commence conversations with individual members with a view to getting the work of early workstreams underway.

Stakeholder engagement update

JM, on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Research and Evaluation, gave a presentation to the group on the findings of the public engagement exercise which ran from 16 August to 16 September on the Scottish Government’s Dialogue Platform.

He highlighted that this had been conducted on an interactive Scottish Government platform, intended to generate ideas and dialogue, rather than as a formal Scottish Government consultation and, therefore, the self-selecting responses received could not be taken as representative of the views of the Scottish population.

He gave a read out of the main ideas and comments generated in response to four key questions which had been posed on the platform. To summarise, these questions asked about:

  • the key elements of a MIG
  • the main benefits, challenges and risks of a MIG
  • groups of people who should be given particular attention
  • steps to be taken towards delivery of a MIG

Members found the presentation and report very useful and insightful. Members noted that the responses suggested that there was a need to define a MIG for stakeholders and the public, and to communicate these clearly to counter any confusion about the concept.

A need for a communications strategy was identified, and that the group should consider what further consultation may be required and whether it should be on the same platform or by other means.

Members commented that the results highlighted that public opinion was key to the impact and acceptance of this work, and had provided confirmation of some areas which would need to be addressed.

Next meeting date

The group agreed that the next meeting of the Expert Group would be set for the Tuesday or Thursday of the week commencing 6 December.

The Chair indicated that further engagement with the Cabinet Secretary and Strategy Group was planned.

[Post meeting note: the next meeting of the Expert Group will be on Thursday 9th December 13.00 – 15.00]


There was no other business.

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