Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group minutes: March 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 9 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Expert Group

  • Russell Gunson (RG), Chair, Head of Programmes and Practice at The Robertson Trust
  • Bill Scott (BS), Senior Policy Advisor at Inclusion Scotland
  • Cat Murphy (CM), Executive Director of Engender
  • Chris Birt (CB), Associate Director for Scotland at JRF
  • Ed Pybus (EP), Policy and Parliamentary Officer at CPAG
  • Fiona Collie (FC), Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers Scotland
  • Gerard McCartney (GM), Professor of Wellbeing Economy at the University of Glasgow
  • Mubin Haq (MH), Chief Executive of ABRDN Financial Fairness Trust
  • Phillip Whyte (PW), Director of IPPR Scotland
  • Satwat Reham (SR), Chief Executive of OPFS,
  • Tressa Burke (TB), Chief Executive of GDA

Expert by Experience Panel Members

  • Eilidh
  • Euan
  • Robbie


  • Elaine Moir (EM), Financial Wellbeing, Scottish Government
  • Elizabeth Sloan (ES), Programme Management and Delivery, Scottish Government
  • Evelyn Bowes (EB), Social Security Research and Evaluation, Scottish Government
  • Louise MacAllister (LM), Engagement Lead, Involve
  • Stephen Garland (SG), Fair Work, Scottish Government
  • Susanne Muller (SM), Engagement Lead, Involve


  • Caitlin Forsyth (CF), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Cowan (NC), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Ruth Steele (RS), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Seona Carnegie (SC), Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government


  • Andy White, Senior Officer at Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Eireann McAuley, Policy Officer at STUC
  • Peter Kelly, Director of Poverty Alliance
  • Rachel Statham, Senior Researcher at IPPR

Items and actions


  • MIG Policy team to create an Expert Group Risk Assessment for comment by correspondence and agreement at the next meeting
  • RG and MIG Policy Team to draft a process for full report sign off for comment by correspondence and agreement at the next meeting
  • MIG Policy Team to create terms of reference for workstreams and revisit the Expert Group remit for comment by correspondence and agreement at the next meeting
  • MIG Policy Team to review membership with a view to filling gaps in areas such as business, economy, taxation and work. New members list will be agreed with the Chair and signed off by the Cabinet Secretary
  • MIG Policy Team will map out dependencies and priorities and develop a detailed project plan for discussion and sign-off at the next meeting. How we are going to use the face to face session with RG on 30 March will inform this

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members and introductions were completed.

The minutes from the last Steering Group meeting on 25 January were agreed.

Expert by Experience panel session 3 feedback

Involve provided feedback on session 3 of EbE which focused on the level of the MIG and what is needed to live a dignified life.

Members from the panel were invited to share their thoughts on the session.

  • the biggest battle may be the myth dispelling and overcoming the anti-benefit sentiment
  • worried people are going to see it as a pay out and not necessary. Everyone will have a different level in mind that is required for people to live a dignified life
  • would like to see more integration and see Q&A within the small groups and speakers to be able to ask more questions
  • would like to see more integration between the EbE and Expert Group to get a fuller picture of everyone’s perspective
  • there are low levels of support and low levels of uptake. There’s stigma attached to receiving benefits as though people that do are worth less and not a real member of community
  • need to think about other ways how living a dignified life can be achieved not just from the financial side. Thinking about nationalising the energy supply could be a good step
  • it was questioned why the EbE panel was needed. It was reiterated that it is important users are involved in the design to ensure it works for the people who need it and that the same mistakes don’t happen again

Interim report

The group were informed that the Expert Group Interim Report will be published on the Scottish Government website on Friday 24 March and will be circulated by email. Members are encouraged to share the report with their networks. 

An Easy Read version will also be ready for final launch.

Confirmed that this in the Expert Group’s report and will be published on the Scottish Government website. Agreed to formalise the sign-off process for the final draft of the Expert Groups Final report.

Discussion around framing of the paper, which states a MIG doesn’t need to wait, but is light on recommendations for immediate actions. Agreed that a MIG doesn’t need to wait in terms of powers, and that recommendations for actions will be set out in the final report.

There was agreement that it’s best being published before the outcome of the leadership election to maintain momentum and Scottish Government commitments. 

It was reminded that a MIG was never just a social security payment and people receiving more money. It’s a bigger and longer ambition that we need to work through in year two.

Structure and ways of working

An overview of paper 2 was provided.

Main changes are to reduce the number of groups and meetings to reduce asks on members and focus work on strategic issues and deliverables. 

Points of discussions included:

  • the Drafting Group will work with officials on the Full Report and the full Group will contribute/comment on drafts by correspondence. A formal sign off process for the report will be developed
  • what counts as income for a MIG? What does the payment itself look like? How would this interact with other social security payments. What’s the role of capital? Analysis of risks on this process?
  • risk analysis is needed e.g. public support. MIG Policy team confirmed they have already thought about doing a risk assessment
  • there was general agreement from members on Paper 2 on reducing groups as the number of meetings made it difficult to make progress in year 1
  • the proposal does not focus on project management, need to build out the GANT chart and include more granular information on what analysis needs to take place and decision making. MIG Policy team confirmed a lot of work is still being planned
  • there are worries about how we have divided up the thinking of groups, better to have a method. Maybe consider doing a EQIA at different points
  • impact assessments should be integrated into process so need this built into the process
  • suggested that early discussions with DWP and HMRC would be helpful to understand delivery opportunities and risks
  • the outcomes of any commissioned research and analysis will be shared between workstreams
  • involvement of business is needed, should also think about employability and family friendly working
  • the dependencies need to be mapped and questions identified and agreed before beginning meetings 
  • if there are new ministers, how can we get them on board? Need to make it clear that the Expert Group are expecting a commitment from SG to take forward recommendations. Important the Interim Report is published before any change to maintain the commitment. There remains cross-party support. The remit of the Expert Group is to produce a set of actions and recommendations  that are not dismissible. Highlighted that whatever comes out in the final report will have budget implications, suggested this is included in any advice to ministers
  • can we bring someone in from the SG Equality team to support for the impact assessments 
  • need to look at the workstream model and how this relates to equalities as unsure its worked and need a much more integrated approach
  • the Expert Group should change the political narrative. The savings can come down the line
  • the renewables sector could help lift people up
  • question on whether there is an economist on the group 
  • should look to the national performance framework
  • need to raise public awareness of various aspects from design to how a MIG is funded. MH suggested Donald Hirch could support with public opinion and links to MIS
  • tax revenue group BS is working on – Wales doing work around council tax

Work plan

Members were asked to consider the high level timeline and provide any feedback or comments to the secretariat by email.

The Secretariat will begin to get into the lower levels of detail and project planning to and required structures and processes to meet the time scales for the final report. 

Check in point at the end of summer to see if the timeline needs to shift. 

Private reflections

Scottish Government members left the meeting to give the Expert Group members time to reflect.

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