Information

Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 27 September 2022.


Attendees and apologies

Expert group

  • Russell Gunson (Chair), Head of Programmes and Practice at The Robertson Trust
  • Andy White, Citizens’ Basic Income Steering Group - Senior Officer
  • Chris Birt, Associate Director for Scotland at JRF
  • Fiona Collie, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers Scotland
  • John Dickie, Director of CPAG Scotland
  • Mubin Haq, Chief Executive of ABRDN Financial Fairness Trust
  • Peter Kelly, Director at Poverty Alliance
  • Catherine Murphy, Executive Director of Engender
  • Philip Whyte, Director of IPPR Scotland
  • Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive of OPFS
  • Tressa Burke, Chief Executive of GDA

Observers

  • Amy Stuart, Employability, Scottish Government
  • Anne Shiels, Employability, Scottish Government
  • Elaine Moir, Financial Wellbeing, Scottish Government
  • Evelyn Bowes, Social Security Research and Evaluation, Scottish Government
  • Louise MacAllister, Involve
  • Ruth Steele, Social Security Futures, Scottish Government

Secretariat

  • Seona Carnegie, Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Cowan, Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Saleem Hassan, Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Chris Loh, Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Radley, Minimum Income Guarantee, Scottish Government

Apologies

Eireann McAuley; Gerry McCartney; Ed Pybus; Bill Scot; Rachel Statham.

Items and actions

Actions

  • PW to send short term recommendations for a Minimum Income Guarantee to the Secretariat team
  • Expert Group members to consider their availability to join the Piloting, Implementation and Evaluation workstream and notify the Secretariat

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and led introductions for new people in the group. He introduced the papers and outlined the focus of this meeting. The minute of the previous meeting on 9 June 2022 was agreed.

Experts by experience panel

The Chair gave an update on the cancelled Experts by Experience meeting and explained the importance of keeping attendance in the group up to date for the panel members attending.

Involve delivered a presentation on the Experts by Experience Panel. The first meeting of the panel was planned to be in person to build a relationship of trust within the group. Unfortunately, the first meeting had to be postponed due to the death of the Queen.

Consequently, panel members did not attend today’s meeting, but to compensate, Involve will be inviting Expert Group members to an informal meeting with the Experts by Experience Panel members. In addition, a volunteer from the expert group may be asked to present at the rescheduled meeting on the 15th of October.

Involve discussed the frequency of future meetings and the outputs that can be expected. In response to a question about the level of support offered to panel members before and after meetings, Louise explained that external organisations have been brought in to support and that facilitators may also get additional training.

Interim report content

The Chair introduced the draft structure and content paper and explained that was developed by the Chair and Drafting Group with support from the Secretariat. He noted that the Expert Group will not meet again before the paper is finalised and this session was the last opportunity, for the Expert Group to discuss the paper as a whole. Engagement with the drafting will be through the Drafting Group and workstreams. The introduction of the paper will focus on social security reform and the wider economic uncertainties in recent history. It then introduces the Minimum Income Guarantee as a potential answer to the existing issues.

A summary of the research used in the decision making will be included within the report or as an annex.

The report will be drafted through October supported by the Secretariat and input from the Drafting Group before going back to the workstreams for further discussion and refining.

The group was asked for comments and questions. Feedback included:

  • the development of the structure and content of the report so far was positively received by group members
  • there was a suggestion that section three was moved or placed in an annex
  • it was noted there is still tightening up to do in terms of structure and language
  • the report should clearly set out what is possible in this parliament
  • consideration of means tests is likely to be touched upon in the report
  • being able to draw out Fair Work and Universal Basic Services in the report will be important
  • reflections from the Citizens’ Basic Income group, and a reminder that it is important that the interim report keeps pace with the work and aspiration of the Expert group and does not jump ahead. The report should be honest that this is a complex intervention and that the Expert Group are aware of this
  • drafting group to consider what would constitute acceptable standards of services and if this can be brought into a MIG
  • proposed recommendations in the report should not be easily dismissible

The discussion also touched on plans towards a final report and it was noted that this might include wider economic recommendations not just social security ones.

The Expert Group need to ensure that the Minimum Income Guarantee principles are not undermined by the terminology. The principle most central to this is how we use the Minimum Income Standard which quantifies an acceptable standard of living.

How services are considered as part of the Minimum income guarantee needs to be further considered.

Piloting, implementation and evaluation membership

There was a request for volunteers for this workstream. The group were made aware that individuals external to the Expert Group will be brought into this workstream as well. This workstream will be important for setting out the first steps for the final report. This workstream will look at what groups a pilot might include and how to do this. The Chair will look to refresh the workstreams and membership in year two.

Any other business

The group were asked how they are feeling about the ask of taking part in the workstreams. Known attendance would be crucial once the Experts by Experience Panel members were involved. Group members asked for papers as early in advance as possible and the frequency of meetings to be reviewed.

An official highlighted the work of the group and Secretariat over the summer and thanked everyone for their participation.

Private reflections

Group members took the remainder of the meeting for private discussion with no observers or secretariat present.

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