Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group: June 2022 minutes and meeting papers

Minutes and papers from the meeting of the group on 9 June 2022.


Strategy group attendees

  • Shona Robison MSP, Chair, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
  • Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP, Scottish Labour Party
  • Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Green Party
  • Lindsay Caron, Scottish Liberal Democrat Party

Expert Group

  • Russell Gunson, The Robertson Trust - Head of Programmes and Practice
  • Andy White, Citizens’ Basic Income Steering Group - Senior Officer
  • Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland - Senior Policy Advisor
  • Chris Bir, JRF - Associate Director for Scotland
  • Ed Pybus, CPAG - Policy and Parliamentary Officer
  • Eierann McAuley, STUC - Policy Officer
  • Fiona Collie, Carers Scotland - Head of Policy and Public Affairs
  • Gerry McCartney, Citizens’ Basic Income Steering Group - Professor of Wellbeing Economy
  • Marion Davis OPFS, Director Policy, Communication & Strategy
  • Peter Kelly, Poverty Alliance - Director
  • Philip Whyte, IPPR Scotland - Director
  • Satwat Rehman, OPFS, Chief Executive
  • Tressa Burke GDA, Chief Executive
  • Vonnie Sandlan, Children 1st

Secretariat and Scottish Government Observers

  • Chris Loh, Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Seona Carnegie, Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Elaine Moir, Financial Wellbeing
  • Ruth Steele, Social Security Futures
  • Nicola Cowan, Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Saleem Hassan, Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Kathleen Robertson, Fair Work

Actions

  • MIGSGSG2/1 - update on Universal Basic Services to be shared with Expert Group
  • MIGSGSG2/2- Secretariat to provide Cabinet Secretary and the Strategy Group with briefing paper on Minimum Income Standard (MIS) and explore opportunities for providing a presentation to the Steering Group
  • MIGSGSG2/3- officials to work with the Strategy Group members to consider Cross-Party approach to raising awareness and gaining public support for a MIG
  • MIGSGSG2/4- Secretariat to speak with communications and media contacts to develop core script on the interim report to support MSPs and stakeholders with public messaging
  • MIGSGSG2/5- Secretariat to schedule next round of Workstream meetings and establish Drafting Group meetings
  • MIGSGSG2/6- Secretariat to organise a meeting between Welsh Government colleagues and the Expert Group to share learning from their pilot of a MIG

Decision

Proposed timeline for future Workstream and Drafting Group meetings (paper 3) approved by the expert group.

Minutes

Welcome and introductions

The Cabinet Secretary welcomed members, thanked them for their ongoing work and provided an outline of the meeting.

Expert Group update on progress to date through workstreams – Russell Gunson (MIGSGSG2/ paper 1)

An overview of paper 1 was shared, including progress from the five Workstreams tasked with specific aspects of work under the Expert Group. Each Workstream has met 3 times and future meeting timelines will be discussed later in the meeting. Several actions that have been progress were highlighted including:

  • the EQIA process being taken forward by the Equalities Workstream to ensure this is considered throughout
  • the Social Security Workstream are looking into how social security can drive financial security and key design features, learning lessons from existing benefits
  • level workstream has been exploring Minimum Income Standard (MIS) work that is being led by Loughborough University

Several analytical tasks are being reviewed by Scottish Government colleagues to help inform decisions and next steps.

The experts by Experience Panel invitation to tender process is now complete and the successful organisation has been notified. This will be integral to the work and bring people with experience to the forefront of the process.

Discussion focussed on the Equalities Workstream. Noted there is a living document containing a list of relevant questions for consideration around the impacts of a MIG on those with protected characteristics. This will be used to inform the thinking of the other workstreams. There are plans for six workshops to further develop this thinking. Each workshop will be facilitated by relevant external organisations to ensure a wide range of voices are heard. All Expert Group members will be invited to participate in the sessions which will consider women, race, disability, care experienced, LGBTQI+, labour market exclusion/employability and intersectionality.

Initial analysis commissioned by each of the workstreams is expected to be returned at the end of June, this will be shared with the Expert Group once available.

The additional costs for disabled people and carers are being considered as part of the Levels workstream and a literature search on this issue has been commissioned.

Work is ongoing to look at self-employed group, considering the impact of COVID-19 and current financial situation. Learning lessons from this group will be very important. The Work Workstream have spoken with the creative sectors to investigate their understanding of a MIG, currently this is being confused with a Universal Basic Income. Feedback suggests that there is general support for a MIG from creative and self-employed sectors but there remain questions around deliverabilityIt was noted that a MIG would not be a standalone solution to the issue of insecure work and needs to align with the Fair Work agenda.

Noted that the conversation is different for those unable to work to supplement their income.

Discussion around the impact of the cost of living crisis and whether the process can be sped up, can the interim report include a specific action to support people in the short term. Members reassured by the Cabinet Secretary that conversation are ongoing within Scottish Government to review what support can be provided as an immediate or earlier response to the ongoing cost of living crisis. The Resource Spending Review forecasts that £23 billion will be invested in Social Security Scotland over the current parliamentary term Once the case transfer process is completed there will be opportunities to refocus Scottish benefits

Suggested that work towards Universal Basic Services (UBS) could be helpful in considering the scope of a MIG. Agreed that the Secretariat would provide an update on UBS at of before the next Expert Group meeting. There was discussion around how to consider the take up of services which may differ between groups when establishing the baseline position in relation to a MIG. If some groups are not accessing services, such as childcare or transport, can we consider this as contributing to their income.

Next expert group meeting

There is work ongoing to deliver IT systems in Social Security Scotland and the Secretariat have identified resource and support to inform the work of the Expert Group. The logistics of delivery is being consider and a greater focus on delivery is expected in the second year of the expert group’s workplan.

There has been no decision on whether a MIG would be a single payment or a suite of interventions. There was discussion around the trade-off between how flexible a MIG can be and how easily this can be accessed by people.

Action: Secretariat to provide Cab Sec with briefing paper on MIS and share note with the expert group.

Expert group update on plans for the Interim Report – Russell Gunson (MIGSGSG2/paper 2)

Summary for paper two which explains the approach and timelines to produce an interim report was shared. This will remain high level and include a description for what a MIG is, outline the high-level elements of a MIG, explore the benefits and provide narrative around the progress to date.

The Secretariat will be providing support to the Drafting Group and progress will be reported to the expert group. This work will begin in June.

Cabinet Secretary agreed that a two stage approach as proposed would be useful. Suggested that the group should consider the risks around any recommendations in the report. This will be discussed within the group and may be included in the Interim Report in the interests of transparency. The paper is expected to focus on the potential benefits of a MIG to raise public awareness and support.

Discussion on the content of the report suggested that it should set out the issues that a MIG would seek to improve. The evolving cost of living crisis should also form part of the Interim Report, including looking at where different priority groups are currently in relation to the Minimum Income Standard.

Request for Strategy Group to consider how they can support public engagement ahead of the interim report publication. For example, a cross-party event or formal consultation following the Interim Report could be undertaken. Additionally, materials could be produced to support messaging at a regional or constituency level such as one-pagers or briefings. The interim report could be helpful to raise awareness in parliament. Highlighted that the French Citizen Assembly has good examples on how to involve seldom heard groups which could be useful to consider when developing communication plans.

Interim report will be published by the end of the year with the first draft ready in early Autumn.

Action: officials to work with the strategy group members to consider cross-party approach to raising awareness and gaining public support for a MIG.

It was observed that the general level of awareness around the concept of a MIG is low compared to a UBI. Expert Group members advised that they would be happy to invite members of political parties to their organisations events to build awareness and support.

Highlighted that the message being communicated to the public is tricky, particularly because there are no firm design decisions yet.

the Interim report is not expected to set out a firm proposal therefore we need to consider what the key messages are to raise awareness and public support. The interim report is an opportunity to differentiate and make a case for MIG versus UBI.

Action: Secretariat to speak with communications and media contacts to develop core script on the interim report to support MSPs and stakeholders with public messaging

14.55: Strategy Group leave the meeting.

Planning the next cycle of workstream meetings - RG (MIGSGSG2/ paper 3)

Proposal: 3 rounds of workstream meetings to take place before the end of the year which will run simultaneously to monthly Interim Report Drafting Group meetings.

Suggested that a detailed GANTT chart would be helpful to break down the steps required to produce the interim report. The Secretariat are working with the Chair to develop a comprehensive plan. There is an expectation that the report will be concise so that people will engage. Deadline can be flexible, however the aim is still currently to complete this work before the end of the year.

Highlighted that the interim report is being led by the expert group and not Scottish Government so will not require extensive internal clearance.

Decision: proposed timeline in paper three approved by the expert group.

Those who volunteered to input were thanked, members have been selected and will be informed of this shortly. The Secretariat will be in touch about scheduling and the drafting group.

Action: Secretariat to schedule next round of workstream meetings and establish drafting group meetings.

Additionally, equalities workstream will need to provide timelines for equalities workshops which will include meetings focusing on women, race, disability, care experienced, LGBTQI+ and intersectionality.

Current research and commissioning – RG (MIGSGSG2/ paper 4)

Research commissions shared with the group (Paper 4), these are currently being considered by Scottish Government analytical colleagues. Some further clarification is needed to finalise the scope of the asks, but officials are confident that, with support from the expert group, the analysis will be completed to deadlines. Public opinion commissions, including focus group and polling will likely be commissioned outside of the Scottish Government.

Noted the care experience or Welsh pilot has not been included in the asks, however conversations have taken place with Welsh Government and progress is too early to provide detail on learning/impacts. Mentioned that there are significant ethical considerations about people that are taking part in the pilot that would be helpful to discuss.

Action: Secretariat to organise a meeting between Welsh Government colleagues to share thinking on the pilot.

Expect the literature review on the additional cost if disability and caring and whether this is addressed by existing benefits will not reveal much as there is a limited amount of research on additional costs for disabled people. The level workstream should be considering the MIS for each household with the addition of disabled people.

Fairness to future generations had not previously been specifically included in the equalities workplan and is part of the age-related considerations.

Expect the UBS will be important when looking at setting levels for a MIG. Comment on how you quantify a service that people do not take up needs to be resolved.

Services that are universally free should be counted; childcare is a good example. It is known that some groups have additional costs and less opportunities for example, people with disabilities and carers. Consideration of what is in and out of scope should be resolved in the interim report.

15.35: Observers and secretariat leave the meeting.

Suggested that research commissions could be prioritised to manage workloads however, the Scottish Government analysts undertaking the work believe this will not be needed. External commissions will need to be progressed as a priority to account for the additional time required by the tendering process.

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funding opportunity for UBI research raised. Conversation ongoing between Expert Group member and a team within the University of Glasgow to look at modelling but this needs to have a health outcome. Timelines would be extensive but could be a consideration as a piece of long-term research.

15:35: Observers and secretariat leave the meeting.

Contact

MIGsecretariat@gov.scot

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