Information

Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group minutes: 15 December 2021

Minutes from the Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group, held on 15 December 2021.


Attendees and apologies

Strategy group members

  • Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
  • Shona Robison (chair) (SNP)
  • Miles Briggs, MSP (Conservative)
  • Pam Duncan-Glancy, MSP (Labour)
  • Caron Lindsay (Lib Dems)

Strategy group nominees

  • Tanya Jones (for Green).

Invited expert group member

  • Russell Gunson (Expert Group chair)

Secretariat

  • Nicola Radley
  • Callum Smith

Apologies

  • Maggie Chapman, MSP (Green)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government welcomed everyone to the meeting and led introductions.

The Cabinet Secretary thanked Russell Gunson for the good progress made by the Expert Group. She confirmed that the purpose of the current meeting was for strategy group members to receive and comment upon updates from the expert group’s work to date, with no decisions to be taken.

Expert group update – foundation principles

Russell Gunson gave an update on the development of the Expert Group’s foundation principles, which aimed to provide coherence and a common understanding of what was in the scope of their work, as that group prepared to break into working groups and involve experts by experience. He re-iterated that the Expert Group was a working group and set out the concept of MIG as an umbrella under which an array of potential interventions sit. He highlighted the importance of the support of broad consensus, and welcomed the cross- party support of the work to date.

Mr Gunson talked through the principles and proposed changes following on from the expert group’s discussion. He set out that the principles were not a hierarchy and that they would be revisitable. He highlighted co-design as a key foundation principle.

Strategy Group members welcomed the document and work to date, and recognised the importance of setting parameters. A suggestion was made that when the expert group look at how the level of a MIG would be evaluated, they may wish to take into account how the income thresholds used for Winter Fuel Payment operate for people are on the edge of fuel poverty. It was also suggested that the Expert Group should consider the different needs of rural and urban households in Scotland.

The Expert Group was commended for taking a strategic point of view on equalities from the outset, given the importance of women and other protected groups being able to participate safely financially in society.

Expert group updates

Experts by experience

Mr Gunson introduced the proposal to establish a panel of experts by experience, making clear how the need to do this work inclusively and well, with an eye on long term outcomes, had come through strongly since the first steering group meeting in August.

Strategy Group members were interested in how the expert group would help to ensure the panel of experts by experience were appropriately representative of protected groups in Scotland, and how they could ensure that people with the right experience were represented in different parts of the work. They were keen to ensure that an Equality Impact Assessment be built into the tendering process. They were also keen to understand how the successful tenderer would seek to recruit people in poverty or financial insecurity who would not normally engage with, or who may not realise they are entitled to, services.

Workplan

The Cabinet Secretary said that she thought it was valuable for the expert group to make sure that they are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders beyond “the bubble” that policy development can often take place within.

Mr Gunson highlighted the expertise of group members, and how they would work together in a supportive yet challenging way. He ran through the workplan agreed by the Expert Group at their 9 December meeting, briefly describing the planned workstreams and way of working. He invited comments.

Strategy Group members welcomed the workplan as comprehensive and well set out. A suggestion was made that the needs of care leavers and people with precarious work was considered within the MIG level workstream. Members had suggestions of organisations which could be involved. It was also suggested that alongside considering what could be delivered within existing powers, delivery within existing systems (particularly IT systems) should be considered.

AOB

The next Strategy Group meeting will take place before summer recess.

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