Employment Injury Assistance delivery - next steps: consultation

This consultation provides an overview of the benefits that make up the Industrial Injuries Scheme and the unique complexities and challenges of transfer to the Scottish Government, and seeks views on the next steps for delivering Employment Injury Assistance.

Ministerial foreword

Since 2016 we have delivered 14 new social security benefits, 7 of which are completely new, and established Social Security Scotland as a new public service founded on the principle of treating people with dignity, fairness and respect. In 2024/25 we expect to provide benefit payments of £6.3 billion to over 2 million people in Scotland, providing essential and improved support to disabled people and unpaid carers and, through new benefits like the Scottish Child Payment, which modelling estimates will keep 60,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024-25. By the time the current social security devolution programme concludes we will have delivered a further 3 benefits and completed the transfer of around 750,000 existing cases to Social Security Scotland.

By any measure this has been an extraordinary achievement. I would like to thank again the many individuals and stakeholder groups that have worked with us since 2016 to successfully establish this new Scottish social security system.

The final devolved benefit to be replaced by a new benefit is the Industrial Injuries Scheme. We intend to replace this with a new benefit called Employment Injury Assistance. We are considering carefully how to implement this new benefit. This paper describes the unique challenges and opportunities in doing so and invites views on the best way to proceed.

I know how important the Industrial Injuries Scheme is to the 24,000 people in Scotland who currently receive this support, with payments totalling over £80 million per year. I also share the concerns many people have about the Scheme and their ambition that Employment Injury Assistance should better reflect the modern economy and workforce, including addressing the significant under-representation of women. I am committed to considering how Employment Injury Assistance can best meet the needs of the people of Scotland while protecting payments to current clients which is, as always, our utmost priority. I also recognise, however, that for as long as powers on health and safety and employment law continue to be reserved to Westminster, our freedom to put in place a new and comprehensive approach will be constrained.

I know some people want to move quickly to deliver a new and modernised Employment Injury Assistance. As explained in this paper that is not practicable in the immediate future. The current Scheme was introduced in 1948 and is almost entirely paper-based with information about people's awards held in bulky paper case files going back many years and seeking to move them would present risks to ensuring the continuity of payments. More generally, given the dated eligibility rules and approach to administration we need to think carefully about whether to proceed initially to establish a 'like-for-like' benefit scheme pending later reform, in line with our usual approach, or whether instead we should guarantee continuity to existing clients and focus on delivering a reformed and modernised benefit. Developing and delivering a modernised benefit that is more reflective of occupational health in Scotland will take time.

These are the key questions considered in this consultation. Following decisions on immediate next steps we will consult widely on all aspects of Employment Injury Assistance and establish a stakeholder advisory group to support that work.

I look forward to hearing your views and thank you for contributing.

Shirley-Anne Somerville

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice


Email: EIAconsultation@gov.scot

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