Section 1: What is this discussion paper about?
This government is committed to improving support for Scotland's carers and designing a replacement for Carer's Allowance which works better for the people of Scotland. We have listened to the views of carers, support organisations and the public, and have heard about a number of things people would like to change about the existing benefit. As the delivery function of Social Security Scotland has developed, there are also now opportunities to link Scottish Carer's Assistance into wider carer support in a way that was not possible under previous arrangements.
At the same time, we know Carer's Allowance is one of the most complex benefits being devolved, in terms of its links to support which will remain reserved to the UK Government. It is really important that we take the time to get the design right, and continue to work with carers, and those who support them, to shape Scottish Carer's Assistance.
This paper is a key part of that work and we have set out our intended process for developing Scottish Carer's Assistance in Diagram 1. We recognise that the next steps in this process will be a matter for a future administration. However, we are sharing our proposed aims for Scottish Carer's Assistance based on what we have learned so far, so that discussions can continue to progress. This will maintain momentum towards delivery of Scottish Carer's Assistance within the next parliamentary term.
It is expected that the feedback from the discussions on this paper would be used to finalise the aims for Scottish Carer's Assistance. A number of proposals for Scottish Carer's Assistance have been identified in our work to date. The refined aims and other relevant factors would be used to develop these proposals further and to assess priorities, using an analytical process known as a Multi Criteria Analysis.
The factors in this analysis would be those used previously in key decisions about Scottish social security: dignity and respect; equality and poverty; efficiency and alignment; implementation and risk; and economy and society. The analysis would also help identify which proposals are capable of being put in place from the launch of the new assistance. Others would be able to be taken forward once the transfer to Scottish Carer's Assistance for carers currently in receipt of Carer's Allowance has been completed, or over the longer term.
We would plan to consult later this year on the preferred proposals for Scottish Carer's Assistance identified through the assessment process, making clear when they could be delivered.
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