Draft regulations making provision in relation to social security appeals: government response

This report covers the views of all those who provided feedback during the consultation process and explains where the draft regulations have been revised.


1. The Scotland Act 2016 gives the Scottish Parliament legislative competence in relation to 11 social security benefits. These represent about 15% of UK social security spend in Scotland, ultimately worth around £3.3 billion annually. Delivery of the 11 benefits, in some form, will become a devolved responsibility of the Scottish Ministers. The 11 benefits, as currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP) are:

  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant;
  • Carer's Allowance;
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance;
  • Discretionary Housing Payments;
  • Funeral Payment;
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit;
  • Personal Independence Payment;
  • Severe Disablement Allowance; and
  • Winter Fuel Payment.

2. The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) allows Scottish Ministers to deliver new, improved benefits, to replace the 11 DWP benefits as listed.

3. The then Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities statement to Parliament on 30 May 2017 set out that the Scottish Government will begin to deliver the first wave of social security benefits by Summer 2019. The First Minister announced on 4 September in the Programme for Government that the first full benefit to be delivered by Social Security Scotland (the agency) will be the Best Start Grant ( BSG). The agency will start making payments for BSG by this Christmas.

4. The Scottish Government has made clear its intention is to take a different approach that is rights-based and to build a social security system that is founded on the principles of fairness, dignity and respect ensuring those with lived experience of the current system co-design the new social security system in Scotland. These ambitions are at the heart of everything the new system will do, including how the tribunal system for social security appeals will operate.

5. The Scottish Government is introducing a different approach to decision making and appeals, one which aims to get decisions right first time. It is taking a rights based approach that respects the dignity of the individual. The Scottish Government has always been clear that people will have a right to challenge if they believe that the new agency, Social Security Scotland, has not made the right decision and that the process for challenging a decision is as simple and straight forward as possible.

6. To ensure an individual is able to challenge the decision of the agency through an independent institution, Scottish Ministers decided that a new chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland will be created to hear appeals in relation to social security cases in the Scottish system. This was decided against the background of discussions that are currently taking place with the UK Government on the devolution of the reserved tribunals, including the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, under the Scotland Act 2016. The transfer will not take place prior to the first wave of social security benefits being delivered and it has therefore been necessary to set up a new chamber within the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.


Email: Naeem Bhatti

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