Communication and Advice
16. The need for clear guidance for both client advisors and clients, and for effective promotion of FEA at all stages to maximise uptake has been highlighted during consultation and at meetings with stakeholders. Widespread training and awareness raising of FEA will also be required among partner agencies and advice and advocacy services to ensure that appropriate signposting is provided, and that applicants can access the necessary information and be suitably supported throughout the process. Ensuring that potential recipients clearly understand the application and appeals process is key.
17. Promotion of FEA will include marketing activity to launch the new benefit, which will be aligned with ongoing work with stakeholders to ensure that there is an awareness of the new entitlement. This communications and marketing activity will also be aligned with wider work within the Scottish Government to promote Scottish Government support available for low income persons.
18. We previously provided funding to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in 2016/17 to develop training for advisors to better support people to apply for the current FEP as part of our take up activity, and to help them provide advice on long term funeral planning. Both eLearning modules have been rolled out across CAS for its 2,300 advisers and are available to anyone else with an interest through the CPAG website.
19. In addition to Social Security Scotland client advisers being able to give people comprehensive advice and support on our benefits we are also again actively engaging with the advice sector to understand the impacts of FEA, and identify how we can work in partnership to support clients. We are considering what learning options we can provide that will best meet the needs of third sector advisors and others who support people applying for FEA at the point of the launch to ensure advice services get the information they need to be able to advise clients effectively. For example, Social Security Scotland may provide a range of options such as eLearning module, a training pack, or other materials that meet stakeholders needs.
Email: Mark Cook