The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, enacted on 1 June 2018, gave Scotland a unique opportunity to establish a new social security system for the people of Scotland, and to do so with dignity, fairness and respect at the heart of everything we do.
This report provides a progress update on the implementation of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) from 1 April 2019 until the end of March 2020, and focusses on the policy aspects where the Scottish Government has a particular role and duty to report. The report is designed to complement Social Security Scotland’s own comprehensive progress report which focusses on operational aspects.
Much was achieved during the year covered by the report, with aspects within Part 1 of the 2018 Act being progressed and delivered including the design and introduction of the Charter Measurement Framework, key steps towards the delivery of an advocacy service and the introduction of the Benefit Take Up Strategy. Although promoting take-up is a duty placed upon the Scottish Government by the 2018 Act, it is more than that. It is a moral imperative, and a fundamental priority, which feeds into our wider commitments around tackling poverty and inequalities in all forms.
It’s was also a successful year for implementing Scottish benefits, with the delivery of Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment, Best Start Grant School Age Payment, Best Start Foods, Funeral Support Payment and Young Carer Grant.
The Scottish Government face considerable challenges ahead such as COVID-19– 19 and EU Exit. Every one of us is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world and it brings with it inevitable impacts for some of the most vulnerable in society. The Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland are doing everything possible to provide crucial support to people in Scotland during this difficult time, and we introduced emergency Coronavirus legislation to help us manage this.
I am grateful for the support and advice the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland have received over the last year. I look forward to working together with our stakeholders over the next year to continue our work at pace and to meeting our ultimate goal of delivering an outstanding social security system with respect and dignity at its heart.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People