Social Security (Act) 2018: progress report 2019 to 2020

This report is published under Section 20 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 which requires Scottish Ministers to report annually on the performance of the Scottish social security system.

Section 2: Introduction

The Act creates the legal framework under which nine types of social security assistance will be given to people by Scottish Ministers. These forms of assistance are:

  • Carer’s assistance
  • Cold-spell heating assistance 
  • Winter heating assistance 
  • Disability assistance 
  • Early years assistance
  • Employment-injury assistance 
  • Funeral expense assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Short-term assistance 

Scottish Ministers are also given the power to make regulations establishing schemes to top-up social security assistance paid to people by the UK Government. The Act provides directly for Scottish Ministers to make the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, a top-up to Carer’s Allowance, which is paid on behalf of Scottish Ministers by the UK Government. Sections 79 and 95 of the Act allows Scottish Ministers to introduce Scottish Child Payment.

The Act sets out key features of the Scottish social security system. These include: 

  • the definition of 8 Scottish social security principles as a foundation for the system; 
  • the creation of a Scottish social security charter, which sets out standards for the provision of social security in Scotland that are aligned with the Scottish social security principles;
  • the establishment of a Scottish Commission on Social Security which, amongst other things, is to be involved in the scrutiny of legislation and report on the extent to which the expectations set out in the Charter are being fulfilled;
  • duties on Scottish Ministers to promote the take-up of Scottish social security; 
  • a requirement for Scottish Ministers to ensure that suitable advocacy support is available for those who, due to a disability, need that help to navigate the Scottish social security system; and
  • a requirement for Scottish Ministers to report annually to the Scottish Parliament on the performance of the Scottish social security system. 

Section 87 of the Act also requires Scottish Ministers to report on the number of individuals who had the right to appeal against a Scottish social security decision and the number of individuals who exercised that right to appeal. Scottish Ministers must also indicate whether they consider that the process to determine entitlement needs to be amended. 

Going forward, the requirement for, as well as the format and content of both the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland’s annual reports will be reviewed to ensure that material is not duplicated whilst maintaining the reporting requirements of the Act. 



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