This EQIA has been informed by extensive engagement with a range of external stakeholders, as well as the wider public, on a range of matters in relation to social security over a significant period of time.
In July 2016 the Scottish Government launched a public consultation to support the development of a framework that would become the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. 521 formal written responses were submitted, of which 241 were from organisations and 280 from individual respondents.
In 2017 the Scottish Government set up Social Security Experience Panels, with over 2,400 people with lived experience across Scotland registering as panel members.
The 'Disability Assistance in Scotland' Consultation launched in March 2019. This sought the views of the people of Scotland on the three proposed disability assistance benefits. The consultation received 263 replies, of which 74 were from stakeholder organisations and 189 were from individuals.
The Scottish Government has also undertaken ongoing consultation with stakeholders through our independent Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (DACBEAG) as well as the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group.
In addition to the above, the views of people with lived experience have been captured through a range of user research and stakeholder engagement activities held throughout Scotland. These events have provided an opportunity to engage specifically with equality groups that would be impacted by the results of this Bill.
Following the initial consultation on the content of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, a focused consultation was undertaken between 6 August until 29 October 2018 which informed the final content of the Social Security Assistance (Investigation of Offences) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and the Code of Practice for Investigations. Over 200 individuals and organisations were directly invited to respond. As part of that consultation, the question below was asked:
Are you aware of any equality issues we have not identified in terms of introduction of the Investigation of Offences regulations and fraud investigations more generally?
A total of 18 written responses to the full public consultation were received, from individuals and from organisations. The independent analysis of the responses was undertaken by KSO Research. Respondents represented a range of individuals and organisations with knowledge and experience of, or an interest in, social security matters.
A consultation was carried out by the Scottish Government's Chief Medical Officer on the statutory guidance that, as the Act currently stands, registered medical practitioners (doctors) must follow when diagnosing an individual as terminally ill for social security purposes. Both clinicians who will use the guidance and organisations who will support terminally ill clients took part in the managed (non-public) consultation.