Section 10 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 requires Scottish Ministers to ensure that independent advocacy services are available to support disabled people who, because of their disability, need an advocacy worker's help to make a claim to Social Security Scotland. This is a key part of delivering our system based on dignity, fairness and respect. The Act does not define disability and it would be for individuals to self-identify as such.
Section 11 of the Act also requires Scottish Ministers to set service standards. These standards will need to be complied with by services as part of any agreement for the provision of advocacy services entered into by Scottish Ministers.
The advocacy service standards are being set to ensure that advocacy support is provided to a consistently high quality across Scotland.
Advocacy gives people the help they may need to:
- Speak up and make their own choices
- Say if they are not happy with a decision about benefits
- Know their rights about benefits and get their rights
- Ask questions and get information.
About the Consultation Process
The Scottish Government sought views on the draft service standards between 11 July and 7 October 2019. The objective of the consultation was to gather views from individuals and organisations to ensure that the standards will deliver a high quality, inclusive and consistently delivered service.
The responses to the consultation will shape the way we continue to develop our approach to social security advocacy in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has published an analysis of responses to the consultation and the report is available here: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839605031
77 responses were received in total with 41 being from individuals and 36 from organisations.
When discussing the prevalence of certain views, we have used the following terms to indicate the proportion of consultation responses that raised a particular point:
- "Few": 5-9%
- "Some": 10-19%
- "Many": 20-49%
- "Most" or "majority": 50-74%
- "Large majority" or "broad agreement": 75 -89%
- "Consensus": 90% or more
This document sets out what action we now intend to take in response to the views expressed.