Annex G: Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment Summary
The advocacy service standards will help in the promotion of the Economic Strategy and in the delivery of the priorities for sustainable growth. Our assessment of the impact of the advocacy service standards in relation to the five principles of better regulation is as follows:
- proportionate – The advocacy service standards will mainly impact on services and applicants, though there may be secondary positive impacts for some businesses as a result of increased expenditure by people receiving benefits. The Scottish Government will look to identify and minimise any indirect impacts, for example administrative burdens, on third sector organisations as a result of delivering the service standards.
- consistent – The advocacy service standards will ensure the delivery of consistent advocacy support across Scotland.
- accountable – We will ensure that advocacy users understand their right to make a complaint if they are not satisfied with any aspect of the service they receive from the advocacy service.
- transparent – We will develop a communications strategy for advocacy service standards. This will aim to ensure that people who are eligible, the third sector, local government, and advice providers are aware of the advocacy service standards.
- targeted only where needed – the support is targeted at disabled people who, as a result of their disability, need an advocacy worker's support to make a benefit application and throughout the determination and appeal process
It is possible that the introduction of the service standards may cause additional requests for information and support from existing advice services. The Scottish Government is aware of this potential pressure. It has noted the importance of Social Security Scotland working alongside the advice and support services provided by a range of organisations including citizens advice bureaux, charities and local authorities to provide a "seamless customer experience - from advice, to application to payment" as detailed in the Review of Publicly-funded Advice Services in Scotland.
The Scottish Government does not believe that the advocacy service standards will have an adverse impact on the competitiveness of Scottish companies or the third sector within Scotland, the UK, or elsewhere in Europe.
Any procurement required to support the provision of the advocacy support will be subject to the Public Contracts Scotland (2015) Regulations and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 which together provide a national legislative framework for sustainable public procurement which supports Scotland's economic growth through improved procurement practice
Test run of business forms
No new business forms will be brought in with the implementation of the proposed service standards.
Legal Aid Impact Test
There will be no appeal rights for the advocacy service standards, for example to tribunal or the Sheriff Court. However, if an applicant is not satisfied with the service they receive a complaint process will be in place.
Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring
The Scottish Government will put in place a monitoring and evaluation process for the advocacy service standards. Once live, on-going engagement with service providers and stakeholders will also provide the Scottish Government with an opportunity to monitor the impact of the policy.