Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018: benefit take-up strategy - October 2021

This take-up strategy is the second to be published under the provision of the Social Security (Scotland) Act, and outlines our work on take-up to date, as well as setting out our next steps

6. Principle 3: Bring services to people

In applying this principle, we will:

  • Ensure that we disseminate information to the right places at the right time to reach as many people as possible.
  • Work closely with Social Security Scotland to empower and support those working on the ground in local communities.
  • Work with our stakeholders to understand the needs of their clients as fully as possible, in order to target the right settings to spread our messages.
    Invest £10 million over this Parliamentary term to increase access to advice in accessible settings – building on and expanding tried and tested approaches

Co-locate with Existing Services

Local Delivery Service

The Local Delivery Service will be available throughout Scotland in all 32 Local Authorities in autumn 2021. Social Security Scotland has commenced a recruitment campaign for additional Team Leaders and Client Support Advisers to support the transfer of existing Disability Living Allowance Child cases from Department for Work and Pensions and the Adult Disability Payment Pilot. These staff will be brought into the Agency in tranches from early autumn 2021. Once fully operational, there will be at least 400 staff spread across all local authority areas in Scotland. In terms of benefit take-up our strategy for the coming year will be to become embedded and known in the local community. To promote our benefits through engagement with clients and stakeholders.

Embed Services in Accessible Settings

Advice in Accessible Settings

The Scottish Government has committed to provide £10 million of funding over this parliamentary term to increase access to advice services to maximise incomes, tackle the poverty penalty and improve wellbeing. This will be in accessible settings, for example schools, with a focus on families, particularly the six priority families as outlined in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. It builds on, and will include, the £3 million for Welfare Advice in Health Partnerships described below.

Evidence from pilots of similar delivery models in around Scotland have demonstrated that with concerted effort and collaboration, great outcomes can be achieved for families through embedded approaches. This support will include vital income maximisation advice but will also go far beyond this, bringing in wider support networks which will help families to address the bigger issues affecting their lives, for example housing advice, help with employability and family support.

Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships

The Scottish Government has committed £3.17 million over two years to placing money advisors in up to 150 GP practices in some of Scotland's most deprived areas. These Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships will reduce pressure on GPs and primary care services - allowing them to focus on clinical care and treatment for patients while a dedicated advisor supports them to address their social and economic needs.

Evidence has shown that money and welfare advisors in health centres often reach people who do not engage with traditional advice services.[12]

Free Welfare and Debt Advice

In 2021-22 the Scottish Government is distributing over £12 million to support the provision of free welfare and debt advice. This funding goes to a range of agencies such as Stepchange, Christians Against Poverty, Money Advice Trust and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Advice services play a critical role across Scotland's communities in helping people to understand their rights and to seek solutions in a range of areas such as money and debt, housing and homelessness, social security and consumer issues. Our funding supports a wide range of this work, including frontline services such as the Money Talk Team, helping people to maximise their incomes and ensure they don't pay more than they need for goods and services. This vital funding ensures that people who are struggling the most can access the support they need in a way that works for them – be it face to face, online or over the phone.



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