Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 - draft regulations making provision for social security appeals: consultation analysis

Independent analysis of the consultation responses on the draft regulations making provision for social security appeals for develoved benefits in the Scottish social security systems.


On the whole, it seems that there is support for the establishment of the new chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, and for it to be added to the list of chambers into which the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland is divided. The main feelings expressed were that greater clarity on the description of functions exercisable by the Social Security chamber may be required, as well as greater clarity on the specific Rules of procedure for both the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal where cases are appealed. Ensuring balanced representation of appointed members to both Tribunals was also seen as key.

The findings point mostly to the need for more detail to be provided on the rationale for some of the proposed Regulations as well as clarity around how Rules would be implemented. They also point towards a need for more clarity around the implications of having two separate appeal systems relating to the devolved and reserved social security benefits and how these might operate in parallel during the early days of transition.

In more general terms, the consultation responses stressed the need for accessible information and guidance on the functions of the devolved Tribunals, and to ensure that the system is user-led and incorporates the expertise of those with lived experience to achieve trust and legitimacy. Removing barriers to appeal for the most vulnerable groups is key, it seems, and this can be facilitated by additional communication around operational procedures, as well as even more flexibility being built into the system.

All respondents agreed that fairness, dignity and respect should be at the heart of any future changes and were keen to see the engagement process continue beyond this consultation alone.


Email: Naeem Bhatti

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