Camphill Scotland helps to secure major changes to Social Security legislationType: News
Topic: Policy and legislation
Published on: 15th May 2018
The Scottish Government’s Social Security legislation has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. This legislation establishes a social security system for Scotland in relation to the recently devolved social security benefits, and to the devolved aspects of social security benefits reserved to the UK Parliament. Camphill Scotland and our partners played a significant role in helping to shape and influence the new social security system for Scotland.
Right to advocacy support
Camphill Scotland and our partners, including Inclusion Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland and other organisations worked closely with the Scottish Government, and with MSPs of all parties, to ensure that everyone with a disability, including a learning disability, will have a right to advocacy support when seeking assistance under the Scottish social security system. In the debate on the amendments on independent advocacy support, the Minister for Social Security, Jeanne Freeman MSP, said:
There are many groups to thank for getting us to this point, but I particularly single out Inclusion Scotland, Camphill Scotland and Disability Agenda Scotland for the hard work that they put in to help us refine our position on advocacy support so that we are in a much better place than we were at stage 2 [of the Bill].
Unique Inclusive & Accessible Information Duty
Along with Inclusion Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland, Camphill Scotland was also part of a small alliance led by the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists which secured a transformational change in relation to the use of inclusive communication, and of accessible information. This group worked with Ruth Maguire MSP and with the Scottish Government to introduce provisions in the Bill which will place a duty on the new Scottish Social Security Agency to provide accessible information to those seeking support under the Scottish social security system. The new duty will require this agency to provide information, and to communicate, inclusively and in accessible formats to people requiring support under the Social Security legislation. The new duty is unique in legislation across the UK.
Scottish Social Security Commission
Camphill Scotland also worked with Inclusion Scotland and other partners to secure a number of other significant changes to the legislation, including:
- The setting up of the Scottish Social Security Commission, which will provide independent scrutiny of legislative proposals relating to social security matters, and provide independent advice to the Scottish Government and to the Scottish Parliament about such matters
- Ensuring that the new Commission will scrutinise social security regulations to check they are in keeping with the Scottish social security principles
- Ensuring that those seeking assistance under the legislation will always be paid benefits in cash unless they opt otherwise
- Ensuring the Scottish Social Security Charter is subject to parliamentary scrutiny