Inclusive communication gets boost in Social Security BillType: News
Topic: Policy and legislation
Published on: 9th February 2018
A significant change to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill has been secured on the first day of Stage 2 of the Bill in the Scottish Parliament. The Amendment will place a statutory duty on the Scottish Ministers and on the Scottish Social Security Agency to have regard to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way with those who require assistance under the legislation. This is a major change to the Bill, and will be of considerable benefit to individuals who have difficulty communicating in relation to speech, language or otherwise.
We are thankful to Ruth Maguire MSP, who lodged the Amendment on behalf of Camphill Scotland, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland and Inclusion Scotland.
Starting point for Independent advocacy amendment
The Scottish Government also brought forward an amendment relating to independent advocacy, in response to issues raised by an alliance of third sector organisations including Camphill Scotland. This amendment will ensure that individuals with a “mental disorder”, including “those with learning difficulties, mental illness or a personality disorder” will have a right of access to independent advocacy in relation to the determination of the individual’s entitlement to be given assistance under the Scottish social security system.
The Minister said this amendment was a “starting point”, and that she was
open to further discussion with regard to developing the definition
of ‘mental disorder’ before Stage 3 of the Bill.
Scottish Social Security charter approval & principles
The Minister confirmed, in response to an amendment tabled by Pauline McNeil MSP on behalf of Camphill Scotland and Inclusion Scotland, that she is willing to work with Pauline McNeil MSP to develop an amendment to be tabled before Stage 3 that will ensure the Scottish Social Security charter is approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The Minister also gave a commitment, in response to an amendment tabled by Mark Griffin MSP on behalf of Camphill Scotland and Inclusion Scotland, that she would work with Mark Griffin MSP to develop an amendment before Stage 3 that would require the Scottish Ministers to comply with the Scottish social security principles in the Bill.
These are important concessions, and will potentially make significant improvements to the legislation. A number of other Camphill Scotland’s amendments have still to be debated by the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee.