Major change to Social Security Bill receives unanimous agreementType: News
Topic: Disability rights | Policy and legislation
Published on: 5th February 2018
We are delighted to report that Ruth Maguire MSP has secured a significant change to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. The amendment to the Bill* was agreed unanimously by the Minister for Social Security, Jeanne Freeman MSP, and by the members of the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee.
This is a major change to the Bill, which will be of significant benefit to individuals who have difficulty communicating in relation to speech, language or otherwise. It will mean that these individuals, including people with learning disabilities, will receive information and can express themselves in ways that best meet each individual’s needs.
Ruth Maguire MSP said
I am delighted that my amendment to enshrine a commitment to inclusive communication at the heart of this Bill has gained cross-party support as well as the support of the Scottish Government.
I am also grateful to the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, Inclusion Scotland, Citizen’s Advice Scotland and Camphill Scotland for their support in its drafting.
Ruth then went on to say
Inclusive communication is good for everyone -no one ever complained that a public service was too easy to understand, or to get your point across to.
Scotland’s new social security system is underpinned by the principle that everyone, without exception, should be treated with dignity and respect. Inclusive communication, ensuring that everyone can receive information and express themselves in a way that best meet their needs, is a crucial part of that.
It will also help to ensure that everyone gets the maximum amount of support to which they are entitled – another key focus of the bill.”
In response, Kim Hartley Kean, Head of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland commented
The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists is delighted that Scotland’s Social Security Minister and all the MSPs on the Parliament’s Social Security Committee have supported this potentially transformational amendment.
If passed into law it will mean everyone interacting with lifeline social security services will be helped to understand and express themselves in the ways they – the person – find easiest. People who find it better to be talked through a process rather than reading about it, who use pictures to communicate, sign language or communication aids, for all of them this amendment promises a system that caters to their strengths rather than creating unfair and avoidable communication disadvantage.
This legislation is designed to establish 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. The Amendment will place a statutory duty to ensure that the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Social Security Agency have regard to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way with those who require assistance under the legislation.
* Amendment no.112 was lodged by Ruth Maguire MSP on behalf of Camphill Scotland, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland and Inclusion Scotland
A copy of Amendment No.112 can be accessed in the Marshalled List of Amendments
Contact Camphill Scotland’s Policy & Engagement Manager, Robert McGeachy if you require more information or would like to discuss this matter further
Mobile: 07825 149005