Accountability must be at heart of social security

Section: The ALLIANCEType: News Item Date Published: 23rd August 2017

The ALLIANCE has called for a focus on supporting people to hold the new social security system to account.

Over the summer, the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee has been consulting people from across the country on the new Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill, introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP, sets out principles, rules and further detail on how eleven social security entitlements devolved to Scotland will be administered.

The ALLIANCE’s response, informed by recent research with seldom heard people and our Welfare Advocacy Support Project, proposes a number of amendments to the legislation, including:

  • Setting out the overall purpose and what the Bill seeks to achieve
  • Explicit reference to key elements of a human-rights based approach throughout the Bill
  • Automatic access to an independent advocate – as a distinct form of supported decision-making – at any point in the process
  • Stronger and clearer language that directly refers to a truly co-produced system
  • Firm enough commitment to actual continuous improvement

We have also called for more detail in the Bill on what people can expect when things go wrong with social security assessments, payments and appeals.

ALLIANCE response: Social Security Committee: Social Security (Scotland) Bill – Call for evidence (PDF)

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