There are approximately 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland.

The experience of the illness is subjective and unique to each individual. Effectively tackling the symptoms of dementia requires a coordinated range of health and social care interventions.

Social Security Committee - Social Security Bill

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Consultation details

Alzheimer Scotland responded to the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee following their call for evidence on the Scottish Government's publication of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

Summary of Response

Alzheimer Scotland noted that much of its initial response to the pre-legislative Scottish Government consultation was still relevant, as the approach of the Scottish Government meant that much of the detail of how the social security system would work, had not been set out in legislation.

Approach to Legislation

Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the intention of the Scottish Government to create a system which has dignity and respect at its heart and noted the reasons for the legislative approach.
We noted this would require thorough scrutiny of the regulations (as well as other policy and operational documents) to ensure that the intention behind the legislation is realised.
We further noted that the legal framework would not, in itself, deliver the culture of dignity and respect aspired too and that this would require a significant change in operational policy, new ways of working and a more open and transparent system.
Rights, Principles and Charter

Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the inclusion of the principles on the face of the Bill and, in particular, the reference to rights in the second principle and its recognition of social security as a key part of people exercising their rights. We further welcomed the inclusion of the proposal to create a Social Security Charter, restating the need of the charter to set out definitively how the social security system should operate in practice. 

However, we noted that the inclusion of rights in the legislation would not be sufficient in itself, citing examples of other legislation where legislation and practice had differed.

Alzheimer Scotland noted that the pre-legislative consultation had suggested there would be a duty to treat people with dignity and respect., which was not included in the Bill. We suggested this could be achieved with a specific duty requiring adherence to the Act’s principles. 

Devolved Benefits

Alzheimer Scotland noted that many of its concerns about existing benefits went beyond the scope of the Bill as published. However, we noted that resolving these remains crucial to realising a social security system which meaningfully supports people, upholds their rights and reduces the complexity of the process. 

In relation to overpayments and redeterminations, 

Alzheimer Scotland highlighted its concerns that provisions for each did little to alter the existing mechanisms in these areas. We additionally noted that a recent judgement of the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeal Chamber, that the times for appeal would need to be amended to reflect the ruling.

Other Considerations

Alzheimer Scotland noted the inevitability of the new Scottish Social Security system adding some additional level of bureaucracy. We noted the importance to ensuring that the new system works seamlessly with the existing UK system.

There is real opportunity to create a fairer Scottish Social Security system which delivers an enhanced experience for the people of Scotland. we urged the Scottish Government to set out details about the practical implementation of the system and how the process can be co-ordinated to ensure that existing recipients do not experience any disruption to their support and that future applicants know how and where to apply, without being subject to duplicative processes. 

Download the Social Security Bill response

Consultation link

http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/105188.aspx
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