Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018

JurisdictionScotland
Citation2018 asp 9


Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018

2018 asp 9

An Act of the Scottish Parliament making provision about social security.

[01 June 2018]

1 TENETS AND OVERSIGHT

PART 1

TENETS AND OVERSIGHT

Principles

Principles

S-1 The Scottish social security principles

1 The Scottish social security principles

The Scottish social security principles are—

(a) social security is an investment in the people of Scotland,

(b) social security is itself a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights,

(c) the delivery of social security is a public service,

(d) respect for the dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the Scottish social security system,

(e) the Scottish social security system is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland,

(f) the Scottish social security system is to be designed with the people of Scotland on the basis of evidence,

(g) opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which—

(i) put the needs of those who require assistance first, and

(ii) advance equality and non-discrimination,

(h) the Scottish social security system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.

S-2 Effect of the principles

2 Effect of the principles

(1) The Scottish social security principles are set out in section 1 so that—

(a)

they can be reflected in the Scottish social security charter as required by section 15(3), and

(b)

the Scottish Commission on Social Security can have regard to them as required by section 97(6).

(2) A court or tribunal in civil or criminal proceedings may take the Scottish social security principles into account when determining any question arising in the proceedings to which the principles are relevant.

(3) Breach of the principles does not of itself give rise to grounds for any legal action.

Promotion of take-up

Promotion of take-up

S-3 Scottish Ministers’ duty to promote take-up

3 Scottish Ministers’ duty to promote take-up

The Scottish Ministers must—

(a) keep under consideration what steps they could take to ensure that individuals are given what they are eligible to be given through the Scottish social security system, and

(b) if the Ministers consider it appropriate to do so, take any of the steps identified by that consideration.

S-4 Recognition of importance of inclusive communication

4 Recognition of importance of inclusive communication

(1) In fulfilling their duty under section 3(a), the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way.

(2) In subsection (1), “communicating in an inclusive way” means communicating in a way that ensures individuals who have difficulty communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise) can receive information and express themselves in ways that best meet each individual’s needs.

S-5 Recognition of importance of accessible information

5 Recognition of importance of accessible information

(1) In fulfilling their duty under section 3(a), the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the importance of providing information in a way that is accessible for individuals who have a sensory, physical or mental disability.

(2) The steps taken by the Scottish Ministers under section 3(b) must include steps in relation to ensuring that—

(a)

the information this Act requires the Scottish Ministers to give to an individual is given in a format that is accessible to the individual, and

(b)

all information which this Act requires the Scottish Ministers to make publicly available is available in formats that are accessible to individuals who have a sensory, physical or mental disability.

S-6 Recognition of importance of independent information, advice and advocacy

6 Recognition of importance of independent information, advice and advocacy

(1) In fulfilling their duty under section 3(a), the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the role that—

(a)

independent information and advice, and

(b)

independent advocacy,

can play in ensuring that individuals are given what they are eligible to be given through the Scottish social security system.

(2) The steps taken by the Scottish Ministers under section 3(b) must include steps in relation to providing, or ensuring the provision of, information about—

(a)

independent information and advice, and

(b)

independent advocacy,

for individuals applying for, or receiving, assistance through the Scottish social security system.

(3) The steps taken by the Scottish Ministers under section 3(b) must include steps in relation to ensuring the availability of independent information and advice (that is accessible to, and proportionate to the needs of, the individuals to whom it is given) about the Scottish social security system, and the following matters in particular—

(a)

how to apply for assistance,

(b)

the process by which entitlement to assistance is determined,

(c)

the types of assistance available,

(d)

income maximisation,

(e)

the content of the Scottish social security charter.

(4) For the purposes of this section, information, advice and advocacy are independent if they are provided by a person other than the Scottish Ministers.

S-7 Recognition of importance of available data

7 Recognition of importance of available data

In fulfilling their duty under section 3(a), the Scottish Ministers must have regard to the possibility that information obtained for the purpose of determining an individual’s eligibility for one type of assistance might be used to identify the individual’s eligibility for other types of assistance.

S-8 Strategy to promote take-up

8 Strategy to promote take-up

(1) The Scottish Ministers are to prepare a strategy to promote take-up in accordance with this section and section 9.

(2) A strategy to promote take-up is to set out—

(a)

the Scottish Ministers’ best estimate of the extent to which, at the time the strategy is prepared, all individuals who are eligible to be given assistance through the Scottish social security system are being given the assistance they are eligible to be given,

(b)

the steps under section 3(b) that the Ministers intend to take during the strategy’s lifetime.

(3) Having prepared a strategy to promote take-up, the Scottish Ministers must—

(a)

lay it before the Scottish Parliament, and

(b)

make it publicly available by such means as they consider appropriate.

S-9 Further provision about preparing strategies to promote take-up

9 Further provision about preparing strategies to promote take-up

(1) The Scottish Ministers must prepare—

(a)

the first strategy to promote take-up within 1 year of this section coming into force,

(b)

the second strategy within 3 years of this section coming into force, and

(c)

thereafter, a new strategy within 5 years of the last strategy being laid before the Parliament in accordance with section 8(3)(a).

(2) In preparing a strategy to promote take-up, the Scottish Ministers must consult such persons as they consider appropriate.

(3) The persons consulted must include—

(a)

individuals who have received assistance through the Scottish social security system, and

(b)

persons who work with or represent individuals living in households whose income is adversely affected, or whose expenditure is increased, because a member of the household has one or more protected characteristics within the meaning of section 4 of the Equality Act 2010.

Advocacy

Advocacy

S-10 Right to advocacy

10 Right to advocacy

(1) Every individual to whom subsection (3) applies has a right of access to independent advocacy in connection with the determination of the individual’s entitlement to be given assistance through the Scottish social security system.

(2) It is the duty of the Scottish Ministers to ensure that independent advocacy services are available to the extent necessary for that right to be exercised by the individuals who have it.

(3) This subsection applies to an individual if, owing to a disability, the individual requires an advocate’s help to engage effectively with the process for determining entitlement to be given assistance through the Scottish social security system.

(4) For the purposes of this section—

(a)

“advocacy services” means services of support and representation that are made available for the purpose of enabling an individual to whom they are provided to have as much control of, or capacity to influence, the decisions that determine the individual’s entitlement to be given assistance through the Scottish social security system as is, in the circumstances, appropriate,

(b)

advocacy services are independent if they are provided by a person other than the Scottish Ministers.

S-11 Advocacy service standards

11 Advocacy service standards

(1) It must be a term of any agreement that the Scottish Ministers enter into with a person for the provision of advocacy services in connection with their duty under section 10(2), that the person undertakes to comply with the advocacy service standards.

(2) The advocacy service standards are to be set by the Scottish Ministers in regulations and may, in particular, include provision in relation to—

(a)

the training and experience individuals providing advocacy services must have,

(b)

service quality,

(c)

quality assurance processes,

(d)

record keeping.

(3) The advocacy service standards, or a part of them, may be set by reference to another document (whether or not prepared by the Scottish Ministers).

Assessments

Assessments

S-12 Restriction on private-sector involvement in...

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