Consultation on Social Security in Scotland

Closed 30 Oct 2016

Opened 29 Jul 2016

Results updated 2 Mar 2017

This report presents an analysis of written responses to the consultation on Social Security in Scotland. The consultation ran from the 29th of July 2016 until the 30th October 2016. The consultation was in three parts, covering:

• A Principled Approach

• The Devolved Benefits

• Operational Policy

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Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Throughout this document, we will refer to our paper, A New Future for Social Security in Scotland, which we published in March. In that paper, the Scottish Government made a commitment to work with people across Scotland to determine how best to use the new social security powers which will be devolved by the Scotland Act 2016. We believe that there should be opportunities for everyone to participate in the debates and decisions that matter to them, regardless of their circumstances or backgrounds. This consultation document and the events and engagement sessions that we will hold after its publication represents the next step in facilitating this participation. Holding an inclusive, informed and wide-ranging discussion will be essential to our successful implementation of our new social security powers.

It is important in beginning this conversation to set the context – which means being clear about some of the constraints we face and the limitations to what we can and can’t do. This is not about making excuses – it is about being realistic and not making promises that can’t be kept. The simple fact of the matter is that the proportion of the Scottish social security budget that will devolve to Scotland amounts to only £2.7 billion or 15% of the total £17.5 billion spent here every year.

That said, the Scottish Government still intends to take an ambitious, new and distinctly different path to the one the UK Government has followed. Within the share of the system we will inherit, we will harness 100% of the powers we have to our values and our principles, in order to support our people, tackle inequalities and take a step towards building a fairer Scotland.

We are well aware of the challenge we face. Transferring the devolved benefits will require a large-scale programme of transition, implementation and, where appropriate, reform. This will be of a scale unlike anything the Scottish Government has delivered since devolution. And when we are finished, we will be running a Scottish social security system in tandem with a UK social security system.

How to respond:

You should select 'Begin Consultation' below to get started. Alternatively, you can select section you'd like to respond to below. Please be sure to select 'Save and Return to Contents', located at the bottom of the page, after completing a section. You will have to complete the 'Information About You' section in order to submit your response. 

Relevant information has been added to questions via drop down boxes. Click on 'More Information' or the relevant title to access this information. 

We recognise that this consultation is lengthy and, at times, complex but we still want to make it as accessible as possible. That is why we have published a shorter, summary version which can be accessed at the link below.

Alternative versions:

We have made accessible alternative versions, including Easy Read which is also available at the link below.  The consultation is also available in alternate formats on request, including large print, braille, BSL and other languages and you can request these by emailing us at or calling us on 0131 244 7763.  We are also happy to receive responses in alternative formats, e.g. spoken responses, other languages etc. British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us via


We are also arranging an extensive programme of stakeholder events, which will take place throughout the consultation period. These are being organised in partnership with a range of representative groups and other organisations. We hope that these events will provide opportunities for as many people who want to take part as possible, to come along to an accessible, friendly event and have their say.  We will circulate details of these stakeholder events in our weekly newsletter which is sent out every Friday. If you would like details of our stakeholder events, you can sign up for our newsletter here, email us or phone 0131 244 7763.

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Why your views matter

Scottish Government needs to develop and deliver a robust consultation process which will then enable the views of stakeholders to be reflected in primary legislation to be introduced to the Scotland Parliament by June 2017.

Context for consultation:
• Scotland Act
• Fiscal Framework,
• Vision for Social Security in Scotland
• Fairer Scotland
• SP Welfare Reform Committee
• Rational for the Social Security Bill
• Any key assumption underpinning the social security bill consultation.
• Consultation arrangements and timetable.

Social security Administration:
• Principles
• Purpose and function
• Duties
• Accountability and legal status
• Leadership and Governance
• Status of staff of Social Security Administration in Scotland
• Public engagement and communications
• Interaction with UKG welfare system.


  • Children and Families
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Constitution and Democracy
  • Economy
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Public Sector
  • Health and Social Care
  • Law and Order
  • Work and Skills