From Benefits in Wales: options for better delivery in October 2019:
One of the strongest arguments we heard was the opportunity devolution could provide to better involve people with lived experience in the design, delivery, evaluation, and management of benefits.
There is much that can be learnt from the excellent work in Scotland. We heard of a number of examples where lived experience directly fed into changes into how the system is administered, and the benefits themselves.
Devolution was said to have allowed a better alignment between the income support, and broader personal support, such as advice on budget management or support to sustain tenancies offered by the system.
We were told the Scottish Government aims to build people’s trust and faith in the system by embedding co-design into the design, implementation and evaluation of the new benefits. Around 2,500 people with lived experience have been involved through “experience panels”. These have a particular focus on under-represented groups.
Section 1 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 sets out the principles of the Scottish system as:
- social security is an investment in the people of Scotland;
- social security is itself a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights;
- the delivery of social security is a public service;
- respect for the dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the Scottish social security system;
- the Scottish social security system is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland;
- the Scottish social security system is to be designed with the people of Scotland on the basis of evidence;
- opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which put the needs of those who require assistance first, and advance equality and non-discrimination;
- the Scottish social security system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.
We heard that in Scotland their priority is treating people with dignity and respect. The Scottish Government told us that the research has shown that sanctioning does not work.