Child Disability Payment (Design and Delivery Plans)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 4 February 2021.

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Photo of Mark McDonald Mark McDonald Independent

1. I note my interest in that I am the parent of a child in receipt of disability living allowance.

To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made in involving individuals with experience of disability living allowance in the design and delivery plans for the child disability payment. (S5O-04985)

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has worked with people who have lived experience of the current social security system since powers over social security were devolved, including people with experience of disability living allowance for children. That work includes our experience panels, our public consultation on disability assistance, which received 189 responses from individuals, and extensive user testing of our systems and processes. Their input has been vital in helping us to develop and deliver a system that is built on the values of dignity, fairness and respect.

Photo of Mark McDonald Mark McDonald Independent

I thank the cabinet secretary for her answer and for meeting me prior to the pandemic to discuss these matters. The cabinet secretary will know from the correspondence and the discussions that we have had that I am concerned about the renewal process for the disability living allowance for children, which often requires huge amounts of paperwork to be filled in. Can she say a little bit more about whether that system will be different under the child disability payment? Will it be tested during the pilot phase, which she announced in her statement in Parliament in November?

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

I assure Mark McDonald that we are taking the issue very seriously. I know that the issue causes great concern to many parents and young people themselves, and that is why we are determined that it will be different.

I have recently had contact with my officials about the issue. It is an area that we do not have to have completed before the pilot, but we are aware that it needs to be ready as soon as any young person has to go through that process. In that case, we will do a lot of user testing to ensure that young people and adults, as well as the stakeholders who might represent some of them, are fully involved.

Mark McDonald is quite right to say that the transition from child to adult services or to adult benefits can cause a great deal of stress, and we are determined to use as much of the information that we already have for a child to assist them with that transition. I will endeavour to keep Mr McDonald updated on the progress that we are making, and I will be happy to work with him on the issue.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

We have a short supplementary question from Jeremy Balfour.

Mr Balfour, I am afraid to say that you are silent. I do not know why but it is not like you. We will move on and, given time, we will try to bring you back in later with your supplementary to question 1.