New agency cuts hated face-to-face disability assessments


In many situations face-to-face tests are not required say ministers 

27th September 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s new social security agency will cut face-to-face assessments "markedly" with clients able to choose a time and location.

The announcement was made by social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville in a bid to make people trust the new Scottish system which the Westminster model has failed to do. 

The current Department for Work and Pensions assessments have been described as “immoral” and inhumane by politicians, disabled activists and charities.

These are mostly carried out by private contractors however the Scottish Government has stated the system north of the border will be run in-house.

Some 11 benefits are being administered by the new agency, including personal independence payments, carer's allowance and disability living allowance. The rollout is being staggered, with the system due to be fully operational by the end of the current parliamentary term.

New carer's allowance payments have already been paid out, with the "best start grant" child benefit to follow before Christmas and the new young carer's grant in Autumn 2019.

Somerville said: "It is clear to me that the new agency is best placed to provide a flexible, person centred assessment service, fully supported by public sector healthcare professionals."

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomed the move.

Rob Gowans, spokesman for the charity, said: “We know from the thousands of people who seek advice on disability benefits from their local CAB that substantial changes are badly needed to the current process.

“Delivering assessments ‘in-house’ will mean that the quality and accuracy of assessments can be improved on the current system.

“We look forward to hearing further details of how the Scottish Government plans to reduce the number of assessments, as we have consistently called for.”