Key Points
  • Universal Credit & Scottish Choices: identifying causes of, and exploring solutions to, rising rent arrears.
  • Protecting Vulnerable Groups in Social Security: exploring the roll-out of policies such as the Best Start Grant, with a focus on those most affected by recent developments such as disabled people, single parent families, children and ex-prisoners
  • Advocacy support and Mental Health: improving the quality of accessibility of advocacy across Scotland and addressing challenges relating to mental health of claimants
  • Ensuring Social Security is an effective localised system: developing multi-agency partnerships and ensuring dignity is at the heart of the new system
  • Sequencing Delivery of Disability and Carer Benefits: updates on the Carer's Allowance Supplement, and Scottish Government's consultation on Disability Assistance Benefits


Overview
Last year, Holyrood unanimously approved the Social Security Bill, paving the way for a new Scottish devolved social security service. A year on, the agency is evolving, with new developments emerging including the Best Start Grant, increases to Carer’s Allowance and flexibilities around the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Holyrood Insight’s 2nd annual conference on Social Security Reform in Scotland will allow delegates to hear from a range of leading voices, who support service users as practitioners and policy influencers.

Our expert speakers include:

  • (Keynote) Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Scottish Government
  • (Chair) Anne Hastie, Poverty Commissioner for East Lothian & Chair, Disability Information Scotland
  • Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families Scotland
  • John Dickie, Director, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland (CPAG)
  • Rob Gowans, Policy Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Bill Scott, Chair, Poverty & Inequality Commission for Scotland
  • Yvette Burgess, Unit Director, Housing Support Enabling Unit
  • Emma Congreve, Joseph Rowntree Foundation Scotland (JRF)
  • John Sawkins, NHS co-trainer of Allied Health Professionals

This event will focus on key aspects of the social security agency, such as the roll-out of Scottish Choices, as well recent developments around disability benefits and advocacy.

Secure your place to this conference, and network with your peers in local authority (welfare teams), health and social care services, disability charities and mental health charities.

This will be a great opportunity for you to consult and discuss the best ways to overcome the challenges that welfare devolution in Scotland faces.

Agenda
Start

08:45 - 09:15
Registration and Refreshments

 

09:15 - 09:20
Chair’s Opening Remarks

 

Speakers

Anne Hastie Poverty Commissioner for East Lothian & Chair, Disability Information Scotland

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09:20 - 09:50
Cabinet Secretary Keynote Address

 
  • Exploring the latest Scottish Government developments, such as the launch of Best Start Grants, as well as Disability & Carer benefits 
  • Feedback from the Scottish Government consultation on Disability Assistance Benefits 
  • Ensuring a strong local presence for Social Security in Scotland by working closely with local authorities and developing robust partnerships across multiple agencies 
 
Ends with Q&A Session 

Speakers

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

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09:50 - 10:20
Universal Credit & Rent Arrears

 
  • Reducing Rent Arrears and identifying causes of increasing rent arrears
  • Identifying challenges for tenants including payment timelines
  • Assessing the impact of the SHORE standards initiative ‘Sustainable Housing on Release for Everyone’
  • Exploring the availability of debt advice in local authorities and the changing ‘landscape’ of debt advice
  • Supporting people with rent (and mortgage arrears) to avoid eviction and homelessness 
  • An update on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP’s) DWP’s flexible funding approach from April 2020
Ends with Q&A Session 

Speakers

Rob Gowans Policy Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

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10:20 - 10:50
Supported Housing and Social Security

 
  • Assessing the challenges with the roll out of Universal Credit faced by supported housing services
  • Exploring the role of Housing Support in reducing homelessness  

Ends with Q&A Session 


Speakers

Yvette Burgess Unit Director, Housing Support Enabling Unit

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10:50 - 11:20
Networking Break

 

11:20 - 12:10
Panel Session: Protecting Vulnerable Groups in Social Security

 
  • Universal Credit & Single Parents: Exploring the principles of UC and how this affects single parent families 
  • Reducing Child Poverty: Exploring solutions such as the removal of the two-child limit, an increase of the child element fund and the reintroduction of a family element 
  • Ensuring that ex-prisoners have the resource to support their reintegration by improving how their housing needs are met
  • Supporting disabled people through the transition from DLA to PIP 

Speakers

Emma Congreve Senior Economist (Scotland), Joseph Rowntree Foundation Scotland (JRF)

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Satwat Rehman Director, One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS)

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John Dickie Director, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

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12:10 - 12:50
Establishing Robust Multi-Agency Partnerships

 

  • Unpacking the One in Five and Maximise campaigns
  • Providing a holistic approach to supporting families through income support, intensive family support and employability
  • Offering targeted advice for vulnerable groups to ensure they are fully supported
  • Building alliances with local schools to offer bespoke advice on welfare issues
  • Ensuring cross generational understanding and acknowledging intergenerational differences with communication and accessibility


Speakers

Sylvia Baikie Public Health Practitioner, NHS Lothian

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12:50 - 13:50
Networking Lunch

 

13:50 - 14:15
Spotlight on PIP Assessments

 
  • Exploring the issues surrounding the assessment processes, eligibility criteria and the appeals process 
  • Ensuring a smooth transition from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 

Speakers

John Sawkins NHS co-trainer of Allied Health Professionals

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Bill Scott Director of Policy, Inclusion Scotland

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14:15 - 14:45
Sequencing Delivery of Disability and Carer Benefits

 
  • An overview of the updates on the Carer's Allowance Supplement
  • Exploring the feedback from the roll-out of the Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment
  • Feedback from the Scottish Government consultation on Disability Assistance Benefits 
  • Ensuring that the voices of people with lived experience of disability benefits can shape how the system can meet their needs

Speakers

Bill Scott Director of Policy, Inclusion Scotland

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14:45 - 14:50
Chair’s Closing Remarks

 

Speakers

Anne Hastie Poverty Commissioner for East Lothian & Chair, Disability Information Scotland

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End

Speakers

Sylvia Baikie Public Health Practitioner, NHS Lothian

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Yvette Burgess Unit Director, Housing Support Enabling Unit

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Emma Congreve Senior Economist (Scotland), Joseph Rowntree Foundation Scotland (JRF)

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John Dickie Director, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

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Rob Gowans Policy Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

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Anne Hastie Poverty Commissioner for East Lothian & Chair, Disability Information Scotland

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Satwat Rehman Director, One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS)

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John Sawkins NHS co-trainer of Allied Health Professionals

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Bill Scott Director of Policy, Inclusion Scotland

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Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

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Venue details

InterContinental Edinburgh The George 19 - 21 George Street , Edinburgh ,EH2 2PB, United Kingdom

Venue website


Speakers
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