News

‘Our Charter’

“What you can expect from the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland”

social security Scotland

photo Scot Gov

Taking advantage of some elements of Social Security being devolved to the Scottish Parliament –  Social Security Scotland has been established with Respect at its very heart. It is to be a Human Right in Scotland that you are able to access social security when you require it.

As part of this transformative process a  charter is being presented to the Scottish Parliament – Our Charter

Welcoming the publication of ‘Our Charter’,  Rob Gowans of Citizens Advice Scotland said:

“Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the launch of the charter, as it is important that people who need support from the social security system are clear about their rights, what to expect and what they can do if that standard is not met.

“We know from people coming to their local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice that this is not always the case currently, so the charter is a positive step towards creating a social security system which treats people with dignity and respect at all times.”

Underlying Key Parts of the Charter Are These Statements:

  • “We are here to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.”
  • “We will design services with the people who use them.”
  • “We will encourage feedback and empower people to deliver the best service possible.”
  • “We [The Scottish Government] will use new powers to invest in the people of Scotland – making a positive difference to all of our lives.”

You can access the Charter here: Our Charter

The Charter has been developed from a working group consisting of those who have direct experience of using social security services.

Universal Credit is reserved to the UK Government but has been rolled out in Orkney and across Scotland. Delays in payments are the number one cause of people, many of whom are in work, for being referred to Foodbanks.

A recent report by Professor Alston for the United Nations blasted the UK Government for its welfare policies especially since 2010 when they were introduced by  the Coalition LibDem/Conservative Government and enthusiastically pursued by subsequent Conservative Governments.

“Poverty is a Political Choice”the Alston United Nations Report on Poverty in the UK

Publishing a Charter and making access to social security a Human Right demonstrates a complete shift in thinking in Scotland’s approach to that of rUK.

 Shirley-Anne Somerville, Social Security Secretary in the Scottish Government said:

Shirley-Anne Somerville“When people use a public service they should have no concerns about how they will be treated.  Whatever the contact is about and whoever they speak to, they should have full confidence that they will be treated with dignity and respect.  However every day we read new reports of the brutal and degrading impact of a UK social security system that has been criticised by the UN and by House of Commons Committees.

“This charter explains how Scotland will do things differently, creating a positive and supportive system that is there for all of us should we need it.  Notable commitments include treating people with kindness and empathy, recruiting staff who believe in these values, delivering services in local communities, and developing policy in a way that advances the human right to social security.

“These commitments were developed by those who know the system best – people with lived experience of social security and the organisations that represent them. There are few, if any, parallel examples of a Government working so closely with the people it serves to shape a public service.  The charter therefore goes to the heart of our commitment to work with the people of Scotland to co-design a system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

Related story:

 £125million to be Spent in Scotland Mitigating UK Government Welfare ‘Reforms’


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