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Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018

Scottish Ministers’ duty to promote take-up (sections 3 to 7)

12.Section 3 places the Scottish Ministers under a duty to keep under consideration what they can do to provide people with the assistance they are entitled to receive from the Scottish social security system (as defined by section 23) and to take steps to achieve that aim. This duty is connected to the requirement created by section 8 for the Scottish Ministers to have a strategy to promote the take-up of assistance.

13.Sections 4 to 7 are directly connected to the duty section 3 creates. Each requires the Scottish Ministers to keep a particular consideration in mind when fulfilling their section 3 duty to consider how to ensure take-up of assistance.

14.Section 4 requires that particular consideration be given to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way, recognising that for some individuals communication difficulties may present a barrier to the take-up of assistance.

15.Section 5 requires that particular consideration be given to the importance of accessible communications, recognising that some individuals will need to be given information in special formats (for example blind people may need information in braille). Furthermore, section 5 directs the Scottish Ministers to take steps to ensure that:

  • where the Act requires that information be given to a particular individual, the information must be given in a format that suits the individual’s needs. An example of such a requirement to give an individual would be the duty created by section 53 to advise about eligibility for other assistance that it appears the individual may be eligible to receive.

  • where the Act requires that information be given to the public at large, Ministers must provide the information in a range of formats.

16.Section 6 requires the Scottish Ministers to consider how information, advice and advocacy, provided by persons other than Ministers themselves, can contribute to ensuring take up of assistance under the Scottish social security system. Section 6 describes steps Ministers must take, such as to provide information about these matters to persons seeking or receiving assistance and to provide for independent information and advice to be available.

17.Information that the Scottish Ministers obtain for the purpose of one type of assistance may be relevant for another type of assistance. For example, a person applying for early years assistance (see section 32) might mention that they have difficulty communicating which might entitle the person to disability assistance (see section 31). Section 7 directs Ministers to have regard to this possibility in relation to their duty under section 3 to promote take-up of assistance.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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