Scotland Policy Conferences

Next steps for social security reform in Scotland and policy to tackle poverty

Morning, Thursday, 29th November 2018

Central Edinburgh


This timely seminar examines key issues for implementing Scotland’s Social Security Act - and will be an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers to consider the way forward for Scotland’s social security system more widely. It follows the recent confirmation in the 2018-2019 Programme for Scotland that The Scottish Government will appoint the Chair and Members of a new Scottish Commission on Social Security in January 2019, with the aim of scrutinising the reformed system.

The agenda will include discussion on the setting up of the Social Security Agency with responsibilities for administering a range of now-devolved benefits - including Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carers Allowance - and how to address the challenges for delivering accessibility, joined-up services, value for money and a person-centred approach.

Planned sessions will bring out latest thinking on tackling poverty and deprivation beyond the social security system, including issues around in-work poverty, improving skills and increasing employability, and addressing the impact of high housing costs.

Delegates will also assess the priorities for tackling child poverty in Scotland - with a focus on the next steps in promoting early intervention, the latest thinking in raising attainment and the future for supporting families - in the context of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

Attendees will consider the way forward for supporting school children experiencing poverty across Scotland. Discussion is expected on the recommendations aimed at reducing the poverty-related attainment gap from the Education and Skills Committee’s recently published report, which called on The Scottish Government to work with local authorities to ‘poverty-proof’ education policies so that there are fewer financial barriers to schooling. They will also look at ways in which the Social Economy Growth Fund can be used to support the third sector in reducing poverty, in light of the recently announced £4 million in grants to support 22 community organisations, social enterprises and charity groups working in this area.

Guest of Honour

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, The Scottish Government

Keynote Speakers

Miriam Craven

Head of Local Delivery and Client Experience, Social Security Scotland

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, The Scottish Government

Emma Congreve

Senior Analyst, Scotland, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Pauline McNeill MSP

Deputy Convener, Social Security Committee

Tom Arthur MSP

Member, Cross-Party Group on Basic Income


Professor Stephen Sinclair

Professor in Social Policy and Co-Director, Scottish Poverty & Inequality Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian University

John Dickie

Director, Child Poverty Action Group, Scotland

Sally Thomas

Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Gemma Diamond

Senior Manager, Audit Scotland

Satwat Rehman

Director, One Parent Families Scotland

Rona Hunter

Chief Executive Officer, Capital City Partnership

Bill Scott

Director of Policy, Inclusion Scotland

Rob Gowans

Policy Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

Dr John Montgomery

Chair, Govan SHIP Project