Scottish Crisis Loans and social fund
?? Respondents welcomed the devolution of the Social Fund as an opportunity for the Scottish Government to
remedy the deficiencies and complexities of the existing system and to secure better integration with other
aspects of welfare and public policy in Scotland. More information was sought about the parameters of the
future system and there were caveats in relation to funding and financial risk, eligibility, the interface with
forthcoming welfare benefit changes, equalities issues and accessibility.
?? Respondents gave a qualified endorsement of the proposal for a single grant fund, combining the current
systems of grants and loans.
?? Overall, where a preference was expressed, it was for local delivery, particularly by local authorities; they were
the most widely proposed organisations to take on successor arrangements. Preference for central delivery
came almost entirely from the third sector. However, respondents also saw scope for taking the best elements
of both central and local delivery approaches.
?? Respondents felt a blend of delivery channels would best support a client-focused approach, able to meet a
variety of needs, by providing a tailored service to assist the most vulnerable, to promote accessibility of the
service and give choice.
?? Responses indicated that eligibility and prioritisation should be based on individual need and the immediacy
and extent of any threat to health and wellbeing, rather than on particular groups or events. Respondents felt
that eligibility definitions should be provided as guidance rather than being prescriptive.
?? The provision of both grants and goods was well received and other non-compulsory support, such as budgeting
advice, was endorsed.
?? The successor arrangements were seen to offer an opportunity to establish an effective appeals system as well
as reducing the volume of appeals.
The devolved administration in Scotland has
responsibility for establishing successor arrangements
for two elements of the discretionary Social Fund —
Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans. These
findings detail the views of respondents to a
consultation about how these aspects of the Fund
might operate in Scotland when funding transfers
from the Department - we are not affiliated with any organisation mentioned. for Work and Pensions (DWP)
to the Scottish Government in April 2013. The
results will inform Ministerial decisions for successor
The Scottish Government consultation paper,
published in August 2011 sought views on the
successor arrangements including: the potential
format of funding and balance of grants, loans and
goods, different ways to deliver support (centrally
or locally); delivery channels, eligibility criteria and
how appeals should be organised. The paper made
it clear that the devolved funding should continue to
address similar needs to those of the current system,
administered by Jobcentre Plus.
Overview of responses
The consultation attracted 50 responses, most of
which were from organisations, with four individual
responses from people with professional experience
of the issues. Twenty-nine responses were from third
sector organisations, 13 from local authorities and
4 from other public sector organisations, including
the current Social Fund Commissioner. There were
submissions from several third sector umbrella
groups in the areas of poverty, advice and disability.
There were no direct responses from black and
minority ethnic organisations or from those working
with the elderly. Responses included feedback from
agency-run workshops and were largely based on
direct service user and practitioner experience.
The consultation process invited anyone who wished
to respond to do so; as such, the responses are not
based on a representative sample. The data was
largely qualitative and the report highlights the nature
of the responses and the themes that emerged across
responses. No attempt has been made to identify an
General views on the successor
Respondents welcomed the devolution of the Social
Fund as an opportunity for the Scottish Government
to remedy the deficiencies and complexities of the
existing system and to secure better integration
with other aspects of welfare and public policy
in Scotland. It was seen as an important step in
tackling the way in which the current welfare system
undermines other aspects of Scottish Government
policy. However, further information and clarification
on the level of funding to be available were widely
requested to inform judgements about the best way
to deliver the service.