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Profit-making private firms won’t carry out benefit assessments.

Scotland’s new social security agency will put people before profits, with no private companies carrying out benefit assessments.

The new agency will have a central location and provide a local presence across Scotland, so that it is directly responsive to individual needs. A decision on where the main agency will be located will be made in the autumn.

It was also confirmed that the new agency will employ at least 1,500 staff, making it one of the SNP Government’s largest executive agencies.

Patricia Gibson said:

“One of our fundamental principles is that profit should never be a motive, nor play any part in assessing or making decisions on people’s health and eligibility for benefits. We are building a system based on dignity and respect, which means an assessment process which isn’t demeaning or deliberately difficult.

“It also means setting up an agency that has a local presence with a human face where people can go to get one-to-one support if required. This is very different to what exists at the moment.

“Setting the new system up is a hugely complex task but a challenge the SNP Government is absolutely determined to get right. It is extremely important that we start how we mean to go on – by listening to people and seeking expert opinion to deliver an agency that respects people’s views and is sensitive and responsive to their different needs and requirements.”

The Outline Business Case for Social Security, which includes the evidence from the options appraisal process will be published on the SNP Government website at:

The estimated annual running costs of the agency will be around £150 million.

The full list of the eleven benefits being devolved to Scotland can be also be viewed. 10 of the 11 devolved benefits, totalling around £2,800 million of payments anually, will be delivered directly by the new social security agency itself. Discretionary Housing Payments and the Scottish Welfare Fund will be delivered by local authorities.

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