OPFS endorses no private sector involvement in new Scottish Social Security System

Scotland’s Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman MSP spoke at the launch of One Parent Families Scotland report on the Benefit Conditionality Regime at their Inaugural Single Parent Assembly.

One of Scotland‘s most respected family charities welcomes the news that the Scottish Government will not be using private sector companies to undertake benefits assessments in the new Scottish Social Security System. One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) commissioned research that shows the current benefit conditionality regime, and the fear of being sanctioned, is resulting in worsening health, especially mental health, with resulting negative impacts on children. The report Single Parent Families, Benefit Conditionality and Wellbeing – Necessary, Just, Effective?” gathers the experiences of single parents who live with the threat of sanctions on a daily basis and how it impacts on their family well-being.

Jeane Freeman MSP said:

“Last week I announced that the Scottish Social Security System will not use private companies to carry out benefits assessments. There is no room for profit in our system, which will be based on fairness, dignity and respect.”

“Over and over again, I heard personal experiences of so very many who have found the experience of the Personal Independence Payments assessment to be one of the most difficult, distressing and demeaning aspects of their whole experience. It is clear the UK Government’s system, like so many of their policies, is failing the people of Scotland.”

“Working closely with our Experience Panels and Expert Advisory Group and with the health and social care sector, we will design a better system. One that from application to assessment ensures we get our first and subsequent decisions right from the start.”

“We want a Scottish Social Security System that will stand both the test of time and the test of trust from the people of Scotland.”

Satwat Rehman, Director of OPFS, said:

“Our research shows that rather than moving towards a society where single parents and children can flourish, we are seeing the results of a Westminster policy, involving the threat of sanctions, which only serves to exacerbate child poverty and inequality and closes down the life chances of a generation of children. The announcement of no private sector involvement in the new Scottish Social Security System will be a relief to the parents we serve as we work towards a more humane, compassionate and effective approach.”

After the event, in Glasgow, single parents with experience of claiming welfare benefits signed up to the Scottish Governments Experience Panels to help shape the way that new system will operate.

  • Download the‘Single Parent Families, Benefit Conditionality and Wellbeing’ report here. A summary version is also available.
  • One Parent Families Scotland has been supporting and campaigning for single parents for over 70 years.
  • OPFS helps thousands of lone parents every year through its Lone Parent Helpline and information services. It also runs projects in Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk and Lanarkshire.

For further information, please contact:

Tariq Ali | 07808 725 446 | Communications Officer | tariq.ali@opfs.org.uk or

Marion Davis | 07794 226484 | Head of Policy and Strategy | marion.davis@opfs.org.uk

Posted in News, Welfare Reform.


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Registered as: One Parent Families Scotland, a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered at Edinburgh under number 094860. Scottish Charity Number SC006403