Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft rules for the new Scottish Social Security Tribunals. We support a Tribunal continuing to be the forum for final dispute resolution within the Scottish social security system, and compared with some other aspects of the current system, the Tribunal system is relatively well-regarded by CAB clients and advisers.
In 2016/17, citizens advice bureaux in Scotland advised clients on 15,429 new issues related to benefits appeals. A majority (55%) related to benefits that will be devolved and covered as part of these initial regulations, with the vast majority of those (8,444) relating to three disability benefits due to be devolved (PIP, DLA and Attendance Allowance).
In 2016/17, CAB advisers provided representation for clients at 939 First Tier Social Security Tribunals and three Upper Tier Tribunals. In 58% of the cases the client’s appeal was upheld, and in a further 3% was partially upheld.
In addition to analysis of CAB cases relating to appeals and tribunals, to further inform this response CAS conducted an online survey with 20 CAB advisers with experience of tribunal representation in March 2018. Responses to the survey are indicated where relevant, and quotes in this response are taken from advisers who responded to the survey.