Scotland Welfare Rights Conference

Annual Conference: Welfare Rights 2017

Friday 19 May 2017, 10am - 4pm

University of Strathclyde, Technology and Innovation Centre, 99 George Street, Glasgow G1 1 RD

2017 will see new child poverty and social security bills coming before the Scottish Parliament – which will have huge significance for all those advising and supporting families.

At the same time the roll out of universal credit and the introduction of a ‘two child limit’ for key benefits are among UK Government reforms and cuts that are radically changing the nature of social security.

CPAG in Scotland’s Welfare Rights 2017 conference will give delegates an opportunity to hear from political leaders, welfare rights experts and academics about the latest developments and the implications for their work.


Arrival, registration, coffee and exhibition stand viewing

10.00 Setting the scene

  • John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland

Keynote speakers

  • Jeane Freeman MSP, Minister for Social Security, Scottish Government
  • Bruce Adamson, new Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

11.00 Coffee

11.15 Workshops – morning session

12.30 Lunch and exhibition stand viewing

1.30 Workshops – afternoon session (repeat of morning sessions)

2.45 Coffee

3.00 Plenary session: The role of social security in tackling child poverty

  • Professor Christina Beatty, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York
  • Jim McCormick, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Disability and Carers’ Benefits
  • Kerry McKenzie, Organisational Lead - Child Poverty, NHS Health Scotland

Chaired by broadcaster and journalist Keith Aitken.

4.00 Final remarks and close


ESA – recent developments

Simon Osborne, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG

Employment and support allowance (ESA) is changing: advisers need to be aware of new rules, the relationship with universal credit (UC), and the continuing development of work capability assessment case law. This workshop will review the most important recent developments, and provide an opportunity for participants to share experiences and tactics. Topics considered will include:

  • Abolition of the work-related activity component
  • Changes to permitted work rules
  • ESA and UC
  • Significant recent work capability assessment case law
Focusing on income: Welfare rights and the eradication of child poverty

Gillian Cross, Social Justice Strategy, Scottish Government

Marion Davis, Head of Policy and Strategy, One Parent Families Scotland

The Scottish Government has introduced legislation setting out its ambition to eradicate child poverty in Scotland by 2030. This workshop will explore the implications of the legislation and consider how devolved powers can contribute to its objectives by maximising the resources available to families.

Particular consideration will be given to the role of information and advice provision and what can be done to ensure income maximisation continues to play a key role in addressing child poverty.

Personal independence payment- four years on

Gwyneth King, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Alison Lord, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

In 2016 65% of claimants successfully challenged their personal independence payment (PIP) entitlement decision at first tier tribunal. As a response to this, the DWP have said that they are proposing to have presenting officers at 50% of all PIP tribunals in Scotland. In this workshop we will look at the latest developments in case law and discuss how best to represent your client at this level.

With the imminent publication of the Scottish Social Security Bill we’ll look at what we know so far about the devolution of disability benefits to Scotland.

Scottish social security – the latest

Chris Boyland, Social Security Legislation and Delivery, Scottish Government

Judith Paterson, Welfare Rights Co-ordinator, CPAG in Scotland

This year sees the Scottish Government beginning to deliver some of its new social security powers. First off the starting block is discretionary housing payments and flexible payments for universal credit claimants. In the pipeline is key primary legislation setting out the structure of the main devolved benefits paving the way for detail in regulations.

This workshop gives an opportunity to find out the latest developments and consider what opportunities there are to influence the shape of the legislation and delivery of social security.

Two child limit

Carla Clarke, Solicitor, CPAG

Mark Willis, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

April 2017 sees the planned introduction of the most direct attack on children under the welfare reform banner yet. This workshop will examine the two child limit in tax credits and universal credit, and its inevitable impact on child poverty. It will cover the detail of how the two child limit is being implemented, who is affected and the intended exceptions. CPAG’s solicitor, Carla Clarke, explores the implications in the context of human rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and potential legal challenges.

Universal credit and sanctions – eating the rent?

Martin Williams, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG

Universal credit introduces a harsher regime of labour market requirements. Sanctioned claimants may end up subsisting on money intended for payment of rent. This workshop considers some of the problems and potential solutions. We focus on:

  • The requirement to perform a certain number of hours of jobsearch each week (35 hours default)
  • Work search requirements whilst waiting to be assessed for ‘limited capability for work'
  • Removal of rule based exemptions for those in certain situations (such as carer’s of young children during the summer holidays where no child care arrangements can be made)
Universal credit – strictly full service

Henri Krishna, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Kirsty McKechnie, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

The ‘full service’ is rolling out nationally. Where it has, all new claims for working-age means-tested benefits and tax credits are for universal credit (UC) instead. This has created many issues and questions. Drawing on findings from our Early Warning System, this workshop will examine current problems, offer solutions where available and analyse unanswered questions, for example:

  • Making digital claims
  • Migration to UC
  • Claiming contributory benefits
  • Awards pending appeal
  • Implicit consent
  • Access to discretionary housing payments
Young people and universal credit – problem areas

Alison Gillies, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Angela Toal, Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Universal credit (UC) presents difficulties for many young people, especially those in education and those without parental support. This workshop provides the opportunity to think about which young people might get UC, and focuses on:

  • Young people who are in further education
  • Young people leaving local authority care
  • Housing costs for young people aged 18 to 21

With social security support for young people further restricted under the UC system, it is crucial to understand the rules in order to get the best outcome for the young people you are advising.


Our 2017 conference will be held at: University of Strathclyde, Technology and Innovation Centre (Main Entrance), 99 George Street, Glasgow G1 1 RD (see map). There are good public transport links and the venue is fully wheelchair accessible.

Exhibition stand opportunities

We will have an exhibition space hosting exhibitors showcasing their work, products and services.

This is an excellent opportunity for organisations to highlight their work, products and services at our annual conference. We have limited exhibition stands which are priced at £240 (inclusive of VAT). To book a stand please complete our online booking form and to make an enquiry please email:

Booking a place and further information

The delegate fee is £170. To book a delegate place or an exhibition stand please complete our online booking form or conference booking form and return it to us.

'Great friendly atmosphere'
'Very dynamic, current, up-to-date information'
'Fantastic day, essential for welfare rights workers'
'Great for networking'