Scotland Welfare Rights Conference 2018

lecture hall
Annual Conference: Welfare Rights
Friday 22 June 2018, 9.30am – 4pm

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

The ongoing roll-out of universal credit across the UK and the passing of Scotland’s first Social Security Act paving the way for the transfer of key benefits, including disability and carer’s assistance, mean that 2018 is yet again a year of massive change in the welfare rights landscape.

This conference (the only one of its kind in Scotland) will give delegates the opportunity to hear and discuss the latest developments, but also join political leaders, policy makers and human rights experts to take stock and debate how best the right to social security can be protected and enhanced in the years ahead.


09.30      Arrival, registration, coffee and exhibition viewing

10.00      Setting the scene
               John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland

Keynote speakers:

  • Angela Constance MSP: Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Scottish Government (invited)
  • Douglas Hamilton*, Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission - *Just announced

(keep checking here for up-to-date lists)

11.00      Coffee

11.15      Workshops (morning session – see below for choice options)

12.30      Lunch and exhibition stand viewing

13.30      Workshops – afternoon session (repeat of morning sessions)

14.45      Coffee

15.00      Plenary session: Social security: a human right being realised or under

How will the Scottish Government’s principle that social security is itself a human right be put into practice? What do the two child limit and benefit cap mean for the progressive realisation of social security as a human right across the UK? And what needs to be put in place to ensure welfare rights advisers continue to play a key role in enabling people to exercise those rights? Join a panel of policy makers, human rights experts and others to debate the extent to which the right to social security is being realised in Scotland today.

Keynote Speakers for this session (chaired by BBC Scotland Special Correspondent Ken MacDonald):

  • David Wallace, Chief Executive, Social Security Agency Implementation, Scottish Government
  • Carla Clarke, Solicitor, CPAG
  • Eleanor Deeming, Legal Officer, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Nora Uhrig, Senior Associate - Scotland Programmes, Equality and Human Rights Commission

16.00      Final remarks and close


Delegates are invited to attend two workshops from the below list. When booking you can select your preferred choice – we will do our best to allocate your preferences.

Universal credit – towards the full service
Universal credit and work capability
Universal credit and housing – who’s paying the rent?
Migrants and destitution
Devolved social security for carers
Scottish social security – the new system
Personal independence payment – recent developments
Taking action on child poverty

Universal credit - towards the full service

Alison Gillies
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Henri Krishna
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

The roll-out of the universal credit (UC) full service has now reached over two thirds of local authority areas in Scotland. By the end of 2018, it will be in every area of Scotland. However, the system is still in development and it has had many teething and administrative problems. This workshop will:

  • Give an update on recent changes
  • Discuss UC issues emerging from CPAG’s Early Warning System
  • Review UC Scottish flexibilities
  • Provide participants with an opportunity to discuss UC-related issues they are encountering

Universal credit and work capability

Simon Osborne
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG

With the roll-out of the universal credit full service, more and more claimants with health conditions will be claiming UC instead of employment and support allowance (ESA). In particular, new claimants in full service areas have to claim UC instead of income-related ESA, and current ESA claimants may transfer (or ‘naturally migrate’) from income-related ESA to UC, even before so-called ‘managed migration’ begins in 2019.

This workshop will consider key issues regarding UC and work capability, including:

  • UC and the work capability assessment
  • Natural migration from ESA to UC
  • Relevant rules and case law

Universal credit and housing – who’s paying the rent?

Merlin Kemp
Housing and Social Security Team, Scottish Government

Kirsty McKechnie
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

The simple universal credit system is proving not to be so simple after all, especially when it comes to paying the rent. This workshop will:

  • Provide an update on changes eg, housing benefit paying for temporary accommodation and the two-week run-on of housing benefit at the beginning of a UC claim
  • Look at how the new Scottish choices and DWP’s alternative payment arrangements are working
  • Consider the Scottish Government’s steps to abolish the bedroom tax in UC and to pay 18-21-year-olds housing costs, and
  • Reflect on findings from CPAG’s Early Warning System

Migrants and destitution

Jen Ang
Partner/Director, JustRight Scotland

Barbara Donegan
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Securing the correct benefit entitlement for migrants (including EEA nationals) to pay for ordinary living expenses, accommodation, disability and other costs has never been more challenging. Myths abound and confusion is widespread. The continuing roll-out of universal credit has increased these problems. This workshop is aimed at practitioners supporting destitute migrants, and will examine:

  • Different forms of immigration status and how they are commonly evidenced
    How immigration status affects benefit entitlement (including paying for housing)
  • What practical steps can be taken to help migrants access their full entitlement
  • Other sources of support

Devolved social security for carers

Ellen Searle
Carer Benefits Team Leader, Scottish Government

Angela Toal
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

This workshop looks at progress so far in the devolution of a carer’s allowance to Scotland. It will cover the Scottish Government’s commitments to date, including:

  • The Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • The Young Carer Grant
  • The commitment to make an additional payment for carers of more than one disabled child

There will be the opportunity for group discussion on the interaction between this new support and existing and emerging support for carers, and the role of advice workers in promoting the new support.

Scottish social security – the new system

Chris Boyland
Social Security Legislation and Delivery, Scottish Government

Judith Paterson
Welfare Rights Co-ordinator, CPAG in Scotland

How is the system of devolved social security shaping up? Scotland's first Social Security Act provides a foundation of principles, general provisions and accountability that will govern devolved social security in the years ahead. This workshop will:

  • Give an overview of the Act
  • Explore some of the key ways in which social security rules will differ in Scotland
  • Give the latest on further legislative developments

Personal independence payment – recent developments

Ed Pybus
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Ali Lord
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland

Does 'social support' include prompting or support at a distance? Is 'social engagement' just a brief exchange with a stranger about the weather? In what circumstances can a profoundly deaf person bathe safely? If someone has alcohol dependence how is that treated in the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment? These questions and many more are the subject of a growing body of case law. This workshop will look at recent case law developments in PIP. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how these decisions will affect tactics for claiming PIP and challenging decisions.

Taking action on child poverty

Hanna McCulloch
Policy and Parliamentary Officer, CPAG in Scotland

Mark Willis
Welfare Rights Worker, CPAG in Scotland 

The Child Poverty Act places new duties on local authorities and health boards to report annually on the activities they are undertaking to reduce child poverty. This workshop will explore what these duties mean for tackling child poverty at a local level and provide the opportunity to learn from good practice examples, with a particular focus on how local action on income maximisation can effectively be built into the new local child poverty action reports.

Exhibition stands

We will have a range of exhibitors showcasing their work, products and services. Exhibitors at our 2018 conference are;

AdvicePro is a fully-managed, secure, web-based case management system developed on behalf of AdviceUK, the UK’s largest network of independent advice-providing organisations.   

Buttle UK is a charity dedicated to helping children and young people who are in crisis, change their lives.

Disability Information Scotland helps to guide people through the maze of disability information.  We work with disabled people, their families, friends, carers and people who work in the sector.

As Great Britain’s national equality body, it is Equality and Human Rights Commission’s job is to help make Britain fairer. They do this by safeguarding and enforcing the laws that protect people’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect.

Home Energy Scotland is a free, impartial energy advice service. Find out how they can work with you to keep your clients warm and save money on energy bills. 

NHS Health Scotland's vision is a Scotland in which all of its people and communities have a fairer share of the opportunities, resources and confidence to live longer, healthier lives.

Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other support.  For more information please visit

Social Security Scotland is a new public service, based on dignity, fairness and respect that will deliver 11 benefits devolved to the Scottish Government.

Family Fund provides grants and services to families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children. Last year, we helped 6,176 families with grants across Scotland.

Exhibition opportunities

An exhibition package includes:

  • Two exhibitor spaces
  • A 4 foot table, tablecloth and 2 chairs
  • Organisation profile in delegate pack
  • Lunch and refreshments

Price of exhibition package £378 (inclusive of VAT)

If you would like to book an exhibition stand please email

Booking your place and further information

The delegate fee is £180 including lunch, or £171 if you are a CPAG Member (membership number must be quoted when booking to obtain a discount)

To book your delegate place or an exhibition stand please complete an online booking form.

‘Very dynamic, current, up-to-date information’
‘Great opportunity for networking’
‘Super conference’

John Dickie at conference

Scotland conference