Our Principles and Charter

In order to succeed, we must deliver our services in accordance with the social security principles that are set out in the first section of the Act.

These are:

  • Social security is an investment in the people of Scotland
  • Social security is itself a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights
  • The delivery of social security is a public service
  • Respect for the dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the Scottish social security system
  • The Scottish social security system is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland
  • The Scottish social security system is to be designed with the people of Scotland on the basis of evidence
  • Opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which—

    (i) put the needs of those who require assistance first, and
    (ii) advance equality and non-discrimination,
  • The Scottish social security system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.

The Charter

The Act requires the Scottish Government to develop a Social Security Charter. The purpose of the Charter is to explain in clear terms how the social security principles will be applied in practice and therefore what people are entitled to expect from Social Security Scotland as we go about our business. This means that – as well as ensuring the right people receive the right payments at the right time – we must also treat people with dignity and respect and must carry out our work in ways that comply with the Act, the principles and the Charter.

Work is underway to create a Charter that will meet the needs of the people who use our system, and to explain how the system will live up to the social security principles. We are doing this by ensuring that people with experience of the current UK social security system have a strong role in deciding what the charter should say, how it should look and what should happen where a person feels the system has not lived up to the commitments contained in it.

Social Security Scotland’s purpose is directly linked, not just to a legal requirement to provide assistance, but also to a set of requirements in the principles and Charter – these say we must make sure the people we serve are supported and enjoy a positive experience. In other words, how we work is as important as what we do.