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Information relating to Winter Heating Payment: FOI Release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

FOI Reference: FOI/202300350971
Date received: 11 April 2023
Date responded: 11 May 2023


I would like to request the following information:

Request for information 1: How many winter heating payments were paid during each calendar week from 6 February 2023 until 10 April 2023?

Request for information 2: How many winter heating manual applications were accepted during each calendar week from 6 February 2023 until 10 April 2023? Please split this between paper and telephone applications.

Request for information 3: How many people were eligible for winter heating payment during the qualifying week in November 2022?

Request for information 4: How many winter heating payments were made to people who were not eligible for the benefit between 6 February 2023 and 10 April 2023?

Request for information 5: How many people did not receive the winter heating payment they were eligible for because they died before the payment was made?

Request for information 6: How many winter heating payments remained outstanding as at 10 April 2023?

Request for information 7: How many staff were employed to work on winter heating payment during each week from 1 September 2021 until 10 April 2023? Please break this down by grade of staff member.


Request for information 1 and 2:

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to the information requested.

It is an essential function of the statistics team in Social Security Scotland to maintain an orderly release of information to the public. This responsibility is set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics, viewable at the below link:

A statistics publication covering the information requested in monthly format, rather than weekly, will be published on 6 June 2023. This will be available at our statistics publications page here:

The weekly information that you have requested would be easily aggregated to arrive at an approximate monthly figure, and as such this would constitute an early release of statistical information. The early release of this information would be of substantial prejudice to Social Security Scotland’s ability to ensure equitable and orderly access to statistics which we routinely publish as Official Statistics.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However this will be met by our scheduled publication, and there is a public interest in fair and equitable access to information published by Social Security Scotland on an ongoing basis. There is also a public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned.

Request for information 3:

A total of 399,690 people are known to Social Security Scotland to have been eligible for Winter Heating Payment during the qualifying week in November 2022.

This total consists of the people that were identified to be eligible as part of the data transfer from the Department for Work and Pensions completed on 31 January 2023, and people who were identified to be eligible subsequently to this, because for example they may have contacted us to tell us that they believed they were eligible and this was then confirmed by us.

Request for information 4:

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Social Security Scotland does not hold the information you have requested.

We are not aware of having made any payments to people who were subsequently confirmed not to have been eligible for Winter Heating Payment.

Request for information 5:

Of the 399,690 people that were identified to be eligible, 4,597 are known to have died between the eligibility window in November 2022 and payment of Winter Heating Payment following receipt of the data file by Social Security Scotland on 31 January 2023.

Wherever this is the case, we will attempt to identify the next of kin for the person that was eligible and make payment to them if possible.

Request for information 6:

As of 11 April 2023, the closest date to the date of your request for which data is available, 5,074 people were known to be eligible but still to be paid. All of these are cases in which additional manual intervention is required because, for example, we are seeking details of a next of kin as per the above response, or some other manual activity is required to resolve the case.

All automatic payments, where no additional intervention was required, were completed by 31 March 2023.

Request for information 7:

Information is only held for the operational staff who supported the delivery of Winter Heating Payment from February 2023 to April 2023. This is the first delivery of Winter Heating Payment undertaken by Social Security Scotland. Staff are deployed to meet demand across a range of benefits and as such not all staff listed worked solely on Winter Heating Payment. In particular, this applies to Child Winter Heating Assistance as many staff work across both this and Winter Heating Payment.

Please see the attached file which provides the information requested.

About FOI

Social Security Scotland is committed to publishing responses to requests. The Scottish Government also publishes responses to requests. You can view the responses at

FOI 202300350971 - Winter Heating Payment Staffing by Week

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