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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21923: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 5 March 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People on 28 February 2019 (Official Report, c. 50), what assessment it made prior to the statement of the cost of using agency arrangements until 2024; how much it estimates the transition will cost each year, broken down by (a) benefit and (b) the methodology used to calculate this, and what discussions it has had with the DWP regarding these costs.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 13 March 2019

Agency agreements are a cost-effective way of ensuring that people continue to receive the right payments at the right time whilst we undertake the work required to develop our new system in a safe and steady way.

The costs under each agreement will reflect DWP’s actual delivery cost. Under HMT’s Managing Public Money guidance, DWP are prohibited from charging another government department for services delivered with a view to making a profit. This is to ensure fairness to the tax payer and provides assurance that the costs offer value for money. Agency agreements will be put in place agreed on a case-by-case basis with DWP and detailed costs will be scoped as each agency agreement is prepared. Discussions with DWP in relation to these costs are on-going and a full breakdown is not available at this time.

Agency agreements will reduce a number of overheads for Social Security Scotland, including elements like the staff that we would require to administer these benefits ourselves from the date of executive competence, and other associated costs like property: these need to be set against the cost of the agreements themselves.