ILF Scotland

Minister Approves Re-Opened Independent Living Fund

Post Date: 20 March 2024

In September of last year, the First Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, announced in his first Programme for Government that the Independent Living Fund Scotland (ILF) would re-open to new applications in 2024 to 2025, with an initial year one investment of up to £9 million.

Following this announcement, a Co-Production Working Group was established to make policy recommendations on how the re-opened fund should operate. After holding a series of public engagement events across the country, the working group set out its policy recommendations for the re-opened fund to the Minister.

We are pleased to confirm that Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, has now considered, and accepted, these recommendations in full. You can see this published on the Scottish Government's Website - Re-opening of Independent Living Fund Letter from Minister.

Peter Scott OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Independent Living Fund Scotland, said: “We understand the significance of the decision to re-open the fund to enable disabled people to access the support they need, and deserve, to overcome the barriers to independent living which they face every day.

“We have spent a lot of time listening to disabled people, their organisations and other key stakeholders through the co-production process. Our objective was to ensure that the recommendations made by the co-production working group provided the best opportunity to maximise the impact of the re-opened fund for those who need it the most. Today’s ministerial approval marks a significant step for ILF as we move closer to its phased re-opening, positively impacting the lives of many disabled people across Scotland.”

The recommendations approved by Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport include:

  • The Fund will re-open largely on the same basis as it operates at present.
  • Applicants must receive a minimum of £800 per week of social care support from their Local Authority (the Threshold Sum).
  • The lower age limit of 16 will remain but there will be no upper age limit.
  • ILF should re-open with a maximum award of £330 per week.
  • There will be no requirement for new applicants to the re-opened fund to pay a contribution towards any ILF funding they are awarded.
  • Local Authority practitioners will complete applications on behalf of applicants, which will then be assessed by ILF Scotland.
  • Any funding awarded by ILF Scotland will be additional and complementary to the statutory funding provided by a person’s Local Authority.

The Co-Production Working Group recognised that, given more time, there were a number of improvements that could be made to the operation of the re-opened ILF. The group therefore has agreed to continue to meet during 2024 and 2025 to consider a number of matters, including:

  • The development of a citizen led application route.
  • The inclusion of an unpaid care component within the local authority threshold sum that reflects the contribution of unpaid carers.
  • Amendments or alternatives to the threshold sum access.

Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, said: “The First Minister announced as part of the 2023 Programme for Government that the ILF would re-open in 2024-25, with an initial commitment of £9 million to help up to 1,000 disabled people live more independently. Part of this commitment was that the re-opened Fund would be co-produced with disabled people and other stakeholders.

“To meet this commitment, a co-production working group was established in October 2023, co-chaired by ILF Scotland and Scottish Government, and including representatives from disabled people's organisations, carers, care providers, and local authorities. The remit of the working group was to provide recommendations for my consideration on the policies and access principles for the re-opened Independent Living Fund.

“I have now received the working group's final recommendations report and I am pleased to accept all of its recommendations. I have written to ILF Scotland to ask them to move forward with re-opening the Fund from April 2024.

“The working group highlighted in their report that they welcomed the fast pace that was set by the First Minister’s commitment to re-open the Fund this year, but that the design of the Fund could be improved with more time to work. I understand their position and would like to accept the working group’s offer to continue working to prepare recommendations on the further evolution of the re-opened Fund after its first year open.

“I would like to thank the members of the working group for giving their time, energy and expertise over the last six months. I know the work has been challenging, but it will play a significant role in improving the ability of disabled people to live independently in the years ahead.”

Seven co-production events were held in person and online to gather views before submitting the policy recommendations to the minister for consideration. A huge thank you to everyone who attended one of the co-production re-opening events.

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