ILF Scotland

Co-Production Working Group Meeting 1

Type of document: Re-Opening ILF
Front cover of the Co-Production Working Group Meeting Minutes 1

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Published: December 4, 2023

Tuesday 24 October 2023 – 10.30am to 12.30pm

Online via Microsoft Teams

In Attendance:

Peter Scott, ILF Scotland (Co-Chair)
Iain MacAllister, Scottish Government (Co-Chair)
Fiona Collie, Carers Scotland
Sam Smith, CCPS
Lyn Pornaro, Disability Equality Scotland
Gaby Nolan, Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
Donald Macleod, Self-Directed Support Scotland
Cameron Smith, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability
Donna Murray, Social Work Scotland
Jim Elder-Woodward, ILF Scotland Advisory Group
Andy Higgins ILF Advisory Group, ILF recipient
Fran Holligan, COSLA
Roisin Donnelly, COSLA
Tressa Burke, Glasgow Disability Alliance
Pauline Nolan, Inclusion Scotland
Jenny Miller, PAMIS 
Andy Miller, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability  
Oonagh Brown, Scottish Human Rights Commission attending for Jan Savage

Present:

Linda Scott, ILF Scotland
Erika Mather, ILF Scotland
Robert White, ILF Scotland
Harvey Tilley, ILF Scotland
Steven Hanlon, Scottish Government
Robert Peterson, Scottish Government
Lauren Glen, Scottish Government
Jack Blaik, Scottish Government
Amelia Andrzejowska, Scottish Government (Notes)

Apologies Received:

Calum Macaulay, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living

Item 1: Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the newly established group to advise on delivery of the Programme for Government commitment to re-open the 2015 Fund. He thanked all for accepting the invitation to join and invited the attendees to introduce themselves.

Item 2: Scene Setting

The earlier work to establish the ILF Transition Fund was recalled, which included many of the organisations and some of the people here today. The approach of this group will be similar, but with a few changes. We are open to suggestions for improvement and doing things better.

Reflection was shared that colleagues at ILF Scotland (ILF) had been working towards reopening for eight years. Thanks extended to the ILF Sponsorship Team at SG for their work to bring us to this point. Special thanks were extended to Jack Blaik for his contributions and work which has supported the activity of ILF for some years.

Also, the ILF Scotland Advisory Group’s contributions and efforts were acknowledged, in particular the Chair of the Group, Jim Elder-Woodward and Andy Higgins, Vice-Chair. The ILF Advisory Group holds ILF Scotland to account and supports them in ensuring a good understanding of how practice changes and policy decisions impact on people’s lives. Peter thanked Jim for his exceptional expertise and leadership, passion, commitment and determination.

The Chair also thanked the many other groups and individuals who have supported and advocated for the ILF, both before and since transfer to ILF Scotland in 2015, for their continued support for the re-opening of the Fund. It was recognised that without their work we would most likely not be meeting today to plan the re-opening of the Fund.

Peter emphasised that this group’s objective is to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment to:

“Reopen the Independent Living Fund in 2024-25 with an initial investment of up to £9 million, to enable approximately 1,000 additional disabled people with the most complex needs to access the support they need and deserve to live independent lives.”

The Chair acknowledged responsibility as well as privilege and opportunity to make a positive difference; ILF is determined to make re-opening a success but also conscious of challenges ahead including being aware that the reopened fund will be a step towards, but not the only solution, to fixing the problems in the social care system.

Acknowledgment shared that it is an exciting time but some challenges and compromises are ahead. Thanks were extended to ILF Scotland for their ongoing work, and it was noted that ILF are trusted to deliver, as proven by e.g. their major efforts made during the pandemic and delivering the £500 Thank You payment to Personal Assistants. The powerful messages from DPOs and Jim had been heard within Government and struck a chord, also with the Minister of Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport is a huge supporter of ILF.

Collective thanks issued and appreciation for everyone’s patience in waiting for the reopening of the Independent Living Fund.

Item 3: Terms of Reference (for agreement, paper 01)

The Chair opened a discussion on the Terms of Reference (ToR). He highlighted:

  • It is recognised that not everyone will be able to make every meeting.  Organisations have been asked, therefore, to nominate a deputy; in addition Peter or a colleague will make himself available to speak with people who cannot attend any meeting so that their views can be understood and represented in the discussions.
  • The working group is an advisory group; the group’s task is to make recommendations to Ministers, who will then make a decision based on the recommendations.
  • The financial commitment is up to £9m in the first year. There will be challenges for us in agreeing recommendations for the fund that will allow it to be affordable and sustainable.
  • We will seek consensus decisions. Where this is not possible, our final advice to ministers will reflect that there were differing views.

Group members discussed:

  • The timetable is demanding and group members have busy diaries. It was requested that a timetable of meetings be prepared as a priority. This was agreed.
  • In the context of affordability and sustainability it was commented that this is dependent on the value politicians place on the active citizenship of disabled people.
  • It was highlighted that ministers found social return on investment research for the Northern Ireland ILF persuasive. ILF reported that work is underway to replicate this work for Scotland. It was noted that, while helpful, caution is required about how this kind of social return information is used. Peter and Iain agreed, expressing that ILF funding should be in addition to other funding/services, and not a substitute.
  • It was noted that there are many issues that are beyond our control as a group, which will create challenges to achieving our objectives.
  • The group agreed to refer to “access principles” rather than “eligibility criteria”.
  • Members queried if the principle of confidentiality would prevent them consulting other members of their organisations. The Chairs undertook to clarify this for the next meeting.
  • The group agreed that the relationship between ILF and local government provision is critical to success and that this should be reflected in the ToR.
  • It was agreed that the ToR should refer specifically to Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and more generally to the UNCRPD, including General Comment number 5.

Action 1: Timetable of the group meetings to be produced and calendar invitations to be distributed in advance.

Action 2: Amendments to be made to ToR on human rights and local authority issues; amended document to be shared with all.

Group approved ToR subject to the above changes – the first decision of the group made.

Item 4: Co-Production (for agreement, paper 02)

The Chair introduced the paper describing the principles of co-production and the mode of working for the group to achieve the desired outcomes.

  • The distinction between the co-production of the Transition Fund and co-producing the re-opening of the ILF was recognised - a similar approach is being used but with the Transition Fund we had a blank sheet of paper to design a new scheme, whereas now we are more limited as we are reopening a fund that already exists and not designing something new.
  • The group agreed that it will be helpful that during each meeting we have a “co-production check in”, and this should be a standing item on each agenda.
  • It was suggested that we add accessibility as a principle which will include working together with mutuality and reciprocity.

Action 3: To add Co-Production check-in as a standing agenda item for each meeting.

Action 4: To add accessibility/mutuality point to the Co-Production Paper 02.

Item 5: Key Issues (for discussion, paper 03)                     

Paper 03 was presented, which contains an overview of what are perceived to be the key issues. It was noted that this document was designed to offer a summary overview of the issues and is not exhaustive. The Group may have other issues they wish to add.

A discussion followed:

  • ILF offered to clarify any issues with group members via direct contact.
  • It was suggested that although representatives of the organisations have their own reasons to be in the group, it may be helpful that we make an effort to consciously apply a critical perspective. This would allow space for different ways of thinking and help the group to be vigilant to blind spots. Iain added that we may want to test our recommendations wider before they go to Ministers for these reasons, even though timescales are very tight.
  • The question was asked about possibilities of improving the management of the individual ILF reviews on 2 year cycle in partnership with local authorities and whether a more standardised approach is possible. It was suggested that the three-way partnership has been critical and that the role of social work could be discussed in future meetings.
  • The issue was raised of some young people going through transition still have no adult social worker, and how the fund might be accessed without a social worker.
  • The group queried the extent to which it can start afresh in co-producing the new fund, given that it is recognised that we would not re-open the fund as it stands. Chairs shared the view that we need to modernise the existing fund, rather than design a new fund, due to time constraints and to meet Programme for Government commitment.
  • The question was raised of what impact a change in government might have on plans for reopening. The Chair reported that there has been broad political support for re-opening the ILF and although there can be no guarantees, he is not overly concerned.
  • It was confirmed that there will be a principle of no detriment to existing recipients of ILF from any policy changes introduced in a re-opened Fund.

Action 5: To add the inter-relationship between ILF and LA support to the future topics for group discussion.

Item 6: Wider Engagement      

The desire was expressed to engage as widely as possible with disabled people, their representative bodies and other stakeholders to ensure inclusivity of the process.

The group’s input was requested on what kind of events should be delivered as part of wider engagement;

ILF would seek suggestions from the group on the mode of the events (online or hybrid), venues, locations, time of the day etc. and how to ensure a good quality hybrid experience.

Action 6: To circulate in advance of the next meeting a proposed engagement plan for all group members to comment/input.

Item 7: Any Other Business (AOB)

Item 8: Next Meeting Arrangements

Timetable of the group meetings to be agreed and it was suggested that the group meet fortnightly; if any members cannot attend they are requested to send a representative but Peter is also happy to offer the opportunity to discuss on a one- to- one basis.

The group discussed options for hybrid online and face-to-face meetings for the future.

The group was invited to share any specific requests re. agenda items or other issues in advance of the meeting.

Action 7: To issue a poll on preference of the future meeting mode: hybrid or online only.

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