To create the digital infrastructure necessary to deliver the newly devolved entitlements the Scottish Government have followed the principles of Scotland’s digital strategy which promotes the reuse of existing solutions, rather than building of new bespoke systems (Audit Scotland, May 2019). Through utilising these principles alongside an Agile approach to design the digital infrastructure identified as necessary for the delivery of the wave one entitlements was successfully implemented. The Agile approach also ensured systems were tested and adjusted before going live and that those affected by the new systems and the entitlements they delivered were involved in their development, a central aspect of a rights-based approach. It is worth noting, however, that the entitlements yet to be delivered are more complex. SCVO recognise that this was a conscious decision by the Scottish Government to enable the establishment and testing of new delivery systems on entitlements that involved one-off payments and smaller caseloads. The delivery of more complex entitlements is likely to be a significant challenge.
The Scottish Government have
repeatedly stressed that their priority for the initial transition of entitlements from Westminster to Holyrood is the safe and secure transition of existing entitlements. '''Criticism from sector '''
The Scottish Government
also have the power to create new entitlements and to top-up existing entitlements. This power has been utilised to pay a Carers Allowance Supplement to carers living in Scotland and in receipt of Carer's Allowance . The Carers Allowance Supplement was paid to 77,000 people in 2018/19 (Audit Scotland, May 2019). The Scottish Government has also committed to delivering two new forms of assistance: a Young Carer Grant and a Job Grant. Similarly, the implementation of the more complex new, Income Supplement, is still to take place . The Income Supplement will not be introduced until 2022 at the earliest. Organisations across Scotland's third sector recognise that these new entitlements also present an significant additional undertaking. The latest figures show, however, that 20%, or over one million, people in Scotland lived in poverty after housing costs in 2015/18 (Poverty and income inequality in Scotland: 2015-2018). Organisations across the sector, including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Poverty Alliance, and other members of the Scottish Campaign for Welfare Reform therefore stress that there is an urgent need to top- up the incomes of Scotland's poorest people, families and communities to fulfil their right to an adequate standard of living.
A vast amount of work will be required, by way of policies, processes and systems, to deliver on these commitments with digital technologies central to the development and delivery of these entitlements. The extent to which there has or will be detailed options appraisals and contingency plans for interim and long-term information technology (IT) components necessary for these entitlements is unclear.