Former charity chief to head review of Scottish disability benefit

Edel Harris, former chief executive of the charity Mencap, has been appointed to chair the Scottish government’s independent review of the Adult Disability Payment benefit.

The independent review will consider people’s experiences of the benefit to ensure it meets the needs of disabled people.

scotland, banner, heaven

Adult Disability Payment is paid to disabled working age adults in recognition of the extra costs of being disabled or having a long-term health condition. It is currently supporting 137,490 disabled people in Scotland and has provided £461.8m in payments since it was launched in August 2022.

Adult Disability Payment was introduced as a replacement for the UK government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which has been widely criticised for denying support to many severely disabled people through the assessment process.

An estimated 330,000 people will ultimately have their award transferred to this new benefit from PIP, which is provided by the UK Department of Work and Pensions.

Scottish social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: ‘Edel Harris brings a wealth of experience to this important position, both from her leading roles in third sector organisations and her personal experience as a family carer.

‘A year on from the national launch of Adult Disability Payment, we are fulfilling our pledge to have an independent review to ensure it is meeting the needs of disabled people both now and in the future. Ms Harris will ensure the views of disabled people and groups that represent them are heard throughout the review.

‘I am committed to continuing to improve the experience of people receiving this benefit – to ensure they are supported in line with the principles of dignity, fairness, and respect at the heart of our social security system.’

The Chair of the independent review will complete an interim report for Scottish ministers by September 2024, highlighting initial priorities capable of early action, before submitting a final report by June next year.

Harris served as the CEO of disability charity Mencap from 2019 to 2023. Prior to this, she spent eleven years as the CEO of Cornerstone Community Care, a disability social care provider based in Aberdeen. She has also served as the chair of the Life Changes Trust and the Scottish government’s Social Investment Fund and was the first women to be president of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce from 2016 to 2018. She was awarded an OBE in 2021 in recognition of her services to the public sector and charity.

Image: Efraimstochter

More on this topic:

Scottish government announces reopening of Independent Living Fund

One third of disabled people struggling financially, research shows


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top