Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People – Shirley-Anne Somerville
I was recently given the huge privilege of being appointed to Cabinet, to serve as the Scottish Government’s first Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People.
I am proud to be building on the work of my predecessor Jeane Freeman, moving from the passage of the historic Social Security (Scotland) Act on to the delivery of the creation of a new public service that will deliver 11 benefits being devolved to Scotland.
Jeane leaves a powerful legacy and has put strong foundations in place for the new system to be built on.
It will be a system that has been designed and delivered with the people who will use it, where social security is a right that provides support for people where they need it, when they need it. It will be a system that will treat people with dignity, fairness and respect.
And in addition to social security, my portfolio also includes equalities, taking forward work initiated and progressed with enthusiasm by Angela Constance.
Along with Christina McKelvie, the Minister for Older People and Equalities, we will continue to support the Scottish Government’s aims to champion the interests of those with protected characteristics, advocate strongly for human rights, and continue our commitment to creating a fairer more equal society.
Right across my portfolio I know that the key to success and the way to making a difference, is close partnership working. I learned this in my previous role as Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science and it is vital to achieving a better, fairer Scotland.
In the coming weeks I will meeting the people and organisations that have helped us on this journey. My door is open to our partners whoever they may be – members of the public, people who use the social security system, charities, third sector groups or other public bodies. I know the value of what they do and I know the value of what we will do together.
In a matter of weeks the first Social Security Scotland staff will be in post and later this summer the first payments – Carer’s Allowance Supplement – will be being made.
These are challenging but exciting times – but I’m delighted to have this opportunity to improve lives.