A commitment to inclusive communication, which means communicating in a way which is inclusive of the largest number of people in the population, is set to be included in the new Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

People have a range of different communication needs due to factors such as learning and physical disabilities, sensory impairment such as deafness or blindness, and mental health needs. These needs require to be met through a range of solutions, from BSL interpreters to Easy Read versions of texts.

Communication difficulties are strongly associated with those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and those with disabilities and long term conditions, many of whom will interact with Scotland’s new social security system.

Inclusive communication is hugely important in this context to ensure that everyone receives the support to which they are entitled. It is also fundamental to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect – the principle at the heart of the bill.

The amendment that would enshrine inclusive communication in the bill has been proposed by SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, who sits on Holyrood’s Social Security Committee.

If passed, it will require Ministers to ‘have regard to the importance of communicating in an inclusive way’ as part of the their duty to promote the take-up of the support that people are entitled to.

It is expected to receive cross-party support, as well as support from the Scottish Government, when the Committee begins its stage 2 proceedings on the Bill later this week (Thursday 1st February).

Commenting, Ruth said:

“Scotland’s new social security system is underpinned by the principle that everyone, without exception, should be treated with dignity and respect.

“Inclusive communication, ensuring that everyone can receive information and express themselves in a way that best meet their needs, is a crucial part of that.

“It will also help to ensure that everyone gets the maximum amount of support to which they are entitled – another key focus of the bill.

“I am grateful to the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, Inclusion Scotland, Citizen’s Advice Scotland and Camphill Scotland for their support in the drafting of the amendment and look forward to proposing it when the Committee begins Stage 2 proceedings later this week.”