The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Ms Somerville MSP, has announced that Social Security Scotland will commence delivery of the Funeral Support Payment from 8 am on Monday 16 September 2019. 

The Funeral Support Payment is a one off payment to help people on low income benefits with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral and replaces the Department for Work and Pension’s Funeral Expenses Payment in Scotland. Some improvements, in comparison to the current payment, have been introduced. These include:

·         introducing a new ‘nearest relative’ eligibility test, along with a more sensitive assessment to determine who is responsible for the funeral cost payments. This will widen eligibility for our payment by around 40%, to help reach an estimated 5,000 people each year.

·         speeding up our processing times for completed applications, once all the required evidence has been received.

·         annually reviewing and uprating the flat rate element to take account of inflation

Please note: Applications for our Funeral Support Payment are accepted from the date of death, up until six months after the funeral has taken place. This means that anyone who meets the eligibility for the Funeral Support Payment and has already paid for a funeral within the last 6 months will be able to apply retrospectively, as long as they haven’t already received a Funeral Expenses Payment from DWP.

A range of communication products are available in relation to the Funeral Support Payment. This includes guidance documents, promotional materials and model articles and social media content that can be copied  or adapted for a range of different circumstances.

These documents can be found on our website:

A copy of the accompanying news release to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement is also held at


Today the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee has launched an inquiry into Benefit Take-up. The Committee will explore how take-up for both reserved and devolved social security benefits can be improved, including through benefit automation. This will include what we do, and do not know about what is unclaimed and what can be learned from previous efforts to promote take-up

The Committee is asking for views on any of the following questions:

1. What do we know about how much is unclaimed and why?

2. What are the gaps in knowledge/research and how can they be improved?

3. How can the administration of benefits be improved to maximise take-up? Specific examples would be welcomed.

4. How far is it possible for technology to create a more automated system, that uses information gathered for other reasons to award benefits automatically? What would the advantages/disadvantages be of greater automation?

5. What can we learn from previous campaigns to increase take-up? Specific examples of projects or approaches that improved benefit take-up, particularly those that were evaluated, would be welcomed.

6. Are different approaches required for different benefits and different client groups?

7. What kinds of eligibility criteria ensure better take-up?

8. How might the development of Scottish social security impact on take-up of both reserved and devolved benefits?

9. Are there other questions you think the Committee should consider as part of this inquiry?

The call for written views is running from Monday 9 September to Monday 21 October 2019.

If you would like to make a submission to the inquiry, please first read our Privacy Notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process your personal data.  Please also note that written submissions will be published on the Scottish Parliament's website and may be quoted in the Committee's report or in the Committee meetings (which are public and broadcasted).

Please ensure you use this template attached to format your submission. All submissions should be sent electronically to the following address: by Monday 21 October 2019.

Full details on the inquiry can be found on our webpage:

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German Fleet Stromness Museum is running a conference to explore the Orkney perspective of the scuttling, from the salvage industry to marine life on the wrecks and looking at management of the wrecks as part of our heritage.

There are volunteering opportunities in several areas and they can take several volunteers each day:


·         CONFERENCE PREP VOLUNTEERS (before the event Thurs 17 Oct daytime)

Assisting with name badges, conference packs, setting out the room.

·         TECH VOLUNTEERS (Thurs 17, Fri 18, Sat 19 Oct)

Assisting with technical aspects of the conference - recording speakers, learning about AV presentations, setting up and taking down tech. Roving microphone.

·         GENERAL EVENT/HOSPITALITY VOLUNTEERS (Thurs 17, Fri 18, Sat 19 Oct)

Welcoming delegates, assisting with keeping all the delegates happy and smiling, assisting with deliveries of coffees and teas etc. Assisting with anything that crops up!


There will be an induction given prior to the conference to acquaint people with the venue and to go over the various tasks. The link person will be Rebecca Marr who will be present throughout the conference and available for any volunteer support. The team are friendly and supportive.

There is more information about the conference here:

If you are interested in being a part of a great event please contact Rob McGregor at VAO on 872 897.

This event has now been Postponed.


You are cordially invited to attend a learning event for community groups and the third sector in Orkney.  The event will be a mix of presentations, Q&A and interactive discussions.  The topics covered will be wide ranging from project start-up and delivery to organisational sustainability.  The discussions and information given on the day will be relevant to staff, Board members, and volunteers involved in community groups of any size in Orkney looking to develop or deliver their projects or services.

This event offers an opportunity to hear from third sector organisations about their projects and organisations, to share experiences and challenges, and be inspired by one another.  It event will take place on September 25th from 10:00-3:30 in the Grainayre Room, lunch will be provided and booking is essential. 

Voluntary Action Orkney is managing the bookings for the event.  To book your space please contact

Draft Programme available here

You are invited to the launch of the Hoy and Walls daily living aids resource centre at 13.30pm on Thursday 19th September at the Hoy and walls health centre Longhope. You will have the opportunity to look at all the equipment available, find out more about the service, Denize will be available to answer any question. Refreshment provided throughtout the afternoon.


Daily living aids are used by lots of different people of all ages. These are products designed to help make lots of everyday tasks easier, especially if you are living with a health condition that affects your independence.

Daily living aids can help if you have mobility problems, or find certain everyday tasks difficult, such as going to the toilet, taking a shower or bath, preparing food, eating and drinking, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed, chair or car, reading and writing.

Resource centre

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