Scottish Welfare Fund review: final report

A comprehensive review of the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Executive summary

This report presents findings from a review of the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF, or ‘the Fund’), led by a team of independent researchers from Ipsos. The review, which was conducted in 2022, involved:

  • A review of existing evidence on the SWF and analogous schemes elsewhere in the UK
  • Analysis of routine quantitative monitoring data, collected by local authorities and collated by the Scottish Government as well as secondary data sources (official statistics and survey data)
  • Data from all 32 local authorities, based on completion of a proforma and follow-up interview with SWF managers
  • Qualitative in-depth interviews with:
    • 46 applicants to the Fund
    • 19 members of local authority SWF delivery teams (drawn from six case study areas)
    • 16 external local stakeholders, from organisations that support or work with applicants (again drawn from six case study areas).

The review has also been supported by an Advisory Group, comprising the Scottish Government and key stakeholders from local authorities, COSLA, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), Scottish Prisons Service (SPS), and the third sector.

The overarching aim of the review was to provide as clear and robust a picture as possible of the effectiveness of the SWF in meeting its aim of supporting people on low incomes who require help due to crisis or to live independently, and to identify issues which either improve or hinder the Fund in meeting this purpose.

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