Linda Fabiani MSP

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Appointed Member of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

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Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride) (SNP)

I, too, associate myself with everything that has been said. I am glad that Jackie Baillie brought the debate to the chamber and that Robert Watson and his colleagues in the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign have raised this huge issue, which Jackson Carlaw enunciated very well.

I came to the issue because of a constituency case, when someone’s father came to see me about it. I must admit that I was pretty ignorant about the facts. I did not know much about what was happening with CHAS. Although I know that there is a much wider issue about respite breaks for people who are transitioning into adulthood, I will use my time to concentrate on the circumstances of those who find that, following the transition period, they can no longer go to a children’s hospice for respite. I think that that is a really big deal.

An upper age of 21 has now been set. I totally get why it has been set—I understand it. Evidence from CHAS states:

“service users have identified ... themes as being particularly important at transition stage to enable them to ‘live life to the full’”.

The main themes that jumped out at me, because of the experiences that I had heard about from my constituent, were social connections and short breaks. Jackson Carlaw talked about some of those issues.

We are talking about people who have been going to CHAS all their lives and who have suddenly found that, in a very short time, that is not going to happen any more. They have formed relationships over all the years of their lives and they want to keep them up. That is not an issue for people who are fortunate enough to get about on their own and who have a huge degree of personal independence. We form relationships and we keep them going. However, for someone who is not what we call able bodied and who cannot get out and about completely independently, that becomes very difficult. That is where respite is so important.

People gravitate to others with shared and similar experiences and they want to keep up those relationships. CHAS has estimated that it currently supports 41 young people over the age of 21 and their families. I think of those young people as a specific group who will find their lives and relationships very changed by the policy. That is why, just over a year ago, having learned about the issue, I wrote various letters to people about it and got the facts. I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing and, when I looked out the letter again, I was really struck by something that I had put in it about the lad in East Kilbride. His father told me that his son had come to think of CHAS as a “second-home”. He went on to say that his son felt

“penalised for living too long”.

We can all say that that is not true and that everybody is trying really hard. Of course they are, but if that is how that boy feels, we have a responsibility to try to take the feeling away.

I see that my time is running out.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Linda Fabiani

I will, if that is okay, Presiding Officer.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Linda Fabiani

I would hate to have given the impression, if I did, that CHAS was acting badly in some way. I do not mean that at all.

I return to the fact that we are talking about only 41 young people. I think that we can separate them out from the bigger argument, which is about the fact that we need those services. Surely health boards and local authorities across the country, and those who have responsibility for the wellbeing of their citizens, along with the health minister, can come up with some solution that allows relationships to be maintained while we are looking for better services in the round for everyone.

18:10  

Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride) (SNP)

Mark Ballard was talking about different timescales and so on. What are people’s experiences of the way in which the initial application is dealt with—gate keeping would be the catch-all phrase—and how the application moves through the system? Are there great variations between local authorities in that regard? From what I hear locally and from my discussions, it seems that there is a degree of confusion around how people go through the system.

Following on from that, I would like to hear people’s impressions of how the initial contact with the local authority leads on to other departments in the local authority being involved, along with external agencies, if required. I know that the system is fairly new, but we have had two years of it now. Are we starting to see a joined-up approach?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani

I do not know whether I am asking the right people, but a couple of things that have been said struck a chord with me. Lynn Williams talked about assumptions being made. It seems that quite a lot of assumptions are made about the operation of such a fund. One that bothers me is the assumption that people who will try to utilise the fund may, to some degree, already be in the system. I see from Derek Young’s submission that there is a view that not only are elderly people much more reluctant to approach such a fund but some of the language might well be off-putting. I just want to put that on the record so that the committee can look at it. In the language that we all use, is there an assumption that folk are already in the system? What can we do to make sure that those who hit hard times perhaps for the first time in their life and have never been involved with any agencies know that they might be able to tap into something that could help them with that one-off crisis?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani

Last week, we discussed the idea of loans being made available in addition to grants. A couple of local authorities were particularly keen on clawback, but we should make it plain that those things would be separate. The idea of setting up some kind of loans system that would be completely separate from the bill is fine, but the bill talks about amounts requiring to be repaid. In its submission, Citizens Advice Scotland asks for clarification that the provision in the bill is for dealing specifically with fraud and suggests that we look at the wording to ensure that it does not muddy the waters if there is a move back to loans, which should be a separate matter.



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani

I have jotted down some things about this subject. I cannot remember who said what, but two things in particular were mentioned in written submissions. The first was a suggestion that the term “application” be defined somehow, and the second was the question whether there should be a legislative duty to accept and record all applications to reduce the incidence of pre-application discouragement. Could we explore those points a wee bit further?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani

Can anyone remember who said those things?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Linda Fabiani

I want to reinforce some of what has been said. The point came up in the previous session about local authorities—even staff within one local authority—having dialogue and working together. Jon Shaw’s example—which may have been North Lanarkshire—is one instance of discretion being used wisely.

From my experience of related issues, I know that the theory might be there but the practice is often very different. Separate departments can take a significant length of time to get together and come to a decision, and if separate providers such as the health service and the local authority are involved, working together can take even longer. In the context of the kind of grants that we are talking about, that is very problematic.

It is about good practice modelling and local authorities learning how to do things better.



Welfare Reform Committee 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride) (SNP)

Something that Helen McGreevy said earlier probably relates to council departments working with other agencies. You said that crisis grants are sometimes held up because of the evidence gathering that is required. Are you having issues with particular agencies in gathering evidence, or are the issues all internal?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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YesCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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YesCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Linda Fabiani
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11065: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10869: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10802: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10778: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10560: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10408: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10344: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10265: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10078: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09974: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Linda Fabiani
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03558: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21704: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21705: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21706: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21703: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03247: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03159: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03116: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20456: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20198: Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/03/2014 Show Full Question >>