Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) - Four Committee Members

Body: Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC)
Appointing Department: Department for Work and Pensions
Sector: Regulation
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 4
Remuneration: £256.80 per day
Time Requirements: 2-3 days’ work per month

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    13/01/2023 at 17:00

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 20 February 2023

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 24 April 2023

  • Announcement


Vacancy Description

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is an independent statutory body, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It is the UK Government’s advisory body on social security matters. In addition to providing advice and assistance to the Secretary of State, it performs mandatory scrutiny of most secondary legislation laid before Parliament that underpin the welfare system. Thus, much of the Department’s policy and service delivery activity, including the welfare agenda, comes before the Committee.

In addition to the scrutiny of proposals for secondary legislation, the Committee has general advisory functions which are deployed to:

  • inform the Committee’s work, improving members’ ability to scrutinise regulations and provide independent advice to Ministers;
  • add value to the debate on a topic that is of current interest to Government and stakeholders; and
  • stimulate debate of a specific topic within the Committee and amongst stakeholders.

Ministers may seek the Committee’s views on specific issues or SSAC may itself select issues itself which it wishes to research and provide advice on. The Chair and Committee members meet regularly with Ministers and senior officials to discuss topical issues and meet front-line staff and customers during their visits to operational sites. The Committee also responds to the Department’s public consultation exercises where appropriate

The Committee is independent of Government, the Department and sectional interests. It has a strong track record in offering informed, expert advice. Members come from a variety of backgrounds, but collectively they have a considerable depth of knowledge and expertise in social security policy, law and the wider social policy agenda.

Further information about the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) can be found at:


Background of the Committee

The Chair and Members of SSAC are appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. These posts are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

By statute, SSAC must comprise a minimum of 10 members, of whom:

  • one member is selected after consultation with representatives of employers.
  • one member is selected after consultation with representatives of employees.
  • one member is selected after consultation with the Head of the Northern Ireland Department with responsibility for social security; and
  • one member with experience of chronically sick and disabled people. If possible, this member should have direct experience of illness or disability.

All members are involved across the full range of the Committee’s business.

Those Members that have active roles with other organisations are encouraged to use the experience, insight and expertise gained in those roles, but without representing sectional interests.

 The Committee’s work consists largely of considering detailed and often complex proposals for social security regulations and producing ad hoc reports on specific areas of interest. Proposals for changes to regulations are normally presented as papers and sent to members in advance of meetings.

Members are expected to keep abreast of operational matters and to make occasional visits to operational units.

Members occasionally see restricted proposals and are expected to consider them in confidence. Members are expected to refer any requests for information or interview by the media to the Secretary or the Chair.


The Role of a Committee Members 

Members are expected to:

  • Maintain and continuously develop an understanding of complex social security and welfare reform issues, taking into account Government policies, the financing of the welfare system and the broader economic social context.
  • Fully prepare for all meetings by reading papers in advance and carrying out any other necessary preparatory work.
  • Attend Committee meetings and make an effective personal contribution.
  • Work constructively and collaboratively with the Chair and members of the Committee on all aspects of the Committee’s work; including its independent work programme and broader activities; and
  • Represent the Committee at external events on occasion.



SSAC meets ten times every year at Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA. Members also have an opportunity to visit other locations, for example visits to operational sites.


Person Specification

Essential Criteria

There are four posts available:

1. Representative of ethnic minorities

2. Experience of work among, and of the needs of, the chronically sick and disabled.

3. General knowledge and insight of issues relating to social security.

4. Social Security and Tax Credit Laws


Candidates must demonstrate the following skills and experience:

  • knowledge, understanding and experience of working with governments and political stakeholders;
  • awareness of the political and financial context in which the social security system operates and of the Committee’s role in advising Government;
  • understanding of the impact of social security regulations and implementation on a diverse range of different groups of claimants;
  • the ability to work effectively as part of a team, and to operate constructively and collaboratively with a diverse range of colleagues;
  • an ability to understand and analyse the details of proposals and evaluate and advise objectively on the basis of that analysis; and
  • the ability to deal appropriately with confidential material shared with the Committee and manage potential conflicts of interest (or perceived conflicts of interest) in a responsible manner.

In addition to the above for four of the roles, candidates must also be able to demonstrate one or more of the following areas of experience:

  • working with members of ethnic minority communities, with a clear understanding of the impact of the benefit system.  Candidates to have the ability to represent this diverse group authoritatively in terms of the potential challenges and opportunities the welfare system creates for them.
  • Experience of working among, and an understanding of the needs of, chronically sick and disabled people. Candidates to demonstrate that they have the ability to credibly represent a wide range of perspectives, for example by having a strong network already in place or the ability to develop and maintain a credible and effective network.
  • Knowledge of social security and tax credit laws.


Desirable Criteria:

  • a good knowledge of the UK’s welfare system, and the particular challenges and opportunities that it presents throughout the devolved nations.


SSAC Member Candidate Pack Final
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