The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is an independent statutory body that provides impartial advice on social security and related matters. It scrutinises most of the complex secondary legislation that underpins the social security system.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions must publish our formal advice and respond to our recommendations. We also comment on wider issues through our independent work programme, but the government has no obligation to act on this.
You can find older SSAC reports on The National Archives
Documents about our role
provide terms of reference for the committee.
The Memorandum of understanding between HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs and SSAC sets out the agreement between the committee and those departments.
sets out the role and responsibility of the committee and its relationship with the Department for Work and Pensions (
The SSAC business plan sets out the committee’s strategic objectives.
Who we are
The committee is chaired by Dr Stephen Brien, and its vice-chair is Professor Gráinne McKeever. We have up to 13 other members who have experience in social security law, academia, policy, business, employment and the voluntary sector.
Register of the business interests of SSAC members.
Our membership also has reserved posts representing the interests of:
- Northern Ireland (and by custom, Wales and Scotland)
- chronically sick or disabled people
We’re supported by a small secretariat based in London.
Our responsibilities include:
- scrutinising most of the proposed regulations that underpin the social welfare system on behalf of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Parliament
- providing advice and assistance to DWP, whether in response to a specific request or on our own initiative
- informally scrutinising regulations that are exempt from statutory scrutiny
- responding to public consultation exercises where we believe we can add value
- responding to specific requests for advice from ministers and officials
- undertaking detailed studies as part of our independent work programme
- providing comment on draft guidance and communications produced by the DWP and HMRC
Our main priorities are to:
- ensure the scrutiny we carry out is impartial, effective and timely
- ensure the advice we give is impartial, well-informed, credible and constructive