SCOTLAND’S new social security agency will take on 100 additional staff this year to help provide face-to-face support to those claiming benefits.

Social Security Scotland already employs 323 people. Now Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has announced a further 100 new recruits will join in roles focused on providing support and advice in local communities.

A total of 32 team leaders – one for each council area in Scotland – will be recruited first, followed by 68 support workers. Recruitment for the new posts begins on Monday.

When the new agency is fully up and running, it will have about 400 local staff in place across the country and another 1500 people working from its bases in Glasgow and Dundee.

Speaking during a visit to Stornoway, Somerville said: “We are looking for people who share our ambition to deliver a public service that people in Scotland can be proud of, one that is designed to support people when and where they need it. The Scottish Government is committed to family-friendly working and a healthy work-life balance and we’re determined to do all we can to bring in the many skills and experiences you get from a diverse workforce and across the country.

“We’ll be offering job opportunities with a wide variety of working patterns that will also suit people living in more rural and remote areas or with other responsibilities such as caring.”

Social Security Scotland chief executive David Wallace said: “This is an exciting time for us as we grow our team further across the country, including areas like the Highlands and Islands where communities will benefit from a flexible community team.

“The opportunities in these roles will include leading and developing a team of advisers, providing day-to-day operational support and delivering a positive client experience.