The Social Security Experience Panels were established to ensure that the design for new social security system in Scotland is shaped by the experiences, needs and priorities of those who will use it. Over the course of the development and introduction of the new system, panel members will participate in research and service testing activities to help Scottish Government develop a system that works and that can be continually improved.
The Panels are made up of more than 2,400 people in Scotland with experience of the current social security system as it relates to the benefits and flexibilities that will be delivered in the new system. This includes individuals who have claimed on their own behalf, as well those who have helped or cared for others.
Recruitment to the Panels closed on 9 June 2017. 2,444 volunteers from across Scotland registered to the Panels by this date and we continue to receive expressions of interest to join the Panels when recruitment reopens in 2018. During the recruitment phase called 'Have Your Say', panel members provided basic personal information including their location and additional support needs. Analysis of this recruitment information up to 12 May 2017 was sent to all panel members and indicated that there was representation on the Panels from across all Scottish Local Authority areas and across all of the benefits being devolved to Scotland. It also showed that panel members represented a wide range of additional support needs including easy read, large print, and support getting to and from venues. This analysis is available in Annex B.
Over the summer of 2017, following the recruitment phase called 'Have Your Say', panel members were invited to participate in 'About Your Benefits and You'. This consisted of a survey to gather valuble demographic information as well as details of their experience of the social security system so far, and priorities for the Scottish Government to improve in the new system. 34 focus groups were also held across Scotland to provide an opportunity for more detailed, face-to-face discussion and feedback.
This report provides an overview of the quantitative survey findings from respondents to'About Your Benefits and You' which have been added to their responses to the 'Have Your Say' recruitment survey. It does not represent the demographic information or views of Experience Panels members who did not respond to 'About Your Benefits and You'. Further analysis of both the survey and focus groups with a focus on the qualitative findings will be published at a later date.