Social security system - enhanced administration and compensation recovery: consultation analysis

An independent analysis of responses to the consultation ‘Scotland’s social security system: enhanced administration and compensation recovery’ which ran from 4 August 2022 to 27 October 2022.

2 Consultation methodology

2.1 Introduction

The consultation ran for 12 weeks from 4 August 2022 to 27 October 2022 on the Scottish Government Citizen Space website. Several remote and in-person events aimed at a variety of audiences supplemented the online consultation.

2.2 Public consultation

The consultation received a total of 34 responses (all validated), Table 2.1. The majority of consultation responses were submitted through the Citizen Space website (71%), with the remainder submitted to the Scottish Government directly by email (29%).

Most consultation responses were from organisations (85%), with the remainder from individuals (15%).

Table 2.1: public consultation respondents

Type of respondent










Organisation respondents were grouped under three broad categories, Table 2.2, comprising:

  • the third sector which was the most common type of organisation respondent (59%) - this term includes voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, self-help groups and community groups, social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives) such as Aberlour and Inclusion Scotland who submitted responses
  • public sector organisations which made up more than one-quarter (27%) of organisation responses – these organisations are responsible for providing public services including education, emergency services, healthcare and housing, and typically have a direct relationship with the Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament, such as local authorities and NHS Boards
  • the private sector which made up few organisation responses (14%) - this term refers to businesses that have no affiliation to the government and that are privately owned, for example, responses were received from solicitors and trade unions.
Table 2.2: organisation respondents by type

Type of organisation



Third sector



Public sector



Private sector




2.3 Engagement events

The Scottish Government organised four virtual consultation events which were held between 27 September 2022 and 15 November 2022. This comprised two stakeholder events, an island communities event, and an event to capture feedback from people with lived experience of disability co-facilitated with Disability Equality Scotland, Table 2.3.

The events were advertised in a variety of ways: the Scottish Government promoted stakeholder events through a newsletter and email to stakeholders; the Scottish Island Federation members' network promoted the island communities event; and Disability Equality Scotland promoted the event for people with lived experience of disability to its members.

Each virtual event lasted for 90 minutes with a total of 87 attendees across all events. At the events, Scottish Government policy officials explained the overarching themes of the consultation, the proposals, and the underlying policy rationale for these. The stakeholder engagement events and the island communities event were also used to signpost attendees to prepare and submit a consultation response through Citizen Space.

Table 2.3: engagement events


Date of engagement event

Number of attendees

Stakeholder engagement event 1

27 September 2022


Stakeholder engagement event 2

11 October 2022


Island communities

25 October 2022


People with lived experience of disability

15 November 2022


Source: Scottish Government

Event notes from the co-facilitated event with Disability Equality Scotland were reviewed with feedback incorporated into relevant chapters of the report.

In an effort to broaden the audience beyond the central belt of Scotland, the Scottish Government also held two in-person public engagement events with a focus on accessible small towns and accessible rural areas. The events were held at Lochgelly Centre in Fife (4 October 2022) and Banchory Town Hall in Aberdeenshire (6 October 2022).

The public events were promoted using posters at the venues and through Social Security Scotland's Facebook account with attendees encouraged to submit a consultation response after the event. The events were poorly attended - only one person attended across both public events.

The Scottish Government has commissioned research to be undertaken with Social Security Experience Panel and Client Panel members focussed on certain consultation topics to supplement the feedback from engagement events and formal consultation responses. This research asks questions of members of the public with experience of social security. The Scottish Government will internally analyse the findings and the outputs will be considered before proposals are finalised.

2.4 Analysis

All responses were moderated by Scottish Government officials in the Directorate for Social Security to ensure that they were valid and appropriate. EKOS exported consultation responses from Citizen Space into Microsoft Excel for data cleaning, review, and analysis. Where submissions were submitted in another format, Scottish Government officials attached these documents to responses in Citizen Space for EKOS to manually input into Microsoft Excel.

No duplicate or campaign responses were identified.

The analysis has sought to identify the most common themes and issues. It does not report on every single point raised in the consultation responses.

The analysis has been structured in line with the themed sections of the consultation document which connected proposals to relevant Scottish Social Security Principles.

For open-ended questions, the approach is to help readers get a sense of the strength and frequency of themes and issues raised by respondents. This means that:

  • most chapters in the report contain numbered themes (for example, Theme 1, Theme 2, Theme 3) - these have been set out in order of relative importance with Theme 1 being noted by the greatest number of consultation respondents
  • points raised have been quantified in some way - for example, we use the terms 'all' (34 respondents), 'most' (25 to 33 respondents), 'many' (15 to 24 respondents), 'some' (six to 14 respondents), and 'few' (less than five respondents) to articulate the strength of opinion.

The standard process is that equal weighting should be given to all responses. This includes the spectrum of views, from large organisations with a national or UK remit or membership, to individual viewpoints.

This analysis report includes quotes from respondents who gave permission for their response to be made public. This does not indicate that these comments will be acted upon or given greater weight than others.

All responses, where the respondent gave permission for their comments to be published, will be made available on the Scottish Government Citizen Space website.

2.5 Limitations

The public consultation and engagement events had several limitations which should be noted, including that:

  • respondents to any public consultation or engagement event are self-selecting, and the views presented in this report should not be taken as representative of the range of stakeholders who were invited to respond to the public consultation
  • the in-person public engagement events and the virtual island communities event were poorly attended which impacted on the ability of the Scottish Government to gather additional feedback from individuals to supplement the public consultation - the Scottish Government is addressing this limitation through engagement with Social Security Experience Panel and Client Panel members
  • the consultation document was structured to allow respondents to answer questions independently in recognition that respondents might want to respond to one or some of the proposals without wishing to express views on the others - for example, private sector organisations answered few closed-ended questions.



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