Social Security Charter measurement framework: co-design process

The process we undertook to co-develop a measurement framework that will show how well we are preforming against the Social Security Charter.

Executive Summary


The Scottish Government is getting new powers to deliver some social security benefits. Provision for delivering these benefits is set out in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018[1]. These benefits are gradually being rolled out and delivered by Social Security Scotland (the Agency).

As a requirement of the Act, a Charter, detailing what the people of Scotland can expect from the new system, was co-designed by people with experience of social security, and the Scottish Government. The Charter, referred to as ‘Our Charter’, reflects the human rights approach to social security and is available in multiple formats on the Social Security Scotland website[2]. It is set out as a series of ‘commitments’ which will be delivered by Social Security Scotland and the Scottish Government.

The next step for this work has been to set up a comprehensive measurement system to ensure that progress towards achieving a human rights based Social Security System, as set out in Our Charter, is openly and robustly measured. As the co-design of the charter was so successful, a similar method was used to produce a Charter Measurement Framework,

This report was written by the Scottish Government researchers who supported this co-design process and sets out how the considered thoughts and ideas of people with lived experience of social security, and of stakeholders, about what should be measured, were brought together to produce a comprehensive, robust and accessible way of measuring adherence to the commitments in Our Charter.

Who was involved?

The framework was co-designed with a diverse group of 20 people with lived experience of the social security system (Core Group 2), who took part in a series of workshops. Valuable advice was given by representatives from a range of stakeholder groups – professionals who represent the interests of, and work on behalf of, social security clients - and the Scottish Comission on Social Security (SCoSS), among whose functions is assessing the extent to which the Charter commitments are fulfilled.

All co-design and consultation work was planned, overseen and facilitated by Scottish Government researchers and policy officials.

How did co-design happen?

The co-design of the Charter Measurement Framework was undertaken between March and August 2019. Scottish Government officials held:

  • seven full-day workshops with Core Group 2, including an advice and discussion session between the group and SCoSS
  • two meetings with representatives from stakeholder groups
  • two meetings with SCoSS

Early work with Core Group 2 was focused on capacity-building in measurement processes and techniques. The group then started to work on identifying the kinds of things that should be measured to show that charter commitments are being met, and how this might be done. Feedback and comments on this process from stakeholders and SCoSS informed the continuous drafting, and redrafting, of the framework.

What is in the framework and why?

The Charter Measurement Framework contains a list of measures that comprehensively covers the aspects of the commitments in Our Charter. The measures for the first three sections of Our Charter have been identified and agreed upon by Core Group 2. These sections have to do with with Social Security Scotland’s operations and delivery, and will tell us how the agency treats clients and manages benefits. The fourth section - ‘A better future’ – is included, but is being measured in a slightly different manner. This section is mostly Scottish Government commitments related to policy, rather than delivery and operations, and, as such, there is a longer term plan for how their success, or otherwise, will
be evaluated.

The measures are presented in a chart that shows their relation to the sections
in Our Charter, which are in the same order as they appear in that document:
‘A people’s service’, ‘Processes that work’, ‘A learning system’, and
‘A better future’.

There is a summary page which will precede the table and give a concise overview, with appropriate infographics (pictures that display information), of how well each section of the charter is being fulfilled; this summary page will also be used as a poster, illustrating the key messages from the framework, in an accessible format.

Reading the framework

Each page of the framework ( represents a section of Our Charter. Each page is divided into four levels which are read from the top downwards.

These four levels are organised as follows:

Level 1 is the name of the Charter section to which the measures refer
(e.g. ‘A people’s service’)

Level 2 is made up of questions that need to be answered in relation to that section (e.g. ‘How well are Social Security Scotland staff delivering the charter commitments?’)

Level 3 contains the outcomes that represent a positive answer to those questions (e.g. ‘Clients find staff knowledgeable and approachable)

Level 4 will contain data that can be used to answer the questions at level 2
and demonstrate whether, or not, the ideals in level 3 are being achieved
(e.g. the % of clients saying they felt staff were knowledgeable about the social security system)

The measures in the table do not always directly match with individual charter commitments. This is because many of the commitments contain a few different aspects which cannot be evidenced by a single piece of data, and identifying multiple pieces of data for each commitment would result in a repetitive and unwieldy framework. Therefore, several commitments have been broken up and reconnected with others in ways that mean we can measure common aspects across the Charter using fewer measures. This process is described further in the body of this report.

Collection and use of data

The framework will be put into use gradually as devolved benefits continue to be rolled-out. The data that will be used for the measures in the framework will be collected using a number of different methods, including surveys, focus groups and management information - see Annex C to the main report. Measures may be added, or existing measures changed or removed, as the system, and the framework, evolve. At the time of this publication, there is very little data to use, as the process of deciding what to measure has only just concluded.

Next steps

Presently, the framework contains the measures that will evidence the extent to which the Charter commitments are being fulfilled. Over the next and subsequent years, data will be collected to populate the framework. This will be published on an annual basis. Each publication will contain more data as it becomes available, and as new benefits are rolled-out.

The Measurement Framework will be fully enacted by 2022/23, when the last of
the devolved benefits will be being delivered by Social Security Scotland. The framework will be subject to review once the new social security system in Scotland is fully operational.


A co-design project was undertaken to develop a framework which will measure the extent to which the commitments set out in Our Charter are being fulfilled. People with lived experience of the social security system (Core Group 2) worked with Scottish Government officals, including social researchers, in seven intensive workshops over the course of six months, sharing their ideas and opinions about how best to evidence the realisation of the Charter commitments. In addition, a number of stakeholder groups, with an interest in the provision of social security
in Scotland, along with SCoSS, were consulted throughout the process, and their advice has been incorporated into the framework.

The framework has been designed to ensure that all aspects of the Charter commitments are attended to, while avoiding repetition or long-windedness; therefore achieving comprehensiveness and accessibility.

The data in the framework will provide a key resource in ensuring that Social Security Scotland, and the Scottish Government, are delivering social security services in line with the human rights based approach described in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, and represented in Our Charter.



Back to top