The Impact of Welfare Reform in Scotland - Tracking Study

The aim of the study is to explore the impact of on-going welfare changes on a range of households in Scotland over time. This report provides a review of the literature and presents the results of the first sweep of interviews which took place from September 2013 to January 2014.

Appendix 2 Interview Schedule

The Impact of Welfare Reform in Scotland: Questionnaire, Sweep 1

My name is [Name]. I am from The Employment Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University. We have been asked by the Scottish Government to explore the impact of the welfare changes over time on a sample of households in Scotland.

This is a 3 year research project and you will be contacted twice a year to take part in an interview for the project:

  • September-November 2013
  • April-June 2014
  • September-November 2014
  • April-June 2015
  • September-November 2015
  • April-June 2016

We would also like to interview any other adults in your household if appropriate, and you agree.

Taking part is completely voluntary. Everything you say will be kept confidential. When we write our report or any academic papers, we will not use any real names or give information that might identify you as the person who has told us these things.

If you do agree to take part, you can stop at any point, or decline to answer any particular question that you are not comfortable with. Because of the nature of this research it is possible that we might touch on periods or events in your life which are quite personal, so please feel free to let us know if you would rather not talk about any issue, or if you would prefer to change the subject or to not answer particular questions. Also, because people's experiences are so different, some questions may seem more relevant to you than others, so please feel free to say more on these as you see fit. The interview is an informal conversation and we want to hear what you have to tell us about your experiences.

We would like to record the interview if that is ok, so that we can remember everything that you have told us today. Recordings will be kept securely and destroyed after we the reports or any articles that might come from the research have been published. Are you happy for us to record this interview or would you prefer us not to?

Do you have any questions?

Details for the interviewer to complete

Date of interview:


Location of interview:

Persons present (apart from the interviewer and the main interviewee):

If another person (not the main interviewee) answers any of the questions, please note this in the margin.

NOTE TO INTERVIEWER: focus on the qualitative responses & closed questions/coding is for limited analysis

Section 1: Participant and Household Background

I'd like to start by asking about you and the people who live in your household.

1. I'd like to start by asking you to summarise your background.

Probe - Why did you decide to get involved in the study?

2. How many people are there in your household, including any children or babies?

[Interviewer: Probe for answers to complete the below grid]

Person Number Relationship to the interviewee Age of household member If child, is the participant the parent/ legal guardian Sex of household member
Participant 1
Participant 2
Participant 3
Other household member 1
Other household member 2
Other household member 3
Other household member 4
Other household member 5
Other household member 6

3. What is your marital status?

4. Does your household own or rent your accommodation?

[Interviewer: Tick answer from list below]

  • Owned/being bought on mortgage
  • Shared ownership (part-owned part-rented)
  • Private rented
  • Council (local authority) rented
  • Housing association, housing cooperative, charitable trust, registered social landlord rented
  • Other (specify)

5. How would you describe your cultural or ethnic background?

[Interviewer: Tick answer from list below]


  • Scottish
  • English
  • Welsh, Northern Irish or other British
  • Irish
  • Other European (please specify)
  • Any other white background


  • Any mixed background


  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background


  • Caribbean
  • African
  • Any other Black background


  • Any other background
  • Don't know
  • Refused

Section 2: Employment and training/education

6. How old were you when you left school?

a. Why did you leave at that particular time?

7. What is your highest qualification?

8. How would you describe your working life since leaving school, and in the last 2 years?

[Interviewer: Ask interviewee to summarise their responses by selecting one of the below phrases]

Since leaving school In the last 2 years
  • 'I have you spent most of my time in stable employment'
  • 'I have mostly been unemployed and seeking work'
  • 'I have you moved between a number of jobs but with only short periods of unemployment' (less than 4 weeks)
  • 'I have you moved between a number of jobs with some long period periods of unemployment' (more than 4 weeks)
  • 'I have spent long periods caring for my family or claiming other benefits'
  • 'I have spent most of my time in full-time further/higher education'
  • Other (please specify)
  • 'I have you spent most of my time in stable employment'
  • 'I have mostly been unemployed and seeking work'
  • 'I have you moved between a number of jobs but with only short periods of unemployment' (less than 4 weeks)
  • 'I have you moved between a number of jobs with some long period periods of unemployment' (more than 4 weeks)
  • 'I have spent long periods caring for my family or claiming other benefits'
  • 'I have spent most of my time in full-time further/higher education'
  • Other (please specify)

9. Are you currently employed?

a. If no, are you seeking work? What was your last job?

[Interviewer: Probe for answers to complete the below grid - if not currently in employment please complete for the participant's last job]

Current job or past job?
Do you have more than one job?
Job 1 Job 2 Job 3 Job 4
Job title
Is this a permanent job?
Is this a zero hours contract job?
How many hours do you normally work per week in this job? - Probe zero hour contract?
What is your net (take home) pay? £ (week/month/
£ (week/month/
£ (week/month/
£ (week/month/
How long have you been in this job?

Section 3: Income and Financial information

Now I'd like to ask you a few questions about your household income and how you're getting by financially.

10. How easy do you find it to pay for things e.g. rent, bills, food, clothes?

a. Is getting a sufficient income a source of anxiety to you?

b. Have you ever had to borrow money in the last 2 years and how often? (specify: Loan from the bank; Loan from family or friends; Loan from a credit union or friendly society; Loan from a money lender; Payday loan company; Pawn broker etc.)

i. If yes, are you managing to keep up with the repayments for this loan(s)?

ii. Is keeping up with the repayments for this loan(s) a source of anxiety to you?

c. Have you ever had to use a food bank in the last 2 years and how often, were there specific reasons (what was the main reason)?

11. Taking everything together how would you say you and your household are managing financially these days?

[Interviewer: Ask interviewee to summarise their response by selecting one of the below phrases]

  • Manage very well
  • Manage quite well
  • Get by alright
  • Don't manage very well
  • Have some financial difficulties
  • Are in deep financial trouble
  • Refused
  • Don't know

12. What benefits are you currently in receipt of?

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Carer's Allowance (formerly Invalid Care Allowance)
  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Child Benefit (including Lone-Parent Child Benefit payments)
  • Working Tax Credit (includes Disabled Person's Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council tax benefit
  • Council tax reduction scheme
  • ESA (WRAG or Support)
  • In work credit for lone parents
  • Universal Credit
  • Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Don't know
  • Refused


  • Who is/was the claimant
  • Currently receiving and for how long?
  • Received in the past, when stopped, why?
  • Why did you start to claim this benefit?
  • How do you/did feel about being on this benefit?
  • Don't know
  • Refused

13. Do you currently have any other sources of household income

[Interviewer: Open Question with prompt for first two, tick answers from list below]

  • Dividends or interest from any saving and investments you may have
  • Income from employment
  • State Retirement (Old Age) Pension
  • A Pension from a previous employer
  • A Pension from a spouse's previous employer
  • A Private Pension/Annuity
  • A Widow's or War Widow's Pension
  • A Widowed Mother's Allowance / Widowed Parent's Allowance / Bereavement Allowance
  • Pension Credit (includes Guarantee Credit & Saving Credit)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injury Disablement Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Independent Living Fund
  • War Disablement Pension
  • National Insurance Credits
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Educational Grant (not Student Loan or Tuition Fee Loan)
  • School Uniform or School Meal Vouchers
  • Trade Union / Friendly Society Payment
  • Maintenance or Alimony
  • Payments from a family member not living here
  • Rent from Boarders or Lodgers (not family members) living here with you
  • Rent from any other property
  • Foster Allowance / Guardian Allowance
  • Rent Rebate
  • Rate Rebate
  • Return to Work Credit
  • Sickness and Accident Insurance
  • Other Disability Related Benefit or Payment
  • Any other regular payment
  • Any other state benefit

14. Including all your benefits and other sources of income you listed, can I ask you to tell me what percentage of your income comes from your job (if applicable), benefits, savings, pensions etc?

[Interviewer: Establish if this is a week, month, year, and get breakdown of different sources to complete the grid below]

Total income: £ (week, month, year)
Benefits and Credits Income from employment Pensions All other sources of income
(week, month, year) (week, month, year) (week, month, year) (week, month, year)

15. Who in your household mainly controls the household budget (deciding what money gets spent on)?

16. How are your benefits paid to you? (E.g. paid straight into your bank, building society or credit union account, paid using a Post Office card account etc.)?

a. Is this OK or does it cause any problems? Would you rather have it paid in a different way (why)?

17. Are there any benefits that you would like to claim/think you should receive but don't?

a. Specify which benefits

b. Why do you think you should receive this benefit?

c. Why do you not claim it/receive it?

I'd like to ask you about whether there have been any recent changes to your benefits.

18. Of the benefits that you receive, have there been any changes to them in the last year? (Probe, where appropriate/relevant, whether affected by benefit cap, change to size regulations in social housing, new lone parent obligations, changes to disability benefits.)

a. Specify which benefits changed

b. What were the changes e.g. eligibility, amount received?

c. What effect have these changes had on you and your household? Focus on the three most important changes for the participant.

d. Have you received any sanctions - and what were the effects of these sanctions on you? If you have not been sanctioned, are you worried about being sanctioned in the future and how does the possibility of sanctions influence what you do?

19. Do you think that there will be changes to your benefits or the way they are provided to you in the next year?

a. Probe: move to monthly payments, online system, single payments

b. Probe: Looking ahead, how do you think you will be financially a year from now, will you be ... better off, worse off than you are now, about the same?

20. How do you feel about the changes to benefits?

a. Probe: move to monthly payments and budgeting, online system and confidence in using the internet, single payments

21. How do you feel about how the press and TV or others talk about those on welfare? (OPTIONAL QUESTION)

a. Probe: what are these perceptions?

b. Do these views influence or affect you in any way?

22. Where would be a good place to get information about benefits?

a. Probe: Why is this a good source for information?

b. Have you approached anyone for help? Where? Citizens Advice? Other advice services?

c. What was the outcome (were they helpful, did you get the support you needed, did you get the information or outcome you wanted)?

I'd like to ask you a few questions about how you are getting on financially.

23. What is the first thing that your household goes without when money is short? (OPTIONAL QUESTION)

a. How often have you gone without these in the last two years?

b. What sorts of things are important in helping you feel 'better off'?

24. Is there anything that has happened recently (in the last two years) which has affected your income/affected how you manage financially?

Section 4: Sources of support

25. Who would you turn to if you were having problems with (prompt: information, moral support, practical help)… (OPTIONAL QUESTION)

a. The benefits that you are currently receiving

b. Any new benefits that you wanted to claim for

c. Finding out information about benefits

d. Finding out information about changes to benefits

e. Managing financially

f. Support on other issues

Section 5: Health

26. Please can you tell me to what extent does your condition affect your daily life?

Probe - Is regular care required to complete day to day tasks? Who provides this care? Is this care adequate?

27. Who are you/they seeing to help with the health-condition or disability?

a. GP and/or attending hospital?

b. Other healthcare professional e.g. community health nurse, physio

c. Accessing any services - e.g. mental health?

28. I'd like to finish by asking you about your life in general…all things considered, how satisfied are you with life as a whole nowadays?

[Interviewer: Ask interviewee to summarise their response by selecting on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means very dissatisfied and 10 means very satisfied]

Thank you very much for speaking to us today. The information you have given us is very valuable to our research.

[Get participant to read and sign consent form at this point.]

Description of the household (to be completed at the end of the interview). Tick all that apply

  • with dependent children under the age of 5yrs
  • with dependent children over the age of 5 yrs
  • with one or two dependent children
  • with three or more children
  • lone parent household
  • where both parents/carers present
  • where members are employed full-time
  • where members are employed part-time
  • where some members are employed and others unemployed
  • where all adults are unemployed
  • households with disabled adults
  • households with disabled children
  • men as well as women
  • single adult household
  • working age adults of different ages
  • households with ethnic minority adults


Email: Franca MacLeod

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