Pre-application – communications and engagement
Maximising take-up begins before individuals access Social Security Scotland to make an application. How we engage with and support clients and stakeholders is integral to our approach to ensuring people are aware of, and able to access, their entitlements.
Our communications approach to the Scottish Child Payment deploys a range of tactics – including: running general and targeted marketing campaigns, ensuring communications target seldom-heard groups, and writing directly to clients inviting them to apply for the payment.
Marketing and promotion
Marketing will be an important tool in raising awareness of the Scottish Child Payment. In the first instance, we will use radio, local print and digital advertising to clarify the detail of the early roll-out process. Once payment starts in February 2021, there will be a simpler message and call to action. At this point we will launch a campaign to promote all of the benefits available to families through Social Security Scotland.
We will evaluate our marketing activity during the early application period (between November 2020 and February 2021), and will use this learning, along with what we know so far from promoting Best Start payments, to refine our marketing plan for the payment starting. It is likely that this campaign will target placement of outdoor advertising within areas of multiple deprivation and within a set radius of schools and healthcare provision, as well as continued use of television and radio marketing.
We also have a number of collaborative promotional approaches in place, such as:
- Mobilising the Scottish Government’s Parent Club brand to take advantage of its growing familiarity among parents through the Covid-19 crisis;
- Writing directly to head teachers of nurseries and primary schools - both local authority and independent - across Scotland to encourage them to share with parent councils and parents;
- Sharing information through the Scottish Book Trust’s Bookbug initiative; and
- Including promotional material in the Scottish Government Baby Box contents.
Communicating with seldom-heard groups
We have put in place a number of proactive measures to ensure that our communications are inclusive and accessible to the widest possible audience, including:
- Producing benefit information in nine languages – including British Sign Language and Braille, as well as Easy Read – available at launch of any new benefit;
- Ensuring ease of access by providing materials electronically and, where appropriate, in print to stakeholders supporting a range of clients;
- Creating bespoke products to address specific barriers to access (e.g. our collaboration with MECOPP to produce video resources made by and for Gypsy/Traveller communities); and
- Collaborating with partner organisations to give seldom-heard groups confidence in their ability to access our services (e.g. incorporating trusted brands such as Happy to Translate across all of our materials as a recognised mark to give people who speak little or no English confidence that they will be able to interact easily with our service).
Invitation to apply
This year, we have introduced an invitation to clients to apply for three of our Best Start benefits. Using Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data, we identify those who are likely to be eligible for a Best Start Grant, and issue a letter inviting them to apply.
As part of our early roll-out approach, we are aiming to generate a steady stream of applications between November 2020 and February 2021. People who are identified as being likely to be eligible for Best Start Foods will be invited to apply first, with options to also apply for the Best Start Grant and Scottish Child Payment. Following this, those who are likely to be eligible for the Early Learning Payment and then School Age Payment will receive an invitation to apply, with possible eligibility for the Scottish Child Payment highlighted. Finally, anyone on the database who has not already applied for the Scottish Child Payment will be invited to do so.
Evaluation of the initial round of invitation to apply for Best Start Grant payments is still underway. We are continuing to carry out user research with those who received these first invitations to establish how we can improve this to encourage more people to act on receipt of these letters.
National engagement and local delivery
Social Security Scotland will work closely with a wide range of national and local stakeholders to encourage take-up of Scottish Child Payment. We will:
- Form partnerships with other services such as health, education, social care, housing and the voluntary sector who we know support eligible families so they actively promote Scottish Child Payment in the course of their work;
- Work alongside trusted organisations to help our communications reach those clients in most need and/or least likely to engage with traditional communication routes;
- Work with the local strategic planning partnerships to ensure they are developing local plans, and that the active promotion of Scottish Child Payment and Social Security Scotland’s other benefits is part of their approach to tackling child poverty and improving local services; and
- Ensure that our stakeholders have all the information they need to be able to talk confidently about Scottish Child Payment and signpost people to apply.
Social Security Scotland are running a series of virtual stakeholder roadshows between October and December 2020 to talk to a wide range of partner organisations about Scottish Child Payment. We will also meet with a wide range of national and local organisations to agree the specific ways in which they can help us to promote Scottish Child Payment to eligible families.
A range of best practice has been developed for Social Security Scotland’s existing benefits, and we will extend these to include Scottish Child Payment. For example, during routine discussions during midwifery and health visitor appointments and the registration of a birth of a child we will ensure that information on social security support is available.
Local Delivery is a fundamental part of Social Security Scotland’s approach to promoting the take-up of Scottish benefits. We continue to engage with external stakeholders during current Covid-19 restrictions. Whilst face-to-face meetings have been suspended, virtual stakeholder meetings are taking place, giving Social Security Scotland’s Local Delivery teams the opportunity to increase awareness of future benefit launches, including Scottish Child Payment, and to maintain a visible presence in local areas.
Social Security Scotland aims to be a leader in inclusive communication. A range of services are in place to ensure that people who communicate in different ways can access Scottish Child Payment:
- Information materials for clients and stakeholders will be made available in a range of different formats and languages, including British Sign Language (BSL) and Easy Read. They will be available for stakeholders to download or order in print from the stakeholder resources section of the Social Security Scotland website.
- Alternative versions of materials will be proactively provided to the stakeholders that support specific client groups to ensure they get into the hands of the people that need them.
- Interpretation, Translation and Transcription services are available in over 100 languages.
- BSL video relay service is available through Contact Scotland.
- Deafblind interpreters, Text Relay and electronic note taker services are available.
- All letters, information and guidance are available in Braille, Large Print, Easy Read and various Audio formats.
- Online content is compatible with screen reader software on Jaws, Voiceover and Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) platforms.
Social Security Scotland will continue to work closely with stakeholders to review and improve our services. This will ensure that everyone is able to understand information and express themselves.
Support and advice
We acknowledge the importance of specialist advice services in maximising take-up. The Benefit Take-Up Strategy introduced 2 new funds totalling £600,000 to assist 26 third sector organisations to support people who will be applying for Scottish benefits and to ensure people are aware of the financial support available to them. A proportion of this funding has allowed organisations to prepare their services to support clients to access the Scottish Child Payment.