The People's Panel - cost of living: research findings

Research findings from the 'People's Panel' on the cost of living from March 2022 to March 2023. This publication also details the background and motivation for developing the People’s Panel, how it was delivered and what impact it has made.

Background and Context

Since 2011, as set out in the Christie Commission report[7] but also articulated through the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, the Scottish Government has been exploring ways of working with members of the public, to enhance policy development and delivery, and improve the quality of life and outcomes for the people of Scotland. Additionally, as a member of the Open Government Partnership, the Scottish Government is working alongside governments across the word and committing to the values of openness, transparency, accountability and citizen participation.

For example, the Scottish Government employs a variety of approaches to engage the public in decision-making, such as: citizen assembles, consultations and participatory budgeting. The Scottish Government has also introduced a new human rights-based Social Security system for Scotland, which emphasises dignity and respect through collaboration with individuals who have lived experience.[8] Building upon this positive practice, and as part of an Open Government commitment, the ‘Participation Framework’ was published in 2023.[9] This sets out that people have the right to contribute to, and to influence, the decisions that affect their lives. Furthermore, it underscores that involving the people likely to be affected by these decisions will lead to improved decision making. However, it is suggested that existing approaches to participation could be improved to be more inclusive, with a greater focus on diversity, accountability and evaluation.[10]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government gathered a range of evidence on the virus and the protective measures. As the country entered a period of recovery from COVID-19, decision makers needed access to timely, robust and appropriate evidence to enhance recovery efforts. It became evident that understanding the realities of COVID-19 recovery directly from people was crucial. This led to the establishment of the ‘People’s Panel for Wellbeing: 2022 and Beyond’ with the aim of ensuring direct participation and contributions from the people of Scotland. As such, this sort of participation adds depth and nuance and it provides pointers for further exploration, alongside other forms of research and a wider triangulated evidence base.



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