Impact of our work
Our work has been shaping decisions and materials such as application forms across the development of social security in Scotland. This impact has been reflected where we can in the 'we did' sections of our reports.
For example, the move from a three month to a six month time period for applying for Best Start Grant came directly from people telling us that three months was not long enough. Similarly, decisions around Social Security Scotland's name, the colours, photos, icons and words they used have been shaped by panel member's input. These are just two examples, as is the development of the Charter, which is described on the next page.
The work of Experience Panels has also contributed to a broad appreciation of the views and needs of people with lived experience across those working on social security. Colleagues who support our individual events have an opportunity to hear directly from panel members. We also make sure that what panel members tell us is shared not just with the people making the decision in question, but across all people working on social security.
"The Experience Panels enabled us to engage with hundreds of people about the current system to find out how it works and how it feels for people using it. This level of access has been invaluable throughout discovery phases for both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help us identify what individuals need in order to ensure a system that embeds dignity and respect throughout.
Listening to people's stories has been so powerful in helping us shape the new disability benefits service in Scotland and we look forward to continuing to work with the experience panels on our on-going development"
Service Manager, Social Security Directorate
Spotlight On: The Charter
One of our biggest projects this year was the co-design of the charter for Social Security Scotland.
A charter is a document that sets out people's rights and how people should behave. It was set out in law that the Social Security Scotland Charter should be developed with people who have experience of social security.
We invited Experience Panels members to take part in this work and 34 people (including one non panel member from an otherwise unrepresented group) worked with us and our policy colleagues across a series of seven workshops to decide what was put in the charter.
We also gathered in-depth information from another 26 people in focus groups and interviews. Finally, we asked all Experience Panel members to take part in a survey to make sure they had their say on the charter.
The charter is set out in four sections which reflect what was important to people with experience of social security. These are:
1. A People's Service
2. Processes that Work
3. Learning and Improving
4. A Better Future
The people who worked on the charter were asked about their experience and all those who replied said that they felt fully supported, and the vast majority said they fully gave their opinions and that their opinions are reflected in the charter. One member said: I felt that the staff…
"..listened and genuinely valued my opinions"
We continue to involve colleagues in the design, conduct and reporting of the Experience Panels research to ensure that the panel member voices are embedded in the fabric of the policy and design process.
Email: Carole Edwards