I am delighted to publish the Scottish Government’s second annual report on the work of the Social Security Experience Panels.
This year’s report comes at an exciting point in the Experience Panels programme, showing how the promise of early work has been put into practice in our delivery of benefits. It also looks to the next phase of delivery, working on disability benefits and continuing our commitment by putting people at the heart of social security.
This has been supported by the recruitment of new panel members, and I am particularly encouraged that we are reaching seldom heard groups to ensure that the research includes all of the people who will use our system.
This report is testament to the lived experience of the people of Scotland, so thank you to all those involved for providing your time and sharing your experiences and views. I hope you have seen what you have told us being used to create something better. This will continue to come to life with the benefits to follow.
Learning from the Experience Panels work is an important part of ensuring we continue to improve, and the mid programme review has allowed for reflection on what we have achieved and what we might do differently. This also helps us to consider how we might use what we have learned when planning future engagements.
The Social Security Experience Panels will, happily, continue to be an active and essential part of this work in the coming year as we begin delivery of the disability benefits. The dedication and openness of our panel members in sharing their experiences is fundamental to building a better system for the people of Scotland, and we look forward to hearing more from them.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People