I am delighted to publish the Scottish Government's third annual report on the work of the Social Security Experience Panels.
This year has been a difficult year for everyone. We have had to change the way we work with Experience Panels members in order to make sure that participants and staff are not exposed to the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Meanwhile, working with panel members, hearing their views and experiences, continues to play a critical role in the design of the new social security system in Scotland.
But this report also comes at an exciting point, with the views and experiences of panel members shaping how new benefits are being delivered in practice. In late October we announced some of the changes that will be made to disability benefits when they are delivered by Social Security Scotland. These changes are the direct result of input from people who have experience of the current system.
We are also now increasingly able to ask Experience Panels members to go beyond helping us think about what systems and process should look like. We are able to ask panel members to actually help us test and refine these to be as simple and easy to use as possible for the people who will need them.
The Social Security Experience Panels will continue to be a crucial part of our work as we begin delivery of the disability benefits. The dedication and openness of our panel members in sharing their experiences and views is fundamental to building a better system for the people of Scotland. We look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming year.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People