Social Security Experience Panels: annual report 2021

Fourth annual report from the Social Security Experience Panels programme, covering the key activities and outputs from 2021.

This document is part of a collection

2021: The Research

Our research programme with panel members in 2021 covered a range of topics. This chapter will outline what we have covered. It will also give some examples of our findings and how they are being used to make decisions.

We report on our findings through full research reports and shorter, visual summaries which are designed to be as accessible as possible. These are sent to panel members as soon as they are published so they can see what they have said and how we have used the findings.

Our Reports

In 2021 we published 7 reports and 3 visual summaries, including on:

  • How Social Security Scotland can record and support clients’ accessibility, disability, and other needs.
  • Experience Panels members’ views on topics such as the appointees system and benefit take-up.
  • Understanding how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has effected how people want to communicate with Social Security Scotland.
  • The Seldom heard programme of research, covering topics and groups that are sensitive, marginalised or dispersed, who are less likely to be visible in a project like the Experience Panels.

All reports can be found on the Experience Panels publications website.

What we have covered

As benefits move to Social Security Scotland, the work we do with Experience Panels members has changed over time. In 2017 and 2018 we tended to ask general questions about people’s experiences and desires for the new system. In 2019 and 2020, our questions became more specific, as the detail of the processes began to be developed. This continued during 2021 as we increasingly asked panel members to become involved with testing and refining how some of the systems and processes work in practice. This is to make these as simple and easy to use as possible for the people who will need them.

We are very grateful that so many panel members have shared with us their past experiences of the benefits system and gave up their time to help test ideas. It is an important time to reflect on what has been achieved since 2017 and how we have got here with their help.

Social Security Scotland are now delivering 11 benefits:

  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment
  • Best Start Grant School Age Payment
  • Best Start Foods
  • Funeral Support Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Job Start Payment
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Child Disability Payment

Panel members and other citizens have been involved in shaping each of these benefits, as well as contributed to the design of Social Security Scotland’s processes and systems for:

  • Appointments
  • Applications
  • Social Security Scotland buildings, logo and branding, staff uniform and recruitment
  • Redeterminations and appeals
  • Complaints and feedback
  • Advocacy and appointees
  • Communication channels and materials
  • Case transfer
  • Local delivery

We now have over 63 reports on the Experience Panels publications website detailing this work.

Thank you to all panel members for their work over the past four years. We will continue to speak to panel members about what other benefits and processes should look like to ensure that Social Security Scotland is delivering a service with fairness, dignity and respect.



Back to top