Social Security Experience Panels: annual report 2022

Fifth annual report from the Social Security Experience Panels programme, covering the key activities and outputs from 2022.

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I am pleased to publish the Scottish Government's fifth annual report on the work of the Social Security Experience Panels.

2022 was an important year in the delivery of Social Security Scotland's new benefits, and research with the Social Security Experience Panels played an important role in supporting this work. The end of 2021 saw the launch of Child Disability Payment, and Adult Disability Payment launched in August 2022. This winter we will see the first Winter Heating Payments made to eligible people. The work of the Social Security Experience Panels has been pivotal in ensuring that these new benefits meet the needs of those who receive them.

During 2022, we worked with panel members to explore topics such as Scottish Carer's Assistance, Motability, Adult Disability Payment, redeterminations, appeals, fraud, and measures that have been in place due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We have also undertaken a comprehensive programme of user research, working with panel members to help test and refine processes and services such as the new Adult Disability Payment, online services, carer benefits and applications. Thank you to all who took part in these sessions. More user research will continue in 2023.

For the first time since the start of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we were able to offer some face-to-face research sessions. This enabled us to hear from people in-person on important topics, and was beneficial because we know that face-to-face research is the easiest way for some people to get involved. We are keen to build on this during the next year. But the pandemic also pushed us to be more creative about how we could engage with people remotely, and get the right infrastructure and processes in place to allow this. Being able to engage remotely (either by phone or online) has been a really positive development for some groups – in particular, those who live in remote or island communities and those who find travel or face-to-face interactions difficult. Utilising technology to engage remotely means that we can move forward with more options for how people can take part, and therefore hopefully more scope to hear from a greater diversity of people than ever before.

The Social Security Experience Panels will continue to be a crucial part of our work as we progress the review of Adult Disability Payment and work towards the delivery of the new Scottish Carer's Assistance. We are very grateful to our panel members for sharing their experiences and views. We know that this has sometimes involved opening up about difficult experiences, as well as contributing ideas and giving feedback on our proposals. Panel members' contributions are fundamental to building a better system for the people of Scotland. We look forward to continuing to work with them in 2023.

Ben Macpherson

Minister for Social Security and Local Government



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