Social Security Experience Panels: attendance allowance discovery

This report explores Experience Panel member views on claiming Attendance Allowance.

Background and research methods

The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits previously delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. As part of the work to prepare for this change, the Scottish Government set up the Social Security Experience Panels. Over 2,400 people from across Scotland who have recent experience of at least one of the benefits being devolved to Scotland registered as panel members.

The Scottish Government is working with Experience Panel members to design a new social security system that works for the people of Scotland, based on the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.

To deliver the benefits devolved to Scotland, the Scottish Government have established Social Security Scotland ('the agency') who will be responsible for administering Scotland's new social security system. As part of the creation of the new agency, we have worked with Experience Panel members to understand their views on Attendance Allowance.

This report details the key themes which emerged from a survey and focus groups which took place in October and November 2018. The research considered:

  • How participants found out about Attendance Allowance;
  • Participants' experiences of applying for Attendance Allowance; and
  • What participants use their Attendance Allowance payments for.

Participants were recruited from the Scottish Government Experience Panels. In recognition of the additional accessiblity needs that are likely to be faced by this cohort, and to ensure that panel members were able to take part in the way that was most suited to them, an initial opt-in survey was sent to panel members who told us they had experience of claiming, or helping someone else claim Attendance Allowance. This survey invited Experience Panel members to tell us their preferred way of participating in the research: completing an online survey or attending a face-to-face focus group.

Twenty-six panel members went on to complete the full survey and 10 attended a focus group. The majority of survey questions were free-text responses designed to match the information gathered in the focus groups. Due to the small response numbers, survey responses are discussed here only to give a very general idea of the views of this group of participants and should not be read as representative of the views of the wider population.

The Social Security Experience Panels are a longitudinal research project. The panels are made up of volunteers from the Scottish population who have experience of at least one of the benefits that will be devolved to Scotland.



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