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Social Security Experience Panels: benefit take-up – report

This report covers findings from research with Social Security Experience Panels members about their experiences of accessing the benefit system.

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Next steps

Insights from this research are being used to shape the service that Social Security Scotland offers.

Take-Up:

These findings are being used by the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland to make sure that those who are entitled to benefits know about them. 

The Scottish Government considers maximising the take-up of benefits to be a moral imperative and a fundamental priority. Our Benefit Take-up Strategy introduced initiatives such as the provision of £600,000 of new funding to 26 third sector organisations to support seldom-heard groups applying for Scottish benefits, and to ensure people are aware of the financial support available to increase their household income.

This work continues, and the Scottish Government have established a Stakeholder Take-Up Reference Group to support the implementation of the current strategy and feed into the development of the next one, to be published in October 2021. 

We have seen evidence of exemplary practices around take-up within the public and third sectors, and can see opportunities for other organisations and bodies to adopt similar approaches. With this in mind, we are working to pull together a resource for practitioners to shine a light on existing best practice, and to offer practical advice on implementing approaches in similar and/or alternative settings. 

Local authorities:

The insights from this research will also be used to help shape the local services that Social Security Scotland will provide in every local authority area in Scotland. Social Security Scotland staff are currently working to build relationships with key local organisations. Once fully operational, the new local delivery service will help promote benefit take-up by reaching a diverse range of people in their local communities and supporting them through the application process.  

Staff training:

Insights from the work are also being used to ensure that Social Security Scotland staff are able to treat all members of the public with dignity, fairness, and respect. This includes feeding findings into the design of inclusive training materials for staff. 

Overall, the Scottish Government will continue to work with the Experience Panels in the development of Scotland's new social security system. This will include further research on individual benefits in addition to work to assist in the development of Social Security Scotland.

Contact

Email: SocialSecurityExperience@gov.scot

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