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.

This document is part of a collection

Background and research methods

The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits currently 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. People from across Scotland who have recent experience of at least one of the benefits coming to Scotland were eligible to join. 

Over 2,400 people registered as Experience Panel members when it launched in 2017. 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. 

In this research project, we conducted focus groups to ask panel members for their views about how to ensure that everyone that is entitled to benefits can access them. These included:

  • Experiences of finding out about the benefits system
  • Views about how organisations can be more approachable
  • Views on how Social Security Scotland can promote its benefits
  • Experiences of stigma and views on how Social Security Scotland can challenge stigma 
  • Views on improving application and assessment processes
  • Views on other barriers to taking up benefits. 

In total, 39 Experience Panel members took part in 11 focus groups and 1 interview, which took place in 8 locations across Scotland.[4] Groups had between 2 and 5 participants. The Social Security Experience Panels are a longitudinal research project. The panels are made up of volunteers from the Scottish population who have relevant experience. 

The findings of this work should be regarded as being reflective of the experience and views of the participants only, and are not indicative of the views of a wider Scottish population.



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