Social Security Experience Panels - ethnic minorities: report

This report is on research with ethnic minority groups about their past experiences of social security and the barriers that exist to them in accessing support. It provides information about the steps Social Security Scotland is taking to help overcome these barriers.

This document is part of a collection

Next steps

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


In line with the findings on increasing take-up of benefits, the Scottish Government is providing money to organisations to make sure that those who are entitled to benefits know about them. Since publishing the Benefit Take-Up Strategy in October 2019, we have provided funding of £600,000 to 26 third sector organisations to support hard to reach groups who will be applying for Scottish benefits. This includes 3 projects which are specifically aimed at supporting people from ethnic minority backgrounds. 


These findings will also continue to inform the ongoing work to ensure that people from a diverse range of backgrounds in Scotland can easily contact Social Security Scotland. 

In line with suggestions in this research, Social Security Scotland now has a number of processes in place to ensure that its services can be accessed in different languages. It partners with ‘Global Connects’ to ensure that people can request foreign language interpreters when they make contact with Social Security Scotland. Clients and applicants are also able to request application forms and information (such as letters and guidance) in a foreign language. In addition, Social Security Scotland has translated a number of ‘factsheets’ into Braille and eight separate languages including Farsi, Urdu, Gaelic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic. These materials can be found on the Social Security Scotland website.[10]

Local delivery of services:

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. 

In line with the findings around the importance of local organisations, Social Security Scotland staff are currently working to build relationships in local areas. 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 application processes.  

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.



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