Publication - Factsheet

Social Security Experience Panels: how to get involved

Information about taking part in the Experience Panels set up to help develop a social security system for Scotland.

Published:
3 Jul 2019
Social Security Experience Panels: how to get involved
Recruitment for Experience panels is now open: register online to take part. Read on to find out about other ways to register.  

More than 2,400 volunteers from across Scotland signed up to work with us as part of the Experience Panels. We are now at the mid-point of the Experience Panels and are re-opening recruitment to allow more people to become volunteer panel members.

Putting the user experience first and involving the people of Scotland in the design of processes and services are two of the key principles of social security in Scotland. The Experience Panels are one of the ways that we will put those principles into practice.

Who can join the Experience Panels

The Experience Panels involve people with direct, personal experience of the benefits that will be devolved to the Scottish Government. This covers:

  • most ill health and disability benefits:
    • Disability Living Allowance
    • Personal Independence Payment
    • Attendance Allowance
    • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Carers Allowance
  • benefits that are part of the Regulated Social Fund:
    • Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments

People who are acting as a parent/guardian, appointee or power of attorney for someone with experience of any of the above benefits are welcome to register to join the Panels.

What is involved in taking part

Experience Panels members will have a choice of activities that they can take part in. Some will be about the social security system in general and others will be more specific to certain experiences (e.g. focusing on an individual benefit).

Taking part might include completing short surveys, or taking part in interviews and workshops. Activities can be carried out face-to-face, on the phone and online. No matter where people live in Scotland, there will be opportunities to take part.

We give plenty of notice about upcoming research, and what taking part involves. However, there is no obligation of any kind to get involved in any of the activities.

If you would like to register to become a panel member, you can complete the online registration form

Alternatively, you can call our freephone helpline to register over the phone.

You can also call, write or email to request a paper registration form to be posted to you with a freepost envelope for return.

Freephone: 0800 029 4974

Email: socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot

Post: FREEPOST Social Security Experience Panels

Textphone: Using the 18001 prefix.

Text: 07747 460 357

Phoneline translation is available on the number above if required. British Sign Language users can contact us via https://contactscotland-bsl.org

Your benefits

If you are participating in the Experience Panels it will not affect your benefits. Also, none of the information that you provide in any Experience Panels research will affect your benefits.

Any personal information such as your name, address and contact details, that you provide will be kept completely confidential according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). None of the information that you give us will be shared with anyone outside of the Scottish Government.

Research reports will be published as a part of this work, however, information will never be in a form that can reveal your identity.

Time involved

You do not have to take part in everything. It will be entirely up to you how much time you want to spend.

There will be a range of activities and topics to suit different members. Some will be about the social security system in general and others will be more specific to certain experiences.

It will be up to you to decide what to participate in. That means that you can choose not to take part in anything, but still remain a member of the Experience Panels.

Payment and expenses

We are looking for volunteers, so you will not be paid to take part.

We cover reasonable expenses for panel members to support attendance at our face to face events. This includes travel costs, and where required childcare costs or costs of bringing a carer. Expenses will be reimbursed after you take part.

We always provide refreshments at events, including lunch if the event happens right before or after lunchtime.

Extra support to get involved

We will make sure that you are comfortable taking part and we recognise that you might need some extra support to be involved. We want to make taking part as easy as possible for everyone involved.

How you will participate will vary depending on the activity. Activities can be carried out face-to-face, on the phone, by post and online.

We use accessible venues across Scotland for face to face events, can provide a hearing loop, BSL translation, audio typists or language interpreters on request. We can provide refreshments according to any dietary requirements and adjust events for allergies. We welcome carers to attend alongside panel members.

Our surveys can be completed online, over the phone and on paper and are always written in plain English. Our online surveys use dyslexia friendly formatting and work well with screen readers. Our paper surveys are always in large font.

We will always provide information in advance. If you are asked to meet to discuss something in person, we will cover your expenses and provide any other support that you require to participate.

Privacy

Any personal information (like your name, address and contact details) that you give us will be held according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that it will be kept completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside of the Scottish Government. We will use your contact details for research purposes only. This means we will contact you only to invite you to take part or to tell you about what we have found.

Research reports are published as a part of this work, however, information will never be in a form that can reveal your identity. A copy of the Data Protection Impact Assessment for this project is available for you to look at.

Leaving the Experience Panels

We want as many people to take part as possible. This will help us to make sure that the information that we get best represents the people using the social security system.

However, we understand that people may no longer want to take part for a variety of reasons. Participation is entirely voluntary and you can opt out at any time, without having to give any a reason.

Other ways to get involved 

The panels have been set up to involve people with direct, lived experience of accessing the current benefit system, in designing the new social security system for Scotland. This is because people with recent experience are able to tell us what works well currently, and where there is room for improvement.

However, there are other ways to get involved and let us know what you think. For example, through public consultations. You can find out more about this on our website.

Involving those with professional experience of the current benefit system 

The panels have been set up to involve people with direct, lived experience of accessing the current benefit system, in designing the new social security system for Scotland. This is because people with recent experience are able to tell us what works well currently, and where there is room for improvement.

We are currently involving stakeholders in the development of the new system. For example, through stakeholder reference groups and the Expert Advisory Group on Disability and Carers' Benefits.

At this time, we are not able to involve people who have experience of the system in a professional capacity. However, we recognise the great deal of knowledge, understanding and experience that people who work in this area bring.

However, there are other ways to get involved and let us know what you think. For example, through public consultations. 

Research results

We want you to know how important the experience panel is to us, and what impact it makes.

We keep in touch with members of the Experience Panels, giving regular updates on how research is being used to make real changes to social security in Scotland. We send panel members all our reports when they are published, and also have a quarterly newsletter.

See a list of Experience Panel reports published to date. 

Contact

If you have any further questions, you can contact us by:

Phone: 0800 029 4974
Email: SocialSecurityExperience@gov.scot
Post: FREEPOST Social Security Experience Panels
Text: 07747 460 357 

Textphone users can use the 18001 prefix. BSL users can contact us via https://contactscotland-bsl.org 

Phoneline translation is available if required.