Social Security Experience Panels: follow up survey about appointees - visual summary

This visual summary covers findings from a short follow-up survey with Social Security Experience Panels members about appointees.

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Social Security Experience Panels: Follow Up Survey about Appointees


The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As part of work to prepare for this change, the Scottish Government set up the Social Security Experience Panels.

2,400+ Experience Panel members

Over 2,400 people from across Scotland joined the Experience Panels when they started in 2017. They all have recent experience of the benefits that are coming to Scotland.

The Scottish Government is working with Experience Panel members to create Scotland’s new social security system.

About the research

This report gives the findings of research with Experience Panel members about the appointees system. An appointee is a person given the power to act on another person’s behalf by a social security agency.

This was a short follow up survey to previous research carried out in Summer 2020. A visual summary of the previous research can be found here: Social Security experience panels: appointees - visual summary - (

Survey responses 78

The research took place in Dec 2020 → Jan 2021

The research asked views about:

When someone who is capable of acting for themselves chooses to have an appointee act on their behalf.

What types of professional people could confirm that an appointee is suitable.

40% Man or boy

60% Woman or girl

About the survey participants

Around half (49 per cent) were aged between

45 – 59 years old

Almost all (93 per cent) had a disability or other long term health condition.

Respondents took part from 29 local authority areas.

Professional People

Social Security Scotland have a duty of care to clients and may want to check that an appointed person is suitable. One way to do this would be to ask a professional person to confirm this.

A professional person is someone who earns their living by doing a job that requires a certain level of education, skill, or training.

Examples of a professional person may include:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Social workers
  • Solicitors
  • Support workers

Overall, respondents understood who was included in the categories covered by the list. Respondents gave a number of suggestions for additions to the list.

The most frequent suggestions were people who work in education, such as teachers, and religious leaders.

Other examples included:

  • People who work for charities or support services
  • Elected officials such as councillors
  • People who work in the emergency services
  • Family and friends

We asked respondents what professional people in their lives they would want Social Security Scotland to contact about an appointee. Many respondents said medical professionals including GPs, nurses, psychiatrists, and consultants.

Some participants said solicitors, social workers, or people who work for charities or support services.


Some respondents were concerned that a professional person might not know a client or appointee well enough.

“If the duty social worker read a file - that's not coming from knowledge of an individual. I would want to think it went a little deeper than that to check who they were asking and how well they knew me or any client.”

“My only concern would be that GPs get bogged down with this type of work and hurry through a claimant’s records.”

Some respondents were concerned that asking a professional person could cause delays.

Some respondents said they would want updates about the process. Others said that Social Security Scotland should ask them before contacting a professional person.

Some respondents said it was important that certain information about them was kept private. They thought that professional people should only share certain information.

“As long it was with my consent and any irrelevant information was not disclosed without that consent.”

Next Steps

The Scottish Government will continue to work with the Experience Panels in the development of Scotland’s new social security system.

These findings will be used to inform and develop the design of the appointees system in Scotland.



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