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Social Security Experience Panels: fraud and error – report

This report summarises the results from eight focus groups with Experience Panel members, which asked how Social Security Scotland should approach fraud and error.

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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 Social Security Scotland should approach fraud and error. In particular, we asked for:

  • Views on whether genuine error and cases of fraud should be treated differently;
  • Views on whether clients who commit fraud should be prosecuted;
  • Views on what public communication about fraud and error should be like;
  • Views on the kind of language that should be used by Social Security Scotland;
  • Views on the stigma associated with benefit fraud.

In total, 39 Experience Panel members took part in 8 focus groups across Scotland.[2] Groups had between 3 and 8 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.

Contact

Email: Socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot

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