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Social Security Experience Panels - keeping staff and clients safe: report

This report outlines the findings of a survey conducted with panel members, which looked to help design the processes for keeping Social Security Scotland staff and clients safe.

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How Social Security Scotland can help clients with a health condition

Respondents were asked if a specific health condition caused them to become angry or frustrated with Social Security Scotland, what they would suggest could be put in place to reduce this.

Staff Training

Most of the respondents said that the organisation having prior knowledge of the condition could help staff in interacting with clients. They asked for training for staff on the different conditions so that they know what to do when they come across them.

“A bit of knowledge in advance of a client and their condition could help greatly reduce frustration in the client. Personally I need time to read over things as I’m partially sighted. If I’m rushed I can get anxious and frustrated and then that affects my mental health too”.

“Information about the condition should be given to the staff”.

“I am totally blind and find that many people have little or no understanding of sight loss issues. The prevailing attitude is that sight loss equals cognitive issues. Staff need to be able to guide a person with sight loss in the way the person prefers”.

Flagging individual’s needs to staff

Respondents felt that listening to clients about their accessibility needs and preferences would help make them comfortable in Social Security Scotland spaces.

“Giving everyone an even chance to be themselves and to have the best place and time of day possible for them to represent themselves well would be best for everyone. The best person to ask is the client, let them in on the management of their own needs”.

Some respondents felt that flagging the individual’s needs (in their own words) on the system could help staff to tailor their interaction.

“I have poor concentration, and short term memory loss. I misinterpret their questions or was not consistent in my answers especialy when I’m stressed. Perhaps something on my system that highlighted to any member of staff my poor concentration and memory and need for short simple questions”.

“By allowing the client to state they have issues prior to the interview”.

Other suggestions for positive interactions

Echoing the points about timing made above, respondents asked that Social Security value their time and not make them wait.

“Do not make the individuals wait. Space appointments so individuals are seen as soon as they arrive”.

One respondent felt that reducing face to face interaction between clients and staff would be beneficial for clients with communication and/or social impairments.

“Limiting appointments that are face to face and limiting questioning would be the most helpful across the range of communication and social impairments”.

Finally, respondents suggested that having a friendly atmosphere for clients when they enter would help reduce the potential for frustration and anger.

“Have someone welcome them as soon as they arrive (not behind a desk) show them where to go and introduce themselves”.

Storing information

Respondents were asked if they would want Social Security Scotland to store information about any accessibility or disability needs to make interacting with the organisation easier. Nearly all (95 per cent) said they would want Social Security Scotland to store their accessibility needs or disability to make interactions easier.

Table 7. If you tell us something about your accessibility needs or disability to make it easier for you to interact with Social Security Scotland, would you want Social Security Scotland to store this information in order to improve future contacts? (n=293)

Social Security Scotland storing information %
Yes 95
No 1
I don’t know 3
Total 99

Contact

Email: SocialSecurityExperience@gov.scot

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