Social Security Experience Panels: applications and access to support

This report outlines the Social Security Experience Panel members’ views expressed in a survey about what information about application progress Social Security Scotland should give and how Social Security Scotland should link them to other support.

This document is part of a collection

About the research

This report details the key themes which emerged from a survey and five focus groups. The research considered people’s experience of accessing information and support in the current social security system, and their priorities for how the information and support should be made available through the new social security system. Focus group participants and survey respondents were recruited from the Scottish Government Social Security Experience Panels.

All Experience Panel members were invited to participate in a series of surveys and focus groups. The focus groups were held in 18 locations across Scotland during August 2018. Topics were assigned to focus groups based on the priorities identified by those registered. Five focus groups discussed information and support in the context of applying for a benefit, and one of the surveys focussed on information and support.

The survey was available online, or could be completed on paper or over the freephone helpline. The Social Security Experience Panels are a longitudinal research project. The panels are made up of volunteers from the Scottish population who have experience of at least one of the benefits that will be devolved to Scotland. The results of this work should be regarded as being reflective of the experience and views of the survey respondents and focus group participants only, and are not indicative of the wider Scottish population. Percentages are given only to give a broad sense of the balance of opinion across respondents.

About the survey respondents

Participation in Experience Panels research is optional, and in this case 227 people chose to complete the survey, which is around 9 per cent of all Experience Panels members. The information was added to information from the “About Your Benefits and You” (Scottish Government, 2017) and “Social Security Experience Panels: Who is in the panels and their experiences so far” (Scottish Government, 2018) surveys. Where possible, the data collected in these surveys was linked to the information supplied by respondents of these surveys as part of the longitudinal dataset for this project. Some responses could not be linked in this way. This was due to either missing or unclear contact information in their survey response or the respondent not having previously completed the relevant demographic information.

11 per cent of respondents to this survey were aged 25-44. 39 per cent were aged 45-59 and 31 per cent were aged 60-79. We did not hold data on the age of 19 per cent of respondents to this survey.

52 per cent of respondents to this survey identify as a “woman/girl” and 30 per cent as a “man/boy”. We did not hold data about the gender of 19 per cent of respondents to this survey.

50 per cent of respondents said they have a disability or long term health condition, 32 per cent said that they did not, and we did not hold information about this for 18 per cent of respondents. 34 per cent said that they have caring responsibilities, 45 per cent said that they did not, and we did not hold this information for 20 per cent of respondents.

Focus groups on this topic were held in Galashiels, Dundee, Cumbernauld, Castle Douglas and Aberdeen.



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