Social Security Experience Panels - panel members: full report - 2020 update

This report provides demographic information about the Social Security Experience Panels. It also summarises feedback from panel members about their experiences of being a member of the panels and how this could be improved.


The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits previously delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As part of work to prepare for this change, Scottish Government set up the Social Security Experience Panels with people who have experience of one or more of the relevant benefits.

More than 2,400 people registered as panel members when we launched in 2017. The Scottish Government works with panel members to inform key decisions in the design of social security in Scotland.

This is the second ‘Who is in the panels?’ report produced for the Experience Panels programme of research.[1] Since the last ‘Who is in the panels?’ publication in October 2018, the Experience Panels team has completed a recruitment campaign for new panel members.[2] Between July 2019 to March 2020, we publicised the panels and encouraged people with experience of the benefits coming to Scotland to join and take part in our research. 572 people with experience of the benefits system joined as new Experience Panel members.

This report has three purposes. First, it sets out the demographic and benefit experience information available for the new panel members who have recently joined the Experience Panels between July 2019 and March 2020. Secondly, it also provides an up-to-date summary of the demographic information available for the entire Experience Panels membership. This now includes both panel members who joined us in 2017, and panel members who have joined recently in 2019 or 2020. Thirdly, the report also includes a brief section on feedback. In this section, panel members provide their feedback on taking part in the Experience Panels research, and offer suggestions for how the Experience Panels programme could be improved.

Throughout the report, we combine information collected through a number of ‘About You’ suveys and ‘Registration Forms’ that panel members have responded to (see Methodology section). We provide information on the Experience Panels’ membership by age, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender identity. Information is also provided for panel members by disability and long term health conditions, caring responsbilities, experience of different benefits, along with comparisons of how panel members are spread between urban and rural locations in Scotland. No panel member is personally identifiable throughout the report.

We will continue to re-run our ‘About You’ surveys regularly with the aim of increasing the proportion of panel members we have demographic information on.



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