The Social Security Experience Panels were established to ensure that the design for new social security system in Scotland is shaped by the experiences, needs and priorities of those who will use it. Over the course of the development and introduction of the new system, panel members are participating in longitudinal research and service testing activities to help Scottish Government develop a system that works and that can be continually improved.
The panel is made up of more than 2,400 people in Scotland with experience of the current social security system as it relates to the benefits being devolved to Scotland. This includes individuals who have claimed on their own behalf, as well those who have helped or cared for others.
From May to July 2018, panel members were invited to participate in a survey "About You – keep us up to date with your information and help us improve" (referred to as "About You" in this report). This survey was to help us understand more about who is on the panel, and how we can ensure they have a positive experience. This consisted of a survey to gather valuble demographic information as well as details of their experience with the Experience Panels project so far. All questions were optional. This information was added to the demographic data that was collected as part of the 2017 "About Your Benefits and You" survey.
Some demographic data – specifically ethnic group, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender identity - were asked for the first time in this 2018 survey. These questions were removed from the 2017 survey at the user testing stage, as panel members told us they were not comfortable sharing this information at that stage. Now that we have built trust with panel members over the first year of the project, we have added these questions back in.
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