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Social Security Experience Panels - Seldom Heard research programme: carers and care experienced

This report presents the main findings of the first wave of research with carers and care experienced people as part of the ‘Seldom Heard Voices’ research programme.

This document is part of a collection


Methods

The aim of the research was to engage with carers and care experienced people to better understand their experiences and views of benefits. Data were collected using an online survey, focus groups and interviews. There were a total of 59 survey respondents, 12 focus groups with 79 participants and 16 interviews.

The research explored the following themes:

  • Finding out about benefits: experiences, barriers and enablers on getting information about benefits.
  • Applying to benefits: experiences of the application processes and forms, barriers and views on improvement.
  • Interacting with government agencies, support and advocacy organisations: experiences of support and difficulties when interacting with organisations to find out and apply to benefits.
  • Views for preferences in the future.

Carers and care experienced people were recruited through engagement with national and local third sector organisations; including governing bodies and umbrella organisations for organisations that work with this group. In addition, social media platforms were used to recruit potential participants directly.

All the data collection was carried out by Blake Stevenson and was compliant with Social Research Association Ethical Guidelines, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). To ensure the research was ethically comprehensive, the following key mechanisms were applied: voluntary participation, informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity. Personal and sensitive data of participants was safeguarded and concealed. The data transferred to Scottish Government researchers for analysis was fully anonymised.

Online survey

The survey, which ran during November 2019, was online only. It was not completed by a representative sample of carer and care experieced people. We refer to those who completed the survey as respondents throughout the report.

Most of the 59 respondents (59%) were care experienced people. Around a third (32%) were single parents. About a quarter (27%) belonged to the kinship/foster carers and adoptive parents sub-group. One in ten (10%) were parents under the age of 19.

Table 1: Sub-groups survey respondents belong to (n=59)
Sub-groups %
Care experienced 59
Single parents 32
kinship/foster carers and adoptive parents 27
Young parents 10

The majority of survey respondents were female (84%) and white (95%). Around three-quarters of survey respondents (74%) were 44 years old or younger. Just below half of respondents (45%) were disabled or had long-term health condition. Just over one-quarter of respondents (27%) said they look after or care for someone because of ill health, disability or problems related to old age. Most survey respondents lived in an urban area (84%).

Interviews and focus groups

Ninety-five participants took part in a total of 12 focus groups and 16 interviews. These were carried out between October and November of 2019. The same interview guide was used in both research methods. Focus groups and all but one interview were recorded and transcribed[1]. We refer to those who came to focus groups and gave us interviews as participants throughout the report.

A £10 gift voucher was offered as a thank-you for taking part. Participants were also reimbursed travel expenses.

From the 95 participants, almost two-thirds (64%) were single parents, 31% belonged to the kinship/foster carers and adoptive parents sub-group, 15% were care experienced and 8% were parents under the age of 19.

Table 2: Sub-groups participants belong to (n=95)
Sub-groups %
Single parents 64
Kinship/foster carers and adoptive parents 31
Care experienced 15
Young parents 8

The majority of participants were female (85%) and white (83%). Almost two thirds of participants (63%) were 44 years old or younger. Around one fifth (22%) were disabled or had a long-term health condition. Around one third of participants (34%) said they look after or care for someone because of ill health, disability or problems related to old age. Most participants lived in an urban area (92%).

Contact

Email: Socialresearch@gov.scot

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