Social Security Experience Panels - appointments and local delivery: report

This report outlines the Social Security Experience Panels views expressed in a survey and focus groups on Social Security Scotland appointments and local delivery.

This document is part of a collection

Home Visits

Survey respondents were asked why they would need a home visit. The most common reason was due to their disability, mental health or long term health condition (78 per cent) followed by mobility issues (47 per cent). Around a fifth of respondents said caring responsibilities restricted them from visiting a Social Security Scotland office (22 per cent) with a further 16 per cent saying they would struggle with transport.

Table 33: Why would you need a home visit? (n=367-399)



Due to my disability, mental health or long term health condition


I have caring responsibilities


There are poor transport links in my area


I have poor mobility / find moving around difficult


What would make a home visit a negative experience

Social Security Scotland wants to make sure that home visits are a positive experience for clients. We asked participants in the appointments and local delivery focus groups what types of behaviour client support advisers should avoid when visiting their homes.

Respondents often said they expected client support advisers to be respectful and to not argue or rush them. They wanted advisers to ‘not be judgemental’ and to try and not make assumptions about how the client lived. This was particularly the case if the house was unclean or untidy, as many respondents said they found it difficult to do housework.

Avoid being judgemental if [the] house is not as tidy or clean as they think it should be as having disabilities [makes] it difficult to do housework.”

“It should go without saying but one of the most important things is to be treated with respect”

Respondents said they expected the adviser to ‘respect their privacy’ by not ‘appearing unexpectedly’ or ‘wandering around their home’.

“[Don’t] snoop, look around, and demand to see different rooms.”

Some respondents requested the adviser not wear any scents or perfume, as they found these difficult to deal with due to their disability.

“Not wearing strong perfume. One PIP assessment for my husband, the assessor must have been wearing a gallon of the stuff which set his allergies off.”

Others wanted reassurance that the adviser wouldn’t bring anything they were allergic to into their homes.

“Avoid wearing products, or having handled products pertaining to the allergies listed/notified prior to the appointment.”

What would make a home visit a positive experience

Respondents gave various ideas on how a home visit could be a more positive experience for them. Many respondents made reference to the client support adviser’s knowledge, behaviour and attitudes whilst in their home. They expected the adviser to be ‘open and honest’, ‘respectful’ and ‘friendly’. Some respondents made clear that advisers should only talk about what they were there to discuss, and to avoid making any comments about the client, their home or their lives.

“A positive attitude, wants to talk to people, gives people time.”

“The person that is on the frontline is Linch pin, that person has got to be someone that somebody who is scared has a bond with, feels safe with, not judged, it needs a very specific type of person to do that”

Many respondents felt the adviser should have a good understanding about the client, their disabilities and what they wanted to discuss.

“Making sure they have access to all information so that questions can be fully answered at the time.”

“Having a good understanding of my medical condition and how this affects my daily life, and accepting these limitations.”

Other suggestions included:

  • Client support advisers having a good understanding of the client’s wants and needs;
  • Client support advisers showing up on time;
  • Informing clients of what will be covered at the home visit prior to the appointment taking place;
  • Knowing the name of the client support adviser who would be carrying out the home visit and showing ID; and
  • Client support advisers calling the client before visiting to introduce themselves.

“Having information about what would happen would be beneficial so perhaps a letter to come in advance to explain what will happen on the day or a video on the website with someone explaining what will happen.”

“Potentially a telephone call in advance of the home visit to explain what will happen would be worthwhile” 



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