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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


Drop-in sessions

In the future, Social Security Scotland may offer drop-in sessions at their buildings or other local venues. Drop-in sessions would be seminar-style events where clients could attend at a set time, be given information from a Social Security Scotland staff member and then able to ask questions. 

Drop-in sessions would be open to the public and questions asked at the event would be asked and answered in front of the group. It is expected that the sessions would cover general topics surrounding social security in Scotland, such as how to apply for a benefit, how to check the status of applications, question and answer sessions for specific benefits and guidance on other support services that may be available to clients.

Three quarters of respondents said they would be interested in attending a drop-in session to find out information (75 per cent).

Table 34: If Social Security Scotland offered drop-in sessions, would you be interested in using these to find out information? (n=545)

Response 

%

Yes

75

No

26

Total

101

Focus group participants suggested drop in sessions could be held in local venues rather than Social Security Scotland buildings. Some felt this could make people more comfortable when interacting with Social Security Scotland.

“Local community venues, local clubs […] we know there are a lot of people needing help so having this would be greatly appreciated…”

“Have the service where it suits people – it may be a community centre – it needs to be accessible…”

When asked what they would use drop-in sessions for, the most popular topics were to ask about eligibility (80 per cent) or to get guidance about other support services available (78 per cent). Asking about specific benefits and getting help with an application were also popular, chosen by over two thirds of respondents (76 and 68 per cent respectively). The least popular option was to get guidance on how to check application status, however this was still popular chosen by just under six in ten respondents (58 per cent).

Some participants said they felt that drop in sessions could ‘reduce [the] stigma’ around claiming benefits. Most agreed that drop-in sessions could be a suitable environment to ask general questions about the benefit system. Some felt that drop-in sessions should always be held in non-Social Security Scotland venues - such as local community buildings - to put clients at ease. 

Some participants referenced other ‘drop-in style’ events as an example of how the drop-in sessions could work. For example, one participant suggested that there be a public session with staff members with private rooms available if someone needed to talk about a particular issue.

Table 35: What would you like to use drop-in sessions for? (n=405)

Response 

%

To ask about eligibility

80

To ask about other support services available

78

To get help with an application

68

To ask about specific benefits

76

To check status of my application

58

In addition to the topics listed above, respondents suggested several other topics, including:

  • How to fill in Social Security Scotland forms;
  • How to find information online; and
  • Information on other government services people may be eligible for.

Contact

Email: aimee.mccullough@gov.scot

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