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

Booking an appointment

Social Security Scotland is considering two methods of booking an appointment – the ‘referral method’ and the ‘self-booking method’.

The ‘referral method’ is where clients contact Social Security Scotland and tell staff what they would like to discuss. The staff member will then refer their case to a specific advisor, who will contact the client to arrange a date and time for the appointment.

The ‘self-booking method’ is where the client would contact Social Security Scotland, pick a date and time themselves and book an appointment with a non-specific Social Security Scotland advisor.

Respondents and participants were advised that under the referral method, there may be a greater chance of speaking to the right person for their issue first time, meaning there would be less need for future appointments. Under the self-booking method, they would be able to instantly know the date and time of their appointment, but the advisor may not have the specialist knowledge to resolve their issue on the day.

Most survey respondents said they had no preference as to the booking method (51 per cent). The remaining respondents were split between the referral method (26 per cent) and the self-booking method (24 per cent).

Table 19: Booking method preference (n=545)



Referral method


Self-booking method


No preference




Booking channel

When asked their preference, survey respondents tended to prefer booking their appointment online, with almost six in ten saying they would book this way themselves (57 per cent). Telephone was also popular with almost three in ten respondents (28 per cent). The least popular ways of booking an appointment were through an app (8 per cent) or in person at a Social Security Scotland building or local venue (7 per cent). 

Table 20: Booking channel (n=405)









At a Social Security Scotland office or local venue




Focus group participants tended to reflect the wide range of preferences shown by survey respondents. Some were happy to book online or through an app, whereas others preferred telephone or in person bookings.

“I would be happy to book online…”

Ultimately, participants wanted a method of booking appointments that was easily accessible for them, whether that be online, telephone or at a Social Security Scotland venue.



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