Social Security Experience Panels: Social Security Scotland staff

This report details the themes and findings from research into client expectations of staff members working for Scotland’s social security agency.

Background and research methods

The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits previously delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. As part of the work to prepare for this change, the Scottish Government set up the Social Security Experience Panels. Over 2,400 people from across Scotland who have recent experience of at least one of the benefits being devolved to Scotland have registered to be Experience Panels members.

The Scottish Government is working with Experience Panel members to design a new social security system that works for the people of Scotland, based on the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.

To deliver the benefits devolved to Scotland, the Scottish Government have established Social Security Scotland ('the agency') who will be responsible for administering Scotland's new social security system. As part of the creation of the new agency, we have worked with Experience Panel members to understand their expectations around what agency staff should be like.

This report details the key themes which emerged from fifteen focus groups which took place in July and August 2018. The research considered:

  • Expectations around how agency staff should look and act, and their knowledge and character; and
  • Participant's views on how we could ensure their expectations around staff members are met.

Participants were recruited from the Scottish Government Experience Panels (2,456 people). All Experience Panel members were invited to take part in the focus groups.

Flipcharts and post-it notes were used to facilitate discussion and capture the views of all participants. A visual approach was used in the staff focus groups, with facilitators using a simple drawing of a person to focus discussion on how staff members should look, sound, know and behave.

The Social Security Experience Panels are a longitudinal research project. The panels are made up of volunteers from the Scottish population who have experience of at least one of the benefits that will be devolved to Scotland. The results of this work should be regarded as being reflective of the experience and views of the respondents only, and are not indicative of the wider Scottish population.


Email: James.Miller@gov.Scot

Back to top