Social Security Scotland – client and staff insights: research findings

Social Security Scotland client and staff insights research findings for the period September 2018 to March 2019.

4. Methodology

Insights research to date has involved the collection of routine management information, and directly asking clients and staff about their experiences. The following section outlines the methods used to collect insights data during Social Security Scotland’s first and second quarters.

4.1. Client Insights

To capture client interactions and experiences with Social Security Scotland processes and services at point of contact, research methods have been embedded in both telephony and online channels using embedded surveys.

4.1.1. Telephony – call data and general call experience

Telephony management information is taken from the organisation’s MITEL reporting system.

An automated survey mechanism is in place to gain insights from clients about how well telephony services are being received. Clients have the option of completing the survey following any telephone interaction (e.g. from general enquiry to benefit-specific contact). The focus for this survey is the experience of the call. 

Full telephony experience questions and response options are detailed in Annex A.

4.1.2. Applications

Clients’ immediate views and feelings on the process of applying for benefits, across telephone, online and paper applications have also been gathered. Given that any survey following the application process will occur at the end of this contact, it is important that the number of questions are kept to a minimum. Two client satisfaction questions have therefore been embedded within a questionnaire which clients have the option of completing at the end of applications, as standard. 

Full application experience questions and response options are detailed in Annex B.

For clients applying via paper application, the questionnaire is included in their application pack, with a freepost envelope for returning both forms. For clients applying online, a link to the questionnaire is available at the end of the application. For clients applying over the telephone, a client advisor offers to take the client through the questionnaire over the phone, or to post it out to them. 

In addition, clients have the opportunity of completing the automated telephony survey (described in section 4.1.1) following their phone call, which may be beneficial if the client has (for example) additional feedback about that call specifically and/or feedback that they do not wish to disclose to the client advisor directly. 

4.2. Staff Insights

4.2.1. Workforce statistics including diversity information

Social Security Scotland collect workforce data via e-HR, the organisation’s employment record system. One hundred per cent of directly employed staff have provided information on their age and gender. This is because these details are needed for legislative purposes for use by HM Revenue and Customs, and also for baseline security clearance. 

Directly employed staff can also voluntarily disclose diversity information on e-HR for the remaining protected characteristics. At this early stage in the organisation’s development, many employees have not yet entered their diversity information into the system, and as such, the e-HR data do not present a fully accurate picture of staff diversity characteristics. Work will be undertaken within the organisation to improve e-HR diversity declaration rates.

Some information on contingent workers is presented below. Contingent workers are non-directly employed workers that are engaged in any capacity for the Scottish Government, such as contractors, inward secondments, and temporary agency workers. Diversity data is not held for this group.

Comparator data for the working age population of Scotland is also presented below, and comes from a number of different sources which are the most up to date at the time of producing this report. Caution should be exercised when comparing Social Security Scotland figures with those of the general population. For example, a significant proportion of the 16-29 age group of the Scottish population may be students and, therefore, not in the labour market. Also, data taken from population surveys may not be directly comparable to Social Security Scotland data because of differences in the questions asked and the options available to respondents.

4.2.2. Staff survey

Social Security Scotland conducted a standalone staff survey in October 2018, one month after the launch of the organisation. The survey replicated the formal UK-wide Civil Service People Survey, which the organisation plans to participate in from 2019 onwards. 193 staff members participated, a response rate of 97% at the time of completion.

Questions ask staff about their engagement with the organisation, their work, organisational objectives and purpose, their teams, learning and development, inclusion and fair treatment, resources and workload, pay and benefits, and leadership and managing change. Social Security Scotland’s organisation-level survey results are published, and can be found here.

An ‘about your job’ section in the survey asks staff about job characteristics such as length of service. An ‘about you’ section also asks about staff diversity characteristics. Although the survey is based on an earlier snapshot of staff than the e-HR data, the information is more complete, and is therefore the focus of the diversity results discussed in a previous publication, found here.



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