You can contribute to fairer social security system


Jeane Freeman, social security minister, says this is your chance to shape Scotland's benefits system 

27th February 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Ever since we began our consultation in 2016, we have been clear that our social security system would be built with the people who will actually use it.   

This is why we place so much importance on engaging with individuals who have experience of the current benefits system or groups who represent those that do. 

More and more, we’re hearing exactly what they think needs to change. 

This week we have published the second report from the About Your Benefits and You Experience Panel survey. Over 1,000 panel members responded to this survey which focused on people’s experience of the current benefits system. We published the quantitative report from this survey back in November and this qualitative report examines those findings in more detail.  

This research shows that the majority of respondents rate the current benefits system – administered by the UK government – as poor or very poor and that they see better advice and support for claiming as a priority for the new system. More than half of those responding listed ‘applying for a benefit’ as a priority for improvement and we heard that “people are being left to figure out for themselves what they can claim.”  

Jeane Freeman

Jeane Freeman

The findings from panel members mirrors what we have been hearing from stakeholder organisations – that the current benefits system is inflexible, difficult to use and lacks transparency. These findings also further highlight that the current system causes unnecessary anxiety and distress for individuals.  

Experience Panel members are currently working with us on the design of specific benefits and we will be arranging further involvement throughout the year, so that we can test our systems and processes. We are also planning to work with stakeholders to ensure we hear from, and reach minority and seldom heard groups. We want to make sure that everyone with relevant experience of the current benefits system has the opportunity to contribute to our work.  

It is vitally important that we continue our work with stakeholders and partners to examine these findings and other research. We must consider what is needed to improve the experiences of the people who will use the new Scottish social security system.

We will look to stakeholders to help us better understand these findings with their vast experience in helping those who use the current benefits system.  

The current benefits system is inflexible, difficult to use and lacks transparency

I’m determined that our social security service will be very different to the one that currently exists and meet the needs of the people that will use it. That is exactly why we  are listening to feedback from all of these sources and acting on it – using this to influence our decisions and to build a system with people not for them.

This approach already sets us apart from the UK government approach to social security and it is what will enable us to be fundamentally different; not just a bit better but something that the people of Scotland can be truly proud of.   

I would encourage all our stakeholders and partners to continue to work with us and share ideas on how we can build a system that everyone in Scotland can be proud of.