Midlothian MSP calls on constituents to join the Social Security Experience Panel

Christine Grahame - SNP - Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale May 2016. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Christine Grahame - SNP - Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale May 2016. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Local MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed news that recruitment has re-opened for the Scottish Government’s Social Security Experience Panel’s and has encouraged her constituents to get involved.

In 2017 the Scottish Government launched Social Security Experience Panels ahead of some benefits being devolved to Scotland, with a view to gaining insight from people claiming these benefits on how they should be delivered.

More than 2,400 people from across Scotland have already participated, working with the Scottish Government to inform key decisions in the design of the Scottish social security system.

Now at the mid-point of the Experience Panels work, the Government has re-opened recruitment of panel members and is looking for people with experience of Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Funeral Expenses Payment, Cold Weather Payment, Winter Fuel Payment or Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit.

Panel members are routinely invited to participate in surveys, focus groups and interviews and are free to take part as much or as little as they like, with any expenses they incur reimbursed.

Commenting Ms Grahame (SNP) said: “The Experience Panels put the voices and experiences of people actually claiming these payments at the centre of social security, ensuring that we design a system that works for those who use it.

“From Social Security Scotland’s opening hours, to the design of benefit application forms, to how staff behave, and how we communicate to people about moving their benefits to Scotland, Experience Panel members are involved in the detail of how we deliver a service with dignity, fairness and respect.

“I would encourage anyone with experience of these benefits to consider getting involved so that we can broaden our insights into how to design a system that works for Scotland.”

More information on the panel, including how to register, can be found at: www.gov.scot/publications/social-security-experience-panels-faqs/ or by phoning 0800 029 4974.