Experienced volunteers needed for Scotland’s new social security system

Volunteers are needed to populate experience panels that will help to shape Scotland’s new social security system.

There are over 1500 volunteers signed up so far with a set target set of 2000 to be achieved by Friday 12 May. Scottish Government officials have also made a special appeal for anyone with experience of the Funeral Expenses Payment to sign up and lend their expertise.

The Scottish Government is currently designing a social security system ahead of powers being devolved over eleven benefits, and it wants people with direct or personal experience of the current system to help design the new one.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written the following letter encouraging people to join the panels and be a part of a transformational change in the delivery of social security.

Message on behalf of the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

The creation of Scotland’s new social security system is one of the Scottish Government’s biggest projects – and one of the most exciting.

We’re doing things differently and shaping a fair system built on the knowledge and direct personal experience of those who are using, or have recently used, the current benefits system.

We want at least 2000 people to join our Social Security Experience Panels – and we want you to help and guide us as on that journey.

We’ll soon have new powers over eleven benefits which pay out £2.8 billion a year to 1.4 million people, including you. And you will be at the heart of this system.

I know many feel the current system is hard to navigate or has treated them badly with people feeling stressed and anxious instead of supported – but we will treat people with dignity and respect.

We want to have honest conversations and find out what you need and want so we design a system that takes all of that into account.

We need to know what would help you apply for the support you’re entitled to? How can forms and guidance be improved and simplified?  Is there something we can offer that the current system doesn’t?

This is a transformational change in the delivery of social security and you could be part of something that will change the lives of many others.

So, if you think you can help and want to make a difference then please get in touch.

You can register your interest online http://www.gov.scot/socialsecurity or Freephone 0800 029 4974.

The closing date to register for the Experience Panels is 12 May, and they will begin this summer.

Yours for Scotland,

Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister