Blog: Be part of something that will change the lives of many others

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon encourages more people to take part in the Scottish Government’s Social Security Experience Panels.

The creation of a new social security system for Scotland is one of the biggest challenges ahead of the Scottish Government – and one of the most exciting.

Because we are 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.

That is why we want to get over 2000 people to take part in our Social Security Experience Panels. We want you to help and guide us as we get our important new systems and processes set up.

New powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament include eleven benefits which pay out £2.8 billion a year to 1.4 million people. It’s those people that our new system must work for.

Our approach is completely different from the UK government. I know many people feel let down by the current system because they have found it hard to navigate or feel they have been treated badly.  People feel stressed and anxious instead of supported.  But I understand that people want and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that is why our social security system will have these principles at its heart.

We want people to have honest conversations with us and tell us what they need and want – so we design a system that takes into account the thoughts and views of the people it serves.

What we must not lose sight of is that this will be a transformational change in the delivery of social security.

We’re talking to people and learning from you. We’re listening to your needs and suggestions. We want you to be involved in this major new service that we are building.

We want to know: What would help you apply for a benefit 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?

I want people to come join us on this journey. So why not volunteer and help shape Scotland’s social security system? We want to hear from you.

You could be part of something that will change the lives of many others.

If you think you can help and want to make a difference then please get in touch with us.

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 May 12, and they will begin this summer.