Fairer Scotland

1,000 down, 1,000 to go

March 28, 2017 by 1 Comment | Category Equality, Welfare and Social Security

From the start of my work on Social Security, I knew it was important to listen to people and hear directly from them. And that’s exactly what I did through the many consultation events we had last year through to the launch of the experience panels with the people of the Glasgow Disability Alliance.

I listened as they told me their stories and about their own personal experience of the current system – and some of it was upsetting.

I was saddened to hear that many people feel they are regarded as “benefit scroungers” or “benefits cheats” when all they really want is access to support they are rightfully entitled to and will make their life that little bit easier.

Our philosophy and our approach is different. There’s no-one better equipped or qualified to tell us about where the current system fails and where it needs improved than people with direct personal experience. Which is why we are recruiting at least 2,000 volunteers – we need every one of them to help us design a system which works for everyone who needs it.

So far, 1,000 people have come forward to help. But we need more. Can you accept my invitation to join us? We need as wide a rage of experience and views to help us get this right.

I know that volunteering to help us is a big commitment but I want to make sure that people understand that they can choose to be as involved as they wish and for as long, or short, as they feel they can. And here’s how you can get involved:

Online: http://www.gov.scot/socialsecurity

Freephone: 0800 029 4974 (includes language line translation)

Text: Prefix 18001

SMS: 07467 447375

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us via http://contactscotland-bsl.org

Social security is a journey and we have four years to get this right, and if you want to be involved throughout then that’s great. But one thing I want to reassure people of is that volunteering is a personal choice – we respect that and no-one should feel pressured to get involved.

However, if you want to get involved and help us design a system that will be person centred and treats anyone as a human being, then we would absolutely love to hear from you.


  • Rhona Lang says:

    The application for the panels is straightforward however, there should be a free form box for people to put any further information they wish to support their interest in this project.
    It may help identify people with particular subject knowledge, such as myself.

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