Ill Health and Disability Benefit in the Spotlight
We are now into week five of our recruitment drive for the Experience Panels and more than 1000 volunteers have now registered to take part. We’re delighted to have had such a positive response. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered and all of the organisations helping us! Read the 1,000 down, 1,000 to go blog post.
We’re at the halfway mark, but we want to recruit at least 2,000 people with experience of the current system. Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on individual benefits to make sure that we have volunteers with experience across all of the benefits that the Scottish Government will have responsibility for.
Our first themed week was focused on disability and ill health benefits. As part of this, the Experience Panels team have been out and about at various events and meetings.
We had a stall at the Scottish Health & Homelessness Conference in Edinburgh on 28 March and the Coalition of Carers Conference in Glasgow on 29 March. All the organisations we spoke to were very enthusiastic and keen to get involved and help to promote the Experience Panels across their networks.
We joined the Minister for Social Security at her meeting with the Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) at their ‘conversations for change’ event on 29 March. This project involved 100 of the GDA’s ‘Drivers for Change’ Network of disabled people to investigate priority areas for disability benefits, such as eligibility, assessment, evidence, information sharing etc.
“Those who had already signed up to the Experience Panels said they were delighted to see a range of access support questions being asked, as well as multiple ways to register and the support available to register.” Extract from the Glasgow Disability Alliance Conversations for Change Findings report
On Thursday, we were back with the Glasgow Disability Alliance at their Info Fest at the Legacy Hub. It was a great opportunity for people in Glasgow to find out about a wide range of services that support disabled people and for us to answer questions that people had about the Experience Panels.
“When you see the effort that’s going in to make the Panels accessible, that’s a good sign you can trust the Scottish Government to make the wider process accessible too.” GDA Member
Then on Friday, we visited People First (Scotland) to talk to their members about the Experience Panels, and what we can do to support people with learning disabilities to get involved.
Going along to these events and speaking to people who have lived experience of benefits, and the organisations that support them, has been fantastic. If you are hosting an event and would like us to come along, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next theme will be focused around the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, and we will post further updates on our activities soon.
Find out more about the Experience Panels, and how to get involved at: www.gov.scot/socialsecurity