What sort of social security system would you like to see in Scotland?


The Scottish Government wants to hear the opinions of people who receive, or have experience of, any of the disability, ill health and carer benefits listed below. This is being done through a series of focus (discussion) groups which are being undertaken across Scotland.

Why is this research being carried out?

The Scottish Government is committed to building a fairer Scotland and tackling inequalities. This will mean tackling deep seated issues, not looking for quick fixes or temporary measures. Achieving genuine change will take time.  It will also require collective effort and a shared vision of what a fair and equal Scotland should look like in the years to come.  

A key part of moving toward a fairer Scotland will be how we implement the new powers that will be devolved to Scotland following the Smith Commission recommendations. 

The Scotland Bill 2015-16 proposes that a number of new social security powers, be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This includes powers over benefits for disabled people, those who are ill and carers:

  • Disability Living  Allowance (DLA);
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP);
  • Attendance Allowance ;
  • Severe Disablement Allowance;
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit; and
  • Carers Allowance

Who is carrying out the research?

The research is being undertaken by social researchers from the Scottish Government, and they will conduct the focus group. The research is not connected to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

When and where are the focus groups taking place?


The focus group is being held on Monday 5 October at 10:00-13:00 (arrival from 10:00 onwards, for a 10:30 start), tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. It will take place at: 

Health and Social Care Alliance
Venlaw Building
349 Bath Street
G2 4AA 

More details  on the venue can be found their website http://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/resources/the-alliance-hub/ or by calling them on 0141 404 0231


The focus group is being held on Thursday 8 October at 10:00-13:00 (arrival from 10:00 onwards, for a 10:30 start), tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. It will take place at: 

Norton Park Centre
57 Albion Road
EH7 5QY 

The group will be held in the centre’s training suite which is fully accessible.

More details can be found on the centre’s website http://www.nortonpark.org/training-suite.html or by calling them on 0131 475 2400. 


The focus group is being held on Friday 16 October at 10:00-13:00 (arrival from 10:00 onwards, for a 10:30 start), tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. It will take place at: 

Merkinch Community Centre
Coronation Park
IV3 8AD 

More details on the venue can be found their website http://www.merkinchcommunitycentre.co.uk/ or by calling them on 01463 239563

Do I have to take part?

No, the focus group is completely voluntary and if you do come along you can withdraw from the group at any time without giving a reason. If you decide not to take part, or if you withdraw from the group, this will not affect you in any way.

What will it involve?

If you agree to take part, you will be joined by around eight other people of similar circumstances. The group will be fairly relaxed and will take the form of a discussion as opposed to an interview or survey. It will cover a variety of topics about the future of social security and more specifically disability, ill health and carers benefits. 

The researchers are interested in what is important to you about social security, and your views on the topics raised. The focus group will last a maximum of two hours

You will not have to do any preparation ahead of taking part and there are no right or wrong answers to any of the issues discussed. You will be encouraged to raise points or experiences which haven’t been addressed. 

Do I need to provide any information prior to attending the focus group?

If you agree to take part, one of the Scottish Government researchers will be in touch to find out a little bit more about you. This will include things such as your age, sex and which benefits you’re in receipt of, in addition to any specific details that they need to know for the day including access and support needs. You can also ask them any questions you may have. 

Will the information I give be confidential?

All personal details and information collected during the research will be handled with the strictest confidence and professionalism. Researchers may use quotations from the focus groups in reports but it will not be possible for individuals to be identified. The information obtained from the focus group will be only be used for the purposes of this research and will not be passed onto any third parties. We will share any reports or other write-ups with those who attended the group.

Can I claim expenses?

Yes, you can claim travel, subsistence and any additionally incurred receipted expenses (including childcare). Lunch and refreshments will also be provided.

Contact Details

If you would like to take part or would like further information please contact either of the Scottish Government researchers: 

Imelda Giarchi  Imedla.Giarchi@scotland.gsi.gov.uk  / 0131 244 0056 

Hannah Davidson  Hannah.Davidson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk   / 0131 244 6904