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Report provides new insight on the impact of Covid-19 on communications preferences

Research on the views of people communicating with Social Security Scotland before, during after the Covid-19 pandemic has been published.

The results of the publication titled ‘Social Security – Client and Experience Panels research – Effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on communication preferences’ reveal that people were generally positive about Social Security Scotland in their feedback.

Client and Experience Panels are used by the agency to ensure that clients’ voices are at the centre of the services we provide.

Around three quarters (74%) said they had no trouble with the process for submitting evidence to support a claim. Interview participants said the online upload portal was straightforward and should be continued post pandemic.

On preferred methods of communication, around 40% of survey respondents preferred to communicate via the telephone before and during the pandemic, as well as seeing this as their preference after it concludes.

This compared to around 15% opting for post as the main form of communication, whilst 20% would choose web chat and 17% would choose text message now and in the future.

One in 10 preferred meeting in person before and after the pandemic, the figure expectedly dropped whilst Covid-19 was ongoing.

The most popular method of communication for those looking for advice, to monitor the progress of an application and for an urgent update was telephone.

Online is now the preferred choice for making an application and advising a change in circumstances, but before COVID-19, telephone had been the preferred option of communication..

Post was first choice for people looking to challenge a decision.

Only 1% indicated a preference for social media as their chosen method of communication.

Older respondents and respondents with a long-term health condition or disability were more likely to say their preferences would change during or after the pandemic. Overall, one fifth of respondents (20%) said their preferences would change once Covid-19 was no longer a serious risk to public health.

Experience Panels were established in 2017 to help design a social security system that works for the people of Scotland. Members have experience of at least one of the benefits delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that has or will come to Scotland.

Client Panels started in 2020 and are made up of Social Security Scotland clients from across the country. Client Panel members share their experiences and opinions on how Social Security Scotland works. This was the first time research was carried out with Client Panel members.

A total of 41 interviews took place and 484 surveys were completed.

The full report can be viewed here.

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