Technical Report

The Impact of Welfare Reform in Scotland – Tracking Study - Sweep 4 report

Alternative title Impact of Welfare Reform Qualitative study



Graham H, Egdell V, McQuaid R & Raeside R (2016) The Impact of Welfare Reform in Scotland – Tracking Study - Sweep 4 report [Impact of Welfare Reform Qualitative study]. Scottish Government - General. Social Research series, PPDAS72612 (05/16). Scottish Government.

The aim of this study was to explore the impact of ongoing welfare changes on a range of working age households in Scotland. The study consisted of four interview sweeps over a three year period (2013-16), and was carried out by the Employment Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Stirling. This report presents the findings from the final sweep of the study, and reflects on the study findings as a whole. The study used a longitudinal qualitative methodology to explore participants’ perspectives on how welfare reform affected them, and to follow their experiences over time. The study drew on the real life experiences of those in receipt of working age benefits to provide rich, in-depth insights into the impact of welfare reform. Forty-three individuals took part in Sweep 1 of the study, thirty-five in Sweep 2, twenty-eight in Sweep 3, and twenty-four in Sweep 4. The sample design sought to represent the experiences of working age benefit recipients across a range of locations and socio-demographic characteristics, including lone parent and low income families, disabled claimants, and those in rural areas. Interviews in Sweep 4 sought to establish any changes in participants’ circumstances since the previous sweep. Participants were also asked to reflect on how their situation had changed since the first interview around three years earlier, and on how they felt benefits issues could be handled differently in the future. The policy implications of the findings from Sweep 4 and across the study are grouped together under two main headings: mitigating actions that the Scottish Government could take to reduce the impact of welfare reforms that sit outside its jurisdiction; and issues to consider in the design and implementation of new devolved benefits. It should be noted that these recommendations are not definitive suggestions, but they reflect the experiences of the participants in this study.

Welfare reform; qualitative; Scotland; benefits; disability benefits

Study by Stirling University and Employment Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University funded by the Scottish Government, EQUALITY, POVERTY AND SOCIAL SECURITY group

FundersScottish Government
Title of seriesSocial Research series
Number in seriesPPDAS72612 (05/16)
Publication date24/06/2016
Publication date online24/06/2016
PublisherScottish Government
Publisher URL
ISSN of series2045 6964

People (1)


Professor Ronald McQuaid
Professor Ronald McQuaid

Professor of Work and Employment, Management, Work and Organisation

Projects (1)

The impact of welfare reform in Scotland