Let’s Be Heard: Sharing Respondents' Pandemic Experiences, Impacts, and Lessons to be Learned in Scotland | Page 7

The Let’s Be Heard approach and methodology

This section describes Let’s Be Heard’s organising principles and practical methods for collecting and analysing experiences shared. 


Let’s Be Heard principles in action

Let’s Be Heard has adopted the Inquiry’s wider human rights-based and trauma-informed approach since its inception. These have also been built into its design and underpin its operational decisions. By working in this way, Let’s Be Heard has ensured the needs of the people sharing their experiences are at the heart of its work. 

Let’s Be Heard has done this in a number of ways. It has:

  • consulted representative organisations and members of the public in its design and testing ways of engagement;
  • embedded the PANEL principles in the design of its overall public participation approach;[19] 
  • developed an approach underpinned by choice so people can decide both how and what to share with the Inquiry; 
  • offered financial assistance and general support to facilitate group discussions with colleagues, peers, family or friends; 
  • created several accessible response options, alongside standard options, to meet different preferences and needs; 
  • created dedicated resources and a bespoke response form for children and young people in consultation with children’s organisations; 
  • revised its online form in response to feedback from the public; 
  • developed an internal equalities assessment tool to review the impacts of its approach on different audience groups; 
  • regularly monitored and evaluated progress; and 
  • written an internal research framework to embed human rights considerations in its approach to analysing responses. 

It is important Let’s Be Heard is responsive to feedback and continually reflects the above approaches. Let’s Be Heard values the time people spend sharing their experiences of the pandemic and their experience of engaging with the Inquiry’s listening project. From a trauma-informed perspective, Let’s Be Heard is committed to maintaining a feedback loop with those who have (as well as those who have not) participated so they know how the experiences they share are feeding into the work of the Inquiry. This report represents the first example of this feedback loop. 

[19] PANEL stands for Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment and Legality.


Let’s Be Heard engagement methods

Let’s Be Heard focuses on people’s lived experiences of the pandemic and therefore relies on personal accounts from individuals and groups. 

The three core questions used during National Engagement are purposefully open-ended to encourage participation on a wide range of topics and to allow people to tell the Inquiry what is important to them.

Similarly, the approach to engagement has been designed to raise awareness of Let’s Be Heard across Scotland, and to provide support to ensure that anyone who wishes to participate can do so. 

Individuals and groups can get involved in the National Engagement Period in a variety of ways, depending on their needs and preferences. These include, but are not limited to, participating:

  • individually or as part of a group using Let’s Be Heard’s bespoke Engagement Guide; 
  • via Let’s Be Heard’s online platform or through digital uploads;
  • using a paper form available in various formats/accessible versions/languages; or
  • by submitting an organisation’s existing report of a past engagement event(s) that collates people’s experiences. 

We would like to thank those groups and organisations who have already contributed existing reports detailing their members’ experiences. The reports are a rich source of information and a way to capture the voices of communities which may not yet have contributed to the National Engagement Phase. They also provide detail as to how groups may have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The reports cited here have been shared with Let’s Be Heard and are already proving beneficial to its analysis and understanding of people’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland.

Let’s Be Heard is open to exploring alternative approaches to allow people to share their experiences. The team can offer support by email or by phone to identify the best possible solution to meet individual circumstances. 

More detailed information on how people across Scotland can engage with Let’s Be Heard can be found in ANNEX A.


Let’s Be Heard timeline

Let’s Be Heard undertook a two-phased pilot between November 2022 and March 2023 to inform its design and approach. This involved gathering feedback on its proposed approach to engagement, testing materials and resources, and ensuring these met the needs of a diverse audience. More than 23 representative organisations took part in the pilot with expertise in a range of areas, including human rights, equalities, workers’ rights, healthcare, disability, gender, age, ethnicity, care homes and lived experience of COVID-19 bereavement.

Let’s Be Heard’s ongoing National Engagement Period was launched on 23 May 2023, enabling people across Scotland to share their experiences of the pandemic, describe the impacts of these experiences and suggest lessons they believe should be learned.

Following the conclusion of its National Engagement Period on 20 December 2023, Let’s Be Heard will begin a period of Focused Engagement, during which it will seek to build on the broad base of information gathered. This will give people the chance to participate in more targeted engagement activities such as focus groups and workshops, allowing Let’s Be Heard to fill any information gaps and to provide a more detailed information base to support the Chair with specific information needed for investigative work. 


Figure 4: A visual timeline of Let’s Be Heard
Figure 4: A visual timeline of Let’s Be Heard

November–December 2022:

  • Pilot phase one: Let's Be Heard's design is tested with organisations for accessibility and inclusivity.

February–March 2023:

  • Pilot phase two: Let's Be Heard tests its methods directly with participants ahead of public launch to ensure functionality.

May–December 2023:

  • National engagement period: Let's Be Heard launches on 23 May 2023 and asks people across Scotland about their experiences, and concludes on 20 December 2023.

Winter 2023/24 Onwards:

  • Focused engagement period: Let's Be Heard continues to gather experiences and information, filling gaps and answering further questions, through a period of focused engagement.

Engaging with children and young people

Let’s Be Heard is keen to hear directly from children and young people in Scotland to capture their experiences of the pandemic. 

To support this engagement, Let’s Be Heard has created dedicated resources for children and young people up to the age of 14, this includes a bespoke response form, which is also available for those up to the age of 19. The form was developed in collaboration with children’s organisations to ensure it is accessible to this cohort and can be completed by young people themselves, or an adult on their behalf. 

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