CROYDON COUNCIL USES ITS DATA TO TACKLE HOUSEHOLD POVERTY EARLY
Croydon Council has adopted an early intervention and prevention approach to helping affected families affected by the Government’s welfare reforms. Called Gateway, the award winning programme uses tools including a LIFT Dashboard to help it identify households at risk and target tailored support to people before they reached crisis point.
Working with Policy in Practice, we have developed the LIFT Dashboard to help us build on our early intervention and prevention approaches enabling proactive targeting that makes a real difference for our residents going through hard times.
CROYDON’S WORK MEANS 2,003 FAMILIES AVOID HOMELESSNESS
Croydon’s award-winning Gateway programme has helped over 2,000 families avoid homelessness through support with budgeting, benefits and employability advice.
Key benefits for Croydon
IDENTIFYING HIDDEN POCKETS OF POVERTY
Customers losing less than £30 per week due to the benefit cap but who also had overpayment of housing benefit, council tax or rent arrears were found. By looking at the full picture Croydon prioritised engagement with these customers to help them avoid further debt.
IMPROVING ON THE GROUND OPERATIONS
Landlord Income Officers were directed to knock on the doors of people who were losing more than £100 per week.
ADDING TO AVAILABLE DATA FROM DWP SCANS
Policy in Practice identified over 100 more people affected by the benefit cap. Within 4 weeks the team closed a third of cases by using their data smarter:
- 40 customers weren’t claiming working tax credit but were eligible
- 15 people moved into work, 45 more were supported into better-paid employment
INCREASING CHILDMINDING CAPACITY WHILST INCREASING FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
The data showed that the biggest barrier to work was childcare, specifically for women with more than 2 children under 5. Croydon commissioned an online childminding course to train parents to be childminders. Now they don’t have to go out to work and they have increased capacity for childcare services.
Members were interested in the insights from the ward level data showing where to spend their budgets and how to help residents.
PUSHING THE GATEWAY APPROACH OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY
The Gateway Community Connect project, established in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of Croydon , pulls together services from the council, third sector, voluntary sector and health to target early intervention and prevention.. It features ‘The Food Stop’, London’s first combined welfare and membership food stop, where people can get around £20 of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and other foods each week for £3.50.