With limited resources and an increase in work during the pandemic, it has been difficult for Gravesham Council’s Benefits team to maintain engagement with their low-income residents to ensure they are maximising their benefit take-up.
The team have also had to establish ways to allocate their remaining Covid-19 funding to best support their most vulnerable residents through the pandemic.
In a first for local government, Kent county and district councils collaborated by sharing their data to get insights that are helping them to tackle poverty across the county. Gravesham Council is part of this trailblazing approach.
Gravesham Council has been impressed by demonstrations of the LIFT platform in the past. It already had a lot of potential, which was only magnified in light of the new challenges they have faced recently. Other local authorities in Kent have been using the product with great success and Gravesham were keen to get on board. By purchasing LIFT they have been able to collaborate across the county, with those other local authorities, to address those challenges and achieve their goals.
Gravesham Council’s targeted Discretionary Housing Payment campaigns have allowed them to retain tenancies and prevent homelessness for those who may not have otherwise been aware of the scheme. The data in the LIFT platform gives the team a better picture of a person’s affordability before they even apply, so they can target their highest-risk residents and offer them further support.
Thanks to LIFT they have managed to reach and provide support to a disabled resident and prevented him from falling into rent arrears in his long-term home by awarding him a Universal Credit housing costs top-up.
In addition to this, they have raised over £184,000 in additional annual income for their pension-aged cohort thanks to their Pension Credit campaigns to date.
During 2022/2023 when the team aims to implement their new Council Tax Reduction scheme, they anticipate that the LIFT product will be instrumental in monitoring the impact and supporting their residents through the changes.
We have had a great experience working with Policy in Practice to date. Officers in all areas of the authority at various levels have had nothing but good things to say about the LIFT platform and the potential it holds for us as an authority. We are keen to do more with the product in the near future.
Katie Hayes, Special Projects and Support Officer, Gravesham Borough Council