Benefit and Budgeting Calculator
Haringey has faced a range of new challenges this past year. Covid-19 has created significant financial challenges for their residents. Haringey has one of the highest claimant rates in London (and the UK) with over 40,000 residents claiming Universal Credit. In the winter of 2021, they are now seeing new challenges emerge with the end of the Universal Credit uplift and the increase in the cost of living.
Against this backdrop, their operating environment has also become more complex. The council has seen a sharp increase in demand for some services such as Council Tax Reduction Scheme. At the same time, there has been an increase in temporary grant funding from central government. With tight timelines and specific criteria, this has created practical challenges for the council.
- They identified specific challenges around ensuring that everyone who is eligible to claim Council Tax support is doing so via their Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Due to an increase in unemployment and a shift toward Universal Credit, there has been a growing risk that some people may not be aware of the support they’re eligible for. To respond to this challenge, Haringey Council worked with Policy in Practice to identify a proactive strategy to engage with residents
- Haringey has also identified that their residents face a wider challenge to access all the support they’re eligible for. They have set up a new Here to Help campaign which is designed to reach out to residents through targeted communications and help them to find out what support they can receive. The Policy in Practice Benefit and Budgeting Calculator has been central to this campaign, helping residents to quickly and easily access information about their entitlements
- Finally, they have also had to respond to a new operating context in which they have received significant temporary funding to help residents, but often at short notice. By using the financial resilience indicators on the LIFT platform, they have been able to send out targeted communications to residents to help them claim support available within a short timeframe
Using LIFT Haringey Council targeted over 1,000 households who had previously been in receipt of Housing Benefit (HB), recently started receiving Universal Credit, and were not in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.
As a result of this campaign they awarded £99,000 worth of Council Tax Reduction to 100 households. They also achieved £45,500 worth of social benefit for the households through the work of the Connected Communities team who helped the households to reduce their arrears and help them into employment.
This achieved a total £146,439 of fiscal and social benefit, equating to an incredible Return on Investment (ROI) of 13x.
Haringey Council also managed to improve household’s financial resilience too; households considered to be financially ‘coping’ grew from 43% to 71% and those with no rent arrears grew from 39% to 81%.
Their Here to Help page has received over 10,000 views in a matter of months, and their Benefits Calculator has been used almost 400 times. They are also using the insights from LIFT to apply a benefit maximisation approach and offer wrap-around support as part of our use of the Household Support Fund.
Policy in Practice colleagues have worked in partnership with Haringey Council over recent years supporting them in their endeavours to use administrative data to identify and engage vulnerable residents with targeted support. As a result of Haringey successfully translating data insights into action achieving positive outcomes, they were nominated as finalists in the Public Finance Awards in 2020 and for the IRRV performance awards in the category of “Excellence in Social Inclusion” in 2021.