Leading Lights_audience_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-72Three years on from the launch of Universal Credit, Policy in Practice’s recent Leading Lights Network reception at the House of Lords brought together key figures from the world of welfare.

Together they discussed how welfare reforms have unfolded, and also considered how best to develop them in the future.

Now that we have a new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, it is particularly important to stay focused on the practical aspect of welfare delivery.

More than ever, people need information that empowers them to make the decisions that are right for them.

And we must give organisations the information they need to get the right support, at the right time, to the people that need it the most.

The Leading Lights Network is Policy in Practice’s way of bringing together forward-thinking, problem solving people, to develop creative and effective solutions to the challenges of implementing welfare reform policy.

Our aim is to highlight innovation and share best practice at a national level.

The changes to the welfare system are still moving ahead, and we will continue to work with the DWP, Stephen Crabb MP and our clients and their customers to develop better policy, and deliver it effectively.

We brought policy makers and implementers together

Leading Lights_Paul Howarth_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-42For those local organisations still considering the philosophy behind Universal Credit, this event showcased the expertise of those who now have first-hand experience of its implementation.

The lively evening reception was held in the River Room at the House of Lords at the kind invitation of Baroness Stroud of Fulham.

In 2010 Philippa became Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and in 2012 additionally to the Prime Minister.

Over 50 ‘leading lights’ from local authorities, housing associations and welfare to work providers were there.

Paul Howarth, founding director of the Welfare Reform Club, compered the evening.

Positive, practical discussion about welfare reform

Topics for the event included tackling poverty in a high wage, low tax, low welfare society, and how household data can help to show the true impact of welfare reform policy.

More practically, discussions considered how to implement welfare reforms while delivering support to those who need it most, and how change really happens on the frontline.

A key consideration which was taken away from the event was how to improve frontline services and training in order to more collectively and proactively deal with the lived realities of significant welfare reforms.

Baroness Stroud of Fulham: the creation of welfare policy

Leading Lights_Philippa Stroud_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-52Baroness Stroud, CEO of the Centre for Social Justice, set the tone for the evening by inviting the room to fulfil the potential of UC.

“All of you in this room are involved in the implementation of policies which you do not individually create.”

She emphasised that the continued roll out of Universal Credit on the ground will bring major new opportunities.

From lifting people out of poverty through full time work; to helping employers increase and stabilise their workforce; to identifying vulnerable individuals at the point of making a claim; there is huge creative possibility in Universal Credit.

Steve Carey: implementing reforms while supporting those most in need

Leading Lights_Steve Carey_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-62Steve Carey of Leeds City Council provided a unique insight from one of the country’s biggest local authorities.

He noted the significant challenges posed by adapting to the new measures of Universal Credit, for instance 65% of people in Leeds are affected by the under-occupancy charge, but could also celebrate some significant successes.

One such success is a pilot ‘social contract’ scheme which involves the City Council awarding tenants a discretionary housing payment in return for their engagement with the council about activities they want to pursue.

Steve revealed that 86% of people taking part in the scheme said it had made a very positive improvement to their lives.

Donna Gallagher: how change really happens on the frontline

Leading Lights_Donna Gallagher_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-75In emphasising the unique flexibility of local government, Steve also called for the fostering of closer links between local councils and the Jobcentre Plus; a sentiment echoed by Donna Gallagher of Your Homes Newcastle.

In her talk, Donna explained how every single Universal Credit claimant receives a personal assessment in Newcastle yet, as the rollout of UC continues across the city, change needs to happen to make their approach sustainable at scale.

In evoking the confused experience of individual claimants, Donna offered a powerful call to arms to those in the room.

Users must be empowered, she said, and local organisations must make Universal Credit work for them through engaged, responsive processes, and better communication between numerous service providers.

Deven Ghelani: using data to show the true impact of welfare reform on people

Leading Lights_Deven Ghelani_Policy_in_Practice_14.3.16-85 (2)Donna’s powerfully delivered experiences led nicely into Deven Ghelani’s concluding speech, in which he encouraged those in the room to get to know each other better.

“Policy in Practice can provide a platform for local authorities, housing associations, welfare to work advisers and policy experts to all come together to confront poverty”.

The key theme of Deven’s speech was empowerment.

For people this means giving them agency over the benefit system to make choices and give them control.

For organisations, this comes through assessing the cumulative impact of policies to create frontline services that get the right support to those that need it most.

Robust questions and networking

The final, formal part of the evening consisted of a robust question and answer session between speakers and attendees.

Attendees shared ideas, experiences and opinions.

The need to increase frontline understanding and training appeared paramount, whether it be in delivering JSA or providing mitigation for the LHA cap, in order to provide the right services for the right people.

The evening concluded positively, with the message that Policy in Practice’s Leading Lights Network can help local organisations to interact with policymakers to take ideas and connections further.

More Leading Lights Networks events to come

Policy in Practice was delighted to have provided such a platform to bring our speakers and guests together.

Whilst much of the discussion at this Leading Lights Network event focused on Universal Credit, Policy in Practice is about something much bigger than that.

We are changing, step by step, how poverty is tackled in this country.

We are proud of the work we’re doing with our forward thinking clients in this area and want to share it.

Further reading

The work of two of our Leading Lights Network speakers are featured in Policy in Practice case studies.

  • Download Leeds City Council case study here
  • Download Your Homes Newcastle case study here
, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Register for an upcoming webinar

TitleDateStart TimeDurationRegister
How the housing crisis has deepened the cost of living crisis For most people housing is the highest living cost, yet the ongoing housing crisis in the UK is often overlooked when discussing the current cost of living crisis.

This webinar will explore the policy issues affecting housing affordability for low-income households, examining the scale of the problem as well as what can be done in both the short and long term.

We will highlight important work done by our clients using data to proactively address housing issues.

We will be joined by a leading local authority to discuss a recent project conducted with Policy in Practice that used benefits administration data to identify households in temporary accommodation that could be helped to move into the private rental sector.

Join this webinar to learn:

- How UK housing policy interacts with the cost of living crisis
- How local authorities are using data to proactively tackle housing affordability problems
- Actions you can take now to support your residents dealing with housing issues alongside the cost of living crisis
27/7/202210:30 BST1.3 hours
Register
How to identify and support Just About Managing households using data The government has said it wants to make life easier for the 'squeezed middle' or people who are just about managing. These are the families who are not rich and they are also not those on the lowest incomes. Despite most being in work, they are struggling to meet their cost of living and it is no wonder.

The cost of living hit a 30-year high in February with inflation running at 6.2% and outpacing wage growth. Electricity bills were up nearly 20% in the year to January 2022, and gas bills by 28%, with further rises expected. Private rental prices across the UK went up by 2% in the year to January, the highest rate for five years; in the East Midlands that figure was 3.6%.

We know that one in five UK adults (10.3 million people) have less than £100 in savings, one in ten have no savings at all and more than a quarter have less than £500. Many are one broken appliance away from slipping into debt.

Local authorities want to help families who are struggling now to avoid a crisis down the line yet they have little or no visibility over people who are not already claiming benefits. Now though, analysis of other datasets can be used to get a clearer picture of families who are just about managing.

Join this webinar to learn:

- Who is just about managing now but at risk in the future due to the rising cost of living
- Which datasets can be used to identify families in danger of debt
- How local authorities can target support to avert crisis
21/9/202210:30 BST1.3 hours
Register
Menu
Skip to content
%d bloggers like this: