With one of the highest Universal Credit claimant rates in the country Haringey Council has identified residents who are newly eligible for further support. They successfully helped over 100 households to claim Council Tax Reduction, resulting in £99,000 of Council Tax Reduction awards worth nearly £1,000 to each family.
Haringey Council’s good news story of 2021
Using LIFT we 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 we awarded £99,000 worth of Council Tax Reduction to 100 households. We 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.
We 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%.
Our Here to Help page has received over 10,000 views in a matter of months, and our Benefits Calculator has been used almost 400 times. We 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.
Margaret Gallagher, Head of Performance and Business Intelligence, Haringey Council
Learn more about Haringey Council’s good news story
Haringey has faced a range of new challenges this past year.
Covid-19 has created significant financial challenges for our 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, we 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, our operating environment has also become more complex. We have seen a sharp increase in demand for some services such as our 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.
- We identified specific challenges around ensuring that everyone who is eligible to claim Council Tax support is doing so via our 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, we worked with Policy in Practice to identify a proactive strategy to engage with residents
- We have also identified that our residents face a wider challenge to access all the support they’re eligible for. We 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 our campaign, helping residents to quickly and easily access information about their entitlements
- Finally, we have also had to respond to a new operating context in which we have received significant temporary funding to help residents, but often at short notice. By using the financial resilience indicators on our LIFT platform, we have been able to send out targeted communications to residents to help them claim support available within a short timeframe
Policy in Practice colleagues have worked in partnership with us over recent years supporting us in our 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, we 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.
Policy in Practice have been excellent partners working with us in a seamless and supportive way to overcome barriers and hurdles for example around information sharing and to help us learn from best practice. They are experts in welfare reform and frequently generate ideas to assist local authorities to use data for good supporting them to deliver successful campaigns which help to target resources and support towards those who need help the most.