It has been announced that the rollout of Universal Credit will be accelerated, but are local organisations ready to support people through the transition?The Secretary of State for Work and Pension, Iain Duncan Smith, announced that Universal Credit would be rolled out to 100 Jobcentres across the UK by the end of 2014, and the rollout would accelerate from February 2015 to include all Jobcentres by April 2016.

Universal Credit aims to simplify the benefit system, making it easier for people to understand and making administration more efficient and to improve the financial returns for people moving into and progressing in work. Policy in Practice found that Universal Credit would increase the amount of money in people’s pockets, and improve their employment prospects.

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out across the North West of England, and is currently available in 50 Jobcentres. The service is primarily being rolled out to single people, but couples and families are now able to claim the new benefit in some parts of the country.

Local support services for recipients that may need help to apply for Universal Credit online, or to manage a single monthly payment, are being trialled across eleven local authority and JCP sites across the UK. The government’s press release on the rollout indicates that there will be additional funding available to local authorities working to develop effective support services.

The Policy in Practice Perspective

Policy in Practice was founded to make policy work for people. We work with local authorities and other local organisations to help them to implement welfare changes quickly and effectively, and were involved in the first wave of pilots, helping to support households in Lewisham affected by the Benefit Cap.

Our clients support the policy intent behind Universal Credit. Their concerns are about how the new benefit will work in practice, and how they can best support their residents in the transition to UC. While we welcome the accelerated rollout of Universal Credit, which gives some clarity over timescales, our view is that if Universal Credit is to change attitudes toward the benefit system, recipients’ first experience of the new system has to be positive.

It is far from certain that all local organisations are prepared for the accelerated rollout. Advisors will need to be able to explain the new system, and begin the shift away from a process driven benefit system to one that is more focused on outcomes. This will mean developing effective systems and processes that work with the current benefit system, as well as UC.

As Universal Credit rolls out across the country, reaching a growing number of low and middle income households, it is important that it feels different. It needs to be a true departure from the process driven, complex and often perverse welfare system we have today.

To see how Universal Credit would affect you, try our Universal Credit Calculator or have your local authority join the Welfare Reform Club.

, ,

2 Comments. Leave new

  • I have heard this roll out is a total shambles and all Duncan Smith has done is cost the nation billions in computer soft were

    Reply
    • There is concern about the implementation of Universal Credit. The government has said that they are rolling out the system in a slow, controlled way to help people adapt to the changes.
      Our report finds that Universal Credit will help to tackle poverty, when it is fully implemented.

      Reply

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
20/7/202210:30 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: