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

    • 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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Register for an upcoming webinar

TitleDateStart TimeDurationRegister
Policy review of 2023 and what 2024 may hold Join our last webinar of 2023 to hear our policy analysts review 2023's policy changes and big issues, from the ongoing cost of living and energy crises to the funding of local government and the Autumn Statement.

We will highlight our policy findings from the year including our work that revealed that millions of households across the UK are missing out on £19 billion of support each year.

We'll look at the role that data is playing in helping leading organisations to tackle these issues.

Through case studies of different types of households we'll look at what the changes mean for families now, and what 2024 has in store.

Along the way we'll share the positive impact that organisations we work with ​are having, and give practical solutions that others can adopt.
6/12/202310:30 GMT1.3 hours
How the debt sector is connecting people to support31/1/202410:30 GMT1.3 hours
Skip to content
%d bloggers like this: