London Borough of Redbridge
Addressing the impact of poverty in a rapidly growing region
Redbridge Council has strong plans to address the impact of poverty in the region. Redbridge aims to boost residents’ wellbeing and make the borough a more positive place to live. They aim to do this by helping people out of financial hardship, reducing low pay and the gender pay gap, and targeting interventions to tackle poverty in priority neighbourhoods.
Located in North East London, Redbridge’s population grew by over 11% in the ten years from 2011 to 2021. This increase is far higher than the overall population increase in England, which stood at 6.6%. Providing the right support for a growing population is a key challenge for the Benefits Service at Redbridge.
Using data to deliver front-line support
The team runs benefit take-up campaigns throughout the year targeting families in cash, fuel and food poverty. The Benefits Service analyses its own data sets using a Low Income Family Tracker (LIFT) platform to identify households most in need. Armed with this information the team then proactively contacts those households via a variety of channels with offers of tailored support.
The team at Redbridge is working on a number of initiatives to deliver the council’s anti-poverty strategy. The data exploration enabled by LIFT gives the team information on trends identified from the benefits caseload and insights derived from LIFT. Using the management information they can suggest practical solutions for residents in the greatest financial need.
The LIFT platform helps Redbridge to deliver wrap-around support for residents and prevent them from falling into financial crisis. By using administrative data to identify vulnerability, target preventative support and encourage benefit take-up, Redbridge leads the the way for other local authorities.
Helping households maximise their income by awarding over £2.3 million in unclaimed benefits and support
With LIFT in place Redbridge Council continues to provide broad support, whilst now also offering tailored support to residents who need it the most. More collaborative working relationships, with both internal and external partners, provide a more seamless service for Redbridge residents.
For example, benefit checks can be done at the same time as triaging residents’ need for a food bank to ensure that as much support as possible is being given. The council is able to run highly-targeted Pension Credit take-up campaigns in conjunction with Age UK, too.
By maximising income through efficient claims processing and the work of the Benefits service team, Redbridge is improving the lives of its most vulnerable residents. Increasing residents’ income boosts financial resilience and reduces the fear of financial deprivation.
Redbridge can now identify and target those residents in its growing population who are eligible for benefits but not claiming them. LIFT has helped the team pay out the following in the 2021/22 financial year:
- £1.3 million in Discretionary Housing Payments
- £750,000 in Pension Credit take up
- £181,000 in Hardship Payments
- £82,000 in Household Support Fund payments
In the same year the team was also able to collect £2.6 million in overpaid Housing Benefit, and help residents to claim over £2.3 million in unclaimed welfare benefits and support.
The importance of growing residents’ financial stability to avoid poverty and promote broader wellbeing cannot be overstated. Offering timely support and early, highly-targeted intervention can help people successfully navigate their way through financial crises.
The LIFT platform helps Redbridge to give sound benefit advice to residents. Their support helps people maximise their household income. Spin-off benefits from the work include enhanced wellbeing and improved financial resilience for residents. Frontline advisors have experienced a significant mindset shift; from being focused on output targets to be focused on people.
Interdepartmental teams and external partners are now better able to collaborate to offer Redbridge residents seamless support. They can rapidly identify solutions that will allow residents to become more financially resilient while offering support around their broader needs including mental health, education and nutrition.
The Benefit Team has been instrumental in setting up internal referral processes which have greatly benefited our tenants. We have implemented systems to ensure Discretionary Housing Payments are utilised optimally.
We also collaborate on joint initiatives, such as drop-in sessions for the Household Support Fund.
There has been a brilliant level of synergy between our teams which we are confident will continue for the foreseeable future and will greatly benefit the residents of Redbridge.
Amar Bansil, Specialist Support Manager Rent Recovery Team, London Borough of Redbridge