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Universal Support Delivered Locally Experiences
Jonathan Morgan – Blaenau Gwent CCPaul Neave - Flintshire CC
But First………………….Name That Benefit?
Name that Benefit
“The biggest administrative fiasco in thehistory of the welfare state”Housing BenefitLeader in the Times - 21 January 1984
Name that Benefit
“'I take full responsibility for the delivery of ??????, and I will not shirk that responsibility. I intend to deliver it on budget and on time ...”Universal CreditIainDuncan Smith10 Sept 2013
Universal Credit - Flintshire
Universal Credit - Flintshire
07APRIL 2014UC implemented within Shotton JCp area28JULY 2014Shotton JCp started to accept UC claims from some claimantcouples26January2015ShottonJCp started to accept UC claims from claimants withchildren23February 2015UC rolled out across Flintshire for new UC claims from single unemployed people
Claimant Statistics – Flintshire
07/04/14 to 02/03/2015383 claims for Universal Credit have been made226 live Universal Credit claims – (2 couples & 1 family)33referrals to the CAB personal budgeting support service1 claimant received support to make on-line claim
Universal Credit - Flintshire
Consensus amongst key stakeholders that the principles of UC are positiveSingle MTB that isresponsive to changes in a claimant’s circumstances & contains incentives that aim to make work payHowever, there are criticisms & concerns about UC – including the potential negative implications for some claimants, landlords & local authorities if:Services are not available to ensure people can access the advice/support they need to effectively prepare for the ‘changes & challenges’ that claiming UC will bring
Universal Credit - Flintshire
FCC & DWP have enjoyed a positive & productive working relationship throughout the years – this provided a firm foundation upon which the framework for introducing UC has been developed. We are focusing upon:Maximising Support Resources - training/briefing stakeholderstoprepare for new challenges they will face & ensure they possess the knowledge to be able to provide advice & support to residentsTwo Way Communications - encouraging debate with stakeholders of how UC is being implemented & been able to feed constructive criticism to the UC implementation teamMitigating Landlords Concerns -encouraging the proactive use of Alternative Payment Arrangementsisstarting toaddress someconcernsheld by landlords around renting to tenants claimingUCCont’d
Universal Credit - Flintshire
Financial Capability -Personal Budgeting Support projectensuring the improvement in aUC claimant’sability to manage their household budget issustained over timeMaximisingHousehold Income-encouraging tenants toself electto claim UC maybe a sensitive & potentiallycontentiousissue, but………….Enhanced Working DisregardsFlat-rate UC non-dependent deductionStill a long road ahead of us, however, our partnership approach has proven to be an important element that has positively addressed some of the more sensitive issues around the introduction of UC.
USdl - The Blaenau Gwent Trial
USdl - The Blaenau Gwent Trial
Target audience – 2000 ESA claimants with a control group of 400.Piloting – An Engagement StrategyProvisions being trialled:-TriagePersonal Budgeting and SupportDigital Inclusion4. Why ESA claimants? – this cohort of clients have needs/barriers to overcome that we will benefit from understanding.
How we are Engaging
Our Engagement Officers (EO) are utilising different methods of contact available (text, face to face, telephone, social media, e-mail, leaflets, letters)Our EO’s are then:-Interacting with claimants to identify any barriers previously encounteredIdentifying which provision or provisions are requiredMaking a referral to an appropriate organisationDocumenting this information on an Individual Learning Plan together with regular review points to assess changes.An Administrative Officer (AO) is gathering and documenting all information.As part of this trial Melin Homes are engaging with their own tenants and Wales Cooperative Centre are engaging with our PRS and then sending us their results which will feed into the overall evaluation of the project.
Some statistics….
Our EO’s have attempted to contact 2081 claimants so far.Our EO’s have attempted to contact 1024 claimants either by face to face or by telephone. This is the preferred method of many claimants.Texting has been very effective. No sooner have messages been text to claimants so they are phoning in to speak to our EO’s.Despite weekly tweets from both LA and DWP, the response has been negligible.Of those claimants our EO’s have attempted to contact, 601 have engaged and completed engagement plans (28.88%).As a result of these completed plans, our EO’s have made 300 referrals to keys partner organisations (49.91%)The highest quantity of referrals has been to our Digital Inclusion team (20%).Only 4.7% of referrals have been made in respect of claimants requesting help and support in opening of a bank account.Referral information is being returned to us by our key partners on “progress trackers” on a timely basis.
Some facts we have learnt from the project so far
Countless claimants freely admit to our EO’s that they don’t know a lot, if anything, about UC or how it’s going to affect them.Claimants have been more willing to engage with us than we first envisaged.The flexibility of our EO’s offering to meet claimants to discuss Universal Support at venues suitable to the claimants themselves has been effective.Claimants have welcomed the help and support our EO’s are providing.Claimantshave been willing for us to refer them to our key partners for specialist help and support.As we expected, certain methods of engagement between EO and claimant have proved more productive than others.Partnership working which was already established, and which is key to the success of the project, continues to go from strength to strength!!
Have the claimants who we referred to our key partners actually gone that step further and taken up the offer of specialist support?Are the claimants who have told us they don’t require any support simply burying their heads in the sand until UC goes live?We dangled the carrot of the Welsh Water Assistance and Warm Home discount schemes in order to keep our claimants engaged because we had something to “offer” in return – So, during the engagement process, have claimants concentrated on this offer and then lost focus on Universal Support per se?There have been instances where key partners have contacted claimants referred to them by our EO’s only to be told that, for example, they have changed their mind and don’t require the support or have completely forgotten that our EO engaged with them and made a referral in the first place!!
So what’s next……..?
Carrying on with engagement.Re-visiting the claimants who we have attempted to contact but who failed to engage.Develop further processes that we put in our initial bid.Analysing the data returned to us from our key partners.The independent team evaluating our project has visited us twice since Sept 14 and on both occasions has provided positive feedback overall – however, we know we have challenges ahead and areas to improve upon so we aren’t getting carried away.The realisation that August 2015 is fast approaching and there is so much still to do!!!
Any [email protected] [email protected] 703802





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