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An overview of Lewisham’s Universal Credit Pilot

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Presentation on theme: "An overview of Lewisham’s Universal Credit Pilot"— Presentation transcript:

1 An overview of Lewisham’s Universal Credit Pilot Lewisham Service Providers Forum March 2014

2 An overview of Lewisham’s Universal Credit Pilot
Outline what we’ll be covering in the presentation

3 Universal Credit (UC) Introduction The Welfare Reform Act 2012 was given royal assent on 8th March 2012. What is Universal Credit ? Universal Credit (UC) is a new type of financial support for people in work, on low income and out of work. What is new about Universal Credit? This will require huge behaviour change for some residents

4 Who can claim Universal Credit?
be 18 or over (or age 16 or 17 in certain cases) be under state pension credit age be in Great Britain not be in education have accepted a claimant commitment It can be awarded to a single person or to a couple jointly. Claimants must satisfy certain financial conditions. What about older people? Pension credit will remain for those over the qualifying age. In the future, housing benefit will be rolled into pension credit.

5 Universal Credit timeline
Universal Credit rolled out for the New Claimants in 6 new areas beginning at Hammersmith. (Single Claims) Pathfinders start to test UC (Wigan, Tameside etc.) All claimants will transition to UC by 2017 April 2013 Oct 2013 Spring 2014 End 2017

6 Local Authority led pilots
After submitting a bid in 2012, Lewisham was selected as one of the 12 local authority led UC pilots. We were the only local authority in London to have been selected. The aim of the local authority led pilots was to test the potential role for LAs in supporting the face to face universal credit delivery. In particular the pilots were expected to test some or all of the following functions: Budgeting support – supporting claimants to budget effectively, provide access to support in potential hardship and where applicable identify and manage those claimants. Online access – advocacy and other ways to achieve channel shift. Claimant support – providing a smooth tailored service for those with on-going complex needs Triage – managing claimant interaction and access to the appropriate UC channel. This includes assessing immediate need and vulnerability. Work focus – working with DWP’s labour market services to assess commitment to work, any barriers to finding work and monitor activity to seek or increase levels of work. Pilot timeline Jan 2014 Submitted bid to DWP Recruited secondees to the pilot team Design, delivery & evaluation of Phase 1 August 2012 October 2012 Nov 12- June 13 July- Dec 13 Design, delivery of phase 2 Evaluation and submission of findings to DWP

7 The aim of our pilot Can transition independently
1 Can transition independently Needs transitional support 3 Needs intensive support 2 To develop an evidence based definition of vulnerability for transition and access to Universal Credit To develop triage mechanisms for identifying and assessing individuals affected To test an approach for providing a holistically locally delivered face to face transition support service which improves the ability of claimants to: Budget and manage monthly payments Sustain tenancies in the social and private rented sector Transact with government services online Access employment and work-focused training

8 We mapped key provision linked to the UC quadrants we’d identified.
We spent some time mapping our key partners We mapped key provision linked to the UC quadrants we’d identified.

9 We worked with partners to discover more about our customers..
Spent time in our AccessPoint & Housing Options Centre talking to people about Universal Credit and what they thought their barriers and support needs would be. Over a two day period we conducted interviews with 15 benefit claimants. We reviewed and matched data on customers from across our council customer contact systems to understand the multiple points that people were interacting with us and the needs presented at each stage. We developed some initial ideas for supporting customers and asked an independent think-tank to test these ideas and gather more information on support needs in 11 detailed case-studies We took our insights to our partners and colleagues in strategic and front-line roles and asked them to use this to generate ideas on how we could triage and support people in the transition to Universal Credit.

10 We developed an outline model based on some of our core insights

11 In the second phase of the pilot we developed this additional step
We tested our model 1. Letter 2. Telephone triage 3. Face to face support appointment 4. Support plan In the second phase of the pilot we developed this additional step 5. On-going support for customers that need it

12 Some key learning from our pilot
During the lifecycle of the pilot 135 residents found work at a level that exempted them from the benefit cap. In addition to this a number of residents secured voluntary work part-time work. Simple scripted triage is a quick and simple way to identify (at the point of application) who is likely to need transitional support. In order to make this effective triage questions should be focused on behaviours and experience, not perception and attitudes. Some residents will need basic support in order to transition to UC. This could be provided in the form of a basic support plan with referrals to key agencies. Other residents will need more intensive and on-going support and coaching to enable them to change their lives sufficiently and enable them to transition to UC. To be effective this needs to look holistically at barriers to UC (and should therefore include digital inclusion, financial inclusion, housing and employment). The key to good partnership lies in strategic agreement and operational understanding, without the latter the former will be insufficient. In the second phase of the pilot we worked intensively with customers to provide on-going support. This required us to form closer working relationships, particularly with JCP.

13 What next?

14 The Local Support Services Framework
The learning we gained from the model we tested has been fed back to the DWP in our evaluation report. This will be used by the DWP to develop thinking on the role LAs, alongside their partners could play in supporting residents with the transition to UC. The DWP have begun to outline their vision for the role of LAs and Partners in the Local Support Services Framework . This also includes details of how the DWP would like to undertake further testing of some of the practical elements of supporting residents with the transition. Ministers want to ensure the LSSF will Ensure people are supported to make the transition to UC Support those who will find the transition ‘difficult’ LSSF will look to support and provide Existing / New services (specific UC) Triage and Orientation Online Access – ‘Digital Where Appropriate’ Financial Products Provision and Budgeting/debt advice Welfare Benefit and Advice Final LSSF document now expected to be published in 2015

15 LSSF Testing in Lewisham
The council is planning on submitting a joint expression of interest (alongside Lambeth, Southwark and JCP). The aims of our work would be to: To establish a tri-borough (3-B) / JCP partnership agreement and measurement framework To understand how we might work together To understand where there is a positive business case for 3-B co-operation To develop a triage process that maximises the chance of: Identifying a customer’s UC transition support needs Achieving successful referral To commission and deliver support services Including at least one new shared service delivered centrally and one delivered by multiple providers To gather evidence to support assumptions in cost model To learn where and how customers can be encouraged to prepare ahead of UC implementation 15

16 Steps you could be taking now

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