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The DWP perspective The claimant’s journey and the Claimant Commitment Sandra Brydon Senior External Relations Manager Northumberland, Tyne & Wear District.

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Presentation on theme: "The DWP perspective The claimant’s journey and the Claimant Commitment Sandra Brydon Senior External Relations Manager Northumberland, Tyne & Wear District."— Presentation transcript:

1 The DWP perspective The claimant’s journey and the Claimant Commitment Sandra Brydon Senior External Relations Manager Northumberland, Tyne & Wear District April 2014

2 Department for Work and Pensions 2 Receive over 258,000 telephone calls. Take an average of over 10,000 new job vacancies. Conduct 88,000 Jobcentre Advisor interviews. Process over 18,000 new working age benefit claims. Prepare to prosecutable standard 50 cases for benefit fraud. Receive over 820,000 job searches for vacancies using the GOV.UK website. Help an average 14,000 claimants move off Jobseeker’s Allowance. Process over 1,000 claims for Attendance Allowance, over 3,000 claims for Disability Living Allowance, over 950 Carers Allowance claims, over 850 claims for Pension Credit, over 2,700 claims for State Pension and expect to issue over 2,900 pension forecasts on request. See over 2,100 claimants face-to-face in their home or in a place convenient to them. Every Working Day We…

3 Department for Work and Pensions 3 Most fundamental reforms to the social security system for 60 years. Aims for a simpler, fairer benefits system and to ensure that work pays. Universal Credit. Personal Independence Payment. Employment Support Allowance (ESA) time-limiting. Benefit Cap. Fraud and error penalties. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) amendments. Social Fund changes. Housing Benefit changes. Revised Appeals Process. Welfare Reform Act

4 Department for Work and Pensions 4 Our aim is for digital to become the main channel to claim benefit and search for jobs. Universal Credit will be our first digital by default service. GOV.UK has replaced Direct.gov and Business Link websites. JSA Online is now easier to claim on GOV.UK – over 2.5 million people have done so already. Over 80% of all JSA claims in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear are now made online. Over 3.2 million visits made to the online Benefit Adviser Service by August Up to 3 million visits a week to the job search tool on GOV.UK. By autumn 2014, 6,000 new computers will have been installed across the Jobcentre Plus network, enabling free access for claimants to complete a job search. Digital Services

5 Department for Work and Pensions Encouraging work and making work pay Get Britain Working Youth Contract Lone Parent Support Support for Families with Multiple Problems Specialist Disability Support Work Programme Post Work Programme Support Conditionality and sanctions

6 Department for Work and Pensions 6 A core theme of the Government’s welfare reform policies is increasing what is required of claimants in exchange for benefits and strengthening how DWP monitor compliance with that increased conditionality. New sanctions regime for JSA claimants began in October Claimant requirements have not changed – the sanctions have. Sanction periods increased with some fixed sanction periods. Individuals need to engage with our support and do all they can to look for and prepare for moving off benefits and into work. We will apply them consistently and with commonsense. Anyone not complying with mandatory activity should be sanctioned unless they have a genuinely good reason for not doing so. Access to hardship provision is still available. Conditionality and sanctions

7 Department for Work and Pensions 7 Spending Review 2013 Conditionality Package SR13 set out measures to increase the requirements placed upon all jobseekers, maintaining the momentum to help claimants enter employment at the earliest opportunity. For certain JSA pre-Work Programme claimants –Go-live from 28 April 2014 Quarterly Work Search Interviews English Language Requirement (in England only) –Phased in between 28 April 2014 and October 2014 Day One Conditionality Weekly Work Search Reviews For certain Lone Parents who are entitled to Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit –Go-live from 28 April 2014 Increasing Lone Parent Conditionality Claimants who fail to comply with any mandatory requirement may be subject to a sanction and their benefit may be affected.

8 Department for Work and Pensions 8 Help to Work Package Starting from 28 April 2014, Help to Work will support JSA claimants returning from the Work Programme. Work Coaches in Jobcentres will work with claimants to understand their needs, and refer them to one of the following: –the Mandatory Intervention Regime where Coaches have more time to spend with claimants; –Daily Work Search Reviews (which will be phased in between 28 April 2014 and December 2014), where claimants will attend the Jobcentre every day to discuss their progress in looking for work, for up to three months; or –Community Work Placements, where claimants undertake work placements of community benefit for up to six months alongside provider-led jobsearch. In England, Community Work Placements will be part-funded by the European Social Fund, under DWP’s co-financing agreements. If claimants remain on benefits after a period of daily attendance or Community Work Placements, they will be transferred to the intensive Mandatory Intervention Regime support for as long as they need. Participation in all elements will be mandatory.

9 Department for Work and Pensions 9 Why Sanctions Occur The most common reason for a JSA sanction is a failure on the part of the jobseeker to actively look for work; The second most common reason is failure to participate in employment programmes (including the Work programme) designed to help people back to work; 20% were sanctioned because they didn’t have a good reason for missing a meeting at the jobcentre; Sanctions occur for lots of reasons so it is important that claimants are open and honest with their adviser.

10 Department for Work and Pensions 10 The Claimant Commitment New claimants to Jobseeker’s Allowance now need to sign a Claimant Commitment. This sets out more fully what they need to do in order to receive state support. Building on current support and providing clear information about the consequences of failing to meet requirements. Work coaches will help claimants set out a detailed statement of what they will do to find work using a new personal work plan. Claimants will also use the plan to record what they have done. The new commitment is an important part of the cultural transformation that Universal Credit will bring and will place a strong focus on the responsibilities that claimants must fulfil. All 24 offices in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear now have the Claimant Commitment in place

11 Department for Work and Pensions 11 Claimant Commitment cont….. The roll out of the Claimant Commitment aims to ensure claimants: Are clear about the requirements they must meet; Recognise they must do all they reasonably can to find work; Take responsibility for getting themselves in to work; Have a detailed plan of action in place that they are committed to following; Are coached and supported to ensure they are taking the right action at the right time; The Claimant Commitment pack consists of – My Jobseeker Profile, JSA Claimant Commitment, and My Work Plan Booklet. It provides greater clarity about the consequences of not meeting the requirements for claiming JSA

12 Department for Work and Pensions 12 Help for specific problems. DWP offers support to those with specific problems such as: Drug and Alcohol misuse – and tailoring the Claimant Commitment/Jobseeker’s Agreement to take account of identified drug or alcohol dependence and if appropriate existing treatment commitments. Families with multiple problems – support from the ESF providers Help for parents – with childcare costs when moving from benefits into work. Help for carers – work preparation support for those considering a return to work. Help for the homeless – signposting to specialist organisations and advisers giving consideration to a claimant’s housing position when drafting the Claimant Commitment/Jobseeker’s Agreement. Help for those fleeing Domestic Violence – easements in what we ask of these claimants for a limited period of time.

13 Department for Work and Pensions 13 Future Support for Homeless Claimants A plan to introduce conditionality easements in respect of certain categories of homeless claimants receiving Jobseekers Allowance. To ensure that the Universal Credit conditionality regime reflects the circumstances of homeless claimants, the Secretary of State has agreed proposals that Universal Credit arrangements will include the option to temporarily suspend work search and work availability requirements for two specific groups of homeless individuals: rough sleepers and those in direct access hostels. The Secretary of State has agreed to JSA conditionality easements for rough-sleepers and those in direct access hostels that are similar to those to be intoduced with Universal Credit. This requires changes to JSA regulations.

14 Department for Work and Pensions Social Justice

15 Department for Work and Pensions 15 Social Justice Social Justice is about understanding and tackling the root causes of poverty rather than its symptoms. It is based on ensuring that the most disadvantaged people in society have the support they need. Social Justice principles influence all areas of the Department’s work, and link into our other priorities. We are: –Tackling the root causes of poverty by helping people at the earliest opportunity –Helping the most disadvantaged families and individuals to turn their lives around –Working with organisations and individuals across the country that already provide support to disadvantaged people and learning from their examples of best practice –Working alongside the DCLG, and at a local level Local Authorities, to deliver the Troubled Families Programme.

16 Department for Work and Pensions 16 Our experience Long history of outreach teams – from Action Teams to Working Homes, Family Works and Newcastle Futures Secondments to external partners such as Mental Health organisations Single Advisers working in outreach e.g. Sure start centres, drugs projects etc “In-reach” and co-location e.g. IAPT services working in Jobcentres Drug champions Partnership Managers working with agencies to improve understanding of welfare reforms and conditionality regime Coaches focussing on claimants with chaotic lifestyles, liaising with external agencies. Our day to day bread and butter! But: “Disadvantaged groups often face problems accessing services because of different agencies boundaries rather than focussing on the needs of the individual.”

17 Department for Work and Pensions 17 Social Justice in action………………….. Dianne Thompson Work Coach

18 Department for Work and Pensions 18 J’s story - Background J is 21 and has had several major upheavals in the last 6 months; Her employer folded Her relationship ended She is estranged from her family Unable to afford the rent, she fell into arrears and was served Notice to Quit Her mental health suffered and she self harmed and is now under care of her GP for depression and anxiety She had been sofa surfing since November

19 Department for Work and Pensions 19 Support Provided Due to rent arrears, J was not eligible for LA property, but they did provide help with a Bond from the Homeless Prevention Fund As J is under 25, she would only be entitled to single room rate housing allowance, so affordability was an issue As I have a background as a Property Manager, I was able to speak to a local landlord, negotiate a lower more affordable rent. He also waived rent up front as J’s application for housing allowance was fast tracked and to be paid directly to him, he was also paid the bond direct from the LA. J now receives help from Barnabus Safe & Sound in managing her tenancy We are now addressing J’s other issues, she is receiving counselling support and we have found a local training provider who is willing for her to complete her NVQ 2 with them and she is much more settled and positive since she has secured accommodation.

20 Department for Work and Pensions 20 K’s story - background Aged 43, ex-offender, lone parent, health issues Living in private rented accommodation Referred as threatened with eviction by landlord because he had complained about outstanding repairs

21 Department for Work and Pensions 21 Property Issues Property was in very poor state of repair with the following issues –Rising damp –Electrical Issues –Boiler could only be turned on / off with pliers –A duvet & plastic sheet for a back door! –Plus numerous others

22 Department for Work and Pensions 22 Actions Taken Reassured K that he could not be evicted without required Notice and he and his son would not be left homeless I arranged immediate appointment with Housing Services at Northumberland County Council for further advice Appointment booked for Environmental Health Officer to carry out inspection

23 Department for Work and Pensions 23 Outcome Property was classed as being unfit for habitation Financial support secured to help with costs of new property New flat found and funds transferred directly to landlord within 48 hours K moved into a newly refurbished “penthouse” (his words!)

24 Department for Work and Pensions 24 Working Together - a powerful tool for change


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