Presentation on theme: "Welfare Reform Where are we now ? Progress, Challenges and the “Claimant Commitment” Andrew Noble Welfare Reform Implementation Support Programme Improvement."— Presentation transcript:
Welfare Reform Where are we now ? Progress, Challenges and the “Claimant Commitment” Andrew Noble Welfare Reform Implementation Support Programme Improvement Service
Purpose of day To enable elected members to: review the progress of Welfare Reform to date consider the potential impact and challenge of the new Claimant Commitment and sanctions policy Hear about ongoing work to mitigate and respond to Welfare Reform consider the specific roles and challenges for elected members in responding to the reform agenda to date, and in the future
Welfare Reform- the story so far Implementation and impact of key reforms- Universal Credit Personal Independence Payment Under occupancy- “the bedroom tax” Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) expansion Benefit Cap, Scottish Welfare Fund Council Tax Reduction Scheme- National scheme in place.
Welfare Reform- the story so far Delay in roll out of Universal Credit (UC) and Personal Independence Payments(PIP)- the cornerstone Reforms. UC will not now roll out in Scotland till early 2016, beyond a single Jobcentre in Inverness PIP roll out has started on a phased geographic basis in Scotland Significantly diverging approaches between Scottish Government and UK Government/ DWP- Funding to mitigate in Scotland Negotiations ongoing between CoSLA and DWP over a range of issues- LSS, SFIS, HB administration costs etc. Growing evidence impact on Local Authorities, RSLs and partners
Welfare Reform Impact on Scotland
Group Discussion 1: How is your local authority responding to Welfare Reform? What are the significant challenges you face?
Session 2 Claimant Commitment and Sanctions
Background- Conditionality and Sanctions Conditionality has always existed in the Welfare system rules have been increasingly tightened since 2008 Sanctions have increased in duration and severity since the 1990s (1995 Jobseekers Act) Introduction of the Claimant Commitment in October 2013 for JSA Building on the conditionality regime introduced for JSA and ESA in October 2012.
Claimant Commitment How it works Each Claimant Commitment is to be individually tailored to the needs of the claimant- agreed between the claimant and their jobcentre advisor/ Job coach Claimant Commitment determined by an initial assessment by JC+ Intended by DWP to make it absolutely clear what is required of them in return for their benefits. Policy change in advance of the introduction of Universal Credit Major feature of DWP’s drive to change “behaviour and culture”
Claimant Commitment What is expected of the Claimant: Actively look for work Attend JC+ Interviews Participate in mandatory employment programmes Ready for work immediately Work full time Take a job at minimum wage Prepared to travel up to 90 minutes from home to work
Sanctions What happens if you don’t meet the Conditionality requirements of your benefit claim: Potential to be “sanctioned”- lose your benefit payments for a period of time Three levels of sanction- low medium and high Can lose benefit for anything between 4 weeks and 3 years. Sanctions can be reconsidered, appealed and claimants can receive a hardship payment
Types of Sanction Sanction levelReason Low Failure to attend an adviser/ job coach interview Refusal to carry out a jobseeker direction Failed to participate in a mandatory employment programme (the Work Programme) Intermediate Not actively seeking work Not being available for work High Losing employment voluntarily Losing employment through misconduct Refusal of employment Refusal to participate in mandatory work activity
Example of a JSA sanction Claimant “A” refused an offer of employment, which is classified as a “high” level failure. As this is the second failure within a 52 week period, Claimant “A” receives a sanction of 26 weeks removal of JSA.
Sanctions Scottish Government analysis of the research shows: Claims who face sanctions are often unable rather than unwilling to comply with sanctions. Those particularly vulnerable to sanctions are the most disadvantaged Younger people tend to receive a higher proportion of sanctions Impact of Sanctions is mixed- may improve short term outcomes in terms of leaving unemployment and entering employment However research suggests that these individuals tend not to enter sustainable employment and the tend to have low incomes. Also a range of related negative outcomes What has actually been happening?
JSA Sanctions in Scotland DWP has released data on JSA sanctions which cover the period October September 2013: 177,449 JSA sanction decisions in Scotland during this time period 75,329 (42%) of these decisions were “adverse”. 43,705 (25%) sanctions decisions were “cancelled decisions” 41,112 (54%) were low level sanctions 26,820 (36%) were intermediate level sanctions 7,360 (10%) were high level sanctions 48,951 separate individuals were subject to an adverse sanction decision 28,623 adverse decisions were asked to be reconsidered, 38% of the total 1,751 adverse decisions were appealed against, 2% of the total.
JSA Sanctions Oct.12-Sept.13
% of JSA sanction decisions resulting in an adverse decision (Oct 2012-Sept 2013)
JSA Sanctions- UK analysis Some findings emerge from the published data from October 2012 September 2013 UK analysis- University of Glasgow (D Webster, 19/2/14) Total number of JSA sanctions in this period- 874,850, the highest since JSA introduced in ,574 individuals received a sanction. Again the highest level of individual sanction since JSA claimants sanctioned at a rate of 5.11% per month, and in the 3 months to September 2013 the rate was 6% per month. Highest rate since JSA introduced. Failure to participate in training/ employment schemes and “not actively seeking work” are now the main reasons for JSA sanctions. Twice as many people on the Work Programme are getting a sanction as opposed to a job outcome Tribunals are upholding almost 9 out of 10 appeals against DWP. Only 2.44% of those sanctioned are going to tribunal however.
Impact What does this mean Increased claimant work search activity and requirement to find work Increased service demand for Councils across a wide range of services- response to Claimant Commitment Increasing number and severity of sanctions- hardship, crisis, negative outcomes? Policy change in advance of UC- in advance of any funding package around the Local Support Service Framework- Council’s and partners taking the financial and demand hit
Key challenges How do local authorities work with Jobcentre Plus/ DWP to minimise negative impact of a tougher sanctions regime? Effects of more people looking for and getting work? Is the help available for the people who need it most? What outcomes are we trying to achieve? getting people off benefit or getting them into work is not the same thing Local authorities and their partners picking up the service demand and the crisis- direct challenge to early intervention, prevention model of public service delivery? In-Work conditionality is a feature of Universal Credit- will effect millions of low pay/ part time employees as UC is rolled out.
Group Discussion 2: What is the Elected Member role in relation to conditionality and sanctions? Are there other key challenges? How can Local Authorities work most effectively to minimise potential negative outcomes from sanctions?
Session 3 Responding to Welfare Reform
Scottish Government Response- Mitigation £258 million in mitigation funding in the period to In this included: £20m for Discretionary Housing Payments £23m for Council Tax Reduction Scheme £33m for Scottish Welfare Fund (£23.8m transferred by DWP, £9.2m in SG funding) £7m for advice, support and anti-poverty projects
Conditionality and Sanction Working with CoSLA and Scottish Government: Survey of all 32 local authorities Trying to get a clearer idea of the impact and effect of claimant conditionality and sanctions on the ground On-line survey with 4 themes: Impact on service demand Information and data collection Impact on client experiences Council responses Survey will underpin the ongoing discussions around policy and practice in this area. Discussions at a regional and national level with the DWP
Local Authority Pilots 3 Scottish Government pilots during , Aberdeenshire, Dundee City, South Lanarkshire Draft evaluation findings include: Substantial deficit in IT skills, experience and confidence among benefit claimants Ongoing commitment on the part of Council’s required to support people through online claiming process Important to work closely with trusted 3 rd sector/ community organisations Training and information for front line staff is key Need to promote new/ changed services effectively Some citizen’s will always require substantial support Focus on restructuring and aligning key service areas
Welfare Reform Resilience Fund Scottish Government £600,000 fund available to local authorities during Principles of prevention, early intervention 1.Innovative and transformational projects with the potential to inform development/ service redesign 2.Projects which will mitigate negative impacts of welfare reform 3.Projects which demonstrate a partnership approach Application closing date, 24 th April. Projects start May 2014
Local Support Services DWP term to describe additional services that will be required for Universal Credit (and that they are prepared to fund as a result) –Triage –Online access –Personal budgeting LA’s and other agencies deliver services such as employability, which are LSS but not in the DWP framework DWP to undertake “trialling and testing” with local authorities during 2014.
Local Support Services UK wide agreement that DWP will work with LA’s to develop LSS Scotland will have its own OPA(Overarching Partnership Agreement) with DWP LA’s will have DPA’s with JC+ Districts (Delivery Partnership Agreement) LSS will be designed, delivered and managed through CPP structures with Jobcentre+ Negotiations ongoing at a national level around this and the associated funding for LSS
Welfare Reform Data Dashboard Neighbourhood Level Map
Group Discussion 3: How do Councils their partners and Councillors best mitigate the impact of Welfare Reform? What are the main opportunities from Welfare Reform and how do we progress these? What further support do Elected members require to appropriately respond to Welfare Reform
Conclusions, final reflections, feedback and evaluation Welfare Reform Implementation Support Programme