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How data can help support vulnerable utility customers


Published on

Deven Ghelani spoke at Utility Week's #consumerdebt conference in Birmingham on 27 February 2018.

In his talk, titled The changing living standards of low income households and their ability to pay, he focused on:

- assessing the initial effect of universal credit on low-income households
- the impact of wider welfare reforms and
- how organisations can support vulnerable customers..

For further information contact or call 0330 088 9242.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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How data can help support vulnerable utility customers

  1. 1. Policy in Practice Deven Ghelani The changing living standards of low income households and their ability to pay
  2. 2. Agenda • About Policy in Practice • The impact of welfare reforms on low income households • National and local initiatives to help support vulnerable consumers • Identifying and supporting vulnerable consumers
  3. 3.
  4. 4. We make the welfare system simple to understand, so that people can make the decisions that are right for them
  5. 5. About Policy in Practice Policy national impact impact Analytics local impact Software individual impact
  6. 6. Working age households are hit hardest at £41.45 per week The main drivers are: • the benefits freeze, losing £33.54 per week on average • rising rents and living costs (2.4%) • combined impact of multiple reforms hitting the same family People are going to be worse off
  7. 7. Universal Credit and other changes Budget changes to Universal Credit improve the situation • Ending 7-day wait • Two week HB run-on • Twelve month advance payment • 63% taper & Living Wage But losses are not fully mitigated through the National Living Wage, Personal Tax Allowance, or Discretionary Payments Utilities are a lower priority payment under Universal Credit
  8. 8. National and local initiatives to support vulnerable households
  9. 9. The safeguarding tariff: Data sharing proposals between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and licensed gas and electricity suppliers PIPs recommendations • Include local councils • Allow for proactive take-up campaigns • Offer holistic support when you speak with customers BEIS Consultation on data-matching
  10. 10. Cambridge councils partnership with South Staffs water Connected to DHPs: £55k to 210 people Removed the income threshold. Great partnership Partner with local authorities
  11. 11. • 36,443 low income families Proactively target support
  12. 12. • 36,443 low income families • 217 families with children, with a disability who are in arrears Proactively target support
  13. 13. • 36,443 low income families • 217 families with children, with a disability who are in arrears • Drilldown to get a single view or support, arrears and barriers to work Proactively target support
  14. 14. • 36,443 low income families • 217 families with children, with a disability who are in arrears • Drilldown to get a single view or support, arrears and barriers to work • Link into a financial support tool Proactively target support
  15. 15. We help people on the frontline • Access our calculator through GOV.UK • Link in your own regional support tariffs • Empower your advisors to offer holistic support • Link into the Single Financial Statement
  16. 16. Supporting vulnerable households • Universal Credit is rolling out, and rolling out fast • The ‘real’ impact due to rising rents and benefit freeze is significant, impacting ability to pay • Local data allows identification of households most in need of support, and eligible • You can work proactively with councils today • Your own vulnerability teams can check eligibility and increase take-up of other support, making is more likely customers will be able to pay their bills
  17. 17. Winner: Credit & Collections Technology Awards 2017, Affordability Assessment Solution Engage as early as possible in the collection process: • Before high fees and charges are incurred • It’s more cost effective to support people in poverty prior to enforcement action • Because more people will be can’t pays, ineffective enforcement action drains resources • Creditors will recover more if people feel supported by agents • Positions the enforcement agent as a partner for the local authority client and their residents • Ethically, it is the right thing to do Policy in Practice’s Benefit and Budgeting calculator helps Phoenix understand their customer’s financial circumstances and develop an achievable management plan
  18. 18. Data analytics helps strategic resource planning Cambridge City Council has commissioned Policy in Practice to help model the migration of customers from housing benefit onto Universal Credit, and the implications for the council. 1. Natural migration onto Universal Credit 2. Managed migration onto Universal Credit 3. Interpreting the implications for the council Data analysis of the migration informs strategic resource planning of the department as well as understanding the impact on customers
  19. 19. Would you like to know how many Londoners are eligible for a Warm Home Discount?
  20. 20. Questions for you, please come and find me Utility companies face a similar challenge to local authorities administering discretionary support … 1. How does the data matching scheme work for you now? 2. How do you currently target support and determine vulnerability? 3. Do your advisor teams provide holistic support?
  21. 21. Thank you Deven Ghelani 07863 560677 0330 088 9242