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NAWRA conference: Using data to inform work on poverty

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In early June 2019 Policy and Practice was represented by Head of Policy, Zoe Charlesworth, at the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA) conference at the Old Naval College, Greenwich. Zoe's presented on how data can be used to understand poverty and inequality, and how this data can feed into frontline support.

Zoe showed how self-employed households could be identified, those most at risk of application of the minimum income floor could be targeted, and households could be better supported to make decisions that were right for them. Zoe pointed to the case study of Greenwich who use frontline tools from Policy in Practice (the LIFT dashboard and Benefits Calculator) to identify, target and support those in need. Using data in this way provides the Greenwich Welfare Support team with the ability to offer pro-active and holistic support to residents and enables the council to make strategic decisions based on evidence-based trends and forecasts.

For more information please visit www.policyinpractice.co.uk, call 0330 088 9242 or email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk

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NAWRA conference: Using data to inform work on poverty

  1. 1. Zoe Charlesworth Policy in Practice The Living Standards Index for London Using data to inform work on poverty
  2. 2. Content • A brief background to Policy in Practice and how data analytics informs policy • The Living Standards Index for London • How this translates to frontline operations 2
  3. 3. Policy in Practice A social policy organisation that uses data analytics to: • Inform an understanding of the depth and breadth of poverty • Provide evidence-based research on the impact of policy • Formulate evidence-based policy solutions that feed into national conversations • Provision of operational tools: - to allow those on low income make informed choices - to support those working with households on low income: Local authorities, Housing Associations, Charities, Welfare advice organisations 3
  4. 4. Housing Benefit / Council Tax data Benefits Modelling Engine Rich, detailed impact assessment Analytical Engine + Household datasets 4
  5. 5. Policy in Practice “Data is already used to detect fraud and chase arrears, so why not use it to help citizens?” Sue Nelson, Social Interest Group, formerly at Luton Borough Council 5
  6. 6. The Living Standards Index for London Living Standards Index for London Supported by Trust for London Policy in Practice is tracking changes in living standards for almost one million Londoners on a monthly basis. Using benefit administration data from 18 London councils to track: • Income • employment • Poverty Currently being updated to show: • Impacts relating to homelessness risk • Differing poverty/need measures (including Social Metrics Commission, Minimum Income Standard) 6
  7. 7. The Living Standards Index for London Living Standards Index for London Supported by Trust for London Some headline figures • 15% of London’s low income households can’t pay the bills week to week • Biggest growth in cash-strapped families since 2016 was in Sutton (79%), Camden (40%), Southwark (43%) • The number of London families who can’t pay the bills is expected to triple to 238,000 by 2021 if nothing changes 7
  8. 8. The Living Standards Index for London 8
  9. 9. The Living Standards Index for London 9
  10. 10. The Living Standards Index 10
  11. 11. The Living Standards Index 11
  12. 12. How is this used? A detailed analysis of poverty now, and in the future, provides evidence to: • Feed into national conversations on the implications of welfare reform • Inform pan-London Economic strategies • Inform pan-London anti-poverty and support resources • Provide an understanding of the implications at the borough level • Feed into borough economic and strategic planning • Provision of informed anti-poverty and support strategies at borough level This is a free resource, visit: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/lsi-london/12
  13. 13. Using data at an operational level The ability to be pro-active to changes in welfare support Crisis Prevention through intervention • Identification • Targeting • Engagement • Support - Advice and information (preparation for change) - Employment support - Income maximisation 13
  14. 14. Pro-actively using data to prevent crisis Example: targeting low-income self-employed households PIP analysis shows that the self-employed will be on average £50/week worse off under Universal Credit due to the Minimum Income Floor – this is a significant drop in income and could cause crisis. Our longitudinal analysis shows that of those affected by the minimum income floor 74% move to unemployment, 25% to employment and less than 1% stay self-employed. The Budget 2018 extended a 12 month grace period from the minimum income floor to all self-employed moving to Universal Credit under managed migration This gives support agencies 12 months to contact these households and provide the information they require in order to make decisions to protect themselves from crisis. 14
  15. 15. Identify households likely to be affected 15
  16. 16. Target those that will need support E.g. Households with children and those with low financial resilience. This reduces the 1,272 self-employed households to 317 16
  17. 17. Pro-actively engage with these households Inform (and illustrate) income under Universal Credit initially and after 12 months In this case, a reduction of £316/month in household income 17
  18. 18. Consider options Show the impact of remaining self-employed or leaving self-employment to both unemployment and the equivalent hours worked in employment: 18
  19. 19. Outcome-focused If relevant, provide employment support 19
  20. 20. Knowing expected income – and why 20
  21. 21. Maximising income 21
  22. 22. Using data at an operational level London Borough of Greenwich Provides the Welfare support team with the ability to offer pro-active and holistic Support Council-wide outcomes • Targeted help reduces the number of evictions and ultimately reduce homelessness across the borough. • Strategic decisions based on evidence-based trends and forecasts • Support for additional funding (e.g. Flexible Support Fund) • Better use of expert resources such as Welfare Advisors 22
  23. 23. Using data at an operational level London Borough of Greenwich Provides the Welfare support team with the ability to offer pro-active and holistic Support Outcome for residents • Support through change and at times of crisis • Targeted communications to inform and engage with those affected by change • Assistance with income maximisation and budgeting (Identified up to £20 million per year of unclaimed benefits) • Provision of an understanding of probable income and how this is calculated • Provision of employment support (if relevant) 23
  24. 24. Using data to support work on low-income and poverty 24
  25. 25. Next steps: Living Standards Index This is a free resource, visit: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/lsi-london/ Start conversations with your local authority about using data Case studies: www.policyinpractice.co.uk Feed frontline knowledge into our calculator development: zoe@policyinpractice.co.uk 25
  26. 26. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Contact us Zoe Charlesworth zoe@policyinpractice.co.uk 07863 560677 26

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