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Universal Credit: how are frontline advisors responding?


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As Universal Credit rollout progresses from the live service to full service we asked what the changes mean and how frontline advisors are faring. In this webinar we also looked at what local organisations can do to prepare people now for managed migration.

Policy in Practice's Zoe Charlesworth and Peter Carter were joined by Darren Thomas, Senior Welfare Officer, Grwp Cynefin who will share how their tenant's journey compares under the legacy system and Universal Credit.

For more information visit, call 0330 0889 9242 or email

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Universal Credit: how are frontline advisors responding?

  1. 1. Policy in Practice Webinar: Universal Credit: how are frontline advisors responding? Wednesday 14 November 2018
  2. 2. Housekeeping • Audio check • Please ask questions • Polls and a survey • Finish by 11:30
  3. 3. We make the welfare system simple to understand, so that people can make the decisions that are right for them
  4. 4. Speakers Zoe Charlesworth Policy in Practice Darren Thomas Grwp Cynefin Peter Carter Policy in Practice
  5. 5. Agenda • The big picture: Understanding Universal Credit rollout • A look at the current challenges facing social landlords and tenants • How some housing associations are meeting these challenges • Technology that can help
  6. 6. 666 Poll: Has Universal Credit full service rolled out in your area yet?
  7. 7. Over to Zoe
  8. 8. Our analysis of Budget 2018 • Investment of £2.7 billion welcome • Affects 2.6 million households (2.3m with children & 0.3m households with limited capability for work) • Employed households gain • Self-employed, disabled, ill or out of work don't gain
  9. 9. Budget 2018: Universal Credit changes • UC work allowances: increase by £1,000 per year (from April 2019) • Self employed: Protection extended to all; assessed on actual income (not MIF) for 12 months (from July 2019 or September 2020) • Deductions from UC: Max rate down from 40% to 30% (from Oct 2019) • Extra help for people migrating to UC: added 2 weeks payment of JSA, ESA and IS (from July 2020) • Delay in increasing the earnings limit that triggers surplus earnings (remains the same until 2020) • Period for recovery of advances extended from 12 to 16 months (from Oct 2021) • Slower roll-out of Universal Credit (end now Dec 2023) • Plus increase in minimum wage & changes in tax allowances (from April 2019)
  10. 10. Fewer households will be worse off under Universal Credit
  11. 11. Many households that now gain were already better off under Universal Credit
  12. 12. Are work allowances restored fully? • No restoration of work allowances for those without children or ESA • Working and ESA tenants see work allowances restored & increased ESA (+ £89/month), Children (+£18/month if single or £59/month if couple) • Working and ESA homeowners still see work allowances significantly reduced from April 2016 levels. Home owner lone parent sees a reduction in work allowance of £242/month Most other homeowners see a reduction of £155/month
  13. 13. Uneven impact across different households Overall, working households will see some benefit from Budget 2018 • Employed households are the big winners Employed households gain £18.41/week from the budget They will on average be £9.13/week better off compared to under legacy benefits. • Self-employed households will still lose slightly They will be a further £2.42/week worse off as a result of the Budget They will be £50.86/week worse off compared to legacy benefits Disabled and ill households are not supported by the budget • Income levels similar to their income pre-budget • They will be £28.76/week worse off compared to legacy benefits Households with children will be better off after the budget • They will be £10.56/week better off as a result of the budget • They will be reduced by £8.41/week compared to legacy benefits
  14. 14. Good, but more work to do 1. Improve standards of delivery • Establish performance standards that, at least, match existing standards. (speed of processing, call waiting times, accuracy of assessments) • Undertake a mystery shopping exercise to monitor overall standards and publicise the results • Train specialist staff to answer complex queries and deal with vulnerable claimants. Establish hotlines for local authorities and Citizens Advice • Invest more in training JCP work coaches who specialise in dealing with vulnerable claimants • Sort out RTI/earnings issues 2. Work better with partners • Give advisers software to help people compare UC and the legacy systems. Give local authorities access to the UC data to identify and help those with low financial resilience • Give local authorities support and advice role, with better access to UC assessments • Allow providers of supported housing better access to DWP data to help their residents 3. Greater flexibility in approach • Let claimants give access to advocates to support claims administration • More opportunity for a face to face claim process for those who need it • Streamline verification; give statement of identity for claimants to use elsewhere • Give help on getting a basic bank account • Flex processes: third-party deductions, backdating of claims, reporting childcare costs or self-employed earnings. Allow time for claim management within the claimant commitment
  15. 15. 151515 Poll: What is the single biggest issue you face with Universal Credit rollout?
  16. 16. 14/11/2018 Profiad Grŵp Cynefin Cyflwyniad PinP
  17. 17. Policy in Practice Grŵp Cynefin’s experience Darren Thomas - Uwch Swyddog Lles Senior Welfare Officer
  18. 18. Croeso Amcanion y Sesiwn. – Session Objectives Grŵp Cynefin – An introduction Why Policy in Practice? How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? What are the benefits of using Policy in Practice?
  19. 19. Mae Grŵp Cynefin yn darparu mwy na: Grŵp Cynefin provides more than: • 3,800 o gartrefi rhent i bobl a theuluoedd ar draws gogledd Cymru • 700 o dai fforddiadwy i unigolion a theuluoedd sy’n awyddus i brynu cartref. • 3,800 homes for rent to families and people across North Wales • 700 affordable properties for individuals and families aspiring to become home-owners
  20. 20. Ardal Gweithredu - Operating Area Dros 7 Awdurdod Lleol Across 7 Local Authorities • Ynys Môn – Anglesey • Gwynedd • Sir Conwy – Conwy • Sir Ddinbych – Denbighshire • Sir Y Fflint – Flintshire • Wrecsam – Wrexham • Powys
  21. 21. Canllaw - Mae Canllaw yn rheoli’r asiantaeth Gofal a Thrwsio Gwynedd a Môn Gofal a Thrwsio Conwy a Sir Ddinbych - Mae Gofal a Thrwsio Conwy a Sir Ddinbych yn is-gwmni i Grŵp Cynefin. Gorwel - Mae Gorwel yn darparu gwasanaethau yn cynnwys cefnogaeth i deuluoedd sy’n dioddef cam-drin domestig, lloches, cefnogaeth i fobl hŷn a gwasanaethau plant a pobl ifanc. Canllaw - Canllaw manages the Gwynedd and Môn Care & Repair agency. Conwy & Denbighshire Care & Repair - Conwy & Denbighshire Care & Repair is a subsidiary of Grŵp Cynefin. Gorwel - The services provided by Gorwel include support for families suffering domestic abuse, refuge, support for older people and children and young people services.
  22. 22. Swyddfeydd - Offices • Ynys Môn – Llangefni • Penygroes (Caernarfon)Gwynedd • Bala - Gwynedd • Dinbych/ Denbigh Sir Ddinbych – Denbighshire
  23. 23. • Tenants that require extra support are referred onto specialist provision such as the Welfare Team, Tenancy Support, Energy Wardens or Independent Debt Advice etc. Preventative work – knowing our tenants. • Generic Housing Officers – fostering relationships • Knowing our tenants and understanding their needs through profiling work and using recourses such as our Customer Insight Software (Housing Hub) and Policy in Practice.
  24. 24. Tîm Lles Grŵp Cynefin • Support tenants with navigate the Social Security system, issues such as benefit claims, entitlements etc. • Assist tenants to maximise their income • Welfare Team Headlines 2016-17 • 396 Tenants assisted • 769 Cases (3 per tenant avg) • 66 DAF applications (£15,363) • 27 Warm Home Discount (£3,780) • 58 applications to Grŵp Cynefin’s Hardship Fund(£16,000) • £593,388 financial gains for tenants • Benefit take up initiatives, PIP, AA, HB etc., Represent tenants at S.S. Tribunals (HMCTS)Grŵp Cynefin ‘s Welfare Team • Welfare Team Highlights
  25. 25. Why Policy in Practice? Our Customer Insight software along with our experienced staff across our offices tell us that we have a wide range of incomes and financial capability amongst tenants. The impact of Austerity, Welfare Reform and Universal Credit on our low income tenants can lead to difficulties in sustaining tenancies. Tenants unsure and apprehensive about transitioning to Universal Credit
  26. 26. The challenge ahead Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) 2,482 Working Age tenants, with 931 working age Grŵp Cynefin tenants currently in receipt of Housing Benefit
  27. 27. Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) The Challenge ahead! 231 o dan straen ariannol 231 under financial pressure 193 yn rheolwyr arian gwydn 193 are resilient money managers
  28. 28. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Operating across such a large geographical area presents challenges around consistency of the services that our tenants receive during key stages of their tenancy • Policy in Practice provides our officers with an easy way to discuss and record both benefit entitlement and affordability issues with both current and prospective tenants
  29. 29. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Prospective tenants prior to sign up. • Discussing affordability is a key part of tenancy sign up. • Benefit entitlement is only one side of the coin! • Frank discussions about household expenditure are vital to identify any potential issues.
  30. 30. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Prospective tenants prior to sign up. • Use Policy in Practice in addition to Pre Tenancy Financial Health Assessment (PTFA) . • Gives frontline staff confidence to have these frank and honest conversations. • Cases with either unsuitable Income Expenditure profile or High Risk PTFA will be referred onto the Welfare Team, Energy Wardens Project or independent Debt Advice.
  31. 31. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Tenants experiencing a Change in Circumstances. • The Roll out of the Natural Migration phase of Universal Credit across North Wales presents a challenge to both staff and tenants alike. • Whilst Insight highlights where these tenants are, policy in Practice gives us the tools to correctly advise tenants. • Policy in Practice’s ability to keep up with changes to legislation (such as UC Work allowances), enables us to correctly advise tenants
  32. 32. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Tenants experiencing a Change in Circumstances. • Better off in Work Scenarios can be effectively modelled with tenants. • Ability to model any increases in expenditure (such as Child Care), helps provide a realistic scenario for tenants. • Policy in Practice’s ability to keep up with changes to legislation (such as UC Work allowances), enables us to correctly advise tenants
  33. 33. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Tenants in Rent arrears. • Policy in Practice allows us to revisit Income and Expenditure Scenarios and advise accordingly. • Unrealistic expenditure profiles can be flagged by Housing Officers, then passed on to Welfare Team. • This ensures that Financial Resilience/ Capability work can be done without duplication.
  34. 34. How do we use Policy in Practice on a day to day basis? Tenants in Rent arrears. • A record of discussions is downloaded and sent to the tenant. • Action Plans are used to ensure the tenant understands what was agreed and by when.
  35. 35. What are the benefits of using Policy in Practice? Housing and Welfare Officers need to be sure of their facts in order to give tenants the correct information! • If tenants understand when and how much they will receive under Universal Credit they are more likely to engage with the benefit, this is an essential part of maximising our tenants income. • All of these features, correctly used, can ensure that our tenants receive coherent and consistent good advice from Grŵp Cynefin Officers, no matter where they live in North Wales. • Introduction of Universal Credit makes this essential.
  36. 36. Diolch Thank you
  37. 37. Over to Peter
  38. 38. Questions
  39. 39. Next steps Download Benefit and Budgeting flyer Download Autumn Budget 2018 white paper Request updated Universal Credit Roadmap Short survey: • We value your feedback • Ask questions or clarifications • Take another look at Benefit and Budgeting Calculator • Sign up to our next webinar: Social policy: what we learnt in 2018 and what this means for 2019 on Wed 12 Dec at 10:30.
  40. 40. Thank you Zoe Charlesworth Darren Thomas Grwp Cynefin Peter Carter office 0330 088 9242