Plans announced for accelerated rollout of Universal Credit after success in the North West
On September 29th in a DWP press release, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith, said; “Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Job Centres and local authorities across the country from early next year”. This marks a significant acceleration in one of the government’s biggest reforms and is a sign of the success of the policy so far. This expansion will be for new claims from single jobseekers.
The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Financial Inclusion Project Manger, Jocelle Lovell, asks is this the calm before the storm, and what does this mean for Wales?
This signals the start of things to come, for a long time we have been waiting on a clear timeline in respect of the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) and here we have it. Whilst it is only starting with ‘new claims from single jobseekers’, which many will argue are the easiest people to work with. It still signifies a commitment to drive forward the changes, and sends out a clear message to us all that we need to be prepared. This means a joined up approach, mapping and knowing the services available within a local authority area, referral routes to support including face to face, online and over the phone. The local support services frameworks that will underpin UC are currently being tested in 11 sites across the UK, two of which are in Wales, Carmarthenshire and Blaenau Gwent.
Alongside this are some great examples where LA’s and service providers have come together in a one stop shop model including Cardiff and Flintshire while others like Caerphilly are maximising the use of library facilities to deliver digital Friday sessions. But we still have some way to go to cope with a full UC roll out.
For a long time the Centre has been working to address some of the key concerns raised by the introduction of UC, including financial & digital inclusion through our Financual Inclusion Champions, Communities 2.0 and Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion (THFI) projects and moving people closer to the jobs market through the Social Enterprise Support Project (SESP) and Communities 2.0.
Back in 2012, the Centre developed and launched the moneymadeclearwales.org website. Its main purpose is to provide an easy to use site that directs people to expert money and debt advice and other support, without them having to trawl through different websites and endless pages of information. Our experience has shown that people who are less financially and/or digitally capable can be intimidated by the way some websites look & respond, and by the language they use. This, in particular in Wales, is a big concern given our low literacy level (the National Survey of Adult Skills in Wales in 2010 revealed 12% of working age adults have below entry level literacy skills). We have further developed the site to include a work and money section, that is aimed at those people who are less financially or digitally able and are moving closer to world of work.
Subscribe to comments with RSS.