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Latest analysis, policy news and updates from Policy in Practice
In this issue
  • New policy report on the implications of Universal Credit for people living with motor neurone disease
  • Preventing vulnerability with Lord Bird at the House of Lords
  • Policy in Practice responds to the NAO's Rolling out Universal Credit report
  • ERSA Awards and MJ Awards winners
  • Speaking engagements: London Ventures, National Housing Federation, International Data Research
  • Events attended: Trust for London, Key Cities, NESTA Sparks
  • Future webinars and speaking engagements; latest blog posts
New policy report: The implications of Universal Credit for people living with motor neurone disease (MND)
The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association) is interested in the impact that Universal Credit will have on people living with motor neurone disease (MND). Policy in Practice has been commissioned to carry out this research and present the findings in a report.

The report provides a background to Universal Credit and looks in-depth at those elements of Universal Credit that bear most relevance to people living with MND. It examines the Universal Credit claim process, highlights how this differs from legacy benefits, and the resulting impacts on those living with MND. The report makes recommendations that would assist the customer journey for those with MND.

Illustrative case studies that link to the Policy in Practice Benefit and Budgeting Calculator, that enable further modelling of benefit awards for those with MND, are also included.

Download the report here
Read The implications of Universal Credit for people living with Motor Neurone Disease
Read Michael Smith’s experience with MND and the benefits system
Leading Lights Network event: Preventing vulnerability with Lord Bird
Policy in Practice's Leading Lights Network hosts an evening at the House of Lords for frontline practitioners to discuss how we can better prevent households from falling into crisis. The event is kindly sponsored by Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue.

Attendees will hear:

  • Lord Bird talk about the story of the Big Issue, his passion for prevention, and the drivers behind the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill
  • Nikki Middleton from Luton Council, plus other speakers, talk about using public data to tackle vulnerability early, and in a sustainable way

Venue:         River Room, House of Lords
Date:           Tuesday 17 July 2018 at 18:00 to 20:00
Speakers:    Hosted by Policy in Practice and Lord Bird

Policy in Practice responds to the NAO's Rolling out Universal Credit report
Following the publication of NAO's Rolling out Universal Credit report Deven Ghelani was interviewed for his response. He appeared on BBC Radio Wales, Talk Radio, Victoria Derbyshire, LBC, Sky News and Moneybox.

Explaining that he founded Policy in Practice to see how a good policy idea manifests in practice, Deven cited examples from our work with frontline organisations showing that a significant minority of claimants struggle with Universal Credit. He urged DWP to work with advisors, who want to make UC work for people they support, and to be more flexible with claimants, who need more help to manage their claims.

Deven outlined the positive changes that have been made to UC, such as those announced in the Autumn Budget. He spoke of one employment advisor, Heather, who told him how she likes being able to tell people confidently that they would be better off in work.

Read Policy in Practice's response to the NAO Rolling out Universal Credit report
Better luck next time at ERSA Awards 2018
Congratulations to Reform Radio who won the Innovation Award at this year's ERSA Awards. The category recognised a provider who has pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment support market.

Policy in Practice was also shortlisted in this category for our pan-London work analysing changing living standards of almost one million Londoners over two years. Combining anonymised household level data sets from councils across London we are tracking income, employment and poverty to show the impact national and local policies are having on low income households. Terrin Matthew is pictured at the awards ceremony with Sara from EliteSea, a Policy in Practice client who was also shortlisted.

Read who won an ERSA Award
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham win at MJ Awards
Congratulations to London Borough of Barking & Dagenham who won the Social Housing Initiative category at this year's MJ Awards. Beating Thanet District Council and Shropshire Council, their winning entry covered their Infrastructure Housing – No One Left Behind project that pioneers the provision of affordable housing for working Londoners. Policy in Practice was delighted to support the team on the night.  

Read who won an MJ Award 
London Venture's Hackathon, NHF's Universal Credit seminar and International Conference for Administrative Data Research
Terrin Mathew, Technical Data Analyst, Policy in Practice attended the London Ventures Children and Families hackathon, hosted by EY and London Councils, on 21 June. Along with others he pitched solutions to 6 problem areas, focusing on the role data analytics can play in identifying and proactively preventing vulnerability, using local authority's administrative data sets.

Deven Ghelani was joined by new Policy in Practice recruit, Donna Gallagher, formerly of YHN, to present the impact of Universal Credit at the National Housing Federation's Universal Credit workshop in Manchester on 21 June. As well as giving policy updates and commentary, Deven discussed how UC is impacting tenants, and how some innovative housing associations are meeting these challenges.

View Deven's slides from National Housing Federation Universal Credit workshop here

Giovanni Tonutti presented Using benefits data to assess the impact of welfare reform in London at the International Conference for Administrative Data Research, in Belfast on 22 June. The conference was aimed at researchers who use admin data to better understand societies and clearly demonstrated that admin data is actually being shared and used, research is happening, and legal barriers are being overcome. The UK is leading the field, with excing projects commissioned and delivered by the Scotland and Wales devolved administrations in particular.

View Giovanni's slides from International Conference for Administrative Data Research conference here
Trust for London reception, Key Cities report launch, NESTA Sparks
Giovanni Tonutti attended Trust for London's summer reception and heard about the wide range of diverse initiatives the Trust is supporting to tackle inequality and improve social outcomes across London. Policy in Practice is honoured to be among the grantees and delighted to have secure additional funding to extend our Low-income Londoners project for a further 18 months. A big thank you to everyone at Trust for London for their support and the wonderful evening with a view.

Juan Alvarez Vilano attended the Key Cities Report launch at Parliament and noted how the conversation between Key Cities and central government is shifting from general calls for devolution to a specific focus on ways to boost productivity. The report highlights that the most significant issue for many key cities is the calibre of jobs available to tackle productivity.The panel recognised that, to tackle low productivity, ensuring people have a social safety net to fall back on and resources to help them progress is key.

Megan Mcclean attended Nesta's latest Sparks session on using evidence for smarter decision-making. Nesta's Standards of Evidence model directed much of the discussion and there was enthusiasm for the use of data to strengthen decision making and reviewing work and progress. Policy in Practice's LIFT Dashboard helps local authorities unlock potential from their existing data sets to describe and evidence change.
Future webinars
Webinar: Changing your Council Tax Support Scheme: what are others doing?

Wed 18 July at 10:30

Join us as we talk to our clients about their council tax support scheme modelling. We’ll be asking what factors they considered modelling, what schemes they rejected, and why, and what schemes they consulted on. With guest speaker Peter Mason, Head of Revenues and Benefits, Wyre Borough Council.

More details

Webinar: Preventing vulnerability
Wed 22 Aug at 10:30

Following on from our summer Leading Lights Network event at the House of Lords with Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue, we continue the conversation about how to prevent households from falling in to crisis. Join us to hear frontline stories of creative uses of public data that tackle vulnerability early, and in a proven sustainable way.

More details
Future speaking engagements
The Big Picture: reducing the disability employment gap
Tues 10 July

Employment & Skills Convention 2018, The Royal Society, London. Deven Ghelani will host this seminar focusing on the impact of Universal Credit on people living with a disability. He will be joined by Hazel Dales from Ingeus and Marise Mackie from Pluss who will share practical experiences of how they’re helping people who are seeking work whilst living with a disability, via the work and health programme. Visit us on Stand 4 too.

More details

Predictive analysis on the impacts of Universal Credit
Thurs 12 July

Forecasting for Social Good, IIF Workshop, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff. Deven Ghelani will share analysis and findings from our data led investigation into the causes and consequences of poverty in London. The work looks at changing living standards for almost one million Londoners. Combining anonymised household level data sets from councils across London we are tracking income, employment and poverty.

More details

Latest on demand webinar
Hear guest speaker Bill Irvine, UC Advice & Advocacy, in conversation with Deven Ghelani and Zoe Charlesworth. Hear how tenants are being hit as Universal Credit continues to roll out, what the latest policy updates mean for landlords and what practical steps housing associations can take to help tenants and protect rental income.

Listen to recording and view slides here

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