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Latest
analysis, policy news and updates from Policy in Practice
In this issue
  • What does the Budget mean for Universal Credit?
  • Croydon Council scoop a Guardian Public Service Award
  • Making Universal Credit work for supported housing residents
  • Northern Voices' Workshop takeaways
  • Delivering evidence at the Work & Pensions Select Committee
  • Come meet our new team members at PiP Towers!
  • Empowering front line staff at IRRV Annual Conference and Exhibition 2018
  • Future webinars and speaking engagements
  • Latest blog posts
So, what did the Budget really mean for Universal Credit?
"Switching to Universal Credit is a long overdue and necessary reform. This is not just a welfare measure it is a major structural reform to our economy that will help to drive employment for years ahead." - Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Policy in Practice welcomes the investment into work allowances, benefiting 2.4 million families with children in work by up to £630 a year, and investment to help people transition onto the new benefit.
However, there was undoubtedly a missed opportunity to end the benefit freeze a year early instead of raising the personal tax allowance.

Post-budget, Policy in Practice's recommendations will also focus on the administration of Universal Credit.

One service user described to us how they felt panicked when making a claim for Universal Credit, and concerned that frontline advisors will not have received the necessary training to roll out Universal Credit effectively.

We will argue that Universal Credit should feel supportive, accessible, and help people on a journey toward independence.


Our LIFT Dashboard has been updated to take into account all of these recent changes in order to give clients a detailed oversight of what is coming down the track and time to prepare.
Contact hello@policyinpractice.co.uk to take a look.

Read our full response to the Budget here
Award winning Croydon Council doubles effectiveness of their homeless prevention service
Congratulations to Policy in Practice customer Croydon Council as they scooped the Guardian Public Services award for Housing.

It was a two-pronged approach with Croydon’s Gateway, Community Connect and Food Stop.
Croydon’s Gateway approach prevents households from experiencing crisis and having to rely on statutory services. Focusing on early intervention and prevention, it assists residents that are homeless, at risk of homelessness or struggling financially.

Community Connect/Food Stop moves the innovative Gateway approach into the community. It enables the community to develop its own solutions for residents, help prevent homelessness and build community resilience.

In 2017/2018 the Gateway approach has:

  • Helped more than 2,400 families avoid homelessness
  • Given budgeting support to over 14,900 people
  • Increased the homeless prevention rate from 25% to 58%
  • Reduced the numbers in emergency accommodation from 824 to 667

Uncover the Croydon story here
Making Universal Credit work for supported housing residents
On 9th August 2018, the Government announced that all forms of supported housing will continue to be funded by Housing Benefit. Our research found that residents in supported housing often felt threatened and bewildered by what appeared to them as a mysterious and unresponsive system, compounded by the fact that they can sometimes lack the resilience to find a way through it.

A report, commissioned by four supported housing providers: Riverside, YMCA, St Mungo’s and the Salvation Army, made specific recommendations to improve the identity verification process, access a bank account and manage debts to help ensure that Universal Credit works for people in vulnerable circumstances, and by extension everyone on the new benefit.


Download report here
Northern Voices: Delivering Universal Credit and tackling homelessness
Policy in Practice and Northern Housing Consortium hosted this free one day workshop to bring Westminster policy makers together with Northern organisations to explore the latest policy updates on Universal Credit managed migration and homelessness prevention.

Policy in Practice has an impact on national policy thanks to our work with frontline practitioners like you. We wanted to help make Northern Voices heard by giving ministers a detailed and evidence-based picture of what policies are needed to make Universal Credit work, and help you to give practical, proactive and wide-ranging support to your residents.

Workshop takeaways:


  • Universal Credit is here to stay, the core challenge is how to make it work for residents
  • Universal Credit needs both investment and openness from DWP
  • It also needs a recognition that local authorities and housing associations will always have an important role to play in providing holistic support to citizens.

If you have any further input to the white paper we are preparing for DWP and MHCLG with the outputs of the event please email
hello@policyinpractice.co.uk.


View the workshop slides by clicking on the image below:

View the Northern Voices SlideDeck
PiP presents new evidence on the Benefit Cap to the Select Committee
Giovanni Tonutti, Policy in Practice Senior Analyst, gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on the impact of the Benefit Cap earlier this month.

The lower benefit cap was introduced in November 2016 and limits the total amount of benefits a household can receive to a maximum of £20,000 a year (£23,000 for families living in Greater London). Our household level analysis, funded by Trust for London, found that for every child whose parents moved into work as a result of the cap, eight children were in families 'stuck' on the cap for six months or more.

Since the roll out of the lower benefit cap, Policy in Practice has worked with over 50 local authorities to help them assess the impact that this policy and other welfare reforms have had on their low-income residents. Our approach involves the analysis of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support data to track how the living standards of households affected by this policy have changed over time.

Access the full story here

Come visit us at PiP Towers!
October has seen Policy in Practice move into it's new abode in Millbank Tower, London. You are welcome to drop in and join us for a chat over a cuppa whilst giving us your take on our new decor!

Plus, you can meet our new team members who have joined recently. We're delighted to welcome Louise Murphy and Ben Fell to the the PiP crew.

We wish Giovanni Tonutti every success as he works from his home country of Italy and is due to present to the Milan Stock exchange at the end of the month!

Get to know our team here


Learning to empower front line staff at IRRV Exhibition
This month's IRRV Conference & Exhibition in Telford provided an invaluable opportunity for delegates to share with us their needs and requirements as Universal Credit goes forward.

Key reflections from delegates included:


1) Don't forget the customer
2) Support needs to be around the whole council
3) Where else could customers go for help outside of the council?
4) Upskill and use frontline staff
5) Difficulty engaging with budgeting support - this is assisted by co-location & soft handover

Hackney Council's Jennifer Wynter shared some innovative work around how they empower frontline staff to make early decisions to prevent crisis. This involved empowering them to award DHPs and bring housing needs and benefits together so that customers receive holistic support.

Read more about our work with Luton Council on Universal Credit and homelessness here.

Key conference takeaways for the PiP team:


  • Universal Credit needs both investment and openness from DWP
  • Universal credit is far enough ahead that there weren't many strong calls for a return to the legacy system
  • The role for local councils is in providing holistic preventative support and last resort help to its low income residents

View the conference slides on Universal Credit: its impact and what you can do about it here.

Next webinars
 
Hold the date
Future speaking engagements
Digital Housing Conference 2018
Wed 31 October
Salford. In a session titled Universal Credit: how to protect rental income and support tenants, Deven Ghelani will talk about how Universal Credit rollout is affecting tenants and housing associations, now and in the future. Team members will also share how digital tools are being used to meet these challenges. Join the team on our exhibition stand for extra info and demos.

More details

The London Conference 2018
Wed 7 November
Congress House, London

More details

Public Policy Exchange: Making Universal Credit Work
Wed 5 December
Central London

More details


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