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Latest analysis, policy news and updates from Policy in Practice
In this issue
  • New analysis: Low income Londoners, self employment and the Benefit Cap
  • Supported housing research commissioned by Riverside, St Mungo's, YMCA and Salvation Army
  • Homelessness Reduction Act: Join our webinar with Newcastle City Council
  • UC Service Centre visit with Lord Archy Kirkwood in Glasgow and Heidi Allen MP visits PIP offices
  • Usergroup feedback and staff training opportunities
  • New services to support Council Tax Reduction scheme administration
  • Upcoming events, blog posts and new team members
Analysis findings: Self-employed people and Universal Credit
We recently concluded Phase Two of our Low-income Londoners and Welfare Reform work. Funded by Trust for London, this work pools Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support data from 19 London Boroughs.

Headline findings about self employed low income Londoners include:

  • 78% of self-employed households on low-income in London earn below the National Living Wage
  • They will be £344 per month worse off under Universal Credit’s Mnimum Income Floor
  • 91% of London households earn below the Minimum Income Floor
  • 78% have been self-employed for 13 months or more and would be affected by the MIF today
  • The average gap between their earnings and the MIF is £845 per month
  • That gap equates to an additional 26 hours per week, at the hourly rate of £7.50 (NLW)

Our analysis was covered in The Observer and The Mirror on Sunday 25 March
See full details of our analysis on self employed low income Londoners here.
Analysis findings: Low income Londoners and the Benefit Cap
We also looked at how the benefit cap affected Londoners.

Headline findings about the impact of the benefit cap include:

  • Capped households are 3.5% more times likely to move into work compared to uncapped
  • There is no correlation between the cap and movement into temporary accommodation
  • Local support is key to plugging the gap created by changes to the benefit rule

Just over 11,400 families from 19 London Boroughs were affected by the benefit cap when it was fully rolled out in February 2017. This fell by 23% over the first six months, to just under 9,000:

  • 37% of households moved off the cap by taking a job or increasing hours worked
  • 29% avoided a reduction in benefit entitlement by moving property
  • 28% are no longer present in the dataset, partly due to moving out of their borough.

Our analysis was covered in The Evening Standard on Monday 26 March
Read our analysis on how the Benefit Cap affected Londoners here
UC Service Centre visit with Lord Archy Kirkwood in Glasgow
Policy in Practice was delighted to visit the Universal Credit service centre in Glasgow with Lord Kirkwood and meet some of the team. Deven Ghelani said “It was great to see how the assessments for Universal Credit customers are carried out in real life.” Universal Credit full service was clearly a significant step up from the live service, case managers could see its impact and ongoing potential to improve. A blog from the visit will follow later this month.

Heidi Allen MP visits Policy in Practice offices

Heidi Allen MP came to the Policy in Practice offices to see the impact our work could have on the future development of policy. As a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, she was stunned to see the power of household level analysis to understand the drivers of poverty and inform policy by enabling policymakers and politicians to ask and answer new questions. We look forward to continuing to support her and the committee in their work.

To discuss a policy issue with our expert analysts, email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk
Feedback from a client
Policy in Practice helps make the welfare system simple to understand
New research aims to improve Universal Credit claims for thousands of homeless people
New research, commissioned by Riverside, St Mungo’s, YMCA and The Salvation Army, could challenge current government thinking that housing costs for supported housing cannot remain within the welfare system. The study will seek to identify practical solutions to make Universal Credit work more effectively for vulnerable people who depend on supported housing.

The study has been triggered by the Government consultation on changes to the way supported housing is funded in the future.

Policy in Practice is delighted to be undertaking the 10-week study which includes talking to tenants claiming Universal Credit, and staff working at homeless schemes, other housing associations and Job Centre Plus. Looking at the claims process and tenancy data, the research aims to provide practical solutions to make UC work more effectively for this group of vulnerable tenants. Findings are expected to be published in May.

Read full news release here
Homelessness Reduction Act: Join our webinar with Newcastle City Council
Webinar: Proactively tackle homelessness

Wednesday 18 April at 10:30 to 11:30
Can’t make the date? Register anyway to get the recording and slides

The Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force next week! Hear about how local authorities are acting proactively to tackle homelessness by identifying local predictors using their household data. With guest speaker Claire Horton, Newcastle City Council.

More details and register here
Usergroup feedback and staff training opportunities
Policy in Practice held two sessions for users of its LIFT Dashboard service, with six local authorities and the LGA. It was fantastic for Policy in Practice to see how clients were using our tools to target specific groups of customers. The key takeaways from the session were that alongside prevention and predictive analytics, clients could gain by learning more about their current position through our analysis. We will act on client feedback to prioritise deeper integration with our clients datasets, and support the wider use of our analysis by raising awareness across different teams in the months ahead.

To join a future online or in-person usergroup session, or enquire about training on the use of your own data through the apprenticeship levy, email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk
New services to support Council Tax Reduction scheme administration
As well as providing in-depth modelling of council tax support schemes, we have also been asked to provide additional support to local authorities. We have saved the London Borough of Hackney considerable staff time by pulling together all required statutory instruments and local scheme amendments into a single document ready for council and member approval and implementation. We are also helping Cambridge City Council to plan their ongoing resource requirements in the light of Universal Credit rollout.

Find out more about our Council Tax Reduction Scheme modelling here

Latest on demand webinar
Listen to this webinar recording to learn how frontline advisors are helping people with a disability and who are seeking work understand benefit changes as Universal Credit changes roll out.

Guest speaker, Marise Mackie from Pluss, shares how they support customers as the Work and Health Programme gets underway.

Listen back to learn:
  • the impact of Universal Credit on household income when a person is living with a disability or illness
  • what information is required for people to make decisions, under legacy benefits and Universal Credit
  • how support tools can help in ensuring that accurate, client-focused, information is given to those who need it

Listen to recording and view slides here
Forthcoming speaking engagements
Universal Credit in 2018: The Next Steps for Implementation
Westminster Briefing, 29 March
Event details here

Dealing with vulnerability in a revenues environment
IRRV, central London, 19 April
Event details here
Unconference: What can SME tech companies do to help Local Government keep the show on the road and protect vulnerable people?
Sleuth, Birmingham University, 11 May

Policy in Practice is pleased to support this event with the aim of connecting local government change agents with SME innovators and problem solvers. To meet others and collectively solve the difficulties and frustrations encountered when the public and private sector meet, or for more details, connect with Hilary.
Say hello to Tom
We're pleased to welcome Tom Burnell-Nugent, who has joined us as Head of Client Services. Tom's background is in operations, finance and analysis. He joined Policy in Practice to make a difference, having worked previously as COO at TVbeat, an AdTech company. Before TVbeat Tom was at Sky where he worked principally in finance, sales and technology.

Tom believes technology and innovation, which he has harnessed in the private sector, can be used in the public sector to connect people to the services they depend upon.

View the full Policy in Practice team here

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