Wandsworth Universal Credit Summit
11th November 2014
Note of meeting
Steve Diamond (WBC), Liz Keevil (WBC), Ian Nash (JCP), Carly Powell (JCP), Phil Jew (WCABx), Anna Rudd (Klevis Kola), Lilly Pollock (Klevis Kola), Beth Forbes (SWLLC), Patrick Marples (SWLLC), Diane Sechi (SWLLC), Cheryl Gale (Wandsworth Credit Union), Reuben Colton (WBC), Quyen Banh (Wandsworth Carers’ Centre), Michael Barras (WCABx) and Patrick Torsney (Wandsworth Advice)
See slides below from Phil/Patrick that were used to frame the discussion
EDIT: DWP presentation from Ian Nash now added below (03/12/14)
A number of the points that came up
- UC will be an online digital service but face-to-face available where necessary
- Also APA’s (Alternative Payment Arrangements) available where necessary, including “Flipbacks” possible, where housing element of UC paid direct to landlord (including RSL and private landlords)
- Flipbacks meant to be temporary arrangement but flexibility may be possible dependent on claimant’s situation
- A large amount of information on UC is available via the gov.uk website, including latest thinking
- Transitional Protection will be in place for existing claimants
- Timescale? Sometime between Feb-April 2015 new JSA single claimant claims in Wandsworth will be transferred to UC
- JCP does not have estimates as yet for the number of UC claims that are likely to be made in Wandsworth, but 15-20 JSA claims are made each day. It was agreed that such estimates would be useful.
- Learning is ongoing from pilots and current pathfinder areas
- There is no UC implementation plan for Wandsworth yet and no work has yet been done to set up a UC local support (Universal Support) partnership. JCP does have a presentation on partnership and will share this. JCP expect to here in the next few weeks how UC will be rolled out in Wandsworth.
- It was agreed that when further information is available on Wandsworth roll-out, we should set up a further meeting to discuss arrangements.
- Registered Social Landlords and private landlords need to be part of discussions. Is there any representative group for private landlords in Wandsworth? It would be useful to engage them. West London DWP District Office is planning an event for local authorities, RSLs and private landlords.
- There will be a delivery partnership in place between JCP and WBC prior to implementation of UC locally. At present, arrangements are low key
- We should be looking at other areas to anticipate problem areas and adapt in advance wherever possible – e.g. Sutton
- The kind of support that we anticipate will be needed locally includes budgeting support (as UC payments will be made monthly and will include housing element). In order to put such provision in place we need to understand the respective capabilities and capacities of local VCS and public agencies – i.e. map local provision. Some of this work is being done as part of the Wandsworth Advice (WA) Project, alongside needs analysis work. The advice sector should consider what it can – this work can again be taken forward via WA.
- The Government has suggested that ESF funds could be accessed in order to finance support services, in addition to Government grants which are expected to be channelled through the Council. ESF funding requires match funding from Government and is tied to employment outcomes
- A Universal Support Partnership involving DWP/JCP, WBC, RSLs, Private LLs, advice providers and other VCS agencies, Troubled Families, Credit Union, Energy Companies etc will be necessary for Wandsworth in order to put in place the type of support needed to help people navigate the new system. It will need to put in place support to deal with a triangle of need – with intensive and acute need at the top for those who would otherwise not be able to cope with the new system, lower level support for people who with a little support can cope and simple public information at the bottom.
- Service user involvement should also be encouraged. Public events and information in local publications like Brightside would be useful.
- DWP/JCP needs to feed through information about UC to local agencies. Likewise, local agencies need to communicate concerns and issues to DWP/JCP. This can be done via WA.
- All present happy to continue to exchange information and meet as a regular forum. A further, wider forum should be planned in early 2015. In the meantime, a small working group of WA agencies, WBC and DWP/JCP should come together to plan activity and solutions (this to be a self-selecting group of agencies and key JCP and WBC staff).
- Carly to email Patrick a copy of Ian’s UC partnership presentation for circulation
- Patrick T to develop an exercise that maps current voluntary sector advice provision, including capacity and service potential, to inform JCP/WBC as part of WA
- PT to convene a small working group to brainstorm potential services that could mitigate any negative impacts of UC implementation. The group would be self-selecting and formed through the Wandsworth Advice forum .
- PT and PJ to liaise with WBC and JCP about a further, wider forum meeting in 2015 when more information about implementation plans are known