Patrick O’Brien 14 June 2018

DWP under fire over Universal Credit

DWP under fire over Universal Credit image

Auditors have heavily criticised the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the design and implementation of Universal Credit.

The National Audit Office (NAO) found £1.9bn has been spent on the project to date and there were 113,000 late payments of new claims last year as the programme was piloted.

Approximately a quarter of all new claims are paid late, the NAO report claimed, and between 270,000 and 378,000 claimants are expected to be paid late this year.

According to the report, the number of claimants could increase by 10 times to eight million by 2024/5, with the number of claimants per case manager hitting more than 900.

The NAO said Universal Credit was creating additional costs for local organisations and has created ‘additional burdens,’ with increased arrears, use of foodbanks and demand for advisory and advocacy services.

Outlining the eight-year struggle to implement the policy that the DWP has faced, the NAO described the department as ‘unresponsive to issues they raise’.

Responding to the NAO's report, Cllr Nick Forbes, senior vice chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: 'The ongoing challenges with the transition to UC are being borne out by some local evidence on issues including household debt, increased queries and requests for support and rent arrears.

'This is putting pressure on councils' revenues and benefits services and wider support to low income households at a time of significant funding reductions.

'The Government needs to restore funding to councils for local welfare assistance schemes so they can provide the local safety net to help those struggling to cope with welfare reforms, including the roll out of Universal Credit.'

A DWP spokesperson said: 'Universal Credit is good value for money and is forecast to realise a return on investment of £34bn over ten years against a cost of £2bn, with 200,000 more people in work. Furthermore 83% of claimants are satisfied with the service and the majority agree that it 'financially motivates' them to work.

'As the NAO acknowledges, we have made significant improvements to Universal Credit as part of our "listen and learn" approach to its rollout, and it's on track to be in all jobcentres nationally by the end of 2018.'

Best practice in resident ballots image

Best practice in resident ballots

Residents on the South Kilburn Estate overwhelmingly voted in favour of council plans to regenerate their neighbourhood in October 2019. Brent’s strategic director for regeneration and environment Amar Dave shares the lessons learned for other landlords holding resident ballots.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Head of the Gloucestershire Pension Fund

Gloucestershire County Council
up to £71,376
Give your time and talent for the people who gave us theirs. Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Head of Quality, Performance and Systems

Norfolk County Council
£65,817 - £73,638 per annum
Children’s Services in Norfolk are on a rapid upward trajectory. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Social Worker - Youth Offending Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
This post is based in Epping Please ensure you provide a supporting statement when applying for this role. We cannot accept any applications without England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

SEND 16-25 Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
An exciting opportunity has become available in a busy Special Educational Needs team. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine