A review of the 8 local authority led Universal Credit pilots was published by the Local Government Authority (LGA). This early stage report highlights some of the challenges and outcomes from these pilots. These pilots really did test the role of a council and their ability to provide frontline support to UC claimants. Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA Chairman, summarised some key findings;
- The key role that councils play in establishing and leading partnerships to support claimants.
- The role that councils have to play in delivering a digital inclusion agenda.
- How working in partnership with DWP at a local level councils can deliver more joined up services to their citizens.
What was interesting to us was the constant referral to partnership working, service providers coming together to deliver solutions to citizens rather than pursuing isolated pilot projects, as was very well demonstrated by Birmingham City Council.
The report, Local Government and Universal Credit Report 2014, also provides some fascinating insights into ‘things to avoid’ as well as triaged and tailored services. A very useful report for all local authorities.