RLA trainer, consultant, and Housing Benefit expert Bill Irvine has written an update regarding Universal Credit (UC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) time line for continuing roll out following an announcement from the DWP about plans for roll out in 2015 and beyond
This round of information will help private landlords with incoming changes regarding the on going roll-out of the Universal Credit scheme.
Latest Roll out schedule
Nov 2014: Universal Credit extended to families in Warrington and Wirral for new claims only.
End of 2014: UC live in all jobcentres in the North West, as well as Hammersmith, Bath, Rugby, Harrogate, Inverness, and Shotton.
Jan 2015: extends to families in all existing live sites.
Feb 2015 – March 2016: National roll out to all jobcentres for new claims from single people without children.
- Tranche 1 (Feb – Apr 2015) 150 jobcentres – details of the jobcentres in this tranche are in this DWP document,listed alphabetically by local authority. Once the first tranche is completed, Universal Credit will be live in 1 in 3 jobcentres in Great Britain.
- Tranche 2 (May – Jul 2015) 160 jobcentres
- Tranche 3 (Sept – Nov 2015) 180 jobcentres
- Tranche 4 (Dec 2015 – Mar 2016) 110 jobcentres
May 2016–Dec 2017: National roll out to all new claims and claimants with change of circumstances. This particular stage should create a sizeable increase in the numbers of UC claimants UK wide.
Jan 2018–Dec 2019: Managed transfer of legacy benefit claims including housing benefit, JSA and income support. The last, and by far, the biggest stage in the process, when all remaining cases, including the unusual and most complicated, are migrated across to Universal Credit.
Will this latest plan be delivered?
Based on the fact that there’s currently less than 20,000 claiming UC, using existing legacy systems, which demand triple-keying and much manual intervention from DWP staff, Margaret Hodge, the Public Accounts Committee Chair, believes the timetable is still very ambitious. The “digital” system currently being trailed in Sutton, has only dealt with a handful of claims so far. DWP recognise its rapid development, and introduction, due to commence in 2016, is key to whether the DWP ambitions will ever be realised. Let’s hope, DWP, on this occasion, finally get it right, as the alternative i.e. a write-down of £600M in respect of unusable IT, and another project re-set, are both unthinkable.
Bill will be conducting training courses on Universal Credit early on in 2015. For dates and rates please visit the RLA UC training page for more information.