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Posts Tagged ‘In-work progression

Universal Credit, More Disasters as Commons Select Committee Probes “in-work progression”.

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Every day there’s more stories in the media about the disaster known as Universal Credit.

You could start the morning by listing the latest:

Universal Credit bosses branded ‘morally corrupt’ after forcing family to repay £6.5k DWP payments blunder

Birmingham Live.

“The real duty they have is to prevent overpayments in the first place rather than forcing taxpayers to clear up after their mess”

Errors made by the Department for Work and Pensions mean that Billy Pierce and his partner have been paid too much for the past 14 months

Mr Pierce said he and his partner had no idea they were being overpaid because they had never received the new benefit before and had given the DWP all the correct information to calculate Universal Credit payments.

DWP have ordered the money to be repaid at a rate of £100 a month – which means it will take over five years to clear the debt.

DWP officials took months to correct payment mistakes, says Tower Hamlets council.

Even the Currant Bun tries to get in on the act:

Five-week Universal Credit delay forced me into B&B where my baby got covered in cocaine – now I’m stuck in a caravan’

Mum-of-two Kylie Goodyear, from Ipswich, blasts Government for trapping her family in poverty.

I stop for now because it’s all too familiar to our contributors.

Who have recently signaled another area of burning concern:  so-called “In-work Progression”.

Jim commented,

When the DWP piloted “in-work conditionality” the average increase in pay after twelve months with “work coach assistance” was, get this, an absolutely piffling £5.25 per week! Which blows the “work is the best way out of poverty” crap out of the water.

Here’s a link to the DWP report that spills the beans: Universal Credit: In-Work Progression Randomised Controlled Trial 

The Work and Pensions Committee are now conducting an inquiry, holding a session this very day, on the issue.

In-work Progression: latest Universal Credit inquiry launched

In 2016, the Committee launched an inquiry on “in-work progression” for people claiming Universal Credit. This is the name for the Government’s policy plan to encourage and support people who are in already in work and claiming Universal Credit to increase their pay, through more hours, or getting a better paying job. The Committee has previously described the plans as “potentially the most significant welfare reform since 1948”.

The Committee identified particular concerns, however, about the conditions that could be attached to any new “support” to assist people trying to increase their income from work.

Conditions or “conditionality” are already of course attached to job-seeking benefits: the requirements on every claimant who can work, or at least look for work to do so, as a condition of getting the benefit.

The other side of that is the sanction, a cut to part of your benefit if you fail to meet a condition of the benefit, like meeting with your Work Coach or going on a course, or to a job interview.

The Committee reported on the deep problems of Benefit sanctions late last year, and called on the Government not to introduce sanctions for people in work until there was robust evidence to show that they helped people to progress.

In the context of in-work progression,  conditions might include being obliged to seek extra hours of work, or continue to look for higher paid work while in your existing job.

How this would work in practice, and whether or how sanctions would apply if you couldn’t, for example, take on extra hours you were offered because of caring responsibilities, are among the questions the Committee will be looking at.

Among the concerns the Committee identified in its 2016 inquiry into In-work progression in Universal Credit were:

  • There is not yet comprehensive evidence on how to deliver an effective in-work service
  • JCP work coaches would have to develop new skills and become a new form of public servant
  • The case for in-work conditionality backed up by financial sanctions is untested so far

They state:

The Committee is now holding a follow-up inquiry, to look at the progress the Government is making, the readiness of Jobcentre Plus work coaches, and what more the Government could do to support people to progress in work.

This is happening today:

08 May 2019 9:30 am

Oral Evidence Session

Universal Credit: In-work progression

View details

Witness(es)

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute
Tony Wilson, Director, Institute for Employment Studies
Julia Waltham, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Working Families
Laura Dewar, Policy Officer, Gingerbread
Amanda Faull, Partnerships and Development Manager, Timewise Foundation
Sharlene McGee, Policy and Research Manager, Leonard Cheshire Disability

Location

Room 16, Palace of Westminster

Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2019 at 9:23 am