Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 17, 2013 17:19:14 GMT
Any one any good with spreadsheets?
The DWP may just need a hand....
Oh I shouldn't mock....
Not that long ago IDS and the DWP could hardly contain their excitement as they proudly boasted of the flagship 'Universal Credit'; it was being glorified and promoted as the 'one single streamlined benefit' which would be the answer to decades of complexity built in to the benefits system.
Here we are nearly three years in to this dastardly government's reign of terror on welfare and it looks like Universal Credit is falling well short on all of its promises in changing lives and 'making work pay'; thus ending the decades of welfare dependency which the Tories seem to have forgotten they kicked off with tremendous effect from 1979 - check out they trebled the numbers on the sick and doubled the claimant count!
Whilst the nation expects great things with all the hype over 'all benefits getting rolled up in to one' and '8 million households benefiting from all that Universal Credit will apparently deliver' - the reality is to say the least disappointing....
It seems that only a handful of claimants will 'benefit' from Universal Credit in April 2013 - it's a far cry from the 8 million households which the the new credit is tasked with unifying. The DWP's flagship programme has dwindled to a dull and unimpressive kick start involving a mere 1,500 claimants per month who will come 'on stream' in the pilot areas of Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington accordingly to an article in Computer Weekly. The same article tells us that these lucky claimants can expect to battle for their benefits as claims handlers seem resigned to resorting to good old fashioned spreadsheets when working out their claims! - it's 8 million households away from the 'digital era' which the DWP still promises will revolutionise the claims process in all its attempts to 'simplify the system'.
We can but wait and see.
The pilot project will only tackle what are clearly the simplest of claims, no one clutching a sick note need apply, nor should anyone in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, in receipt of tax credits, entitled to contributory benefits, having caring responsibilities or having anything more than the most straightforward of housing needs - in essence only single jobseeker's can expect to have their lives 'radically turned around' - assuming they ever get to leave the clutches of the unfortunate Jobcentre who revert to manual that is!
Quite where this leaves claimants engaged in the DWP's mandatory revision before appeal process is anyone's guess; claimants appealing against an adverse Employment & Support Allowance decision will be expected to claim as a jobseeker pending a reconsideration of their appeal (under recent regulations) but the new transitional rules will potentially ensure they find themselves barred from claiming the Universal Credit if in possession of sick note from their doctor. It remains to be clarified as to whether these new rules will affect claimants in the pilot area in April or at some future date.
Ashton-under-Lyne (pop. 43,200) is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, Greater Manchester, England. Historically a part of Lancashire, it lies on the north bank of the River Tame, on undulating land at the foothills of the Pennines. Ashton (as it is often shortened to) is 3.8 miles (6.1 km) south-southeast of Oldham, 6.1 miles (9.8 km) north-northeast of Stockport, and 6.2 miles (10.0 km) east of the city of Manchester.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 26, 2013 22:06:24 GMT
Latest on Universal Credit via Guardian
Universal credit pilot to launch with only a few dozen claimants
Radical scaling back of pilot to include only most straightforward cases causes concern for charities and opposition parties
Universal credit: the essential guide
Amelia Gentleman The Guardian, Friday 26 April 2013
"Only a few dozen people are expected to claim benefits using the government's flagship new universal credit scheme when it is launched on Monday and the total number who will qualify will be limited to 300 a month, in a radical scaling back of the pilot.
The tiny scale and extremely soft nature of the launch has prompted concern from charities and opposition politicians over how useful the trial will be in exposing weaknesses in the complex new welfare scheme, ahead of its nationwide rollout, which is due to begin in October.
Only the most straightforward benefit claims will be included in the trial, with any cases with a hint of complexity excluded. Tameside council, (which is the only place piloting the benefit after pilots in three other areas were postponed last month), expects just 300 people to start claiming the benefit in the first month.
Tameside told the Guardian that only single people with no children, newly claiming a benefit, will be told to claim universal credit, stipulating that they must also be fit for work, not be claiming disability benefits, not have any caring responsibilities, must not be homeless, living in temporary accommodation, and must have a valid bank account and national insurance number.
The government promises universal credit will simplify the benefits system by bringing all the strands of support – from housing benefit to tax credits – into one payment, but there has been consistent concern from Labour that the development of the computer system it relies on has not gone smoothly and that the targets for implementation have been discreetly pushed back. In the space of six months, there have been four different directors overseeing the development of the IT systems.
The critical test of whether the newly-designed computer programme can cope with the pressure will remain unanswered at this stage because of the small quantity of individuals likely to be logging on to the system.
Further signs that the Universal Chaos is for now being fended off by a government without a clue when it comes to reforming our welfare state. Not so long ago Iain Duncan Smith was telling us how the disastrous credit was 'on time, on track and on budget'. The 'single streamlined payment' which would transform the lives of 8 million households and somehow ensure 'work pays'.
I wonder if this is part of a deliberate media strategy, they hyped it up as a means of turning around the welfare benefits system, conning the unsuspecting in to thinking umpteen benefits would get rolled up in to one. The opposition and anyone with an ounce of common sense can see this is never going to work smoothly, we all know when it's really put to the test it will be utterly chaotic - far more so than tax credits in the days when the Tories and right wing media were shouting 'chaos' because of the number of overpayments which had arisen. By downgrading the not so Universal Credit so silently they can say 'we introduced it and where's all the chaos which the scaremongers predicted?'
Of course, when it really does become chaotic sometime after October this year (I wouldn't hold your breath as to when or even which year that maybe) will the media report it? - I somehow doubt it. To trial this on such a meagre sample of claimants in the hope it will illustrate all of the problems in time for the national roll out is plain barking mad. I suspect this is timed to explode sometime after 2015 by which time it will of course be anyone other than this government's fault. The way they are getting away with misreporting the 'success' of their wretched reforms is truly astounding, where are all the major charities in voicing fierce concern over this?
IDS was vigorously questioned over the roll out of the programme by chair Dame Anne Begg but extracting answers from him was a painful process. Accompanied by Lord Freud there were continual assurances over ensuring the system was delivered safely and securely. It seemed impossible to extract exact numbers from any one from the DWP who explained the process meant taking the roll out slowly and beyond the simpler kind of cases currently being trialled in Aston.
IDS and Freud were perhaps their most unconvincing to date as they tried in vain to convince the committee the roll out was always as intended from October this year in terms of introducing more complex cases. Pressed as to what this meant IDS explained was opening up the current single JSA cohort to more complicated scenarios such as a single jobseeker altering their claim to incluse a partner or even introducing children in to the equation.
The questioning became heated when Glenda Jackson questioned IDS who typically reverted to more temper tantrums in defending his scheme. IDS said he would 'follow, monitor and judge' the claimant group but there seemed little if any sign it would extend to those on ESA, Income Support, Tax Credits and all the benefits everyone had been promised would be rolled up in to one 'single streamlined payment' - not so.
Even beyond 2014 it appears the scheme would only start to include a few hundred more vulnerable claim cases. The prospects of achieving a 'global roll out' appears, from what I've heard of the debate, to be some way off.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 11, 2013 6:58:19 GMT
Universal credit scheme suffers further delays
Iain Duncan Smith refuses to commit to all claimants on working age benefits being on the scheme by April 2014 as planned
Patrick Wintour political editor The Guardian, Wednesday 10 July 2013
Iain Duncan Smith: 'I will not be set by the artificial date of April 2014.' Photograph: Rex Features
Further delays to the government's flagship universal credit scheme were revealed on Wednesday by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who said the scheme would only be extended to six more jobcentres in October, and the client base would remain single jobseeker's allowance claimants, the simplest ones to process.
He also refused to commit to all new claimants on working age benefits being on universal credit by April 2014, as originally planned.
He said: "I will not be set by the artificial date of April 2014." Instead, he said there would be "significant volumes" of new claimants moving on to universal credit through 2014.
The scheme since April this year has covered only four jobcentres across the country, and only the most simple claimants to process.
Universal credit is the government's flagship welfare reform designed to make work pay by integrating the six major working age benefits.
Speaking to the work and pensions select committee, the welfare minister Lord Freud admitted there had been a change of approach since the original autumn 2011 timetable. He said: "We have gone massively over to testing and building systems around it. It is really important that we have systems that cope with the most vulnerable people."
Duncan Smith said: "We are trying to land this at the right time and not according to an artificial timetable." He insisted the scheme was still able to meet its final target of completion by the end of 2017.
There have been repeated delays to the scheme due to a variety of technical and administrative problems. Howard Shiplee, the Universal Credit director general, refused to say how many people would be on Universal Credit by the end of the year, saying that would be "a hostage to fortune".
Dame Anne Begg, the Labour chair of the committee, said the department was moving at "snail's pace". She claimed the department had promised there would be a national rollout this autumn, and not just in 10 jobcentres, but in 1.5% of the jobcentres in the UK.
She also said there was no evidence the government was testing more complex claimants.