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“We will not be complicit”

 

shawn
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Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC) has announced its refusal to assist the implementation of Universal Credit -

If Universal Credit is so convoluted and ineffective that voluntary sector organisations are relied upon, then it should not be implemented at all ...

Our response is clear: this is not the role of the voluntary sector. We will not be complicit in a scheme which results in further adversity and punishment for vulnerable people. We therefore refuse to offer Universal Credit services and we demand that its rollout is stopped.

http://www.gmlaw.org.uk/our-statement-on-universal-credit-we-will-not-be-complicit/

     
Peter Turville
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IMHO this is a policy issue organisations and funders need to consider.

Should local council tax payers, housing associations, national lottery, and numerous other funders be picking up the tab for a central govt policy going pear shaped by being expected (either as a funding requirement or by default because the claimant is at our door) to provide support services to enable claimants to comply with UC? Where is the line between independent advice and doing the DWP’s job for it? Why isn’t the DWP funding this support (to any great extent)?

     
neilbateman
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Excellent response.  If only a few more organisations realised whose side they are on and stopped colluding with the roll out of UC.

If nothing else, as GMLC indicate if UC relies on voluntary orgs to operate, it’s a failure before it even starts.

     
neilbateman
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Sorry, Peter’s response crossed with mine.  I also support what he is saying.

     
SarahJBatty
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The level of support that Social Landlords are having to put into UC in order to support tenants because we have no choice .... shoring up the failures of UC design and implementation ... paid for surely through other tenants rent, or at the expense of services that other tenants might value.

     
Rich
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SarahJBatty - 12 October 2017 05:11 PM

The level of support that Social Landlords are having to put into UC in order to support tenants because we have no choice .... shoring up the failures of UC design and implementation ... paid for surely through other tenants rent, or at the expense of services that other tenants might value.

The disturbing underpinning narrative of UC is that it cynically relies on all landlords (not just ‘Social’),  Local Authorities,  foodbanks, and a raft of other sources to enable it to stop people from literally dying in the streets. The issues that these bodies are addressing are systemic and by design as you suggest Sarah.  The olden days where that support was frequently about resolving accidental errors or some over zealous benefit official have gone.  Now its the built into the
system

     
Peter Turville
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So the question is - who is going to provide the support required once existing services have reached their capacity. I get the impression (and its no more because we are not full service until next week) that some agencies, perhaps particularly landlords, are almost or are already at that point.

In the (not so) long term there simply isn’t capacity / funding to provide the support required by the ever growing number of UC claimants.

What should organisations (and equally important funders) do in the meantime? For example, we do not have capacity to take on any additional work generated by UC. We could only do it by reducing the WCA/PIP casework / representation we undertake which is 75%+ of our work.

Bearing in mind that the migration of existing ‘legacy benefit’ claimants hasn’t even begun yet and many of those will be the most vulnerable claimants requiring the most support with UC. I speculate that many agencies will have reached capacity long before ‘managed migration’ begins.

I understand that the opening address at the AdviceUK conference yesterday was about ‘back to the future’ with advice work - funding etc is back where the sector was 30 years ago whilst demand and funder expectation (everything for almost nothing) is increasing. Its certainly true for us as we have lost 2/3 funding over recent years.

As Lenin once wrote “What is to be done?”

     
HB Anorak
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Well, we know what the official response to your question would be Peter: the mysterious “universal support delivered locally” will kick in, but so far I have not met anyone who knows what it is.  Does it mean something more than signposting claimants to existing advice and issue-specific support services?  Is there some government money for it?  No idea at all.