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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Policy and practice calculator

Ruth Knox
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RAISE Benefits Advice Team, Liverpool

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Has anyone come across the offer of the Policy in Practice benefits calculator and budgeting tool?  It seems to be offered out as an alternative to QBC.  The calculation is quite user friendly, although that may be a reflection of its simplicity - hard to see how it would deal with any complex case.  It gives direct links to the government website for applications for PIP, UC etc etc and also to things like warm Homes, DHP claims etc. The website seems to be very closely aligned to the government and directors closely identified with the introduction of UC. The calculation itself has a strong steer to getting people to apply for work (direct link to Universal Jobmatch). I’d be interested in any comment.

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Ruth Knox - 05 November 2019 04:19 PM

The website seems to be very closely aligned to the government and directors closely identified with the introduction of UC. The calculation itself has a strong steer to getting people to apply for work (direct link to Universal Jobmatch).

An astute observation Ruth. They seem to have made a nice little niche creating a problem; talking it up as a tool for getting people into work and then offering additional solutions at a cost to those daft enough to pay for stuff which can be obtained in other ways anyway. I did receive their emails for a period but the tone was leading me towards an overwhelming desire to headbutt the screen so I unsubscribed. There are some things you’re better not knowing.

My natural rights based instincts scream “avoid”.

 

Va1der
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Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

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As far as a quick Google went, the director is former DWP, possibly involved in the design of UC (disclaimer: couldn’t find a trusted source). Not that that is necessarily relevant, I’m sure some of the advisers on this forum has worked for DWP at some point.
But, the content on the Policy in Practice does look like it is designed by someone with a bit of a vested interest or connection to UC…

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Mr Ghelani previously worked at IDS’s favorite right wing think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, and is widely credited as being one of the main architects of Universal Credit.

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 06 November 2019 09:45 AM

Mr Ghelani previously worked at IDS’s favorite right wing think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, and is widely credited as being one of the main architects of Universal Credit.

Beat me to the punch Paul. His individual emails are stylistically, erm, nauseating. I felt quite strongly in the end that the tone was quite offensive. There is apparently a world in which there is no downside to UC and it can only help everybody from claimants through to local and central government. Wish my world was that simple/simplistic.

scott mcinally
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Inclusion manager - Durham County Council

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Disclaimer- as an authority we are working with Policy in Practice, although I had no input into the decision making process.

Personally, I think they are trying to do some interesting stuff- regardless of the background of those involved. Their LIFT dashboard is very interesting and we are currently trying to use it to improve benefit take up. I believe that the approach that is being adopted by PiP will have a part to play in the future direction of the advice sector.

At least in the meetings I have had with their staff, they have acknowledged the downside of UC- including Deven. Further disclaimer I have spoken to him very briefly in a couple of meetings and did sit beside him in the pub at the NAWRA social at Greenwich- no pints were exchanged either way!!!

Obviously colleagues are entitled to their views, but for what it’s worth I find PiP a useful starting point in the development of our Welfare Rights service. It may not be totally perfect etc. but we have to start somewhere re technological solutions re advice delivery.

Happy to listen to other suggestions re technological initiatives.

 

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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I had a conversation about their LIFT dashboard. It costs a lot of money as I understand it and yet offers functionality most LAs could put in place for themselves. A wheel well and truly reinvented.

scott mcinally
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Inclusion manager - Durham County Council

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I have used the dashboard and if local authorities could put something like it together, then that’s for them to do. The question is are they? If not why not?

I’m not saying the LIFT dashboard is perfect- we are discussing some issues with PiP, who are listening- but it’s better than what we had. As an LA we probably could have done it ourselves but it wouldn’t have been at zero cost. I find it an interesting development and am keeping an open mind.