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Proposed envelope colour change at DWP….

Daphne
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Have received this via stakeholder forum -

We are proposing to change the colour of our envelopes from brown to white, but please note the size and types (e.g. window) of envelopes will remain unchanged.

After having carried out research, there’s evidence to suggest annotating the front of envelopes with messaging has a positive impact and encourages people to open post rather than leave it on the side.

The most often used and successful message in encouraging customers to open correspondence is ‘Important information enclosed. Please read’.

If you have any views/thoughts about the suggested message above and/or if there is another/different message you feel may be more suitable, let me know by 25th February and I will feed back…

Helen Rogers
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Welfare rights officer - Stockport MBC

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We were just joking in the office today that brown envelopes are always for Welfare Rights and white envelopes are always for the Debt Team.  This is going to mess everything up!

juliem
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It would be laughable but clients do frequently report a brown envelope phobia.
However, my experience of envelopes which say “Important information enclosed ” is that they are often credit card application crap.
if the DWP’s nudge unit could make the DWP provide accurate, correct and timeous decisions it wouldn’t matter what colour the envelopes were. As my Dad used to say, sky blue pink with yellow dots on would do. But if the DWP did that, we’d have very different jobs.

BC Welfare Rights
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Perhaps they could print emojis on the envelope to reflect the contents? Double smiley face for Enhanced/Enhanced, sad face for fit for work, crying face for overpayment notice.

Vonny
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Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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it is too late, most people with a brown envelope phobia, feel exactly the same about a white window envelope, they could write the address by hand and then people will also feel the same about that (I don’t open white window envelopes because I have a phobia - it is a real thing - I can always open work ones but even the sound of envelopes being opened at home is distressing)

Peter Turville
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Perhaps DWP envelopes should be the same as the corporate ‘brand’ colours - yellow and green for Jobcentre letters (might not go down well in Ipswich or parts of Birmingham), Blue and white for UC (might not go down well in .......), purple for ESA as per ESA50 (cant think of a problem there). But what colour for Debt Management? Baby poo brown? But that pretty much describes the current envelopes! Maybe change the shape (triangular?) instead (DWP forward my fee please).

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

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Is it just me or are DWP suggestions for change now always eerily pre-dated by an identical suggestion about 6 years earlier by either Richard Littler or the good folk of Scarfolk?

Pete at CAB
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Childrens Centre Adviser, CAB, Camborne

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juliem - 18 February 2021 10:01 AM

It would be laughable but clients do frequently report a brown envelope phobia.
However, my experience of envelopes which say “Important information enclosed ” is that they are often credit card application crap.
if the DWP’s nudge unit could make the DWP provide accurate, correct and timeous decisions it wouldn’t matter what colour the envelopes were. As my Dad used to say, sky blue pink with yellow dots on would do. But if the DWP did that, we’d have very different jobs.

Agreed about the ‘important information’ message, those that arrive at my house unsolicited go in the bin unopened.

What about ‘This is not a circular, please open immediately’

Gareth Morgan
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I find that the envelope colour has less effect then the speed of delivery.  Wrapping it around a brick and heaving it through a window can get immediate attention.

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

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Gareth Morgan - 19 February 2021 12:20 PM

I find that the envelope colour has less effect then the speed of delivery.  Wrapping it around a brick and heaving it through a window can get immediate attention.

Indeed once had a volunteer who used exactly that technique to resign from the advice service where I was the deputy manager. Drive by no less and into a waiting room full of clients. It was quite an elaborate brick too. My managers response was “I’m not wasting that string and brown paper”. 

Bailiffs are quite good too. Colleague once sent bailiffs into our local DWP. Their interest in “liaison” meetings increased after that.

Pete at CAB
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Childrens Centre Adviser, CAB, Camborne

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Rather than change the envelopes they could take a leaf out of Harry Potter’s book and have all DWP letters delivered by a flock of specially trained owls

shawn mach
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It’s official ...

Information for claimants:

From 5 April 2021, we will be making a change to some of the envelopes used to send you letters

You may receive some post from the Department in a white envelope rather than the usual brown (manila) envelope

Don’t bin it, open it!

https://twitter.com/DWP/status/1378022042600140806

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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From latest Touchbase

From 5 April some DWP system-generated customer notifications will be sent in white rather than manila (brown) envelopes. This requirement is driven by a change in the way Royal Mail sorts bulk post. The new system requires a legible barcode to be printed onto the envelope. Testing has shown printing onto our manila envelopes regularly fails.

CHAC Adviser
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Caseworker - CHAC, Middlesbrough

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They really are fundamentally incapable of ever just admitting the truth about anything, even totally innocuous things, aren’t they?