Welfare Reform (in the Scottish Borders A Rural Context) Homeless Action Scotland Cathie Fancy 18th April 2013 Today’s Presentation • SBC’s Approach to managing the Impact of the Implementation of the Welfare Reform • Overview of the Impact of the Welfare Reform in the Scottish Borders • Highlight of some of the Key Actions/Changes • Challenges Estimated Impact Scottish Borders Approach to the Welfare Reform • Joint Programme/Joint Solutions • Focus is on the claimant – Designing processes around the claimant – “Customer Journeys” – Whole picture – 1st contact, support & advice, accessing benefits, support into employment • Supporting/Managing the Implementation • Business Impacts • Opportunities • Welfare Aware Borders – Launch 4th March • Increased publicity/enquiries Planning Community Planning Theme 4 Community Planning Theme 4 Future Model of Public Service Delivery Future Model of Public Service Delivery for the Scottish Borders for the Scottish Borders Lead Officer: Tracey Logan Lead Officer: Tracey Logan Community Planning Joint Delivery Team Community Planning Joint Delivery Team Strategic StrategicPartnership PartnershipAgainst AgainstPoverty Poverty Programme Governance Community Scottish Borders Welfare Reform Programme - Programme Structure Programme Board Programme Board Senior Responsible Owners: David Cressey & Jenni Craig Senior Responsible Owners: David Cressey & Jenni Craig Programme Manager: James Lamb Programme Manager: James Lamb Welfare Reform Officer Steering Group Welfare Reform Officer Steering Group Customer Customer Services Services WR Project WR Project Project Portfolio Responsible for the delivery management and delivery of the Programme SBC Business Impact Project Housing Benefits Housing Benefits Migration to Migration Pension Credit to and Pension Credit Universal Creditand Universal Credit Migration of Council Migration of Council Tax Benefit Tax Benefit Benefits Cap & Benefits Cap & Size Criteria Size Criteria Communications Project Temp Accommodation Temp Accommodation Subsidy & Subsidy & Discretionary Discretionary Housing Payments Housing Payments Scottish Community Scottish SupportCommunity Fund Support Fund Universal Universal Credit Credit (Mitigation) (Mitigation) Project Project The Customer The Customer Journey Journey (including debt debt &(including budgeting & budgeting Advice, Service Advice, Service Redesign and Redesign and) Revenue Impact Revenue Impact ) Housing Housing Strategy Strategy Impact Impact Private Private Sector Sector Housing Housing Pathways Pathways To To Employment Employment Support & Advice to Support & Advice to target groups target groups Mitigation of impact on Mitigation impact on targeted of groups targeted groups Joint solutions in Joint solutions in Developing pathways Developing pathways into sustainable into sustainable employment employment Supporting the Programme Board in developing and managing the Programme and responsible for the management and delivery of projects Financial Implications HR Implications (inc org design & impact of tax credits changes) Training Process Redesign Technology Requirements Management of Change SOA Developing & Managing a joint communications strategy Supporting the Communications requirements of each project Joint editorial board Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Change •Local Housing Allowance - reduction in rates from 50th to 30th percentile for Private Tenants (April 2011) •Increased deductions for non-dependents (April 2011) •Shared room rate extended from under 25s to under 35s (January 2012) •Employment Support Allowance starts to replace Incapacity Benefit Impact •Reduction in rate to 30th percentile – 1500 cases in the borders, over £430k per annum reduction in benefit •Non-dependent deductions – 203 cases •Shared room - 49 cases, over £61k per annum reduction in benefit •Employment Support Allowance – Significantly less people qualifying, more (1,760) people required to find work Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Scottish Welfare Fund Changes •New/Additional Council Service •Temporary for 2 years •Crisis Grants – expect 3000 applications/year – 2000 awards - budget £123k •Community Care Grants – expect 1200 applications/year - 600 awards – budget £284k •Applications by telephone, on-line or postal •Payment by SMS, Electronic Card or direct to bank •Closer working with CAB and Welfare Benefits Officers Impact •Additional staff required (3FTE) – budget pressures of £30k (13/14) & £25k (14/15) •New systems and contracts being negotiated •Security Issues in Contact Centres •Grant, NOT loan! Expect increase in number of applications Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Social Sector Size Criteria Changes •Reduction in Housing Benefit where tenants have more bedrooms than they require •14% for one Bedroom and 25% for more than one bedroom Impact •Approx 1100 households affected – financial sum £500k/annum •Increased pressure on household budgets •Appropriate size of accommodation being available •Increased demand for discretionary help •Potential increase in rent arrears Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Council Tax Reduction Scheme Changes •Funding reduced by 10% •No change in 2013/14 for customers, new scheme expected in 2014/15 •Current Council Tax Benefit claims will migrate automatically •Changes to appeal system – Valuation Appeals Committee, not Tribunal Service Impact •New financial burdens – software changes, increased cost of appeals, changes to documentation •Dept of Work and Pensions will no longer receive applications – additional administration •No longer a social security benefit – cannot access Discretionary Housing Payments •Financial cost to the Council of meeting the 10% shortfall in funding - £371k (one year only) Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Local Housing Allowance Changes •Further reduction in Local Housing Allowance Rates Impact •1152 households affected approximately £250k per annum. Between £2.41 and £5.77 per week. Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Discretionary Housing Payments Changes •Now seen as the main way to assist claimants in need due to Welfare Reform •Must demonstrate the need based on income and expenditure •DWP budget increased from £39k in 2012/13 to £170k in 2013/14 •Properties adapted for disability/foster & kinship carers/moving to more affordable accommodation Impact •Anticipate a significant increase in applications (est. 150pa in 2012/2013 to 800pa in 2013/2014) •Demand is likely to outstrip funding •Staff training •New appeals process Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Benefits Cap Change •Comes into effect in summer 2013 •Benefits will be capped at: • £500/week for couples • £350/week for single people Impact •20 households affected in the Borders Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Personal Independence Payments Change •Disabled Living Allowance will be replaced by Personal Independence Payments for people aged 16-64 •New claimants will be invited to claim from 10th June •Will have a more rigorous qualifying criteria Impact •National budget reduced by 20% •Currently 5,450 Disabled Living Allowance claimants in Borders •20% cut will lead to significant changes and hardship for these people •Significant loss of income to local economy •Reduced income to Social Work Care & Health Services •Increase in demand for support and advice Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Universal Credit Change •Universal Credit begins to be rolled-out nationally from October in a phased way •Anticipated that Universal Credit will “go live” in the Borders in February 2014 •Local Support Services Framework in place from October. Impact •Redesign of support and advice services •Increased demand on services including online access •Potential increase in homelessness/Temporary Accommodation Costs •Potential loss of income •Comprehensive training programme to enable staff to understand Universal Credit and also how it interacts with other benefit entitlement, including e.g. free school meals •Potential risk to vulnerable people. Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Personal Independence Payments Change •Reassessment to Personal Independence Payments starts for fixed period – Disabled Living Allowance awards coming up for renewal, young people turning 16 or where claimants report a change in circumstances. Impact •Need to provide support with making claims •Need to make claimants and carers aware of impact on other benefits if Personal Independence Payment is refused. •Need for support with review and appeals processes Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 April 2015 Onwards Universal Credit •Start of Managed Migration of existing claimants – starting with Job Seekers Allowance. (Dept. of Work & Pensions still to publish schedule of phased migration). •By Oct 2017 all working age claimants for means tested benefits would be on Universal Credit. Single Fraud Investigation Service •Local Authority staff to operate under guidelines from the Single Fraud Investigation Service •Review of fraud investigation arrangements underway. Before April 2013 April 2013 June 2013 Oct 2013/ Feb 2014 April 2014 Change •Migration of all remaining DLA claimants to PIP (completion in 2018) •New Council Tax Reduction Scheme Starts (to be determined) •Housing Benefits Closure (minimum of 2 years notice) •SFIS new arrangements go live (subject to review) Impact •Significant Structural Change •Subsidy – Budget Impact April 2015 Onwards Key Challenges •Population of 112,430 over 732 sq km =24 per sq km – compared with Glasgow - population of 584, 240 over 175 sq km = 3329 per sq km •Only 3 JCP Officers to cover Area (Hawick, Gala & Eyemouth) – 6 PC’s available for claimants •Drop-in – tends not too work in rural locations •Poor broadband coverage in many rural areas •Transport Issues (Costs/Services) •Food costs tend to be higher •Fewer third sector organisations •Historically low THB What work is underway • • Worked jointly with RSL's to identify and write to people affected by the "Size Criteria" Rsl's have continued to work by contacting their tenants and supporting them (30 moves and 100 DHP applications) changed our Discretionary Housing Policy and consulted widely including Homeless/housing, CAB, Welfare Advisors and RSLs. The policy now includes provision for people affected by the " Size Criteria " particularly where the property has been adapted for a disability, participated in national groups on the development of the Scottish Welfare Fund procured software and payment methods for Scottish Welfare Fund checked to ensure that we do not have foster or kindred carers affected by Benefit Cap running awareness session for practitioners • working with Job Centre Plus staff to ease the transition • • • • • What work is underway cont.. • Work ongoing Libraries/contact centre – establish IT availability/staff support claims • Work ongoing Service providers to identify internet access and support for mental health services • Investment in the Programme (Staffing) • Signposts to further information: – Dept. of Work & Pensions Website – Scottish Borders Council’s Welfare Reform Web Pages • Welfare Aware Borders – Launch 4th March Thank you for Listening Any Questions?