Policy Work

Changing Lives works to influence policy and practice in a number of areas. As part of this work we produce briefings and respond to consultations in our four main areas of expertise: housing and homelessness, drug and alcohol work, work with women and children, and employment.

To find out more contact Rhiannon Bearne, Head of Policy on Rhiannon.Bearne@changing-lives.org.uk

Welfare Safety Net Inquiry Response November 2018

We surveyed all Changing Lives’ projects to understand the impact welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit has had on their services. Working in partnership with Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead we found that:

  • Universal Credit has resulted in significant numbers of the people we work with experiencing hardship. Delays in payment are the main factor; the monthly payment schedule can also cause hardship
  • Claims typically take six-eight weeks, but some projects indicate the average wait time is two-four months – during which time clients will be without any income at all
  • Benefit sanctions are also commonplace; four in ten projects report that the ‘majority’ of the people who use their services have received a sanction in the past 12 months
  • The vast majority of our services (80%) support clients to make Universal Credit claims. This process is widely considered to require ‘much more’ staffing resource compared to the Housing Benefit system
  • The impact of this hardship is profound. Moving to Universal Credit is described as creating feelings of “hopelessness, frustration and loss of control

Download our response here: Welfare Safety Net Inquiry Response November 2018

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