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Welfare Reform

Whatever your views on the forthcoming waves of welfare reform, the fallout for local authorities will be significant. For those areas where a significant number of households will experience a material drop in their incomes I’ve started to wonder what an effective intervention would look like to avoid problems for local people and to save the council money.

This clearly isn’t easy:

  • Local hand-outs are not a sustainable solution – nor would they be politically palatable in many areas.
  • The changes families will need to make to manage the financial impact will vary.

So perhaps it is worth investing in a personal approach. Individuals who can engage with the families most seriously impacted by the changes, understand the impact of their values and personal issues on their situation and help individuals to understand the changes and develop a plan to manage them. This could include access to work or training, child care options, relocation or budget management – amongst a range of other steps. Experience from the local housing allowance changes has shown that the hardest to engage often ignore the problem – developing effective approaches to involve impacted families will be as important as the solutions offered to ensure that they don’t present for the first time through the homeless service because they have fallen into arrears.

What is your authority doing and what would you want them to do?

8th February 2013

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