At the time of writing (the end of June 2013), the government has released its April 2013 update on some of the local authorities taking part in the pilot projects for universal credit.
Birmingham City Council
50 per cent of people attending UC briefings did not have an email address.
Dumfries & Galloway Council
A high proportion of claimants have access to the internet, but this tends to be via a mobile device which does not lend itself to form filling. A survey conducted by the council found that only 2 per cent of people wanted online access to services.
London Borough of Lewisham
83 per cent of claimants said that they knew nothing about UC and the benefit cap. Out of 250 pilot users, 44 per cent were ‘triaged’ as either exempt, no longer affected by the benefit cap or not vulnerable, 50 per cent needed to be booked for face-to-face appointments, and 6 per cent placed on hold pending an interpreter being booked.
Melton Borough Council
A high percentage of claimants have internet access, but this is through devices such as mobile phones and therefore unsuitable for completing an online claim. Free or low cost internet access is needed in a variety of locations to meet claimants’ demand; library sessions are inadequate in terms of both duration and availability
North Lanarkshire Council
64 per cent of tenants are not confident about making up shortfalls in rent. The uptake for council tenants’ group financial education sessions has been so low that this approach has been cancelled.
Rushcliffe Borough Council
There is still a lack of awareness that UC is coming and that it will bring changes for benefit claimants.