Friday, 25 July 2014

Coalition releases results from survey carried out before pilots started

DWP slammed for withholding direct payment data

The Department for Work and Pensions has been criticised after revealing it will not tell landlords how well its universal credit pilots are working until next year.

Six pilot projects are running across the country to test the direct payment of benefit to tenants instead of to landlords. The projects, which run until next summer, feature housing associations and councils and test direct payment to around 12,000 tenants.

‘There would be little point in having these projects if we are not provided with the results of how these are working in practice.’

Keith Exford, Affinity Sutton

The DWP had indicated it would publish initial data this week. But instead of publishing information showing the progress of the projects, it released results from a baseline survey of 1,639 tenants, which was carried out before the projects started in June.

Sam Lister, policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the DWP should publish early findings to help landlords judge what the impact is likely to be on their businesses. He said: ‘People are really desperate to learn what to do.’

Keith Exford, chief executive of Affinity Sutton, said: ‘There would be little point in having these projects if we are not provided with the results of how these are working in practice.’

Mr Exford said early evidence of how direct payment works in practice would help landlords that are concerned about how they will mitigate its impact. Landlords fear arrears will rise and they will have to spend more on administration.

The DWP has strongly discouraged social landlords on the pilots from mentioning the results, including levels of arrears and numbers of successful payments.

The DWP did release some details of lessons learned and said it had found that landlords ‘need to have a greater understanding of their tenants’.

Kevin Dodd, chief executive of pilot project landlord Wakefield and District Housing, said: ‘We would find out a lot more, cheaper and quicker, if data could be transferred more easily between statutory agencies and housing providers.’

A DWP spokesperson said the department wants to ensure information is ‘robust’ before publishing.

Readers' comments (20)

  • I think we can fairly assume the system isn't working at all well. If it was, why would they want to hide it? Let's hope IDS gets put back inhis box and this impractical nonsense is recognised for what it is, the delusions of a madman.

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  • if this was positive they would be shouting it from the rooftops and decrying the doommongers. can only imagine it is even worse than we thought it could be. stop this dangerous nonsense now!! where is Mr Ed and why isnt he forcing release through a ministers statement

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  • Why can't all the housing associations and all the councils kick up a massive stink about this? If they work together, they could easily get think onto the news agenda and force IDS to back down. After all, it's not as if this government is averse to U-turns.

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  • Could it possibly be that they don't want to release the information because it does not support what they want / have already decided to do ad they need time to massage the statistics to fit the conclusion?

    "A DWP spokesperson said the department wants to ensure information is ‘robust’ before publishing." I see a new dictionary definition evolving: "robust, adj., meaning convenient, fits with government policy"

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  • Usual Suspect

    The DWP did release some details of lessons learned and said it had found that landlords ‘need to have a greater understanding of their tenants’

    And maybe the dwp should have a better understanding of the way landlords business's work before they mess with direct payments !!

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  • Felix Baumgartner spent two years planning and investigating the issues before jumping, it seems that this useless condem government is determined to force tenants and providers into jumping without the information gathered. Maybe they should take the jump before this appalling policy becomes enacted.??????

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  • Hello

    I blame the Housing professionals for being waaayyyy too timid.

    This 'policy' will be reversed and we'll ALL look silly.

    How much has been spent on courses?

    How much spent on meetings?

    How much spent on anti-depressives for poor Housing Managers !

    This is not the time for timidity, we need professionals to be Lions not Donkeys !

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  • I recall when the DHSS paid tenants rent money direct and they paid the landlord so what's new ? . This government aren't being innovative just old fashioned.

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  • Another example of DWP not sharing information that is clearly in the interest of their customers....

    Don - the DWP data lawyers are notoriously paranoid; maybe you should direct some of your frustration their way.

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  • To use an example; we have been waiting to get info from the DWP on those victims, I mean 'cases' that are subject to the Ben cap.

    If we have the info early, we can engage with them and look at ways to help. If we get it too late, then they are likely to become homeless through no fault of their own (assuming they have not been given a chance to help themselves) Bottom line: no sharing of data = family potentially in crisis.

    I can see lawsuits heading in the direction of the DWP for NOT sharing data over the next few years because of this type of example.

    I suggested this to a DWP officer a couple of weeks ago and they thought it was 'absurd'

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