The Local Government Association (LGA) announced that there would be up to 12 local authority led pilots in 2013 and released their prospectus for local authorities that want to run pilots for Universal Credit.
The deadline for bids is on 18 May and the Welfare Reform Club would encourage all local authorities with an interest in welfare reform to apply.
The pilots are a unique opportunity to improve claimants’ experiences of the benefit system and of Universal Credit from its roll out in 2013. Local authorities (LA) leading pilots will be in the forefront of developing and enhancing the local government role in the face to face delivery of UC after go-live.
Successful bids will be required to show innovation and collaboration, and deliver on broader government objectives of
- Channel Shift
- Financial Independence
- Efficient & Effective delivery
Local authorities will be expected to show that they are able to work with local partners to avoid duplication and deliver better customer service.
The pilots will not be running or administering Universal Credit, they will run before Universal Credit is launched, but they will be asked to demonstrate other aspects of joined up and effective delivery. They will have to have completed and evaluated their pilot before the launch of UC in October 2013.
The government have selection criteria in their prospectus, but they are looking for a range of local authorities (city, rural, two-tier, geographic spread) and local authorities will be asked to fund the pilots as much as possible from existing resources. The DWP will reimburse additional costs.
Successful bids will be announced in July.
The prospectus and details of how to apply are available here.