Supplementary memorandum submitted by
(1) Better Off Calculations:
What percentage of Jobcentre Plus customers are
currently given a Better Off Calculation?
Jobcentre Plus does not routinely collect data
on the percentage of customers currently given a Better Off Calculation
for all customer groups and all interview types. At a national
level, Jobcentre Plus has concentrated its interest on mandatory
interviews where better off calculations are more likely to be
undertaken when most appropriate to the customer's circumstances.
Data for lone parents who have made a claim
since the Jobcentre Plus regulations came into force shows a significant
and consistent increase in the percentage of better off calculations
conducted throughout 2006-07. A further study of all lone parents,
including those making claims before the introduction of Jobcentre
Plus regulations, has been undertaken as part of a drive to improve
lone parent performance and shows not only that there has been
a marked increase across 2006-07, but also that the percentage
of better off calculations undertaken falls in line with expectations
of them being conducted at the appropriate timemore BOCs
are being undertaken in caseload and New Deal Lone Parent interviews
where customers are actively receptive to move into employment.
Detailed national lone parent information is
provided in tabular form in Annex A. Jobcentre Plus has specifically
targeted lone parents as part of a wider campaign to improve the
lone parent Job Outcome Target. As a result of work to improve
overall performance the same upward trend is being repeated for
other customer groups where information is available.
A generic, national minimum standard has been
set at 20%. The intention behind the standard is to increase the
volume of customers who receive advice about the extent to which
they would be better off in work. Regions have the discretion
and flexibility to upwardly vary this level to ensure that calculations
are offered for those customers as and when it is considered appropriate.
Advisory Services Managers use the Adviser Achievement Tool to
regularly monitor their local performance against the national
benchmark. The national standard will be kept under review.
However, Jobcentre Plus would expect 100% of
most customer groups to have had a better off calculation in the
lifetime of their claim. There are difficulties in measuring BOC
delivery because advisers have discretion as to when they conduct
better off calculations and in recognition of this it is considered
that a 20% expectation is reasonable.
Jobcentre Plus is still developing its thinking
in this area and, for certain groups, Jobcentre Plus has crystallised
this expectation, for example, JSA customers are expected to have
had a better off calculation by the 26th week of their claim and,
for lone parents, calculations are expected to be reviewed at
each interview to ensure the information is current.
Can this be broken down by region and by client
Information is not routinely collected to cover
all client groups or types of interviews. The information collected
on lone parents at a national level can be reproduced on a regional
level but it would take additional time to collate.
What guidance has been produced for Jobcentre
Plus staff about who should get Better Off Calculations?
There is currently no formal guidance available.
Jobcentre plus is developing a Policy and Good Practice Guide,
which will be available in the autumn. Instruction on the advantages
of using better off calculations is delivered as part of the Personal
Adviser Learning and Development Routeway, where it is stressed
to learners that the primary role of BOC is to show that the customer
is better off by taking up employment.
Further background information about better
off calculations is attached in annex B.
(2) LEAN PATHFINDERS:
THE LEAN PATHFINDERS?
The evaluation report for the LEAN Pathfinders
for Carers, Jobseeker's Allowance and Incapacity Benefit/ Disability
Living Allowance will be produced in July. Once the summary of
the evaluation has been compiled, a copy of this will be made
available to the Committee.
LEAN is being deployed across the Department
in a managed way, which is why DWP introduced LEAN activity through
the 3 Pathfinders and is now moving into Phase One activity. The
Pathfinders told us a great deal about the challenges and opportunities
that LEAN presents to the Department, Phase One activity begins
building internal expertise. As LEAN is deployed the Department
will begin to (i) develop internal LEAN experts and (ii) engage
more and more people. In time this will provide an internal supply
of LEAN talent which the Department can utilise.
LEAN has a set of principles that place the
customers and delivery staff at the heart of developing improved
services and improved service levels. There is nothing particularly
new about LEANthe approach and many of the tools used will
be familiar to staff and managers but taken as a whole, it is
a radical departure from the way we have traditionally managed
our services. It introduces new ways of working and new ways of
managing our work which transform the experience of staff and
Are the programmes themselves being re-run elsewhere;
and precisely when and where, and on what timetable, is this going
The next tranche of Continuous Improvement using
LEAN techniques are due to commence from July onwards and will
cover the following subject areas and locations:
(i) Social FundChesterfield
Benefit Delivery Centre
(ii) Change of Circumstances and Reviews
and Triggers including links to Debt ManagementWrexham
Benefit Delivery Centre
(iii) New Claims. A review of the end-to-end
process for all new Jobseeker Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and
Income Support claims building on the Jobseeker Allowance
pathfinder experience in Newcastle
(iv) Work Focused Interviews/Fortnightly
Job Reviews: London
(v) Disability & Carer's Service:
Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance Customer AcquisitionCardiff
Disability Benefit Centre
(vi) Disability and Carer's Service:
Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance Managing
through to outcomesDisability Carer's Processing Unit at
Warbreck Hill, Blackpool.
DOES LEAN INVOLVE
Customers are absolutely central to what the
Department is doing. The Department has drawn on its extensive
Customer Insight in developing its commitment to improving customer
experience. The Department is putting its customers' needs at
the very centre of what it does by using the experiences of customers
and delivery staff to identify and test solutions and improvements
A project will be established within Jobcentre
Plus in summer 2007 to review system generated notifications.
The review is expected to be completed by March 2008.
(5) Page 1 estimates a buyout of transitional
protection for Invalidity Benefit claimants at £2.5 billion.
The Committee would like to see the figures, and an explanation
of the assumptions, behind this estimate.
Attached is a note at Annex C produced by the
Department in June 2004 from which the estimate was taken. The
2004 figures have not been updated.
(6) Please could the Department explain why
caseload figures for Supplementary Benefit to Income Support and
Income Support to Jobseeker's Allowance are not available.
The Department cannot identify the current caseloads
figures for the following "legacy benefits" for the
Supplementary Benefit changing to
Income Support in 1988:
DWP does not have datasets for Income Support
going back as far as 1988, only clerical copies of old publications
from which it is not possible to extract this information. We
expect the caseload figures to be negligible.
Income Support changing to Jobseekers
Allowance in 1996:
Transitional protection between Income Support
and Jobseeker's Allowance was time limited and ended in April
97. At that point any customers on Income Support on the grounds
of unemployment were all moved to Jobseeker's Allowance. There
are therefore no "unemployed" customers still transitionally
protected on Income Support.
DWP regrets that some of the current caseloads
figures for the "legacy benefits" which was supplied
to the committee on 31 May were incorrect (they were linked to
the wrong yearthe 2006-07 figures quoted were in fact the
2005-06 caseloads). We apologise for this mistake. The correct
caseloads are as follows:
Widows Benefit changing to Bereavement
Benefit in 2001: Widows Benefit caseload of 109,000* in 2006-07
End of new claims for Severe Disablement
Allowance in 2001: caseload of 270,000* (227,000 working age,
42,000 pensioners**) in 2006-07.
End of new claims for Invalidity
Benefit in 1995: caseload of 360,000* in 2006-07.
*2006-07 caseloads taken from the Department's benefit
** totals may not sum due to rounding.
AND HMRC, SSAC DOES
HMRC BENEFITS AS
The Government has no plans to introduce legislation
to extend the role of SSAC. The existing Memorandum of Understanding
gives SSAC the opportunity to put full and frank advice to Treasury
Ministers on the Tax Credit system.
This report has been read with interest and
it is noted that it contains a lot of detailed analysis. The Department
does, however, wish to make the following points.
The benefits system is geared towards moving
people into work of 16 hours or more. Individuals working less
than 16 hours are entitled to claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Income
Support if their earnings are less than their applicable amount.
While on the benefit they can make use of the earnings disregards
in Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support which allow customers
to work a few hours and keep some amount of their earnings before
they are taken into account in their benefit calculations. The
in-work cost assumed by the Off the Streets analysis is held constant
regardless of the numbers of hours worked. The Department does
not believe this to be realistic. Establishing exact gains to
work is usually dependent on the level of the in-work-costs which
will vary widely between individuals
Working 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage
compares favourably with levels of out of work benefits. For example,
individuals aged 25 and over receive £85.60 from 16 hours
work at the National Minimum Wage (rising to £88.32 from
1 October 2008) compared with £59.15 from Income Support/Jobseeker's
Allowance. Also, individuals on the development rate for 18-21
year olds receive £71.20 from 16 hours work at the National
Minimum Wage (rising to £73.60 from 1 October) compared with
£46.85 from Income Support/Jobseeker's Allowance.
Tax credits are designed to make work pay for
individuals who receive higher out of work benefits such as Income
Support with the Disability Premium or Incapacity Benefit. The
analysis assumes that individuals in receipt of these high levels
of out of work benefits would not qualify for the relevant elements
of Working Tax Credit and could be worse off when entering work.
For example, an individual claiming Income Support with the Disability
Premium would have an out of work income of £84.40 which
is only slightly lower than the income they would receive from
working 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage£85.60.
However, add to this Working Tax Credit of around £77, with
the disabled worker element, and their weekly income from work
increases to over £160.
The Department does recognise that certain vulnerable
groups may need extra support to help them return to work which
is why DWP offers a number of transitional payments. For example,
the package of help available under the Pathways to Work regime
(which by April 2008 will have been rolled out nationally) contains
a return to work credit of £40 which is available for up
to 52 weeks for people earning less than £15,000 and is not
subject to tax or national insurance deductions. A similar payment
is available to lone parents in the areas where the In-Work Credit
is being piloted. In London the In-Work Credit has been increased
to £60 a week from July 2007 and is available to couples
with children as well as lone parents.
In general the housing benefit taper rates and
disregards on earnings ensure that customers can keep some proportion
of earnings as income rises above the applicable amount. In most
cases the applicable amount in Housing Benefit is calculated under
rules which are the same as (or more favourable than) those in
Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance so unless there has been
another change of circumstances the taper will only apply to income
in excess of the previous rate of benefit. This means that whilst
the gains to work might be eroded by the tapering of Housing Benefit,
they cannot be extinguished.