Communities and Local Government CommitteeSupplementary written submission from the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Work and Pensions

We are writing following our appearance in front of the DCLG Select Committee on Monday 28 January on the Implementation of Welfare Reform by Local Authorities. We hope the session was informative for the Committee and allayed some of the concerns raised by members and the organisations who submitted evidence.

In particular, we said that we would provide the Committee with information on these areas participating in the direct payment demonstration projects. We mentioned the experience of Oxford where initial increases in levels of arrears reducing as the new system beds in. The press package that DWP released in December which includes the payment rates for the first four months of the projects (three in Edinburgh) and further background on the areas can be access via the following link: www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/direct-payment-demo-figures.pfd (a copy of this document has also been laid in the library of the House of Commons.

As we set out on Monday, these projects are genuinely about learning from practice on the ground to make sure the right safeguards for both landlords and tenants are designed into Universal Credit. The independent evaluation report is due later this year but in the meantime, our officials would be pleased to help should the Committee wish to understand the detail further should you wish to pursue this.

We hope it was clear from the written evidence submitted in December and the session on Monday, that our departments are working very closely together on this key area, as well as with other key organisations. We hope the examples we provided reinforced this. We will also continue to work closely with Local Authorities on issues of implementation and their wider role in Welfare Reform, including the localisation of Council Tax Support.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear on this important subject and we look forward to seeing the Committee’s Report in due course.

February 2013

Prepared 28th March 2013