The majority of the revenues and benefits professionals who responded to Team Netsol’s survey predicted that welfare reform projects especially, Universal Credit would suffer from further delays.
Several of the respondents placed the removal of Housing Benefit from Universal Credit at the top of their personal wish list,
"Housing Benefit has become so integrated into Housing Policy and Local Strategic Housing Partnerships it is hard to see how including it in Universal Credit is an advantage."
There was a high degree of concern that the public would be confused by the reforms
"This disjointed approach to delivering the housing element would confuse the public, especially the vulnerable."
Others predicted that there could be a public backlash against the cuts due to increasing dissatisfaction with welfare cuts.
There were many concerns that centred on the delivery of the technology. Despite the reassurances of DWP officials and Ministers that development is both on time and more-or-less on budget, the Professionals were doubtful. Their experience with other projects, have led the practitioners to be cynical of any assurances, especially when they have not yet seen any tangible evidence of the new Universal Credit system.
Most respondents believed that Universal Credit would be delayed until 2014 and there was a general desire for greater clarity and less policy change. These responses will not come as a great surprise to those working in the field and some feel that such concerns come from natural denial of change in the workplace.
Nonetheless, this uncertainty means that it is difficult for Revenues and Benefits Departments to plan sensibly for the transition of council services to run alongside welfare reform.
The practitioners felt that there few choices on preparing for reformed benefits departments other than to sticking to the plan and the existing timetable and hope that everything is delivered as promised while simultaneously developing a local plan B that addresses the inherent risks.
Greg Clarke, Team Netsol’s Managing Director says,
"It is clear that 2013 will be a challenging year for stretched benefits departments as they try to implement welfare reforms against a background of squeezed budgets, poor morale and a concerned customer base.
"BECS has a key role to play assisting advisor's and claimants with the tools for alternative entitlement calculations, whether it is for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support. Our customers know that the delivery of the right benefit at the right time is not only efficient but also provides the best support for those in need of it.
Team Netsol is committed to help our customers deliver welfare reforms efficiently without administrative burden and we are well placed to accommodate any unforeseen timetabling changes."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Team Netsol Ltd is an innovative IT company delivering effective, scalable solutions to the private and public sectors.
Team Netsol was founded in 1999 by Internet pioneers Damian Lewis and Ged Clarke to create core technologies that would enable the rapid development of complex enterprise level Web systems for businesses and government.
Team Netsol owns its own core technology and provides products, services and consultancy to a wide range of customers across different industry sectors. Our BECS product suite is recognised as the UK's leading eBenefits solution.
Team Netsol differentiate themselves by being an information technology partner to their clients, rather than just a supplier. they offer a real alliance that includes many intangibles: confidence, reliability, technical leadership, knowing that somebody will be there to answer questions and help at the important times.
Team Netsol also has solid expertise in Public Sector e-Government projects, having worked on major innovative projects for the Cabinet Office, DfES, DCLG, DWP and over 50 Local Authorities. As a member of SOCITM, Team Netsol promotes and actively encourages Best Practice and Best Value as part of its relationship with its clients.
Team Netsol has a proven track record of delivering eGovernment solutions for Local and Central Government. Since 1999, we have consistently delivered innovation to improve the efficiency and quality of our Public Sector clients' services.
Over 60 Local Authorities use Team Netsol’s leading eBenefits solution BECS Claims to speed up their Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit processing whilst increasing the number and quality of their public channels.
Team Netsol’s core technology simplifies the complexity of our customers' services, whilst providing data security, resilience and deep system integration. This is the same technology that powered Scotland's 2011 Census online, the first national census in the UK to be conducted online.
Contact: Team Netsol Limited, Fairbairn Buildings, 70-72 Sackville Street, Manchester M1 3NJ
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