Diana Bowerman , News Editor
Thursday, February 23, 2012
EDDC wants to manage new Universal Credit scheme locally
PEOPLE over process. This is the sentiment behind an EDDC move to manage the local element of the Government’s new Universal Credit (UC) scheme when it comes into force in 2013/14.
The principle of the new, simplified benefits system is backed by councillors, but they don’t believe the Department for Work and Pensions is the best organisation to deliver it.
On Wednesday, East Devon District Council members unanimously supported a motion calling on the Coalition Government to think again and allow local councils to deliver the service.
The charge was led by Councillor Jill Elson, cabinet member for sustainable homes and communities, who proposed full council supported the idea of the UC, but insisted EDDC and other councils were best placed to deliver it.
She wants the good relationship, built up with benefit claimants, to be retained, rather than lost if more remote Job Centres are given the task of dealing with the UC claimants.
She said: “EDDC has done extremely well with its housing benefit service and has won praise for reducing the number of days in processing an application from 40 to six days.
“If the DWP is not able to process benefits in this timescale, do people try and live without any money for several days?
“EDDC has an excellent personal service for our clients – telephone, face-to-face in local offices and even visiting people in their own homes.”