Good morning,

Rollout update

After a series of lengthy operational delays and related criticism from the likes of the Work & Pensions Committee, CIH, National Housing Federation, it appears that Universal Credit’s expansion could quite significantly increase from May 2016 due to very positive feedback on the “digital system” currently being trialled in three London Boroughs.  I’ve been advised that it’s likely to be introduced, on a phased weekly basis to a number of Jobcentres and Service Centres throughout the UK.

One of my recent bulletins pointed to a DWP video presetnation which gives us a glimpse of what we and tenants can expect – The evidence (watch the short video) suggests that the new system, albeit still a work-in-progress, is being welcomed by both staff and claimants, and appear much more user-friendly than the legacy systems it is due to replace. Delivery of this UC digital service is critical to the DWP’s ability to enable the planned mass migration of exisiting legacy claims to UC starting in the autumn of 2016 with completion expected in 2020/21.

Training options

Demand for training on the topic has never been so much in the spotlight. The feedback we’ve received to our sessions has been excellent and we’re planning more in the New Year, starting around March – June, 2016. Some of the courses we run can be found here: If you’re interested in running sessions for staff and/or board members, please get in touch.

Testimonials (selection)

“I cannot recall such an overwhelmingly positive reaction to a training course. Even staff who questioned why they were asked to attend have reported that they found the course very interesting and entertaining. Thank you for all your effort and I am really pleased and heartened that my colleagues engaged with the subject”.

John Roach, Income Manager, Magenta Living HA, Birkenhead 

“A big thank you to Bill for delivering a very successful Universal Credit Training day in November to Wishaw and District, Clyde Valley, Sanctuary and Lanarkshire Housing Associations. Now that we are starting to see our tenants migrating onto Universal Credit, we were keen to have frontline staff made aware of the changes to the benefits system. However, we had not realised just how complicated and challenging the new Universal Credit system would be for both us and our tenants. It was great to be able to talk about problems we have already experienced with our own cases, and benefit from the knowledge you have accrued since UC started.

Mykela Dunlop, Wishaw & District Housing Association 

Bill Irvine came to provide training on welfare reform to a range of different colleagues at Riverside Cumbria several months ago now. The standard of the training was excellent. My colleagues included operational staff from different teams through to specialists and also departmental Directors. The training was pitched to all staff present and was both very relevant and interesting. A number of my colleagues present at the training expressed very positive feedback to me about the training. I have also followed up queries with Bill since then which were fully addressed and we have been kept informed and updated with further information. I would have no hesitation to recommend this training to housing providers and other agencies.

Paul Taylor, Riverside Cumbria

“We have recently had Bill train our frontline staff. The sessions were extremely informative. The feedback from staff has been excellent. The sessions were relaxed, informal with plenty of opportunities for discussion.

Bill has vast knowledge and experience to draw on, the real life examples of cases is particularly useful to put things into context. The sessions could have been dull as the subject matter can sometimes be a bit dry but Bill’s enthusiasm for the subject and detailed knowledge meant we were all kept interested and focused. I look forward to further sessions in the coming months”.

Joy Watson Tenant Services Manager, Hillcrest Group

If you’re interested in finding out more about this topic or any of our other service please contact or phone 07733 080 389

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd