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An introduction to Universal Credit for frontline staff!


This course, delivered via Zoom, has been developed in response to requests from Housing & Income Management staff. It has been designed to impress on, new & inexperienced staff, working in housing & income management teams, plus new recruits to welfare rights, money advice & financial inclusion, the increasing importance of Universal Credit’s “housing costs element”, to your tenants’ ability to meet their rent liability and your organisation’s ambition of maximising rental revenue with minimal recovery action.

Operating in a COVID environment, with the claimant numbers doubling overnight, and majority DWP’s staff  working from home, has made the process of claiming, agreeing claiming commitments, and validating evidence to support claims, all the more difficult, especially for inexperienced tenants. Increasingly, tenants are expected, to make claims online, agree “claimant commitments” over the telephone, notify changes in circumstances & respond to queries from Work Coaches & Case Managers via online journals.

Understanding the UC claim process and how best to ensure accounts are maintained via the online journal can avoid delays, suspensions, payment issues and disputes that can often lead to debt accruing. Staff do not need to be welfare benefit experts to make a significant difference. The course content and Q & A delivery will provide delegates with the necessary knowledge to assist their tenant clients navigate the expectations & demands posed by this new “flagship” benefit.

The course will assist frontline staff respond to these challenges. It will be delivered via Zoom, in a 3 hour session, from 10-1pm.

To maximise delegate participation we aim to restrict delegate numbers to no more than 10-12 per session.

Course Programme

The course covers:

* What is universal credit; what does it replace; who & how to claim; and how to ensure a positive outcome.

* How you can best help tenants maintain their claim, notify changes, challenge poor decisions via telephone discussions and exchanges, with their Work Coach and Case Manager, through their online journal and UC portal.

* Explaining the calculation process via worked examples of typical cases.

* How to assess the “housing costs element”, non-dependent deductions, deal with “untidy” tenancies, temporary absences in hospital, residential care and secure discretionary housing payments for any shortfalls that might ocur.

*Areas of the scheme likely to cause difficulties; how to effectively communicate with Case Managers & pursue revision requests, complaints and appeals, with a view to helping your tenant maximise their award and minimise possibility of rent arrears.

The course will be delivered via Zoom in two segments with a 20 minute comfort/coffee break


The content of this course would best suit, new and/or less experienced members of housing, finance, welfare rights, money advice & financial inclusion. It would also be appropriate for Committee & Board Members.

Participants will receive an email link, a few days before the start of the course, to allow access to the event, and after the event will be provided with a copy of the PP presentation that includes helpful links to other advice, guidance and videos.


Bill spent 30 years in local government, holding senior positions in Social Work, Housing & Finance. He retired as Head of Housing Services (Benefits, Revenues & Advice) at one of the UK’s largest councils. In 2008 he became a Board Member of Trust HA Ltd and the SFHA and the following year set up a new consultancy business “Housing Benefit Advice & Advocacy” offering advice, training and advocacy to RSL’s and private landlords throughout the UK.

In January 2011 he was invited to provide written and oral evidence to the DWP Local Housing Allowance Inquiry, Westminster, with some of his recommendations being adopted as “best practice”. He now represents RSL’s, Private Landlords, and their tenants, in disputes about Housing Benefit & Universal Credit, before First and Upper-tier tribunals, with some of his cases becoming new “caselaw”.

Since January 2012 he has been at the forefront of Universal Credit training for both SRS and Private Sector landlords, on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Residential Landlords Association, individual Housing Associations , Vountary and Charitible bodies, UK wide.

He now operates  publishes & distributes regular monthly updating bulletins expalining new polices, practices and caselaw, relating to Universal Credit to more than 1300 registered subscribers.