How the localisation of the benefits system can offer a more personalised, efficient service
Author: Steve Carey, Alastair Gordon, Anne Fairweather, Barry Maginn |
Councils provide a range of personalised and localised benefits and services to residents in need of support through tools such as ‘One Stop Centres’. Local provision ensures that support can be targeted, and payments can reflect the cost of living in a particular area. However unemployment support is currently separated and centralised in a one-size-fits-all package. This clearly does not reflect differences in the cost of job-seeking between areas, and ensures that support for the unemployed is not personalised to local circumstances. With unemployment currently higher than it has been since October 1996, Job Seeker’s Allowance costing over two billion pounds a year, and growing concern over the current system’s disincentivising effects, it is clearly time to consider new ways of delivering support to the jobless.
In this Policy Platform we learn about the current problems created by centralised benefit delivery, and the possibilities and challenges of localised reform from three perspectives. The articles come from Steve Carey, Chief Officer of Revenue and Benefits at Leeds City Council; Alastain Gordon, Policy Analyst for Essex County Council; and Anne Fairweather, Head of Public Policy at The Recruitment and Employment Confederation.