Conditionality changes in Universal Credit

Charles Ellinson made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

Charles Ellinson

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The government has announced a number of changes due to come in in the coming months:

1) From Sep 2023, there will be a new conditionality regime for claimants in the light touch regime.
Please provide any documents which describe what requirements will be placed on such claimants, and how the policy will be rolled out.

2) The AET is being increased to an amount equal to 18 hours at the NMW for a single person, and an amount equal to 29 hours at the NMW for a couple.
Please confirm the date this is expected to come into force.

3) The couple threshold of the AET is being removed.
- a. Please confirm the date this is expected to come into force.
- b. Please provide any documents which explain how the rules regarding the loss of transitional protection where a claimant's income reduces below the AET will be amended in light of this change.

4) Expected hours for the main carer of a child aged 3-12 will be increased.
Please confirm how many hours will be expected, and when this is expected to come into force.

5) The main carer of a child aged 1-2 will be required to attend more frequent meetings with a work coach.
Please confirm how often they will be required to attend meetings, and when this is expected to come into force.

For all of the above, if an exact date cannot be provided yet, please provide an approximate date instead.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Ellinson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Charles Ellinson,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 21st
July.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Autumn Statement:

'5.11 In-Work Conditionality for Universal Credit claimants - The government will bring forward the nationwide rollout of the In-Work Progression Offer, announced at Spending Review 2021, starting with a phased rollout from September 2023, to support individuals on Universal Credit (UC) and in-work to increase their earnings and move off benefits entirely. This will mean that over 600,000 claimants on UC whose household income is typically between the equivalent of 15 and 35 hours a week at the NLW will be required to meet with a dedicated work coach in a Jobcentre Plus to increase their hours or earnings.'

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Conditionality changes in Universal Credit'.

My request has been refused on the grounds that:
a) the information in Q1 of my request is already in the public domain, and
b) the rest of the information requested relates to the formulation or development of government policy.

However, the information requested in Q1 of my request is not already in the public domain. I requested details of what types of conditionality will actually be placed on claimants in the light touch regime, and how it will be rolled out (noting the phrase "phased rollout" used in the Autumn Statement last year).

Regarding the remainder of my request, it seems unlikely that providing information regarding timings "risks misunderstanding and confusion of the policy intent" (which is the reason given as to why s.35(1)(a) of the FOIA applies).

It also seems extremely doubtful that no final decisions have yet been made as to timings and other details. Clearly, any documents held by the Department regarding any such final decisions will no longer "relate to the formulation or development of government policy".
In fact, part of Q4 (how many hours would be expected) and the entirety of Q5 of my request had already been announced almost a month prior to your original response to my request! (See here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thous...)

Furthermore, Q3B of my request is a wholly technical query, and the "formulation or development of government policy" exemption shouldn't apply.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Charles Ellinson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
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Dear Charles Ellinson,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 22nd
August.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions' handling of my FOI request 'Conditionality changes in Universal Credit'.

You seem to have completely misunderstood my query. I am not requesting information about the legal status of the conditionality group in which claimants in the light touch regime fall. I am asking about the plans for what conditionality will actually be implemented for those in the light touch regime.

Furthermore, I asked other questions regarding timings of the changes, and also a technical question about the removal of the couple threshold of the AET. These questions have all been ignored in your response to my original internal review request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Charles Ellinson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
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2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
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Dear Charles Ellinson,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 12th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Conditionality changes in Universal Credit'.

Unfortunately, the Department seems to be wilfully misunderstanding my request. I had asked about the changes due to come in from Sep 2023 for those in the Light Touch regime. It had been announced in Budget 2023 that such claimants would be expected to attend regular Work Focussed Interviews and undertake Work Preparation activities. These are types of conditionality provided for by the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (regardless of whether the Department refers to these requirements as conditionality or not).

Please provide details about these changes. This includes any information held by the Department regarding rollout of the changes and what actual requirements will be imposed, and in what circumstances. Please also release any internal guidance covering this.

You also ignored (again) other requests I made regarding timings of various changes, and also a technical question about the removal of the couple threshold of the AET. These have all been ignored in all your responses to date.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Charles Ellinson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
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Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
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why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
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Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
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Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
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Dear Charles Ellinson,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 18th
October.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team