UC managed migration pilot

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The UC managed migration pilot regulations allow the Secretary of State to transfer 10,000 people to UC as part of a pilot preceding managed migration nationwide.

As of June 2019 DWP planned to transfer between 100 and 2000 people to UC as part of the pilot: 'The initial “Test the Concept” Phase will cover around 20-50 claimants, the pilot will then move on to the “Develop the Service” Phase. The current estimate is that around 100
claimants, will be moved in phases during the first months. Subject to successful progress
a “Learn How to Grow” Phase will be introduced from around January 2020 which will take
the pilot up to between 100 and 2000 claimants.' http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPaper...

By 27/01/2020 the number of people on the pilot was 80, with around 13 having moved on to universal credit. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/20...

The pilot was 'temporarily suspended' at 30/03/2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On 08/11/2021 the Secretary of State said that she did not envisage a need for the pilot to be resumed. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/20...

1. How many people were part of the pilot? How many of these people were single? How many had children?
2. how many people were notified that they were to be migrated to UC?
3. how many people who were notified subsequently claimed UC by their deadline for doing so (without extension)?
4. how many people who were notified subsequently claimed UC (within an extended deadline)?
5. how many people who were notified did not claim UC?
6. how many people who claimed UC received an award?

Yours faithfully,

Owen Stevens

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

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Dear Owen Stevens,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 9th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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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 'UC managed migration pilot'.

The public interest favours disclosing the information in this case.

S.35(1)(a) was the exemption relied on in IC-47958-R8L1 (though DWP also relied on s.42(1) in that case). In that case the Commissioner held that the public interest favours disclosing the requested information.

DWP currently plans to carry out the bulk of managed migration of 2023 and 2024 and to have completed managed migration by the end of 2024. See Q38: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevi...

It’s difficult to say with accuracy how many people will be managed migrated to UC but it will be a significant number – if DWP have up to date figures then they can provide these. An NAO Report (released in 2018 and titled ‘rolling out universal credit’) said that DWP estimated that they would managed migrate 3.95 million people. The large number of people likely to be managed migrated is a factor indicating the public interest in favour of disclosure.

Everyone going through managed migration is required to make a new claim for UC or, ultimately (after the pilot phase), have their benefit stopped. A large proportion of the people remaining on legacy benefits by 2023 are likely to be people unable to work due to long term health conditions and vulnerabilities. This is because these people are less likely to have had changes in their circumstances which might have prompted natural migration to UC. This is a particular concern given that vulnerable people are most likely to struggle to make claims required for managed migration and are most likely to have benefit stopped as a result. A number of organisations have raised concerns about DWP’s ability to identify and support people with vulnerabilities, including DWP and it’s own advisers:
1. The NAO report states that “the Department’s research in October 2017 shows that some staff found it difficult to support claimants because they: i. lacked the time and ability to identify claimants who needed additional support; ii. lacked the confidence to apply processes flexibly and make appropriate adjustments; and iii. felt overwhelmed by the volume of claimants reporting health problems.”
2. The Social Security Advisory Committee(SSAC) stated that they were concerned that requiring new claims from people being managed migrated loaded ‘an unreasonable level of risk onto the claimant’, that claimants may fall out of the social security system entirely, and that requiring claims as part of managed migration was ‘unnecessary’. (https://ssac.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/30/univ... & https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...)
3. Paras.7 & 8 of this UCPB paper states that DWP’s own research shows managed migration risks causing or exacerbating vulnerability http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPaper...
4. CPAG has also raised concerns based on case studies reported to it’s Early Warning System https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/d...

The number of organisations raising concerns about DWP’s ability to identify vulnerability and to successfully managed migrate people to UC without them dropping out of the benefit system indicates a need to learn about the number of people failing to meet migration deadlines and is a factor indicating the public interest in favour of disclosure of information about the pilot.

The managed migration pilot was, at some stage, presumably planned to involve close to 10,000 people moving onto UC (the pilot regulations allowed for up to 10,000 awards) and possibly over a number of sites (http://localhost:54806/Commons/2019-07-2...) – if there were no plans to migrate roughly this number of people then it’s hard to know why that number was included in the regulations made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. At some point later DWP amended their plans to pilot managed migration with up to 2000 people. Going on the figures provided by DWP so far it seems likely that only a fraction of that number were actually included in the pilot. The fact that DWP have only piloted managed migration in a fraction of the number of cases originally planned and only in one site suggests that DWP may have insufficient experience of the process in a wide variety of cases. Having clarity over the true extent of DWP’s experience during the pilot is a factor indicating the public interest in favour of disclosure.

Disclosure would serve the public interest by providing information on the matters considered before announcing a policy that affects significant numbers of vulnerable people and has led to significant debate around its merits and impact.

The DWP response cites fear of premature disclosure causing poorer decision making and inadequate recording of decisions. DWP civil servants should not be easily deterred from giving impartial and robust advice by the possibility of future disclosure. No other objection is provided.

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

Yours faithfully,

Owen Stevens

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S. Gwilliam left an annotation ()

Hi Owen,
we appear to have similar requests, and to be encountering the same (tbh not unexpected) difficulties obtaining the information.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please indicate when I should expect a response to this review request.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Stevens

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please register a complaint about the length of time taken to respond to this internal review request.

Thank you

Owen Stevens

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DWP Central FOI Team,

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Dear Owen Stevens,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 3rd
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Owen Stevens left an annotation ()

ICO ref IC-153041-G4J7

freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Owen Stevens,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 3rd
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Owen Stevens left an annotation ()

DWP have still not fully answered this FOI. I have contacted the ICO to ask to continue with my complaint.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

' Tax credits and some benefits are ending: claim Universal Credit'

Updated 18 August 2022

'If you have received a letter (called a Migration Notice) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), then some of your existing benefits will be ending soon. This guidance is only for people who have received a Migration Notice letter and live in:

Bolton
Falmouth
Harrow
Medway
Truro'

For everyone else visit the Universal Credit guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Owen Stevens left an annotation ()

New response provided by DWP can be accessed here: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/view...

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

1 Attachment

Dear Owen Stevens,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 3rd
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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Owen Stevens left an annotation ()

DWP have provided the requested information. I have agreed that the ICO investigation should be closed.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Baroness Steadman-Scott answered a question from Lord Taylor of Warwick:

UIN HL3779

'Movement of legacy benefit recipients to Universal Credit (UC) started in May 2022, with the first 500 notices taking place in Bolton and Medway. Since then, the Discovery Phase of Move to UC issued over 1500 Migration Notices across 5 geographical areas including Truro & Falmouth, Harrow, Northumberland, and Cornwall.

By the end of 2024 we estimate nearly 90% of households claiming working age means tested benefits will be on UC.'

https://questions-statements.parliament....