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How to predict the demand for your customer facing services in April 2021

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COVID-19 has created residents who are newly financially vulnerable and who will be looking to you for help in the near future.

But who are these people, and what action can you take now to stop them falling into crisis?

And, critically, how will your support services need to adapt?

Review the slides to learn:

- What the best and worst case scenarios look like for councils in 2021
- How flexible modelling of the future can help you understand the impacts on your caseload
- What the likely impact will be on employment, arrears, and homelessness, and what that means for you

For more information visit, call 0330 088 9242 or email

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How to predict the demand for your customer facing services in April 2021

  1. 1. How to predict the demand for your customer-facing services in April 2021 Wednesday 14 October Policy in Practice webinar
  2. 2. Housekeeping ● Audio check ● Please ask questions throughout ● Download, polls and a survey ● Aim to finish by 11:30 with optional 15 min demo ● Slides and recording will automatically follow ● Follow us on Twitter via @policy_practice
  3. 3. Today’s speakers Zoe Charlesworth Director of Policy and Operations Policy in Practice @ZoeCharleswort1 Louise Murphy Senior Policy and Data Analyst Policy in Practice @_louisemurphy Clive Jones Head of Revenues and Benefits Luton Borough Council @lutoncouncil Fabiana Macor Policy and Data Analyst Policy in Practice @m__fabiana
  4. 4. Give the best support you can to help people on their way policy software analytics
  5. 5. A team of professionals with extensive knowledge of the welfare system. We’re passionate about making social policy work We help over 100 local authorities use their household level data to identify vulnerable households, target support and track their interventions Our benefit calculator engages over 10,000 people each day. We identify the steps people can take to increase their income, lower their costs and build their financial resilience Policy in Practice: What we do
  6. 6. Agenda ● In a changing world, why plan ahead? ● Understand the future better using modelling ● Understand changes to caseload - Luton's experience ● A positive look ahead ● Questions and answers ● Optional 15 min demo of the software shown
  7. 7. 777 Poll: Which uncertainty most concerns you?
  8. 8. 101010 Over to Zoe
  9. 9. COVID-19 presents new challenges The pace of the COVID-19 crisis has meant adjusted forecasts - a shift from relative stability to ever-changing ‘possible scenarios’ ● Out of work benefits doubled to 2.7m by July 2020 ● 15% of the 9.6M on furlough are estimated to become unemployed soon ● Labour market stats: redundancies have doubled in the last quarter Key upcoming changes: ● End of furlough ○ new Lockdown Job Support Scheme and Part-time Job Support Scheme ● COVID-19 benefit changes to expire ● Brexit Councils will need to take uncertainty into account when making decisions about front-line services and budgets for 2021
  10. 10. ● Council Tax collection has suffered ○ 1.3 million households in arrears, worth £500 million (25 June) ○ Reduction to income is primary (although not the only) reason for arrears ■ Being a key worker and having to shield were also factors ● The homelessness ‘landscape’ has changed ○ 14,500 street homeless placed in emergency accommodation by June ○ 5,400 people in temporary accommodation as part of “Everyone In” ■ Funding for the initiative has since stopped ○ £13M for winter support ○ Moratorium on evictions has ended but 6m notice and lockdown measures ○ Impact of the benefit cap The story so far ...
  11. 11. Future changes What we know: ● November 2020 - Minimum Income Floor to be reinstated ● April 2021 - other COVID-19 measures to expire: ○ £20/week increase to UC Standard Allowance, Housing Benefit income disregard and Tax Credits ○ LHA rates reflect cheapest 30% of rents What we know might vary: ● The unemployment impact of furlough ● Impact of local lockdowns ● Will there be a last-minute u-turn on welfare uplift? Party pressure for the Chancellor to keep the £20/week uplift
  12. 12. Why plan ahead? Immediate impacts ● Benefits caseload and resource impacts ● Demographics of the new low-income cohort (unemployed or working reduced hours) - who will need support? With implications ● For the council: ○ Council Tax Reduction - caseload, cost and arrears ■ Cost per household increasing since more households out of work ○ Local service delivery ○ Budgets and financial planning ● For households: ○ Wider issues around debt and arrears ○ Homelessness ○ Financial resilience and poverty
  13. 13. 151515 Poll: What’s the biggest change you are making to your frontline services in view of COVID-19?
  14. 14. 161616 Over to Louise
  15. 15. 2020 is not what we expected ● Previously we were modelling into 2023: ○ Before COVID-19, councils wanted to look to the future when UC was rolled out, the National Minimum Wage was increased, etc. ● 2023 now seems like a long time away! ● Our clients wanted: ○ To know what will happen if the COVID-19 benefits measures are stopped in April 2021 ○ To know what will happen when the furlough scheme ends ○ Flexibility to make the future modelling reflect their local situation ○ Information about the impact on the council (eg CTS caseload and cost) as well as on individual households (poverty rates etc.) ● We can model best and worst case scenarios to give councils a range of possible scenarios to work from
  16. 16. Modelling future changes in LIFT Preview
  17. 17. Caseload changes ● Complicated situation: interaction of COVID-19, move to UC, CTR scheme change ● Total HB and CTR caseload has dropped between Feb and Oct 2020
  18. 18. What we can model: demographics Preview Feb 2020 Aug 2020 April 2021 - best case April 2021 - worst case
  19. 19. What we can model: cost We are modelling the cost of CTR in 2021 based on: ● Actual CTR awards of the current CTR cohort ● Average awards for the projected 2021 cohort based on: ○ Average CTR awards for in work, unemployed and out of work (carer/disabled/lone parent) households in current cohort ○ Projected number of in work, unemployed and out of work households in 2021 (using the demographic distribution of the new CTR cohort that joined after April 2020) ● We also merge benefits data with CT arrears data to predict impact on arrears in 2021 ● Amidst all the uncertainty, it is important to get as much as possible out of the data you have.
  20. 20. 222222 Questions with Clive
  21. 21. 232323 What changes have you seen in your caseload over the last few months?
  22. 22. 242424 How are you using your data to help you plan for the future?
  23. 23. 252525 What are you doing in response to the changes 2020 has brought?
  24. 24. 262626 What advice would you give to other local authorities and the organisations they work with to plan for the future?
  25. 25. 272727 Conclusion
  26. 26. You can make a difference ● Create a sustainable CTR scheme ● Update your debt recovery policy ● Encourage people to claim all the central-government benefits they're eligible for. If people receive more money (DWP and HMRC) their financial situation will improve. They will be more likely to be able pay Council Tax bills, and less reliant on discretionary support from local authorities.Often missed benefits include: ○ Free School Meals, Warm Homes Discount, Healthy Start vouchers, free prescriptions … ● Target your discretionary support effectively ● Use data to help you support your residents
  27. 27. 292929 Questions and answers
  28. 28. ● LIFT Platform ● Benefit and Budgeting Calculator ● For up to date information on the welfare support available see ● Download our new product brochure ● Follow up email with webinar recording and slides, with links ● Short survey to follow now ● Next webinars: ○ Wed 11 Nov: How to find the right debt solution for everyone ○ Wed 9 Dec: 2020: A policy review of the year, and look forward to 2021 Practical tools that can help
  29. 29. 313131 Poll: Join us for a look at the software in more detail
  30. 30. 323232 Over to Fabiana for a quick look at the software
  31. 31. 1. Focus on one cohort with LIFT
  32. 32. 2. Identify to street level with LIFT 12 4 3
  33. 33. 3. Engage with tailored support (LIFT)
  34. 34. 3. Engage with tailored support (BBC) This family can save money on heating They’re £600 a month better off in work They’re better off on Universal Credit
  35. 35. 4. Understanding the household journey
  36. 36. 5. Track outcomes over time with LIFT
  37. 37. 393939 Thank you Clive Jones, Luton Borough Council Zoe Charlesworth, Policy in Practice Louise Murphy, Policy in Practice Fabiana Macor, Policy in Practice 0330 088 9242