Moving Social Security Online

Moving social security online (conference)

The government’s overhaul of the benefits system will put enormous pressure on the Department of Work and Pensions to keep costs down while maintaining quality and coping with growing numbers of unemployed and aging people. In the build-up to an LSE conference on moving social security online, our bloggers proposed strategies to digitise social security payments and other innovations which could increase productivity and reduce fraud error in the system.

The government’s benefits cuts mean that families are finding it even harder to make ends meet

Rising inflation and the freezing and cutting of benefits for those in work mean that households are more squeezed than they were only a year ago – in fact wages need to have risen by 24 per cent for a family to reach the same standard of living as in 2010. Chris Goulden writes that this pressure on family budgets […]

The Dilnot Commission’s proposals will help prevent people with modest assets from losing most of their life’s savings to pay for care

Today sees the launch of the Dilnot Commission’s report on how to reform the funding system for adult social care. Emma Stone looks at what the report proposes, and what that might mean. The key proposal: a social insurance model with an excess The centrepiece of the reform package is a proposal to share the costs of care in later life […]

Ten years after tax, social security departments in the USA and elsewhere are moving cautiously online. The UK is pioneering ‘digital by default’ services and the advent of a universal credit at DWP could be an opportunity for breakthrough progress

Internationally, tax services are now building on solid progress in encouraging online take-up of their services. However social security services have not yet made this break through. Service Canada was the first to put employment insurance online in 2005 and they now have a 98 per cent take-up rate for new applications. The US Social Security Administration followed in 2009 […]

The voluntary sector is at the centre of the government’s Big Society plans. This may offer the possibility of better services, but not necessarily cheaper ones.

One of the core aims of the government’s big society programme is to devolve power and the provision of public services to groups of citizens and voluntary groups. David Lewis finds that more support and capacity building for the voluntary sector is needed if it is to be able to contribute to big society plans. Every time the ‘big society’ […]

Universal Credit may reinforce the traditional ‘male breadwinner’ model and affect many women’s access to an income

The proposed Universal Benefit is one of the coalition’s flagship policies, aiming to consolidate benefits and tax credits into one single payment, thereby reducing complexity and administration costs significantly. Claire Annesley and Fran Bennett of the Women’s Budget Group argue that a move to a single benefit would have disproportionate effects on women in low income families by reinforcing the […]

1.6 million children in the UK live in severe poverty: the government must do more to target areas of high deprivation, poverty and worklessness

Child poverty in the UK is not unique to times of recession or austerity, but may be made worse by expected job losses, inflation and increases in VAT. Gareth Jenkins of Save the Children UK discusses new research which finds that in some areas of high deprivation there are as many as one in four children in severe poverty, and […]

Government productivity in UK social security has not grown across two decades to 2008 – largely because DWP senior civil servants blocked any move to ‘digital era’ services

Looking at the Department of Work and Pensions, Patrick Dunleavy and Leandro Carrera show that overall productivity levels failed to grow at all across two decades, despite massive capital investment, increased IT spend and several business process reorganizations. The dominance of a conservative organizational culture among senior public managers, plus constant policy churn, prevented any transition to delivering transactions or […]

‘Best in world’ broadband for the UK will never happen unless the government stops pledging what they cannot deliver and starts fixing the implementation gaps that have marred all earlier efforts

The government has announced that ‘super-fast broadband’ will be available across the UK  by 2015. But is this  just the latest in a long line of similar announcements, or will it succeed where others have failed? Jerry Fishenden argues that in order for the government to deliver on these latest promises, it must close the gap between aspiration and […]