On 26 January 2022 the DWP announced that Citizens Advice in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland will deliver the universal credit Help to Claim service from April 2022.
While under the current contract face to face support is available, the new contract is limited to just telephony and digital channels.
NAWRA believes that this is completely inappropriate for vulnerable people who are seeking help because they struggle with those channels.
NAWRA is also concerned at the Minister’s comment that those who are unable to access support via these channels will be sent to their local jobcentre where the staff ‘will identify the right support to meet their needs’.
Jobcentre staff are not qualified to give independent advice on whether or not to claim – advice that is particularly important as the government ramps up its ‘voluntary Move to UC’ campaign. It is essential that funding is provided so that independent advice is available to everyone who needs it.
NAWRA has therefore written to the Secretary of State – copied to the Work and Pensions Committee – to express our serious concerns about this development.