Arrears Management: The Impact of Universal Credit and Welfare Benefit Reform

The Welfare Reform Act and the introduction of Universal Credit are dramatically changing how welfare benefits are delivered. The housing element of Universal Credit is paid directly to claimants so it is essential that residents have the ability to budget and manage their money to ensure they do not incur rent arrears.
Group training (5-18 staff): Commercial rate £955; Standard / Concessionary £890 + plus trainer’s expenses + VAT

‘I have done a few courses on Universal Credit, this course was by far the most informative.’

Support Worker, Winchester CC

‘Top training. Highly informative and well pitched.’

Housing Options Worker, Winchester CC

Training aims

This training considers whether rent arrears are inevitable and whether changes may need to be made to Rent Arrears policy. It helps housing staff understand the welfare benefit changes and their likely impact on residents; looks at how to assist residents who have no budgeting skills and/or have significant debt; and how to assist residents maintain their tenancies and to respond to rent arrears.

The training is delivered against a background of rent arrears significantly increasing for tenants who are in receipt of Universal Credit.

Course contains

  • An explanation of the Universal Credit and welfare reform provisions including the Welfare Reform & Work Bill 2016
  • The Welfare Reform changes in April 2013 including the ‘under occupation’ rules and the household benefit cap
  • Universal Credit and its implications for residents and landlords
  • The importance of residents budgeting and managing their money
  • The importance of digital inclusion
  • Rent arrears policy, and if it is inevitable that there will be an increase in evictions
  • Exemptions from some of the Welfare Reform changes
  • How the courts may react to any increase in possession claims
  • Financial inclusion and financial exclusion
  • The principals of budgeting and managing money
  • What housing providers should be considering to help residents.

Learning outcomes

After attending this course, delegates will be able to:

  • Understand how Universal Credit and Welfare Reform impacts on your residents
  • Understand how Universal Credit and Welfare Reform may impact rent arrears
  • Understand whether Universal Credit and Welfare Reform will involve changes to Rent Arrears policy
  • Consider the help and support that may be needed for residents in order to minimise rent arrears
  • Consider the impact of Universal Credit and Welfare Reform on strategy and policy.

Suitable for

Housing officers, rent arrears officers, income recovery officers, revenue protection officers, support officers or anyone advising or supporting residents to maintain their tenancy.

Meet the trainer

Richard Stanier

Richard has over 30 years’ experience in housing benefits, having started his career in local government in 1984. Having attained the Full Professional Qualification of the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation, Richard has practiced as a consultant and trainer since 2003.

Whilst specialising in complex housing benefit and Universal Credit legislation in areas such as ‘persons from abroad’ and ‘exempt and supported accommodation’, Richard also has extensive experience in delivering introductory courses on housing benefit, the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Universal Credit and welfare benefits generally.

As a consultant Richard has undertaken work involving Customer Service Excellence, performance management, business process re-engineering, management development, appeals, over-payments and stakeholder engagement.

CPD hours 5