Benefits Policy

Our hopes and objectives

We plan to favour those in need, the disabled and long-term sick. Fresh emphasis will focus on help for the unemployed with adult training for better employment prospects.

Strategic plans are a move from in-work benefits by increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. This will move the cost of employment back to employers and away from the state.

Our plans

Universal Credit (UC) shall be kept as the preferred solution for benefit payments but will work on transition issues to remove financial disadvantages as people move to this system.  The additional costs should pay-back from the reduced cost of administering UC.

We will continue unemployment benefit emphasising it as an essential safety net for basic needs. We recognise ‘jobs for life’ are almost extinct, so there will be financial incentives to get skills needed for new opportunities.

Sickness and Disability benefits need clearer definition to ensure better allocation for short term difficulties. This will advantage those in need and may result in a change in balance towards those needing long term assistance.  A team of appropriate experts to examine and redesign the system will set to work to produce an outline plan to move from the current system, in a series of timed steps, to a new one with emphasis on learning on the way to implementation. This means that if experience of the change throws up better ways of doing things well, the process will flex in response.  We will not implement anything as a big bang change and advance notification to give sufficient notice will be given for everyone affected to adapt.

Challenges

Benefits have become increasingly complex, problematic and expensive.  It is time to reassess and improve the system.

Out of work benefits are sometimes seen as too generous permitting long term unemployment as a lifestyle with an accompanying loss of confidence and disconnect from society.

In work benefits appear to subsidise employers. In response we plan to move the focus to the living wage.

Sickness and disability benefits expenditure will not be cut but there will be greater support for those who have no choice but to rely on them.

Good management

Grand plans failing to learn as they go along have caused huge damage and costs. We believe in setting objectives but know that flexibility during implementation is essential. Results are all. Managed flexibility will be used to avoid repeats of huge failed projects of the past, costs to beneficiaries as well as to the benefits budget. Special focus will be on IT procurement and on the efficient use of consultants, keeping their use to a minimum. Well spent money reduces costs leaving more available to serve society.

These are some of the ways Compass aims to favour people in need, the disabled and the long-term sick.