3.1 Prepare for Welfare Reform

  • Establish a welfare reform action committee to coordinate Birmingham’s response.
  • Birmingham City Council should develop a policy position on welfare reform including how the Social Fund will be administered.  Consideration should also be given to the areas where there is discretion and how this will be managed.
  • An urgent data modelling exercise should be completed to identify who will be affected by the changes and the scale and nature of the predicted impact.
  • An effective communications programme should be established to ensure that the individuals affected by the reform understand the impact whether they be claimants, service providers or frontline staff.
  • Birmingham City Council should consider developing a policy around payment holidays against Council Tax bills and other council debits when individuals secure employment.
  • Agencies in the city should agree and implement a multi-agency approach to support those in crisis, including wrap around support such as food banks, jam jar accounts, and credit unions.
  • The city council and its partners should reinvigorate and re-launch the financial inclusion partnership to tackle financial inclusion.
  • A multi-agency advice strategy should be developed and agreed including training for frontline staff.
  • Protocols for information sharing across agencies should be agreed.
  • Agencies should work together to ensure that job opportunities are made available to those affected.