Citizens Advice And Rights Fife Ltd
Charity registered in Scotland SC027015
Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) provides free information and advice on a wide range of subjects. We are well known for our welfare benefits and debt and money advice but also provide support to clients across a huge range of other topics that include work, consumer issues, relationship issues, housing, the law and your rights, discrimination, tax, healthcare and education.
- From 1st November 2017 to 31st October 2018
- Award: £8,932.62 via Call 5
The aim of the project is to work with the clients who visit our offices seeking advice on how to utilise smart technology to help prevent future benefit issues, including potential sanctions. Universal Credit rolls out to Fife in December 2017.
We will work with clients who will inevitably access our offices with UC enquiries, educating them on how to access and use the online journal element of the UC system, reducing the need for clients to re-access our service for future assistance and negating the threat of sanctions.
Once our advisers/volunteers have resolved the presenting UC issues, they will show clients how to access, and manage, the online journal. This will form part of our service offering to those accessing us for UC difficulties. We will work with those who have access to the technology but lack the digital acuity to manage the online journal system. This is critical to the correct payment of benefit, avoidance of sanctions and ensuring payments are received.
Improved digital skills within our client base, particularly around use of “Online Journal”.
Successful integration of digital education into our existing interview processes.
Our staff and volunteers are upskilled to delivery digital education as part of our normal service delivery.
The projects continues to support vulnerable individuals who access our frontline office with Universal Credit related difficulties. The project continues to educate the individuals on the use of Online Journal, increasing their confidence in dealing with the DWP digital system, integral to the smooth processing of UC claims. More recently, we have moved one of our tablets to our Financial Inclusion team, widening the scope of the project. The Financial Inclusion team can provide more intensive support to a range of individuals. Our Pop-up advisers continue to use the smartphones and are continuing to adapt their working practices to take account of the smart technology including the photographing of documents rather than the elongated process of photocopying and scanning.
The project continues to deliver positive outcomes, both in terms of clients, and equally for the organisation. A significant majority of clients report improvements in their digital skills following their individual sessions relating to Universal Credit's Online Journal platform. On an organisation front, we will use the learning from this project to inform future projects relating to the Universal Support Service that Citizens Advice will be delivering from April 2019. Whilst the numbers accessing the project have been lower than expected, those that have accessed the project have seen their digital skills upskilled and confidence of online platforms increased.
The project was designed to improve clients knowledge of the Online Journal element of Universal Credit enabling them to easily manage their online journal account and avoid any difficulties, including potential sanctions. Our advisers worked with clients on their own "live" journals showing them how to navigate the site, providing information on what to communicate via the site and also improving access to information which helps our advisers resolve any problems clients have had with Universal Credit. The project worked in 3 ways, allowing clients to better understand the online site, allowing clients to understand what to use the site for and allowing our advisers to access real-time information from which to provide accurate, timeous advice.
Our project has now launched and been superbly received by our participating Pop-Up Clinics and our 2 frontline offices. We have taken the time to refine methods of delivery to ensure that the upskilling of our clients is as easy as possible. We have also been careful to create an easy way of collating our data, being mindful of how busy our advisers are. Early results are very positive and a vast majority of clients who have received information on the Online Journal system now know and understand the system better and are significantly more confident in its use. This helps them administer their data online and reduces risks of sanctions. Although the project is very early in its delivery we are already seeing some very positive feedback and it is clear that clients are valuing it. We have also engaged with BT in producing a press release and expect this to be out very shortly.