DWP: Touchbase – Fri 27 Jan

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Cold Weather Payments reminder 

Households receiving certain benefits could be eligible for extra money to help keep warm during the cold weather between now and the end of March 2023. 

DWP’s Cold Weather Payments are an automatic bank top-up of £25. The payments are triggered to eligible households when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, zero degrees C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to an eligible person’s postcode. 

Customers will have the payment credited to their bank account within 14 days of the trigger.  

You can check if payments are being issued in your area on GOV.UK

Child Maintenance Service to clamp down on domestic abuse 
New laws protecting parents who use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) from abusive ex-partners are due to be introduced following an independent review. 

Survivors of domestic abuse will be given the choice to allow the CMS to collect and make payments on their behalf – without needing the consent of an abusive ex-partner. This will prevent perpetrators from using child maintenance as a form of ongoing financial abuse and control and mean survivors will not have to have contact with their ex-partner if there is evidence of domestic abuse. 

The CMS will also have new powers to report suspected cases of financial coercion to the Crown Prosecution Service to help bring abusers to justice. One-to-one support for survivors will be piloted and domestic abuse training for staff improved. 

Read the full press release  

Challenge Fund launched for projects to improve parents’ access to conflict support 

DWP is seeking bidders for its new £3.6 million Challenge Fund which supports couples and separated parents to reduce conflict, so their children have healthier environments to grow up in and can reach their full potential as adults. 

Applicants can include local authorities or other public sector organisations, private sector companies working in digital for example, or social enterprises, voluntary or community organisations. 

Successful bidders will receive a minimum £150,000 grant to back their projects, between June 2023 and November 2024. 
The closing date for applications is 24 February 2023. Potential applicants must also complete an eligibility check by 8 February. 

Read the full press release

Find out more on how to apply 

Completing the move to Universal Credit: Learning from the Discovery Phase 
Universal Credit (UC) has streamlined and simplified the benefits system by combining six ‘legacy’ benefits into a single monthly payment. However, there remain 2.5m households claiming legacy benefits and tax credits who have yet to move over to UC.  

DWP has published research and analysis from the early Discovery Phase of Move to Universal Credit. Overall, the evidence from Discovery is positive and provides us with confidence that we can safely transition claimants to UC. 

Help jobseekers find a rewarding role in adult social care

The Department of Health and Social Care’s national adult social care recruitment campaign, ‘Made with Care’ is now live until March 2023.

The campaign highlights the emotional rewards that a career in care can bring, offering those with the right personal qualities the opportunity to change lives. It celebrates the training and progression opportunities that are available along with the option to work varied hours.

Jobseekers can find more information and search for roles on the website.

You can support the campaign by raising awareness of the opportunities in adult social care across your channels by downloading the free toolkit.

Planned industrial action in jobcentres 

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has announced a one-day strike on 1 February across the Civil Service, including in DWP. Benefits are paid automatically and people who rely on that support will continue to receive it. 

We will keep jobcentres open where there are sufficient numbers to make it safe to do so, offering a limited service to vulnerable customers. Where this is not possible we will display a contact number or alternative office details in the window. We will contact customers if appointments need to be rescheduled. 

Planned industrial action in schools in England 

The National Education Union has announced the first day of national strike action in schools in England on Wednesday 1 February, with further dates in February and March. 

Ahead of this, the Department for Education has produced a stakeholder information pack and a shareable graphic for parents

We would appreciate if you could please share these with your stakeholder networks, particularly those reaching parents, carers, and organisations working with vulnerable children and families. The graphic is intended to be shareable through parent social forums and on WhatsApp.