DWP Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit for low income or unemployed people. In order to test its suitability for a full rollout, the Department for Work & Pensions needed to understand claimant experiences, attitudes, behaviours and outcomes in trial areas.

How did IFF illuminate the situation with research?

The DWP was able to make robust initial assessments of the likely impact of Universal Credit based on IFF’s research. This included monitoring differences in job search activity levels in the trial areas and how claimants adapted to receiving payments monthly, rather than weekly.

IFF conducted three waves of surveys with claimants in the pilot areas and developed a hypothetical test location against which these sites could be judged.

Needing to quickly gather accurate data that was ready for the DWP to use, we achieved high response rates of up to 50% in the first survey, and 71% in a follow-up, which captured progress over time.

We were able to achieve these rates thanks to our fieldwork team’s 15+ years of experience in interviewing benefit claimants. We also had full control over resourcing, with data collection and processing departments both being in-house, enabling us to accommodate intensive timescales.

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