Universal Credit statistics

Official experimental Universal Credit statistics – and how the department will manage the release of further statistics.


  1. Documents

Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

In April 2013, DWP, with our delivery partners in HMRC and local authorities, introduced Universal Credit for claimants within certain areas of the north-west of England. We will introduce Universal Credit in a managed way, progressively rolling it out nationally from October 2013. The transition from the current system of benefits and tax credits to Universal Credit will be gradual and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Read our Universal Credit policy information

Latest release

We published the experimental statistics for Universal Credit areas for the period April 2013 to 31 January 2014 on 16 April 2014.

We’ve also published a PDF version of these statistics and released them through Stat-Xplore.

The statistics cover total live caseload and starts on Universal Credit, with breakdowns by Jobcentre Plus office, local authority, parliamentary constituency, gender, age band and duration.

On 15 September 2013, the National Audit Office released a report “Universal Credit: early progress” that includes an approximate figure for the cumulative number of new claims for Universal Credit. This is an estimate based on management information that is intended to give an indication of the number of people who have gone through the Universal Credit claims process. It does not form part of DWP’s official statistics.

DWP will only release statistics and management information on Universal Credit that are part of its publication strategy. This is designed to ensure that statistics are placed into the public domain in a clear and controlled way.

Next release: 14 May 2014

Statistics main findings

The details of people who started on Universal Credit are that:

  • between April 2013 and 31 January 2014, a total of 5,250 people started on Universal Credit
  • the majority are males, with a male to female ratio around 7:3
  • most new claims are from unemployed people aged under 25

The Universal Credit caseload at 31 January 2014 was 4,640 and nearly 7 in 10 were under 25.

Release strategy

We have now published official statistics on the national roll out of Universal Credit following guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority. These make sure that the published statistics achieve a satisfactory balance between timeliness and data quality.

Future releases of Universal Credit statistics have been aligned with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Market Statistics (LMS) release dates to provide a more coherent picture of the labour market to be presented at the same time. These dates have been pre-announced for the whole of 2014.

National data from the new IT systems for Universal Credit

The data source for Universal Credit will eventually allow a wide range of breakdowns to be published. These will become available gradually as the IT system is introduced. As the plans for the IT system are not yet finalised, it is not possible to give a definitive list of what statistics we can provide. Examples of the kind of statistics that we aim to produce are:

  • individual characteristics (for example age, gender, ethnicity, geography – including small area geography such as output area)
  • some assessment unit level information where appropriate (for example number of adults, number of dependent children, total payment)
  • labour market (for example employment status)
  • claim information (for example start dates, end dates, duration)
  • housing
  • health (for example Work Capability Assessment details, condition)
  • entitlement (for example appeals, entitlement breakdowns, benefit cap status)

Universal Credit and the Claimant Count

Universal Credit will affect the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Claimant Count but the initial impact in the pathfinder stage is small. DWP has undertaken to supply information to ONS on unemployed Universal Credit claimants for inclusion in the Claimant Count for the pathfinders and national roll out as soon as possible, subject to data availability and quality assurance by DWP. In the longer term, ONS will receive a direct feed from the Universal Credit IT system to supplement the existing direct feed from the JSA IT system.

Research and evaluation

In December 2012, we published an evaluation framework setting out our broad intentions for the evaluation of Universal Credit. Universal Credit evaluation will form part of a continuous programme of analysis to support policy development and continuous learning. In broad terms, evaluation will explore:

  • delivery and implementation
  • attitudes and behaviours
  • impacts and impact measurement
  • testing and experimentation
  • cost-benefit analysis

The scale of Universal Credit demands a wide-ranging evaluation using a number of different approaches over the lifetime of the policy. This will encompass on-going monitoring, ‘live running reviews’ of implementation and delivery through to longer term analysis of the outcomes and impacts for different groups of claimants from implementation through to 2017 and beyond.

We will develop a detailed timetable for reporting on individual studies as we work through the commissioning process in line with published Government Social Research protocols. We anticipate publishing the full Universal Credit Pathfinder claimant survey in Spring 2014 once all 3 waves of the survey are completed.

We’ve published interim results from the Universal Credit pathfinder evaluation claimant survey, wave 1 conducted between August 2013 and October 2013.

Further information

If you have any views on the type of Universal Credit statistics you would like to see, please get in touch with us at:

Or please visit the Welfare and Benefit Statistics community on the Royal Statistical Society StatsUserNet

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