Millions of people who do not have internet access in their homes can now find information about Universal Credit (UC) and finding work by hitting the red button on their TV remote control.
The new Universal Credit information channels have now seen more than 30,000 hits since they were launched at the end of October, according to digital content provider Looking Local.
The new services, by the Department for Work and Pensions in partnership with Looking Local, have been designed to give the 7 million adults who do not have home internet, access to important information about the new benefit.
The aim is to give the public as much choice as possible over how they receive information.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
As we continue with the rollout of Universal Credit, increasing numbers of people will need to know how it affects them and how to prepare.
Working with Looking Local, we have ensured as many tools as possible exist for people to find out everything they need to know about the easier to understand and more flexible benefit that is Universal Credit.
We are also making sure Universal Credit is an opportunity for people to build online skills, so they can look for work and benefit from what the online world offers for 21st century life.
Sky and Virgin customers who have interactive TV can simply scroll through the menu to the relevant page to view a raft of information, including checking their eligibility for UC and learning how they can make a claim.
In a ground-breaking development, Looking Local has also designed the only public sector service interface for a games console, which Wii users can now use to view the details.
And those who use their smartphone to connect to the web, even though they might not have an internet connection in their home, can access the information via the new app, My Council.
The information can also be accessed via Facebook.
As well as information on UC, people can also access Universal Job Match and The Money Advice Service through Looking Local.
The Introduction of Universal Credit will also see 6,000 new computers in Jobcentres across the country for claimants to look and apply for jobs online.
- UC is a vital welfare reform that merges 6 benefits into one. It will ensure we have a welfare system that means people are always better off in work than on benefits and we are a country that truly backs those who work hard and want to get on
- it is the most radical redesign of the benefits system this country has ever seen, replacing the current costly, outdated process with a digital system that will be simpler to use and make work pay
- Looking Local is owned by Kirklees Council. It has delivered public sector content across digital channels for more than 10 years. It enables public sector organisations to deliver their services on these additional channels without the financial or resource overheads
- in addition to the Universal Credit content, Looking Local works with Universal Jobmatch and The Money Advice Service and is able to link the 3 services together
- according to the ONS Internet Access Quarterly Update for Quarter Three 2013, 7 million adults had never used the internet
- to find out more about Looking Local, visit lookinglocal.gov.uk
To access information on Universal Credit using the new range of measures:
- download the smartphone app from the App Stores by searching for “My Council”
- on Sky go to channel 539 and press the red button
- on Virgin go to Channel 233 and press the red button, or on the remote control chose Home, Interactive, Sports, News & Info, Looking Local
- on a mobile, internet enabled games console go to: www.lookinglocal.gov.uk
- on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lookinglocal then click ‘Local Services’ in the tool bar
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