This qualitative research looked at the needs and behaviours of potential users (current claimants) and administrators (Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Local Authority staff) of Universal Credit. The research took place between March and October 2011 and involved a mixture of individual or paired depth interviews and group discussions with 160 potential users and approximately 30 administrators.
The research was commissioned to ensure user input could be incorporated at an early stage of the Universal Credit design process so it could inform details of the service design. It followed initial research conducted between December 2010 and January 2011 to explore reactions to the Universal Credit proposition, its underlying principles and key components.
This latest research aimed to ensure that the Universal Credit design took account of claimant behaviour, to understand users’ issues or concerns and to ensure any unintended consequences for the claimant were mitigated.
The research involved regular testing to enable rapid feedback to the DWP design team. This ensured identification of issues early in the design process to avoid lengthy and costly rework later. The research highlighted areas within Universal Credit for which specific support and communications will be required, such as the in-work conditionality requirements, and will enable the communications strategy to be based on a good understanding of audience perceptions about the fundamentals of Universal Credit.