Qualitative research with employers to help inform the design and implementation of Universal Credit.
This research was commissioned in 2012, prior to the launch of Universal Credit. It was commissioned to ensure we included feedback from employers in the design and delivery of Universal Credit, including communications and preparation activity.
The research has enabled us to:
- understand employer behaviour better and how Universal Credit might change it
- assess employer reaction to Universal Credit, prior to its launch in 2012, including what they perceive to be the business benefits, burdens and risks
- identify ways to improve the proposed employer experience to meet employer needs and achieve policy intent
- identify opportunities and constraints in using employers as a communications channel to reach claimants
We are consulting more widely with employers throughout the development of Universal Credit to ensure that we take account of their feedback and test our assumptions. We plan to continue this approach through face-to-face meetings and discussion forums to ensure that any changes fit with the needs and working practices of employers.
What we have done since completing the research
Since completing the research, we have ensured that employers are kept up to date with all relevant changes through concise and timely communications. These will continue as Universal Credit develops and is fully rolled out. These communications include:
- a range of tools and resources for employers on the Universal Credit partner toolkit which is being regularly updated, to reassure employers that Universal Credit will not add extra burdens but will benefit them through greater labour market flexibility
- working with trade bodies such as the The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) to provide information for their members about Universal Credit
- ministers and policy officials meeting with employers throughout the country
- presenting to payroll and human resource (HR) staff with a particular focus recently on the north west where Universal Credit is continuing its roll out to cover 1 in 8 Jobcentres by the end of 2014
- working in consultation with employers and employer groups, such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), on developing trials to help people progress in work , and with trade bodies on communication methods
- working with HM Revenue & Customs to ensure that Real Time Information (RTI) is introduced smoothly and monitoring progress for Universal Credit claimants (the latest figures show that over 95% of PAYE schemes are now reporting over 99% of PAYE records through RTI)
- since September 2013, including information in all HM Revenue & Customs employer bulletins that are sent to a large number of employers on a quarterly basis
- working with national employers and trade bodies to publicise the advantages of Universal Credit through the press, social media and employer networks