Research and analysis

Universal Credit Pathfinder Evaluation

This report provides the main findings from the evaluation of the Universal Credit Pathfinder.


Universal Credit Pathfinder Evaluation


Universal Credit (UC) is a simpler, single monthly payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. The introduction of UC represents a fundamental reform of the benefits system. It aims to:

  • help claimants and their families to become more independent
  • simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment

We are introducing Universal Credit gradually and initially introduced it from April 2013 in certain areas of the north west of England, known as ‘Pathfinder sites’.

We commissioned the Pathfinder evaluation as part of the department’s commitment to evaluate the implementation of UC. The objective of the evaluation was to provide timely and operationally relevant evidence to support:

  • the continual improvement of the pathfinder
  • the further roll out of UC

We carried out the evaluation during the very early stages of the introduction of UC.

During the evaluation we regularly made improvements in response to learnings.

We have used the findings from the evaluation to:

  • refine and develop the service for UC claimants
  • enhance training and guidance for DWP staff
  • inform the design of the digital UC service, which is developing the systems and processes for UC in the future

Authors: Universal Credit Evaluation Team, DWP.

Published 22 October 2014