Oxford City Council’s Welfare Reform Team has supported its 300th customer into work.
The Welfare Reform Team helps Oxford tenants whose housing benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t cover their rent to find work, training and any other support they need to improve their long-term financial situation. The team’s main goal is to prevent homelessness.
In most cases, the Welfare Reform Team aims to help its customers find work or increase their hours at work. The team’s role is a blend of work coaching and benefits, housing and financial capability advice – which means it also supports its customers to resolve issues with their housing and benefits.
Since the rollout of Universal Credit to couples and families began in October 2017, the Welfare Reform Team has also supported Oxford residents to make and maintain their online claims, and to manage monthly benefit payments.
The council initially set up the Welfare Reform Team as a response to the introduction of the bedroom tax and benefit cap in 2013. The team’s work has evolved and its service is now open to any Oxford tenant.
Councillor Marie Tidball, Board Member for Supporting Local Communities, said: “Our Welfare Reform Team provides a unique service for Oxford residents and I’m delighted to hear that the team has just supported its 300th customer into work.
“Last year, a National Audit Office report said that welfare reform was the likely main cause of a 60 percent rise in families in temporary accommodation since 2011. We have fewer families in temporary accommodation now than we did in 2011, and the Welfare Reform Team is a crucial part of our efforts to prevent families becoming homeless.”