DWP consultation on extensive sharing of Universal Credit recipients:ends 12th January

Peter Fairbrother zenadsl6186 at zen.co.uk
Sat Jan 10 22:54:20 GMT 2015

On 10/01/15 12:49, Codepope wrote:
> I would note the paper says social landlords, which is a specific
> class of landlord covering publicly owned and let properties and
> housing associations, not landlords as private individuals.

Yes. And a credit union isn't a credit reference agency, though I am a 
bit unclear on exactly what it is.

Anyway, I had a quick look at the proposal, and The Social Security 
(Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 
2012 (as amended), which are the Regulations which are to be amended by 
The Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services
etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, the new regulations in the proposal.

The main thrust of the proposal is to include Universal Credit in the 
list of benefits to which the 2012 Regulations, and the Welfare Reform 
Act 2012 under which they are made, apply - but as that list already 

* attendance allowance
* disability living allowance
* income-based jobseeker’s allowance
* income-related employment and support allowance
* income support and
* state pension credit

I don't think the main thrust of the proposed regulations, adding 
universal credit to that list, is anything radical. Indeed, the only 
newsworthy aspect I can think of is wondering why they haven't already 
done it.

However, as is often the case, the proposed Regulations include several 
other changes, some largely unrelated to the main thrust.

Including the "universal support initiative" in the list of reasons why 
the SoS can share information is new: the other reasons why the SoS can 
share information relate directly to specific benefits, and are better 
defined, while this is quite a bit woolier.

The "extended benefit unit" is new here too, but the concept already 
exists, tucked away in the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 or perhaps 
somewhere earlier. Nothing major there, though I expect it will cause 
staff some problems; the basic blob of information is no longer just 
about an individual but about several different people in the same 
"unit". Ouch. What can they tell each person about the other people in 
the "unit"? Perhaps that should be thought about a bit more.

The last major change I can see is the proposed regulation 6, where the 
list of qualified persons, people with whom information can be shared, 
is changed. Like demands for information under RIPA, the list of who can 
get data and the reasons they can get data changes frequently.

AFAICT the present list [1] includes, apart from Ministers, their staff, 
and the like, only:

* a social landlord; and

* a person who carries out activities in connection with a troubled 
families programme.

The proposed new list would also include the following three new entries:

*a member of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux or the 
Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux,

*a credit union, and

*a registered charity

This seems like a fairly major change to me, and it doesn't just apply 
to Universal Credit recipients, it applies to almost everybody on 
benefits of any kind.

The purposes for which these people could be given information, or store 
information, are too complex for a quick look - see:


for an explanation of why. Simplifying the welfare system? Bah!

Well, wheew, that's what I think the proposal actually says. I leave it 
to others who hopefully will know more about the general benefits 
situation to say whether that is good or bad.

-- Peter Fairbrother

[1] in regulation 3 (10) of the Social Security (Information-sharing in 
relation to Welfare Services etc.) Amendment and Prescribed Bodies 
Regulations 2013,

More information about the ukcrypto mailing list