A new digital platform will increase the amount benefits claimants contribute to their local economy - and deliver significant savings on advice budgets for councils, housing associations and other advisory bodies.
BetterOff helps claimants maximise their income by claiming all they are entitled to - and ultimately puts them in a better position to find employment. As well as pointing claimants towards job opportunities - BetterOff highlights how much better off people would be in sustainable work.
BetterOff is a self-service digital platform, optimised for mobiles, that streamlines the process of advising and representing job-seeking benefits claimants, reducing face-to-face and telephone contact. Its user-friendly, guided approach ensures that claim forms are completed correctly and that sanctions are effectively challenged at tribunals. Around 70 per cent of claimants will be able to self-serve using BetterOff.
It is being rolled out by Kirklees Council where each year around 25,000 people use services, such as the Kirklees Benefits Advice Service (KBAS) and Citizens Advice Bureaux. It is estimated that claimants could increase their income by as much as £5,000 per annum, with an associated contribution to the regional economy. Kirklees Council will save £400,000 on this year’s benefits advice budget alone.
The system will help to boost spending in more deprived parts of the community - spending that will, for the large part, benefit the broader local economy.
The burden on other public services, charities and voluntary organisations will be reduced, and benefits claimants are also less likely to borrow money from pay-day loan companies or unregulated sources.
LookingLocal will be showcasing the product to senior advice, revenues and benefits managers at a preview event on 8th Jul, with a view to partnering with other local authorities and advice organisations to further refine the platform.
Guy Giles, Managing Director of LookingLocal, said: “It is clear that, by helping people back into work and increasing their spending power, BetterOff will improve claimants’ lives and deliver wider social and economic benefits, as well as achieving immediate savings for councils, housing providers and other support organisations that provide advice.”