The full Universal Credit service will be rolled out nationally for all types of claimants from May 2016, completing in June 2018. At this point we will start to move the people receiving legacy benefits to Universal Credit. This carefully managed process will finish by early 2021.
This means the need for Local Authorities to administer Housing Benefit for working age people will progressively reduce. Local Authorities need to plan for the future and have sought clarity about implications for their staff currently administering Housing Benefit.
Today I can confirm that my Department does not propose to make any staff transfer arrangements for Local Authority staff who currently work on Housing Benefit for people of working age.
There has been extensive consideration of this issue and engagement with the Local Authority associations. As Universal Credit is a new benefit, delivered in a new and fundamentally different way, my Department has concluded that there will be no “relevant transfer” within the meaning of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (as amended). Any such transfer would anyway be exempt as a transfer of administrative functions between public administrative authorities. My Department has also considered the requirements of the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice (COSOP). My Department has concluded that COSOP does not apply where, as here, there is no “relevant transfer” for the purposes of TUPE; and that the new and fundamentally different delivery model for Universal Credit makes staff transfers inappropriate.
The phased nature of this process means that the impact on Local Authorities can be managed in a way which minimises the need for any redundancies. Where this does not prove possible, after the exercise of all reasonable efforts to redeploy people, the Department has given Local Authorities a commitment that we will meet their costs of any residual redundancies.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords