Citizens Advice call for tailored face to face and online support to help reduce benefit error

14 May 2013 04:24 PM

Latest estimates from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are that £1.6bn is lost through claimant errors and £0.7bn through official errors in the benefits system.

Responding to the latest figures from DWP, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said:

"As Government's own figures show, benefit claimants are victims of the complexity of the current benefits system - Universal Credit is a much-needed simplification of this outdated system.

"This radical overhaul of the benefit system will not be without teething problems and could increase error in the short term.

"Government needs to focus on ensuring tailored face to face and online support is available so people get their claims right first time round and aren’t caught in a blizzard of benefit changes.

“Day in day out Citizens Advice Bureaux witness first hand the impact of benefit changes and support people to navigate new systems. Tameside CAB are helping the first people ever to claim universal credit and in 2012 CABs dealt with 430,000 queries around the Employment and Support Allowance."

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
  3. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  4. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  5. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.