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Our Universal Credit Helper scoops prestigious award

Posted on 14 February 2022

A huge congratulations to our Successful Tenancies team for scooping top prize at the Housing Digital Innovation Awards (held on Thursday 10 February).

The team beat off stiff competition (there were nine finalists in the category) in the 'Most Innovative New Product' category, winning with the Universal Credit Helper.

Launched in November 2021, the free online tool was developed by the team to help those applying for Universal Credit for the first time, so they receive all the correct financial support that they are entitled to.

Kerry Starling, Director of Communities and Social Impact, said:

“This is an incredible and well deserved win for the team. We’re so proud of the UC Helper and believe that it will make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“We wanted to produce a ‘friendly companion’, as applying for UC can be complex and overwhelming. We also wanted to come up with a solution that could be adopted across the social housing sector, which is why we’ve designed it so that other organisations can rebrand it easily and then use themselves. It’s an easy to use visualisation of the UC journey and includes a checklist for customers so they can track their progress, as well as helpful tips for each stage of the process.

“The tool was developed with input from our frontline staff and customers, so it’s very much a result of their input and expertise. It’s also mobile friendly and uses very little data. Reception in the sector has been fantastic- 60 organisations have already created their own version.”

Universal Credit is notoriously difficult to find your way around. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, 98% of UC applications are made online, but nearly half (46%) of those applying said they needed extra help to complete their application.*

A housing association Head of ICT and Digital said about the tool:

“Thanks again for your insight and development on the UC Helper, it really is gold dust. I’ve met with my UC team today and they’re already looking at roll out for customers – it’s a real game changer.”

The team worked with digital agency Yalla Cooperative to create the UC Helper. Development was supported by £35,000 of funding from Catalyst and The National Lottery Community Fund Covid-19 Digital Response programme. The discovery and design phase was delivered by Dynamic Skillset Ltd.

The awards were held at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

Find out more about our Universal Credit Helper.

* DWP Universal Credit full service claimant survey, 2018