This paper, The Achilles’ heel of scale service design in social security administration: The case of the United Kingdom’s Universal Credit‘, takes a critical view of the UK government’s design for the delivery of the ‘Universal Credit’ (UC) benefit reforms.
It is argued that the UC is destined to fail because of the policy’s extension into specifying the means (‘digital by default’) of delivery for such services.
The authors argue that an unseen but ubiquitous set of ‘scale’ management assumptions has been allowed to infiltrate the means by which the government intends to enact its headline policy objective to ‘make work pay’. Following Seddon’s ‘Vanguard Method’, a practical example of how a better service was designed in a local authority housing benefits service is then examined.
Results from this service include being able to deal with up to 50% more demand, with fewer resources, in half the official target time. Finally, the paper will conclude with a call for more evidence-based policy.
Seddon J and O’Donovan B, 2013, ‘The Achilles’ heel of scale service design in social security administration: The case of the United Kingdom’s Universal Credit‘ International Social Security Review, Vol. 66, 1/2013.