Welfare reforms have driven up demand for many small and local charities. We’re pushing for changes to improve our welfare system

How we're Influencing Policy and Practice

Each month, charities tell us how demand for their services is rising in both numbers and complexity. They also tell us this is often a consequence of welfare reforms.


While we’re helping charities to respond to these demands through our core funding and development support, we need to influence the system if we’re going to stem demand. To do that we are looking at how we can influence improvements in the welfare system.


Core areas of interest for our welfare work are:

  1. Ensuring people of working age can access the benefit support they need
  2. Ensuring these benefits aren’t taken away unfairly, to prevent people from needing crisis support
  3. Ensuring people of working age who do fall through the gaps can access crisis support
  4. Being able to respond to opportunities to improve access to, and the help available from, welfare support and challenge unfair practices


Universal Credit has presented a number of challenges to charities we fund and their clients. From difficulties with the digital process to the five-week wait for first payments, charities are providing more and more support as people struggle to access the benefits they need.


To look at this in more depth, we co-funded Bright Blue’s Helping Hand report focused on improving Universal Credit. Charities we fund fed evidence into this report, with a focus group also providing further context and challenge. We and Bright Blue have shared this with the government and are pushing for more changes to address the challenges in the system.


We’re also investing in a new project looking at how to improve crisis support in local areas. The withdrawal of the Social Fund and reduction in the availability of local welfare assistance schemes means it’s much harder for people to access support when they face financial crisis. We’re helping The Children’s Society to work with local charities and local authorities to pilot a more coordinated response.