Praise for Caerphilly Council’s Welfare Work

CaerphillyCitizens Advice Bureau has commended a Caerphilly County Borough Council scheme supporting tenants through the UK Government’s welfare reform changes as an example of best practice.

The council’s work to help residents and tenants cope with the impact of the changes to housing benefit payments, such as the under occupancy rule and benefit cap, has been featured in Citizens Advice Bureau’s ‘Making Welfare Work Locally’ best practice showcase. The recognition forms part of a nationwide project to find the best examples of how councils and housing associations are helping people to manage the difficulties caused by these changes.

Co-ordinating its work with staff from Citizens Advice Bureau and Jobcentre Plus, the council has focussed its efforts on direct support for tenants through the employment of Tenancy Support Officers (TSOs). Council TSOs have visited tenants to provide a range of advice and support, enabling smooth referral to a range of organisations for support around debt, energy and employment. The friendly and helpful service provided by the TSOs has been widely credited with having a positive impact on tenants’ wellbeing, as well as their ability to sustain their tenancy. Early indications from customer satisfaction surveys suggest that a large percentage of tenants were ‘very happy’ with the service.

Simon Ellington, Director of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) has congratulated the council for its work helping people cope with the new welfare reforms.

He said: “Getting national welfare reforms right requires strong local work. We have a good relationship with Caerphilly County Borough Council, but working together to help people to cope with the upheaval resulting from welfare reforms has been particularly important.  Since April 2013, we have helped ever increasing numbers of clients with problems caused by welfare reform

“I’m pleased that Caerphilly County Borough Council is getting recognition for its good work in Caerphilly. Helping people to cope with reduced support for housing costs is vital in ensuring our clients can keep a roof over their head. With pressure on household budgets from low wages, rocketing energy bills and high childcare costs, it is all too easy for people to fall behind on their rent.

“Anyone that is struggling with debt, or who is unsure what Government reforms mean for them, should come to us at Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent CAB and we’ll help you to move forward.”

Cllr Gerald Jones, Deputy Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This council has worked hard to support thousands of residents affected by the welfare reform changes imposed by UK Government. Our staff have been getting out into the community and have really gone the extra mile to help our tenants and residents. I’m thrilled that the fantastic efforts of our staff have been honoured by Citizens Advice Bureau as an example of best practice – this accolade is thoroughly deserved.”


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