Universal credit: Research and reports

This section of the site contains research and reports that relate to Universal Credit and the stopping tax credits process.

DWP Universal Credit Statistics
DWP research and reports
Impact assessments
Government Reports and research papers
HMRC research and reports
Social Security Advisory Committee reports
External research and reports

DWP Universal Credit Statistics

DWP publish a range of statistics on Universal Credit via the Gov.UK website

DWP research & reports

This is a progress report on the implementation of Universal Credit, including the case for change and the levels by which the impact of Universal Credit will be measured. Importantly, this document also sets out the strategy for roll-out and the phased approach. Universal Credits will be operating across  the north west of England by Christmas 2014, as well as the initial sites and the national roll out for single people who would have otherwise claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance begins early in 2015.

This report provides the main findings from the evaluation of  the earliest stages of Universal Credit roll-out, known as Pathfinder. The evaluation aimed to learn lessons to feed in directly to improvements to UC operations on the ground and is also being used to inform design of the end-state digital UC service, which is developing the systems and processes for delivering UC in the future.

These statistics are for the period April 2013 to 28 Feb 2014. They cover total live caseload and starts on Universal Credit, with breakdowns by Jobcentre Plus office, local authority, parliamentary constituency, gender, age band and duration.

These statistics are for the pathfinder areas for the period April 2013 to 31 October 2013. They cover total live caseload and starts on Universal Credit in the pathfinder areas, with breakdowns by Jobcentre Plus office, local authority, parliamentary constituency, gender, age band and duration.

This summary contains the first release of data from the Universal Credit Pathfinder offices on the benefit’s starters and caseload to September 2013.

The report is the first of a series. The telephone survey of claimants making new claims to Universal Credit was conducted between August 2013 and October 2013. Further surveys will be undertaken with these claimants during different stages of their claimant journey, making this a longitudinal survey. The aim is to gain evidence on a broad range of factors, including experiences of claiming Universal Credit, attitudes and behaviours and outcomes. As part of this research simultaneous surveys were conducted with claimants making new claims to Jobseekers Allowance, allowing comparisons between the two claimant groups to be made.

DWP commissioned this research to help understand more about self-employed tax credit claimants and how Universal Credit will impact them. The research involved 45 in depth interviews with self-employed tax credit claimants in 3 areas of the UK during August and September 2012. It was conducted prior to the amending regulations in April 2013 and the results have been used to inform those amendments and DWP’s approach to guidance for claimants and staff.

This evaluation framework is the first step in the development of the full evaluation programme of Universal Credit. It sets out DWP’s broad intentions for the evaluation, highlights the key aims and objectives and considers possible analytical approaches to areas including the development of a theory of change, impact measurement and the use of existing data sources and evidence bases to add to a long term, comprehensive narrative for Universal Credit.

It also outlines early thoughts on developing a ‘test and learn’ framework within DWP. With provisions within the Welfare Reform Act providing the opportunity to test aspects of the Universal Credit offer, DWP is looking to incorporate a series of small scale policy and delivery experiments within the broader programme of evaluation.

Impact Assessments

Impact assessment for 'Universal Credit: welfare that works' setting out plans to reform the welfare system by creating Universal Credit

The reformed system of Budgeting Advances will not provide the same outcome for all applicants, as some will be able to apply for larger amounts than others. due to differing family compositions. This equality impact assessment looks at the profile of those people who currently access Budgeting Loans as this will form the basis of those eligible for Budgeting Advance although Universal Credit is likely to widen the group who can access this provision.

Government Reports and research papers relating to Universal Credit

House of Commons briefing paper - Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit which is to replace means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working-age claimants by 2021. UC work allowances, the maximum a claimant can earn before their award is withdrawn, will be reduced from April 2016. Limits to support for new claimants will also apply from April 2017. This paper provides an introduction to Universal Credit and analyses the impact of these proposed changes.

Government response to SSAC Occasional Paper 15: Universal Credit: priorities for action.

The Government’s response to the report from the Work & Pensions Committee which detailed recommendations for six key areas of Universal Credit. The Committee’s recommendations for each topic area are set out in this paper, along with the Government’s response.



The 3rd report of the 2012-13 session of the House of Commons Work & Pensions Select Committee, detailing areas of concern and recommendations for six key areas of Universal Credit.

Findings of a qualitative study of the views of claimants, staff, employers and the wider public about Universal Credit

HMRC Research & Reports

Technical report describing the research methods used in the 2012 wave of the Panel Study of Tax Credits Customers

This report covers findings from the latest wave of the Panel Study, focusing on two areas of strategic priority to HMRC: reducing error and fraud, and the transition to Universal Credit

Social Security Advisory Committee Reports

External Research & Reports:

A progress update reports from NAO which concludes that it is too early to determine if the Department for Work & Pensions will achieve value for money in its implementation of the Universal Credit programme.

The National Audit Office has concluded that the Department for Work and Pensions has not achieved value for money in its early implementation of Universal Credit.

A report published by the TUC and CPAG.

Report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, concerned that Universal Credit could trap people in poverty.

The 4 reports above combine towards the joint report from Citizens Advice, The Children’s Society and Disability Rights UK on the findings of an inquiry led by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson which found that although many people may be better off under universal credit, several key groups would lose out financially under the new system and up to half a million disabled people could lose out under universal credit once it is fully implemented.

Updated 12 January 2016