CAS has responded to the consultation on the draft regulations for Universal Credit data sharing. In order to provide a representative response on behalf of the Citizens Advice Service, we consulted bureaux in Scotland on the proposals and received responses from 32 citizens advice bureaux. This response represents a summary of the responses received.
The general consensus among citizens advice bureaux is that data sharing under Universal Credit could have benefits in advising and supporting claimants. These benefits could include quicker resolution of benefit disputes, quicker assistance to claimants in significant hardship, avoiding duplication of work, gathering information when claimants are unaware of the benefits they current claim, and receiving key information more quickly from the DWP. Data sharing, if undertaken in the correct way, could speed up the claiming process and improve the benefit decision making process.
However, the majority of bureaux have concerns that the way in which data sharing is undertaken could have unintended and potentially serious consequences for bureaux and their clients, including undermining some of the Service’s key principles: the independence of the service; confidentiality; and security of data.