Local welfare assistance: resources

Need other ways to get help in an emergency?

See this blog and scroll down to the heading, Short-term benefit advances and other emergency provision

How much money has DWP allocated to your local scheme?

Funding for local welfare in England in 2014/2015 was worth £172 million. For 2015/2016 the Government at first provided £129.6 million. Then, following a judicial review on which CPAG intervened, it provided an additional £74 million.1 You can download the Local Welfare Assistance Settlement 2015-16 from the link on the right hand side of this page. 

For 2016-17 the Government "proposes to separately identify £129.6 million within councils’ core spending power, distributed in line with local welfare provision funding in 2014-15."2It is consulting on the question, "Do you agree with the government’s proposal that local welfare provision funding of £129.6m and other funding elements should be identified within core spending power in 2016/2017?" and the deadline for responses to the consultation is 15 January 2016.

You can download the Provisional Local Welfare Assistance Settlement 2016-17 from the link on the right hand side of this page. This spreadsheet shows how much cash central government has earmarked for local welfare in England, broken down to LWAS level. It is extracted from a larger spreadsheet, Core spending power: provisional local government finance settlement 2016 to 2017, published by Department for Communities and Local Government on 17 December 2015. When reading the spreadsheet note that: 

  • Where a local authority’s allocation is nil, this is because it is a lower-tier authority in a county where the upper-tier or County Council authority funds the LWA scheme for all  lower-tier authorities in the county.
  • The projections for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 are identical to the ones for 2016-17. 
  • DCLG refers to "spending power", which is a measure of the overall revenue funding available for local authority services. Councils do not have to spend money earmarked for LWAS on LWAS. This explains why some of the councils whose schemes have closed are still getting an allocation for LWAS. 
Links to our blogs and other resources

Here below are links in reverse chronological order to our blog posts, Welfare Rights Bulletin articles and other documents on local welfare assistance

Universal Credit Advances 

(December 2015 resource page - When can you get one? How much? Etc.)

What do experts and professionals think of the ‘local welfare safety net’?

(17 November 2015 CPAG blog by Robbie Spence)

Local welfare: tips and tactics

(October 2015 Welfare Rights Bulletin)

Where next for local welfare assistance and emergency provision?

(19 May 2015 CPAG blog by Robbie Spence)

Localisation and Social Security: A Review

(May 2015 review by the Social Security Advisory Committee) Includes recommendation that: “DWP and DCLG should offer guidance to local authorities explicitly discouraging the use of residency qualifications in deciding on the allocation of funding.”

When and how can you claim 'local welfare assistance'?

(April 2015 Ask CPAG) CPAG's new web-based benefits advice service: Information on making a claim to the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme

LWAS portal evaluation April 2015

(Download from link on right hand side of this page) Results of the LWAS portal user survey that we conducted earlier this year, which suggests that users would like other centralised resources to counter the dispersion caused by localisation, including one on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs).

Local Welfare assistance saved! 

(3 February 2015 news) CPAG's welcomes the government's decision to fund LWAS in 2015/2016

The importance of local welfare assistance

(22 January 2015 CPAG blog by Megan Jarvie)

'The last backstop for the most vulnerable': what now for local welfare schemes?

(19 December 2014 CPAG blog by Megan Jarvie and Lindsay Judge)

CPAG criticises local welfare assistance funding decision

(18 December 2014 news) CPAG chief executive Alison Garham responds to the government's decision on future local welfare assistance scheme funding. Includes up-to-date information on future funding.

Local welfare assistance news 

(December 2014 Welfare Rights Bulletin) Comprehensive update on LWAS funding by Dan Norris. 

Local welfare assistance scheme consultation

(November 2014 consultation) Details of the government consultation in November 2014 on funding LWAS. See CPAG's response and other responses from a broad range of organisations and individuals. CPAG's response includes useful information on

  • who claims LWAS
  • the most effective local schemes  
  • 'spend to save' factors, which indicate that  failing to fund LWAS is a false economy and is likely to generate additional costs at other points in the system, such as the NHS and social services (listed at paragraph 16 of the response)
Save our safety net 

(20 November 2014 CPAG blog by Megan Jarvie)

Local welfare assistance schemes briefing

(Updated Policy Note, September 2014, first published May 2014This briefing was updated in September 2014 and includes useful information on the origins of LWAS, the 2013 changes to the social fund, and analysis of who was receiving LWAS awards and the (then) future for the schemes. Go to this page in our Briefings and consultation responses section to download the updated Policy Note of September 2014 and the original of May 2014 via the links in the right hand column on that page.

The future of local welfare assistance schemes

(18 September 2014 CPAG blog by Megan Jarvie)

Challenging LWAS 

(September 2014) Download PDF slides from our 2014 conference workshop on the localisation of welfare, which include information on using judicial review to challenge LWAS decisions (see link on right hand side of this page).

Saving the safety net 

(September 2014) CPAG and London Borough of Islington's challenge by way of judicial review in September 2014 to the government's decision to end direct funding for local welfare assistance from April 2015, which includes the witness statement from CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham that sets out the history of and transition from the discretionary social fund to local welfare assistance.

CPAG welcomes government decision on local assistance schemes 

(September 2014 news) CPAG response to the government's response to the judicial review of its decision to end direct funding for LWAS in April 2015.

Shredding the safety net

(9 May 2014 CPAG blog by Megan Jarvie)

Local welfare assistance schemes briefing

(May 2014 Policy Note) See September 2014 above

New service for advisers

(April 2014 Welfare Rights Bulletin article) CPAG's innovative new service for advisers and claimants who want to know more about LWAS and STBAs: Dan Norris explains what the free service will offer.

Tearing up the safety net 

(April 2014 Welfare Rights Bulletin news) What happened to the discretionary social fund and what will happen to its successor.

Saving the safety net - Judicial review against funding cut for LWAS

(26 February 2014 Test Case: CPAG intervention)

What is replacing the social fund? 

(April 2013 Welfare Rights Bulletin) David Simmons looks at alternative provision following the abolition of the discretionary social fund (SF) from 1 April 2013.

Localisation of the social fund in 2013

Useful background viewing and reading: watch a recording on YouTube of a 20-minute presentation in July 2013 by Kate Bell of CPAG on the change from the social fund to local welfare assistance and short-term benefits advances or view the PowerPoint slide show hereIncludes examples of Southwark Council's 2013 ‘Local Emergency Support Scheme’ and Islington Council's 2013 'Resident support scheme'.