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03 April 2013

Universal Credit Pathfinders delayed

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that most of the Pathfinders testing out Universal Credit in the north west are to be delayed until later this year.

Trials in all four local authority test areas – Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington – were due to go live on 29 April. But in statement issued on March 28, the DWP said three of the four areas would not start until July.

The statement said: “Ashton-under-Lyne [in Tameside] will be the first Jobcentre to accept claims for Universal Credit from 29 April. Wigan, Warrington and Oldham jobcentres will first trial the new claimant commitment and will take claims for Universal Credit beginning in July, informed by the early testing in Ashton-under-Lyne. This controlled approach will mean that Jobcentres intensively test the new system as it rolls out – ensuring that claimants are protected throughout.”

The DWP said each of the four job centres involved in the early roll-out would be testing a range of activities to prepare for Universal Credit including trialling the new claimant commitment, ensuring all new JSA and UC claimants are automatically signed on to Universal Jobmatch, introducing a new fortnightly job search trial to make sure people are meeting their claimant commitment and installing more internet access points to help people make their claims.

Read the DWP statement.