Croydon Council’s work helping families avoid homelessness has earned one win and one runner-up spot at an awards ceremony celebrating the best in the welfare and resources sector.
The council won an award for excellence in innovation, and was a highly-commended runner-up in the category for welfare benefits team of the year at the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) awards in Telford last night (Wednesday). The IRRV is the professional national body representing around 3,500 members working in tax and benefits for local and central government and the private sector.
Croydon Council’s winning entry in the excellence in innovation category beat competition from Enfield Council, City of Wolverhampton Council and Liberata, a benefits contractor for councils nationwide.
The council got the innovation award for gathering data on Croydon households affected by Government welfare reforms, analysing their finances and risk of homelessness, and assessing how the council could support them. It was also recognised for providing innovative online and advice services to give most affected residents the right financial support while identifying those needing the Gateway service’s more intensive support.
To date, council staff working on the Gateway service have:
• Helped more than 1,300 families avoid homelessness
• Given budgeting support to over 10,000 people
• Supported over 2,200 people on Universal Credit to improve their digital skills
• Seen a 15% reduction in the number of people applying as homeless
• Cut by £2m the cost to the council of giving people emergency accommodation
Croydon was also a highly-commended runner-up in the welfare benefits team of the year category, for which organisations had to demonstrate they were achieving excellent delivery, customer satisfaction and a customer-focused service.
Launched in 2015, Gateway became the first combined council department in the country – covering housing, benefits, debt management and social care assessment – to support families affected by Government welfare reforms including the benefit cap and Universal Credit.
“Our Gateway service provides financial support and skills training that has prevented over 1,000 Croydon families from becoming homeless, so I’m really pleased these awards have recognised the work of our dedicated and superb staff.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning