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Alison Jane

Name: Alison Jane

Based at: Fuse, Newcastle University

Supervisors: Dr Suzanne Moffatt (Fuse, Newcastle University), Dr Mandy Cheetham (Fuse, Teesside University), Dr Vicki McGowan (Fuse, Newcastle University) and Dr Amy Barnes (University of Sheffield)

Project title: Exploring the impact of Universal Credit

Project summary: This project will explore the impact of Universal Credit on claimants and service providers in South Tyneside, a borough in the north east of England.

Universal Credit is a government benefit for working age adults implemented as part of a programme of significant UK welfare reforms. Universal Credit has been gradually rolled out since 2013 with limited research into its implications to date. The research will focus on how it affects health and wellbeing of participants and their families using qualitative research methods. Claimants who are both in and out of work will be invited to participate in interviews to relay their experiences, with the option of follow up interviews to discuss the impact of Universal Credit over time. Participants will also be given the option to complete diaries to document their Universal Credit experiences. Support staff working for organisations involved in Universal Credit delivery will be invited to participate in the same process to understand the impact of Universal Credit on their organisation. The research began in 2018, with completion anticipated in 2021.

Practice engagement: I have been working with South Tyneside Council and their Universal Credit and Welfare Reform Strategy Group to find out more about how Universal Credit is affecting local people and service providers. This includes South Tyneside Homes and Citizens Advice. I have also made connections with other local organisations in the voluntary and community sector and will continue working with them throughout the study.

Public engagement: The wider public haven’t been involved yet but I have been working with relevant partners as above.

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