Independent Review Service
 for the Social Fund
  Social Fund Reform   

Social Fund Reform

The Social Fund is to be reformed. In February 2011 the Government published the Welfare Reform Bill. As well as significant changes to welfare benefits for people of working age, including the introduction of Universal Credit, the Bill includes proposed changes to the discretionary Social Fund. In particular:
  • Community Care Grants, Crisis Loans and Budgeting Loans will be abolished.
  • Community Care Grants, and Crisis Loans (for items) will be replaced by a new localised service. In England this service will be delivered by Local Authorities. The arrangements for Scotland and Wales will be determined by the respective devolved Governments.
  • Alignment Crisis Loans (for living expenses) and Budgeting Loans will be replaced with new payments on account. The Budgeting Loan replacement will be an advance of benefit available via Universal Credit and Pension Credit.
  • The role of the Social Fund Commissioner will be abolished and as a result there will not be an independent review process.

The Welfare Reform Bill has passed its second reading and is currently with the Welfare Reform Bill Committee for scrutiny. In March 2011 the Committee took oral evidence from a range of individuals and organisations.

The DWP issued a call for evidence called Local support to replace Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for living expenses to invite views on how the new service might be delivered in England. Responses to this particular paper were required by 15th April.

The Social Fund Commissioner has provided his responses. These are available to read below:

IRS Report on the Experiences of Social Fund customers living in Scotland - October 2011

The response from the Social Fund Commissioner to the Scottish Government's publication: Devolution of Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans: Consultation on Successor Arrangements - October 2011

Social Fund Commissioner's response to call for evidence on local support to replace community care grants, how to stop repossession and crisis loans for living expenses

Social Fund Commissioner's response to the 21st Century Welfare consultation

Social Fund Commissioner's response to the White Paper on Universal Credit: welfare that works

IRS Report on the Experiences of Social Fund Customers
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