Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Nov 14

Aquarium delivers Welfare Reform Magazine Think Tank

The Welfare Reform conference held at the London America Square Conference Centre on 17th October this year saw Aquarium Card Management Solutions and their partners issue the latest edition of Think Tank magazine.

A new and innovative magazine published against the backdrop of the most radical reform since the 1940s,Think Tankis aimed at tackling many of the very important issues surrounding Welfare Reform head on. The latest release of the magazine took an in depth look at Universal Credit and provided a forum for a range of different views, from clergymen to credit unions and received great feedback from delegates at the London event.

Think Tankguest editor, Hayley Moran believes the magazine can act as important touchstone for various stakeholders to present their views while encouraging a range of cross-party and cross-community outlooks on the challenges of Universal Credit, plus the technical innovation and best practice that will be needed as the scheme is rolled out across the country in the years ahead.

“The magazine exhibits a range of opinion and represents people from a variety of backgrounds,” said Hayley Moran. “The introduction of Universal Credit is going to have a huge impact and while it could yet prove a white elephant or a genuine stimulus and help for society’s most vulnerable, we thought it was essential to hear all sides of the story. We were delighted to unveilThink Tankat conference and are already looking forward to future issues.”

The Autumn/Winter issue focuses on the government roll out of Universal Credit, which will eventually replace current benefit schemes including Jobseekers Allowance and Child Tax Credit. Insights come from Frances Walker from debt charity StepChange, Mike Knight from Riverside Credit Union and Newport clergyman the Rev’d Barry North amongst others. A case study from a Doncaster single mum is also included to give a viewpoint from those likely to be most affected by the changes.

“The big question we are asking at the moment is whether the financial independence and responsibility that Universal Credit says it will offer will actually be a positive thing for all; in particular the financially vulnerable,” added Hayley. “Time will tell, but this was an opportunity to provide a stimulus for serious debate.”

How people receive their benefits and how Universal Credit will deliver them in the future has come under great scrutiny in recent weeks and months. Opinions on the impact of the welfare reform and in particular the introduction of Universal Credit are wide ranging, with much talk that the IT systems developed thus far may have to be written off at a cost of millions to the taxpayer.

The one common thread running through all commentators’ views is that Universal Credit represents a major change that will affect several tiers of society – from the most vulnerable residents to Housing Associations, Landlords, Local Authorities and other Stakeholders and Signposters tasked with dealing with the inevitable fall-out that new systems implementation will bring.

The next issue ofThink Tankwill cover personal insolvency; another key reforming topic with a social angle and may feature a new guest editor.