Delegates deliver verdict on Think Tank
The latest edition of Think Tank magazine was issued at The Welfare Reform Conference in London recently, and the feedback from delegates has seen many welcoming the publication’s thoughts on Universal Credit and Welfare Reform. Produced by Aquarium Card Management Solutions and their partners, Think Tank aims to be a forum for debate of serious matters concerning social policy. This issue covered Universal Credit, while the forthcoming issue is a bumper issue addressing personal insolvency issues.
“Think Tank was a welcome addition to the conference,” said one attendee from a West Midlands Housing Association and conference delegate. “A lot of debate has raged over Universal Credit and some of this has been hot air, so it was good to see some more informed views in print from different sides of the spectrum.”
The magazine included a range of different views, from clergymen to credit unions, solicitors and charities and also includes a case study from someone likely to be affected by the changes.
“The magazine seemed to tackle this controversial subject even-handedly on the whole,” said another delegate from the charity sector. “An ‘in the news’ section was a nice snapshot of how the media has reported on the subject to date, while hearing from both the National Landlords Association and people who will have to put changes into practice like card providers was a welcome change to the usual ‘talking heads’ you find in such publications.”
“What struck me was that Think Tank was not the direct attack on Universal Credit one might have expected given the negative media coverage of the topic,” added another delegate representing a technology provider. “While the lady in the case study voiced the sort of concerns you might expect, many of the other contributors seemed to broadly support the concept of Universal Credit in theory – it was the putting into practice that seemed to unite them all.”
“The magazine exhibits a range of opinion and represents people from a variety of backgrounds,” said Think Tank guest editor Hayley Moran. “I tried very hard to edit in a way that would give a balanced and informed view of what are some of the biggest changes facing welfare reform in years and it’s nice to hear that people think we have achieved that.”
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 charged with dealing with the inevitable fall-out that new systems implementation will bring.
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 next issue of Think Tank has already gone to press and covers personal insolvency; another key reforming topic with a social angle and features Andrew Sherwin as a new guest editor.