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By taking the right UC data into NEC Revenues & Benefits, Southwark’s CTR claims and amendments are now managed automatically.


The DWP rolled out Universal Credit Full Service claims to the London Borough of Southwark in 2016, meaning they were one of the first councils to accept CTR claims from UC claimants. Once staff were up to speed, the focus shifted to automation; top of the list was how to take the UC data and automate the creation or amendment of CTR claims. 

Julian Sentance is Southwark’s Senior Systems & Development Officer: “By 2019 we were receiving 450 new UC claims each month, so we knew there’d be a huge benefit if we could automate the CTR process. NEC Revenues and Benefits was ready, so we just had to find the best way to do it.”


As well as the immediate efficiency benefits, Southwark wanted to stay flexible enough to manage any future change to their CTR scheme. So they set up a Project Board comprising people from the policy, systems and benefits teams to ensure the changes were made in the right way. 

The council also wanted to maintain the expertise they’d built up from managing the original ATLAS change. So rather than engage a third party, the team asked NEC to provide some consultancy support to help the core team deliver. 

“Our goal was always efficiency, but this change came into its own during the pandemic. Without it, staff would have been dealing with four times the volume of claims manually.”

JULIAN SENTANCE, Senior Systems & Development Officer


Julian believes that tapping into the NEC expertise was invaluable, and has shared his advice for other councils wishing to take the next step:

  • Implement strong project management – by keeping policy, systems and benefits experts engaged throughout, issues can be ironed out quickly. 
  • Focus on your data – understanding what you need and where the problems lie is essential to planning a successful implementation. 
  • Don’t worry about the backlog – breaking it down makes it easier to manage. We started with changes in circumstances before moving on to new claims. 
  • Build up staff confidence in UC data – by putting files into a copy database and testing them prior to go-live; that can enable you to move forward faster.
  • Keep the expertise in house – the more you understand your systems, the easier it is to introduce new CTR schemes.

“NEC added value from start to finish. From a full process review through to file checking and two go-lives, we had the support we needed to deliver this important project successfully.”

JULIAN SENTANCE, Senior Systems & Development Officer