This conversation will explore Universal Credit, the UK’s digitalized benefits program through which claims for financial support are made online, calculations are automated, among other digital innovations. While Universal Credit has been promoted as enabling more user-friendly service in the benefit area, a goal broadly supported across the political spectrum in the UK, the reality for many has been one of (digital) exclusion, complexity and frustration. Through this conversation, we aim to better understand the functioning of Universal Credit, its underlying design philosophy, its promises, its implementation issues and what this means for the future of digital welfare in the United Kingdom and the rights of the marginalized.

Register here for the livestream link

About the Speaker

Richard Pope, part of the founding team at the UK Government Digital Service, working as product manager for the first version of GOV.UK, which went on to win the Design of the Year award in 2013, and co-authoring the Digital by Default Service Standard, which all UK government digital services must meet. Author of Universal Credit: Digital Welfare. He worked with policy and delivery teams across the UK government to redesign government services in policy areas as diverse as welfare, land registration, and employment. He setup the digital team at Consumer Focus, the UK’s statutory consumer rights body and co-founded the Rewired State series of hack-days that aimed to get more developers and designers working on issues of digital government. In 2018/19 he was a senior fellow at the digitalHKS initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, focused on the subject of Government as a Platform.

About the Series

Transformer States: A Conversation Series on Digital Government and Human Rights is a newly-launched series of virtual conversations organized by the Digital Welfare State and Human Rights Project, based at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Through in-depth interviews with practitioners and academics working on digital government, this series aims to further explore digital transformation and its impact on the lives and rights of individuals. Read more about the series here.


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