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This research provides quantitative estimates of current and future need for social welfare information and advice in each local authority and for Wales as a whole. It focuses on five areas of interest: (1) Welfare Benefits; (2) Debt; (3) Consumer and Finance; (4) Housing and Neighbour; and (5) Employment.

This research has estimated the level of need for social welfare advice in the population of Wales and in each Welsh local authority across five key categories: Welfare, Debt, Employment, Housing & Neighbour and Consumer & Finance. Results are based on analysis of survey and administrative data of the general population, rather than data about individuals who have sought advice as these figures will reflect available funding and whether individuals who need advice actively seek it.

Total levels of advice need are high, there were an estimated 916,000 advice issues in 2022/23, though the number of individuals will be lower as some will have multiple advice needs. This figure exceeds current levels of service provision, so it is likely there is significant unmet need in the population.

Welfare needs make up the largest single category of need. Employment advice was the smallest of the categories which were considered, though issues relating to discrimination are likely to be most prevalent in this category. There are also likely to be significant overlaps with individuals having advice needs in multiple categories.

The modelling of short-term shocks suggests that future economic shocks (for instance unexpectedly higher mortgage rates) could drive large changes in advice need. Where national shocks affect the whole of Wales equally, this will drive higher levels of need overall. However, it is likely that for most shocks, the impact will not be symmetrical, and some local authorities will experience a larger impact than others. For instance, faster growth or an unexpected slowdown in the tourism sector is likely to have more of an impact on employment in areas with a large tourism sector. This in turn could have a knock-on impact where individuals who become unemployed or have less stable employment seek employment-related advice from advice services.

Levels of need were not very different between local authorities with the highest population density and those with the lowest. However, this report does not make any judgement on the cost of delivering advice services in different local authorities and this is likely to vary based on many factors, including rurality.


A needs analysis and predictive model of social welfare information and advice services in Wales , file type: PDF, file size: 1 MB

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Joshua Parry

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