BBC Two announces new three-part observational series exploring the rollout of Universal Credit

It’s a hugely important time to be exploring the complexities of the debate around Universal Credit. Following Inside the Foreign Office, this promises to be another great access series for BBC Two.Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two
Date: 02.05.2019     Last updated: 02.05.2019 at 15.20
BBC Two today announced a new current affairs commission: Universal Credit (w/t). With rare and unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), this observational three-part series will explore one of the biggest and most controversial changes to Britain’s social welfare system in more than 50 years.

When Universal Credit was first proposed it received near-unanimous support. Its aims were to simplify a complex and bureaucratic legacy system, to stem the ever-rising welfare bill, and to 'make work pay'. Yet it has been subject to an enormous degree of scrutiny and wide-ranging criticism since the rollout began.

The series will take a fresh look at the Government’s flagship welfare reform throughout 2019 - a crucial year as the DWP embarks on the next phase of Universal Credit, as well as exploring the human stories of some of the 78,000 people who work in the DWP.

With access to the Secretary of State, senior civil servants and job centre ‘work-coaches’, the programme will document how they set about the monumental challenge of reforming and implementing a system that seven million households will be in receipt of by 2022 - equating to one in five of the working-age population.

Filmed across the country, the series will also chart the personal stories of the claimants and their families contending with their claims, whilst giving voice to local authorities, advice agencies, and the charities supporting them. By following their journeys throughout 2019, the programme will unearth the strengths and limitations of the new system to understand the impact and reality of Universal Credit today.

Controller of BBC Two Patrick Holland says: “It’s a hugely important time to be exploring the complexities of the debate around Universal Credit. Following Inside the Foreign Office, this promises to be another great access series for BBC Two.”

Head of BBC Current Affairs Joanna Carr says: “In this series, BBC Current Affairs will inform and deepen the national conversation around a substantial policy debate affecting millions.”

Universal Credit (3x60') is a BBC Current Affairs production and will broadcast in the autumn.

The series was commissioned by BBC Head of Current Affairs Joanna Carr. The series director is Chris McLaughlin and the series producer is Tom Swingler. The executive producer for BBC is Sarah Waldron.

MA