Policy in Practice

£245m of Pension Credit goes unclaimed in London

CFH was involved in a successful initiative that secured £8.4 million for pensioners across London.

With over 8,000 pensioners across London entitled to Pension Credit but not claiming, Policy in Practice, a social policy and analytics company, drove an initiative to engage with eligible residents.

Case Study CFH Chelsea And Kensington Pension Fund
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8,000 pensioners
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Cost effective
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Personalised letters
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Drive engagement
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17 London Boroughs
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Secure post
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£8.4m secured
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Hybrid Mail

The brief

Pension Credit is an extra support to help you cover costs if you're over the State Pension age and living on a low income. It is one of the most underclaimed benefits and over £245 million was estimated to be unclaimed in London.

 

This means a third of eligible pensioners are missing out on a top-up to their monthly income as well as help with other costs like heating, housing costs, and council tax.

Many pensioners do not claim as they are simply unaware of the support. Siobhan, a pensioner from Islington said:I thought Pension Credit was automatically included in the state pension, I didn’t realise they were two separate entities - the state pension is one thing and then you have to apply for Pension Credit.”

To drive engagement the initiative required a communications partner to deliver successful paper-based communications in a secure environment.

CFH were referred to Policy in Practice due to their experience and expertise in the market.

The solution Directly informing pensioners of their eligibility

Commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the campaign used local authority data to identify residents who were eligible for support across 17 London boroughs.

Mail was identified as the most effective communications channel due to:

  1. Research from the Joint Industry Committee for Mail (JICMAIL) shows that over 65’s and those from lower socio-economic groups particularly are more likely to engage with mail sent from local authorities.
  2. TGI Consumer Analysis identified that residents agree that important messages, including those from public bodies, are better sent via mail because this form of communication is more trusted, more memorable and gains more attention when compared to email communications.

  3. Further research from JICMAIL Government/Council Mail 2023 shows that mail received from a government agency also has a 99% engagement rate, is referred to over five times and has a life span of over a week.

JICMAIL DATA SHOWS THAT GOVERNMENT MAIL IS HIGHLY ENGAGED WITH AND RETURNED TO NEARLY 5X

Source: JICMAIL Government/Council Mail 2023

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99% Engaged with
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75% Read, glanced at
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4.6 Frequency
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8.55 Lifespan (days)

The process Hybrid mail – cost efficient, innovative communication.

Through a collaborative approach CFH’s hybrid mail product Docmail was identified as the ideal solution to fulfil the mailing requirements.

Docmail is the UK’s leading hybrid mail platform that enables printed communications to be sent straight to an end audience, through a secure online account. As a part of the functionality the solution allows organisations to integrate with the software for mailing automation.

The API integration meant that Policy in Practice’s internal solution became directly linked to Docmail, allowing for the functionality to operate in the background to manage the creation and sending of the letters. The letters were to be sent colour, double-sided, in a non-window envelope via Royal Mail second class delivery.

To the right you can see a closed-face envelope with a logo example.

The complete process involved Policy in Practice identifying the audience database, which was then sent to Docmail to be processed and dispatched. The solution allowed for personalised letters to be sent effortlessly on behalf of the respective councils, informing pensioners of their eligibility and signposted them to services such as Age UK London for help with the application process.

The solution’s leading functionality allows for custom design envelopes to be used within the mailing process, which includes the ability to print logos or images and straplines on the outer envelope to encourage open rates.

 

As a part of this campaign the Age UK London and council logos were then featured on the envelope of the letter, these reputable logos ensured pensioners knew the communication was trustworthy and the information was legitimate.

The whole process from integration to management was completely seamless, offering Policy in Practice a secure, flexible, and automated process of driving engagement with the 8,000 eligible residents.

This is evident in the results from the first six months of this initiative which are nothing short of extraordinary.

Results £8.4 million in pension credit secured for Londoners

So far, over 2,300 pensioners have seen an average increase of nearly £4,000 a year, unlocking over £8.4 million in annual support.

When factoring in cost-of-living payments and backdated support, the impact in the first year alone exceeded £12.5 million.

The campaign's lifetime impact is estimated to surpass £100 million.

This initiative not only secured financial support for pensioners but also addressed social issues. It helped households avoid loneliness, repay debts, and connect with housing teams when needed.

Policy in Practice spoke with Miriam, a 73-year-old resident of Westminster who was struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. Speaking about the impacts of a successful Pension Credit application she said: “With the extra help my savings were not dwindling quite as rapidly.

CFH are proud to have been part of this critical campaign, ensuring the effective delivery of tailored letters to thousands of households.

The success of this campaign emphasises the importance of postal communications as a vital communication channel.

Next steps making this support more accessible

We are excited to continue working with Policy in Practice as we enter the second phase of this campaign, which will continue to be funded by the Mayor. The campaign will expand to 23 Boroughs and is expected to secure an additional £9 million.

To enhance accessibility for the entire community, the updated letters will now include translations of the information in multiple languages. This addition eliminates language barriers, ensuring that crucial information is readily understandable and accessible to all recipients. By providing translations in the most common languages of the borough, the campaign aims to remove any obstacles to uptake, fostering inclusivity and making certain that the support is available to everyone.

To hear more about the campaign, listen back to Policy in Practice, Founder and Director Deven Ghelani speaking on BBC 4 Moneybox:

We’re delighted to continue to work with our partners across CFH in innovative mailing campaigns. Our Pension Credit take up campaign is a fantastic example of the broader impact of direct mail which can be easily replicable in other cities and regions across the UK. Your expertise and dedication can be instrumental in sparking similar positive change elsewhere.

Deven Ghelani,,
Policy in Practice

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