Benefits Agency: Earnings Top-up (ETU) Benefit: Dataset of Pilot Project
|Title:||Benefits Agency: Earnings Top-up (ETU) Benefit: Dataset of Pilot Project|
This dataset contains data from the administration of the Earning Top-up (ETU) pilot scheme introduced by the Department of Social Security in 1996. The ETU scheme was established for a trial period of 3 years, although benefits were still being awarded up to September 2000.
The data held in the ETU system can be described within four main categories:
Hardware: ICL mainframe.
Operating System: VME.
Application Software: Cobol SCL.
Logical structure and schema: The data file originally transferred to NDAD was a single CSV file with 1392 fields and 4825 records. The fields were arranged in a hierarchical grouped structure but many were empty. It was decided that the dataset would be better represented if the original file was split into several smaller tables with fewer fields. The dataset was separated in to 8 tables covering details of the claim, assessment of the claim, income, payments and adjustments to payments. The tables are linked by the fields Claim_key, Payment_key and Adjustment_key.
How data was originally captured and validated: Data was input by staff in the Employment Service and Benefits Agency offices handling claims for the Earnings Top-up benefit. The data was taken from application forms but was supplemented by the use of other systems such as the Departmental Central Index and Common Enquiry System. These were used to verify information supplied by applicants.
The Departmental Central Index (DCI) contains information on the personal details i.e. name, address, date of birth etc of all holders of a UK National Insurance Number (NINO). The DCI was used to update or confirm personal details for ETU applicants. If personal data was amended in the process of making an application for ETU it would also be amended on the DCI and on any other related benefit systems. The Common Enquiry System (CES) provided information about any other benefits claimed by ETU applicants and was used as part of the process of assessing their entitlement to ETU.
The Earnings Top-up Scheme dataset is dynamic in the sense that data may be overwritten when a claim record is updated or amended. Expired claims were deleted from the database in accordance with the Department's policy on data retention. When existing claims were renewed details of the earlier claims were overwritten.
|Held by:||The National Archives, Kew|
|Former reference in The National Archives:||CRDA/48|
|Legal status:||Public Record(s)|
Benefits Agency, 1991-2002
|Physical description:||2 datasets and documentation|
|Restrictions on use:||The Earnings top-up scheme dataset is subject to Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research only. Subject to registration under the Data Protection Act.|
|Access conditions:||Open unless otherwise stated|
|Immediate source of acquisition:||
In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets
|Custodial history:||Originally transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the dataset until 2010 when it was transferred to The National Archives (TNA).|
|Selection and destruction information:||Selected under section 2.2 of the acquisition policy, interaction of the state with its citizens.|
|Accruals:||The series is not accruing.|
Several research papers evaluating the effectiveness of the ETU pilot scheme were published by the Department of Social Security, including: A Marsh, Earnings Top Up Evaluation: The Synthesis Report, Department of Social Security Research Report No 135 (2001); L Finlayson, R Ford, A Marsh, A Smith and M White, The First Effects of Earnings Top-up, Department of Social Security Research Report No 112 (2000)
|Unpublished finding aids:||
Extent of documentation: 8 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1996-2000
|Administrative / biographical background:||
The Earnings Top Up (ETU) benefit was an extra statutory pilot scheme introduced on 8 October 1996 for a trial period of three years to provide payment of an earnings supplement to people aged between 18 and 65 who were in remunerative work, but with an income below a certain level, and were not responsible for a child under 16. As a trial scheme ETU was only available in selected areas that had been identified as suffering from high levels of unemployment and low pay. Two levels of benefit were available, a lower rate scheme that was operated in parts of the North East of England (the area around Newcastle upon Tyne), West Yorkshire, Wales and Essex; and a higher rate scheme covering parts of the North East of England (the area around Sunderland), South Yorkshire, the South Coast (the area around Bournemouth) and Scotland. The two schemes used different combinations of benefit rates and income thresholds to see how they influenced the decision to take up and stay in work.
An evaluation of the scheme concluded that it had provided a small improvement in employment opportunities for low paid workers in the target areas, although the take up rate had been low, ranging from 18% of those eligible in 1996 to 23% in 1999. It was suggested that in some ways the scheme was overtaken by the introduction of the minimum wage.