Welcome to the Advice Dorset Partnership E-News bulletin. 

This is the third bulletin of the new two unitary local authorities. The Advice Dorset Partnership continues to cover the geographical / historical county of Dorset, ie the areas covered by the  two new unitaries. It will still be circulated every two weeks and will bring you news and information relating to the advice sector in Dorset and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole. The Partnership is supported by Citizens Advice in Dorset (CAiD).

We are aware that some council emails have changed so as usual feel free to forward this email to  colleagues and  they can get in touch with us to go on the list.  If you would like to send anything out via the bulletin,  and for all other enquiries about the Advice Dorset Partnership contact Caroline Buxton: caroline@caidorset.org.uk

Events: Advice Partnership  and other organisations

Welfare Benefits Froum: Thursday 27 June 

The Advice Dorset Partnership is putting on a day of welfare benefits.It is in two parts and you can book one part or both.

In the morning we will have a Forum on current benefit issues: PIP, ESA, UC update etc, more details to follow. It will include presentations from Citizens Advice and other partners, and is also a chance to pool knowledge and experience. It is aimed at advisers and caseworkers who spend most of their time dealing with benefit issues. 9.45 – 1pm

In the afternoon the Public Law Project will run a session on their Benefits Sanctions project: This session is aimed at welfare rights advisers with a grounding in Universal Credit. The session will focus on conditionality and sanctions, and will also provide an introduction to public law and judicial review, with the aim of providing advisers with information about how public law remedies can be used in welfare benefits cases. 1.45 – 4.45.

There is a small charge for this event in order to cover costs. Drinks, biscuts and fruit will be available all day, but bring your own lunch. Book via eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/welfare-benefit-forum-tickets-61484725469

Workshop for Chairs and Vice Chairs: WEDS 12 June, Bournemouth

Bournemouth and Poole CVS have been working with Beacon to deliver local briefings,  and the next workshop in Bournemouth is on  ‘Managing Relationships and Board Dynamics’. This will look at how to work with trustees, staff and volunteers, and how to manage the dynamics between them. It looks at how to put processes and systems in place to avoid difficult situations down the line. In particular the session will explore the complexities of chairing a smaller organisation where people can have both operational and governance roles and the executive role is often
part-time or voluntary.

Follow this link to register with Beacon and book:

Beacon – registration

Job Opportunities in local Citizens Advice offices

EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME: Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole will be working in partnership with CAiD and Dorset Race Equality Council to support people applying for settled status. This Home Office funding targets ‘vulnerable’ EU nationals who will need additional help to make their on-line applications This includes those with disabilities,  older people, those who have experienced abuse, modern slavery or trafficking, those with no fixed abode, and vulnerable children.

The posts available are as follows and all will be fixed term to 31 March 2020; closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 13 May:

  • Project Co-ordinator 0.4 fte  Actual salary £9,369 (+ 3% pension contribution)
  • 2 x Caseworkers, full time   Actual salary £19, 466 (+ 3% pension)

These three posts are based at CitA BCP, though both caseworker posts will  deliver the service from various venues, one focussing on BCP the other the Dorset Council area. For more details contact: mailto:dan.stannard@citizensadvicebcp.org.uk

2 x 0.4 Engagement Officers,one working with DREC (mainly covering BCP), the other with CAiD (mainly covering the Dorset Council area). Actual salary £7,927 (+3% pension)

CAiD:    caroline@caidorset.org.uk or DREC:  nathalie.sherring@dorsetrec.org.uk 

For national Citizens Advice jobs click here.

Job opportunities in other organisations

Please email us if you have a job opportunity you wish to advertise.

News and Useful Information

HOUSING LEGAL AID: Over half of the population of England and Wales is living in a local authority that has one or no housing legal aid provider, the Law Society reveals today, with a map which highlights ‘catastrophic’ legal aid advice deserts.

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policy-campaigns/campaigns/access-to-justice/end-legal-aid-deserts/

According to the Society’s interactive map, 184 out of 348 local authorities have no housing provider; 81 have one provider. A further 29 local authorities have two providers, 17 have three, and 37 have more than three. Those living in the south west are hit worst, with 92% of the region living in a local authority with one or no provider, followed by the East of England (91%), the south east (82%), and the East Midlands (79%).

According to the map out of the two unity authorities covering the geographic area of Dorset there is only one provider, based in Poole.

This is the second infographic to be published by the Society. The first, published in 2016, showed that nearly a third of legal aid areas had just one solicitor provider, with Surrey, Shropshire and Suffolk having none.

The government cut vast swaths of civil law from the scope of legal aid in 2013. Within housing, homelessness, harassment, eviction due to rent arrears and disrepair that endangers tenants’ health survived the cull. Legal aid fees have not risen for 20 years. The Society says ‘catastrophically’ low rates of pay are forcing practitioners to withdraw from the legal aid market.

The latest data was compiled from the Legal Aid Agency’s February 2019 directory of providers.

Universal Credit and mixed age couples: From 15 May 2019, mixed-age couples will be excluded from entitlement to Pension Credit, until that date, mixed aged couples can claim the more generous Pension Credit and Housing Benefit (without the Benefit Cap or the bedroom tax) rather than Universal Credit. There are no extra elements for being a pensioner under Universal Credit, making clients worse off.

Clients who claim either Pension Credit or Housing Benefit, before this date will remain on those benefits for as long as they are still entitled.

Age UK warn this change could  leave some couples £7,000 per year worse off. Advisers should look out for clients who might be entitled and advise them to make a claim for Pension Credit/ Housing Benefit now!

Help to Claim  The new Universal Credit support service from Citizens Advice – 0800 144 8 444 (England)  – Calls are free and lines are open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Trained advisers can can support anyone who needs help in the early stages of their Universal Credit claim – from the application through to the first full payment.  Support is available online, over the phone and face to face.  Click here for Citizens Advice website.

PARTNER LINE: If you need to contact one of the Citizens Advice offices in the Dorset Council area on behalf of a client, or find out more about local services, there is a new Partner Line (not for clients): see the flyer:

Cit Advice Dorset Partner Line flyer

Training

Volunteer Centre Dorset: Safeguarding Course: Tues 25 June 9.30 – 4, Bearwood Community centre. £40.

Flyer and booking details: VC Safeguarding Course 25 June 2019

YMCA Bournemouth is delivering further training sessions in 2019:

Level Two Health and Safety in The Workplace  One day 10AM – 4PM

Dates: Tues 16th July; Fri 20th September 2019 Price: £60.00 per learner

Level Three First Aid at Work  One day 9.30AM – 4PM

Dates: Thurs 13th June; Fri 6th September 2019 Price: £65 per learner

Level Three First Aid at Work Three-Day: 9.30AM – 4PM each day

Dates: Monday 13th, Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th May 2019 Price: £170 per learner

Venue for all training days: The Hinton Room, YMCA Bournemouth, Delta House, 56 Westover
Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2BS   For more information contact Heather Chandler, Business Development and Marketing Assistant Email: heather.chandler@ymcabournemouth.org.uk Telephone: 01202 290451 Ext: 4005

Research and reports

“Computer Says NO!” – a new CPAG report says that information provided to claimants about their universal credit award is inadequate and, at times, unlawful. The report sets out how both payment statements and notices of appeal rights could be improved and calls for an urgent review:
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/computer-says-no-stage-one-information-provision

Citizens Advice response on the Universal Credit Claimant Commitment: The evidence in this submission draws on over 600 individual cases submitted by advisers in the Citizens Advice network, detailing the impact that problems with the claimant commitment can have on the people we help. Most of the issues our advisers report arise from an inappropriate commitment that hasn’t been tailored to meet the claimant’s personal circumstances. In particular, our advisers report that a significant proportion of the people affected by inappropriate commitments have learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-surveys-and-consultation-responses/citizens-advice-response-to-the-social-security-advisory-committee-call-for-evidence-on-the-claimant-commitment-in-universal-credit/

Funding

Comic Relief has various funding strand open, including strengthening mental health support for children and young people:

https://www.comicrelief.com/funding/funding-opportunities

BUPA also has a mental health round open, closing date 31 may 2019:

For some mid-life can be a time of increased responsibilities, challenges and pressures, in their working lives, family lives and relationships. The prevalence of mental illness peaks among people in their middle years.

Within this funding programme the Bupa UK Foundation is looking to fund practical, community-focused projects that will support and improve people’s mental health at this critical life-stage.

https://www.bupaukfoundation.org/page/apply-for-funding/

The England Illegal Money Lending Team has funding available for groups that would like to raise awareness of the issues of illegal money lending. The money available has come from the proceeds of crime taken from convicted illegal money lenders.

 Illegal Money Lenders, more commonly known as Loan Sharks, lend money without having the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority. They often give cash loans out without any paper work and want double the amount back or charge extortionate interest rates.

When you struggle to make repayments they may use violence, threats and intimidation, to ensure you keep paying them. The aim of this funding is to give groups the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue, in their community in a different way.

Please note that the application period is open till 30th June 2019, so please ensure you have your applications submitted by then and please pass on to any of your contacts whom you feel may want to apply.

You can access a copy of the application form here. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the application process.

The Energy Redress Fund has opened applications to the Energy Redress Scheme for another round, with funds totalling £300,000. This round closes on Friday 17th May,.

They are offering support to charities who are looking to make a submissions,  via a webinar: ‘How to Submit a Standout Application to the Energy Redress Scheme’. It’s vital for anyone who is considering to apply for Energy Redress funding. Whether this is your first or sequential time applying for funding, we want to ensure that you have all the tools required, in order to submit a strong application to secure the funding your proposed projects.

Groundwork are launching Community Training Grants:  applications go live in early April for three LEP areas in the South of England: Swindon & Wiltshire, Dorset and Thames Valley & Berkshire.

They will be looking to fund projects which help to support individuals who are either unemployed, out of education, or economically inactive. Individual charities and small organisations (less than 49 people) can apply for grants between £5,000 and £20,000.  Projects must help move individuals either into employment, or establish a route towards employment, by helping individuals through education and training opportunities, advice, guidance and information.

If you live in one of the area,  send them your initial expression of interest by completing this survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ESFAgrants