Welcome to the Advice Partnership E News Bulletin

The Advice Dorset Partnership covers the geographical / historical county of Dorset, ie the areas covered by the  two new unitaries. It is 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).

As usual feel free to forward this email to  colleagues and  they can get in touch with us if they wish 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

Universal Credit in Dorset – Let’s Talk No 3: Thursday 12 September

In 2018 Citizens Advice worked with West Dorset Revenues & Benefits (‘Westwey’) to deliver two ‘UC Let’s Talk’ events; we feel it’s high time we got together again for further updates and discussion on how UC is working across Dorset, how our service users are affected, and who is doing what to support them.

The event will be hosted by Dorset Council at their South Walks office in Dorchester and will be a mixture of presentations and workshops. We have invited DWP to join us – senior staff and work coaches – and we will have updates from Westwey teams and Citizens Advice. Workshops will cover technical issues and targeted support services. The event is FREE!

Please let Caroline Buxton know if you want to run a workshop or offer a short ‘snapshot’ update.

Book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/universal-credit-in-dorset-lets-talk-no-3-tickets-64731908882

Job Opportunities

EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME: Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole  are still seeking a caseworker to cover the Dorset area. This role will suit someone with advice and casework experience, and the ability to travel across Dorset as appointments will be offered in a range of venues. For more details on the project see below.

Caseworker – full time:   Actual salary £19, 466 (+ 3% pension)

For more details contact: mailto:dan.stannard@citizensadvicebcp.org.uk

News and Useful Information

Citizens Advice Purbeck has launched the Keep Warm for Less project. This covers the whole of the Dorset Council area and can show people:

  • how to use the heating system and controls in their home to be warm and get best value for money
  • look at ways to reduce people’s household energy costs
  • see if people are eligible for any extra income
  • consider options if people are behind with bills or if they can’t top up prepayment meters
  • resolve problems with energy suppliers

Contact the energy line: 01929 775500. Download the flyer:

EUSS Settlement Scheme: This new service, delivered in partnership by Citizens Advice and Dorset Race Equality Council, is now up and running. Two engagement officers are available to come and give briefings to frontline teams and community groups, and a caseworker is based at our Bournemouth office to provide detailed one-to-one advice and assistance to help vulnerable EU Nationals apply for settled status. We are still recruiting for a second caseworker to cover the Dorset area (see above).

This project targets ‘vulnerable’ EU nationals who will need additional help to make their on-line applications for Settled Status. This includes those with disabilities, older people, those who have experienced abuse, modern slavery or trafficking, those with no fixed abode, and vulnerable children.

Contacts:

Karen (Engagement): mailto:eusscaid@gmail.com

Christine (Engagement): mailto:christine.brienne@dorsetrec.org.uk

EUSS advice issues: euss.advice@citizensadvicebcp.org.uk

Citizens Advice (national) has launched a new Scams Action service if you or someone you work with think they have spotted – or been the victim of – an online scam. There is a new free helpline 0300 330 3003 Monday – Friday 9 – 5. For more info:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/get-help-with-online-scams/

Tax Help for Older People’s JULY briefing focuses on allowances:

Age UK’s latest Benefit Briefing is here – with a lot of useful information including on mixed-age couples (where one is over and one under state pension age):

Low Incomes Tax Reform Group: update on the issue for Universal Credit claimants when they receive 2 wage payments in an ‘assessed period’. Follow the link: https://www.litrg.org.uk/latest-news/news/190710-uc-two-payments-one-assessment-period-problem-%E2%80%93-what-next

Dorset self-management service (run by Help and Care) aims to support people with long- term health conditions and carers to feel more confident self-managing on a day-to-day basis. From the website:

Self-management coaches work with you to help you feel confident about managing your health and its impact on your day to day life. This could be through face to face sessions, group workshops or telephone coaching.

Link workers can help you connect to your local community; whether its signposting or supporting you to access services

For contacting the service and referrals go to: https://www.helpandcare.org.uk/services/self-management/

Training

BCVS: Recruiting Staff – Weds 25 September 2019, 9.30 – 12.30

BCVS Senior Advisor, Steve Place, will be running this session at Moordown Community Centre, 21 Coronation Avenue, Bournemouth, BH9 1TW. It will be of use to people wanting to know more about best practice in recruitment and selection and to understand employment status and its importance. Flyer and Booking Form:

Reports and Research

A minimum income standard for the UK, 2019: Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s annual report identifies that many families on low incomes (in and out of work) are failing to reach the MIS; this is a level of income that most consider enables people to have a decent minimum standard of living. Two key actions proposed are to:

  • uprate benefits in line with inflation.
  • ensure Universal Credit covers childcare costs at the prices actually being charged.

Read more: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/minimum-income-standard-uk-2019

Citizens Advice: prepayment and heat networks. The proportion of households served by heat networks (including district heating and community heating) is expected to grow from 2% of households to 1 in 20 by 2030.  It is inevitable that people living in homes served by heat networks will be using prepayment meters (either by default, by choice or as a debt repayment option). Following the 2018 CMA market study into heat networks, Government has confirmed that it is minded to regulate the heat network market.

It is essential that Government and the regulator understand the experiences of all consumers on heat networks, including those using prepayment meters, to ensure any future regulatory regime is fit for purpose. This research explores the experiences of those on heat networks that also use prepayments meters.  The report makes recommendations to improve the experiences of these consumers and help prevent people being disconnected from their heating and hot water. 

Read more: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/energy-policy-research-and-consultation-responses/energy-policy-research/prepayment-heat-networks-learning-the-lessons/

Funding

Community Business Bright Ideas Fund: The funding is for community groups, associations, and organisations with good ideas for a community business but need advice and a small amount of revenue funding to develop, test and get to the stage of launching their community business. It opens 6 August. Read more: https://mycommunity.org.uk/funding-options/bright-ideas-fund/