The Advice Dorset Partnership covers the geographical county of Dorset, and is circulated every fortnight, to 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). 

*The Advice Dorset Partnership E news works in financial years, so this week’s edition is number 1 of the new year! During 2020-21 we published a weekly newsletter as things were changing so rapidly during the pandemic and the various lockdowns. We are now reverting to a regular fortnightly news, BUT if there is something urgent inbetween we will send out a short supplementary edition. Issue 2 will come out on 15 April 2021.

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 on her Citizens Advice Central Dorset email:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

Jobs

Ridgewater Energy – office administrator: Ridgewater Energy design, develop and deliver fuel poverty projects and offer consultancy to Local Authorities as well as advising householders on saving energy in the home, and landlords on meeting their legislative obligations. A full time office administrator is needed to join the team and support the Managing Director with all aspects of running a busy service delivery office.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 37.5 Hours per week. 20 Days Paid Holiday in addition to Bank Holidays. £19k pa. Permanent position. Read more here.

Citizens AdviceCentral Dorset has 3 vacancies:

Help to Claim Adviser.Citizens Advice delivers a Help to Claim service, helping people make their initial claim for Universal Credit up to receipt of first payment.

Hours: 12.5 Hours per week Salary: £8,645 actual per annum (£25,589 FTE) Location: Remote / Dorchester Term:31st March 2022 Start Date:1st July 2021 Closing date: 22 April 2021.

We are looking for a person who has a good general knowledge of the benefits system and, in particular Universal Credit. Training can be provided. Read more:

Trainee Advice Session Supervisor for our Dorchester and Weymouth offices.


Hours: 18.5 Hours per week Salary: £11,563 (Actual per annum)
Location: Dorchester and Weymouth Term: Permanent
Start Date: Immediate Start Closing date: 22 April 2021


We are looking for a highly motivated individual and the supervisor role will require you to run the daily multi-channel advice session (telephone, email, virtual and/or physical face to face) . You will train to supervise a team of volunteer advisers working both in the office and from home and ensure service delivery and quality standards are maintained. Read more:

Service Manager (Weymouth & Portland): Citizens Advice Central Dorset are looking to recruit a Weymouth & Portland Service Manager to join their management team. The role will be to lead and develop a local team of volunteers and paid staff who deliver high quality advice and support in one of the highest areas of need in Dorset.

Hours: 28 Hours per week Salary: £21,753 actual per annum (£28,745 fulltime equivalent) Location: Weymouth & Portland Term: Permanent Start Date: Immediate Start Closing date: 22 April 2021

We are looking for a highly motivated individual who is committed to serving local communities and understands the challenges of delivering a service in a volunteer based charity. They will have substantial management experience and be able to work with the Volunteer Development Manager to understand the needs of clients and the team. Read more:

Information updates

COVID-19 UPDATES

April Fact Sheet:

Changes to Lockdown from Monday 29 March: The ‘stay at home’ rule will end, but many restrictions will remain in place. You should continue to work from home and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible. The govt guidance on ‘what you can and cannot do’ is here.

The guidance on working safely during coronavirus has been updated here. There is also a Citizens Advice page headed ‘if you’re worried about working’ – here.

If you would like to print out a poster with the rules on, they are also available on the govt website.

Shielding: updated guidance is here.

Local vaccination news: Anyone who needs help to get to their vaccination appointment can contact their council’s COVID-19 helpline. BCP Council and Dorset Council are offering support to towards the costs of a taxi journey to local vaccination appointments for those who need it.

  • BCP link or phone 0300 1237052.
  • Dorset link or phone 1305 221000.

International Travel is not allowed unless you are an ‘exempt person’ or have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This can include those who  are not UK residents and only have temporary permission to stay, and – for example -attending a funeral or a wedding, but only if one of those getting married lives outside the UK, and the person travelling is either getting married themselves or is a “close family member”. Read more here.

BENEFITS

DWP Face to Face assessments: These will resume for those who are unable to be fully assessed by other channels, as follows:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in England – from 12 April 2021
  • Work Capability Assessments for UC/ESA and disability assessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – from May

New – Temporary Jobcentres: The DWP is opening 80 temporary Jobcentres. The only one in our area seems to be:

Bournemouth  Tringham House, Castle Lane East BH7 7DT

All Jobcentres will return to normal opening hours from 12 April 2021. DWP are also recruiting additional work coaches. Read more here.

Renting and UC – a guide for landlords and letting agents: DWP has published a new Universal Credit fact sheet for landlords and letting agents highlighting the support that’s on offer to help claimants pay their rent on time and in full. It aims to encourage landlords and letting agents to consider all tenants in receipt of Housing Support on an individual basis. The link is here.

HOUSING

Electrical Safety Standards: From 1 April all privately rented residential properties must have been inspected for electrical safety. The regulations require landlords to:

  • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years
  • Provide a copy of the inspection report to an existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection or before a new tenant moves into the property
  • Complete any works identified as necessary within 28 days or sooner if specified in the inspection report and provide the tenant with written confirmation from the electrician that this work has been completed

Read the guide for landlords here.

FINANCES

FCA Guidance – Tailored Mortgage Support: This sets out the support clients should get from 1 April if they’re in financial difficulty due to coronavirus. Although covid payment deferrals are ending, clients should be given support tailored to their individual circumstances. Lenders considering or taking repossession action should only do so as a last resort and when all other reasonable attempts to resolve the situation have failed. Lenders should also take additional care when taking action to enforce repossession if their customer is vulnerable or would be at greater risk of harm from coronavirus if made to leave the property. Clients should contact their lender to discuss their options. Read more here.

Switch phone, TV or broadband supplier: Citizens Advice information on this has just been updated – follow this link.

OTHER

Nightingale Courts: HMCTS is using additional venues to provide increased capacity in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These venues have been referred to as ‘Nightingale courts’. They will be used on a temporary basis to ensure as many hearings as possible can continue to take place during the coronavirus outbreak. [The nearest to us appears to be Taunton!}. More info here. The guidance on attending a court or tribunal (updated in February) is here.

Royal Mail Parcel Scam: This is a text which claims that people owe a shipping fee for a parcel, and direct people to a very convincing fake site to collect their bank details. In some cases, people who have given their details and have been contacted by their bank to alert them to the fraud, have then had a call from the scammers. They have pretended to be from the victim’s bank and have attempted to persuade them to transfer money over to another account to “protect them” from further fraud. Read the news item on the BBC website and more on reporting a scam here.

Events

DCA Webinar – The Road to Reopening: Wednesday 14 April 11.30am. Free – support and guidance on the latest updates and the Road Map to Reopening, including:

  • Government Update
  • Planning for Reopening
  • Risk Assessments & Keeping Safe
  • Funding Update

To book, go to eventbrite.

Policy in Practice webinar: Making the most of the Restart scheme. With more people chasing a third fewer jobs than before the pandemic, now is a critical time for job seekers and the organisations who support them. DWP has responded by investing over £3.5 billion in employment support to help people back into work as quickly as possible. All frontline organisations need the best tools to help advisors have motivational conversations with customers, show them how to navigate an overly complex benefit system and demonstrate how they will be better off in work. For Restart Scheme bidders this is a requirement. Find out more at this webinar on Wednesday 21 April, 10.30 – 11.45. Register here.

Reports, research, blogs etc

CPAG Blog: DOES THE CAP FIT? Researching the benefit cap’s effect on paid work. 180,000 households were capped in November 2020, up from 170,000 in August 2020. TThe cap does not apply to everyone who claims benefits – for example families who earn a certain amount of income through work are exempt. However the pandemic has contributed considerably to the increase in capped households because there have been widespread job losses and reductions in earnings taking households below the earnings thresholds at which the benefit cap is applied. Read more here.

UK Parliament – Annual Households Below Average Income and Separated Families Statistics 2019/20: This statement was made on 25 March and Touchbase notes that overall, the statistics reinforce that the economy entered the pandemic in a strong position, with average household incomes seeing their strongest annual growth for nearly 20 years in 2019/20. There are worrying details, such as 44% of separated families do not have any child maintenance payment in place. Worth reading in detail over the Easter weekend? The statement is here.

Women’s health – call for evidence: The Government has launched a 12 week call for evidence to better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system. This is part of the Women’s Health Strategy, to improve the health and wellbeing of women across England and place women’s voices at the centre of their care. Follow this link.

Funding News

News from the Tudor Trust: Our new Funding Guidelines for 2021/2022 will be available from 1st April. However, there shouldn’t be too many surprises. We will still focus our funding on smaller community-led groups that support people at the margins of society, and the information we need to see in a first-stage proposal remains largely unchanged. Read more here.