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). 

During the Covid-19 outbreak we will be publishing a weekly E News to keep you updated on information you may need for your clients/service users (benefits, rights for the self-employed, other financial help), support services, and anything else we hope may be of use…….

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 Doset email [from May the E News will be sent out from this address]:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

Reminder……. ADVICE DORSET PARTNERSHIP – STRATEGY 2020-24: The Strategy is a short document setting out our aspirations for the period 2020-24. Given the current situation the Introduction covers how the advice sector and other VCSE colleagues have worked with local authorities and others, contributing knowledge and resources to ensure an effective and speedy response to the Covid-19 crisis; we also highlight advice issues that are likely to emerge as we move into the recovery. period. It’s a short read – and we really appreciate any comments or feedback you have – thank you:00-ADP-Strategy-2020-2024-1-May-2020-3Download

Jobs

Citizens Advice Purbeck is looking for 3 Energy Advisers to be part of the Fighting Fuel Poverty Project; this will run across Dorset (both Council areas) with Advisers based at home, and is funded for two years by The Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Fund.

37 hours per week, annual salary: £23,836. Closing date 5 June. NB: job share considered – see updated advert:

Covid-19 Information Updates

RETURNING TO WORK: Guidance for those working in shops and branches – employers, employees and self-employed. There are likely to be more queries on these issues as people return to work: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb9703de90e07082fa57ce0/working-safely-during-covid-19-shops-branches-v1.1-250520.pdf

Cloisters (Barristers specialising in employment law) have also produced a summary of the guidance. ‘Employers are reminded that the obligation to ensure a safe workplace rests on them alone and that particular duties may be owed to certain workers, such as pregnant workers and new mothers (including the need to suspend on full pay if alternative safe working duties cannot be found for them) and those with disabilities’. Read the third edition (26 May) here: https://www.cloisters.com/news/third-edition-released-of-cloisters-toolkit-returning-to-work-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/

STATUTORY SICK PAY: The regulations have been amended to allow SSP to be claimed for those identified through contact tracing as having come into contact with someone who has Coronavirus, so that they need to self-isolate for 14 days.  This will be payable from day one. https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay 

HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENT & PAY DURING CORONAVIRUS: Govt guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who have continued to work or been furloughed. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/holiday-entitlement-and-pay-during-coronavirus-covid-19

FURLOUGH CUT OFF DATE: The cut off date that an employer can Furlough a worker for the first time is 10 June 2020. People with ongoing issues concerning access to the Furlough scheme should be advised to resolve these issues quickly.

SCHOOLS RE- OPEN: Updated guidance (2 June) on the opening of schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

NHS TEST AND TRACE – potential phishing scam: Trading standards report that some people have received texts informing them that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The message contains a link to a bogus website which asks for the personal details of the user. Scammers may use the information to gain access to bank accounts and commit other forms of identity fraud. The real system will NOT ask people to:

  • provide bank details or payments
  • give details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

For more go to; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FOR CLIENTS

VRF Fund: Support for homeless people – the VRF Emergency Fund has three broad categories: Basic Essential Need; Overcoming Barriers to Support; and Securing Accommodation. Applications have to be from frontline staff. https://frontlinenetwork.org.uk/vrf-emergency-fund/

HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund has now opened to help small businesses with grants of up to £25,000; the criteria are the that the business….

  • is based in England
  • has fewer than 50 employees
  • has fixed building costs such as rent
  • was trading on 11 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus
  • is not already claiming under one of the other Grant shcemes.

Govt gudiance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-local-authority-discretionary-grants-fund

NB: Closing date: 14 June. Local schemes:

Dorset Council: https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/emergencies-severe-weather/emergencies/coronavirus/business-and-employers/coronavirus-local-authority-discretionary-fund.aspx

BCP: https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/doc/BCP-Discretionary-Business-Grant-Scheme.pdf

Reports and Briefings

Dorset Race Equality Council: Shortly after lockdown started, DREC began assessing how Dorset’s ethnic minority community groups and individuals were responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was sought to establish whether or not they understood the national guidance and restrictions on movement and social distancing; whether there were unmet needs; how vulnerable people were supported; and whether or not they had access to information relating to Covid 19. Qualitative responses were obtained from a range of organisations and individuals. Read the full report here:

CCG: Your mind your say. A survey of young people’s mental health services asked people what they felt was good about Dorset’s mental health services, what they felt could be better and what they felt would make the biggest difference to services in the future. Positives were that people felt listened to, cared about and supported, but needed earlier access to services and more continuity of care. Read the summary here: https://www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/ymys-one-page-summary/

Lockdown Lifeline: Policy research from Citizens Advice looks at the changes that have been made to support people through Covid-19, and identifies key things that need to be considered, including:

  • Widening eligibility and access to the benefits system to ensure everyone who needs support can access it
  • Immediate measures to help ensure adequate support across the benefits system
  • Reviewing support for groups who risk facing a disproportionate impact due to coronavirus

Read more and access the full report here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/lockdown-lifeline-ensuring-adequate-support-across-the-benefits-system-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Citizens Advice blog: Renters were struggling before coronavirus – more needs to be done…….. Renters struggling during coronavirus have been protected from losing their home through the pause on evictions — and this was a welcome move from the government. However, this safety net is due to end in 4 weeks, leaving many renters facing a cliff edge of eviction and the risk of homelessness. Read more: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/renters-were-struggling-before-coronavirus-more-needs-to-be-done-to-support-them-now-3c98e6fe327a

Training

Livewell Dorset’s “Five Ways to Wellbeing”: As part of the Public Health Dorset response to coronavirus, LiveWell will guide you through five things you can do to take steps to enhance your wellbeing. This 75-minute free online course will inspire you to live by the Five Ways to Wellbeing. It will empower you to build a personal action plan to integrate these values into your lifestyle. The course is for a maximum of 20 participants and will involve interactivity and collective learning.

Once you register, you will be sent Zoom joining instructions to your email in advance of the event. Various dates availabe (eg. 8,9,12 June) – to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/livewell-dorsets-five-ways-to-wellbeing-tickets-105218914606

Policy in Practice webinar (2o May]Stories from the frontline : you can watch the recording of this session here: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/coronavirus-stories-from-the-frontline/

Funding

Forces Commumities Together Programme; The Forces Communities Together programme will award small grants of up to £10,000 towards creative and engaging projects, that can be delivered under social restrictions, for people from Armed Forces communities who are isolated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Closing date 30 June. Read more: https://covenantfund.org.uk/programme/forces-communities-together-programme/