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

Jobs

Specialist Employment Adviser – Purbeck Citizens Advice: 15 hours/week, fixed term to 31 March 2022, salary pro rata of £23,836

Purbeck Citizens Advice is looking for a client focussed individual with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to empathise and understand the complex employment issues faced by clients. You will need excellent communication skills, in all forms, as well as an orderly, high-standard approach to a demanding workload. You will need to demonstrate proven competence in delivering employment advice. Closing date 29 June. Read more:

Business Development Manager -Purbeck Citizens Advice (adoption leave cover, fixed term 12 months): 22.5 hours/week, pro rata of £26,999.

You will have a proven track record of maintaining and developing funding streams to enable continued support for our core service along with specialist projects to meet local advice needs. In conjunction with the Chief Officer, you will ensure we are meeting the objectives of the strategic business plan. Closing date 29 June; read more:

Covid-19 Updates

UPDATED: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as from 1 July 2020:

  • From 1 July, employers can only Furlough workers that have previously been Furloughed for a 3 week minimum period under existing rules, so 10 June was the cut-off date for new entrants to CJRS. 
  • Flexible Furlough commences 1 July. This includes part-time working. 
  • The current minimum Furlough period of 3 consecutive weeks will no longer apply. 
  • Flexible Furlough agreements can last for any period, but the minimum Furlough grant claim period is 7 days.   
  • Employers must record (and keep a copy of) a new written agreement when implementing flexible Furlough. 
  • Under flexible Furlough employers must pay workers 100% of earnings for work performed –  CJRS grants will cover normal hours not worked. 
  • The updated guidance shows how to calculate pay for flexibly Furloughed workers.
  • HMRC guidance confirms that the 10 June cut-off for newly Furloughed workers does not apply to those returning from maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental or parental bereavement leave. Their eligibility is contingent on whether the employer has Furloughed other workers by 10 June 2020.

For the guidance go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

CJRS, SEISS and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA): If people receive payments from the CJRS or SEISS, they are considered to be engaged in ‘remunerative work’ and are not entitled to JSA if they usually work 16 or more hours/week. 

CJRS and Employment & Support Allowance (ESA): Payments from the CJRS do not affect entitlement to ESA for claimants who are not working. Where work is being undertaken the exempt work regulations would apply to both hours worked and earning received, which would include CJRS.

EMPLOYMENT: The DWP (Jobcentres) have launched a new job search website called JobHelp: https://jobhelp.campaign.gov.uk/

BENEFITS: New videos in BSL, including on SSP and UC: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjUsu6cIRwcEx48fYYmFfBA

HOUSINGTechnical guidance for landlords on the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020: Ministry of Housing updated guide; most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice, and they are advised not to start or continue action ‘at this challenging time’. Read more: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888808/Technical_guidance_on_eviction_notices.pdf

DEBTIVA Protocol: one of the largest providers of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) told creditors they needed to review their arrangements and asked them to approve an additional fee on each of it’s thousands of IVAs. Fees taken by the insolvency practitioner reduce the amount paid to creditors and if the IVA fails the client will owe more. Clients in this situation can complain that this does not fit with the Protocol which encourages greater flexibility during the Covid19 crisis: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-individual-voluntary-arrangement-iva-protocol-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-straightforward-consumer-iva-protocol

IMMIGRATIONUpdating Visas: If someone’s leave to stay expires between now and 31 July they must request an extension “by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT)  – this is if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term”.

More information; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

Local Information

Open letter from the NHS in Dorset: An update on services, who to contact etc:

Crisis Fund: Emergency Pre-payment Meter vouchers

CA Purbeck are now able to provide Emergency Pre-payment meter vouchers to households across Dorset and BCP areas, who have been affected by Covid19 (economic and social impact) and at risk of self-disconnection. In order to refer a client to receive a voucher please use the guidelines below. Energy Referral Line: 01929 775500

The Energy referral line number should NOT be publicised or given directly to a client for the purpose of obtaining a voucher.    Attached is a protocol for the phone line and how calls will be managed.  Below are the key points from this:
Prior to referring for the PPM project, partners and stakeholder will need to have assessed that the Client meets the project eligibility:

i) they have a Pre-payment meter;
ii) they have been affected by the impact of Covid 19*; and
iii) they are at risk of self-disconnection

The Energy Referral line will not be answered, but a voicemail should be left with the following data:
Organisation, name and contact details of the referring person. (in case of any
follow up needed) AND
Client Name, Address, Contact telephone number, email (if available).
No additional data will be required.

The voucher will be sent directly to the client for them to access the funds needed
A maximum of 3 vouchers are available per household.  Each voucher will be worth £49.  The vouchers are not cash, but will be linked to their energy account.  The client may be referred to their local CA for advice relating to benefits, debt, energy issues etc.  Please see the attached protocol for full details of the referral process.

Reports and briefings

Three months of a pandemic…..Citizens Advice data shows that people are becoming increasingly concerned about redundancy as the nation moves into a new phase where government support packages are scaled back.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/three-months-of-a-pandemic-citizens-advice-data-shows-furlough-is-the-most-popular-advice-topic-but-redundancy-concerns-on-the-rise/

Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Save the Children are calling for a temporary £20/week increase to Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit child elements to ‘support those struggling to stay afloat’. Read more: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/call-stronger-social-security-lifeline-children

Funding News

BBC Children in Need – Covid19 Next Steps grant: Grants of £5 – £80k for prohects to start in Septmeber 2020 adn run dfor 18 months. They will prioritise applications from organisations that:

  • Target children and young people disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise that the current crisis increases pre-existing inequalities.
  • Have mission statements, objects, or aims which focus on supporting and empowering a particular group or community experiencing disadvantage.
  • Respond confidently in a local area and are best placed to do so. We want to fund organisations that have the reach and trust of the communities/communities of interest they serve.
  • Can prove a track record of engaging disadvantaged children and young people over the last two years.

Deadline 1 July. Read more: https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/grants/covid-19-funding-streams/

The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust have reviewed their grant criteria to enable them to spread their funds as widely as possible to help those with greatest need. The next round of funding will be aimed at supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable people aged 60 and over affected by the Covid19 crisis. UK registered charities with an minimum income of £100,000 and over will be able to apply for grants of £1,000.

The next round of funding will be open for applications from the 1st of July to the 31st July 2020.

NLCR Emerging Futures Fund: This new fund from the National Lottery Community Fund aims to give communities and civil society organisations across the UK ‘the space, resource and additional expertise to step back [from COVID-19] and ask questions, imagine alternatives and gather to shape the emerging future’. Grants of up to £50k, closing date 25 June; read more: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/emerging-futures-fund