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

STARS Dorset is the only specialist rape support centre supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse in Dorset.  We have seen an increase in the number of referrals being received for our specialist support services which have grown rapidly over the past two years.  We currently have vacancies for the following roles:-

  • A part-time ISVA supporting Adults;
  • A full-time ISVA supporting Children and Young People;
  • A part-time Clinical Supervisor

Fixed term contracts to 31 March 2021. Please visit our website https://www.starsdorset.org/jobs for more information on each of the roles and how to apply. Alternatively, please call Helen Stevens on 01202 308856.

Covid-19 Info Updates

Employment changes and updates: A good overview of the Furlough scheme and changes as we move to ‘flexible furlough’ from 1 July, is on the Citizens Advice website and is updated regularly

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/coronavirus-being-furloughed-if-you-cant-work/

SEISS second grant scheme: summarised with some useful commentary by Martin Lewis on MoneySavingExpert:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/04/self-employed-help-coronavirus/#secondgrant

WHISTLEBLOWING advice: As workplaces re-open after lockdown, many people are worried about their safety and that of their colleagues, clients or customers. Protect is an organisation which can offer free expert advice around whistleblowing protection. Read more: https://protect-advice.org.uk/advice-line/

HOUSING / HOMELESSNESS: Shelter’s main website is a very useful source of info. There is also Shelter Legal for more in-depth information – here’s the link to their homlessness page: https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/housing_options/covid-19_emergency_measures/homelessness and also a link to resources for street homeless people, on Groundswell: https://groundswell.org.uk/coronavirus/

STUDENTS: The Office for Students has just updated its guidance for students and providers, follow this link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/coronavirus/

OFGEM open letter to energy suppliers: whilst arrears collection can restart on 1 July, companies should ensure ‘that any debt management processes are fair and that repayment plans take account of ability to pay’ . Read more: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2020/06/update_on_regulatory_flexibility_framework_for_suppliers_0.pdf

FREE SCHOOL MEALS extended for the summer holidays: read the DofE blog and also an article from MoneySavingExpert:

https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/06/15/free-school-meal-availability/

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/06/children-s-free-school-meal-vouchers-to-continue-over-the-summer/

CO-OP FUNERALCARE HARDSHIP FUND: If a family member has died as a result of coronavirus, you are responsible for paying for the funeral, and are experiencing financial hardship, with an income of no more than £25,000 or are in receipt of benefits, you may be eligible for a grant of £250 from the fund. More info: https://hardshipfund.coop.co.uk/

Other news, briefings etc

STOP LOAN SHARKS: The Illegal Money Lending Team is concerned that loan sharks now may be looking to take advantage of those who have found themselves in a vulnerable position during the pandemic and feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

This year protecting people against scams and illegal money lenders is more important than ever. The coronavirus crisis means more people are facing issues from employment, housing or health problems to increasing debt, resulting in more people being in vulnerable situations.

A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct permission from the Financail Conduct Athroty.

If you’ve been affected by a loan shark, or know of loan sharks operating in your area, contact the confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222. You can also email the team at reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or use the online reporting form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.

Read the recent Press Release here:

Universal Credit, earned income and monthly pay: a long-running challenge to the effect of two salary payments in one ‘assessed period’ has found in favour of the claimants.

The case concerned four single working mothers whose regular monthly pay dates for their wages fell close to the start/end of their assessment periods, resulting in them sometimes having two paydays in one assessment period. This issue caused them to experience fluctuations of their income and significant cash losses.     The Court of Appeal found that Secretary of Sate for Work & Pensions failure to resolve the problem for such claimants was irrational. There may be a futher challenge to the Supreme Cout but read more about the recent case here: https://cpag.org.uk/welfare-rights/legal-test-cases/universal-credit-assessment-period-inflexibility

CITIZENS ADVICE BLOG: 2 months left to help renters….. whilst government protections have been extended until August this is ‘a sticking plaster, not a cure’. Citizens Advice are making 3 recommendations to extend protections for private tenants – read more: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/2-months-left-to-help-renters-9578797a16b8

Training

POLICY IN PRACTICE WEBINAR: How to simplify the complexity of surplus earnings. . Wednesday 1 July 10.30-11.30.

Many self-employed people will receive a grant through the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) this month. These payments can be up to £7,500 and will be counted as earnings under Universal Credit. As a result, lots of self-employed households will be affected by the complex ‘surplus earnings’ rules for the first time. In short, these rules mean that for many households, the SEISS money will be taken into account as earnings not just for the month it was received, but for future months as well. To find ou tmore abou tthis, register for teh webinar here: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/events/

Funding news

Dorset Community Foundation: The Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund is still open, offering grants of up to £5,000 to voluntary and community organisations that are helping vulnerable people impacted by the Covid-19 crisis; easing the immediate difficulties communities are facing and to support their recovery over the coming weeks and months. read more: https://www.dorsetcommunityfoundation.org/dorset-coronavirus-community-fund/