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 are usually 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:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

Jobs and Volunteer opportunities

Women’s Centre Cornwall: Independent Women’s Practitioner to cover the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area. £21,836 – £22,950 per annum (pro-rata) 21 hours/week. Closing date: 17 August 2020.

This role will be to work with women who are undertaking community sentences with probation and will provide a range of interventions to women as part of a community sentence, to meet individual needs, aiming to prevent re-offending and to empower each woman. Apply on Indeed: https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?cmp=Women%27s-Rape-and-Sexual-Abuse-Centre&t=Independent+Women+Practitioner&jk=50a8b966dafc3444&q=women&vjs=3

Age UK North South & West Dorset:

Information and Advice Manager: Full time, £29,425.74pa. This is one of the most senior roles in our organisation. Working directly with the Chief Executive you will help create the future of the charity whilst delivering high quality information and advice services for older people. Closing date 28 August. Read more:

https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?cmp=Age-UK&t=Information+Advice+Manager&jk=ddbc817a67e2df8c&q=Age+UK+North,+South+%26West&vjs=3

Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole:

Finance Officer: 22.5 hours/week, fixed term to 31/3/21, salary £24,657 pro rata. Closing date 1 September 2020.

The post of the Finance Officer is a critical role within the organisation and the post holder will be responsible for the day-to-day financial management of the organisation. They will be involved in maintaining the financial procedures and systems, producing budgets and management accounts for a variety of needs, and ensuring accurate and timely record keeping. Read more:

Chair of Trustees: Citizens Advice BCP are looking for a new Chair to lead their Board of Trustees, to ensure that the trustee board provides long term strategic management of the organisation. The post of trustee is a voluntary one but all reasonable expenses are reimbursed. Closing date: 11 September 2020. Read more:

Information updates

AUGUST SUMMARY of Covid-19 related information, weblinks etc:

EMPLOYMENT

Updated guidance on Furlough, to clarify furlough claims for workers on a fixed salary, but who also work substantial levels of overtime, where this has a “significant effect” on the amount to be claimed. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/calculate-how-much-you-can-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Further guidance on the Job Retention Bonus can be found here, with more to come in September: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-retention-bonus

HOUSING

REPOSSESSIONS: The stay on possession proceedings has been extended to 23 August – a date now fast approaching, This week, a few pointers for those in rented accommodation: We anticipate seeing a number of people for whom action will be started or restarted. Landlords will have to follow certain procedures such as issuing a Reactivation Notice (see link below to RLA). Given that tenants can find repossession processes confusing – and they are likely to become more so – it is worth remembering some key points:

  • Most tenants will need to be given written notice.
  • Tenants don’t have to leave on the date stated BUT if they don’t the landlord will usually be able to get a Possession Order from the court.
  • If the tenants still don’t leave the landlord can obtain a Warrant of Possession and the tenant can be evicted by bailiffs.
  • Remember, there are some types of tenancy where the landlord doesn’t need to get a court order to evict. These include tenants who live in the same accommodation as their landlord.
  • A Suspended Possession Order allows the tenant to stay on in the property provided they keep to certain requirements – often an arrangement to pay off rent arrears.

Citizens Advice summarises these stages for those with rent arrears here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/rent-arrears/eviction-for-rent-arrears/

Shelter information: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/coronavirus#Eviction_and_being_asked_to_leave

Government guide – Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/903292/Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_July_Update_EComms_Copy_.pdf

Regarding the new rules for possession proceeding from 24 August, these are summarised on the Residential Landlord’s Association website, here: https://news.rla.org.uk/courts-new-repossession-rules/

Green Homes Grant Scheme:

Homeowners, including owner occupiers and social/private landlords, will be able to claim a voucher worth up to two thirds of the cost, to a maximum of £5000. Low income households can receive vouchers for 100% of the costs, up to a maximum of £10,000. Work can include insulating walls, floors and roofs, and installing low carbon heating, like heat pumps or solar thermal.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quality-assurance-at-heart-of-new-2-billion-green-homes-grants

BENEFITS

Age UK’s August Benefit Bulletin is very useful:

The Benefit Cap continues to adversely affect a number of people. For a clear overview of how it is applied see Shelter’s website: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/how_to_deal_with_the_benefit_cap?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2MGC66aV6wIV14BQBh16Pw_pEAAYASAAEgK9NPD_BwE

New DWP statistics have revealed an ‘unprecedented increase’ of 665 percent in the number of households on universal credit who had their benefit capped for the first time in the quarter to May 2020, as compared to the previous quarter. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-may-2020

OTHER

Guidance on Holidays in areas with local coronavirus restrictions: What you should do if you’re on holiday in an area with local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions or live in a restricted area and are planning on taking a holiday outside the area. The guidance also ‘encourages’ accommodation providers   to ‘offer alternative dates if this can be agreed……or provide a refund…..’. Read more:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-holidays-in-areas-with-local-coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions

Research, briefings etc

FCA Review: Relending by high cost lenders. High-cost credit customers are more likely to be vulnerable, have low financial resilience and poor credit histories. They often hold multiple credit products and have to juggle repayments, sometimes having to decide which priority debts to pay when they don’t have enough for all. We have significant concerns that repeat borrowing could be a strong indicator of a pattern of dependency on high-cost credit and levels of debt that are harmful to the customer.

The recommendtaion in this review, although it was carried out pre Covid19, will be important to protect consumers hit by the pandemic. The FCA expects firms not to encourage refinancing of credit agreements where the customer’s commitments are not sustainable.  Read more: https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/multi-firm-reviews/relending-high-cost-lenders

CPAG BLOG: Poverty Austerity and Children’s Social Care. When parents are worried about whether they have enough to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads, children’s wellbeing can be affected and family relations can suffer. Read more; https://cpag.org.uk/news-blogs/news-listings/making-links-poverty-austerity-and-children%E2%80%99s-social-care

Funding news

Austin and Hope Pilkington Charity: Grant Round 4 will open on 1st September and close on 30th September.  Grants will be up to £5,000 for projects aimed at people aged 60 and over. The funder will support projects that focus on the many complex issues that have arisen from the Covid 19 pandemic that address the specific needs of people aged 60 and over.  Priority will be given to charities that work within BAME communities. Read more: https://austin-hope-pilkington.org.uk/

Comic Relief – Change Makers: This funding pot is for organisations that will make a significant contribution to their sector, by finding new ways of working in the wake of coronavirus/COVID-19, developing new partnerships, advocacy and campaigning work. Activities should be relevant to Comic Relief’s social change themes of homelessness, forced migration, gender justice, mental health, and early childhood development.

Grants of between £150,000 and £600,000 are available for three to five years.  Closing date 28 August. There are currently some briefings you can join to find out more – go to: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding/funding-opportunities/change-makers/

Comic Relief – Covid19 community fund: Grants of up to £4k to enable organisations to:

• Respond to the needs of vulnerable individuals, families and communities during the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis

• Recover from the impact that the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis has had on their services

Read more: https://www.groundwork.org.uk/comic-relief-apply-for-a-covid-19-community-grant/

The Fore’s RAFT Transition Fund: Grants of up to £15k to fund small organisations working with marginalised groups and led by people in the community, especially groups that may have found it hard to access trust and foundation funding in the past.  Round 2 opens in September – read more; https://www.thefore.org/applying-for-funding/