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

No listings this week.

Information updates

SUMMARY OF INFORMATION for September:

HOUSING

Protection from eviction: On 28 August 2020 the government published the amendments which change the notice periods for most types of tenancy. The duration of notice will depend on the type of tenancy and the grounds relied upon (reason) to seek possession.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: protection from eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulation 2020: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/914/contents/made

EMPLOYMENT

Furlough: As from 1 September the Government contribution to furlough pay reduces to 70% of wages claimed – capped at £2,187.50. The changes mean that Employers must top up furlough grant claims to the minimum of 80% (capped at £2500) and pay Employer National insurance and pension contributions. Wage caps are proportionate to the hours not worked. For details and a useful chart go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

BENEFITS

Claiming New Style ESA: NSESA can be claimed with or without a Universal Credit claim. Following a Freedom of Information request the Govt has clarified that: “Although currently the online claim advises the claimant to claim UC first, it does not prevent the claimant from continuing with a New Style ESA claim first and asks the claimant whether they would like to continue”.  We understand that the online eligibility questions have now been amended: https://www.apply-new-style-employment-support-allowance.dwp.gov.uk/eligibility-start

Free School Meals: A reminder of the criteria locally is here:

The Government has extended eligibility to those with No Recourse to Public Funds: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups

PAYMENT for people self-isolating in high risk Covid19 areas: People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme. Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works, eligible individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation. Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182. Although currently Dorset has a low incidence of Covid19, it would be prudent to keep an eye on how this trial works. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-payment-for-people-self-isolating-in-highest-risk-areas

DEBT: Bailiffs can now resume enforcement action but must follow very strict procedures to ensure social distancing. You can read the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-safely-during-covid-19-enforcement-agents-bailiffs/working-safely-during-covid-19-enforcement-agents-bailiffs

IMMIGRATION

Home Office Guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus. Follow the link for a range of information; advice for visa applicants was updated on 24 August. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-and-borders

SCAMS

Vaccine claim phishing scams: We are now seeing phishing campaigns that exploit the hopes for a Coronavirus vaccine. According to new research from Check Point, the primary attack delivery method is email, constituting 82% of all attack vectors for malicious files in the last month. In these campaigns, attackers send emails with subject lines that include deceptive vaccine-related content, which inevitably conceal malicious links in the body. These links lead to a malicious file usually in the form of .exe, .xls or .doc.  Read more: https://securitybrief.eu/story/reports-suggest-spike-in-vaccine-related-phishing-campaigns

Local Updates

SURVEY: Information and Advice during Covid19 for those with hearing and/or visual impairments:

Citizens Advice, other advice agencies, and Dorset Council are keen to understand what issues people with hearing and/or visual impairments have faced during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. This information will be used to inform future service provision by Citizens Advice and Dorset Council.

Please send this survey widely and encourage others to fill it in; if you need the survey in an alternative format, please contact Susan Ward-Rice 01305 224368

It can be completed anonymously though it will be useful for us to have some information about which area you live in and your specific condition(s) or impairment.

Please return completed surveys by Sunday 4 October 2020.
Link to survey: https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=159784834612
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Events, webinars etc

WEBINAR led by Dorset CCG: Working together to improve mental health support provided in our community– Dorset’s Mental Health Integrated Community Care Project. Tuesday 8th September 3pm – 4pm via Zoom

We want everyone living in Dorset to experience the best mental health and wellbeing possible, and we need your help to make that happen. Currently, primary and community mental health services don’t always meet everyone’s needs. Through the Mental Health Integrated Community Care Project, health, care and voluntary sector partners, together with local people and communities have the opportunity to improve mental health services for adults and older people, and those that support them. Please join us to share your views and insights. To register for the event go to eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/working-together-to-improve-mental-health-support-tickets-118628203149

Reports, briefings etc

Citizens Advice: the impact of convirus on the frontline. This blog uses intelligence from over 450 advisers, chief officers and trustees across the Citizens Advice network, who took the time to share their experiences. Their responses give a flavour of what local Citizens Advice are seeing on the frontline, and reflect the difficulty of the situation we are in at the moment. Read more here: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/the-most-striking-issues-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-front-line-9a5977d68a75

Coronavirus: ban on evictions and help for rough sleepers: This parliamentary briefing paper explains measures taken by the Government during the coronavirus outbreak to assist households to retain their homes and enable local authorities to tackle the specific challenges faced by rough sleepers.It includes the decision to further extend the stay on eviction hearings in to 20 September and new notice provisions introduced on 29 August. The paper is being updated regularly to take account of new developments. Read more: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8867/

CPAG BLOG – Algorithms in social security:cause for concern? Last year CPAG reported on the problems claimants have understanding – and challenging – their UC award. Many of these problems are caused or exacerbated by the computer system used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In their second report they focus on the difficulties claimants experience challenging decisions made in relation to their UC award, with various roadblocks placed in their way. Read more: https://cpag.org.uk/news-blogs/news-listings/algorithms-social-security-cause-concern

Money and Mental Health Policy Institute: Income in Crisis – How the pandemic has affected the living standards of people with mental health problems.This report explores the links between mental health problems and the money people receive through work, benefits or other sources. The spread of coronavirus has made these connections all the more pressing, with the earning power of millions damaged and the state safety net more crucial than ever. Read more: https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/income/

Funding news

LGBT+ Futures: National Emergencies Trust Fund. Non-profit LGBT+ organisations across the UK are being invited to apply to a new fund, worth £350,000. Small Grants of up to £5,000 and Main Grants of between £5,001 and £15,000 are available. The funding is available to address the additional needs of LGBT+ people and communities most adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to support and strengthen LGBT+ organisations that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is a rolling programme; the grants are awarded for immediate responses and support to organisations, individuals and communities in need as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants are for short-term work only and all funds awarded through the programme must be fully spent by 31 May 2021. Read more: https://www.consortium.lgbt/NETFund/