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…….). NB: Caroline is on holiday for 2 weeks so the next edition will be 8 October.

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

Information updates

Covid19 – what you can and cannot now do: Follow the link to guidance from the Government on the latest changes…..which may of course change again: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

HOUSING

Reactivation Notice: These are the forms to use to reactivate a claim brought on or before 3 August. There is one form for landlords and one for tenants – they’re not prescribed forms which means either party can file a reactivation notice in a different format as long as it includes all the information required which is set out in Practice Direction 55.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reactivation-notice-for-property-possession

Accelerated Possession Proceedings; There are also new versions of the N5B (claim form) and N11B (defence form), here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n5b-england-claim-possession-of-a-property-located-wholly-in-england-accelerated-procedure

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n11b-england-defence-form-accelerated-possession-procedure-assured-shorthold-tenancy-where-the-property-is-located-wholly-or-partly-in-engla

EMPLOYMENT

Working Safely: Govt guidance updated as at 11 September: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Flexible Working: useful article from Walker Morris is a reminder for employers on the law, and this may also help advisers assist employees to frame their requests more effectively. Read more: https://www.walkermorris.co.uk/publications/how-to-deal-with-flexible-working-requests-as-people-return-to-the-workplace/

BENEFITS

SSP can be paid if an employee is self-isolating because they’ve been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery – read the employer guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay/entitlement.

DEBT

FCA: Updated guidance on mortgages. This supplements the June guidance, whereby temporary support was designed to help consumers bridge the crisis and get back on their feet. The FCA says that “the steps firms have taken under the June guidance have helped millions of consumers through the first months of the current emergency. Many are expected to resume full repayment. However, many will continue to be, or be newly affected by, circumstances relating to coronavirus”. Therefore “tailored support” will continue to be needed after 31 October.

The new guidance comes into effect on 16 September 2020, read more: https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/finalised-guidance/mortgages-coronavirus-additional-guidance-for-firms.pdf

FAMILY COURTS: For business priorities for the current week, and links to other information and online forms (recommended), go to: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/916842/Updated_family_court_business_priorities_wc_14_September_2020.pdf

SCAMS

Pension Scams: articles and guidance on both the Pensions Regulator and FCA websites, including four key issues for people to consider:

  • don’t be rushed or pressured into making any pension decisions
  • reject unexpected pension offers, whether made online, on social media or over the phone
  • check who you’re dealing with before changing pension arrangements – check the Financial Services Register or call the FCA helpline on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm is authorised by the FCA
  • consider getting impartial information and advice 

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/pension-scams

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/pension-savers-claim-over-ps30-million-lost-scams-regulators-urge-footie-fans-show-scammers-red-card

Local Informaion

Dorset Council have re-developed their web-based information on adult social care; it is split into sections such as living with a disability, help living at home, carers, financial support, etc. Go to: https://adultsocialcare.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/

REMINDER: Dorset Council survey on the information needs of those with a sensory loss – go to: https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=159784834612

Events

Dorset Community Action: Two forthcoming events, details on eventbrite link:

  • Training: Introduction to successful bid-writing. Weds 23 September 9.45am
  • DCA’s first virtual community networking event: Weds 30 September 11.30am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/dorset-community-action-8226681465

Policy in Practice free webinar: How to predict demand for your customer facing services in April 2021. COVID-19 has created residents who are newly financially vulnerable and who will be looking to you for help in the near future. But who are these people, and what action can you take now to stop them falling into crisis? And, critically, how will your support services need to adapt? Join this webinar to learn:

  • What the best and worst case caseload scenarios look like for councils in 2021
  • How flexible modelling of the future can help you understand the impacts on your caseload
  • What the likely impact will be on employment, arrears, and homelessness, and what this means for you

Wednesday 7 October, 10.30 – 11.30. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/462357142841500176?source=email

Reports, briefings etc

Post Offices are at tipping point…… Citizens Advice blog: In the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, the government will decide whether to maintain the funding that’s keeping thousands of post offices alive. There’s a lot at stake in this decision. Post offices are what stop many isolated communities from being cut off entirely — and already we’re seeing offices reduce hours or close their doors.  Read more: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/post-offices-are-at-a-tipping-point-will-they-decline-or-thrive-e60ab10165b2

Funding News

Scottish Power Foundation: Current grant round (closing date 24 September);. One of the aims is: Social initiatives – to contribute to sustainable human development by supporting the most vulnerable people and groups. Read more; https://www.scottishpower.com/pages/applying_for_funding.aspx

Disable People’s Organisations – Covid19 Emergency Fund: The National Emergencies Trust has announced £1.5 million of funding to support grassroots Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) across the UK to respond to the COVID-19 needs of disabled people. The term ‘Disabled people’ is used to mean all groups of people with impairments.

Grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 are available.The funding period is eight months (1 November 2020 to 30 June 2021). All grant income and funding activity must be spent and completed by the end of June 2021. Application closing date: 5 October.

This fund aims to support DPOs to meet the needs of local disabled people and is for COVID-19 related work in the following broad three areas:

  • Independent living: covering any COVID-19 related issues affecting disabled people’s choice and control over their lives for example: COVID-19 changes to the built environment, streetscape and transport, advice and advocacy support to help ensure health and social care needs are met, employment advice or advice to individuals about their rights if they feel they need to continue to shield
  • Isolation: covering work to tackle isolation for example: providing IT equipment and support so people can access on-line support or setting up and running peer support networks
  • Income: covering work to support disabled people to access benefits and entitlements and manage debt issues

You need to register for the Disability Action portal, here: https://disabilityaction.flexigrant.com/areadetail.aspx