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 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

East Dorset Citizens Advice: Advice Session Supervisor.

Salary: NJC scale 20 £25,991 (gross FTE)
Hours per week: 21 to be worked over 3 days, Monday to Friday
Type of contract: Fixed Term until 31st March 2022
Closing date: 5.00 pm Thursday 28th January 2021
Interview date: Week commencing Monday 1st February 2021

For more information and the person specification go to the ED CA website.

Information Updates

Covid19 SUPPORT: The Govt has set up an online search facility for people to find out what help and advice they can get from the government and other organisations. You can use it for yourself or someone else. You can find support with:

  • what to do if you’re feeling unsafe where you live, or if you’re worried about someone else
  • paying your bills, rent, or mortgage
  • getting food
  • being made redundant or unemployed, or not having any work
  • what to do if you’re worried about going in to work
  • having somewhere to live
  • mental health and wellbeing, including information for children

If for example you tick that you want hep with paying bills, it will take you through a few questions and then produce a list of links to other websites, sucha as Shetler and Citizens Advice. Som choices – such as getting help from your local council – then take you to ascreen wher you enter a postcode.

Try this website out here. .

We’ve also had several queries this week about the exact definition and rules for ‘support bubbles‘; here is the Govt LINK.

Working safely. The BBC reported that between 6 and 14 January the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received 2,945 complaints about safety issues. This further raised concerns about employees forced to go into workplaces that are not Covid-compliant during lockdown. For information if you are worried about working safely, go to the Citizens Advice information here. This includes links to other websites.

Coronavirus information in 60 languages: Doctors of the World’s updated guidance reflect the new self-isolation period for contacts with people with COVID-19, and includes more information on NHS phone applications to ensure everyone knows if they are at risk of coronavirus. The updated guidance will also include links to translated information on NHS Test and Trace and social distancing produced by the government. Read more here.

BENEFITS

Jobcentre opening times: As a temporary measure, Jobcentre opening hours have reduced to 10am to 2pm beginning from Monday 18th January 2021 in response to the latest phase of the pandemic. Opening hours of their phone lines  remain as they were.

Claiming UC as a student: The DWP has updated itls guidance. People cannot usually get Universal Credit if they are studying full-time; however there are some exceptions, and this is a complex area. The updated guidance includes definitions (full and part time study, advanced and non-advanced education), plus eligibility criteria. Follow this link.

DOMESTIC ABUSE

Pharmacy codeword: Anyone experiencing domestic abuse and in need of help can ask for ‘ANI’ (pronounced like the name Annie) in participating pharmacies. The pharmacy will offer a private space, provide a phone and ask if the person requires support from the police or other domestic abuse services. The scheme will be initially available through the 2,300 Boots stores across the UK and 255 independent pharmacies, with an ongoing sign-up process.Read more here.

Lockdown rules, requiring people to stay at home, do not apply to someone who needs to leave their home to escape domestic abuse.  There is a lot more useful information on the Govt website on how to get help HERE including translated guidance and easy-read versions.

TRAVELLING ABROAD [if and when we can…..]

Global Health Insurance Card: The Govt has agreed a new scheme to replace the EHIC for travelling in the EU. People only need to apply for the new GHIC when their current EHIC expires. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Read more here. NB There are some potential scams around, with websites offering to apply for your GHIC for a fee, but people can apply FREE – go to the the Govt website.

Events

Policy in Practice – Why we all need flexible collection policies for Council Tax debt. This webinar on Wednesday 27 January 10.30 will cover;

  • Barriers to the adoption of more flexible policies
  • Empirical evidence of the factors influencing collection rates
  • How councils can optmise collection rates whilst also protecting vulnerable citizens

Read more and register here.

Reports, consultations etc

TUC: Working Mums – paying the price:. As with the original lockdown and the accompanying school closures, childcare and home schooling place a disproportionately higher burden on working mothers, leading to problems both with furlough and performance management issues when working from home.

The TUC’s January survey showed that 7 in 10 requests for furlough from working mums were turned down, and nine out of ten mums say their mental health has been negatively impacted experiencing levels of stress and anxiety. The TUC report is calling for a temporary legal right to access the furlough scheme for parents and those with caring responsibilities who have had these significantly disrupted due to coronavirus restrictions, and people who cannot work because they are required to shield. Read morer here.

Maternity Action: Insecure Labour – the realities of insecure work for pregnant women and new mothers. This new report finds that insecure work causes additional stress during pregnancy – a time when women need to avoid stress for their own and their baby’s health. Examples include women missing ante-natal appointments because they cannot risk taking time off. Read more here.

Citizens Advice blog on the ‘lifeline’: The £20/week uplift to UC has been debated in parliament this week, though the successful vote is not binding. This blog from Citizens Advice says this uplift is ‘one of the government’s most successful pandemic policies’ and highlights the impact it has had. Read more here.

People’s experience of using smart meters: Natcen on behalf of BEIS is carrying out a research study with people who have smart meters, and who may have different circumstances that influence how they experience and pay for their energy use. They want to understand the experiences of different smart meter users, including whether the technology makes a difference to how they interact with their energy use. Read more below.

Funding News

The Screwfix Foundation currently offers local registered charities and not for profit organisations funding of up to £5,000. All applications are reviewed individually by our team on a quarterly basis, the review dates are in February, May, August and November. All successful applications will be contacted by post, email or phone to arrange the next step. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted within one month of the review meeting. Once you have received your outcome, should you wish to reapply, please do so after 12 months.

The application process is on-line. Read more here.

The Tech for Good 2021 ‘Build’ programme (Comic Relief & Paul Hamlyn) will enable organisations or partnerships to define, test and develop digital solutions over nine months that meet a social need or challenge.

Build is suitable for both organisations at concept stage who are at a very early stage of scoping their idea, as well as for those who have already done some digital development.

This round will fund up to 18 digital projects with investments of up to £70,000 over a period of nine months (from June 2021). This funding is for a combination of supporting your internal delivery costs as well as contracting support from external digital and technical development agencies.

Closing date: 12 February 2021. Read more here.