The Advice Dorset Partnership E news is published fortnightly on a Thursday, BUT if there is something urgent in-between we will send out a short supplementary edition. 

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 Dorset email:  mailto:caroline.buxton@centralca.org.uk

You can view previous editions of the E news HERE.

Jobs

Citizens Advice Bridport – Advice Session Supervisor: 18.75 hours per week. You will be a good team player with an ability to supervise our advice team operating both remotely and from our office in Bridport to ensure that the quality of advice given is of a high standard.You will have experience of advice work in one or more of our core enquiry areas; benefits, debt, employment, housing and consumer. Training to meet Citizens Advice supervisor competencies can be provided. Closing Date 24 June. More info here, and advert below:

Faithworks Wessex: Blandford, Wimborne, Poole and Christchurch Foodbanks are each looking for a part time team-leader to oversee their growing Debt Advice work. Faithworks Community Money Advice, based in a local foodbanks operate two financial services for individuals and families:

  1. Budgeting Support – this helps people manage their finances day to day with the aim of preventing people getting into debt.
  2. Debt Advice – a service for those who are struggling to pay their debts.

Applicants should be analytical, organised, patient, flexible, committed to the process, and passionate about helping people who may be in distress. For further information and details of how to apply go to their website, and see the advert below.

Dorset Council – Refugee Resettlement Team: The Council’s refugee resettlement team is expanding so they can best support the growing number of families from Syria, Afghan and Ukraine. Join a team that are:

  • passionate about the challenges faced by refugees resettling in the UK
  • enthusiastic about making a real difference to the quality of life for refugee children, young people and their families
  • finding creative solutions to helping families
  • ensuring families have access to services to help them settle and thrive, including interpretation and translation services, health care, education, social care, English tuition, employment, and housing

Closing date 29 May, Click on the links below to find out more:

Information updates

UKRAINE

A comprehensive list of information sources / websites is on the advicelocal website.

Ukrainian international passport holders can now apply entirely online for a Ukraine Family Scheme or Homes for Ukraine visa by using the UK government’s ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. They still need to kick off the application using a browser, but can use the app at the identity verification stage. Read the guidance here.

Students on Afghan and Ukraine schemes: People who have leave under one of the Afghan resettlement/relocation schemes or the Ukraine schemes (including outside the rules) will now be treated as home students for fees. They will also be eligible for student support under the new regulations which were passed last week and in force from 3 June. It affects courses beginning from September 2022.

Guidance for businesses offering work to people coming from Ukraine: Govt guidance includes a vacancy information questionnaire and FAQs.

COST OF LIVING SUPPORT

Resources available include

  • Citizens Advice – If you are struggling with living costs: here.
  • Martin Lewis – Survival Kit has 90 ways to save money.
  • Which – Ease the Squeeze.
  • Money Helper – Money Navigator tool.

BENEFITS

Universal Credit – suspending and terminating an award: This is an adviser online article. The DWP has specific powers to suspend a benefit award to get further information, and can terminate the award if the information isn’t provided. This often leads to clients’ UC awards stopping and clients can be pursued for overpayments. It is important to check that this has been done correctly in order to know what options are available.

UC – New guidance on managed migration: The DWP has issued new guidance on the process of managed migration from legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC). Those who receive a migration notice from DWP will need to claim UC online, although there is provision for claims to be made via a dedicated ‘UC migration notice helpline’. It is expected that Bolton and Medway will be the first two areas in which managed migration will commence. See also below (in Research….section) a MIND press release on a joint letter to Therese Coffey raising concerns about the impact of migration.

HOUSING

Homelessness – suitability of interim accommodation: Changes from 1 June will make it possible for local authorities to use longer-term B&B accommodation, and easier for them to make out of area placements, to accommodate some homelessness applicants. These changes are aimed at helping local authorities respond to people fleeing the Ukraine and Afghanistan humanitarian crises, but the amendments may affect other homelessness applicants. Specifically:

  • Accommodation provided to a person in a private dwelling (for instance, placed with a host family) will not be considered to be ‘B&B accommodation’
  • For households who have arrived in the UK in the two years prior to their homelessness application and who have not had settled accommodation in the UK in the three years prior to their arrival, local authorities in England can now use B&B accommodation for longer than 6 weeks, and when considering the suitability of out of area placements, are only required to take into account disruption ‘to any caring responsibilities of the person or members of the person’s household for persons with whom there are family associations’

The amendment order is here, and an opinion on the likely impact of this can be read in this Nearly Legal blog here.

Hate Crime: Citizens Advice has update its information here on Hate Crime; it includes detailed information about what happens when someone reports a hate crime, as well as advice for people who don’t want to go to the police. For local information on reporting a hate crime, visit the Prejudice Free Dorset website.

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS): The DVDS is operated by the police and is often referred to as “Clare’s Law”. It has been in place since 2014. This allows people to ask the police about their partner’s criminal history to find out if their partner poses a risk to them. Section 77 Domestic Abuse Act 2021 places a duty on the government to issue DVDS guidance to police on how to operate the scheme. The government is therefore now consulting on new DVDS guidance which will include making the enquiry process quicker. Read more about this, and the consultation (ends 2 July), here.

Events

Advance Notice – Cost of Living Briefing – save the date: The Advice Dorset Partnership will be running a virtual ‘tea time briefing’ on Thursday 30 June 3 – 5pm. There will be information updates from Citizens Advice, Age Uk and others. Bookings via eventbrite will open shortly.

Volunteers Week 1 – 7 June: General information on the national Volunteers Week website here.

Carer’s Week 6 – 12 June: General information is on the Carers Week website here. Locally Carer Support Dorset has a range of events, and there is also a day of activities on 8 June ( 10-30 – 4-00) Guggleton Farm Arts. Stalbridge, DT10 2RQ. Read more here:

Reports, research, articles, blogs, consultations etc

FCA warns businesses to stop misleading credit adverts to protect consumers: The FCA has written to almost 28,000 consumer credit firms warning them not to use terms such as ‘no credit check loans’, ‘loan guaranteed’, ‘pre-approved’ or ‘no credit checks’ when marketing loans. Firms’ adverts should not give consumers the impression that they will automatically get a loan if they apply, or that they can get a loan without the lender checking they can afford it. Read more in their press release here.

Lloyds Bank Foundation report Deductions: Driver of Poverty: At a time when living costs are increasing, deductions from Universal Credit are leaving many people unable to afford basic necessities and driving up debt. This report sets out realistic steps that the Government could implement now to simplify the system, taking necessary action to ensure people can weather the storm. Read more here.

Leading Charities unite to tell UK Government to halt UC managed migration: 21 charities from across the UK have warned the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Thérèse Coffey, that plans to restart ‘managed migration’ must immediately be halted. In an open letter, the coalition of charities urge the DWP to stop the process due to the risk of cutting off people’s incomes. Read the press release and letter on the Mind website here.

EHRC clarifies how ‘long covid’ is viewed: Last week the Equality and Human Rights Commission tweeted its view that long covid ‘should not be treated as’ a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which attracted some criticism, since the true position is more nuanced. In a way, the EHRC was correct, since only diagnoses of HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer are named in the Act as medical conditions which are automatically ‘to be treated as’ disabilities. However, under the Act, any medical condition, including long covid, can amount to a disability. The legal test for disability is based on ‘impairment’ and not diagnosis. A further clarification has been issued by the EHRC, here.

Statutory Debt Repayment Plan – consultation: The SDRP will be a new statutory debt solution focussed on repayment of debt, rather than debt relief, addressing a gap in the debt solution landscape. The SDRP will include a broad range of debts, including debts owed to the government and to creditors outside of financial services and will protect debtors from enforcement action, creditor contact, and interest, fees and charges on their debts while they repay them. The government consulted on aspects of the SDRP in 2018/19, and published a response to that consultation in June 2019, setting out a basic blueprint for the scheme. This consultation looks at draft regulations, policy and operational issues and impact. It runs until 5 August – read more here.

Funding news

Dorset Council Community & Culture Fund round 3: Dorset Council project funding can help you to make a difference to people living in our communities. This fund is a small project grant, funding up to 80% of total project costs. We are open to all applications that meet our criteria. We offer from £1,000 to £5,000 to support the council to meet its core priorities. All applications are welcome but we will give priority to projects benefiting marginalised people. Closing date 27 June. Read more here.

VCSE Early help alternatives to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – provision Grant: Dorset Council, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council together with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group have agreed to utilise £495,000 of non-recurrent funding for the purposes of this grant fund for the financial year 2022/23 and 2023/24. The maximum individual grant that will be made available is £82,500 to cover the whole of this two year period.

This grant is available to VCSE organisations working pan Dorset with whom we wish to build partnerships with, this is in order to provide evidence-based support interventions and work to improve children and young people’s mental health and help them to develop coping skills. Priority aims of the grant funding:

  • to support children and young people who need a programme of alternative support and are outside of the current core CAMHS threshold
  • to support young people who would benefit from NHS CAMHS interventions but need support in order to prepare them to attend CAMHS
  • to support the development of support skills, confidence and coping strategies in young people at risk
  • to Increase access to mental health and emotional wellbeing support for young people across Dorset
  • to reduce the number of children and young people who experience crisis, because through the delivery of early help intervention they have built personal resilience and, learned other ways of coping and thereby do not reach crisis point

NB: closing date 20 May! Read more here.

Money Saving Expoert charity: The MSE Charity gives grants to UK not-for-profit organisations that deliver activities which make a lasting impact on how people think, behave and manage their money. The maximum grant is £7,500. There are two rounds per year. Four themes rotate through a two year cycle.

  • Raising the Next Generation
  • Life Changing Transitions
  • Living with Long Term Challenges
  • Building and Developing Resilience.

In response to the Cost of Living Crisis, the September 2022 round is being brought forward to June 2022. In turn, the February 2023 round is being brought forward to January 2023. The theme for the June 2022 grant round is ‘Building and Developing Resilience’. Projects should focus on providing urgent money guidance and emergency debt help to those in need of support through the cost of living crisis.

Read more here.