Presentation on Universal Credit and Human Rights now available for download.

The minutes of the latest NWMHWRAG meeting will be made available in due course but in the meantime to whet your appetite here’s a download to the presentation done by Ryan Bradshaw of Leigh Day at the last meeting.

Minutes of the first/last GMWRAG GM UC meeting will be set free into the wild sometime as soon as we get a minute too. They’re already up on the site but currently protected. DWP have raised no objections to the content so we think we’re good to go.

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Minutes of the first GMWRAG Greater Manchester Universal Credit Forum ALMOST available. Another new GMWRAG web site section created in anticipation.

The minutes of the 1st ever GMWRAG GM UC Forum, which took place in sunny Oldham (we’re writing this as it’s snowing in March) way back in January 2019 are now almost available for download. Apologies for the delay in getting these out to you but we’ve had technical issues getting them to the DWP for comment.

In light of the delays these issues have caused we’ve decided to go down the “publish and be damned” route and just get them out there (sort of). At present though you won’t be able to access them until DWP have confirmed there are no issues with them from their perspective.

Once they do go live (yeah, we will say) could those of you who were present at the meeting please take a look and note any suggested/required amendments? Bring them with you to the next meeting and we’ll deal with them under a hopefully brief, focused “minutes of the last meeting” item at the outset.

In order to view the minutes you will need to find them in (yet another) new GMWRAG section where they are located and password protected. We’ll leave it to you to figure out what it’s called. If you can’t (clue: it starts with “NEW”) then we despair. We just do.

As regards passwords, GMWRAG members know the score. If you don’t then just contact us and we’ll let you know (the score that is. Possibly the password too.) once it’s all live.

GMWRAG has recently discovered what happens when we momentarily and accidentally leave minutes unprotected. Apparently, we end up in Private Eye! You can read more about that here but GMWRAG wishes to issue a resolute “no comment”.

In the meantime, you’ll obviously want to know that we’re working towards a slightly amended date and timings for the next UC Forum/GMWRAG meeting.

We were scheduled for Stockport in Spring (sorry, we just liked the alliteration – we meant April) but we’re now looking at a mid May date. The draft minutes also suggested that the UC Forum would run 1pm to 4pm but we’ve had to amend that immediately in order to accommodate our speakers at the GMWRAG meeting on the same day.

So, at present the intent is that the UC forum will be a.m. and will be followed by a packed p.m. meeting with 2 speakers looking at various aspects of Brexit and Benefits. We’ll give you something more concrete on this as soon as it’s been finalised but we’re hoping for the 17th of May 2019. If the weather persists we shall of course rebadge it as “Brrrrexit and Benefits”.

Please note that we can’t guarantee that the future order of these meetings will be the same. We suspect it will change depending on the availability of speakers for the GMWRAG meeting. We are busy finding out whose hands to slap for suggesting the UC Forum would always be p.m.

Finally, we have had several queries asking about the accessibility/access group which was suggested at the 1st meeting. There is clearly much enthusiasm for this and much anxiety about perceived delays. DWP are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make this happen (most notably to make it as accessible as it can be) so please bear with us. As soon as we’re able to announce anything, we will.

GM Food Poverty Alliance launches Action Plan and issues latest newsletter.

Today is the launch of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance Action Plan. GMWRAG would have liked to have told you about the event itself well in advance but it was only brought to our attention on the 27th of February 2019 and unfortunately the opportunity to post did not arise until today.

We have at least now managed to get our act together and post up the new Greater Manchester Poverty Action newsletter, which you can download by clicking on the word “newsletter” (we’re quite good at this stuff).

Also in the newsletter is information about a forthcoming joint IGAU and GMPA Conference “From Poverty to Prosperity” in April 2019 and an update on their Poverty Strategies map. The newsletter is also available on their website.

GMWRAG was a little concerned to note that we’d not really clocked the work of the IGAU. We’ve added a link to their work to the many other links on our site.

It’s just one thing after another – NAWRA in Salford – yet another big GM event.

The next NAWRA meeting is that rarity of a thing – a NAWRA meeting in Greater Manchester i.e. Salford. The agenda of the meeting is now available for download from the NAWRA web site as well as from here and Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service looks forward to seeing you on the day; the night before and the evening after too. Full details of the event; social events and travel options are contained within the agenda document.

“The day” incidentally is Friday the 1st of March 2019. Full details are, guess, in the agenda.

Please note that this event, as per all other NAWRA meetings, is members only.

NAWRA is a membership based organisation for advisers and organisations across the UK. Membership of NAWRA is available to any group or individual working in the welfare rights field and/or who supports theiraims and objectives.

Find out more about joining NAWRA.

Speakers include

City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett

Paul was elected Councillor for Langworthy in 2012 and held the Strategic Assistant Mayor position until 2016 focusing on equalities, cohesion, technology, change, urban transformation, innovation, prosperity, growth and workforce.

Paul has a long history of campaigning on social issues and since becoming the elected City Mayor has campaigned for equality, financial inclusion, the living wage, social value, to tackle poverty and critically providing the public/private environment to tackle the housing crisis.

In July 2016 Paul was appointed Greater Manchester Combined Authority Portfolio Lead for Low Carbon, Waste and Environment. In May 2017 Paul was appointed Greater Manchester Combined Authority Portfolio Lead for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure.

Professor Lisa Scullion – Professor of Social Policy, School of Health and Society, University of Salford

Social (in)security? Learning lessons from lived experiences of the benefits system across the UK.

Catherine Connors – Principal Officer, Salford Welfare Right and Debt Advice Service, and CPAG trainer

Welfare reform – the vital role of advice services in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.

Workshops can be chosen from

Right to reside and universal creditGlenys Harriman (Housing Systems)

Workshop Level: – Intermediate

Universal credit and mental healthTom Messere (Big Book of Benefits & Mental Health)

Workshop level: Intermediate

Human rights and universal creditRyan Bradshaw (Leigh Day Solicitors)

Workshop level: Strategic

Dealing with deficit budgets: practical tips for welfare rights advisers – Anne Whittle and Sean Finnegan – (Salford Debt Advice Service)

Almost certainly bound to end in tears but…

GMWRAG has been asked to provide an updated version of one of the presentations at our Everyday Equality event. This is the sort of thing which always goes wrong when we inevitably link a file to the wrong presentation but we’re going to give it a go anyway.

So, if you head over to our “Presentations and notes from GMWRAG meetings”   page (which can be found on the sub menu* for “Our meetings”) you will find that clicking on the presentation titled “EHRC presentation on “Strategic work, past, present, future” by Francine Morris.” will now give you a revised version of the presentation which that link served up right up until today. The previous version is no longer available so if you have downloaded it since the 1st of February 2019 (and we know that more than 300 of you have) then please download the new version from the link above.

* “sub menu” – a sub-menu (we know some of you still struggle with using web sites and IT in general) is a menu which only appears when you hover your mouse** over another menu. So, hover your mouse over our meetings menu and a sub menu with 5 items will appear. 1 of those is the Presentations menu. Double click that.

** “hover your mouse” – actually means “hover your mouse pointer”. If you hover your mouse then, weirdly, it stops working and people will generally think you’re an oaf!

Law for Life and Advicenow are looking for help from the welfare rights community.

Our friends at NAWRA have alerted us to the fact that Law for Life & Advicenow are looking for people to pilot their new Work Capability Assessment MR tool, and a peer reviewer for their Work Capability Assessment appeal guide. If you can help, Mary would be delighted to hear from you at mary dot marvel at lawforlife dot org dot uk.

Presentations from Everyday Equality are now available for download.

Alan Turing banner at LGBT Foundation in ManchesterGMWRAG is very pleased to say that all of our speakers at the recent Everyday Equality Act have now provided us with their presentations from the event for download. We also have a bonus presentation from Ryan Bradshaw of Leigh Day which was not available on the day.

Please note:

  • there are no minutes available for the January 2019 meeting. There were 14 speakers and the presentations below represent all the content available from the event bar images posted by @GMWRAGTweets and other attendees.
  • a number of presentations have been subsequently updated or revised by speakers. The versions on this site represent the most up to date versions.
  • all presentations are detailed below in this post but will be permanently available on our “Presentations and notes from GMWRAG meetings” page.
  • The minutes which would ordinarily be on our “Minutes” page link to the above page.
  • Some of the presentations have similar titles. Please be assured that all presentations are distinct. No content is repeated.

Jo Chimes, whose magnificent work was pretty much solely responsible for making the whole day happen, has also kindly added her own summary of the take away messages from the event and we’ve added that as well..

An update on the GMWRAG archives.

GMWRAG has been quietly digitally archiving our past for around 7 of the 10 years existence of this site. As our history is long and convoluted there is no single archive location so this may not be immediately obvious to site viewers as much of the material can be found buried in sub-menus in related sections. We long ago decided that, for example, NWMHWRAG archives could be buried/located in their section of the site and so on. Most of our archive is inevitably minutes but you will also find plenty to entertain you in our training and presentations links associated with those minutes.

The GMWRAG archive is about to grow considerably as we have obtained 4 boxes worth of material stretching back to the late 1980s. For the first time we have much more than minutes and agendas and we’ll be posting these up over a period of many months rather than weeks.

However, this is a long process and there is no single location where you will immediately notice the growth. This site is maintained on goodwill and obviously there are limits to the amount of scanning, uploading and writing which can be done in the working week and (yes) outside of working hours. However, watch this space as the depth and breadth of the site content will grow during 2019 like never before.

In the meantime, if you have any documents (paper or digital) which you would like to donate to the GMWRAG digital archive please Contact GMWRAG and we’ll happily (within reason) take them off your hands and add them to the list of things to be digitally archived.

It would however help us immensely if you could check out the site first and weed out any duplicates before handing over your documents. Thank you.

First job advert of 2019 thanks to Age UK in Trafford.

Trafford Age UK logoInformation and Advice Manager

Salary: £14,319 (£23,866 pro rata 21 hours) + pension

21 hrs per week to be worked flexibly to suit operational needs

We need an experienced and enthusiastic benefits adviser to work in our Information and Advice service. The post holder must be able to complete benefit application forms and to provide general benefits advice and support.

Closing date: 4th February 2019

Interview Date: 8th February 2019

To apply go to our website www.ageuktrafford.org.uk and click on the vacancy section on the front page. Return your completed pack by email to: admin@ageuktrafford.org.uk or post: The Sharples Building, 1-3 Church Road, Urmston, Manchester M41 9EH.

Registered Charity No: 1109047

Company Ltd by guarantee no: 5384301

The details of this post can also be found in a information and advice manager advert jan 2019 and on our Job Vacancies page.