How to do judicial review (North) – places still available.

Our lovely friends at the Public Law Project have asked us to point out that their imminent one day course in Manchester on “How to do judicial review” still has places available. The course takes place on Thursday the 11th of July 2019 between 10am and 5:45 pm at 79 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6FQ.

The course is delivered by colleagues from

and GMWRAG urges members of GMSCG and anyone with an interest in a public law approach to welfare benefits to book your place now. Please do not rule yourself out of this course because you’re a welfare rights adviser and think it doesn’t apply to you.

As PLPs “blurb” says, the course is

“A complete, one day course to provide lawyers and advisers, policy people and decision makers with an understanding of public law principles and how they operate in bringing and defending judicial review claims. The course is also relevant to those working in campaigning organisations with a legal strategy and those representing and advising marginalised groups in society.”

To book a place please go to https://publiclawproject.org.uk/events/how-to-do-judicial-review-north/ and click on the “Book Now” button on the right of the page.

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The next UK White Paper on social security (welfare benefits) comes to Greater Manchester.

It was drawn to the attention of GMWRAG a few weeks back that the Commission on Social Security (welfare benefits), led by Experts by Experience was busy touring the UK but didn’t have an event in Greater Manchester. We are very pleased to draw to your attention that there will now be a GM event supported by the UK Social Policy Association.

This will take place on Tuesday the 23rd of July 2019 between 1pm-3pm and will be hosted by Greater Manchester Poverty Action and the University of Salford (venue: University of Salford, Media City). Regrettably, GMWRAG has been unable to locate an exact address for the venue but we think it’s this and there’s some more helpful stuff here too. GMWRAG accepts no responsibility for members found wandering round Salford Quays before or after said event.

So, what is it then?

What proposals should be made in the next UK White Paper on social security (welfare benefits)?

Background

The social security/welfare benefits system is failing, with foodbanks and homelessness just two of the most visible signs of this.

But there is little agreement, even within civil society, on ways forward.

The workshops

The workshops will stimulate thinking about the future of social security/welfare benefits, and provide the opportunity for discussion and collaboration among attendees.

In particular, the workshops will input to a project called the Commission on Social Security (welfare benefits), led by Experts by Experience which is issuing a Call for Solutions.

The Commission is highly innovative in that all the Commissioners are people with experience of claiming benefits. The Commission’s aim is to produce a White Paper style document setting out a better system and building consensus. The Call for Solutions will include questions such as the following.

  • What steps can be taken to make Universal Credit better or if you think it should be scrapped, what would replace it?
  • How can people who are sick or disabled be better supported and how should the system work out who should get sickness or disability benefits?
  • Should there be a minimum income level below which no one can fall and if so, how could this be done?
  • How should benefit rates be worked out and how much should each benefit be?

Workshop participants will also be welcome to identify solutions on the whole range of issues relevant to social security/welfare benefits. For example, sanctions, Child Benefit, Local Welfare Assistance Schemes, National Insurance contributory benefits, support for housing costs and council tax, individual/household assessments and payments, how increased spending on benefits can be financed, the balance between means-testing or being contributions-based and reflecting people’s particular needs or being universal? Etc.

Workshop format

The workshops will have a participatory format including small group work and consensus building activities.

They will be structured around the Call for Solutions being made by the Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience but will also identify other possible activity.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in a better social security/welfare benefits system! Whether you are an individual Expert by Experience, part of a user-led or community group, from a third sector organisation, academia or anywhere else, you will be made very welcome.

Workshop organisers

Michael Orton and Kate Summers

Any queries please email Michael.Orton@warwick.ac.uk

Additional information

The Workshops are free but places are limited and registration is essential.

A small travel budget is available for people who would otherwise be unable to attend. Please contact the organisers for further information.

In 2016-17 the Social Policy Association supported a previous series of workshops on social security/welfare benefits which identified an agenda for future work. That agenda is summarised here and informs this latest initiative.

We’ll see you there (or wandering aimlessly thereabouts). You can reserve a place via Eventbrite.

Public Law Project Wales Conference 2019.

GMWRAG is well aware that Wales is not a part of the North West of England or indeed Greater Manchester (albeit that we’re not convinced some in the North West are aware of this).

However, GMWRAG also has a long history of welcoming members from Chester and North East Wales to our meetings and we’ve repeatedly been made aware that advisers in those areas are aware of and do use the site. We’re not about to embark on a round of publicising every event which could be relevant to our North Walian friends but as we have a good relationship with PLP AND we’re also in the throes of organising a half day meeting ourselves focused on Brexit and Benefits so publicising PLP Wales conference seems not unreasonable for all concerned. Numerous of our members have also had nothing but positive things to say about PLP North too.

We could at this point make the argument that much of the agenda below will apply to England but that sounds suspiciously like the reverse argument that Wales is just like England and our Welsh administrator (yes, how did THAT happen?) has banned such talk.

GMWRAG would also like to apologise for the weird set up with links in this post. Normally if we link to a person we link using their name as their link. However, this post decided part way through it wasn’t going to co-operate so we’ve tried to insert long links after their names. After a while, we simply gave up. With apologies to all those who do not have a link the ends didn’t justify the means. In our defence, PLP didn’t provide any links at all 🙂

Anyway… the Public Law Project Wales Conference 2019 is here.

Brexit, access to justice, legal aid, migration and settled status, online courts, strategic legal work.

Cardiff University Glamorgan Building, Thursday the 25th of April 2019.

10.00 Introduction
Jo Hickman, Director, Public Law Project – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jo-hickman-756b5553

10.10 Opening address
Jane Hutt AM

10.30 Replacing EU law in Wales post-Brexit: Devolution vs delegation
With swathes of EU law being replaced in a post-Brexit UK this session looks at the impact in Wales, across environment, food and agriculture, and issues arising with devolved governance.

Chair: Alison Pickup, Public Law project
Jeremy Miles AM, Counsel General for Wales – http://www.assembly.wales/en/memhome/Pages/MemberProfile.aspx?mid=5021
Alexandra Sinclair, Public Law Project (SIFT project lead) – https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest/plp-launches-its-latest-project-in-response-to-brexit-the-sift-project/

More speakers TBC

11.30 break (with snacks!)

11.45 Digitalisation and online courts – Threats and opportunities for Wales
With the Government in Westminster already committed to digitalisation, this session looks at the challenges for Wales, including those posed by digital access and literacy, and the opportunities given differences in scale, potential ambitions and devolved tribunals.
Dr Huw Pritchard, Cardiff University – http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/478900-pritchard-huw
Dr Joe Tomlinson, Public Law Project and Kings College London – https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/joseph.tomlinson.html

12.30 Brexit and Immigration: The EU Settlement Scheme and Vulnerable Communities in Wales

There are around 80 000 EU citizens living in Wales as a function of the free movement rules. These people will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure a new immigration status in the UK before the rights of residence under the free movement framework are extinguished. The EU Settlement Scheme is a challenging administrative undertaking for the UK Government. It requires the processing of millions of applications within a relatively short period of time and relies on individuals making applications to the Scheme. This session will look at the issues being faced by individuals applying to the Scheme from communities in Wales, especially by those likely to face difficulties in making successful applications.

Chair: Byron Karemba, Public Law Project – https://publiclawproject.org.uk/resources/4254/
Hayley Morgan, Travelling Ahead: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Advice & Advocacy Service
Wiard Sterk, The 3Million – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/wiardsterk
Bethan Bateman, Head of Migration within the Welsh Government EU Transition Team

13.30 Law Commission consultation paper on the Simplification of the Immigration Rules
Lisa Smith and Stephanie Theophanidou Law Commission Public Law Team – https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/about/who-we-are/

13.40 Lunch

14.30 Afternoon session

Access to justice in Wales
Do people in Wales have adequate access to representation and the courts to vindicate their rights and ensure public bodies behave lawfully?  This session will look at access to legal aid, representation and judicial review.
Chair: Polly Brendon, Public Law Project – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/polly-brendon-713bb491
Salli Edwards, Chief Executive, Flintshire Citizen’s Advice – http://flintshirecab.org.uk/team/salli-edwards/
Michael Imperato, Watkins and Gunn – https://www.watkinsandgunn.co.uk/team/michael-imperato/
Jess Mant, Cardiff University – https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/1223110-mant-jess
Dr Sarah Nason, Bangor University – https://www.bangor.ac.uk/law/staff/sarah-nason/en

15.30 break

15.50 afternoon breakouts – please choose one of three

Legal aid
This will be a workshop for practitioners to discuss the shape of legal aid following the MOJs Post Implementation Review (PIR) of LASPO, and the publication of the MoJ’s “Legal Support Action Plan.” We will particularly be seeking the views and contribution of current legal aid providers in Wales.  Areas to discuss will include:
The accessibility and use of the Exceptional Case Funding scheme
The removal of the mandatory telephone gateway for Discrimination, Education and Debt cases
The promised review of the financial eligibility criteria for legal aid
Polly Brendon, Public Law Project
Carol Storer, Interim Director, Legal Action Group
Joanna Gregson, Equalities and Human Rights Commission

Strategic legal work in Wales
This session looks at strategic use of the law through both casework and campaigning. Case studies will include the criminalisation of women who are council tax debtors and the bedroom tax case.
Chair: Owain Rhys James, Civitas Chambers
Carla Clarke, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
Sara Lomri, Public Law Project
Naima Sakande, Centre for Criminal Appeal

Public law decision making in Wales
An increasing number of duties on public bodies in Wales require them to ‘take into account’, to ‘have due regard’ to or to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to protect various rights and interests. However, few, if any, of these duties give rise to specific rights of redress for individuals. Our panel discusses whether these duties can really lead to better decision-making in the absence of such individual rights, and how this relates to access to justice in Welsh public law.

Sarah Nason, Bangor University
Rhodri Williams QC, 30 Park Place and Linenhall Chambers
Katrin Shaw, Public Sector Ombudsman for Wales
Emyr Lewis, Blake Morgan

16.50 Update from the Commission on Justice in Wales
Following their consultation on the future of justice in Wales, a Commissioner gives an update prior to their forthcoming report in 2019.

Professor Elwen Evans QC, Swansea University and Commission on Justice in Wales

17.10 finish

Delegate fees:
Standard 120 + VAT
Discounted 80 + VAT
Advisers 60.00 + VAT
Student fee 10 + VAT

Follow this link to select breakout session here.

Download the flyer here.

Big booking form at the bottom of this page here.

Next meeting of the Discrimination Law Association in Manchester.

GMWRAG members who attended and networked at our recent Everyday Equality event will have noticed representation there from the Discrimination Law Association and GMWRAG made a point of encouraging them to attend the next meeting of the GMSCG.

It has since been brought to our attention that their next Manchester meeting is on Monday the 18th March 2019, and is open to all. Registration starts at 5:30pm with the meeting starting at 6pm.The meeting has two main agenda items.

Heather Williams (Senior Associate in Research at the Equality and Human Rights Commission). She will be discussing the Commission’s 2018 report “Is Britain Fairer?”, a comprehensive review of how Britain is performing on equality and human rights.
Michelle Gyimah is the Director of Equality Pays. She will be talking about Gender pay gap reporting – The good, the bad and the ugly.  A discussion about good and bad examples of reporting in terms of data and reputational risk.

Register for the event via Eventbrite here. The venue is Slater and Gordon.

Salford City Mayor welcomes ‘national heroes’.

Sa;fprd City Mayor tweetA significant number of GMWRAG members enjoyed a fantastic day out in Greater Manchester on Friday the 1st of March 2019 at the 1st ever Salford NAWRA meeting hosted by Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service. at Swinton Civic Centre.

GMWRAG is hoping to provide a fuller report in due course but in the meantime we’d urge you to check out the great article about the forceful and passionate opening message from City Mayor Paul Dennett.

GMWRAG was unable to live stream any part of the event but we were pleased to see that social media was alive with great comments and uninspiring photography (we’re excepting the photo to our left and referring to the ones below). We’ve been assured that better images are on the way but then we’ve also been assured austerity is at an end!

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)

URGENT NOTICE RE: Everyday Equality Event – a ghost in the machine.

A quick notice for those of you attending the joint GWMRAG, NWMHWRAG, GMSCG, EHRC event tomorrow.

It has been brought to our attention that those of you who reserved places for tomorrow via Eventbrite will have received a reminder email which contains inaccurate information about the date and start time of the event. Just to confirm that the event is NOT the 10th of January nor the 17th. It is tomorrow, the 18th, and it most definitely isn’t starting at 4pm. Accurate information can be found (hopefully) in your original tickets attached to your original confirmation email and on this site.

Further information for Everyday Equality event this Friday.

GMWRAG has now received version 7 of the agenda for Friday which can be downloaded from this link. We fully anticipate working our way to version 10 before Friday but we thought we’d put this out there to give attendees a flavour of the day in advance.

Please note the following details for accessing the building.

The external door is on Richmond Street. Delegates need to press the buzzer and say they are there for the event in order to be let in. There is then a lift immediately in front which takes you to the 3rd floor.

If there is anyone that prefers three flights of stairs, they will need to buzz and ask to be let in at a different external door which is to the left of the main door.

We have a full list of attendees and basically, if you’re not on that list then you do not have a place. Please remember to bring your confirmation email or Eventbrite ticket. It will avoid our bouncer – yes, we have a bouncer – (who is very mean looking and comes from Stockport apparently) having to escort you some of the way back to from whence you came.

The event is at full capacity and all who have tickets will have food provided at lunch time and refreshments throughout the day.

Please remember that this is a building in which other work is taking place. Delegates must not enter the adjacent Wellbeing Suite under any circumstances.