Details of the next GMWRAG GM UC Forum are finally here.

The GMWRAG Greater Manchester Universal Credit Forum grew directly from our invitation to Neil Couling, director general of Universal Credit, to come talk to a GMWRAG meeting in Trafford, which he kindly did back in October 2018. You can read all about that here but only if you’re a GMWRAG member and have the appropriate password.

The first meeting took place in January 2019 and we’ve created a new section as a means of making the minutes available to all attendees as well as anything else of relevance. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the next meeting was scheduled for Stockport on Friday the 19th of April 2019 but due to a complex set of circumstances we were unable to make that happen.

The second meeting will now be hosted by Stockport Help With Benefits team on Friday the 17th of May 2019 in BS 1.22 (N Atrium) in the Business School at Manchester Metropolitan University. See https://venues.mmu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/11764-Business-School_First-Floor.pdf and https://venues.mmu.ac.uk/venues/business-school/

GMWRAG is hugely indebted to Ngaryan Li of GM Law Centre for making this happen.

GMWRAG is especially taken with the MMU Business Centre strap line “It is a real hub of activity where great minds meet”. A bit like Principal Officers meetings then 🙂

This will be an a.m. meeting (as this is the only way we could make this work) and will run from 9:30am to 12:00pm (midday) at the latest as it will be followed by a full afternoon GMWRAG meeting. More on that imminently.

Please note that there is no booking process for this meeting. We are confident the room can accommodate attendees.

The draft agenda currently reads:

  • Vulnerability – no right to reside, emergency funds and accommodation.
  • Feedback on actions from the last meeting e.g. the accessibility meeting held in Tameside.
  • Plans for the next meeting.

We welcome additional agenda item suggestions but please bear in mind this meeting has been designed to have a restricted agenda so issues can be explored in depth.

For those of you travelling by public transport the nearest railway station is Oxford Road and if you can’t get a bus down Oxford Road you’re not really trying.

We look forward to seeing you there. However, please take note of our next post as some of you will be in for a very busy day.

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Brexit and Universal Credit going south.

GMWRAG has secured two excellent speakers on Brexit and Benefits for our next meeting for the Friday the 17th of May 2019. Stockport were due to host both that meeting and the 2nd GMWRAG GM UC Forum on the same day. Logistical complexities mean we have yet to secure a venue. Although we haven’t completely given up hope of Stockport being able to host we are currently feeling a bit like (insert Brexit joke here) and now need to revert to plans B or C as both our speakers are in great demand and have limited alternative availability.

Plan B is this. We put a plea out on here and social meejah and hope that one of our many members can produce a free, relatively accessible venue which can host up to 50 people on Friday the 17th of May 2019.

Plan C is that basically we will go to Stockport and hold an open air meeting. Maybe Edgeley Park (although we understand they’re not used to large crowds :))

Over to you GMWRAG members. Help save Brexit (and Benefits). Contact us vy the usual routes.

Initial details of the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers group will be on Friday the 31st of May 2019.

The speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training and Development Manager for Housing Systems.

She will be talking about housing costs in Universal Credit including managed payments to landlords.

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.

Next meeting of the NWMHWRAG. Ryan Bradshaw on tour. Oh, sorry. TP & AR!

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will take place on Friday the 29th March at 9.30am for 10am.

The speaker will be Ryan Bradshaw from Leigh Day solicitors.  He is going to talk about the judgment in R (TP & AR) –v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2018] EWHC 1474 on transitional protection on transfer to Universal Credit.  Leigh Day are looking for cases to bring other similar legal challenges.

This meeting will be in the Community Room at Central Manchester Fire Station.

Address: Cassidy Close off Thompson Street, Manchester M4 5FP.

It’s a short walk from Piccadilly and there is a car park on Thompson Street.

The Community Room has its own entrance.  Please don’t enter the Fire station by any other entrance.

From Cassidy Close you take the first turning on the left. Walk towards the building and then left again.  You should now be at the back of the building.

Walk towards a set of double doors under an overhang.  The entrance to the Community Room is on the right just before you reach the double doors.

If you can’t find the room please contact Helen Rogers. Group members should already have contact details.

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!

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)

Change of time for the first GMWRAG Greater Manchester Universal Credit Forum.

Full details of this Friday’s meeting in Oldham can still be found at https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/gmwrag-greater-manchester-universal-credit-forum-in-oldham-a-quick-reminder/ however, after a number of queries, it has been agreed that the meeting will now commence at 1pm with a 12:30pm lead in time for refreshments and networking. This will allow people to grab lunch before the meeting starts.

We’re expecting around 30 people so please let others know if they’re not subscribers to this site.

In view of the sudden deterioration in the weather the advice in the previous post remains good. “… this is Oldham in January. Layers will be required. Good advice can be found here. Treating it as a day out doing “sedentary ice fishing” will give you a good idea of what’s required.”

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.