Research measuring the impact of applying for PIP on a claimant’s perception of their health condition.

With grateful thanks to our friends at Rightsnet.

Can you help? Catherine from the University of Bedfordshire is wanting to reach people who’ve applied or are applying for PIP.

Are you going through or about to start the PIP application process? This can be a difficult time but, if you can, please spare a few minutes to complete a short online survey.

Your answers will contribute to new independent research into the possibility that people’s perception of their condition changes as a result of going through the PIP application process. It is important as perception has demonstrable impact on levels of depression, quality of life, ability to follow treatment plans and even recovery and survival rates. If there is an effect then this needs to be highlighted and, if not, we can look for other explanations for the experiences that many PIP claimants describe.

The research is part of an Applied Psychology Masters dissertation by Catherine Haslam and has been approved by the University of Bedfordshire’s Psychology ethics board. The survey is short and doesn’t ask any personal health questions. All data is annonymised & aggregated.

Thank you in advance for your help. The survey can be accessed at:


Blatant plagiarism in the name of a good cause.

GMWRAG noted the following posted on Rightsnet. We think this is too important to miss so we’re reprinting it in full below.

CPAG is partway through releasing a series of reports entitled Computer says “No” detailing problems arising in the automated UC system.  These hard-hitting reports wouldn’t be possible without your case studies, so thank you! It’d be great to receive some up-to-date examples which may contribute to the third and final report in the series.

1. Many of you have already seen our first Computer says “No” report detailing issues with UC statements [available here: says ‘no!’ Stage one – information provision_2.pdf]

2. Our second report is due to be released next week, and will set out the problems encountered by claimants in challenging UC decisions (i.e. using the MR process). So do keep an eye out for it.

3. The third report will focus on how the DWP implements decisions (other than those concerning initial calculation of entitlement).  We’re interested to hear about recent cases of:
a) DWP delay in implementing Tribunal decision in UC
b) DWP delay or mistake in paying backdated UC entitlement
c) UC statements overwritten with corrected entitlement, not reflecting actual payments made
d) UC claim start date amended and assessment periods changed from start of claim
e) Possession case adjournments/ suspended orders requiring rent arrears payments lower than standard 10-20% deductions made in UC
f) Debt Relief Orders writing off UC Advances, or other debts, being ignored
g) Failure to apply legal judgments effectively e.g. Faulty SDP gateway, High Court Johnson assessment period ruling

The above are all issues that you’ve told us about before, but recent examples would help us ascertain whether they remain unresolved and if so, add to the strength of our report.

Many thanks for any and all contributions!

Best way to submit cases is our online EWS form:
or email

GMSCG updates.

Busy day for GMWRAG. GMSCG members may be wondering when we’re meeting next and how the group fits into the many other things going at present. We’re hopeful we’ll have news on this soon. In the meantime our friends at Rightsnet have brought to our attention what they rightly describe as a “great report” from PLP that “… that uses their experience in working on the ‘RF’ personal independence payment challenge to highlight key lessons about litigation as a means of addressing discrimination and disadvantage”.

As per Rightsnet we’re going to quote from it verbatim

“The research carried out by Dr Lisa Vanhala and Dr Jacqui Kinghan of UCL identifies strategic lessons for third sector organisations that use public law to challenge unfair systems and highlights the ‘pivotal role’ PLP played in coordinating with a wide network of individuals and organisations.

‘Using the law to address unfair systems’ is based on interviews with some of those most involved in the legal challenge, including PLP Deputy Legal Director Sara Lomri, and gives first-hand insights into how NGOs, funders and litigators won the judicial review brought by PLP’s client, RF.

Co-published by The Baring Foundation and Lankelly Chase, the report also looks at the post-litigation ‘legacy’ phase and raises important questions such as how the Government can be held to account to implement such rulings, and who has responsibility for communicating subsequent policy changes to those affected.”

but we’re going to insert proper links 🙂 and strongly suggest that all GMSCG and GMWRAG members download a copy now in preparation for our next meeting.

You can download a copy right now from

No direct line? Talk to the DWP.

Researchers at the Department for Work and Pensions would like to speak to advisers in organisations who work with benefit claimants but don’t have any sort of formal relationship with the department.

The DWP is particularly interested in finding out how organisations with no direct line to the department would raise any queries they have for the DWP – for example, would they go online, or call the claimant helpline?

At the moment, they’re concerned that their research is largely dominated by external partners who have an established relationship with the DWP.

The interviews themselves will take place via telephone and last about 30/45 minutes. A researcher from the DWP will call you at a time and date that is most convenient for you. They’re interested in both national and local perspectives on this issue so please do get in contact even if you’re unsure whether you suit the bill – you probably do!

GMWRAG is aware DWP don’t exactly have a great reputation when it comes to keeping the promise of a call back but on this occasion we think it’s worth persevering.

If you’re interested in taking part in the research please email Hannah McLennan, the research officer working on this project.

Greater Manchester Welfare Reform Dashboard. A chance for you to comment upon and shape the data.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) collate data on a quarterly basis with a view to monitoring the rollout of Universal Credit and other welfare reforms. The main intent of collating this data is to inform the priorities of the GM UC and Welfare Reform Group and its focus on skills and employment opportunities.

However, as the intro. also notes it is also a “resource available to partners in GM”. GMWRAG takes the view that this data is extremely useful in informing on the work we’re all doing and the data tables alone are worth the price of admission. So, we’re pleased to bring the last quarterly report to your attention for the first time.

You can download a pdf copy of the report from here and we’re confident you’ll find much that is useful within about your own a. Of equal importance though is the fact that GMCA would like your feedback. They are looking to add additional datasets to the Dashboard all the time and, whilst they have some ideas on that, they would welcome the views of GMWRAG members on

  • the data as it stands;
  • whether any GMWRAG members could contribute further data or datasets and,
  • any suggestions on further information which could be added.

If you’d like to feedback, and GMWRAG urges you to all consider doing so, then please contact

NAWRA survey re: natural migration to UC in order to support a response to the Work and Pensions Committee Enquiry on same.

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into natural migration onto universal credit.

Many of you will have seen some of your clients naturally migrate to Universal Credit and suffer a sometimes severe drop in income. This inquiry looks at how and when people are naturally migrating and what needs to change.

NAWRA are carrying out this survey in order to put in a response. It’s only a short survey – please do take the time to give them your views and, at the end, any case studies which particularly demonstrate the hardship people are going through.

Please submit responses by Monday the 11th February 2019 to give them time to put together their response by the 18th of February 2019.

You can access the survey at

Tracking FOI requests from or on behalf of GMWRAG.

Research panel links.GMWRAG previously advised members of our WhatDoTheyKnow account back in August 2018 with an entertaining exchange with the DWP which ultimately resulted in the presence of Neil Couling at our October 2018 meeting in Trafford.

We’d like to remind GMWRAG members that this account is available for any of you to make benefits related FOI requests either on behalf of GMWRAG or anonymously under the umbrella of GMWRAG.

If you have particular requests please Contact GMWRAG and we can agree appropriate wording. In the meantime you can easily view those requests which have been made by using the quick link below.

A permanent link to this list can be found in the links panel to the right of every page on the site under Research. See the ridiculously blurry panel to the left if you’re not sure what we’re talking about.

LASPO and ESA research.

Matt Steele is a Social Welfare Law, Policy & Advice Practice MA student at Staffordshire University.

As part of his dissertation for the master’s degree he will be completing research to understand the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) has had on the provision of specialist welfare benefit representation in the not-for-profit advice sector, with a particular focus on Employment and Support Allowance appeals.

The research is timely as it coincides with the government’s first review of legal aid since LASPO was enacted (expected to report in 2019).

He is looking to collect data through the use of a questionnaire. He is asking specialist welfare benefit advisers who assist clients in Employment and Support Allowance appeals to complete the questionnaire. Advisers can be paid or voluntary and operate in England and Wales.

The survey covers four fundamental areas of interest for the research.

  • How has the service offer to clients changed since LASPO?
  • What are specialist advisers’ experiences of supporting claimants through the appeals process?
  • What impact does the ESA appeals process have on the well being of clients?
  • How do the changes in legal aid impact on specialist advisers’ ability to influence social policy change?

The survey is completed anonymously with no identifying data being requested. The project focuses on the experiences of specialist advisers and does not seek to speak to clients in any way.

He wonders if GMWRAG members would be prepared to circulate the survey to your members to help the survey to reach a wide circulation?

The survey can be taken by clicking on the anonymous and re-usable link below. More information about the research can be found on the first page of the survey.

Please do not hesitate to contact Matt if you need any further information. He can be contacted via

Forget Rhianna. You need a Parasol.

GMWRAG clearly doesn’t post enough about some bits of Manchester. We just had to add Harpurhey to our spell checker!

Parasol (@ProjectParasol on social meejah) is working closely with European nationals and finding better ways to engage with them effectively on various topics.  More details of their latest project to promote dialogue and friendship between European nationals and their neighbours in Harpurhey are highlighted below.  Please get in touch if GMWRAG members would like more information about their activities or are interested in learning whether they can start something up in their area or assist them with their clients.

Our event is not specifically about advice provision but Harpurhey Neighbourhood Project is a community centre where advice services are provided under the remit of the North Manchester Partnership.

You are also invited to a local stakeholder event which Parasol is co-hosting at Harpurhey Neighbourhood Project on Tuesday the 16th of October 2018 from 12.30pm to 15.30pm. Harpurhey Together is promoting dialogue and co-operation between local residents in one of the poorest wards in the UK – in this case, between long-standing North Mancunians and relative newcomers from Central and Eastern Europe.  This event is a follow-up to our previous community research which identified some of the serious challenges facing European nationals in Greater Manchester – including labour exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking.  Please let them know if you would like more details about the research findings.

In their latest initiative in Harpurhey, we are encouraging people to listen to the voices of local residents as well as migrants who have recently moved into the neighbourhood – both sets of voices tend to be either ignored or given a low priority in multi-agency working.  It would be great if they can extend this initial pilot into a more permanent conversation and partnership set-up.  They welcome interest from anyone who can help us to consolidate or develop this initiative and possibly pilot similar conversations and projects involving local residents or neighbours from diverse backgrounds in other areas of Greater Manchester.

Harpurhey Together is supported by Near Neighbours and is being held at Harpurhey Neighbourhood Project, Carisbrook St, Harpurhey, Manchester, M9 5UX in co-operation with the Open Culture Project.  To book a place, please reply to me or e-mail Graeme at HNP at or contact him on 07460 988 31.

GMWRAG is fairly confident there’s a number missing from that phone number but WROs work with maths all day. You’ll figure it out.