Greater Manchester Welfare Reform Dashboard – an update

Those of you with long memories (or nothing better to do) may recall we have posted previously about the excellent GM Welfare Reform Dashboard was back in March 2019. It was good then. It’s even better now and you can see the latest version here. It is updated monthly.

Those of you who like long urls can rejoice with

https://www.gmtableau.nhs.uk/t/GMCA/views/WelfareReformDashboardQ12020/WelfareReformDashboardQ12020?:iid=1&:isGuestRedirectFromVizportal=y&:embed=y.

That’s why we prefer “here”.

If you want to more about GMCA you can find that “here“.

Covid Realities – families needed for research project.

CPAG is working in partnership with the universities of York and Birmingham on a new project called Covid Realities.

The project aims to understand the challenges faced by families living on a low income during the pandemic, to help policymakers make better-informed decisions.

The project is looking to work with parents and carers with children under 19, living on a low income, to document the everyday realities of life during the Coronavirus pandemic. Parents and carers will be able to share their experiences in an online diary, take part in online activities, and participate in virtual workshops. Participants will be able to do as little or as much as they like and they will be completely anonymous. There’s a lot more information about the project on the website.

Can you help reach out to parents and carers in any way? There’s some suggested text below.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the project please contact maddy@covidrealities.org

Many thanks in advance for your assistance – your support is invaluable in spreading the word about the project.

Text to share with parents and carers:
Are you a parent or carer finding it difficult to make ends meet?

COVID-19 has swept across the globe, causing suffering for millions. But it’s not just the virus that’s the problem…

The lockdown has seen the closure of businesses, local services and schools, causing economic hardship and stress. We know that families living with children face particular challenges, especially when they are on low incomes and cannot access childcare. If you’re one of them, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re a research team from the universities of York and Birmingham, looking for the experiences of families and carers who have children under the age of 19. Leave us a diary entry, audio or video message about how you’re coping. Tell us about your frustrations and worries! Let us know how daily life could be improved for you!

Our aim is to understand the challenges you face, gather evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on families, and help policymakers make better-informed decisions.

If you can help us do that, or would like more information, do get in touch.

More information: http://www.covidrealities.org or email maddy@covidrealities.org

DWP Health Transformation User Research.

A group of user researchers working in the Health Transformation Programme at DWP, specifically focussed on understanding and improving claimant experiences of PIP need to undertake regular research with claimants claiming benefits, as well as the organisations and people who support them, to explore perceptions and experiences and test ideas for improving the service.

A piece of work is currently underway looking at Orientation into PIP; how people find out about PIP, what they understand it to be, what they understand about eligibility etc., to inform how we think about improving experiences. Other active work is looking at the Apply journey, with the focus somewhat changed to quickly ensure applications can be made digitally as part of the COVID-19 response.

These are just 2 examples and across teams they are working on the end to end journey so there’s lots of work going on, which will be the case for the foreseeable future, and the input of claimants and their representatives is key to getting it right for the future.

They are aiming to build a network of contacts who can support with involving the right participants in their work, so at this stage are linking in with different groups to understand whether they can support and if so, the best ways to approach this with them.

They are flexible in terms of approach; for example, they have created content for newsletters, websites and emailers and spoken at group meetings regarding research, sharing contact details for people to get involved. With some contacts they have simply had a conversation and have asked their clients (claimants) if they might be interested in getting involved and then shared details. They like to work with individuals and organisations to determine what will work best for them and tailor the approach accordingly.

If this feels like an area you may be able to help they’d love to set up a call to discuss further, getting an ‘in’ for a conversation with third parties and charities can be our greatest challenge so any advice, support or contacts would be hugely appreciated. The best starting point is to send a message to health.userresearch@dwp.gsi.gov.uk – a secure inbox accessible only to 4 PIP user researchers and so ensuring a swift response.

They look forward to hearing from you.

Health Transformation Programme PIP User Research
health.userresearch@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Open University research into PIP appeals and invisible impairment.

GMWRAG can only apologise for being a little tardy in publicising this (especially as some of us have already signed up). We’d vouch that there’s not a WRO alive in the North West who would not have something of value to add to this if you have ever been involved in a PIP claim from start to end at appeal.

So, here’s the original blurb (kindly nicked donated by Rightsnet).

My name is Alexandra Murray and I am conducting a study on appeal hearings for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This is to gain a better understanding of how disability is defined in the welfare state and how this impacts on disability benefits.

I am looking to speak with welfare benefits advisers, welfare lawyers and tribunal judges who have been involved in hearings with claimants that had a hidden, less visible, or invisible disability. This is to draw together accounts of PIP hearings from different perspectives to investigate how invisible disabilities are evaluated by the tribunal. To take part in this study, you must have provided advice or represented someone who wanted to appeal their PIP decision.

Participating in this study will give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences of the PIP appeal process anonymously.
What will I be asked to do if I want to get involved?
• To provide a short, written reflection or diary entry based on a time when you were involved in a PIP appeal (at any stage) for someone with an invisible disability.
• To take part in a semi-structured interview that will last for approximately 1-2 hours that will be audio-recorded and transcribed. This will be arranged for a time and place convenient to you.

To take part in the study, or if you would like to know more about it, please contact me via email: Alexandra.Murray@open.ac.uk. Your information will be held in compliance with GDPR regulations.

This project is funded by a PhD studentship in the Faculty of Business and Law at The Open University. This project has been reviewed by, and received a favourable opinion from, The Open University Human Research Ethics Committee, reference: HREC/3369/Murray.

If you’re interested, and we can’t think why you wouldn’t be, then you can also download an information sheet here.

Theft is really the sincerest form of, er, theft.

We can’t think of a nicer way to say “we nicked this from Rightsnet; messed about with it a bit; tried to pretend we could make it look like we didn’t really nick it; called them “our friends from” in the hope we won’t be sued and so on.

So, we nicked this from that other place and we were gonna do all the above and then thought, “why not just give them the link?”. So, er, here it is. We think it’s important. It’s called “Call for evidence launched into the economics of Universal Credit” so how could it not be. Anyway, something blah something blah the Economic Affairs Committee, which we think is this but it looks much duller than this, which came up first in our search. The latter has lots of water bottles. The former has, oh… look… it has (and we quote)…

Viscount Chandos

Lord Cunnigham of Felling

Lord Darling of Roulanish

The fantastically illiterated Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted

and of course Lord Stern of Brentford.

Well then, now we’ve put it like that how can you possibly resist! Go forth and… no, not that… give evidence. An actual proper link can be found here and for amusement the closing date is the 29th of February 2020.

Guessing they used that because somebody had to.

Just like buses, research projects are coming along in groups (possibly).

More University of Salford research into Universal Credit.

What is the research about?

This study aims to investigate the mental health experiences of people who are claiming Universal Credit. I want to hear from you if you: are currently claiming Universal Credit AND are currently living within Greater Manchester

They are looking for 30 people who are over the age of 18 to take part in a research interview. Results from the project will form the basis of a PhD thesis, and may be published in the future as a contribution to evidence around mental health and the benefits system.

Why is this research important?

Research into the way the UK’s welfare system has revealed some of the challenges associated with claiming Universal Credit, including how people may experience changes to their mental health while they are claiming. The aim of this study is to investigate how mental health is experienced by those claiming Universal Credit by inviting people to discuss their experiences.

Who is doing the research?

The research is being conducted by Joe Pardoe, an independent researcher from the University of Salford.

Will I be compensated?

They are happy to provide all participants with a £10 shopping voucher as a thank you for taking part in the study, and to compensate for any travel costs that may have been incurred.

How can I take part?

If you would like to take part, please contact me so that we can arrange a time, date and place of convenience to yourself, to conduct the interview. I will ask you questions about how you have experienced your mental health, including any changes you may have noticed, while you have been claiming Universal Credit. With your permission, I will record the interview with a digital voice recorder.

Interviews will last around one hour. You are free to choose not answer any question you feel uncomfortable with, and the interview can be ended at any time. Responses you give will be treated with the strictest confidence, and your anonymity will be protected, meaning that your name, address and any personal details will not be used in any published reports and I will not pass your details on to anybody else. They can also keep you informed about the research findings if you are interested.

How will they use the data generated?

Your data will be analysed as part of the write-up for a thesis. Data from the project may also be presented in a findings document, which may then be prepared for publication and/or included as part of a presentation at conferences.

It is important to bear in mind that your identity will be protected if you decide to take part; any responses given while you are being interviewed will not be identifiable to you and any personal details will be anonymised or removed so that you cannot be recognised.

There is an ethical duty to breach confidentiality if criminal activity is mentioned, or something that could place yourself or others at risk of harm; if this happens, they will contact the appropriate authorities to protect any individuals that may be at risk.

If you choose to withdraw your data from the study, any information you have provided will be deleted, and any record of your participation removed. Your data (the recorded responses from the interview) will be transcribed by the researcher, working alone, with any identifying detail removed. Your data will be kept for three years following the interview date, after which point it will be destroyed.

How can I find out more?

If you have any questions about the research or would like to take part, then please contact Joe Pardoe (researcher) via email at: j.pardoe@edu.salford.ac.uk

University of Salford and Salford City Council research into the experience of Universal Credit.

So this is one for those of our advisers who live or work in the Salford area of Greater Manchester. Nevertheless we think it will be of wider interest to the rest of you. The University of Salford and Salford City Council are doing research into the experience of Universal Credit.

How has Universal Credit impacted you, and what can we do about it?

We know that Universal Credit is having a huge impact on Salford’s Residents and family, friends and organisations that support them, but what exactly does that look like? What can we do about it? The University of Salford and Salford City Council are working together to answer those questions and you can help!

Can I take part?

Are you a Salford resident in receipt of Universal Credit? The answer is yes!

How do I take part?

Contact us and we will arrange a time and date for the interview at the place of your choice. We want to know how people’s experience with Universal Credit are changing over time, so we would like you to undertake two interviews, the first one now, and the second one in 6-8 months. We would like to ask you about your experiences with Universal Credit, its impact on your life and finances and what you think about it as well as what kind of support you have found useful.

In recognition of your time and knowledge, you will receive £10 for undertaking each interview.

Interviews will last about an hour. You do not have to talk about anything you don’t want to discuss and you can withdraw from the research at any time. We will record the interview with your permission, but will take notes if you prefer. Everything you say will be treated in confidence. Your name will not be used in any published reports and we will not pass your details on to anybody else. We will also keep you informed about the research findings.

Want more information?

If you want to ask any questions about the research or want to know more about taking part, then please text, call or email Andrea Gibbons at 07773 948 841 or

a

dot

r

dot

gibbons

1

at

salford

dot

ac

dot

uk

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:

https://bedshealthsciences.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9uJpGzsLdeEnPpP

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: http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/Computer 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: https://childpovertyactiongroup.wufoo.com/forms/m1vc0zeg1sr9zgh/
or email ews@cpag.org.uk