DLA and PIP caselaw for visual impairment.

At the June 2017 Stockport meeting GMWRAG members had a rare opportunity to look directly at issues around hearing and sight impairment in relation to DLA for children and PIP.

Presentations have previously been circulated from both speakers and made available via a post here on the 4th of July 2017. However, for reasons which escape, but which are most likely wholesale incompetence, the presentations have not been made available on a permanent basis in our “presentations and notes” page. Indeed, we had managed to turn the menu item for this off in our Meetings section. Good to see no-one noticed 🙂

Anyway, a number of requests have been made for the case law pack for people with a sight impairment, improvised for the session, to be made properly available. Additionally a number of GMWRAG members have contributed new decisions to be added so, we have been able to produce an updated edition. Nowt special but it’s as good a place as any to start. You can download it from here and find it permanently here, which is a different “here” if you see what we mean. We have also added the NDCS new line on PIP and safety document to the same place.

In other news we appear to have posted up the minutes of the Oldham meeting and then completely forgotten to add them to the minutes section of the web site. Fixed it now.

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Small but significant.

It’s only small thing but we here at GMWRAG think it’s significant. The numbers who view this latest iteration of the GMWRAG web site grew steadily from its creation in the latter third of 2009. From 5,468 in 2010 through to a peak of 12,261 in 2013.

Since then there has been a noticeable steady decline which we absolutely associate with the cuts to advice across Greater Manchester which have been made during the past 3 years. There are less of you and so logically less of you will be looking at us.

This downward trend and the reasons for it were reflected in other ways too. For example, we had a long drought of job vacancy adverts. Authors slowly drifted away as their jobs disappeared or became so overloaded that something had to give. This year, for the first time since 2013 we are pleased to report an upturn on several fronts. The number of jobs we have advertised has risen. The number of posts we have posted has risen. The site has grown again and is about to sprout further wings/new section/pages very soon.

We were hoping to report an upturn in numbers but we were devastated to learn that the number of site views for 2016 fell exactly 1 short of 2015. That said, this is also hugely significant as the year on year decline has well and truly been arrested and for the first time since 2013 things are holding steady or looking up. More jobs for you to peruse imminently too.

Now, about 2017…

Happy Christmas from GMWRAG

At this time of year GMWRAG pontificates on the year passing and hopes for better to come. So, here we are again. We’re not sure attempting to summarise this year in terms of welfare rights is the best approach. David Bowie died; Donald Trump became POTUS in waiting: Britain voted to leave Europe and Iain Duncan Smith ended the year thinking he’s on the same side as us. GMWRAG is not sure there is anything we can add to that so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best Christmas you can have and a peaceful 2017. The word “prosperous” doesn’t seem appropriate.

We’ll see you on the other side. Try and pretend it’s just a dream…

DWP Christmas and New Year information now out.

We have attached the two fliers from DWP advising first of all when payments will be made over the forthcoming week and opening times for the Christmas and New Year period.

Whilst we hesitate to suggest there are green shoots of recovery we note that GMWRAG has been able to advertise job vacancies with relative regularity for the first time in a good while. We’re also confident that, by the time you’ve read this, and for the first time since 2013, numbers visiting the site have risen. There has been a slow but noticeable decline which we associate with the plain simple fact there have been less of us doing the work. That decline is now over and will be further arrested when we unleash our new section (which some of you may have already noticed) imminently.

If you stare at this page for long enough (not long in reality) then the GMWRAG site will of course start snowing for you (although we like to think it’s weeping at welfare reform!) so GMWRAG would like to of course take this opportunity to wish our members a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2017.

Minutes of that!

The minutes of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group (apparently it’s NOT called the “NWMHWRAGOWTFDTM) for November 2016 are now available for download from here. Their web pages have been updated accordingly.

We have been made aware that some minutes are AWOL from 2016. These can still be found via a search (now we’ve found the “search” option again) and we’ll attempt to fix this as soon as the opportunity arises.

New WCA tool and widget from LASA.

You may recall our recentish post on the new LASA PIP tool for advisers, which has proved to be something of a revelation. If not then you can find more details in our post on the launch of the tool.

Now a new tool and widget are available but this time in connection with the WCA, which strikes GMWRAG as a jolly good idea. You can find said tool at the uninspiringly titled http://wcainfo.net. (although it’s obviously better than writing it out in full :)!

If you’ve missed any of these web tools you can find more info on all of them over on the LASA website: http://www.lasa.org.uk/webtools.

As ever, we’re sure there’s a widget you can embed in your web site. GMWRAG likes widgets and we use lots of them. Sadly our web site platform doesn’t accept this kind of tool else we’d be widegting away with the rest of you

Job vacancies on GMWRAG becoming a recurring theme?

It has been some time since job vacancies were a regular thing on the GMWRAG web site. We’re not quite there yet but it looks like we’ve found the tunnel if not yet a light at the end of it. In the meantime…

SUPERVISING SOLICITOR

People are facing greater and greater hardship as a result of cuts in benefits, homelessness, uncertainty at work, and escalating racism. Legal aid – which is an essential part of the welfare state – has been cut again and again. The people most in need across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester are being deprived of access to justice.

Greater Manchester Law Centre has been set up as a clear challenge to this. We now have premises (the main Princess Road in inner city Moss Side) and volunteers providing some legal advice (welfare rights, with sessional solicitors offering more widely).

We have been generously supported by two national charitable trusts to appoint a Supervising Solicitor so that we can become a “law centre” (full member of the Law Centres Network) and start to supervise and regulate all our advice and representation.

We are looking for a truly tremendous person (or possibly a job share) to make the law centres policy demands and fulfill our service delivery aims.

This will be a three year post (in the first instance) and requires someone who is able to start up the paid work force from almost scratch. Anyone who is interested is invited to contact j.nicholson@kenworthysbarristers.co.uk or denise@gmiau.org in the first instance (for informal inquiries and information).

Formal applications will need to be made by 12.00pm (noon) on Monday the 7th of November 2016 and we are hoping that interviews will be able to be held in Manchester within the next 10 days after that.

Further details available on www.gmlaw.org.uk and details of the post can also be found on our Job Vacancies page up to the expiry date. After that you can always find details of what has been advertised here at our previous job vacancies archive.

[*Currently this is “Greater Manchester Law Centre Steering Group” – full membership of the Law Centres Network is to be considered at their next meeting in November 2016]

Search GMWRAG has been searched for and found.

The Search GMWRAG functionA number of recent changes to GMWRAGs presence on t’internet were detailed, explained and approved at the last GMWRAG meeting in Trafford. Details of these will be posted in due course. However, in passing, a GMWRAG member noted that the facility to search the site had disappeared. This was not intentional and appears to have been an accidental dragging and dropping of the wrong widget to the wrong place. Rest assured it has now been dragged back; thoroughly told off and is back in action. The above screenshot shows the restored search functionality just below the box on the right of every page where you can subscribe to this site.

Sadly the return of this almost magical functionality does not mean you’ll be able to find the legendary missing Oldham minutes; the disproportionate number of minutes we were promised from Manchester (well, two!) and the equally legendary “off the record” section 🙂

New PIP tool for advisers from LASA.

Lasa has just launched a new web tool designed to help advisers find details of regulations and case law relating to Personal Independence Payment.

The new web tool is available at http://pipinfo.net

Any help you can provide in sharing a link to pipinfo would be very much appreciated. Like what we have done here 🙂

There’s also have a widget if you’d like to add pipinfo search to your site for your visitors to use. You can find this at http://pipinfo.net/about/widget. GMWRAG likes widgets and we use lots of them. Sadly our web site platform doesn’t accept this kind of tool else we’d be widegting away with the rest of you. .

Information on Lasa’s range of web tools is available @ http://www.lasa.org.uk/webtools

Now, if someone could just explain what’s wrong with a capital letter at the start of a web site name!