Quick reminder re: 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 May at 9.30am for a 10am start.

Our speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training and Development Manager at Housing Systems. She will be talking about Housing Costs under Universal Credit.

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.

Please contact Helen Rogers if you can’t find the room on the day.

If you’ve been before then you’ll know the routine. If not then Contact GMWRAG or another NWMHWRAG member and we’ll sort you out

(Please note she won’t get any messages until 31st May.)

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Bedtime reading, Brexit and low-income housholds.

GMWRAG is busying up for our Brexit and Benefits half day epic later this month (not to forget the GM UC Forum) and in the spirit of making sure everyone is up to speed here’s some bedtime reading from Policy In Practice on the impact of Brexit on low-income households. GMWRAG remains (sorry, don’t draw ANY conclusions from that word) surprised at the lack of such modelling at such a key moment so this is if nothing else a good starting point for discussion.

You can find similar from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research but it’s 3 years old now. We were about to say that a lot can happen in 3 years but that’s probably not appropriate in relation to the B word.

More recently you can read https://ukandeu.ac.uk/poverty-after-brexit-no-dividend-for-those-on-low-incomes/ but how much bedtime reading do you actually want?

Far better to come hear our two brilliant speakers on the 17th of May 2019.

If you can’t make it please bear in mind that GMWRAG has just received the best apology ever. Can it be topped? It may get topped off.

“I am helping build a Celtic roundhouse that day” is pretty impressive. GMWRAG will simply accept no apologies which fall below this standard. We can think of no better way to make attendance compulsory 🙂

GMWRAG has thusfar resisted the temptation to get into a discussion as to how the whole concept of Celts is genetically dodgy etc. We’re willing to add it to “AOB” though!

NAWRA notes from the Salford meeting now available.

NAWRA hasn’t happened too many times in Greater Manchester over the years so we’re not going to let go easily.

The notes and presentations from the day are now available on the NAWRA website. If you don’t know the password then you’re probably not a NAWRA member so… we’re not going to tell you. Your manager will likely know and if not please contact NAWRA not GMWRAG.

The next NAWRA meeting will take place from 10am-4pm (registration from 9.30am) on Friday the 7th of June 2019 at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. To be fair it looks spectacular but it’s not Salford is it! They’ll be back.

The agenda will be available here (and there) in early May.

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 https://publiclawproject.org.uk/uncategorized/using-the-law-to-address-unfair-systems/

An actual almost bog standard GMWRAG meeting. Oh no, hang on. Brexit and Benefits.

Some of us have forgotten what an actual ordinary GMWRAG meeting looks like. Between Neal Couling; Everyday Equality North; a new GM UC Forum; sell out rooms and new booking systems it’s been a busy 8 months.

The next GMWRAG meeting was originally scheduled for April 2019 and was to be hosted by Stockport Help With Benefit Appeals as a half day meeting along with a half day GMWRAG GM UC Forum. We had plans for 2 speakers and a broad agenda of Brexit and Benefits. Alas, as with the B word itself, matters were not straightforward. We delayed in empathy (honest :)!

“Events dear boy. Events!” as Macmillan once allegedly said.

We are please to announce that the next GMWRAG meeting will 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”. We’ve made a joke about this in the previous post. It’s still worth finding 🙂

This will be an p.m. only meeting following on from the a.m. GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting which will conclude circa 12pm at the same venue.

Please note that the meeting will be open for refreshments/networking at 12:30pm and will start at 12:45pm. You have not misread this. The intent would be to finish at 4pm as per usual.

We are fully aware this is an unusual start time but would appreciate people arriving promptly as the timings have been arranged to accommodate the fact we have 2 excellent speakers giving freely of their own time (and who are travelling a long way to do so) as well as deal with some GMWRAG business which has not been addressed as part of an agenda since (we think) Bolton in April 2018. More details of our speakers will follow but we can confirm that we have

1pm – Professor Charlotte O’Brien from York Law School. You can read more about Charlotte here but we’re confident many GMWRAG members will recall her excellent contribution on the consequences of Brexit at PLP North in 2017. We certainly do. The phrase “administrative cataclysm” has resonated down the years.

2:30pm – Alexandra Sinclair from the Public Law Project. will be talking on ”

“Brexit, Statutory Instruments and Social Security: An early analysis”.

You can read all about the SIFT project here. and you’ll immediately see the link with the many recent social security Statutory Instruments and Brexit.

The exact subject matter/titles for the above will be detailed in due course but if you haven’t figured out it’s “Brexity” then you haven’t been clicking on those links have you! Tsk. EDIT: The title of Alexandra’s talk is now detailed above. Charlotte’s will follow.

We also hope to deal with some routine GMWRAG business such as the appointment of a new Treasurer; web site management; take-up work etc.

Please note that unlike our last 2 meetings there is no booking process for this meeting. It’s a GMWRAG meeting and you can just turn up. However, as per our last 2 meetings, we are expecting a full room so please arrive early if you want a seat.

If you’re unable to make the meeting we have tentative plans to live stream but again we’ll let you know about that in due course. In the meantime we look forward to seeing you all there.

Oh yeah, transport. Ahem, nearest railway station is Manchester Oxford Road and the venue is a small walk from there. We won’t talk about buses because if you can’t get a bus down Oxford Road then you’re really not trying. We strongly recommend cycling as Oxford Road has 2 cycle lanes. We strongly recommend insurance though as we’ve never been able to figure out which way the cyclists are supposed to be going.

See you all there.

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.

Leigh Day and their Universal Credit Group Claim.

Leigh Day have now set up a web page plus FAQ & online referral form to make the whole process of signing up to their claim(s) a little more convenient. This can be found at: https://www.leighday.co.uk/Employment-discrimination/Current-cases/Universal-Credit-group-action. They have produced separate referral forms tailored for advisers and for individuals.

For their TP & AR linked claims they now have enough claimants to launch the action. They have identified potential lead claimants and will shortly be sending out client care letters to those who have been referred to them or made their own enquiries.

They are also hoping to generate some media interest in the coming weeks. They could do with much higher numbers to make this litigation really effective and that is why they have set up the website. There are 13,000 people out there who have lost out as a result of the wrongheaded implementation of natural migration.

A lot of service users might not have access to the internet so you can still refer people to them by just emailing a name and telephone number. Ryan Bradshaw (a long-standing friend of GMWRAG and GMSCG) and Niall Byrne are available by phone for any enquiries that you might have.

Feel free to circulate this amongst your contacts and colleagues.

NOT a job advert and twice as funny.

GMWRAG was, remarkably, getting a tad bored with posting up job adverts all the time. How quickly we become blasé at the extraordinary! We’ll soon alleviate our boredom by chasing up (well, invoicing) all those organisations who need to pay us for those adverts but in the meantime you can have the same amount of fun we did filling in this exciting “communication survey” from our friends at HMCTS.

The gist of this appears to be that they don’t want to know anything helpful or detailed. Consider it of the ilk of those emails you get every now again from Costa Coffee or Cineworld asking about your experience and which then ignore everything you say when you tell them you nearly died of food poisoning or were hideously over-charged.

It says here that

“Today, HM Courts and Tribunals Service has launched a survey of users and those working within courts and tribunals to inform and improve how it communicates with users. The deadline for completing the survey is the 10th of May 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service-launch-communications-survey

Our guess is that not many “users” who are also claimants will have got this link. Feel free to forward it on.

GMWRAG is sort of expecting to receive a letter back advising us that our response is out of time and asking for us an explanation. You can probably insert your own HMCTS and communication joke at this point.

Lost for words. Another job advert!

These are strange times. Here’s another job advert in GM. Clearly, we’re going to have to clamp down on this sort of thing 🙂

As ever you’ll be able to find a copy of this on our permanent Job Vacancies page.

 

Job Title:

Welfare Benefit Advisor
Reference Number: JIG-061
 

Location:

Turner House, Leigh
 

Salary:

£31,652 – £35,218 per annum

Salary Band I

 

Hours:

35 flexible hours per week between the hours of 7.00am & 7.00pm, Monday to Friday

Or

36 compressed hours per week between the hours of 7.00am & 7.00pm over 4 days.

 

Who we are: Jigsaw Homes Group was created on 3rd April 2018 following the merger of New Charter Group and Adactus Housing Group. Jigsaw is now one of the largest housing groups in England with more than 33,000 homes across the North West and East Midlands, employing over 1400 employees. Our main social purpose is to provide quality homes as solid foundations for people to thrive for the rest of their lives.

 

About the department: The department is a highly skilled and effective team. It strives to deliver a financial service which aims to meet the current and future needs of the business. The team is committed to the organisations aims and objectives and as such work in a fast moving and exciting environment.

 

Role Information: The successful candidate will assist residents to maximise their incomes and provide them with advice, support and assistance to enhance their financial circumstances and well being.

 

Jigsaw Benefits: In return Jigsaw Homes Group offer 24 working days holiday per annum (rising with extended service and additional leave given for the Christmas closure), occupational sick pay, flexible working, on-site gyms, access to the Social Housing Pension Scheme, Simply Health membership, enhanced maternity/paternity leave and training/development opportunities.

 

Closing Date: 12.00 noon, Monday 22 April 2019

 

Application Instructions If you would like an application form and information pack please contact us either via our recruitment line on 01942 604 292 or by email to HR@adactushousing.co.uk or apply on-line at our website www.jigsawhomes.org.uk/vacancies Please note you must apply via our application form, we do not accept CV’s.