Our social policy work

A key aim for GMWRAG is to improve social security policy and practice. GMWRAG also:

  • Seeks improvements in social security and tax credit law and administration.
  • Regularly presses for equal access and fair hearings for people appealing against refusals of benefits.
  • Seeks best practices in advice work. GMWRAG has a Social Policy Sub-Group to organise this work.
  • Carries out research on local experiences and puts forward recommendations and demands to policy-makers and officials.

GMWRAG’s active network of member organisations means that we can research issues of concerns quickly and with the authority of a high level of contact with local claimants and groups. GMWRAG members attend many local forums and contribute positively. Social Policy work is currently integrated into the agenda at full GMWRAG meetings. However, there was a time when this was not the case and separate meetings were held. You can read further on this within the site but if you can add to our growing archive by filling in the gaps in our trail of miutes please let us know.

North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group response to “Public Consultation: Migration From IB To ESA” (April 2011)

The North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group is the “last one standing” from the original GMWRAG sub-groups such as the Fuel Poverty sub-group; Community Care Welfare Rights Officers Group and the Take-Up Group. As such it’s appropriate we support it as much as we can. That’s why you’ll see their meetings advertised on GMWRAG and why we’re publishing the groups response to this important consultation.

GMWRAGs response to the “Public Consultation: Disability Living Allowance reform” (February 2011)

This is a detailed response to 22 questions looking at the proposed replacement of DLA with the new Personal Independence Payment. It was put together after an entire meeting was dedicated to fur workshops examining each of the questions in detail and put out to consultation with all members in the following month. Its conclusion is that there is a need for reform of some parts of the current system but none of these are addressed by the PIP, which is a reform that is neither needed nor wanted!

North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group response to “Public Consultation: Disability Living Allowance Reform” (February 2011)

The North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group is the “last one standing” from the original GMWRAG sub-groups such as the Fuel Poverty sub-group; Community Care Welfare Rights Officers Group and the Take-Up Group. As such it’s appropriate we support it as much as we can. That’s why you’ll see their meetings advertised on GMWRAG and why, with the kind permission of Judith Hodson, we’re publishing the groups response to this important consultation.

GMWRAG’s report on the Social Security Advisory Committee (September 2002)

“GMWRAGs view is that the SSAC is a valuable, talented and hard-working expert resource. It is needed and it is effective when given the opportunity. We have been dismayed at apparent recent attempts to diminish its role in terms of substantive scrutiny of legislative change. Alternative mechanisms of scrutiny, such as the Government’s Green and White Papers in Welfare Reform in the late 1990s, under full Parliamentary attention, also brought disappointing aspects for external groups. These include limited direct evidence of a government listening to concerns about the adverse effects of implementation. The scrutiny of the Work and Pensions Committee is robust and constructive, but practical concerns are sometimes dismissed. New consultation processes range from poor to good. Cabinet Office guidelines and a social security “Consultation Tsar” are steps forward. However, the fast-track Regulatory Reform Act 2000 provisions, we believe, will ultimately sit badly with substantive social security changes. Overall, the independence of the SSAC always brings a formally recognised additional “policy and practice” wisdom which the current alternative mechanisms too often lack, together with a formal mechanism which necessitates greater transparency in decision-making. The SSAC needs an expanded remit, and perhaps a name change and partial relocation, to cover Tax Credits and better reflect the full responsibilities of the DWP and the relevant responsibilities of the Inland Revenue.

“Unlocking Poverty in Greater Manchester – Towards Fairness in Benefits for Incapacity and Disability” (July 1998)

This research project is a response from GMWRAG to the Green Paper on welfare reform, and has been produced through active consultation with GMWRAG’s membership. It seeks to examine the nature, operation and appeals procedures of benefit tests for incapacity and disability. This includes a evaluation of self-assessment, medical testing and the points system through which benefit payments are made.

“A Response to the Government’s Consultation Exercise on Social Security Reform” (Jan 1999)

“An examination of the government’s latest proposals in the light of our earlier recommendations of a detailed submission to the government’s consultation on its March 1998 Green Paper on Social Security Reform.”

“Representing at Appeals – North West Views” (July 1999)

“A look at the issues of representation at appeals tribunal. Aims for benefit appeal bodies in recent decades have included greater professionalism, independence and consistency. GMWRAG decided to gather evidence to map out the strengths and weaknesses of modern appeals arrangements, and to provide a basis to lobby in a time of change.

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