O Come All Ye Faithful – the next meeting of the Greater Manchester Strategic Casework Group is upon us.

The next GMSCG meeting takes place on Wednesday the 6th of December 2017 between 9.30am and 11.30am at Garden Court North Chambers, 3rd Floor, Blackfriars House, Parsonage Walk, Manchester, M3 3JA.

Please note that this meeting has been very deliberately scheduled to enable anyone attending the CPAG Universal Credit session in the afternoon at the same venue to come see us also.

The purpose of the meeting remains as ever to
• identify appropriate areas of work for action using the Equality Act 2010 and/or public law
principles
• take an alternative approach to achieve rapidly revised decisions, policy change and financial
recompense by lodging complaints/letters before action and, where appropriate, damages claims or
judicial reviews
• push for systemic change over repeated wrongs by the DWP
• support advisers to take-up this approach, by way of: web pages; training; template letters; case
examples; meetings; a toolkit
• provide an occasional referral mechanism for cases which need to progress beyond a complaint or
letter before action

In public law terms this could be summarised as shifting the focus to the anticipatory duties and responsibilities of DWP and others, rather than the responsibilities of claimants.

The minutes of the last meeting can be downloaded directly from this link but will also be permanently available within the GMSCG pages.  The minutes are on their own password protected page. You can obtain this from any GMSCG member or via a DM to @GMWRAGtweets.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows. It has not been published as a separate item.

Agenda
1) Legal Aid / legal help and the gateway.
Clare Fowler, Howells Solicitors. What is legal help, what are the barriers to obtaining Legal Aid, and what advisers might do to further the case. Issue of extreme low take up of social security discrimination cases though legal aid gateway.
30-40 mins
Reference: Bach Commission, appendix 5, author – Henry Brooke.

2) Public Law Project (PLP) – new guide to exceptional cases funding, (Legal Aid) and welfare rights matters.
Katy Watts or Matt Ahluwalla. New guide in preparation, to support welfare rights advisors to access legal aid by the exceptional cases funding route.
20 mins
Reference: PLP guides

3) DLA to PIP transfers and failures of the DWP to make reasonable adjustments in the process.
Kester Dean. Proposal for possible actions to take to protect vulnerable claimants.
10 mins

4) Anonymous case study & digital exchange and referral tool
Jo Chimes, Project Lead Equality, Rossendale CAB, (& Sian Jordan, Rossendale CAB, & the legal geeks)
Proposal in development: a tool for the exchange and circulation of anonymous case studies, with possible support from legal geeks, ‘Atticus Link’.

The aims of the tool include a means to connect advisors, legal eagles, & organisations, for the progress of cases towards action in the courts, and for exchange of knowledge and practice.
20-25mins

5 ) Case study from a GMSCG member
10 mins

If you would like to attend this or other GMSCG meetings notify please contact Robin Serjeant or DM @GMWRAGtweets and we’ll put you in touch with Robin.

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Equality and Welfare Reform Transformation Project job vacancy.

Equality & Welfare Reform Transformation Project

Project Lead – 30 hours per week, actual salary £24,324 per annum (£30,000 pro-rata)

Citizens Advice Rossendale and Hyndburn have secured 3 years funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to deliver a new and exciting project, which aims to address inequalities and poor decision making within the welfare benefit system that adversely affects vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This will be achieved through specialist casework, gathering evidence to influence fairer practices and policies and developing links with legal advice providers both locally and nationally. This is a unique opportunity to make a real difference.

The Project Lead will have overall responsibility for managing and delivering the project in line with its aims and objectives, working alongside the Project Support Assistant and reporting to the Chief Officer.

The ideal candidate will have experience of giving welfare benefit advice and have knowledge of the impact of recent welfare reform. You will also have knowledge of the Equality Act 2010 and how this is applied in advice giving. You will need excellent interpersonal and presentation skills and the ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences. This post requires travel locally and nationally, a full driving licence is required and access to a car or otherwise able to fulfil the travel requirement.

An application pack, including the job description and personal specification, is available on our website www.rossendalecab.org.uk as well as on the foregoing links. To request an application pack, please email admin@rossendalecab.cabnet.org.uk or phone 01706 252012. Please note that CVs will not be accepted without an application form.

If you would like an informal chat, please contact Rachel Whippy on 01706 252 012/01254 304 110.

Closing date: Monday the 26th of June 2017, 5pm

Interview date: week commencing 10th July 2017