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.

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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.

GM Law Centre Legal Advocacy Support Group

GM Law Centre’s Pro Bono LASP (Legal Advocacy Support Project), modelled on the work done at Avon and Bristol Law Centre LASP, have advised GMWRAG that they “… have capacity to take on failed WCA, ESA and UC appeals” as they have a new intake of student caseworkers from MMU Law School proactively looking to prepare and represent alongside University of Manchester colleagues.

They can take on appeal bundles issues 3-4 months ago, which leaves time to prepare. The team have recently been nominated for the Manchester Legal Awards Pro Bono/Community Initiative Award.

Claimants can get an appointment by calling GMLC reception on 0161 769 2244 between 9:30am and 3pm, Monday to Friday except for Bank Holidays (we presume) of which there are some soon. Alternatively you can email reception.

Advisers should note that GM Law Centre serves the whole of Greater Manchester and thus you are being offered a service which can help you manage your own capacity issues in a world of contracting advice services and advice deserts.

Next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

We’re really going to have to find a more original way of saying this but the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Thursday the 26th of July 2018 at 9.30am for a 10am start.

The venue is Room 226 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The address is:

Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, 4 Rosamond Street West, Manchester M15 6LL.

There is an entrance on Oxford Road, directly opposite the Aquatics centre, or a wheelchair accessible entrance just off Rosamund St. West. The best place for car parking is the NCP at the Aquatics centre.   There is a café on site where you can buy tea/coffee etc.

IHelen Rogers is going to do a talk on claiming the mobility the mobility component of PIP for claimants with mental health conditions.

Volunteers for chairing and taking the minutes are required.

An invitation to GMWRAG members to take part in something a little bit different.

Elaine Craig, a Masters Psychology Student at Manchester Metropolitan University. who joined the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group along with Kim Heyes in November 2017, would like to inform you of a research project she is doing which is relevant to GMWRAG members.She’d like to ask whether the any GMWRAG members would consider taking part in a reformation agenda Focus Group. The aim is to review the current statutory out-of-work and back-to-work support experienced by individuals with mental health challenges in order to develop a more suitable intervention.

The study is called An Analysis of Workplace Wellbeing Supporting a ‘Staying Well at Work’ Intervention’.

There is evidence highlighting current statutory back-to-work process are inappropriate financially penalising and patronising people who cannot/do not engage. Workshops are job-seeker orientated and do not address mental health challenges specific to the workplace. Enhancing this understanding will enable us to develop a person-centered intervention, supporting people who want to get back into employment after a period of ill health. The findings of which, we will feed back to the DWP.

Focus group participants’ need have a working knowledge of the statutory welfare framework and practitioner experience of real life challenges faces by individuals trying to access support. They will be asked if they would like to participate in an informal discussion with four other group members, lasting approximately 60 minutes (but no longer than 90 minutes) at Manchester Metropolitan University.

GMWRAG have years of experience in supporting this vulnerable group and your support would be greatly appreciated. Additionally I am more than willing to come to the next meeting and give a 5 minute presentation about the research proposal should this be suitable.

Please find below an overview of the study, which will inform your considerations and feel free to contact Elaine should you have any further questions by either ringing 07730 032 826 or emailing elaine.m.craig@stu.mmu.ac.uk

Focus Group Particpant Information Sheet

Workplace Wellbeing poster

The minutes of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group are now available for download.

The minutes from the last meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group are now available for download. They will of course be permanently available in their usual location.

Additionally, presentations from the same meeting are also available for download as follows:

All of the above will also be available within the NWMHWRAG pages.