Agenda for the Tameside GMWRAG meeting now available.

If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll already know that the next GMWRAG meeting will take place on Friday the 9th of December 2016 in Tameside. Just about everything you could possibly want to know was contained in our authoritative (well, long) post here.

The only thing missing from that post was, of course, the agenda. We are pleased to announce that the agenda can now be downloaded from here.

Please remember to download and print both the agenda and minutes and bring them with you to the meeting. GMWRAG hosts are kind enough to provide a room and refreshments from their own pocket. There is no budget for printing. If anyone fancies chairing the p.m. meeting that would be much appreciated.

This is a full day meeting and to add value we have managed to secure the services of two speakers (although two may eventually read four).

SPEAKER 1 – Homeless Prevention Service officers.

The increase in rough sleeping in the towns and cities across Greater Manchester is self-evident. The increase in other forms of homelessness is seen in the queues in reception areas of council homelessness services.

Welfare rights advisers know some of the causes – bedroom tax, benefit cap, rates of LHA for singles and couples in shared accommodation, and under 35’s, as well as massive reductions in community support services, MH support, and housing rights advice services.

Other factors include reduction in hostel bed spaces, reductions in supported accommodation, rent increases that price out benefit claimants, and unfair and unreasonable sanction decisions.

Listen to those tasked with dealing with part of this situation. What can be done by local authorities to meet the need? What legal and policy restrictions do they have to work with? What are the procedures for the single and family homeless officers to respond to housing need of applicants?

David Unsworth and Jean Cavanagh specialise in brokering accommodation for applicants, sometimes vulnerable and hard to accommodate groups. They work with MH services, ex-offender support, hospital discharge teams and others. Mandy Bradbury will come along if she is available. She is the Team Leader for the Homeless Prevention and Assessment Service at Manchester City Council. They are also interested in finding out about advice services available across Greater Manchester, as their service increasingly is looking to place people outside Manchester.

SPEAKER 2 – GM Law Centre John Nicholson, Barrister and Chair of the GM Law Centre Steering Group) will talk about the reasons for the project, the current stage of development, and plans for the next 2 years and more.

Both speakers have plenty of time built into the agenda for questions and discussion.

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

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Benefits, safe-guarding and vulnerability. Bedtime reading for the Trafford GMWRAG meeting.

GMWRAG doesn’t often set members background reading but if you’re coming to our Trafford meeting in September then you’ll need to be up to speed on where we’re up to with benefits, safeguarding and vulnerability. The discussion is part of a necessary move towards maintaining a rights based approach to benefits advice by increasingly bringing to bear legislation from outside the social security sphere. The finest examples of this would of course be the increasing use of EU legislation; directives and so on and, more recently, the use of the Equality Act 2010 to challenge DWP practice and policy.

Our first September speaker, Louise Tanner, has put together some background reading to give people a feel for the range of the topic. You can download and read this from our site but before you do we suggest you have a look at the discussion forums hosted by our mates over at Rightsnet.

We recommend a read of

If these don’t give you a feel for the breadth and reach of the subject, as well as the potential for challenging the DWP and local authorities then, er, you probably haven’t read them! See you in Trafford.

New job vacancy on the GMWRAG web site.

Salford City Council

Community, Health and Social Care

Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service

 

WELFARE RIGHTS OFFICER (MENTAL HEALTH)

Job reference: 50004029

Location: Civic Centre. Swinton.

Salary: £25,440 – £27,924 pa.

Salary Grade: Grade 3B.

Working Pattern: Full-time.

Working Hours: 36 hours pw.

Contract Type: Fixed-term, maternity cover.

Closing date:  11:59pm on the 31st of May 2016.

This post is subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Temporary cover is required for this post whilst the post-holder is on maternity leave. The period will run from mid July 2016 until the post-holder returns. It is anticipated that this will be approximately 9 months.

We are looking for someone with commitment and enthusiasm to join our expert welfare rights and debt advice team to provide a comprehensive Welfare Rights service for people with mental health conditions. You will provide direct advice and casework, as well as consultative support and training to key professional staff. You will offer a flexible service and be willing to carry out home visits and work in mental health settings.

You should have

  • at least two years recent experience and
  • expertise in benefits work.

You must have

  • experience of appeal tribunal representation.
  • a good understanding of recent and future changes to the social security system and how they impact on people with mental health issues.
  • a good appreciation of mental health issues and be committed to the promotion of anti-poverty work.

Application forms from:  www.yourcounciljobs.co.uk.

New web site for the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Group

Judith Hodson from Rochdale Advice has just launched a new web site for the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Group. The address is http://nwmhwrg.wordpress.com.

If you would like to know more please click through to the site and have a look and bookmark it as a Favourite in your browser.Much like the early days of this site more content will be added in due course.

GMWRAG have added a link to the site in a couple of the pages to the right of this post and so if you forget the web address you’ll always be able to find it from here.