Minutes of the first GMWRAG Greater Manchester Universal Credit Forum ALMOST available. Another new GMWRAG web site section created in anticipation.

The minutes of the 1st ever GMWRAG GM UC Forum, which took place in sunny Oldham (we’re writing this as it’s snowing in March) way back in January 2019 are now almost available for download. Apologies for the delay in getting these out to you but we’ve had technical issues getting them to the DWP for comment.

In light of the delays these issues have caused we’ve decided to go down the “publish and be damned” route and just get them out there (sort of). At present though you won’t be able to access them until DWP have confirmed there are no issues with them from their perspective.

Once they do go live (yeah, we will say) could those of you who were present at the meeting please take a look and note any suggested/required amendments? Bring them with you to the next meeting and we’ll deal with them under a hopefully brief, focused “minutes of the last meeting” item at the outset.

In order to view the minutes you will need to find them in (yet another) new GMWRAG section where they are located and password protected. We’ll leave it to you to figure out what it’s called. If you can’t (clue: it starts with “NEW”) then we despair. We just do.

As regards passwords, GMWRAG members know the score. If you don’t then just contact us and we’ll let you know (the score that is. Possibly the password too.) once it’s all live.

GMWRAG has recently discovered what happens when we momentarily and accidentally leave minutes unprotected. Apparently, we end up in Private Eye! You can read more about that here but GMWRAG wishes to issue a resolute “no comment”.

In the meantime, you’ll obviously want to know that we’re working towards a slightly amended date and timings for the next UC Forum/GMWRAG meeting.

We were scheduled for Stockport in Spring (sorry, we just liked the alliteration – we meant April) but we’re now looking at a mid May date. The draft minutes also suggested that the UC Forum would run 1pm to 4pm but we’ve had to amend that immediately in order to accommodate our speakers at the GMWRAG meeting on the same day.

So, at present the intent is that the UC forum will be a.m. and will be followed by a packed p.m. meeting with 2 speakers looking at various aspects of Brexit and Benefits. We’ll give you something more concrete on this as soon as it’s been finalised but we’re hoping for the 17th of May 2019. If the weather persists we shall of course rebadge it as “Brrrrexit and Benefits”.

Please note that we can’t guarantee that the future order of these meetings will be the same. We suspect it will change depending on the availability of speakers for the GMWRAG meeting. We are busy finding out whose hands to slap for suggesting the UC Forum would always be p.m.

Finally, we have had several queries asking about the accessibility/access group which was suggested at the 1st meeting. There is clearly much enthusiasm for this and much anxiety about perceived delays. DWP are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make this happen (most notably to make it as accessible as it can be) so please bear with us. As soon as we’re able to announce anything, we will.

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The minutes of the Stockport GMWRAG meeting are now available.

The minutes of the June 2017 GMWRAG meeting which took place in Stockport are now available for download from here and of course you can find them permanently on our Minutes page for which you will of course have the magic password. If you don’t then please either DM @GMWRAGtweets or email a GMWRAG member and they’ll be happy to oblige provided you are willing to delete, set fire to or eat any related communications.

The handouts from the session on hearing impairment and PIP can be found here and the case law pack from the session on sight impairment and DLA/PIP can be found here.

The next GMWRAG meeting is scheduled for Oldham in October 2017 and we’ll post up all the information you’ll need as soon as everything has been finalised.

Correction to Manchester TUG details – GMWRAG apologises for actually being administratively worse than the Tribunals Service.

Our recent post re: the Manchester TUG was incorrect.

The Manchester and Stockport TUG will take place on Monday the 27th of March 2017 (not February) at Manchester Crown Court Building, Ground Floor, Crown Square off Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3FL. It will start at 10am and no doubt finish on the dot at 12:00pm.

As per our Blackburn TUG post you need to let the Tribunals Service know if you’re attending.

If you haven’t been notified of the meeting by post then you will need to contact Sandy Barnes, Clerk to the Tribunal on 0151 243 1451. Questions will need to be submitted in advance and the clerk is also the route for that as far as we can ascertain. TS are also asking for details of your organisation, work phone number and work email address. GMWRAG refuses to be anything other than highly amused at the latter given ongoing issues persuading them that appeals can be lodged by email.

We’ll see you there or, alternatively, in the Spinning Fields Costa Coffee beforehand 🙂

 

Manchester TUG sort of announced.

GMWRAG refuses to accept we will ever come up with a better post title than Blackburn Tug(ay). However, with grateful thanks to our friends at Stockport Advice (at least that’s what we thought they were called) we are pleased to announce that the details for the Manchester Tribunal Users Group are now available.

The Manchester TUG will take place on Monday the 27th of February 2017 at Manchester Crown Court. It will start at 10am and no doubt finish on the dot at 12:00pm. If the Tribunals Service ever let us know more details then we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, as per our Blackburn TUG post you need to let the Tribunals Service know if you’re attended. If you haven’t been notified of the meeting by post then you will need to contact Sandy Barnes, Clerk to the Tribunal on 0151 243 1451. Questions will need to be submitted in advance and the clerk is also the route for that as far as we can ascertain.

The next (and future) GMWRAG meeting(s).

Now, GMWRAG members, please pay attention and listen very carefully. We shall say zis only once! Possibly.

A few years back we had to rejig the organisation of GMWRAG meetings thanks to the reality of public sector cuts decimating services in Manchester, Rochdale and Bolton. A core group of Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford kindly agreed to rotate hosting meetings in order to ensure we could continue.

An unexpected but entirely welcome rejuvenated service in Oldham assisted with this aim but further service reviews and staffing changes in three of the first four above have meant that meetings over the past year have very much had to be organised “on the hoof” as services in the midst of being reviewed to death felt that hosting a meeting for a full day was a step to far in the midst of other stresses. We are very grateful to Stockport Advice, Salix Homes and Bolton at Home for stepping up at short notice to keep the show on the road.

GMWRAG fully appreciates this and so in a bid to provide some stability this year we are pleased to welcome an offer from Manchester to host our next meeting in June 2016. This pushes back meetings in Trafford and Tameside. It would be really helpful if all GMWRAG members could check out our meetings page and note these changes but if you can’t access the site in work then 2016 and 2017 currently look like this.

June 2016 – Manchester.

September 2016 – Trafford.

December 2016 – Tameside.

March 2017 – Oldham.

June 2017 – Stockport.

September 2017 – Salford.

December 2017 – Bolton.

All hosting members need to note these changes dates. There may yet be further date changes as none of us know what the remainder of 2016 will bring but we will try and avoid this if we possibly can. We will try and contact someone at each host in due course to firm all the above up but, if there are issues, it would help us if you “Contact GMWRAG” ASAP to let us know.

There will be a more specific post about the Manchester meeting imminently.

For those of you who periodically complain about the length of these posts, please remember not all members can access the site in their workplace, for a variety of reasons, so it is important that the posts contain what is elsewhere on the site.