Blatant plagiarism in the name of a good cause.

GMWRAG noted the following posted on Rightsnet. We think this is too important to miss so we’re reprinting it in full below.

CPAG is partway through releasing a series of reports entitled Computer says “No” detailing problems arising in the automated UC system.  These hard-hitting reports wouldn’t be possible without your case studies, so thank you! It’d be great to receive some up-to-date examples which may contribute to the third and final report in the series.

1. Many of you have already seen our first Computer says “No” report detailing issues with UC statements [available here: http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/Computer says ‘no!’ Stage one – information provision_2.pdf]

2. Our second report is due to be released next week, and will set out the problems encountered by claimants in challenging UC decisions (i.e. using the MR process). So do keep an eye out for it.

3. The third report will focus on how the DWP implements decisions (other than those concerning initial calculation of entitlement).  We’re interested to hear about recent cases of:
a) DWP delay in implementing Tribunal decision in UC
b) DWP delay or mistake in paying backdated UC entitlement
c) UC statements overwritten with corrected entitlement, not reflecting actual payments made
d) UC claim start date amended and assessment periods changed from start of claim
e) Possession case adjournments/ suspended orders requiring rent arrears payments lower than standard 10-20% deductions made in UC
f) Debt Relief Orders writing off UC Advances, or other debts, being ignored
g) Failure to apply legal judgments effectively e.g. Faulty SDP gateway, High Court Johnson assessment period ruling

The above are all issues that you’ve told us about before, but recent examples would help us ascertain whether they remain unresolved and if so, add to the strength of our report.

Many thanks for any and all contributions!

Best way to submit cases is our online EWS form: https://childpovertyactiongroup.wufoo.com/forms/m1vc0zeg1sr9zgh/
or email ews@cpag.org.uk

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Minutes of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum finally available.

GMWRAG has taken our time getting minutes out from the first two very successful meetings of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum. This has largely been because of a need to ensure various parties are happy the minutes accurately reflect their participation and this, to be blunt, has been like herding cats. However, herding cats is not actually impossible (follow that link folks) and so here we finally are.

The minutes for both the January 2019 meeting in Oldham and the May 2019 meeting are now available for download from the GMUCF section of our site and they are of course password protected.

Regular GMWRAG users will be able to take a punt at our password but if not you can always DM us on Twitter or email to the usual address. If you don’t know the usual address then you’re possibly not a GMWRAG member or not paying attention.

The next GMWRAG meeting and GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting was scheduled for Salford in July. That clearly isn’t going to happen so we’re now aiming for late August or early September. More news on this as we have it.

CPAG looking for test cases.

CPAG is looking for test cases. To be fair, CPAG is always looking for test cases. However…

Do you have a client who would be willing to be part of CPAG’s strategic litigation?

CPAG is looking for clients in the following circumstances:

1.    The date of claim for universal credit claimants who use the Help to Claim service operated by Citizens Advice.
CPAG is looking for a universal credit claimant who has used the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service co-located in a Job Centre and their date of claim is later than the date they requested the Help to Claim service.

2.    Benefit cap
CPAG is looking for a lone parent with a child under 5 who has been subject to the benefit cap in the past few months, hasn’t had the benefit of DHPs throughout and possibly has even had to move home because of the cap.

To refer a client living in England or Wales please complete CPAG’s referral form.

Quiz Knight

Following the NWMHWRAG post with the various documents from their last meeting we have become aware that some people have asked for the answers to the UC True or False quiz. GMWRAG was not sure whether to go along with this tacit admission of failure on the part of welfare rights advisers but in the end we thought it would be at the very least fun to post answers to an quiz when we can’t even remember what the questions were!

So, the answers are as follows:

Doris                      False

Claudette               False

Joe                         True (as long as the landlord agrees for him to stay.)

Davinder                False

Julie                        False

Ahmed                   False

Heather                 True

Viola                      False

If you’re as intrigued/lost/bewildered/bemused as we were then the questions can be found on the Presentations page of our NWMHWRAG section. For our own amusement we weren’t planning on putting the answers there too.

GMWRAG can’t help but think that if you’re going to give out a true or false answer it might be an idea to know why but maybe that’s just us being picky.

GMWRAG is also of the view that all of the above is a secret code and that it’s all really taken from the lyrics of Valerie by the Zutons.

“Did you have to go to jail?” is definitely the question on Julie and her ABH as is “did you get a good lawyer?”

“Put your house on up for sale” well that could be at least 3 of them!

“And the way you like to dress Doris”

“Won’t you come on over Viola Valerie?

We rest our case (and possibly our weary hallucinating head)!

The minutes of the last NWMHWRAG meeting plus associated documents are now available for download.

Long post. Loadsa good stuff.

The minutes of the last meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group are now available for download from here and in due course (give us a minute) from their pages within the GMWRAG site.

GMWRAG was quite upset to discover that since the NWMHWRAG pages migrated to this site in 2011 not one person has noticed that the section was erroneously titled the North West Mental Health Advisers Welfare Rights Group and not the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group. WHO was not paying attention? All of you apparently!

The People’s Front of Judea are most upset. Eats, Shoots and Leaves indeed! Other documents from the meeting can be downloaded from below but also from the now correctly titled section. Anything else you’re not telling us?

GMWRAG sometimes gets asked how one joins such an exclusive club or “old boys clique” as we recently were amused to hear it described. We’re thinking of adopting the passing of a UC quiz as the entry requirement.

Suffice to say we’ll be asking the (mostly female) Principal Officers of Welfare Rights services across GM to withdraw from GMWRAG anyone heard spouting such inanities especially given that attendance at GMWRAG meeting is fairly evenly divided between the sexes but if anything skewed well away from “old boys”.

In the meantime, we have been handed some late-breaking corrections to some of the above and we detail these below, which goes to prove that there is occasionally some value in being tardy!

“On the minutes – slight correction needed to this bit

Note differences to shared accommodation rules for over 35s, under
occupancy (non dependant couples get two rooms, overnight carers not dependant on SDP)

It should say something like this –

Note differences to shared accommodation rules –

  • single over 35s – get one bedroom rate even if chosen to live in shared accommodation
  • single under 35s – exemption from shared accommodation rate not dependent on SDP (just on the disability benefit – ie PIP DL / DLA mid/high care etc)

under occupancy –

  • non dependant couples get two rooms,
  • overnight carers – stricter than HB – person needing care must be getting disability benefit –  PIP DL / DLA mid/high care etc)

Second thing –

When we were discussing the protection on death rules & no bedroom tax for 3 months,  it was asked if – when a non dependant dies – whether the non-dep deduction would still apply.

The speaker said they thought not – but since had a look to see if there are any Regs/guidance to confirm that!

Reg 37

Reg 37 image

 

 

 

 

This is what the guidance says – Guidance image 2

 

 

 

Guidance image 1

 

 

 

It does not make sense to say that a non-dep who has died should still be making their contribution to the tenant (that is the theory of non-dep deductions isn’t it? ie that the non-dep should pay something towards the cost of the roof over their head – unless exempt). There will be no non-dep income.

Also if the exemption was due to non-dep’s PIP daily living etc – that would have stopped.

So we think this is a mistake/omission.”

Quick reminder re: the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Friday the 31st May at 9.30am for a 10am start.

Our speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training and Development Manager at Housing Systems. She will be talking about Housing Costs under Universal Credit.

This meeting will be in the Community Room at Central Manchester Fire Station.

Address: Cassidy Close off Thompson Street, Manchester, M4 5FP.

It’s a short walk from Piccadilly and there is a car park on Thompson Street.

The Community Room has its own entrance.  Please don’t enter the Fire station by any other entrance.

From Cassidy Close you take the first turning on the left. Walk towards the building and then left again.  You should now be at the back of the building.

Walk towards a set of double doors under an overhang.  The entrance to the Community Room is on the right just before you reach the double doors.

Please contact Helen Rogers if you can’t find the room on the day.

If you’ve been before then you’ll know the routine. If not then Contact GMWRAG or another NWMHWRAG member and we’ll sort you out

(Please note she won’t get any messages until 31st May.)

Agenda for NAWRA in Greenwich.

Following GMWRAGs post about the notes from the Salford meeting we now have further information about the Greenwich NAWRA meeting agenda.

Date: Friday the 7th of June 2019
Time: 10.00 – 16.00 (registration from 9.30)
Location: Queen Anne Building, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10 9NN (number 2 on the Greenwich University campus map)

The guest speaker will be Marsha De Cordova MP, Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions, Disabled People)  

There will be participatory workshops on how to claim universal credit, procedures to identify vulnerable clients, recent benefit changes for pensioners and the White Paper Commission on Social Security.

They will also hear about using judicial review to resolve welfare rights issues without going to court and there will be a presentation from Policy in Practice on how data analysis can be used to design better support.

The full agenda, along with details of travel, accommodation and social evening is now available.

NAWRA meetings are only open to members. There’s no need to book a place. Please let NAWRA know if you have any accessibility needs.

GMWRAG is especially pleased to Marsha De Cordova as the guest speaker as we have had the opportunity to hear her in person in the past 12 months and found her both refreshing and inspirational. She also has a background in benefits advice.

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.

Leigh Day and their Universal Credit Group Claim.

Leigh Day have now set up a web page plus FAQ & online referral form to make the whole process of signing up to their claim(s) a little more convenient. This can be found at: https://www.leighday.co.uk/Employment-discrimination/Current-cases/Universal-Credit-group-action. They have produced separate referral forms tailored for advisers and for individuals.

For their TP & AR linked claims they now have enough claimants to launch the action. They have identified potential lead claimants and will shortly be sending out client care letters to those who have been referred to them or made their own enquiries.

They are also hoping to generate some media interest in the coming weeks. They could do with much higher numbers to make this litigation really effective and that is why they have set up the website. There are 13,000 people out there who have lost out as a result of the wrongheaded implementation of natural migration.

A lot of service users might not have access to the internet so you can still refer people to them by just emailing a name and telephone number. Ryan Bradshaw (a long-standing friend of GMWRAG and GMSCG) and Niall Byrne are available by phone for any enquiries that you might have.

Feel free to circulate this amongst your contacts and colleagues.