Research participants needed – Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers: Welfare Conditionality and Transitions from Military to Civilian Life.

Dr. Lisa Scullion is recruiting for research subjects.

We have attached a flyer for any veterans who might be interested in taking part – and also attached a participant information sheet, which provides further info for anyone who may be willing to speak to us.

Funding has been received for a new research project relating to military veterans. The project is called Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers: Welfare Conditionality and Transitions from Military to Civilian Life. It is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and is being undertaken jointly by researchers at the University of Salford and the University of York. It is a two-year project (2017-2019) representing the first substantive research focusing specifically on how Armed Forces Service leavers experience the mainstream conditional social security benefits system.

Central to the work is a desire to establish an original evidence base to inform future policy and practice in relation to Service leavers and their families. This will be achieved through two rounds of interviews with Armed Forces Service leavers and their families, along with consultation with key national, regional and local stakeholders.

The research is also supported by an advisory group, including representatives from the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES), The Royal British Legion (RBL) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The following web link also provides details about the research: http://www.welfareconditionality.ac.uk/about-our-research/service-leavers/.

The North West is the key fieldwork site for the project, and they are keen to ensure they are able to capture the voices of people who are living in the Greater Manchester area. They are looking for people who are claiming the following benefits: Employment and Support Allowance (WRAG), Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC), as they would really like to hear people’s experiences of meeting the conditions attached to these benefits and whether or not they feel they have been appropriately supported by the Job Centre. The interviews are carried out by trained researchers, and take place wherever the participant is most comfortable – whether that is at a trusted organisation or another suitable location. A £20 shopping voucher is being offered as a thank you for people’s time.

This is the first research project to focus on this issue from the perspective of veterans, so we are keen to ensure that their voices are heard.

If you need any more information please contact

Dr Lisa Scullion

Reader in Social Policy

School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences, the University of Salford, Salford, M6 6UP.

t: +44 (0) 161 295 5078 | e: l.scullion@salford.ac.uk

Skype: lisa.c.scullion | www.salford.ac.uk | www.shusu.salford.ac.uk/ | www.welfareconditionality.ac.uk/

Radical Readings

Radical Readings in  progressGMWRAG has generally been good over the past year publicising theatrical and cinematic events related to rights based advice work. We know many of you took the opportunity to attend events like Powerlines and Wish List. Indeed GMWRAG followers who have been paying attention will be aware that Cardboard Citizen’s “Cathy” is imminent. Welfare reform can at least take credit for some powerful art if nothing else especially positive.

Unfortunately, GMWRAG managed to attend one such event and forgot to tell members about it. We’re going to tell you about it now and hope that you’ll anticipate and book a place on the next one in 2017. The event in question was the second ever “Radical Readings” and it took place at the University of Salford as a fundraiser for the Working Class Movement Library in Salford on Sunday the 27th of November 2016.

Christopher Eccleston, Sheila Hancock, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mike Joyce and Maxine Peake, who are all strong supporters of the Library, participated in an afternoon of prose, poetry and drama telling stories of radicalism and revolution.

Following on from 2014’s fantastically successful fundraiser for the Library  the audience were treated to old favourites, Ewan MacColl, Robert Roberts, Shelagh Delaney, Harold Brighouse and many more, as well as readings on such diverse subjects as Peterloo, the Spanish Civil War, Engels’s view of the Salford slums, and memories of Broad Street and Rat Week…

Maxine Peake, who is also a Trustee of the Library, said; ‘It is always a pleasure and an honour to take part in the Radical Reading and support the wonderful and invaluable resource that is the Working Class Movement Library. A building we should all be proud of’.

There is a comprehensive report of the event on the Salford Star web site. It’s hoped that the next event will include music as well as readings, prose and poetry.

If you would like to know more about the WCML please check out their web site or email them at trustees@wcml.org.uk. Indeed, if you’re really interested then this Saturday, the 3rd of December 2016, they are running a free event called Looking Back at the Grunwick Strike 1976-1978. Click on the lick for more information.

GMWRAG promises to try to stay more abreast of such things in 2017.  Why are we posting such stuff? How is it relevant to welfare rights advisers? Take you pick.

“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” – Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War.

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” – Pablo Picasso.

A new workshop: “Putting the security back into social security”.

This is one of eight workshops being held in different parts of the country, supported by the UK Social Policy Association.

The workshop is free but places are limited so registration is essential and can be done by following this EventBrite link. Turning up without a ticket is not an option. If you don’t have an EventBrite account it’s easy enough to create one and download the app to your phone or tablet. This will save you carrying paper round on the day and give you an electronic ticket. If that fries your brain then alternatively, print off the attachment to your EventBrite confirmation planet and pretend it didn’t contain one of those trite warning about thinking before you printed it off!

The workshop: takes place on Monday the 5th of  December 2016 between 1.30pm and 4.30pm at the University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford Quays M50 2HE.

Details: What practical, concrete steps can be taken to put the security back into social security – in the short to medium term (and if this includes additional costs, how can it be funded)? is the question this workshop will tackle. It is for anyone interested in answers to the workshop question: front-line advisers, anti-poverty campaigners, practitioners, people with expertise by experience, policy-makers and academics.
 
Background: The issue of social security is fundamental to social policy. The recasting of social security as problematic, and now toxic, ‘welfare’ – which fails to prevent hunger, never mind ensure security – is well documented. A recent report “Secure and Free: 5+ steps to make the desirable feasible.” found that on issues such as housing and early childhood education and care, there are many ideas available within civil society and much consensus. However, on the core issue of social security in relation to income, the same is not the case.
  
The aim of this workshop is to:

·         identify immediately available answers to the workshop question;
·         create a community of interest around this issue; and
·         plan next steps.

The workshop will be based on participatory approaches including small group work, consensus building activities and so on. It will be introduced by Michael Orton, author of Secure & Free, with co-hosts Lisa Scullion (University of Salford) and Neil McInroy (Centre for Local Economic Strategies).

This is an exciting opportunity to generate, and build consensus around, practical and positive ideas. As noted above, the workshop is free but places are limited and registration is essential by following this link.

If you can’t find the information on EventBrite (although you should be able to) please consider contacting michael.orton@warwick.ac.uk, directly. Michael is author of “Secure and Free: 5+ steps to make the desirable feasible.”

For more information about the Social Policy Association, its work and how to become a member, visit www.social-policy.org.uk.

All capital ‘W’ letters from the word “Workshop” have been removed this post because GMWRAG found it really annoying. This has involved great diligence from GMWRAG and we apologise if anyone thinks we should put them all back, but… NO! 🙂

Manchester GMWRAG meeting agenda now available plus important information if you are attending.

The agenda for the Manchester GMWRAG meeting is now available for download. The minutes of the last meeting remain available from our meetings pages.

As we have previously detailed, the meeting takes place at Manchester Town Hall on Friday the 17th of June 2016. We can now confirm that we have 3 speakers around the ongoing concerns on the impact of benefit sanctions.

The speakers are:

  • Catherine Connors, Skills and Work Board Business Manager – talking about “DWP Benefit Conditionality and Sanctions In Salford – One Year On”.
  • Dr. Lisa Scullion, Research Fellow at Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit at the University of Salford – talking about www.welfareconditionality.ac.uk.
  • Kester Dean, Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre – talking about legal challenges to benefit sanctions and conditionality.

You can find more about the speakers via our previous post.

The meeting will open at 9:30am for a 10:00am start. Please note that, despite our having three speakers, the meeting is a half day and it is intended to close the meeting no later than 1:00pm.

IMPORTANT

As per previous posts about this meeting it remains the case that we find ourselves in the unusual position of needing to ask members for an indication as to who will be attending the meeting so passes can be issued in advance for visitors. We are checking out whether we can herd you into one meeting place and take you through security but, in the meantime, members should email Robin Serjeant at Manchester at r.serjeant@manchester.gov.uk to confirm your attendance.

If you do not confirm your attendance to Robin we cannot guarantee that you will be allowed in. There is currently additional security in place because of the Referendum.

The two of you who contacted us to say you could attend the Thursday meeting… well we hope you can make the Friday. The other one… don’t worry we’ll forward all your emails to Robin.

 

DWP Benefit Conditionality and Sanctions in Salford – One Year On.

In 2014 a Task Force comprised of Salfords Financial Inclusion Practitioners Group in Salford was invited by the Chair of the Skills and Work Board to produce a report into the impact of DWP conditionality and benefit sanctions in Salford. An interim report was produced in August 2014; endorsed by the Skills and Work Board and publicly launched in October 2014.

The conclusions of that report will surprise no-one. The threat and use of sanctions help no-one to move into work but do cause damage to the wellbeing of vulnerable claimants and can lead to hunger, debt and destitution. Furthermore, public and voluntary sector organisations were increasingly having to step in to support claimants in crisis due to sanctions but also benefit delays. This added to the strain on resources when faced with local government budget cuts.

It was recognised that the impacts of welfare reform were only just emerging so it was agreed an additional report would be produced after a period of at least 12 months had elapsed and particularly following the introduction of Universal Credit. That report can now be viewed here. Again, the conclusions should surprise no-one.

It was launched in Salford on Monday the 23rd of May 2016 at an event which included keynote speakers

JobcentrePlus were also in attendance.

We thought GMWRAG members would have an interest in all aspects of this subject.