Feb 2011 Information _ Advice Feedback

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					                           Stoke on Trent
                             Fifty+ Forum




Information and Advice for
     People Aged 50+
   Feedback from Members of the
Stoke on Trent Fifty+ Forum, 18 Feb 2011
Stoke on Trent Fifty+ Forum

18 February 2011

Fenton Community Centre


Group discussion session with 103 members of the Stoke on Trent Fifty+ Forum: guest
speaker, Neil Holloway, Senior Information & Advice Officer, Age UK North Staffs.




Discussion question: how do we make people aware of what
their entitlement is?


Advertising Generally
   Feedback

      Get information out to as many people as possible – but enable people to
       make contact in a way that doesn’t ‘advertise their business’.

      Advertise to the public so people can share information.

      Make the information easily accessible.

      More publicity generally.



Advertising via Community Services
   Feedback

      Advertise via GP’s.

      Link advice – GP’s should direct people to advisory agencies.

      GP’s should let people know what they are entitled to.

      At hospitals & doctor’s waiting rooms – safe places.

      GP surgeries etc for people who are ill and have to claim more money due
       to a change of circumstance.

      Have leaflets at libraries, GP’s.
     Leave flyers at libraries, on community centre notice boards, GP’s and at
      health centres.

     More advertising via day centres.

     Advertise at bus stops and on the bus.

     Share information through trained home-visitors.

     Target GP’s and health centres.



Advertising via Local/National Media
  Feedback

     There should be alternatives to accessing the internet for information.

     More advertising via the media – radio, paper, TV etc.

     Advertise through the media – make it more obvious.

     Advertise through various media.

     More media information.

     Advertise via Radio Stoke and Signal Radio.

     Advertise in free newspapers.

     Use mail slots like ‘Our City’.

     Have awareness campaigns locally.

     National TV campaigns, letter from DWP – increase correspondence about
      pensions.

     Publicise through the TV.



Department for Work and Pensions
  Feedback

     On retirement – pack about entitlement from DWP - good practice for larger
      employers.

     There should be a leaflet in your annual pension statement about where to
      access information.
     Have a texting service available to contact DWP and they can call back.



Engaging with the Community/Word-of-Mouth
  Feedback

     Word of mouth – tell people.

     Talk to people – word-of-mouth.

     Share information through word-of-mouth.

     Need more information word-of-mouth – pass it on.

     Share the information via word-of-mouth.

     Engage with community groups for information sharing.

     Visit older people’s community clubs.

     Visit resident associations.

     Visit community groups and faith groups.

     Organisations should visit groups to let them know what’s available.

     Face-to-face advice is better – but services are too busy – will this get worse
      with the cuts?

     More face-to-face communication.

     Share information at forums and community meetings.

     Give out information via family members.

     Advertise through trusted networks such as neighbours.



Mail-Shots
  Feedback

     Leaflets posted through letterboxes.

     Leaflets should be posted through people’s doors.

     Too much junk mail – you don’t see or keep the important stuff.
One-Stop-Shop Information Points
  Feedback

     Have benefits folders at various access points informing people of their
      entitlement/available benefits.

     One-stop-shop for information.

     There is no direct route for information – make it direct!

     Have accessible centres for people to visit – information and help via a
      variety of agencies.

     Have easy access to information in community centres such as holding
      ‘road-shows’.

     Have mobile benefits office – one-to-one.

     Make people more aware of the local offices you can call in at.

     Face-to-face communication is best – not speaking on the phone.

     Don’t listen to the ‘experts’ in the pub – consult information and advice
      organisations.

     More people should be aware of Age UK – it is very good.

     Through CAB & Age UK.

     At the CAB and Age UK Hanley.



Telephone Services
  Feedback

     Remove the automated telephone service, telephone options are difficult
      for those with hearing difficulties.

     Speak slowly and clearly to people on the telephone.

     Have local call centres please.
Translating Information
  Feedback

     Offer information through different languages/translators.

     Give information to the family who can translate letters etc.

     Translate information into Punjabi and advertise in Punjabi & Gujarati
      newspapers.

     The information is presented in written and verbal language – present the
      information in other mediums such as via a video which is translated into
      different languages.



User-Friendly Information, Leaflets and Forms
  Feedback

     Make it simpler (v. difficult at present).

     Produce correct, easy to read information booklets.

     Have simplified forms – no jargon, in plain language and have large print.

     Reduce forms and make them simpler.

     Simplify the forms! Make it less daunting.

     There is too much bureaucracy – remove it.

     Forms must be simplified.
Discussion question: what barriers prevent older people
claiming benefits and how may these barriers be overcome?


General Statements
  Feedback

     People who still have family living at home are precluded from applying for
      benefits.
     Penalised from claiming benefits because you have make provisions in
      younger days.
     Government cut-backs/change of government.



Accessing Advice
  Feedback

     People in this group did not know about Age UK.

     Do not know where who/where to go.

     People don’t know who to ask for help.

     You have to find out yourself - you are not told.

     People who are directed to web-sites may not have the access.

     Not knowing where/how to get the information.

     Can’t get to CAB



Confidence
  Feedback

     Lack of confidence to ask.

     People are afraid to start the ball rolling.

     Lack of confidence to challenge decisions.

     Don’t always take no for an answer.

     Living on your own/isolated and lack of confidence.
Carer
  Feedback

     Being a carer is a barrier.



Dignity
  Feedback

     Pride.

     Pride.

     Pride.

     Embarrassing to ask.

     Respect.

     Respect.

     People are embarrassed of their need – pride.

     People feel there is a stigma attached to claiming.

     Queuing is not dignifying.

     I had to wait two hours to be seen.

     You think it doesn’t apply to you.

     You are made to feel like a criminal if you have made a mistake.

     People don’t want to accept money.

     People can feel insulted/degraded by the questions when completing
      forms.

     People have learned to cope without help and be independent.



Form Filling
  Feedback

     Filling in forms is an issue.
     It is hard to understand the forms.

     Filling in forms are a barrier.



Language Barriers
  Feedback

     Languages – different languages needed.



Privacy/Trust
  Feedback

     Worries that the government etc will know what money you have coming in.

     People feel there is intrusion and a feeling of invasion of privacy.

     Can you trust people to come into your home? There is no consistency who
      can visit you with advice.



Providing Appropriate Information and Advice
  Feedback

     Lack of information!!

     Lack of information.

     People don’t know if they qualify.

     Lack of knowledge.

     Ignorance of the system.

     Benefit agencies restrict information to the issue the asking you asking about.

     People get confused – the wrong information is given from different people.

     Didn’t think you could get any benefits because you live on your own.

     Ignorance of what benefits you are entitled to.

     Ignorance – this would be overcome by the right people talking to you
     No explanation that benefits are not a charity, but entitlement is due
      because of their long life contribution.

     Lack of understanding regarding accumulated savings.

     No one tells you, so you feel that you are not entitled.

     ‘Don’t know what you don’t know’.

     People do not think they have to be paid to look after relations.

     Don’t know about the acceptable level of savings.

     Difficulties with the potential of paying for care.

     People are not sure at what age they can claim.

     Confusion over increase in age you can claim.



Telephone Services
  Feedback

     Difficulty when telephoning benefits agency-pressing buttons, unhelpful
      staff.

     Overseas call centres are a barrier.



User-friendly and Clear Information
  Feedback

     DWP information isn’t clear enough – it is too confusing and hard to
      understand.

     Information is too complex to understand at present.

     Use plain English – literature is full of jargon.

     Difficulty in accessing information – correct information should be provided
      in simple terms.

     Have consistency – not inaccurate, incomplete information.



Questions from Forum Members:
   Bequests – do they make a difference to pension credit?
   Clarify – carers allowance not applicable to those on a pension – why? Isn’t
    it classed as an overlapping benefit?
   If there is no limit on capital why are more people getting it?
   Why are people who have never worked on more benefits in retirement as
    to those people who have?
   A few years ago a groups of us tried to get a council tax reduction but were
    unsuccessful. (We live by a school and suffer from traffic problems). Where
    could get advice?
   Why have people with private pensions missed out in the past on loft
    insulations etc?
Stoke on Trent Fifty+ Forum
83 – 85 Trinity Street
Hanley
Stoke on Trent
ST1 5NA

T: 01782 200736
F: 01782 209099
E: admin@engagestokeontrent.org.uk
www.engagestokeontrent.org.uk

				
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