GMWRAG - SALFORD by sofiaie



Minutes of Meeting – Friday 20th September 2002

Morning Session

Present:    Jane Eberhart (Salford WR’s)
            Mike Hughes – Minutes (Salford WR’s)
            John Ball – (Family HA)
            Kurt Kleinschmidt (Tameside MB WRS)
            Jane Hobson (Trafford MBC)
            Joanne Briggs (Sale CAB)
            Terry Patterson (Manchester Advice)
            Diane Leicester (High Peak CAB)
            Sue Baker (Stockport WRS)
            Rob Jenkins (Stockport WRS)
            Sandra Fisher (Rochdale Advice)
            Lyn Kirwan (Manchester - Harpurhey CAB)
            Carol Laidlaw (Warrington CAB)

Apologies     Patrick Hill (Bolton WRS)

Take Up

1.    Family HA - Hoping to provide training to Housing Officers regarding Tax
      Credits of some elderly take-up.
2.    Tameside – Mental Health Debt Worker doing outreach, casework and
      awareness/self-help materials.
3.    Trafford – ICA ‘take-up’ via Finance plus work with Carers Centre/CAB
      regarding Carers Premium.
4.    Salford – WRAT’s, Benefit Checkers, Linkworkers and Charging Assessment,
      CLS audit, move and training.
5.    Trafford CAB (Sale Take-Up) – Preparing for over 60’s work.
6.    Manchester – Press release regarding volunteering and benefits. Advert in
      MEN regarding mortgage ombudsman, issues regarding standard mortgage
            October – Hotline for older people – MIG, Carers Bins
            November? – War Pensions – take-up difficult as Manchester does not
             treat WP favourably for HB.
7.    High Peak CAB – AA/MIG campaign – already ahead of targets.
            Planning a Family Project – estate to be agreed.
8.    Stockport – About to do ‘free school meals campaign’. Poster regarding ICA
      and warning regarding over 65’s leaflet audit – what is the good.
            Will have visited 200 people receiving home care by 1st October target.
            HB/CTB – anti-poverty take-up by HB/CTB – visiting regarding MIG.
9.     Rochdale – MIG take-up not much further on.
             Meeting with Pension Service.
10. Manchester CAB – Training information circulated.
             CLS management audit.
             Filling posts (management) and guidance tutor.
11. ‘Kidz Up North’ – 6.11.02 at Reebok Stadium, Bolton – GMWRAG had stall
and talk last year – saw 150 people. Agreed to attend and pay charge.
             (Weds) Need volunteers. Terry is co-ordinating. Mike to email Terry
              regarding Dominic attending.
12. CSV proposal to GMRAG to run a radio take-up campaign on benefits
       promotion. (see document). Needs to be put to PWRO’s to seek funds. Look at
       Feb/March? (Will then pick up tax credits questions too).
13. A good practice guide to Take-UP – DWP, LGA and various agencies.
             20 copies to every LA in the country.
             Need to feed this into WRAL’s report. 0845 606 5065.
             HB officers have new Perf. Asst.
             Told to show how they do ‘take-up’.
             GMRAG web site.


1.    Family HA – Tax Credits.
2.    Tameside – Information regarding Job Match – give benefit advices – will be
      training with them. (LA employees – also called Work Link).
3.    Trafford –
4.    Manchester – Recruiting team of Link Workers regarding welfare to work.
5.    Manchester – Training diary out now. Includes course for solicitors.
6.    GMRAG – Tax Credits – over subscribed – looking for another date.
NB: Bolton CAB sent 4 people for 2 places. Put on records that this was an
unsatisfactory situation.
            Felt course could be 2 days. Maybe a workshop on calculations.
            Pensioner Credit forum – Few places left in October – 24 October.
7.    Stockport – Sue doing training for Work Link (Mental Health and Learning
      Disability – 2 separate groups) regarding ICA and >65’s.
            Hoping to get Tax Credit training (concerns regarding level of
8.    Rochdale – Get people on GMRAG Tax Credit training.
            Sandra training with Connexions – Into to benefits.
            Doing autumn training programme.
9.    Manchester CAB – Already done.
10. Warrington CAB – Training budget run out – not doing external.
11. Rochdale - Query regarding MH and Debt seminar – Liz Simpson – running
12. Kurt will check if it could run again.
Plans For Future Courses

1.    Could we get WR MH group information onto website?
2.    GMRAG training day re: website – need computer suite – Terry to ask Bolton.
3.    Line to TUG minutes – get minutes to Terry/Kurt.
4.    Can Liz Simpson do MH awareness training for GMRAG.
5.    Maybe look at something service user led – Kurt to address with Liz.
6.    Terry talked about debate re: payment to service users.
7.    Jane – trying Merseyside Training day – DMA day. Maybe Robert Wilson –
8.    Sue – Need for certificate re: training GMRAG. Agreed Sue to draft.
9.    Terry – GMRAG mailing list sent out – Who got it?

Social Policy

1.    Terry – DAIS – Wigan and Southport – charged for claim support by distance
      raised at meeting before last.
           Sue wrote re: charges.
           Paddy was going to meeting. Best Value meeting for Wigan WR’s.
           TP spoke to Tim at CLS who are scrutinising them but they are up-front
             re: changes.
           Consultation re: SSAC. Terry has responded and commented on other
             consultants in process and their weaknesses.
           Also attached ‘permitted work’ consultation.
           Crisis Loans – can now apply over phone – refusal – end of story in
             writing if likely to be successful.
           Needs to publicise.
2.    Stockport re: SEMA – looking to generate complaints.
           Warrington – had meeting with SEMA re: complaints.
           SEMA complaints form – get it.
3.    Warrington CAB – DBU destroying documents. Re: Data Protection.
           Drawing up new guidelines – WR can have input.
           Mentioned by Nick Warren at Liverpool TUG.
           Write to Nick Warren.
4.    Stockport re: IB changes not breaking down IS points. DM asks for full written
5.    PO’s have discussed skills shortage but from salary bar perspective.
           Send back to PO’s to look at not just salary levels.
           All to take back.

Minutes of Meeting – Friday 20th September 2002

Afternoon Session

Present:    Trish Martin (Salford WR’s)
            Alis McCartney (Mcr Care & Repair)
            Rovan W (Trafford CAB)
            Candy Stokes (Salford WR’s)
            Debbie Witton (Salford WR’s)
            Kurt Kleinschmidt (Tameside MB WR’s)
            Jane Eberhart (Salford WR’s)
            Don Williams (Bury SSD)
            Joanne Briggs (Benefit Campaign – Sale CAB)
            Rob Jenkins (Stockport WR’s)
            Jane Hobson (Trafford MBC)
            Terry Patterson (Manchester Advice)
            Mike Hughes – Minutes (Salford WR’s)

Apologies: Paddy Hill (Bolton WR’s)
            Sandra Fisher (Rochdale Advice)
            Diane Lester (High Peak CAB)

The agenda for the afternoon meeting was changed as there was now to be no speaker
from the Inland Revenue as previously notified.
Mr And Hopkins of the Customer Relations Department was to give a talk regarding
the New Tax credits.
He did, however send his apologies.

1.    Introductions from all people in attendances.
2.    Mike Hughes from Salford Welfare Rights gave a presentation on ‘Fairer
                   a.    What is the practice regarding fairer charging?
                   b.    What are the implications for Welfare Rights Services

1.    The first key date is 1 October 2002 – This is for all service users receiving 10
      or more hours of home care. (In Salford this is 800+ clients)
2.    The second key date is 1 April 2003 for all other service users.

1.    Mike advised that the principal is that even though LA’s have the power to
      charge for home care, they do not have to.
2.    If they charge, they have to use a means test.
3.       An LA does not have to charge against disability benefits, but if they do they
         have to take in to account disability expenditure.
4.       If an LA charges they have to have clients with an income at Income Support
         level and 25%.

What is happening countrywide?

        The picture is very varied.
        Some LA’s will not charge and never will.
        LA’s who already have a Policy will mostly carry on as they have been doing.
        Some LA’s are looking at how they are going to implement fairer charging.
         Eg: Setting up charging sections with people who have welfare rights
         experience. Many LA’s has not as yet recruited staff.

         Salford – Have advertised positions but have not interviewed.
         Trafford – Have not even recruited staff as yet.
         Blackburn – Will not charge those on minimum charge until they have been
                      assessed. Social Services want control of this.
         Oldham – Not charging.
         Manchester – Have a team of 6 assessors and 3 take-up workers.
         Stockport – Providing benefit advice at arms length from Social Services.


      It is the biggest piece of take-up work ever undertaken.
      Salford are taking 75% of assessed income.
      It will take Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance into
      There will be an appeals procedure.
      The danger is it might affect peoples perception of the ‘Welfare Rights service’.
       A fundamental shift in how people view Welfare Rights and fracture the
       Welfare Rights Service as a whole, leading to a lack of independency.
      Will appeals be internal and who will advocate for the client?
      Will it end up with services being pulled from clients.

2.       Matters arising from last meeting. (None)
3.       Report back from morning meeting. (Minute attached).
4.       Any Other Business.
Information Exchange

Stockport Welfare Rights

    There is a general dissatisfaction with the quality of GP’s in the Medical
     Examination Service.
    We are encouraging clients to complain who have experienced problems and
     have complied a complaints sheet, which we are disturbing to clients.
    We are also pressing clients when completing IB50’s. If enough complaints are
     made it might make a difference.

Don Williams

    Bury wanted to know if everyone had cases of people on SDA (Mental Health)
     being called in fro re-assessment and having their percentage dropped and SDA
     being withdrawn, this they exacerbates the mental health difficulties.
    Sue Baker said that a major problem which follows on from this is that the
     Appeals Service have only one Psychiatrist on their panel and he is based in

Meeting closed.

Next Meeting:     Oldham, November 15th 2002.

Then:             Wigan, 17 January 2003.

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