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trafford-minutes-2011

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									Greater Manchester Welfare Rights Advisers Group

GMWRAG meeting held by Trafford Council on the 17th of June 2011.

Morning meeting

Attendees:
Jane Hobson          Trafford Council
Patrick Hill         HARP/Manchester Assertive Outreach
Kurt Kleinschmidt    Tameside MBC
Allan Pugh           Southway Housing Association
Emma O’Brien         The Gaddum Centre
Andrea Libman       Salford Carers Centre
Sandra Fisher       Rochdale Advice Services
Roger Thompson      Tameside MBC
Rob Jenkins         Stockport Welfare Rights
Julie Doyle         DIAL
Belinda Barlow      Tameside MBC

Apologies:
Mike Hughes; Philip Coleman; Jane Eberhart; Ruth Cheesbrough; Joanne Parry-
Slatter; Lorraine Pennington; Tracy Fallon-Topham; Jean Hart.

Matters Arising:
Disability Awareness Day on the 10th of July (Sunday) in Warrington. Only one person
volunteered - Steve Ogden – so Patrick did not complete the registration form.
However Sandra and Jane volunteered and Patrick said he’s go if someone gave him a
lift. Julie advised that the organisers will be flexible with the deadline (6th of May). It
was agreed that Patrick would see if we can register late. We will need the stand.

Patrick has not met with Any Burnham yet, but has got someone LHA for 2 rooms for
a single person who needs a carer.

NAWRA

Patrick and Rob both attended in Sheffield.

    Implicit Consent and Liaison

Patrick did not manage to table Jane’s comments about the loss of liaison in Central
Manchester since the closure of Chorlton BDC despite having his hand up for a long
time. However Roger Pugh appeared to be all for liaison with claimant representatives.
The group also discussed the concerns around implicit consent. It appears to be more
like a number of security questions. Clients are failing their own security questions
especially vulnerable ones.


    PIP workshop.
    This was dominated by protestations from the floor so nothing much else came out
   of it.

    Judicial Review workshop

   This was very useful and legal aid will continue despite the cuts.

    Right to Reside workshop

   Apparently there is a Bambaust chart that is very useful. The subject of iterim
   payments was highlighted as a means of getting benefit for those who would not
   normally be expected to. All the notes will be on the NAWRA website. The next
   meeting will be in Edinburgh in September.

   FUTURE OF GMWRAG

   A discussion took place which involved the following suggestions:
    lose the logo;
    the welfare rights part of the name should go (something like GM advisers
     Network was suggested);
    the membership should be widened to include organisations that have more than
     benefits advice in their role. Belinda mentioned that she attends a charity
     meeting and most attendees do provide some level of WR advice. We were
     lucky to have Andrea from the Carers Centre to give her views, some may be
     anxious about coming to the meetings as they may not feel that they are
     specialist enough. Membership could also include Work Programme providers.
    meetings should be more workshop based (like the last Salford meeting); focus
     on the proposed welfare reform consultations and use the experiences of the
     broader based group for evidence.
    Provide support for lone WRO’S who are not based in a team.

It was also suggested that we use strap lines under the title like “promoting health and
well-being; Promoting independence and supporting advisers” or “guiding people
through change”. A decision about name change etc will be confirmed at the next
meeting.
We also discussed the Public Health agenda which will become the remit of Local
Authorities and also the interest of GP’s in collaborative work as they seem to have
latched onto financial gains being good for health. Sandra mentioned the report on
commissioning advice services on the Leeds Council website that includes reference to
loads of research into the impact of advice on health that could be useful.

Patrick suggested that for the next meeting each organization should provide 5 points
to form a checklist of implications of the changes produced by the welfare changes
that could be sent to our local MP’s.

We agreed that we should look at expanding the email list so if anyone comes across
an organision that wants to be included to send to Kurt.

AFTERNOON MEETING

Attendees:

Belinda Barlow        Tameside MBC
Rob Jenkins           Stockport WR
Allan Pugh            Southway Housing Trust
Emma O’Brien          The Gaddum Centre
Andrea Libman         Salford Carers Centre
Kurt Kleinschmidt     Tameside MBC
Terry Patterson       Manchester Advice
Patrick Hill          HARP’Manchester Assertice Outreach
Sunil Bhabuta         Trafford Council
Roger Thompson        Tameside MBC
Julie Doyle           DIAL
Jane Hobson           Trafford Council

NEW WCA Descriptors and supporting claimants through the process

The group discussed the new descriptors introduced from the 28th of March.

    The discussion also highlighted the difficulties involved in accessing
     information regarding claims once a negative decision had been made and the
     claimant wishes to appeal. A recent case in Trafford involving a “migrated” IS
     to ESA appeal highlighted the fact that the appeals for these cases at least in the
     Manchester Central district are being processed in Burnley. But not everybody
     in the local BDC’s are aware of it and there are no numbers easily available for
     advisers and we are still not sure what arrangements have been made for
     triggering payment while appealing. It’s chaos and has never been this bad so
      claimants themselves will find it impossible. It will be much easier to just sign
      on. Patrick suggested that the problems with implicit consent and problems
      contacting BDC’s be one of the bullet points to go to MP’s that were discussed
      in the morning meeting.

    Kurt pointed out that he has been informed that an appointment can be made at a
     Job Centre to hand in a sick note and this will be faxed to the BDC.

    Several ways to support clients through the process were suggested like giving
     talks to groups of people about filling in the claim form and the process.

    Building up relationships with GPs who will be the first port of call for most of
     their patients found fit after many years.

    Making complaints to ATOS whenever there is a dodgy report of conduct on the
     part of HCP’s.

    This issue will be revisited regularly by the group.

AOB

Terry briefly went over some documents regarding the consultation on the future of
Citizens Advice involving regional hubs and out reach offices. Very interesting.

NEXT MEETING

Scheduled for Manchester in October, Terry confirmed that it’s still on.

								
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