Blog Archive

January 2013

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    Problems with Disability Testing

    Last year, Panorama went under cover and found that ATOS testing has been wrongly and unfairly assessing people as fit for work.The programme, aired earlier this week, showed that people are still having troubles with the welfare reforms intending to get people who are fit for work off benefits and back to work.They told the story of Ruth who suffers severe learning disabilities and epilepsy. She...

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    Planning Successful Events for the Social Sector

    It is possible to create a successful event for the Social Sector by keeping it simple and being creative. Choosing your target audience is very important, and as there is a wide range within the social sector it is important that your event topic relates well to the potential attendees.  If you decide to incorporate different aspects into your event e.g. an exhibition or sponsorship ...

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    Domestic Violence increased by Sporting Events

    The WRC is a global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.It has been launched ahead of the Six Nations Championships in order to draw attention to the issue of domestic abuse in Wales, and follows recent research by Durham University ‘End violence against women' which highlighted the connection between competitive events such as...

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    Report shows repeated problems in Mental Health Care

    The Care Quality Commission's 'Monitoring the Mental Health Act' report for 2011/12 raises several issues for mental health patients and professionals.The main findings of the report were:The report found that patients detained under the Mental Health Act on March 31st 2012 has risen by 5% from the previous year, and people subject to community treatment orders (CTOs) has risen 10% from...

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    Midlands charity named as most innovative housing providers

     The charity provides services in Birmingham and the surrounding areas including having core services in Derbyshire and Shropshire. Formerly the care and support department within Trident Housing Association, it was set up as a separate charity in 2009.Rajbir Shergill, Head of Tenancy Support at Trident Reach, said it was a major achievement for such a relatively young organisation to be...

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    Direct Payments are successful for the majority - but not all!

     The initial findings published before Christmas of the six pilots for direct monthly payments, showed rent collection rates are 92% on average across the projects.This is lower than the current sector average, but the welfare reform minister Lord David Freud has claimed it as a success as the majority of people are paying their rent in full and on time.He has told the Capita Group conference in...

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    Support for benefits to be on pre-paid cards

    The pre-paid cards are already taking off, with a quarter of all councils using them in some capacity, and those who use the cards are considering rolling them out on a wider basis.They have the advantage of being cheap to administer, and allowing people to use them in instances where cash is not accepted. They can also be set up so that money is put on every month, but that there's a weekly...

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    Welsh Govt give legal rights of support to Carers

    The Social Services Bill will widen the range of people and organisations delivering social services in order to give those in need of support greater choice and more control over the help they receive.Ministers say it will also give people a say over the care they receive and increased control over care budgets as social workers will have new powers to enter homes and speak to vulnerable...

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    What is the best way to change the welfare system?

    The British welfare state is undergoing a period of dramatic reform. While bringing down the overall cost of welfare is politically popular and enjoys a broad consensus among leading policy makers it carries inherent risks.There are major problems with the UK welfare state that demand solutions:In order to sustain and rebuild public support for a welfare settlement, the Government must find...

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    How Social Enterprise Can Reduce Gang Violence

     The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations questioned the Government's Big Society policy for ignoring charities as a key stakeholder in the implementation of public sector reforms.If charities are being left out of the reform debate or have their hands tied as to the level of resources available, there is great potential for social enterprises to deliver public services...

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    Where should local authorities be spending money on troubled families?

    See full reportThis report makes the case for all local agencies (local authorities, the police, health services and others) to examine what they spend on troubled families, how they spend it, and how effective that expenditure is in helping turn lives around and preventing the emergence of future troubled families. Public services cannot afford to spend their resources ineffectively when...

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    Govt says Social Workers could be taken out of Adoption Process

    Local authority social workers could be stripped of their duties recruiting and assessing prospective adopters, if government threats are carried out in England.Under the proposal, announced today by the Department for Education (DfE), councils would be removed from the adoption screening process entirely. Local authority social workers would only be involved in the later stages of...

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    Catholic Charity has to Stop Discrimination Against Same Sex Couples

    A report on the St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society by the OSCR says the charity fails the charity test and will lose its charitable status unless it complies with the Equality Act 2010, which outlaws discrimination against same-sex couples.The regulator found that the charity was prioritising applications from couples who had been married for at least two years. The inquiry report...

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    Tackling Alcohol Abuse will Lower Suicides

    The report found that while the rate of male suicide in Ireland overall is relatively low in relation to the European Union (EU), ‘the rate among young males is among the highest in the EU'.It also noted that ‘alcohol and substance misuse tend to be higher in young men and are associated with increased suicide risk'. Furthermore, impulsive behaviour associated with drinking was also seen as...

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    Plans to combine NHS and Health and Social Care with ����£60bn

    Andy Burnham is due to set out some of the proposals in a speech at the King's Fund today. They will be tested with the health service and local authorities over the next six months in a review led by shadow care and older people's minister Liz Kendall.Mr Burnham's proposals are expected to include:The shadow health secretary will also set out potential options for the future of funding of...

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    Hearing Loss linked to cognitive decline

    The researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that if hearing loss is treated, it could slow down the onset of cognitive decline which can lead to dementia.The study, following just under 2,000 people in their 70's for six years, showed that result of those with hearing loss had a 24% bigger decline in thinning abilities and declined 40% more quickly.One of the researchers, Dr Frank Lin, said...

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    New £6.5m Dementia Friendly Care Home

    Those staying at the home will have 24-hour dementia specific care and support,as well as nursing care, rehabilitation treatment and respite care.The site has a dementia friendly design, with the rooms split into five clusters to create the feeling of a close-knit community with two courtyard gardens.Lynne Colman, registered manager of the new facility, said:The ethos is based on respecting...

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    Will there be a new direction for older person care?

    Sir Nicholson told the Independent that we need a revolution for older person care, as the current system is not working.Sir David also said that preventing falls and managing long-term conditions was a priority, as was treating common conditions in the community, and said money would be spent to keep patients with dementia out of hospitals:If you think about the average general hospital now,...

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    Another Disability Factory has it's Funding Removed

    Workers have protested and pleaded with the Conservative-led council, to reconsider, but they have said the decision was "regrettable" due to lack of earnings for the factory.The company's turnover has halved over the past five years, partly due to cheaper overseas competition and trade unions have said the council could have done more to promote Dorset Enterprises. Dave Higgins, of Unison's...

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    Telehealth will need more support from GPs to take off

    Long-term illnesses are one of the biggest costs to the NHS, and the 30% of patients with long-term illnesses account for around 70% of the NHS spending.Telehealth has been designed as a new way for these patients to monitor their own health at home, using new technology, and could save the NHS a lot of money. It is alike to telecare, which appears to be taking off in a big way across the...

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    Government funding of £3.6m to tackle rough sleeping

    Almost £16m has been invested so far through the Homelessness Transition Fund to help 85 charities across the country.Midland Heart, a charity in the West Midlands, said their grant of £170,940 would help rough sleepers break out of homelessness.Chris Munday, from Midland Heart, said:This grant will fund a really important project which enables us to help entrenched rough sleepers to break out...

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    Have Disabled People been forgotten amid Social Care Reforms?

    The groups, including Mencap, Scope, the National Autistic Society, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Sense, warned the situation could deteriorate under the forthcoming reform of the system.The report, 'The Other Care Crisis', is published by Scope, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Sense and Leonard Cheshire Disability, and highlights that about 500,000 working age adults get social care...

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    200,000 children will be in poverty due to Govt's benefit changes

    Ministers have said they no longer regard the relative child poverty statistics as a useful or valid measure as it is highlighten that an extra 200,000 children will be in poverty figure due to the government's decision to lift most in-work and out-of-work benefits by only 1% over the next three years instead of increasing them in line with inflation.Ministers had been reluctant to state what...

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    ATOS Healthcare Debated in Parliament

    Opening the debate, Meacher said 1,300 people had died after being placed in the "work-related activity group", for those currently too ill to be in a job but expected to take steps towards an eventual return to employment:Atos is an IT firm and uses a so-called logic integrated medical assessment, often described as rigid and tick-box because computer-based systems make it very difficult for...

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    Life-changing Funding Gives Social Media Training to Older People

    The launch of a new service to support people is intended to help people stay in their homes for longer while remaining in touch with friends and the wider community.The “Connected, Confident and Included Inverclyde” project will help older people improve their ICT skills, providing training to keep them in contact through emails and other social media.There will also be a service to help...

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    Care Worker pay cuts against employee rights

    Jane Miller, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of Care Plus said they now had no option but to examine spending on staff costs, which make up nearly 80% of the organisation's outgoings.Care Plus provides community nursing, specialist nursing for conditions as diabetes, drug and alcohol misuse, home care, learning disability and end of life services, and want to implement...

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    Lib Dem MPs want to change Welfare Bill

    Liberal Democrat MPs, including former leader Charles Kennedy, Alan Reid, John Leech, Dan Rogerson and Andrew George, have submitted the amendments. They call for benefits to be uprated in line with wage inflation, or for benefits to be uprated by 1 per cent or by wage inflation, whichever is higher.An alternative amendment from the MPs calls for the 1 per cent rule to be removed from the bill...

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    Funding to LA's for public health higher than expected

    By putting local authorities in charge of public health, we are giving them the power, freedom and the funding to tackle the issues that blight their local areas and help improve the lives of their local communities.Improving the health of local people will be at the heart of everything they do - from social care to transport, housing, planning and environment.The chief executive designate of...

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    DoH Guidance on Visual Impairments as a Disability

     The documents published on Department's website include a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form, which formally certifies someone as visually impaired, explanatory notes about the CVI form for consultant ophthalmologists and hospital eye clinic staff to help them manage the completion of the form, and a referral letter which can be used to request social needs assessment from the local...

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    Govt denies further council tax benefit cuts

    According to the Local Government Chronicle, last week ministers from the Department of Communities and Local Government announced that the budget for Council Tax Benefit will be reduced by a further 8.5% in 2014-15, but the department has described this as 'totally untrue' and 'without foundation'.Currently 5.9 million people receive council tax benefit, but as of April 2013 this will no longer...

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    Two Big Issue Vendors Murdered in Birmingham

    Wayne Busst, 32, and Ian Gladwish, 31, both from the city, had sold the Big Issue in Birmingham for a long time, and were said to be popular with the charity.Big Issue founder and editor-in-chief John Bird has paid tribute to the two vendors and said everyone at the magazine was devastated. He said:Myself and everyone at The Big Issue has been deeply saddened to hear the tragic news that two of...

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    Care Home Inspections don't reflect Patient Assessments

    The report by MP's found that the neglect cases have highlighted an area of inaccuracy, and residents are unable to trust the results of official inspections, and this area of misrepresentation is occurring because CQC is failing to to communicate the results of the inspections to the residents and their families, therefore no comparison is made.The CQC, which brought together three previous...

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    £8m funding in Norfolk will go to helping vulnerable older people

    Although it still has to go through council committees and panels, the controlling cabinet for Norfolk County Council have already given their 'strong view' of where the money should be used and have specified helping vulnerable people, especially older people, and investing to help communities.The main areas they have put across are:The exact detail of how the money will be spent and how much...

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    Issues for BME Disabled People

     For older people and recent migrants especially, limited spoken English is a considerable barrier to full service access. Many other people reported difficulties understanding technical, medical or bureaucratic languages.Many respondents reported experiencing stigma, and felt that it remains particularly acute within some ethnic minority communities.Social isolation was widespread among our...

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    Domestic Violence Campaign to help Scottish Muslims

    The charity Amina, who run a helpline for Muslim women in Scotland, is launching the campaign, and said it was aware of many cases where people used their religion in an attempt to justify violence.Part of the campaign will be going out and speaking to men and women to voice the issue and stop it being hidden away.Smina Akhtar, from Amina, saidWe have women coming in, phoning our helpline, time...

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    Long-term Unemployed less likely to get jobs in Work Programme

    York University professor Roy Sainsbury has said that the programme is giving priority to "job-ready" claimants ahead of those who have been unemployed for long periods.In the first official evaluation of the work programme before Christmas, the report by York university's social policy research unit, says private firms, which are paid for getting an unemployed person into a long-term job, are...

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    Probation Services in the hands of Payment by Results

    Under present rules, inmates serving under 12 months only undertake rehab on a voluntary basis and are otherwise released into the community following their sentence.The new guidelines, outlined by the Ministry of Justice, will require a released prisoner to be met by mentors at the prison gates, who will be provided by private companies in a payment by results scheme but opponents are calling it...

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    Bill to Cap Benefits Below Inflation is Passed

    Conservatives defend this cap and say it is fair because the average wage is not rising in line with inflation, and figures from 2007 to now show that benefits have risen above wages; Iain Duncan Smith said that the increases have cost £6.3bn since the start of the recession.However, Labour have strongly opposed it and charities working with families who don't have as much money are dismayed at...

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    Cameron Announces Dementia Champions

    Under measures announced by Mr Cameron to improve the standards of care in hospitals, all nurses will have to do hourly rounds of their patients.He is also saying that as one in four patients suffer with dementia, every worker in the Health Service will have to receive specialist training in dealing with the illness.The government will ensure that every NHS ward will have a ‘dementia champion'...

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    Iain Duncan Smith defends welfare reforms

    Although the government will win Tuesday's vote, Labour says it will oppose the three-year squeeze. The Liberal Democrat former children's minister, Sarah Teather, said she would vote against the coalition and government sources were said to be anticipating a rebellion by about five Lib Dem MPs.Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Duncan Smith said:We don't take this decision lightly. Nick...

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    Complaints against privatising Probation Services

    Staff travelling nearly 200 miles to clean windows and 110 miles to change light bulbs are among complaints made against a privatised probation services contract, it has emerged.For the fourth year running, Napo has produced a dossier of complaints against contractors Mitie and Interserve, including examples of contractors travelling more than 100 miles from Norwich to Leicester to unblock...

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    Mid-term Review on Big Society and Social Action

    This Government believes that the good society is one that is built from the bottom up, not the top down, and that the process of helping to build it - of putting something back in to society as well as taking something out - matters as much as the practical result. It is not the grand plans of politicians and bureaucrats that will ultimately deliver social progress and build social capital, but...

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    Mid-term Review on NHS and Social Care

    The NHS is one of our great national institutions. We believe that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery on the basis of need, not ability to pay. The NHS we inherited was overly centralised, insufficiently responsive to patients and ill-equipped to handle both the demands of an ageing population and the rising costs of treatment. That is why, as well as protecting the health budget,...

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    Survey shows support for benefit cuts is from those unaware

    The survey also showed that negative attitudes towards those on welfare benefits are building up, and an unrealistic stereotype was apparent against those who the Government publicly announce cuts towards when they mention benefits. The poll suggests that this lack of awareness of the facts is breeding hositility towards benefits.The average amount of benefits that those surveyed believed was...

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    Coalition to Set Care Cap at £75,000

    In their mid-term review at 2.30pm today, prime minister David Cameron and deputy Nick Clegg will announce a series of policy reforms, which should include supporting individuals with social care costs.Chancellor George Osborne has dismissed the proposal for the lower cap, as this is expected to increase the cost to the government up to £1.7bn per year. Instead this higher cap means it will cost...

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    NHS Confed Wants to Invest More in Care

    He said:Untreated mental illness costs the NHS over £10billion in physical healthcare costs every year. And delayed transfers in care - often a result of the right support not being in place - currently cost the NHS £545,000 per day (approximately £200 million per year).Increasing money in these areas will help keep people out of hospital and leading independent lives, accessing care in their...

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    Scotland Shake Up Homelessness

    This change, introduced for the start of 2013, is hoping to give an additional 3,000 homeless people a roof over their heads each year.It meets Scotland's 2012 homelessness commitment, set 10 years ago by the Labour/Lib Dem government, and the decision was passed unanimously last month under the Homelessness (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012.The deputy first minister also...

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    Mental Health Treatment Requirement can address Offending

    This will only happen if the requirement is used by sentencers, with the right support from health services, say Centre for Mental Health and the Criminal Justice Alliance.While 39% of offenders in the probation caseload have a mental health condition, there has been a surprisingly low uptake of the MHTR to date. According to a new report released by the two organisations today, The Mental Health...

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    Cuts to benefits for wealthier claimants

     HM Revenue & Customs has written to one in 10 families with dependent children warning them that they will lose some or all of their child benefit from January 7.Families where one parent earns more than £50,000 will lose some of the benefit while those on more than £60,000 will see the payments withdrawn altogether.Child benefit is worth £20.30 a week for the first child and...

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    Charities launch alcohol warnings

     But the British Liver Trust said people should follow its recommendations throughout the year, including taking 2-3 days off alcohol every week as liver disease is now the fifth biggest cause of death in the UK.It has launched its second Love Your Liver awareness campaign, to be led by a nationwide roadshow of "pop-up" liver health clinics.The trust is also urging the government to make early...

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    LA's will be responsible for obese people's benefits

    Proposals published by Westminster council and the Local Government Information Unit say that technologies such as smart cards will be used to monitor if an unhealthy person has taken the prescribed activities such as going to the gym, swimming, walking or yoga.If they are found not to be attending, they may have their welfare benefit payments reduced to incentivise staying healthy.The report by...

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    Critics Challenge Conservative Claims of Benefits Rising Too Much

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said that the increases have cost £6.3bn since the start of the recession, and he says these figures prove that raising benefits with inflation is unfair on tax payers.Critics say this cut to the budget will hit working families who are struggling on low wages the hardest, and increase homelessness and hunger.Mr Duncan Smith said:Working people...

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    No Second Night Out Extends to York as homelessness rises

    The programme has been developed with organisations including the Salvation Army, the Peasholme Charity, York Council and charity the Richmond Fellowship, and is expected to have a preventative effect following an increase in rough sleepers in York.Despite being relatively low, the numbers of rough sleepers in York has risen from an average of 2 rough sleepers per night to 8, in the last twelve...

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    Exempt Accommodation Criteria and Risks

    Exempt Accommodation: What are the qualifying criteria & what are the risks for agency managed services?Part of qualifying as an Exempt Accommodation scheme involves the service being provided to be by or on behalf of the Landlord.So what is the status of a service being provided to Housing Association tenants by a 3rd party agency commissioned by, say, the local authority? Is that "by or...

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    Donating needs to modernise for younger donators

    A report, Insights Into 25 Years of Payroll Giving, published by CAF on Monday, shows that only 3 per cent of employees give to charity through the scheme. In 2011/12, £118m was given to good causes by 735,000 people through the payroll.But only 1.9 per cent of employees under 30 give through the scheme, compared with 4.5 per cent of those aged between 30 and 49, the report found.CAF has urged...

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