Blog Archive

February 2013

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    Remploy Workers want to buy Factory as Social Enterprise

    The factories that make components and assemble car parts in Birmingham, Coventry and Derby, will lose all funding from the government by September.They were left open when thirty four Remploy factories were closed last year, as they were still making enough money, but now all factories will lose government funding by September and some are to be sold off to private buyers.Remploy workers are...

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    Social Workers Undertrained in effects of Substance Misuse

    The charity Adfam have released a report showing widespread fears that social workers are not given adequate training or effective managerial supervision on substance misuse, in particular with its impact on children and parenting. The report highlights that the Munro review of child protection is placing greater emphasis on the professional judgement of front line staff, they will require more...

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    Ageing Population will impact social services

    Next month a Lords committee will reveal the results of its investigation into the growth of the section of society above retirement age. Its chair, Lord Filkin, warned that the NHS, social care, public spending and the rest of society face dramatic change as a result. The committee has been told:• Half of those born after 2007 can expect to live to over 100.• Between 2010 and 2030 the number...

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    DWP quash rumours that Bedroom Tax will change

    The bedroom tax is going to be introduced as a way to remove an average of £14 from those who receive housing benefits, but have a spare room in their house.There have been many complaints that there are few exemptions to this tax, and one group of people that will suffer is disabled people; charities have expressed concern that disabled people who are unable to share a bedroom with their...

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    Memory Lane project launched by Bradford Disability Advice

     The disability service have set up a place where people who have been diagnosed with a memory problem can meet.It is intended to create a social atmosphere where those who have been diagnosed in the last few years can receive support and advice in a friendly setting.Based at just outside Bradford, the project is for people who have been diagnosed in the past two years, to see how other people...

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    Not enough Support for Online Universal Credit System

    Charities and housing associations have said some people have no access to computers, and even if they are able to get access, many do not know how to use the internet.Universal Credit will require all claimants to use the internet, as the whole system is online and to complete the process in person is only for exceptional circumstances.Discussions on the IT readiness of Universal Credit have...

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    Work Programme branded as Worse than Nothing

    A report by the Public Accounts Committee has shown that in the last 14 months, only 3.6% of those taking part have been able to stay in long term unemployment. Following the announcement of the results, chair, Margaret Hodge MP, has said that the effectiveness of the work programme so far had been "extremely poor".Of 9,500 people moved off disability benefits and on to the flagship Work...

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    Home swapping to avoid being hit by benefit cuts

     The Communities and Local Government (CLG) department is considering part-funding the scheme, and it has secured support in principle from around 15 social landlords following a meeting in London on Tuesday.It is hoped the scheme, which will build on a number of existing projects, will lead to 150 moves a year initially and 1,000 a year in later years, and landlords in high-demand areas will...

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    Atos subcontract NHS trusts for PIP

    Last year it emerged that Atos in Scotland were subcontracting the Lanarkshire NHS, which raised questions last year from MPs over whether it represented value for public money for the state to contract work to a private company if the work was then outsourced back to the state.This week, Atos published a list of the 14 “supply chain partners” that it has made agreements with to do most of...

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    Great Results in Probation Services Report - so why change?

    The report, Aggregate Report: Offender Management Inspection 2009 - 2012, provides findings from Offender Management Inspections which took place in all 36 probation trust areas in England and Wales between September 2009 and November 2012.On the main elements of work inspected in OMI 2, inspectors found that:For each of these elements, there were considerable gaps between the highest and lowest...

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    Asylum Seekers let down by G4S

    The study took place in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East, prepared on behalf of South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) and Notog4sYorkshire Plus, for the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.The key points they highlight are:The report concludes that the weight of evidence gathered by researchers, journalists, volunteers and activists should...

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    Using Social Media to Improve Your Services

    Social Media has changed the way people connect, discover and share information. The housing support and social sector need to ensure they have an online presence. This could be through platforms such as a website, Twitter account, Facebook page and Blogs.These online platforms allow for interaction and conversation to take place with your service users, stakeholders and employees (to name a...

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    Vulnerable jobseekers in work programme ignored

    Providers privately admit they are focusing resources on the "easy customers" who are more likely to generate a fee, and sidelining jobless clients who require more time and investment to become ready for work, a process known as "creaming and parking," the study says.It concludes that the quality of services offered to jobseekers is being undermined because the design of the Work...

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    Midlands Council needs to cut £68m

    Council tax is being is being frozen for the forth successive year after already having had to save £80 million.Roger Lawrence, leader of the Labour-led council, said:If we could deliver the same service out of a smaller number of buildings... that is a priority.We have already had to save £80m over the last four years and this year we once again have to cut budgets to the tune of £17m in...

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    Disabled Adults in Danger of Funding Black Hole

    The charities Scope, Mencap, National Autistic Society, Sense, and Leonard Cheshire Disability believe there may be a £1.2 billion deficit in adult disability funding under the new proposals.The Health Secretary's speech did not correct the problem found in the report The Other Care Crisis, that showed that up to 105,000 disabled people may not receive any basic support as a result of the new...

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    £10m invested in housing for learning disabilities

     Housing options have been limited due to the reliance on social housing and capital grants from the government, of which there is an increasing shortage. Mencap research found that 8 in 10 councils in England and Wales report a shortage of suitable accommodation for people with a learning disability in their areas.The charity is aiming to raise the money from various social investors, who must...

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    Universal Credit Falling Behind Schedule?

    The appointment of Mr Pitchford is likely to increase assumptions that the project is in trouble and falling behind the original plans.Universal Credit is meant to be ready for trials in April this year and will then be rolled out gradually until 2017.More than seventy organisations, including charities and councils, have raised concerns about the workings of its new monthly payments and access...

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    Cancer Patients will have benefits cut under welfare reform

    Macmillan Cancer Support have calculated that 20,000 patients would lose up to £191 a year under government's present reforms.20,000 cancer patients who receive employment and support allowance (ESA) would lose between £138 and £191 a year by 2015 under the proposals.Macmillan Cancer Support have calculated that cancer patients would lose an estimated £6m in total from ESA payments in the...

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    Welfare Reforms could cost £10m a year

    WDH's chief executive, Kevin Dodd, estimates that the combined effect of the Government's welfare changes could wipe £300 million from his organisation's business plan. Part of the Government's forthcoming Universal Credit system will see rents paid to tenants rather than directly to landlords.Mr Dodd says that the arrears have risen from 2% before the project started to 11%, which is a total...

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    More cuts to Adults Services and Declining Quality

    The study shows that two-thirds of NHS finance directors and nearly three-quarters of directors of adult social services (DASSs) pessimistic about the financial outlook across their local health and social care system in 2013.36% of the directors said they were planning to reduce the volume of services that their council funded in the next year. They do not expect this to be with raise...

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    67,000 pensioners will get housing benefit cuts

    Even though the government has insisted that the cut to benefits will only affect those of working age, research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Housing shows these households will be affected. The bedroom tax will not affect them at it's introduction in April, but when they are moved on to Universal Credit when it is introduced following October, their benefit will be cut.This is...

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    Finance for Charities falls £2.1bn short

    Mind the Finance Gap: Evidencing Demand for Community Finance shows that the government estimate in 2011, when giving approval for state-aid for social enterprise lender Big Society Capital, shows the difference was at £1.7 billion then.The report says that this amount could have grown by up to £400m since that point because of worsening funding conditions and increased demand from entrants to...

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    Social Worker driven to Suicide after Workload increases

    Lancashire social worker, Julie Dugdale, was found hanged by members of her family the day after visiting her GP complaining of feeling anxious. She had become a social worker in 2010, but she was made to reapply for her job as a co-ordinator after a reshuffle in the department, and found the situation very stressful.After the reshuffle, her workload had significantly increased and now involved...

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    Carers Benefits will be cut by £31m

    Carers UK has condemned the 11th hour publication of Government analysis which shows that cuts to disability benefits will result in a knock-on reduction of at least 10,000 in the number of people eligible for Carer's Allowance.The main benefit for carers, Carer's Allowance, is linked to the benefits of those they care for - currently Disability Living Allowance, which is to be gradually replaced...

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    CQC find 26% of home care failed standards

    The CQC has expressed concern that there are so many areas that are not being taken care of correctly resulting in bad care for service users, highlighting that the care service is already under massive strain and is untended to and underfunded.Over 700,000 people above the age of 65 rely on care so that they can remain in their own home by having help with everyday tasks such as washing,...

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    Impact of Social Housing on Local Economy

    Via 24 DashThe study into the economic impact of social housing providers in the North, which was commissioned by the Northern Housing Consortium and conducted by Sheffield Hallam University, also found that although the HA only employs 450 staff directly, it supports 743 jobs when its supply chain is taken into account. Stockport Homes earns over £700,000 each year from collecting water...

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    Work Programme Declared as Breaking the Law

    Tessa Gregory fought the case for Miss Reilly, 24, University of Birmingham geology graduate, and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamie Wilson, from Nottingham.They both succeeded in their claims that the unpaid schemes were legally flawed, despite losing their original case, and part of this decision has now been reversed by the Appeal Court.The government will have to quickly bring new...

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    Direct Payment Exemptions will be decided by DWP

    In most cases universal credit will be paid to the claimant, on a monthly basis. For many this will be a change to existing welfare payments, as benefits are usually paid more frequently, and housing benefit often goes direct to the landlord.There have been many concerns raised about this from homesless charities, campaigners and housing associations, with many saying it will cost the...

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    Preventing Reoffending in Young People who Sexually Offend

    The report, Examining Multi-agency Responses to Children and Young People who Sexually Offend, by the Criminal Justice Joint Inspction, focused on the work undertaken with the young people, and showed that most children and young people engaged well when worked. Despite this group being a very small proportion of those who offend, it is to a very damaging result, and when different agencies...

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    Campaigners say £75,000 Cap will not solve the Care Crisis

    To fund this, the government will provide means-tested help with residential care costs for more people than previously which will cost £1bn a year.Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the scheme will theoretically prevent people from having to sell their homes in order to pay for care, which would help to protect their inheritance.Under the plans, individuals assessed as having spent...

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    MP's blame DWP for Capability Test Failures

    Margaret Hodge, the chair of the committee, said the Department for Work and Pensions was getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants' ability to work.The report says that a large amount of the blame for the problems that these tests have caused people lies on the government, despite the amount of criticism that has been placed on ATOS, the company hired to carry out the work capability...

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    1.2 million Public Sector Job Cuts will Deteriorate Services

     The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), have forecast in their Green Budget 2013 that an additional 300,000 jobs would need to be shed in the three years following the next fixed-term parliament in 2015, if government departments maintain the same trajectory of planned cutbacks.The budget shows that government's plans will mean that departmental spending is forecast to be cut in real terms by...

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    Ending social housing joint tenancy

    Via: Inside HousingIn a key case in 1991 involving a cohabiting couple, Hammersmith & Fulham Council v Monk, the House of Lords found that Ms Powell had the right unilaterally to end the joint tenancy of a flat she shared with Kenneth John Monk, by serving the council with notice to quit.In the recent case Sims v Dacorum Council, Michael Sims faced a similar situation. He argued that the...

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    Police work with NHS over Mental Health

    Due to a growing number of mental health cases, Operation Serenity sees a police officer and qualified mental health worker responding to crisis calls in a marked police car.There were an average of 79 police calls every month, so Operation Serenity, launched in November 2012, currently operates on Friday and Saturday night. It is aimed at cutting the time spent dealing with incidents because...

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    81% cut to 'Supporting People' funding is largest ever

    The council have said it needs to make the cuts because of reduced funds from central government and to protect its statutory services.A spokesperson for the Labour-led council said:A consultation exercise on the strategy for how the budget is prioritised is currently underway and it is proposed that a report on the consultation findings and final recommendations will be taken to cabinet in March...

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    Shelter At Risk of Closing Advice Services

    Via Cambell Robb, The GuardianWe have been informing staff at 10 of our advice services that their offices are at risk of closing in April. While we will be doing everything we can to keep the numbers as low as possible, if the proposals go ahead, up to 100 people would be made redundant. This is a significant proportion of our work - in total, we provide services in about 30 locations across...

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    Bedroom Tax may lead to a rise in Homelessness

    From 1st April, if you live in social housing and have a spare room you could be affected, and may only receive housing benefit for one bedroom.This is an attempt from Mr Cameron to reduce the £23 billion pounds spent per year on housing benefits, as people on benefits are getting privileges that private renters cannot afford.Children under 16 of same sex will be expected to share, and children...

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    Older people will continue to receive Universal Benefits

    The policy to give all pensioners a winter fuel allowance, free TV licences and bus passes and other benefits was included in the Coalition Agreement in 2010 after being part of the Conservative party's general election campaign.The Conservatives have had pressure from both sides of the Coalition to limit who receives these benefits amid all the cuts to other benefits.The Prime Ministers...

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    New Law should make public bodies account for social value

    The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was passed in February last year and came in to effect on 31/1/13.It requires commissioners of public services to take into account "economic, social and environmental wellbeing" when seeking to purchase services from suppliers. The act applies only to central government and NHS contracts worth more than £113,057 and local government contracts worth...

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    Lib Dem MP criticises Councils approach to poorest

    She also mentioned the cabinet's plan to make people receiving council tax benefit pay the cost of the transfer of the scheme from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to local authorities - with a 10% cut in funding. Ms Bayes asked the cabinet last Monday:Given the way that the council has chosen to take between £1.2 million and £1.8 million from Reading's poorest residents via the new...

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    A future Social Media site for patients and their carers?

    The company, Medivizor, has developed the system to help people and their carers understand their condition in their own time, to make the process of coming to terms with an illness more manageable.Users are given a series of questions to find out what information is relevant to them, and then sent multimedia information tailored to their condition.This means the patient and care giver are able...

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    DOH wants your help to Improve Social Care

    The aim is to establish a full set of NICE quality standards and guidance in order to improve the quality of social care.Some of the potential NICE standards for discussion in the consultation include:The role of NICE in driving up the quality of social care is outlined in The Caring for our Future White Paper.The 12 week consultation ends on 26 April 2013.You can respond to the consultation on...

Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Found the seminar very informative and gave an interesting and full insight into current thinking about the consultation.  Michael was a very engaging and knowledgeable presenter and encouraged interaction with the audience which led to further relevant points being shared with the room.  I shall certinaly look out for future events!" M.E. - Care Housing Association

 

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