Blog Archive

March 2013

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    JRF Comment on Postcode Poverty Report

    Read full blog by Chris Goulden,Head of Poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 28/3/13 The national Council Tax Benefit (CTB) scheme has been abolished and local authorities have had to devise their own systems, albeit with 10% less funding. A decision was made by the UK government to protect pensioners, which means tax rises are mainly being passed onto those of working-age.Although nearly...

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    Housing benefits will increase by £143m with Bedroom Tax

     The bedroom tax, that comes in to effect from 1st April next week, is being brought in by the government because they say there are too many people with spare bedrooms that need to downsize, partly because it is too expensive, and partly because there are too many people in overcrowded homes that need the rooms that are unused.They have accepted that there are not enough houses in social...

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    DWP Release Details for Universal Credit Roll Out

     These will be introduced from the end of April, before being progressively rolled out nationally from October.DWP say:Ashton-under-Lyne will be the first Jobcentre to accept claims for Universal Credit from 29 April. Wigan, Warrington and Oldham jobcentres will first trial the new claimant commitment and will take claims for Universal Credit beginning in July, informed by the early testing in...

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    Smokers with Mental Health Disorders are Overlooked

     People with mental health conditions are twice as likely to smoke, and tend to have bigger problems with addiction and reliance, but this has been overlooked by the NHS.The report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists says that people with mental health problems are statistically smoking as much as ever, even though there has been a significant drop in smokers in general.This is likely to be...

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    Older People may have independence for longer in new Sheltered Housing

    The apartments, which will be for sale and affordable rent, will be designed to a high standard and will offer luxury accommodation for older people who wish to live independently, with an on site medical centre. Lynwood House, in Lanchester, County Durham, is on the site of a former residential care home which was owned by Durham County Council.  The care home was one of seven closed by the...

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    Report shows growth of food poverty in London

    The report, by the London Assembly health and environment committee, shows that the problem of poverty is likely to increase in the coming months, due to a rising number of low paid and unemployed people in the city.The cost of living is also continuing to rise which means most people already struggling are then unable to afford healthy food.The report says that this problem will be exacerbated...

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    Food Vouchers Instead of Cash for Support

     Tens of thousands of vulnerable people who would normally receive a cash loan when in financial crisis, will now be issued with food vouchers instead.It is available as an emergency government run social fund for people who are already on a tight budget, but have money stolen, or their benefits are delayed, and the loan is repaid in deductions from future benefits.It also includes grants that...

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    Social Enterprise to help those with learning difficulties is expanding!

     Loddon Social Enterprise will from next month be able to provide facilities where cooking, artwork and computer skills can be learned to increase the work experience for adults who have learning difficulties.The charity helps nearly 40 adults of all ages with learning difficulties, and will now be able to attract more people who will be able to use the service.They are able to gain paid work...

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    Jeremy Hunt Announces Response to Francis Report

    Jeremy Hunt said that todays announcement was just the initial response, and is just the start of fundamental changes to the system. He wants to put quality of care at the heart of the NHS overhaul, instead of aiming for targets.Chairs of key organisations involved in care have pledged to implement the changes to make the NHS the best and safest health and care system in the world.The new...

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    Community Treatment Orders Fail to Reduce Readmissions

     The study testing the effectiveness of CTOs has found that the use of these restrictions does not reduce the rate of readmission to hospital.The findings, published today, are based on randomised controlled tests, and compared the outcomes of patients discharged under CTOs with patients discharged under a less restrictive form of supervised community treatment, and concluded there was no...

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    MPs express concern that bedroom tax could cost more than it saves

    The PAC have expressed concern that the amount of people who will be negatively affected by up coming benefit caps and bedroom tax has not be calculated accurately, and could result in more money being spent on services to compensate this, such as an increase in homelessness.This could end up costing more money, instead of saving it as intended, and the government will need to react quickly if...

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    Scottish Councils say Welfare Reforms will Damage Communities

    The president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) says the councils will struggle to pick up the pieces from the damage the welfare changes will cause to communities.The cuts that they are expecting to face from the introduction of bedroom tax will put a big strain on local services, and president David O'Neill says it will be very difficult for Scottish councils to control...

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    Working Together is not 'radical enough'

     The revised guidance is due to come in to effect on 15th April, with the intention of changing the focus of the confusing culture of safeguarding, so that those who work with children, young people and families are able to focus on helping them.A Child-Centred System, a report released last year, highlighted the problems caused by too much red tape for social workersFollowin the recommendations...

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    Labour MP Comments on the Welfare Vote

    Ian Mearns MP said he voted against the government's jobseekers (back-to-work schemes) bill on Tuesday because he thought the unemployed were already suffering enough from benefit sanction decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The fast-tracked bill, which seeks to overturn the outcome of a court appeal ruling on the Poundland case, is expected to be passed into law...

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    Figures Show 12% Rise in Homeless Children

    The figures show there was an increase of 10% in households accepted as homeless from the previous year, and 29% in the number of families living in B&Bs as temporary accommodation.There was a 12% overall increase of household with children accepted as homeless, which is 34,080 households, and also an 11% increase of children living in temporary accommodation last year, which is 76,790...

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    Legal Action Against 'Discriminatory' Bedroom Tax

    The reasons they have given for it being a breach of human rights is that the policy is discriminatory and will infringe on family life.This is the second time this month that the government have had to go to court over the bedroom tax; the first was a case put forward by ten children who were disabled or vulnerable for other reasons such as victims of abuse who would all be negatively and...

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    Direct Payment Exemptions May Be Increased

    The DWP is trying to find alternative plans for benefit claimants who are unlikely to be able to cope with the suggested direct payments when universal credit is introduced.Direct payments are one of the concepts of universal credit, which will be gradually introduced in October and will consist of one monthly payments of welfare benefits, instead of multiple benefits, which will be paid directly...

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    Housing Association helps tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

    City West Housing Trust has used this tactic to resolve 660 cases of ASB in the last year, and hosted the event to discuss the causes and solutions to the problem.Their method for early intervention is successful in tackling problems before they escalate, and includes voluntary contracts between the Trust and the perpetrators of ASB.Delegates also heard from tenant Carol Mawers, a former victim...

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    25% of Councils Drop Numbers of AMPH

    Community Care have found in an investigation that 43% of local authorities in England and Wales (51 out of 119) had fewer AMHP in January 2013 than January 2012. Unions and social work leaders said the drop was of "serious concern" as there is already an increase in workload and mental health social workers are already struggling. Last year saw the highest number of detentions under the Mental...

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    Social sector reviews on the 2013 Budget

    Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, said:There's no place for disabled people in the Chancellor's aspiration nation.Disabled people want to live independently. But the support they need to get up, get dressed and get out and about is being squeezed due to chronic under-funding of social care.Neither the £72,000 cap on costs nor £118,000 means test will resolve the care crisis for disabled people,...

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    Funding of £164m to Care for Long Term Conditions

     From April, there will be changes to the GP contract to redirct £164 million funding from routine office functions such as record keeping, and going directly to caring and monitoring long term conditions and assessing patients at risk of dementia.GP practices will be rewarded for taking more proactive steps to identify people who may have dementia so that they and their families can receive...

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    Rumours of problems with G4S for asylum seekers

    The Independent, Tuesday 19/3/13In a leaked email seen by The Independent, the executive revealed that one of the firm's subcontractors has already resigned because it is not up to the task, while two others have "expressed concerns" about being able to provide the requisite services to G4S for the UK Borders Agency (UKBA).The email, first revealed by the Open Democracy network, comes...

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    Charities will need £1m for increased demand in food banks

    There is expected to be a huge pressure on food banks, as people whose budgets are already stretched turn to charities after cuts to the welfare budget are introduced. The Trust are expecting to be giving food to 300,000 people in 2012-2013, which is up from 29,000 in 2009-2010.Iain Duncan Smith puts this down to good marketing by the charity, but Christopher Mould, chief executive of Trussell...

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    People with Learning Disabilities Dying 16 Years Prematurely

     An inquiry by the Department of Health has shown up the inequalities and they recommend a new review body is needed to investigate and monitor the deaths of people with learning disabilities.They found that 22% of people with learning disabilities die before the age of 50, compared with just 9% of the rest of the population.The inquiry carried out by Bristol University, looked at the events...

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    Basic Care Doesn't Meet Standards

    Dignity and Nutrition Inspection is its first dedicated review of privacy, dignity and nutrition in both care homes and hospitals, with five key standards.The CQC used a section of hospitals, with only 33 of 50 meeting all five key standards, and from the care sector, only 316 of the 500 homes looked at met all the standards.The Care Quality Commission report, based on a snapshot of services,...

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    Housing Minister Protects Tenants Against Bedroom Tax

    The Scottish Government has openly opposed the housing benefit cut that will come in to force in April, and have called for the UK Government’s scheme to be scrapped.Dundee Council has made a committment not to evict any tenant due to increased payments from bedroom tax, if they are assessed as genuinely doing all that can be reasonably expected to in order to avoid falling intoarrears.Ms...

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    Social Care Cap Brought Forward

    The announcement comes before Wednesday's budget is given, and included the flat tier pension, which will be introduced at the same time. The chancellor has also announced that the lifetime cap will be reduced from £75,000 to £72,000.It was originally advised by Andrew Dilnot as a £30,000 cap, so this reduction is not dramatic.The care cap will be to cover the cost of social care and people...

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    Social Context shows up Health Inequalities

    Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals gives suggestions on how to tackle the health inequalities, using health professionals, based on evidence of case studies.It has been calculated that addressing health inequalities in the way the report suggests could save the NHS £5.5bn a year, and the Health Secretary said the NHS had a legal duty to reduce health inequality.The...

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    Legal Action Taken over Deaths due to Poor Care

    Parents also allege that important reports were suppressed in the run-up to the local NHS trust achieving foundation trust status in March 2010.The trust said there was "no denying" families were let down in the past.The hospital is at the centre of the scandal which is now the subject of a number of investigations including a police inquiry.Since June 2011, a team of 15 detectives have been...

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    Alcohol pricing plan may be dropped

     The plan to introduce a minimum price per unit is expected to help reduce the levels of ill-health and crime due to alcohol abuse.Medical professionals support the scheme as research has shown that to set a minimum at 45p per unit could reduce drining by 4.3%, and possibly save 2,000 lives within a decade. Health campaigners are even trying to push it further with a 50p per unit minimum, as it...

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    Health Care 'Struggling to Cope' with Dementia

     The CQC reviewed more than 20,000 inspections they had carried out as well as current data.Around one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia in their lifetime. It is estimated that there are around 800,000 people at the moment with the condition, but as people are living longer that figure is rising.The review found that, in hospitals, dementia patients were more likely to...

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    Council to continue funding homelessness prevention

    The mayor had proposed to cut this in order to use the money for other council services, but it has been voted for the service to continue.The homelessness prevention pot of £200,000 is used for rent deposits and rent-in-advance loans, in order to keep people from becoming homeless.The council had a consultation on plans to use this funding elsewhere, but a final vote kept it with the service...

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    New Exemptions to Bedroom Tax!

    Exemptions from the "Bedroom Tax" apply if:If you require advice on the 2nd bullet point, especially in relation to the meaning of "Exempt Accommodation" and in relation to social housing tenants who live in (so-called) "general needs" housing please email michael@supportsolutions.co.uk.  ...

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    Mental Health Failings as Mother Smothers her Baby

    Katy Norris, who smothered her new baby Leo, referred to as Baby Y, with a pillow in April 2010, was severely depressed to the point where professionals did not know the best thing to do.Before the death of her son, she was seen by four mental health experts, two GPs, at least seven midwives or maternity care assistants, a consultant obstetrician, a health visitor and a nurse practitioner.This...

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    Archbishop says benefit changes will hit the poorest hardest

    Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, has warned that benefit changes, such as capping the rise of benefits to 1% instead of rising with inflation, will make the most vulnerable suffer. He is one of 43 bishops who have written an open letter to a newspaper condemning Government plans to change the benefits system, saying it will have a “deeply disproportionate” effect on...

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    Jeremy Hunt Criticises NHS

    He said while there is a concerted effort to tackle failing hospitals, there should also be a focus on "mediocrity". Mr Hunt's comments come a month after the problems at Stafford Hospital were laid bare.The final report of the public inquiry into the scandal, published at the start of February, attacked the way the system protected corporate self-interest rather than putting patients first....

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    Cuts for Children with Mental Health Problems

    Their review of the cuts to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the UK showed that of 51 local authorities, 34 had cut their budget since 2010.This is because funding for services such as NHS has stayed stead, but the cuts are then passed on to services such as counselling and advice lines.Young Minds say this has resulted in thousands of teenagers being denied access to...

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    New blood test to detect Alzheimer's

    This was announced at the Alzheimer's Research UK conference, bringing hope of much earlier diagnoses in the future.They also believe the new findings could help with improvement in treatments.The test is expected to be a quick and easy test that can be done in a clinic.It searches for other points in the blood, called 'markers', in particular proteins related to inflammation, as well as the...

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    Social enterprise spending to reduce reoffending

     The process still seems to be a learning process at present, and the ministry have recently completed a consultation on the sector to gain helpful feedback.They will be giving out a second grant to total £300,000 to 3SC, a social enterprise they have previously funded, who are helping to build capacity and capability in voluntary and community services, and social enterprises working with them...

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    Domestic Violence Figures Rise

    In 2012, Citizens Advice received reports of 13,500 domestic violence attacks.Victims of domestic abuse are supporting a campaign to encourage more women to speak out as 80% of the victims were women.Despite a gradual 40% decline in domestic violence incidents since 1995, Citizens Advice have now reported an increase in the number of reported victims.There were 3,300 reported incidents to...

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    Dramatic Fall in Heroin and Crack Addicts

     The NTA have found in their report Falling Drug Use: The Impact of Treatment, there were 298,752 users of heroin and crack cocaine in 2010/11. This is the lowest number since the agency launched 12 years ago.Drug related crime has also fallen, and NTA figures predict they have prevented around 4.9 million drug related offences in 2010-11.As of April, the NTA will no longer be looking after...

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    Psychiatric Wards Neglect Duty to Parents

    The healthcare staff often neglect their responsibilities to help parents to maintain contact with their children. The watchdog found that this is due to lack of awareness of their responsibilities and have said that they need to ensure they conduct proper assessments of family circumstances.They found that from a sample of paperwork that at least a quarter of patients had children under the age...

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    MPs Debate Unfairness of Bedroom Tax on Disabled People

    Miliband shows figures that, in spite of some groups being exempt from bedroom tax, such as disabled people needing 24 hour care, there are still many disabled people that will be negatively affected.Referring to the £25 million hardship fund set up for disabled people who would be affected by bedroom tax, he said this will not cover the £306 million that will be taken from them, and as the...

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    Privatisation could be Dangerous for Healthcare

    The House of Lords will be debating new rules for the Health and Social Care Act for the role that private firms will have today.The changes are likely to give more power to individuals such as doctors, nurses and clinicians, but campaigners believe it should be MPs who make these decisions, not individuals.Prof Terence Stephenson has said in a letter to Lord Howe that he believes this move will...

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    2 year old at risk of Forced Marriage

     The Unit is a joint initiative by the Foreign Office and the Home Office, who have permission to intervene when they believe a child under 18 is at risk of becoming a victim of forced marriage.Figures they have released show that of the 250 children in these cases who were protected, 82% were female and 18% male. They were from 60 different countries – 47% involved Pakistan, 11% Bangladesh...

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    Campaign to Protect Whistleblowers

    Nursing Times is petitioning the Department of Health to improve protection for nurses that blow the whistle over patient safety concerns, as part of our new Speak Out Safely campaign.The "Protection for Whistleblowers" e-petition was launched on the government's website yesterday, and is supported by many staff who have already sufferedIt follows the report released by Robert Francis, who made...

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    Bedroom Tax Criticised by MPs

    The bedroom tax, due to come in to effect as of April, has received even heavier criticism in the last few months, particularly from campaigners supporting homeless people, single parents, carers, disabled people, those who have suffered abuse, both children and adults.There are many individual cases coming through and the local news is filled with how many people in each area will be affect,...

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    Assaults and Escapes Rise as Prison Cuts Increase

    MPs in a public accounts committee have assessed the prison services as facing serious problem with having to find a further £653 million by 2014-15.NOMS, which manages 117 public prisons in England and Wales and the contracts of 14 private prisons, is responsible for a prisoner population of around 86,000. It is having to make cuts of £650m to its £3.4bn budget by 2015.They are impressed from...

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    Achieving Greater Social Impact

      By Andy Bagley,Real-ImprovementSeveral ways of measuring this impact have been developed over the years, Social Return on Investment being a prominent example. To date however, most studies have focused on community development activities or aspects of personal support, rather than the core business of housing itself.Andy Bagley speaking about SROI at our Annual Conference in November...

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    Tougher action on Alcohol Misuse could cut down on £55bn

     In an attempt to tackle drink related problems, they want to limit the sale and promotion of alcohol in the same manor as cigarettes, including graphic warnings on alcohol packaging, increasing the minimum price for alcohol to 50p per unit and an end to drinks firms sponsoring sport.The alliance has written a report urging ministers to put the new measures in to place in order to reduce the...

Revenue Optimisation "Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations." Steven Hill - Director of Central Services

 

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