National News Roundup

Links to national reports, commentary and analysis relating to social welfare policy and the advice sector generally.


Mental Capacity Act - scenarios for training
08.03.2017
Safeguarding adults leads from across NHS England - Midlands and East (East) have helped developed a Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Workbook and film clips which are now available on the SCIE website. 
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MoJ survey finds vulnerable ‘face multiple legal problems'
The Law Society Gazette, 06.03.2017
Vulnerable people - those living with a disability, as lone parents or on less than £15,000 a year - are more likely to experience multiple legal problems than others, according to a major government study slipped into the public domain a year late. The findings, published on Friday afternoon, point to a crisis in access to justice following legal aid reforms.
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Changes to the PIP eligibility criteria
06.03.2017
This Commons Library briefing looks at controversial proposals put forward by the Government to change the eligibility criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from 16 March 2017, to reverse the effect of two recent Upper Tribunal judgments.
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Budgeting Loan – Paper form now online
Department of Work & Pensions, 01.03.2017
Customers can now apply for Budgeting Loans on GOV.UK using the new online application service. Budgeting Loans are interest free loans that can help to pay for essential items like furniture, clothes, moving costs or hire purchase debts. Customers can apply for a loan if they have been receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Pension Credit for at least 6 months.
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Health and Social Care Integration
House of Commons Library, 24.02.2017
This House of Commons briefing paper analyses recent policy and debate on the integration of NHS-provided healthcare and local authority-provided social care. This has been a key policy priority for successive Governments, with the aim of improving patient care and saving money for the NHS and local authorities.
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MoJ to relax LASPO domestic violence regime
The Guardian, 23.02.2017
Time limits preventing vulnerable victims of domestic violence from obtaining legal aid for court hearings are to be scrapped, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will announce. The widely criticised rules meant victims seeking legal representation in disputed family court hearings, where they could be forced to confront their abuser, had to demonstrate that they had been targeted within the past five years. Legal Aid Agency regulations also specified that a narrow range of official documents provide proof, such as medical reports, injunctions and social services records. Statements from organisations working with domestic abuse victims will in future also be accepted as evidence of risk, under the changes revealed on Thursday. Letters from solicitors and information from housing officers will also be sufficient.
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Government Paper on Adult Social Care Funding
22.02.2017
This paper examines the key funding pressures facing adult social care services in England and evidence of the impacts of these pressures on social care and health services. The paper explains the additional funding for adult social care that the Government has made available through the Social Care Precept, improved Better Care Fund and Adult Social Care Support Grant. The paper also discusses stakeholder concerns about a growing social care ‘funding gap’, and calls for a comprehensive review of the long-term sustainability of social care.
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#StopRight2Rent
22.02.2017
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) have launched our new report on the Right to Rent scheme. The scheme creates structural incentives for landlords to discriminate unlawfully against foreigners and ethnic minorities, according to the report, and JCWI have the evidence from surveys of landlords, tenants and agents, as well as a mystery shopping exercise, to back this up.
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Case studies on coercive and controlling behaviour
22.02.2017
Research in Practice for Adults have produced five (open access) in-depth case studies describe situations of coercive and controlling behaviour with learning activities including sample assessment and safety plans which look at the kind of questions that a practitioner might ask, and how they might begin to record evidence or concerns. All professionals need to be confident that they are acting in a way that prioritises the safety of people accessing services.
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New web tool for professionals working with destitute migrants
22.02.2017
This new free online resource from the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network is for local authority and voluntary sector practitioners to use to help find out what support options a destitute migrant family might have. The tool aims to help local authorities to make best use of reduced and scarce resources in order to adhere to statutory child safeguarding duties, by acting as an aid to enable local authority staff to conduct assessments more efficiently by explaining key elements of the complex law that governs eligibility for social services support. It should really be of benefit to those who need to assess a family’s eligibility for social service’s support as well as for advisers who need to find out what help a family may be able to get.
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Housing White Paper
08.02.2017
The Department for Communities and Local Goverment released their housing white paper yesterday. It details plans to fix the broken housing market and build more homes across England. Read the white paper here.
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Hate Crime: briefing for homelessness services
08.02.2017
This short briefing for homelessness services on hate crime is for anyone working in homelessness services, from volunteers on the front line to senior management. It covers key information regarding definitions, how to report incidents and resources for further reading.
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Government denies austerity measures breach human rights
The Independent, 08.02.2017
The Government has been accused of kicking UN concerns about its austerity policy “into the long grass” after it refused to accept the findings of a report that concluded its welfare reforms were a breach of human rights. 
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UC flaws pushing claimants towards debt and eviction
The Guardian, 07.02.2017
An investigation by the Guardian has revealed that: 8 out of 10 social housing tenants moved on to UC are falling into rent arrears or increasing the level of pre-existing arrears. Families unable to manage the regulation 42-day wait for a first payment are regularly referred to food banks by housing associations or local MPs. Some claimants are waiting as long as 60 days for an initial payment because of processing delays on top of the formal wait. Uncertainty about the system has contributed to a dramatic decline in the number of private landlords willing to take on benefit recipients, even if they are in work.
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Success for Attendance Allowance Campaign
01.02.2017
Last year the Government proposed passing responsibility for Attendance Allowance to councils rather than the DWP. Age UK campaigned against this proposal which would have created a postcode lottery of support for older disabled people and put the future of the benefit under threat. On 19 January 2017 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, announced that Attendance Allowance will not be transferred to councils. This is great news for the continued support of older people.
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Shelter's Longer Tenancies Campaign Petition
01.02.2017
Shelter is calling on the housing minister Gavin Barwell to make five-year rental contracts available to renters. If necessary renters could leave such contracts early, but they’d have the option of staying in their home for a secure time period. Join their campaign calling on housing minister Gavin Barwell to give renters a fairer deal and greater security.
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MoJ announces timetable for LASPO review
Law Gazette, 18.01.2017
The government had promised a review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) by April 2018. The act, which came into force in April 2013, removed vast swaths of law from the scope of legal aid. Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald told an all-party parliamentary group meeting that the government ’now considers enough time has passed for the reforms to have bedded in for us to begin the review process’. The ministry plans to submit a post-legislative memorandum on LASPO ‘as a whole’ to the justice select committee. This process has to be done by May but Heald said the ministry hopes to do it before then. 
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Autumn Statement & Welfare Benefits
29.11.2016
The Autumn Statement made an number of announcements regarding welfare, most had been stated previously. The reduction of the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63% was, however, a new announcement.  The Joseph Rowntree Foundations' analysis of the impact of the Statement was that "many families will gain by modest amounts of a few pounds a week from the reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate and the rise in the income tax personal allowance.  However these gains will be dwarfed by much bigger cuts to work allowances imposed by George Osborne in April this year."
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Fund for Local Authorities to increase refuge spaces
29.11.2016
Department for Communities and Local Government have launched a new fund for local authorities to increase refuge spaces and other accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence.
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Controlling Migration Fund Launched
29.11.2016
Department for Communities and Local Government has launched the Controlling Migration Fund: mitigating the impacts of immigration on local communities.  The Fund is available to bids from local authorities over the four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
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Universal Credit- Transition Rollout Schedule
24.11.2016
The following schedule sets out the latest planning assumptions for sites that will transition to the full Universal Credit service. For further information and access to the schedule, please click 'Read more'. 
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Lasa- Online welfare benefits casework support
03.11.2016
If you provide advice on welfare benefits, check out the online casework support available via Lasa’s rightsnet website www.rightsnet.org.uk Rightsnet is one of a range of services delivered by Lasa. The online adviser forums are a great way for advisers to keep up to date and share their experience and expertise for the benefit of their clients. And the best part is - they’re free!
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Transforming our justice system: consultation
28.10.2016
The Ministry of Justice is currently undertaking two consultations on proposed changes to the justice system, including the civil justice system, family proceedings and tribunals: Transforming Our Justice System: Assisted Digital Strategy, Online Conviction and Statutory Fixed Fines (closing date 10 November)Transforming Our Justice System: Panel Composition in Tribunals (closing date 24 November)
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Behavioural Science view on accessing benefit entitlement
27.10.2016
The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) was commissioned by the Joseph Roundtree Foundation (JRF) to examine the role of individual decisions in shaping people’s experiences of poverty in the UK and to identify the drivers of these decisions. Section 4.3 of the report looks at factors that influence decisions around accessing entitlement, other sections focus on decisions around credit and savings and work and entitlements.The report encourages policy makers to design policies to minimise the mental costs of engaging in government services and to have greater policy coordination when designing and evaluating interventions.  To access this report, please click here.
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Government review into Council Tax Support launched
10.12.2015
A review into how local Council Tax support schemes are working across the country has been launched and is now in consultation and calling for evidence.
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DWP Autumn Updates on Universal Credit and PIP rollouts
02.12.2015
The Department for Work and Pensions has provided some updates relating to the rollout of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC) and published some new guidance on these matters on their website.
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Immigration Bill 2015-2016 - Committee Stage Report
02.12.2015
The Immigration Bill is due to have Report and Third Reading in the Commons on 1 December. This briefing summarises the main changes made to the Bill in Public Bill Committee and some of the new clauses proposed for consideration at Report stage.
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Work and Pensions Committee - Ongoing Inquiries
18.11.2015
Details of ongoing inquiries by the Work and Pensions Committee into: Local Welfare Safety Net, Welfare to Work, Benefit Delivery
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Welfare Reform and Work Bill - Library Note
18.11.2015
Read the Library notes on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill in advance of its second reading in the House of Lords today (17/11/2015). 
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JRF - Report on Paying Care Workers the Living Wage
02.11.2015
Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on the cost and benefits of paying low-paid care workers the Living Wage. 
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ONS - Index of Private Housing Rent and Population Projection
02.11.2015
Private rental prices paid by tenants rose by 2.7% in the 12 months to September 2015. The UK population is projected to increase by 9.7 million over the next 25 years to 74.3 million in mid-2039.
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VCSE Review - Interim Report on Health and Well-Being
28.10.2015
Interim report published by the VCSE Review exploring the impact of provision of support by the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector on health, well-being and social care. 
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Inter-Departmental Ministerial Report on Modern Slavery
28.10.2015
This report provides an assessment of modern slavery in the UK and explains the UK's response to this over the past 12 months.
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AdviceNow - information on the law and your rights
28.10.2015
AdviceNow is an online resource providing information on the law and the individual's rights across a wide range of areas - such as benefits, housing and family matters - and includes a help section for people who are having to go to court or a tribunal without the help of a lawyer.
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Immigration detention in the UK: an overview
09.09.2015
Home Office officials have the power to detain asylum seekers, as well as unauthorised migrants who do not enter the asylum system, for administrative purposes.
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NCAN features in Low Commission follow up report
21.04.2015
As part of the second stage of the Low Commission's work, a further follow up report has been published in which NCAN features. The report is called ' Getting It Right In Social Welfare Law.'
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Further consultation on Universal Credit
07.01.2015
There is a further consultation on draft Regulations regarding Universal Credit data sharing between DWP and local support providers.
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National Updates Archive