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Members’ Meeting 20 th November 2014. Agenda 10.00am Welcome and introductions followed by a Fincan Update 10.20 amMonkey – Fiona Christian 10.45 Quids.

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Presentation on theme: "Members’ Meeting 20 th November 2014. Agenda 10.00am Welcome and introductions followed by a Fincan Update 10.20 amMonkey – Fiona Christian 10.45 Quids."— Presentation transcript:

1 Members’ Meeting 20 th November 2014

2 Agenda 10.00am Welcome and introductions followed by a Fincan Update amMonkey – Fiona Christian Quids In – Steve Faragher 11.15amComfort Break 11.30amMoneywise/NUST – Andrew Breese 12.00amSanctions – Andy Simblett, Sunderland Council 12.30pmDiscussion Session 1.00pmClose and lunch

3 Fincan Update Alison Baxter and Paul Hillier

4 Mon-key Project Fiona Christian

5 Big Lottery Fund Improving Financial Confidence Helping people become more confident in and more aware of how to take control of their finances

6 37 England Projects In the North East: Know Your Money: Erimus Housing, Middlesbrough Stay Right, Start Right: Coast & Country, Redcar and Cleveland Monkey: livin, County Durham

7 Monkey Partners livin Housing Centrepoint Derwentside Homes DISC East Durham Homes NEFirst Credit Union Teesdale H A Prince Bishops Cmty Bank Dale and Valley HomesSHAID Cestria Housing Moving On (Durham) The Riverside Group ROC Solid Durham City HomesCitizens Advice Cty Durham Home Group

8 Why Monkey?

9 Outcomes Greater access to affordable credit, services and products for social housing tenants when set up a new home Raise capability and confidence of social housing tenants / applicants in using financial products and services Social housing providers delivering financial confidence messages directly to those in most need Improve the consistency of services across County Durham through sharing information, services, capturing learning, staff training and feedback from beneficiaries

10 How Monkey Delivers Coordinated assessment and referral system: – Registration – Needs assessment – Needs match to appropriate services – Referral or signpost to service Development of new, complementary services: – Affordable furniture project – Save and Insure scheme – Financial confidence training – Debtology app?

11 Achievements Nearly 700 people registered for Monkey support since March One-third aged between 16 – 24 1,679 referral / signposting actions to specialist support providers carpets and furniture suppliers fuel support benefit / debt advice credit union referrals insurance

12

13 Fiona Christian, Project Manager

14 Quids In Steve Faragher

15 Break

16 Shelter Sue Rose

17 Benefits Sanctions Andy Simblett Sunderland Council

18 0. section title or leave blank Sunderland City Council : presentation title Sanctions The Stick people take 18

19 fhfhfhf 0.0 section title or leave blank Sunderland City Council : presentation title Sanctions and Conditionality What is ‘conditionality’ ? Conditionality is a set of tasks a person claiming benefit is obliged to meet If these conditions are not met one option is that a sanction can be imposed 19

20 Sanctions Conditionality has been a longstanding feature of welfare benefit entitlements in the UK. the severity of the sanctions has increased substantially since the 1980s. Some particular groups - notably lone parents, sick and disabled people, offenders and some categories of migrants - have also been targeted for specific conditionality measures. A series of social security reviews conducted by the Conservative Government (1979–1997) led to the introduction of a ‘stricter benefit regime’ from the late 1980s 20

21 Sanctions The incoming Labour Government in 1997 adopted a ‘work first’ and ‘work for all’ approach, embracing JSA’s monitoring of claimants’ job search activities, backed up by benefit sanctions in cases of non-compliance. An expansion in the reach of work-related conditionality to previously exempt groups, with lone parents – previously subject to ‘light’ if any conditionality – increasingly targeted Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced to replace Incapacity Benefit (IB) and IS for sick and disabled people, with this benefit embracing more conditional elements (and the use of sanctions) 21

22 Statistical evidence on the use of sanctions within welfare benefits Statistics on the rates of ‘referrals’ of JSA claimants for sanctioning, and ‘adverse decisions’ resulting in actual sanctions, indicate four phases over recent years : relative stability from 2000–2006; a pulse of increased referrals and sanctions through 2007 and 2008 then an increasing use of referrals and sanctions after the Coalition Government took up office in

23 Statistical evidence on the use of sanctions within welfare benefits finally, after dropping back in 2011, sanctions have surged upwards to higher levels through 2012 and 2013 Overall, monthly sanctions rates have risen from about 2 to 2.5 per cent of claimants in this earlier period, to around 3.5 per cent in 2008, 5 per cent in 2010–11, 6 per cent by late 2013 Actually peaking at 7.3 per cent in October 2013). 23

24 Sanctions A total of million sanction decisions have been made between April 2000 and June of which, 5.51 million were adverse decisions (i.e. a sanction applied). 53 per cent of adverse decisions under the new sanctions regime were in the' Low’ group, 38 per cent in the ‘Intermediate’ group, and 9 per cent in the ‘High ’group. 24

25 Sanctions Job Seekers Allowance sanctions decisions by Job Centre Plus District and Group October 22 nd 2012 – March 31 st 2014 Group North East there were 228,551 adverse ‘sanction’ decisions in this period. District Durham and Tees Valley there were 41,637 adverse sanction decisions in this period. District NE Yorkshire and Humber there were 41,880 adverse sanctions decisions in this period. 25

26 Sanctions District Northumberland Tyne and Wear there were 39,645 adverse sanctions decisions in this period. District West Yorkshire there were 59,118 adverse sanctions decisions in this period. District South Yorkshire 46,270 there were adverse sanctions decisions in this period. 26

27 Sanctions Regional breakdown – Skills Conditionality North East % of referrals that initially lead to adverse decisions 47.5% ( Table 4 Independent review of The Operation of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions validated by the Jobseekers Act July 2014 Matthew Oakley) Mandatory Work Activity, Work programme not known. 27

28 Types of Sanctions: 28

29 Types of Sanction JSA Higher-level sanctions can be applied if you fail to comply with conditions relating to employment. For instance, you may be sanctioned if you: lose your job through misconduct; leave you job voluntarily; or refuse to apply for a job that is offered to you. 29

30 Types of Sanction JSA Higher level sanction : Old regime sanction could be from 1 to 26 weeks: Period imposed could be challenged: New regime 13 weeks 1st failure, 2 nd Failure 26 weeks if within 52 weeks of the first failure but not within two weeks of 1 st failure. 3 rd Failure 156 weeks if within 52 weeks of 2 nd failure but not within 2 weeks of second failure. 30

31 Types of Sanction JSA Intermediate-level sanctions Intermediate-level sanctions can be applied if you fail to be available for work or actively seeking work. or actively seeking work Previous regime disentitlement but no sanction. New regime post Oct 2012, 1 st failure 4 weeks sanction loss of entitlement. 2 nd Failure: If you have already had a sanction applied within the last year (but not within the last two weeks), the sanction will last for 13 weeks. 31

32 Sanctions Types JSA Lower level sanctions You may be sanctioned if you: do not take part in an interview with a personal adviser when asked to do so; do not take up a place on a training scheme or employment programme when one is offered to you; or lose a place on a training scheme or employment programme through misconduct 32

33 Sanctions Types JSA How long the sanction is applied will depend on whether you have had any other sanctions applied within the last year. Old regime fixed:1,2,4, or 26 weeks. Sanction period could be challenged. New regime post Oct 12 If this is the first sanction, the sanction will last for four weeks. If you have already had a sanction applied within the last year (but not within the last two weeks), the sanction will last for 13 weeks. 33

34 Sanction Types ESA Sanctioned if there is failure to attend/participate in mandatory interviews or failure to undertake Work Related Activity Previous regime: open ended 50% Work Related activity component for 4 weeks then 100% open ended. The open-ended period will apply until you do meet the compliance condition in question. New regime: In each case, ESA will be reduced by £72.40 (equal to the personal allowance of ESA for a single person) for a period of time. This period comes in two parts: one open ended, one fixed 34

35 Sanctions Types – ESA Period 1 week 2 weeks if within a year of previous failure but not within 2 weeks of failure. 4 weeks if there is a second failure if within a year of previous failure but not within 2 weeks of failure. 35

36 Preventing Sanctions: - tips In order to prevent sanctions happening its essential that people who claim and their advisors have a good understanding of ‘conditionality’ and its scope. The Work and Pensions Committee for the second session report found that: There was too much emphasis on fortnightly job-search reviews (FJRs) in comparison to the more in depth work focused interviews. and 36

37 That note should be taken of the other support mechanisms in relation to the employment support interventions and recommended in particular the Sector-based Work Academies (SBWAs), which combine an eight-week work experience placement with relevant pre-employment training and a guaranteed job interview in sectors of the local economy with high numbers of vacancies. it would be highly regrettable if the Claimant Commitment resulted in a process-driven, box-ticking exercise in which Jobcentre Advisers measure the length of time claimants spend searching for jobs, regardless of the likely effectiveness of the job-search activities undertaken”. and 37

38 Preventing Sanctions: - ) tips The Work and Pensions Committee also noted that ‘needs vary between Jobcentres and are prone to missing crucial information about complex barriers to employment’. and ‘The initial interview between claimant and Jobcentre Adviser, it is stated, is focused largely on the requirements the claimant must fulfil in order to remain in receipt of benefit. It is argued in the Committee’s report that this risks overlooking important issues with the work-readiness of the claimant and failure to address these can lead to a longer than necessary period of unemployment.’ 38

39 Preventing Sanctions: - ) tips Work seekers and their advisors should enquire about the options that are available in terms of support to get back into work and try to move away from the routine fort nightly job search reviews and express their interest in other options Advise the department of barriers that may inhibit their ability to look for and take up a job or attend appointments. An Illness or disability affecting them or the circumstances of another person 39

40 Preventing Sanctions: - ) tips This should help in relation to work seeking commitments and in the future if a situation arises where you cannot make an interview for a reason connected with the restrictions you have. E.g a hospital appointment, a doctors appointment or a job interview Work seekers should also keep note of the time they travel and any problems they have traveling if they anticipate or are running late due to a transport problem. Use of a mobile phone if available can be great to call JC+, record through camera signs and disruption, the time a bus or train arrives etcetera Newspaper reports of travel disruption or postal disruption are also useful. 40

41 Preventing Sanctions: - ) tips Work seekers should keep in touch with JC+ and let them know that they will not be able to make an appointment or interview. Note the call and get a name of who was spoken to is recommended. Send them appointment letters and ask for the interview to be re-arranged. A written copy of an agreement should be provided to a work seeker regarding what the aims and objectives of a work place training placement are and how this will help them enhance their chances of getting a job. (Basically: the ruling in the Pound Land saga) 41

42 Challenging a sanctions decision Sanction decisions can be challenged In most cases it is worth challenging the decision. There are a number of reasons for this. A mandatory reconsideration has to be requested. The request must be made within one calendar month This means the decision will be looked at again. If the decision is not revised then an appeal can be lodged. The appeal must be made within one calendar month. If an appeal is lodged the Secretary of State must provide a bundle of documents. The documentary evidence often throws into question the decision. There is no defined definition in law of ‘good reason’ 42

43 Challenging a sanctions decision Good cause is: “‘Good cause’ means, in my opinion, some fact which, having regard to all the circumstances (including the claimant’s state of health and the information which he had received and that which he might have obtained) would probably have caused a reasonable person of his age and experience to act (or fail to act) as the claimant did.” This description of good cause has been quoted in countless cases. Commissioners decision R/S/2/63 This year Sunderland City Council have successfully represented a number of people at U.A.T. in relation to Sanction decisions 43

44 Appeals and other outcomes. SCCWRS successfully represented a man who was sanctioned for allegedly limiting his work seeking. This was brought to his attention and he was told that this was not enough. The client said he couldn’t understand what was wrong. The other work seeking agreements were requested and put into the bundle. The previous 4 agreements all showed that the level of work seeking under question had been agreed. The appeal was allowed. SCCWRS successfully represented a man who refused to apply for jobs he was told to apply for. When making his initial enquiry’s he was told the vacancies had been filled. It was admitted in the bundle that the jobs had been filled when enquiry was made but technically claimant had not complied with his job seekers agreement. The tribunal chairman asked ‘why are we here’ and allowed the appeal. 44

45 Appeals and other outcomes. SCCWRS successfully represented a client who left a job to take a up another. Unfortunately he was informed the job he thought he was going to ceased to exist due to his new employer having to reduce its workforce. The client was sanctioned. Case law showed that this was simply illegal and should not have happened The appeal was allowed. 45

46 References https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-march https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-march Independent review of the operation of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions validated by the Jobseekers Act 2013: by Matthew Oakley July

47 Discussion Session

48 Close


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