Health & Wellbeing Stragegy Consultation
On the 14th January 2013 we held, in partnership with Wiltshire Council, a consultation for our members to comment on the Health & Wellbeing Strategy. Please click here to download the full report.
Personal Independence Payment
For an update on Personal Independence Payment as of January 2013, please click here.
The Barriers to Choice Review
Please click on the links below to download the documents:
The Independent Living Consultation and the Government have responded
But it should be stressed that ILF will:-
- NOT be replaced until after March 2015.
- Current recipients’ should have already (or will be shortly,) been updated on progress
- New Criteria will be published and Current recipients’ will be written to in March/April 2013 with details about the proposed replacement benefit
- Unlike many other benefits the ILF replacement (in 2015,) is currently going to be administered Local Authorities (i.e. Wiltshire Council)
- To read more, click here
- The easy-read version, is here
WSUN’s Responses to Consultations
Wiltshire & Swindon Users Network Response to the “Draft Care & Support Bill from our Members and a Strategic Overview.” Click here to download
WSUN’s Strategic Response to “PIP Detailed Designed Criteria” – Click here to download
WSUN’s response to the “PIP Consultation: On the Second Draft of the Descriptors and the Importance of Setting the Thresholds for the PIP Entitlement.” - click here to download file
Disability Consultation – 29th February 2012 – click here to download file
WSUN’s response to “Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2011-2026″ Consultation Questions and WSUN/WITS Strategic Overview: Click here to download file
WSUN’s response to the DLA Reform: Click here to download file
WSUN’s response to the Liberating the NHS – Information Strategy: Click here to download file
WSUN’s response to the Transparency in outcomes: a framework for adult social care: Click here to download file
WSUN’s response to Equity & Excellence: Liberating the NHS: Click here to download file
WSUN’s response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission Strategic Plan – Phase 2: Click here to download file
The Future of the Independent Living Fund (ILF)
This consultation seeks views on the impact that closing the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in 2015 would have on users, local authorities and the wider care and support systems across the UK. The Government would also like your views on how closure could be managed in a way which would minimise disruption to the care and support needs of existing ILF users.
Who this consultation is aimed at
The Department is keen to hear from ILF users, their carers, families, local authorities and other interested parties in the wider care and support system.
The Disabled People’s Right to Control (Pilot Scheme) (England) (Amendments) Regulations 2012
This consultation seeks views on the proposed regulations to enable the delivery of the Right to Control Trailblazers for a further 12 months from December 2012.
Who this consultation is aimed at
The Department is keen to hear views from all interested parties, but in particular from disabled people, organisations, selected Trailblazer local authorities and their delivery partners, service providers and their representative bodies and third sector organisations.
Wiltshire Falls Strategy – Have Your Say
(consultation open until 13 September 2012)
Falls are a common cause of injury and loss of independence in older people. Around 1 in 3 people aged over 65 have one or more falls every year. An estimated 20,000 women in Wiltshire have osteoporosis – 25% are aged 80 years and over.
There are a wide range of services available in Wiltshire to help prevent and treat falls, fractures and osteoporosis – these may be universal, targeted or specialist services.
The strategy action plan identifies five priority areas for local action:
1) Update and implement falls and osteoporosis care pathways for use across Wiltshire which set out clearly what is expected at each stage.
2) Ensure adequate provision of multi-disciplinary assessment, interventions and evidence-based therapeutic exercise programmes.
3) Ensure adequate assessment, primary prevention and secondary prevention of osteoporosis across health and community services.
4) Review and maintain improvement of provider performance against the National Hip Fracture Database standards.
5) Raise awareness of osteoporosis and falls with older people, their carers, staff who work with them and other health care providers. Including the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Falls and Bone Health Strategy and Consultation Documents available at: http://www.wiltshire.nhs.uk/Clinicians/For-healthcare-professionals/For-healthcare-professionls.htm
If you would like a hard copy of the Consultation survey, please call the communications department on 01380 736010
Views sought on detailed proposals to secure shared decision-making and choice for patients
Detailed proposals to secure genuinely shared decision-making for patients have been published today.
The Department of Health is consulting further on these detailed proposals to implement the Government’s commitment to giving patients more say and choice over their care and treatment.
We have heard that patients want greater clarity over when and how they can share in decisions about their care, about the choices they have and when they apply.
The consultation proposes a model of shared decision-making all along the patient pathway, which should be relevant irrespective of patients’ conditions, their clinical pathway or progress along it. The model indicates where patients would be expected to have more say in decisions about their care in primary care; before a diagnosis; at referral to secondary care; and after a diagnosis had been made.
Long Term Conditions Strategy
The Department of Health (DH) is leading on the development of a cross-government long term conditions strategy.
The DH know that long term conditions can affect many aspects of people’s lives, not just their health. So we want the strategy to set out a vision for how services such as health, social care, education, housing and others can work together to improve life chances and outcomes for people living with long term conditions.
This vision will cover helping to prevent or delay the onset of conditions, preventing deterioration of conditions and helping to develop joined up services to support people living with long term conditions. The strategy won’t cover specific detail of how services are delivered.
The DH are asking people to comment until 15 June on what should be in the strategy. They are not holding a formal consultation.
We aim to publish the strategy by the end of 2012 and it will apply to England only.
Welfare Reform Bill – Summary
Progress on the rest of the Welfare Reform Bill
The Welfare Reform Bill, introduced in the Commons stages on 15 June 2011, completed its Committee Stages in the Lords on 28 November 2011. Report stage was scheduled to start on 12 December 2011.
Besides introducing the PIP another major reform will be the” Universal Credit”, which replaces a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age, the Bill makes other significant changes to the benefits system.
Key areas include:
- Restricting Housing Benefit entitlement for social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need.
- Up-rating Local Housing Allowance rates by the Consumer Price Index.
- Amending the forthcoming statutory child maintenance scheme.
- Limiting the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to a 12 month period. This time limit will not apply to people with no, or limited, means of supporting themselves, and those most severely affected by their medical conditions. Any time spent in the Support Group will not count towards the 12 months. Those who are affected by the 12 month time limit may be able to receive income related ESA.
- Caps the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.
If you require more information on the above subjects, you can contact us, and ask to have the information sent in hard copy format.
Please Note: This information is as accurate as it can be at time of updating, but the Welfare Reform Bill, is being amended regularly and will be subject to changes.
Digital by Default
Universal Credit will be ‘digital by default’ – being designed from the outset to be delivered by online self service.
- Have an online account bringing together employment and benefit information;
- Be able to make a claim, do a ‘what if’ calculation, search for jobs, change circumstances and check the progress of their benefit claim online; and
- Still receive face to face support in helping them get back to work, the online services will support and improve this service
There will continue to be other ways of claiming Universal Credit for claimants who are unable to use the online services.
Universal Credit will be paid monthly, reflecting the fact that 75 per cent of people are paid earnings monthly in arrears (BACS – Family Finance Survey 2011)
Where the Department considers exceptional circumstances exist, a payment exceptions service will be made available to provide more frequent payments to households.
Why has DWP settled on a monthly payment period?
There are strong advantages to moving to a monthly payment period as the Department will receive information monthly about people’s earnings
- A key aspect of Universal Credit is that it should mimic work and receipt of salary
- Encouraging out of work households to budget on a monthly rather than fortnightly basis will better prepare people for the reality of work.
Universal Credit Delivery
What support will DWP give to claimants who are used to fortnightly payment?
- The Department understands that many people on low incomes are used to budgeting on a fortnightly basis and may be concerned about moving to monthly payment. Work is underway to develop plans about how the Department can best support households to manage monthly payment.
- The Department will also agree how payment dates during the month will be allocated.
- The Department is examining a range of options to support claimants as part of the move to Universal Credit and is carefully considering the welfare implications involved. Proposals are likely to include a mix of financial advice and interi m and bridging loans.
- The Government wants families to be able to manage their affairs in a manner that best reflects the demands of modern life whether in or out of work.
Will Universal Credit be delivered on time?
- Universal Credit will be delivered using methods of change successfully seen within other large businesses. Despite the challenges Universal Credit will be delivered on time.
The timetable for delivery is:
- October 2013 to April 2014 – all new claims for out of work support will be treated as claims to Universal Credit. Claimants moving back to work will receive Universal Credit if they are eligible. If a claimant has a change in circumstances they may move over to Universal Credit;
- April 2014 – no new claims will be made to Tax Credits;
- April 2014 – October 2017 – existing claimants will move over to Universal Credit.
The Department has already completed an initial round of claimant testing with existing working age claimants. Feedback to date has been largely positive and is being fed into the next stage of development
A full range of Universal Credit Briefing Notes can be found on the DWP Website
Fraud and Error
The Bill introduces measures which support the Government’s proposals to stamp out fraud in the benefits and Tax Credit system. The measures include tougher sanctions for people who commit fraud including:
- A minimum penalty of £350 for benefit fraud, as an alternative to prosecution, or 50 per cent of the amount overpaid whichever is the greater, up to a maximum of £2,000. This will be in addition to the current loss of benefit sanction for a four week period and the requirement to repay any overpayment;
- Increasing the period people convicted of fraud will lose their benefit, alongside the punishment that is handed out by the courts. There will be an immediate three years loss of benefit for a serious offence of organised benefit fraud; and
- A £50 civil penalty for people who fail to take reasonable care of their claim and knowingly let a change in circumstance run on and incur an overpayment.
The Bill also takes powers to enable the creation of a new single, integrated fraud investigation service. This will bring together fraud investigators from across her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities.
Housing Benefit Changes
- The Bill gives powers to restrict the increase in Local Housing Allowance rates to the Consumer Prices Index. This will enable greater control over the growth of Housing Benefit in the private rented sector and ensure future support for claimants will be kept at a more reasonable and realistic level.
- The Bill also introduces measures to ensure Housing Benefit, for working-age tenants in the social rented sector, takes account of whether the property is a reasonable size for its occupants.
Update on Proposals to time limit Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
It was decided that from 19 September for four weeks, Jobcentre Plus (JCP) would be sending letters to all customers currently receiving contribution –based ESA in the Work Related Activity Group to forewarn them of the proposals to time limit ESA. Around 115,000 letters were issued to help prepare people for the proposed changes. JCP have received fewer enquiries following this mailshot than anticipated and call volumes remain low. Activity is still ongoing to answer any claimant queries resulting from this notification. Although the early notification has now ended, JCP continue to advise any claimants making a new claim.
This proposed time limit is part of the Welfare Reform Bill currently progressing through Parliament. If it becomes law, the time limit will not apply to people with no, or limited, means of supporting themselves, and those most severely affected by their medical conditions. Any time spent in the Support Group will not count towards the 12 months. Those who are affected by the 12 month time limit may be able to receive income related ESA. Claimants living abroad and receiving contribution based ESA will also be affected by this proposed change. However, unlike people who live in the UK, they will not be able to claim income related ESA if their contribution based ESA end.
The Work Programme
Work Programme Providers within Wessex Region have started delivering the Work Programme and are continuing to receive referrals from Jobcentres across the District. DWP are currently working with the providers on the production of management information and expects this information will start to be made available in the Spring via the DWP website.
Recent changes in referral to the Work Programme include:
- Changing the ESA – 6 month unemployed group is now mandation point for the Work Programme.
The Minister has taken the decision to bring forward the change for ESA simplification. This means the mandatory referral point to the Work Programme for ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) claimants with a 6 month group wil be aligned with that for the 3 month group. This is a welcome change because it simplifies the complex eligibility rules for ESA claimants.
- ESA Volunteers
Information Sessions delivered by Work Programme providers have started. The sessions will enable ESA claimants who could volunteer for the Work Programme to make an informed choice about the support they opt for – ie; the Jobcentre Plus Offer or the Work Programme. It is aimed at encouraging additional numbers of ESA volunteers for the Work Programme.
Access to Work Preferred Bidders announced
DWP has announced Preferred Bidders for a new Access to Work Jobcentre Plus assessment model replacing the current Ergonomic, Technical and Sensory contracts. The new assessment will explore the breadth of disability issues experienced by our customers and their impact in the workplace and provide a range of solutions to address these. The new contracts also introduce progression planning to the assessment, detailing what steps are required to maximise customer independence. Coverage includes all disabilities with the exception of health conditions as there will be a separate Access to Work contract dealing specifically with this customer group in employment.
Update on DWP Appointee Review
From 3 October 2011 DWP have changed the way they look after their customers who have an ‘appointee’.
Many DWP customers, unable to manage their own financial affairs, have a DWP ‘appointee’ – a person appointed to do this for them. Currently there is no way for DWP to ensure that appointees are meeting the responsibility they committed to when they were appointed. From 3 October, the new process was introduced that allows us both to review appointees’ suitability and confirm whether the customer or claimant does still need appointee help.
Following the evaluation of a business test it has been decided that all new appointees will be reviewed at a set future date. At the review date, the appointee will be sent a letter asking about their ability to continue to fulfil the requirements of the role.
Existing appointees have either been identified for review from 3 October as a result of normal business events such as renewals, or as part of an exercise that started later in 2011 and running to the beginning of 2012. Appointees looking after customers or claimants receiving a benefit delivered by the Pension, Disability and Carers Service or Jobcentre Plus will be included in the new review.
Corporate Appointees, deputies, those holding Power of Attorney and Agents are excluded from this review.
Bereavement Benefits Public Consultation: review of bereavement benefits
A public consultation was launched on 12 December 2011 until 5 March 2012, to seek views on proposals to simplify the payment system and contribution conditions. This may prompt questions from claimants, customers and the public. The Consultation paper will also be published on the consultation page the DWP website.
Introducing Benefit Integrity Centres
DWP has set up a number of Benefit Integrity Centres (BIC) with the specific aim of ensuring claimants are receiving the correct amount of money.
This is part of a wider programme to review almost one million cases each year, in response to the priority the Government is placing on getting and keeping benefit claims right.
BIC sites are contacting claimants by telephone and post to carry out full cases reviews on claims for Income Support, JSA, ESA and Incapacity Benefit. They are also contacting them by text to remind them of the need to return forms and to notify changes of circumstances within laid down timescale.
The DWP website contains general information about the government’s welfare reform agenda.
Direct Gov contains information about all JCP services and future changes
The DWP monthly electronic newsletter Touch base e-zine is available – to access right click on the link below and select open hyperlink:
Page last updated: April 16th, 2013 at 7:41 am