OPAAL UK (Older People's Advocacy Alliance) have produced a short film called 'Suzanne's Story' which highlights the benefits of advocacy when she dealt with cancer. Please click the link below to watch it.
OPAAL UK are hosting a number of Older People's Cancer Voices Learning Events across the country this summer. There is an event in Manchester at the beginning of August.For more information and booking details, please click the link here.
The Older People's Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL), with MacMillan Cancer Support have put together three booklets detailing various aspects of their involvement with cancer patients, carers and the benefits of advocacy.
The three documents are titled:
- Facing Cancer Together: Demonstrating the power of independent advocacy
- The Rich Picture - Cancer Carers: Understanding the numbers, needs and experiences of cancer carers in the UK (MacMillan)
- Time: Our gift to you - Why cancer advocacy volunteers support their peers
Please select the documents below to read them.
The Older People's Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL UK) produce a blog on living with cancer.
This blog (accessible here) has now been nominated for an award in the best health blog category.
Please help it succeed by voting for it at the link - http://blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2017/entries/opaal-copa
The Older People's Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL UK) produced a short film for their Cancer Voices programme with help from ICANN.
This film has now been nominated for a Charity Film Award.
Please help it succeed by voting for it at the link - http://www.charityfilmawards.com/videos/opaal-uk
Thursday 15th September saw ICANNs AGM and the launch of the new Benefits Assessment Advocacy Project at Lancashire Conservation Studios in Preston.
A really great turnout from organisations across Lancashire heard that, from 1st October 2016 ICANN will be able to support individuals over the age of 16 throughout the whole of Lancashire to attend health assessments for:
Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), and
Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
This is an exciting time for ICANN as it expands its service provision thanks to securing 3 years funding from the Big Lottery Fund. If you think you would like to help on this extended project, why not consider volunteering. Please check the link on the right.
We are delighted to announce that we have achieved the Quality Standards for the Provision of Advocacy Services to Older People Affected by Cancer by OPAAL UK!
A huge thank you to Sandra Casey who did all the work in compiling evidence and assessing our practice!
Our Annual General Meeting and New Project Launch
Takes place on THURSDAY 15th SEPTEMBER 2016 at 3.00 pm,
at Lancashire Conservation Studios St Mary’s Street Preston PR1 5LN.
(Refreshments will be provided on arrival with the AGM starting at 3.45 pm prompt).
After the official AGM business we are excited to officially launch our NEW Countywide Benefit Assessment Advocacy Project funded by The Big Lottery. We will share with you presentations on our successful pilot project along with details of the new service we will be offering from 1 October 2016. Please click here for further detailed information.
We would welcome your support at this event and ask if you would like to become a member of ICANN which is free of charge. If so, please complete and return the attached form. If anyone would like to consider joining our Board of Trustees or would like to discuss our activities further please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please complete the booking form and return it no later than Thursday 25 August 2016. Papers for the event will be emailed out week commencing 29 August 2016 to those wishing to attend.
And finally, please check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ICANNLancs - like us, follow us, tweet about us: #ICANN_Advocacy and spread the word amongst your contacts.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to receiving your response.
Our Volunteer Team Meeting will take place at Brentwood House on Thursday 18th August between 10am and 12noon.
Please contact email@example.com to confirm your place.
For Volunteers Week our volunteers were treated to afternoon tea in the grand surroundings of Samlesbury Hall.
Further to us being successful in our application to the Big Lottery to continue and extend our Benefit Assessment Advocacy Project, we have two new posts available.
These are for two Advocate / Volunteer Co-ordinators until April 2019. Salary: £21,734 (pro-rata). Hours: 30 per week.
We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Advocate who will also work as a Volunteer Co-ordinator across Lancashire, on our new countywide Benefit Assessment Advocacy Project. (Funded until April 2017).
The successful candidate will be responsible for working flexibly to meet specific targets as part of a larger project and their duties will include:
· Providing one to one advocacy support to clients, predominantly those undergoing Benefits Health Assessments.
· For recruiting, training and supporting volunteer advocates to deliver this volunteer based project along with raising awareness of ICANN and our services.
You must either have some advocacy experience and/or experience of working with volunteers in a similar setting, be a good listener, and are able to speak up for others who are disadvantaged, have a disability or are vulnerable due to illness or other circumstances.
Application packs are available via email to Heather Paton (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also ask for other formats by calling Heather on 01772 717461.
If you would like more information or would like an informal chat about the role, please call the Services Manager, Janet Cullingford on 01772 717461.
Closing Date: 9.00am Monday 13 June 2016.
Interview Date: Friday 24 June 2016.
Good News! ICANN has been successful in securing 3 years funding from the Big Lottery to continue our popular Benefit Assessment Advocacy Project.
This funding will also enable us to extend the reach of this project to cover support at other assessment centres in Lancashire.
ICANN will be continuing to seek new volunteers to work on this project and will be advertising 2 new staff posts shortly.
In early Autumn the project will be officially launched at our AGM. We hope you will join us in celebrating and continue to help us support our local communities.
Please feel free to share this good news with your colleagues, friends or anyone who you think would be interested.
If you have access, follow ICANN for updates and stories at: @ICANN_Advocacy
Volunteer Advocacy Training
Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Advocate?
In Preston, Chorley, South Ribble or West Lancs. for our Cancer Older Peoples Advocacy Project?
We are particularly interested in hearing from mature individuals who may have some experience of cancer either personally or through supporting a friend or family member.
Training will take place over two days - Friday 4th & Friday 11th March 9am to 4pm at Fulwood Methodist Crossroads Centre.
If you would like further information, or to express an interest please email: email@example.com or call: 01772 900253 (Direct Tel No) or 01772 717461 (Reception) to leave your contact details and someone will get back to you.
Yesterday saw our Christmas meeting for staff and volunteers. Thanks to everyone who came and for all your hard work over the year.
Care Act advocacy hits the courts
The London Borough of Haringey was criticised for failing to provide an asylum-seeker with an independent advocate under the Care Act. The judge in the case said the requirement for an advocate in the Care Act "could not be clearer". More information on the case can be found here.
Care Act advocacy referrals “way below” expected level
Those of us involved in advocacy will not be surprised at recent reports which show that Care Act advocacy referrals are well below expected levels. Under the Care Act, councils are legally required to offer an advocate to anyone who has ‘substantial difficulty’ being involved in assessments, care planning, reviews and safeguarding cases and lacks a suitable friend or relative to represent them.
Updated guidance on delayed transfer of care
NHS England has recently issued updated guidance on delayed transfer of care. It is interesting to note that the "guidance now places more emphasis on local collaborative solutions to any barriers as part of a wider picture of joint and integrated working (which is embedded in the Care Act)."
As well as the guidance, NHS England has also published the latest local statistics which you can check to see how your local area is doing.
NICE guidelines on integrated care for older people
NICE have recently released a new set of guidelines calling on better integrated care for older people with a range of long term conditions. The guidelines encourage health and social services to work closer together to deliver high quality personalised care. One of the key recommendations is to ensure that older people who have social care needs as well as multiple long term conditions should have one named care person as their first point of contact. This is essential in providing continuity of care. These guidelines will affect over 6 million people a year.
National review of Adult Social Care complaints
The Local Government Ombudsman has produced its annual review of adult social care complaints. 55% of all complaints received were upheld and there was an 18% increase in complaints and enquiries received since 2013/14.
Commissioning Independent Advocacy under the Care Act 2014
The Advocacy Action Alliance’s monitoring report found: 63% of contracts for independent advocacy were for 12 months or less. Some local authorities that had not commissioned any Care Act advocacy in time for April 2015 required “nudging” by advocacy providers to set up a commissioning process. In the majority of reported cases (17 local authorities out of 21) the spend on independent advocacy was less than 60% of what the Local Government Association’s Care Act ‘Ready Reckoner’ had indicated it should be for 2015-16, and the average was less than 50%.
15 out of 29 responses reported that their contracts and contracts held by other organisations to provide advocacy had been reduced or ended since April 2015, suggesting a reduction in the provision of advocacy in many local authority areas.
(from OPAAL UK)
ICANN has a new leaflet available explaining our services and they ways in which we can help.
If you would like some copies of the leaflet, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The DWP is now losing battles on all fronts, as the last fortnight has proved repeatedly.
Because whilst the big benefits news has been George Osborne’s massive u-turn over tax credits, there have been a host of smaller reverses for the DWP.
The forced transfer from DLA to PIP is already running into serious delays – though there has been no change so far in the estimate that a quarter of current working age DLA claimants will get no award of PIP; Maximus is failing to carry out enough work capability assessments, because not enough health professionals want to work for them, and support group numbers are rising as a result; the courts have ruled against the benefits cap for carers and mandatory work schemes are being axed as more and more big companies and charities bow to activist pressure.
On top of all that, Ken Loach is making a film about benefits sanctions. He says that the situation is now even worse than when he made ‘Cathy come home’.
FORCED DLA TO PIP TRANSFER IN TROUBLE
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now believes that it will take the DWP three years instead of two to reassess all current working age DLAclaimants for PIP.
It blames the increase on Atos and Capita failing to carry out enough face-to-face assessments and suggests that the DLA to PIP transfer process is beginning to look as badly managed as the incapacity benefit to ESA one.
However, the OBR still believes that 26% of ‘lifetime’ DLA claimants will get no award at all when forced to claim PIP.
ESA SUPPORT GROUP KEEPS GROWING
The OBR has also revised its estimate of the proportion of claimants likely to be in the support group long-term. In July it thought there would be 30%, now it thinks that it will be 38%.
One likely cause is the fact that Maximus are failing to carry out enough medicals, meaning that two thirds of the backlog of reassessment of current claimants has still not been cleared.
MAXIMUS LOSING MILLIONS ON WCA
The reason that Maximus are not carrying out enough assessments is that they are having problems recruiting enough health professionals to do the job.
Their lack of staff means that an expected $30 million profit in the first year of the WCA contract has ended up as a $4 million loss. Maximus’ shares plummeted in value by 26% when the loss was revealed.
This is bad news for the DWP as well as Maximus. It suggests that the WCA is still tainted by the reputation it gained under Atos and even offering well above market wages is not enough to tempt health professional in sufficient numbers.
MANDATORY WORK SCHEMES TO CLOSE
The government is axing mandatory work activity and community work placements. The announcement comes after years of protests and court action by claimants forced into unpaid work with no prospect of a job at the end.
The not so good news, however, is that a new scheme called the Work and Health Programme is to be introduced.
As one commentator has already suggested, this might be the beginning of attempts to force claimants into compulsory treatment programmes such as CBT or help to combat drug or alcohol misuse.
BENEFIT CAP FOR CARERS UNLAWFUL
The High Court has ruled that the household benefit cap unlawfully discriminates against carers.
So far the DWP is still refusing to budge and has even issued an urgent bulletin to local councils warning them that the cap continues to apply. At least for single carers, however, they may have no choice but to obey the law in the end.
(from Benefits and Work)