Category Archives: Welfare benefits

Benefits reforms subject of Finders International event

Finders International is running another of its popular deputyship development days for the public sector in June.

The development days give people from different organisations and industries the chance to get together and exchange ideas. The fourth such event will take place at the Hippodrome in Thorp Street, Birmingham, on 14 June.

Delegates will discuss the forthcoming benefit reforms and the implications for their clients.

Changes to welfare benefits in the last few years have had a profound effect on individuals, especially those who have been on long-term disability benefits. Council officers have already reported an increase in time spent supporting their clients at benefit reviews and tribunals.

Implementing Universal Credit also raises serious issues for local authorities managing the finances of vulnerable adults. Challenges officers and those applying for universal credit experience include the need for a separate email address, the time spent waiting for claims to be processed, and that payments are made with no National Insurance number quoted.

Delegates at the June event will get tips and advice on how to complete assessment forms successfully. Tackling reconsiderations and appeals regarding the Employment and Support Allowance will also be discussed so that officers can ensure they get the right decision and what steps to take to challenge a decision they disagree with.

Those at the event will also hear about how to get advice and ensure that they get expert advice at the earliest opportunity. Other subjects covered on the day will be the process of making gifts for a person who has a Court of Protection order in place and issues around tenancies and the loss of capacity.

Feedback from previous events says council employees are aware that deputyship is an unusual, specialist job. The value, therefore, of the deputyship development days is that it brings together people in the same boat.

David Lockwood, a former local authority deputy and Finders International’s public sector development manager, said: “The event is open to all local authorities where staff act as a deputy under the Court of Protection. It’s also for people in the private sector who act as deputies too. We offer a unique opportunity to bring all those who deal with deputyship under one roof, providing a supportive and collaborative environment for those workers.

“Many councils have had to cut the support and advice they give in respect of benefits. For many council officials, accessing expert advice is difficult to find and we are trying to ensure that we point them in the right direction. Hopefully, many local authorities and businesses in the Midlands will be able to send delegates along.”

If you would like to come along to our event, you can register on the Finders International website here.