DWP admits to 80% Mandatory Reconsideration target

It has long been suspected by many that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set targets for certain decision, whether that be the number of sanctions imposed or claimants found fit for work. But in a recent response to a Freedom of Information request the Department actually disclosed that it has a target for the number of Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) decisions that are upheld.

MR was introduced in 2014 for all benefits where there is a right of appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Previously, if you disagreed with a DWP decision you could appeal to the tribunal, who would look at it again. Now you must first ask the DWP to ‘reconsider’ their decision before appealing. Continue reading

Vacancy: Casework Support Volunteer

Title: Casework Support Volunteer

Reports to: Volunteer Manager/ project co-ordinator

Commitment: 1 day a week for a minimum of 3 months

Location: Z2K or South West London Law Centres Offices (to be discussed at interview)

Purpose: To assist the caseworker on the Stepping Stones project in providing vulnerable debtors with free and confidential support, advice and information. To operate within Zacchaeus 2000 Trusts (Z2K) & South West London Law Centre policies and procedures. Continue reading

Vacancy: Right First Time Volunteer

Using complaints procedures to achieve better outcomes for our clients

Title: Complaints Caseworker Support Volunteer

Reports to: Volunteer Manager/Complaints caseworker

Time Commitment: 2 days a week Monday to Friday.

Location: Z2K offices in Victoria or Queens Park

Closing Date: 26th May at 5pm

Purpose: To provide assistance to our full-time caseworker who manages our Right First Time complaints project. The purpose of the volunteering roles is to assist with the promotion and liaison with other advice agencies and organisations, handle basic complaints again social welfare and housing services, follow up on outstanding cases, collate monitoring information and provide ideas and feedback on complaint responses. Continue reading

Housing services fail to recognise the needs of male Domestic Violence victims

Photo by David Graham Scott

Domestic violence is an issue that can affect both men and women in various ways and to various degrees. Provision of services for victims of domestic violence are woefully inadequate across the board, and there are particular problems when it comes to making homelessness applications. For example a Z2K client who had spent six months in a refuge after leaving an abusive partner was told by her local authority to return to the property registered in his name when she tried to make a homelessness application. But there is also a particular problem when it comes to male domestic violence victims. Continue reading

66,000 households hit by lower Benefit Cap

Yesterday the first set of quarterly statistics showing the impact of the lower Benefit Cap were published and they include several interesting revelations. Z2K has consistently opposed the cap since its first introduction in 2013. We do not accept that it provides greater work incentives, as most of those affected are unable to work in the first place, and the evidence shows it simply serves to further impoverish low income households, with many made homeless as a result. These latest figures confirm this.

Unsurprisingly, given that the lower cap has brought many more households within scope, the total number capped has increased dramatically from around 20,000 in November 2016 to 66,135 in February 2017.  However, this figure is well below the total of 88,000 forecast by DWP in its Impact Assessment back in August.  And it is substantially below the 120,000 suggested when the legislation lowering the cap was going through Parliament.  Continue reading