We are looking for a new triage volunteer to commit to at least 2 days a week for a minimum of 3 months for any of the following times: 10am-4pm, 10am – 12pm or 2pm – 4pm. Continue reading
Z2K is a partner in the Pimlico Advice Hub, along with the Cardinal Hulme centre and Westminster Foodbank, where we provide advice and support. The Hub is based in St Gabriel’s Hall on the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico. It was recently nominated for the best neighbourhood project award at the Westminster Community Awards.
Geoff and his partner approached the Hub in early 2016. The couple were facing eviction from their Council property due to rent arrears. The reason for this was that his Housing Benefit had stopped. They had recently started their own business, their own café. This had been their dream for years but the practicalities of starting the business had caused them many difficulties. They had had to take out a large loan to start up the business. As they couldn’t qualify for a business loan their bank had classified it as a personal loan. When the council realised they had the loan they stopped their Housing Benefit as it took them over the capital limits. The Council also made frequent and unnecessary requests pertaining to Geoff’s status as an EU national. Continue reading
A team of eighteen Z2K staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters participated in the 2017 London Legal Walk to raise vital funds for our much needed services. This year 12,000 walkers in 700 teams joined the walk, all raising fund for free legal advice charities in London and the South East.
The weather could not have been better, with glorious sunshine beaming down as we set off from outside the Royal Courts of Justice. What is particularly enjoyable about the walk is seeing the entire legal sector come together to raise money. Teams from every major law firm and chambers join together with law centres, local citizen’s advice bureaus, other advice agencies, for a 10km walk across London. Since the cuts to legal aid this fundraising is more important than ever before.
As is usually the case the Z2K team immediately split into several different groups, divided by their different walking speeds. Our chair, Mick, was leading from the front with his brisk pace but others took more of an amble, slowed down the presence of a four legged friend, who engendered much admiration from fellow walkers.
So far we have raised over £17,000 from 66 donors, with more to come in. If you haven’t yet donated please do so here. We’re already looking forward to next year!
As a complaint caseworker, it is my job to identify trends where organisations have persistently made the same mistakes. A growing trend among my work is the mis-management by local authorities of assessing peoples’ housing benefit who are self-employed or have a fluctuating income.
There is a growing reluctance amongst local authorities such as Westminster Council to apply the Right to Reside test fully for EU housing benefit claimants. Westminster Council housing benefit assessments processes for those on fluctuating income often take several months to assess. Over the period of the assessment the claimant is bombarded with requests for repeat information, questions asked are often unspecific, leading to further more detailed information needing to be provided. Questions asked are often irrelevant to the requirements of assessing people for right to reside status. Continue reading
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