Census Data on Ethnicity for the North West

January 31, 2013 in Communtiy Safety by Tony Wright

Census Data on Ethnicity for the North West: This spreadsheet includes census breakdown on ethnicity for all local authorities in the North West.

Census Data North West 2013

VSNW Briefing 2013: Eleven upcoming policy developments affecting the voluntary and community sector

January 31, 2013 in Communtiy Safety by Tony Wright

As we usher in 2013, it promises to be a tough year for many people as the full scale of austerity comes into effect.  It is within this context that government reforms continue to be announced and implemented at a pace that leaves it difficult to keep up.  This document intends to highlight some of the major areas that will impact on both the voluntary and community sector, and the individuals that make up the service-users of such organisations.  We wanted a top 10 – but came up with 11, but there will undoubtedly be key issues we have missed!

Voluntary Sector North West will continue to champion the sectors role with decision-makers and to keep the sector across the region up to date with the latest policy developments – providing insight and foresight to support you navigating the difficult waters ahead – for you and your beneficiaries.

Richard Caulfield, VSNW Chief Executive

Austerity: No doubt, the defining feature of 2013 will be the further impact of austerity.  The local authority settlement has become clearer, with many North West areas disproportionately affected.  Many of the essential services that support a wide range of communities will be stripped to the bone – and sometimes taken away completely.  This will impact upon the VCS through reduced funding, a reduction in support services, and an increase in demand from service-users.  In some areas we are hearing of 25-35% cuts across voluntary sector budgets.  VSNW does not however believe the sector should be arguing about ‘proportionate cuts for the VCS’, rather we should argue for an informed and intelligent process to making the cuts that engages the sector and helps protect the most vulnerable.

Further Reading:

http://richardcaulfield.thirdsector.co.uk/2012/12/18/if-you-have-to-cut-dont-cut-proportionately-cut-carefully

If You Have to Cut, Don’t Cut Proportionately – Cut Carefully, Richard Caulfield, 18th December 2012, Third Sector Magazine

Health reforms take effect on April 1st.  This will see Public Health transfer to Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups take over from PCTs, and the abolition of Strategic Health Authorities; Health & Wellbeing Boards, local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England will also formally start.  The Public Health ‘settlement’ has been revealed with increases for all areas.  Some of the NW such as Cumbria, Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester will receive 10% increase for the next two years whereas Merseyside and Lancashire will receive the minimum increase of 2.8%.

For further details:

http://www.vsnw.org.uk/files/Publications/4_7_12_Policy_Briefing_Health_and_Social_Care_Act_2012_Regional_Voices.doc Briefing on the new world of health and social care (VSNW & Regional Voices briefing)

To keep up to date with health issues, subscribe to: http://www.vsnw.org.uk/publications/healthbulletin VSNW’s Health & Social Care Bulletin

Police and Criminal Justice: The Police and Crime Commissioners set their annual Police and Crime Plan in April.  This represents an opportunity to influence activity and also provides the VCS with a rare chance to make the case for alternative approaches to reducing crime in their local areas.  Also, recently announced plans at rehabilitation reform lay out intentions to outsource probation services on a model of payment by results; this is summarised by  HYPERLINK “http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/2013/01/10/this-is-not-quite-the-death-knell-for-the-probation-service-but-it-is-certainly-the-most-radical-change-it-has-ever-seen/” Professor Tim Newburn in a blog.

https://twitter.com/VSNWPolicy/nw-pccs/members Contact your Police and Crime Commissioner by twitter

Equalities: On 15 May 2012, the Home Secretary announced a review of the Public Sector Equality Duty, as part of the outcome of the Red Tape Challenge spotlight on equalities.  Further details of the review, including members of the independent steering group appointed to oversee the review, were published on 28 November 2012.  The review is now expected to be completed by April 2013.  Many equalities organisations fear a withdrawal from effective equalities’ legislation as a result.

Contribute to http://www.edf.org.uk/blog/?p=22842 The Equality and Diversity Forum’s response

Improving equality outcomes in an era of Localism: http://www.vsnw.org.uk/files/Publications/Tameside_Briefing_Paper1.doc Briefing on developing a local equalities framework

Welfare Reform will affect many service users of the voluntary and community sector. The benefits uprating bill sees real terms cuts in benefits, whilst the introduction of Universal Credit (being piloted in four North West areas), will add to a raft of reforms (which includes Personal Independence Payments, Social Fund and Council Tax Benefit) and cuts to welfare that will be difficult to navigate, especially as many advice services have seen huge reductions in funding.

http://www.vsnw.org.uk/files/Publications/welfare_reforms_briefing_v_2.doc 1NW’s Welfare Reform briefing (Daniel Silver, January 2013)

Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure: The ‘last hurrah’ of VCS infrastructure in the shape of Transforming Local Infrastructure comes to an end in October 2013, following which there will be no more national money from government, nor from the Lottery.  This raises a fundamental question about who will provide these services in the new marketplace of voluntary sector support.  VSNW will work with partners to ensure that Transforming Local Infrastructure has the maximum impact.  We have been leading the debate on this in many areas and created a good discussion through Richard’s Blog in Third Sector Magazine.

http://richardcaulfield.thirdsector.co.uk/2012/10/31/is-it-the-end-of-infrastructure-as-we-know-it Is it the End of Infrastructure As We Know It, Richard Caulfield, 31st March 2012, Third Sector Magazine

VSNW has been contracted to support a number of individual NW TLI programmes, and will be holding a TLI Symposium in mid-March.  To discuss the future direction of your TLI programme, please email: richard.caulfield@vsnw.org.uk.

European Union:  2013 is a pivotal year for the EU Structural Funds (the key ones being ESF and ERDF) as it marks the end of the current 7 year funding period and the final preparations for the new 7 year fund running from 2014-20.  The year will see the final allocation of the funds in the UK as well as a consultation in the spring on the shape and content of the new post 2013 funds. The likeliest obvious difference will be in the way the funds are administered, with the LEPs playing a key role in developing the priorities for the funds.  The funds will be likely to continue to focus on employment and skills (ESF) with the ERDF programme being focussed on measures which will promote growth, especially business support, including an increased profile for social enterprises, and more use of financial instruments such as loan funds for entrepreneurs.

For more information, please see:  http://www.networkforeurope.eu

Commissioning and the Social Value Act.  The Social Value Act comes into force this January.  Within the current commissioning framework that appears to value efficiency over all other concerns, this could potentially be of real benefit to the sector, but there is currently not much clarity about what this entails and how the implementation of the Act will pan out for the sector.

Social Enterprise UK has produced a useful guide on: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/uploads/files/2012/12/social_value_guide.pdf Implementing the Social Value Act.

VSNW and CLES’ manifesto for public service reform that understands the role of equality and local equalities groups:  http://www.vsnw.org.uk/news/view/2012-02-23-responsible-reform-open-public-services-for-all-report Responsible Reform: Open public services for all

Rise of Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs)

On the back of Lord Heseltine’s Economic Growth Review (No Stone Unturned), last Autumn’s Budget Statement promised a great deal for the future of Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs).  This includes LEPs developing and overseeing ‘Strategic Plans for Local Growth’ (subregional plans in the North West), core funding, shaping the use of a ‘growth-related’ single funding pot, and having a strategic role in skills policy.  The role of LEPs continues to gain pace and 2013 will be a significant year for them.

VSNW briefing #82:  http://www.vsnw.org.uk/files/Publications/82_The_Rise_of_the_LEPs(3).doc The Rise of the LEPs (December 2012)

Community Rights: This year will be a big test for the government’s localism agenda and how it empowers local communities.  This should be the year of local Community Rights: Rights to Bid, to Build, to Challenge and Neighbourhood Planning.  We think local public sector Asset Transfer will be a critical part of the future and it will be important that this work is done with a full understanding of what’s truly sustainable and that supports what’s needed in local areas.

http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/ Locality’s My Community Rights website

Spending Review 2013 and a ‘growth-related’ single funding pot

On the back of austerity measures, the drive to find new local solutions to economic and public service delivery challenges is forging new negotiated local arrangements.  This may be through City Deals or through Whole-Place Community Budgets.  Each one is different.

City Deals: “Each deal is bespoke and reflects the different needs of individual places but every deal aims to: give cities the powers and tools they need to drive local economic growth; unlock projects or initiatives that will boost their economies; and deliver a step change in the governance arrangements.” So far we have seen deals for Liverpool and Greater Manchester; and Preston’s bid to drive growth in Lancashire has now been submitted.

City Deals in the North West:

http://www.agma.gov.uk/gmca/city-deal-announcement/index.html Greater Manchester’s City Deal

http://liverpool.gov.uk/council/performance-and-spending/budgets-and-finance/city-deal/ Liverpool’s City Deal

Preston (outline of the bid): http://www.centreforcities.org.uk/preston.html%20http:/www.dpm.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/cities-policy-unit” Strength from within: Supporting economic growth in Preston

Whole-place Community Budgets: The four national whole-place Community Budgets are similarly working out their own delivery and governance systems.  Partly driven by the pressure of local cuts, the growing challenge is to address the issue of silo’d funding streams in local areas.  Some of this is being addressed with new local arrangements but ultimately difficulties often stem from the different national government department funding streams.

VSNW Briefing #72 on  http://www.vsnw.org.uk/files/Publications/Community_Budgets(3).doc Community Budgets

Whole-place Community Budget pilots in the North West: West Cheshire’s  http://www.altogetherbetterwestcheshire.org.uk/?page_id=1365 Altogether Better and  http://www.agma.gov.uk/gmca/community-budgets/index.html Greater Manchester

Both initiatives, as well as the Heseltine Growth Review, lead to the implication that there should be a single ‘growth-related’ funding pot drawn from across different Whitehall departments.  Details about what this will look like are expected in this year’s Spending Review.

As our recent Briefing on LEPs asks: what will the proposed Single Funding Pot from Whitehall (starting in 2015) look like:

will it look like a pot for LEPs as they are now?

will it be a means to absorb EU funding into simplistic, less-effective job creation schemes like the Regional Growth Fund?

or will it enable the kinds of activity that Whole-place Community Budgets and City Deals are looking to do?

VSNW (Voluntary Sector North West) is the regional voluntary sector network for the North West. The purpose of VSNW is to ensure that the voluntary and community sector (VCS), in all its diversity, takes its full part in shaping the future of the North West.

VSNW works with 150 members which

work across the region directly supporting and delivering services for individuals, or

are VCS infrastructure organisations (LIOs) that work with local voluntary and community groups.

VSNW members provide community services, regenerate neighbourhoods, support individuals, promote volunteering and tackle discrimination. The 40 generalist LIOs in membership of VSNW have a membership of 6,780 VCS groups and are in contact with 19,800 local voluntary and community sector groups in the North West – just under two-thirds (63%) of the region’s VCS groups.

Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW)

St Thomas Centre

Ardwick Green North

Manchester

M12 6FZ

Tel: 0161 276 9300

Fax: 0161 276 9301

Email: policy@vsnw.org.uk

Web: http://www.vsnw.org.uk

Registered charity no. 1081654

Company limited by guarantee

Registered in England no. 3988903

Registered office as above

One North West Briefing: Welfare Reform

January 31, 2013 in Communtiy Safety by Tony Wright

The government’s welfare reform agenda is central to their policy programme, and is set to become a reality for many communities from April. This is designed to ‘make work pay’ and also reduce the deficit.  There are many layers of reform that are coming into place, which will affect people in different ways, which this briefing summarises.

Background

The government’s welfare reform agenda is central to their policy programme, and is set to become a reality for many communities from April. This is designed to ‘make work pay’ and also reduce the deficit.  There are many layers of reform that are coming into place, which will affect people in different ways, which this briefing will summarise. We are grateful to Jeremy Engineer, from Cheetham Hill Advice, for information that has supported this briefing.

Universal Credit

This be introduced starting October 2013 it will replace income based JSA, IS, income ESA, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This will be for working age people.

Paid monthly in one payment

No payment to Landlord

Taper set at 65% i.e. for every £1 earned over a certain limit claimants will keep 35p

Self-employed people will be assumed to have a minimum income

Claimants will manage their accounts on line

Tougher conditions and sanctions of claimants:

People working part time will be expected to try to increase their hours or the hourly rate and benefits can be stopped or reduced for up to 3 years if you do not meet the conditions of the benefit, for example not looking for work, or giving up work

Everybody transferred by 2017.

The Universal Credit is designed to make the benefits system more simple, to make work pay and to reduce dependency. However, concerns have been expressed about the impact that the roll out of Universal Credit will have on individuals, families and communities. For instance, a recent JRF report showed that Universal Credit could trap people in poverty unless major flaws are ironed out.

The Pathfinder will take place in Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington from April 2013. It will enable DWP to test the new simpler, single benefit payment system and its IT with local authorities, employers and claimants in a live environment before Universal Credit is rolled out across the country in October 2013. Up to 1,500 new claimants are expected to begin receiving Universal Credit each month throughout the Pathfinder, and throughout the initial Pathfinder period about 9,000 households will claim Universal Credit. It will only apply to certain postcodes in the named areas.

However, despite the intention that the Universal Credit will make the system much simpler to navigate, there are issues around people having access to the internet; just under three quarters of frontline advice workers surveyed feel that the ‘digital by default’ delivery of Universal Credit will isolate and exclude the most vulnerable claimants and customers.

There are a range of other areas that appear far from simple and will place demand on voluntary sector organisations who support people to navigate the system. These are detailed below

Council Tax Benefit

This has been heralded as a key aspect of the government’s localisation agenda. However, with a ten percent cut, and protection of low-income pensioners, there may be a significant impact on working-age households who are currently in receipt of council tax benefit.

From April 2013 national scheme scrapped and new one administered by Local Authority who will make up their own rules.

10% budget cut

Low income pensioners are protected so will not be affected.

Social Fund, Crisis loans and Community Care Grants

This is likely to result in the unavailability of critical emergency support, leaving vulnerable people more susceptible to the scourge of legal loan sharks simply in order to survive. As the social security net is restricted, many people will fall deeper into the clutches of poverty.

Social Fund will be scrapped and a budget will be given to the local authority to administer.

Budget not ring-fenced.

Local authorities expected to make local arrangements to meet need by connecting with food banks, credit unions and furniture schemes.

Provision for crisis situations unclear.

Tax Credits 

The annual bill for tax credits is over £28 billion and it is an area that is much debated; however, these are largely designed to make people who are experiencing in-work poverty be able to survive. There is also a debate on who should be in receipt of tax credits – is it right that higher earners should get them when savings have to be made? A counter-argument to this it that a universal model ensures that those who need them most are assured of receiving them, and also that it is beneficial to the welfare state to have a model that everyone benefits from.

Couples with children now need to work 24 hours per week, rather than 16 to get Working Tax Credit.

Increased taper from 39% to 41%.

Reduction in income limit at which Child Tax Credit is no longer paid from £50k to £40k.

Removal of additional baby element.

Removal of 50plus element.

Reduction in child care payments from 80% to 70%.

Personal Independence Payments

Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by Personnel Independence Payments (PIP) for working age people 16 to 65 from October 2013. This is one of the most controversial reforms that is being enacted, and there has been outrage at the way that people are being assessed by the private sector organisation ATOS.

20% reduction in the budget.

Most people to have a medical, done by ATOS.

No automatic entitlement for certain disabilities or illnesses, as currently the case.

Existing DLA claimants will be invited to claim PIP sometime between 2013 and March 2016, if they don’t DLA will stop.

Existing DLA claimants will not automatically get PIP.

Paid at 2 rates for both daily living and mobility components unlike DLA which is 3 rates for care and 2 for mobility.

Housing

The reforms to housing benefits will have a major impact on many people. DWP says that “from April 2013 all current and future working age tenants renting from a local authority, housing association or other registered social landlord will receive housing support based on the need of their household.” This includes:

Bedroom tax – if claimant is in social housing and has “extra” bedrooms they will have their housing benefit reduced by 14% for one bed room and 25% for two or more.

Removal of £15 per week “excess” if claimants rent lower than Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

LHA rates now set at 30 percentile of local market rent and not 50 percentile.

Cap on LHA.

Non-dependent deductions have been increased.

LHA rates frozen April 2012.

Conclusion 

The welfare reform agenda is likely to have a major impact on communities living in poverty. This is a major issue in terms of race equality, as BME people are more likely to live in deprived areas, be part of larger households and be unemployed. The full scale of the reforms are not yet known, but One North West will be  to developing further thinking in this area in order to try to mitigate some of the worst effects and prepare communities to be able to deal with them. For more information, please email: daniel.silver@vsnw.org.uk or call 0161 276 9300.

Amy Tarr and Dan Finn (2012), Implementing Universal Credit: Will the Reforms Improve the Service for Users? Available from: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/implementing-universal-credit http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/implementing-universal-credit

Policy in Practice, ‘Universal Credit Poll January 2013’ Available from: http://policyinpractice.co.uk/universal-credit/universal-credit-poll-jan-2013/ http://policyinpractice.co.uk/universal-credit/universal-credit-poll-jan-2013/

Department for Work and Pensions, “Changes to housing support in the social rented sector and the private rented sector” Available from: HYPERLINK “http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/housing-support/”http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/housing-support/