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29 January, 2015

Removing funding for local welfare assistance would be ‘an expensive mistake’ warns LGA

New analysis shows that local welfare schemes have helped support 94,000 people at direct risk of becoming or remaining homeless per year

29 January, 2015

London Borough of Ealing & Ors v Notting Hill Housing Trust & Anor 

New High Court judgment that considers when an unoccupied property belonging to a social housing provider can be exempt from council tax under the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992.

29 January, 2015

Private Rented Sector (Decent Homes Standard) Bill debated in House of Commons 

Bill, which aims to require private landlords to ensure that any property they let meets the requirements of the Decent Homes Standard, is read for the first time and due to be read a second time on Friday 6 March.

29 January, 2015

3.1 per cent decrease in debt relief orders in England and Wales during 2014 

New statistics from the Insolvency Service also show that the number of bankruptcies in 2014 was 17.3 per cent lower than in 2013, but that the number of individual voluntary arrangements increased by 6.8 per cent over the same period.

29 January, 2015

Samdup Tenzin against Stuart Russell and Laura Clark 

In new judgment, Court of Session finds landlord liable to pay an amount equivalent to three times the tenancy deposit for failing to comply with the duty to pay the deposit to the scheme administrator of an approved scheme as required by regulation 3 of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

29 January, 2015

Government has made substantial cuts to benefits but greatest changes to system yet to come, says Institute for Fiscal Studies

New briefing highlights that implementation of universal credit will fall largely to next government and the government after that

29 January, 2015

Signing on weekly, as opposed to fortnightly, leads to JSA claimants spending 2.6 fewer days on benefit

DWP publishes evaluation of its jobseeker's allowance 'signing on' trials

29 January, 2015

Edwards v Kumarasamy 

In new judgment, Court of Appeal finds that a leaseholder landlord may be held responsible for parts of the property that he did not own under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

29 January, 2015

DWP publishes post-legislative scrutiny of the Pensions Act 2007

Findings include that the percentage of women receiving the full basic state pension increased from around 40 per cent in 2009/2010 to around 80 per cent in 2013/2014

29 January, 2015

Spending on care for people aged 65 and over has been cut by 20 per cent in last decade 

New analysis from the BBC - based on official data - shows that, in 2003/2004, £1,188 was being spent per person over the age of 65, but, by 2013/2014, this had dropped to £951.

28 January, 2015

Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 

New statutory instrument extends the duty of candour and fit and proper persons requirement for directors to all registered providers of regulated activities from April 2015 and introduces a new requirement on all registered providers to display any ratings they are awarded by the Care Quality Commission from April 2015.

28 January, 2015

DWP consults on notifying budgeting loan decisions by telephone

New 'streamlined' system designed to reduce application process by up to 10 days

28 January, 2015

Council tax reduction schemes in Wales from April 2015

New statutory instrument amends prescribed requirements and default scheme regulations

28 January, 2015

DWP launches two year trial of Personalisation Pathfinders

New edition of Stakeholder Bulletin sets out details of scheme to provide additional support to ESA and JSA claimants with a disability or health condition

28 January, 2015

BBC launches new ‘care calculator’ for the over-65s 

New online guide covers both residential and home care and provides information on the differences in provision in four nations since devolution.

28 January, 2015

Housing Options in Scotland reduces homelessness applications 

New Scottish Government statistics for the period from April to September 2014, show that, where contact was maintained with households and an outcome was recorded, only half of 18,500 housing option approaches resulted in the household making a homelessness application.

28 January, 2015

Personal insolvencies in Scotland back to pre-recession levels 

New Scottish insolvency statistics for the third quarter of 2014-2015 include that there were a total of 2,633 personal insolvencies, 12 per cent lower than the previous quarter and 21.3 per cent lower than the same quarter a year ago, continuing a long term decline since 2008-2009.

28 January, 2015

Ombudsman warns of the risk of determining mental capacity without proper assessment 

Local Government Ombudsman reminder to social workers following investigation which found that a man had been forced to live in a care home against his wishes and without sufficient evidence of going through the proper process.

28 January, 2015

Care costs will force councils to cut other services, warns Local Government Association 

New analysis finds that councils will have to find £1.1bn from other services to continue protecting adult social care spending, following the £900m taken from other services to support adult social care last year.

28 January, 2015

Privacy and legal

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28 January, 2015

Average clearance time between referral of new PIP claim to assessment provider and return to DWP has fallen from peak of 30 weeks to 14 weeks

New DWP statistics also show that 98,000 new claims outstanding with assessment provider and just over 12,000 awaiting decision from DWP

28 January, 2015

Citizens Advice calls on policy makers to consider varying benefit rates around the country

New report on 'responsive welfare' also suggests devolution of budgets for other benefits to local authorities, better use of digital technology and restoring flexibility and initiative at the front line

27 January, 2015

Terms of use

Terms of use

27 January, 2015

Reduction of benefit cap to £23,000 will be first act of new Conservative government, says David Cameron

Prime Minister also confirms that, if elected in May, his party will cut housing benefit for unemployed 18 to 21 year olds

27 January, 2015

DWP confirms details of further roll out of personal independence payment

Benefit to be extended to existing DLA claimants in 18 additional areas from February 2015

27 January, 2015

Further changes to universal credit ‘gateway conditions’

New DWP guidance on further roll-out to claimants with responsibility for children, claims from people with credit union accounts and the uprating of earnings limits

27 January, 2015

Walford v Worcestershire County Council 

In new judgment, Court of Appeal holds that the mandatory property disregard in the charging regime for residential accommodation only applies where a qualifying individual occupied the resident’s home before or at the time the resident first entered residential accommodation.

27 January, 2015

DCLG announces further £250,000 funding for tenant participation training 

Funding going to the Tenant Participation Advisory Service and Trafford Hall to provide more than 1,500 new training places for social housing tenants wishing to to engage in, manage or control local services by working together.

27 January, 2015

New ‘fit for work’ scheme to assess patients by telephone

Pulse magazine reports that new occupational health scheme will only offer face-to-face consultations with occupational therapists in a minority of cases, with the majority being dealt with over the phone or online.

27 January, 2015

Latest forecast is still that there will be 0.1m universal credit cases by May 2015, says Minister for Disabled People

Written answer to parliament on whether forecast made in October 2014 remains accurate

27 January, 2015

Number of households applying to Scottish Welfare Fund has risen by a third in last year

New statistics also show that one in twenty Scottish households has been helped by Fund in its first eighteen months of operation

27 January, 2015

Eric Pickles announces plan to reduce powers of entry of council tax inspectors 

Under legislative proposals, if Valuation Office officials have been unable to gain access to a property by consent, they will have to seek the authority of a judicial tribunal to scrutinise the proposed entry.

27 January, 2015

Ed Miliband sets out Labour Party plans to increase home care 

BBC reports party leader as saying that, if elected, Labour would recruit 5,000 extra home care workers to treat terminally ill people at home and introduce financial incentives for social care workers to spend more than 15 minutes on home visits.

27 January, 2015

DWP publishes information on performance of Carer’s Allowance Unit for 2013/2014

New transparency data shows that Unit achieved 99.9 per cent payments accuracy

27 January, 2015

DWP publishes penalties policy for social security fraud and error

New document sets out action Department will take when it suspects fraud and penalties it will impose when overpayment occurs due to claimant error

26 January, 2015

Universal credit expands to families in 26 more areas from today

DWP provides details of new areas taking claims from those with responsibility for children

26 January, 2015

Only one affordable home built for every five sold under Right to Buy 

Guardian reports that government has failed to fulfil its 2011 pledge that it would replace every property sold under the scheme with a new one.

26 January, 2015

Number of parents paying maintenance through Child Support Agency is ‘at an all-time high’

DWP says that almost nine out of ten non-resident parents within system are now contributing towards child maintenance

26 January, 2015

Employment case law round up

Latest EAT decisions added to the Tribunals Service website.

23 January, 2015

Devolution options for housing benefit and employment support should be investigated, says IPPR

New report argues that devolving specific benefits or welfare programmes could boost growth and economic performance

23 January, 2015

Tax and benefit reforms introduced since May 2010 have hit the poorest the hardest

New briefing note from the Institute for Fiscal Studies also finds that cuts to in-work benefits have undermined work incentives

23 January, 2015

DWP publishes second tranche of local authorities and jobcentre areas that will begin to deliver universal credit

Claims will begin to be accepted from single jobseekers between May and July 2015

23 January, 2015

Consultation on the future of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire in Wales 

Views sought by 16 April 2015 on the Welsh government's proposals to change existing legislation to reduce the maximum discount available to a tenant who applies to buy their home from their council or housing association landlord, and develop new legislation to end the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire.

23 January, 2015

DWP publishes consultation response on universal credit data sharing with local support providers

Having considered responses DWP confirms that regulations will come into force on 13 February 2015

22 January, 2015

Senior Conservatives proposing that Right to Buy be extended to housing association properties 

Telegraph reports that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith amongst those backing proposal which could form part of Conservative election manifesto.

22 January, 2015

Scottish government to have power to vary housing costs within universal credit

New draft legislation also sets out powers for the Scottish government over disability benefits, the regulated social fund, and discretionary housing payments

22 January, 2015

Current planning assumption is that virtually all new claims will be for universal credit during 2016, says Lord Freud

Minister for Welfare Reform also tells LGA that bulk of migration of legacy benefits should be complete by 2019 and that signs from test of 'Digital Service' in Sutton have been 'very encouraging so far'

22 January, 2015

Ramsay v Love 

In new judgment, High Court finds that Gordon Ramsay was liable to pay rent where his agreement to act as guarantor had been signed with a 'ghost pen'.

22 January, 2015

Scottish Government announces reduction in proposed rates of tax on property purchase 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney sets out new rates which will see 50 per cent of all household transactions paying no tax and over 40,000 buyers paying less on the purchase of a new home.

22 January, 2015

Welsh Government announces intention to end to Right to Buy and Right to Acquire 

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Lesley Griffiths also sets out plans to halve the current maximum discount from £16,000 to £8,000.

22 January, 2015

Government publishes response to consultation on draft national minimum wage regulations 

BIS says that response to consolidated regulations was generally positive and that 'we will consider the various suggestions raised by respondents and review the guidance in 2015'.

22 January, 2015

Public Accounts Committee publishes report on NEETs 

Report finds that there are 148,000 NEETs in the UK and that too many of these 'simply disappear from all the relevant public systems'.

22 January, 2015

Best, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for Justice (Rev 1) 

In new judgment, Court of Appeal finds that it is possible to establish title to property through adverse possession even if part of that possession, in the form of squatting, was against the law.

22 January, 2015

Commons Select Committee recommends Defra commission further research into why people are using foodbanks

New report suggests Living Costs and Food Survey could be used to gather data on problems individuals experience in obtaining sufficient food

21 January, 2015

Moore & Anor v Secretary of State for Communities And Local Government 

In a new judgment, the High Court finds that process for appeal against refusal of planning permission for pitch to be used by travellers discriminated against travellers and amounted to breach of Article 6 of European Convention on Human Rights.

21 January, 2015

DCLG consults on future shape of English Housing Survey 

Consultation asks users of the survey to comment on approaches for making savings on the survey and to suggest alternatives for achieving the same outcome.

21 January, 2015

People with mental health problems being sanctioned at a rate of more than 100 per day

New data released by the Methodist Church also shows that claimants judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped by sanctions than those suffering from other conditions.

21 January, 2015

Ministers approve extra £25m for social care to tackle delayed hospital discharge 

Guardian reports that special ministerial committee convened to stop NHS from going into 'full-blown winter crisis' has agreed funding to be spent by March in 65 local authorities.

21 January, 2015

Amount spent on social care for elderly has fallen by £1.1bn since 2010/2011, says Age UK 

New research also shows that there are 900,000 older people between 65 and 89 who have unmet need for social care.

21 January, 2015

Only 20 per cent of those who stop claiming JSA after being sanctioned have found employment

New research raises concern that other services, like NHS and food banks, may be absorbing cost of supporting hundreds of thousands who are 'disappearing from view'

21 January, 2015

Over a million jobseekers signed up to the claimant commitment

Claimants 'need to do more to find work or face losing their benefits', says DWP

21 January, 2015

All hardship payments made within three days, says Employment Minister

Written answer to parliament also confirms that claimants are told about payments before being sanctioned and given assistance with application process where needed

21 January, 2015

Broni & Ors v Ministry of Defence 

New High Court judgment that finds that the fixed success fee regime does not apply to members of the armed forces in respect of injuries suffered at work.

21 January, 2015

26,940 people were on the universal credit caseload as at 11 December 2014

New DWP statistics also show that, of these, 35 per cent were in employment

21 January, 2015

Hussain v The London Borough of Waltham Forest 

New Court of Appeal judgment that considers whether persistent racial harassment and anti-social behaviour from a neighbour is sufficient to render a person homeless while still a tenant.

20 January, 2015

DWP publishes Equality Analysis about extension of JSA sickness periods

New analysis sets out details of proposal under which claimants with health condition will be given option to stay on JSA for period of up to 13 weeks

20 January, 2015

Scottish Government encourages more employers to sign up to the living wage accreditation scheme 

Scottish Business pledge to invite companies to commit to extending the living wage, involve their local communities and invest in youth training and employment, with offer of package of tailored support on skills, innovation and exports in return.

20 January, 2015

Further roll-out of universal credit to claimants with responsibility for children

New statutory instrument sets out new areas where family claims will be accepted, allows claimants with credit union accounts to claim universal credit and uprates income limits

20 January, 2015

Further roll-out of universal credit

New statutory instrument reopens testing of the DWP's new 'Digital Service' in parts of Sutton

20 January, 2015

Scottish Government announces extra £100m funding to avoid delayed hospital discharge 

Further funding to be used over three years to support health boards and local authorities deliver good quality care and support for people at home or in a homely setting so as to prevent hospital admissions or delayed discharge.

20 January, 2015

Robson & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Salford City Council 

In new judgment, Court of Appeal decides that local authority's decision to close its Passenger Transport Unit, by which it provided a transport service for disabled adults between their homes and adult day centres, and to make alternative transport arrangements for such adults, was lawful.

20 January, 2015

Citizens Advice Scotland calls for halt to migration of DLA claimants to PIP until new Scottish system introduced

Chief Executive also expresses disappointment that there has not been time to discuss the issue, and the halt to universal credit roll-out that has been called for, ahead of draft legislation to implement Smith Agreement

20 January, 2015

Trial of universal credit in-work conditionality to start in April 2015

Employment Minister tells parliament that 'Randomised Controlled Trial' will begin in ten universal credit sites before expanding to further sites in the North West later in the year

19 January, 2015

Almost four in ten families below minimum income standard in 2012/2013

New Joseph Rowntree Foundation research shows rapid widening of gap between incomes and costs of households with children

19 January, 2015

Nearly Legal damages for disrepair update 

New blog on recent County Court cases and settled cases on damages for disrepair.

19 January, 2015

House of Commons library note on homelessness 

New briefing provides background to government policy on statutory homelessness, i.e. those households for whom local authorities, after receiving an application, have a duty to secure accommodation because they are unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category.

19 January, 2015

House of Commons library note on homeless households in temporary accommodation (England) 

New briefing provides information on the number of households accepted as statutorily homeless who are placed in temporary accommodation and associated government policy.

19 January, 2015

ECHR publishes Guide to Establishing Gypsy and Traveller Sites 

Research on how local authorities have successfully developed and maintained gypsy and traveller sites in Scotland commissioned in response to claims from some Scottish local authorities that they were unable to secure land or planning permission to build new permanent or transit sites.

19 January, 2015

Number of jobcentre work coaches seconded to troubled families programme to more than double

DCLG and DWP announce extra £10m in funding for programme which is to be expanded to a further 400,000 families from April

19 January, 2015

Vince Cable announces amendment to Acas code of practice 

Secretary of State for Business lays amendment to reflect EAT judgment in Toal v GB Oils on the right of accompaniment to a grievance hearing.

19 January, 2015

Employment case law round up

Latest EAT decisions added to the Tribunals Service website.

19 January, 2015

Benefit uprating 2015/2016

New statutory instrument

16 January, 2015

28 per cent of food bank users in Scotland cite low income as the reason for their need

New figures also show a 13 per cent increase in use over the same period last year

16 January, 2015

Call for evidence for triennial review of Industrial Injuries Advisory Council

Review will consider the continuing need for the body, for its function, and for its provision by government

16 January, 2015

Amendments to the Blue Badge Scheme in Scotland

New statutory instruments

16 January, 2015

Guidance on how practitioners should apply deprivation of liberty ‘acid test’ to palliative care 

Letter from Niall Fry, Department of Health Mental Capacity Act policy lead, outlines how the 'acid test' set out in the Supreme Court ruling in Cheshire West - Is the person subject to continuous supervision and control? Is the person free to leave? - should apply to palliative care arrangements.

16 January, 2015

Insolvency Proceedings (Monetary Limits) (Amendment) Order 2015 

New regulations that increase the maximum amount of debt to £20,000, and the maximum total value of property to £1,000, which a person may have in order to be eligible for a debt relief order.

16 January, 2015

Revised code of practice for Mental Health Act 1983 

Due to come into force on 1 April 2015 the code has been revised to take account of stakeholders’ views from the consultation, and reflects changes in legislation, case law, policy and professional practice since its last revision in 2008

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