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UC - complex needs, benefit safeguards policies, and core visits

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Owen Stevens
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Hello all

I thought I’d post details of safeguards policies and procedures for UC in this thread.  There should be more to come over the coming months.  If anyone else has anything to add then please feel free to contribute.

Existing threads on safeguards and related issues can be found here:
Policy issues - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/9149/
ESA guidance - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/9141/

My colleague, Andy Campbell, has managed to get hold of some details on UC complex needs plans.  These are local JCP plans for supporting vulnerable UC claimants with ‘complex needs’ - I imagine that many advice services will be interested in working with their local JCP to ensure robust plans are in place. 

See documents attached - I’ve taken out staff names and contact numbers

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Owen Stevens
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Live service home visits guidance and complex needs overview.

[ Edited: 30 Jan 2018 at 06:11 pm by Owen Stevens ]

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Owen Stevens
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I’ve posted some information on another thread which aims to give a picture of the kinds of info which can be included in JCP complex needs plans.  I didn’t want to post here as would like to avoid clogging up this thread with anything other than guidance etc.

I hope that this may be useful in sharing information on the ways in which liaison between advice agencies and JCPs could help avoid demand on advice agencies.

Thread: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12679/

Owen Stevens
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Latest FOIs suggest no change to UC live service guidance and that the UCFS guidance deposited in HoC library is still relevant. 

Apparently DWP plan to publish the latest Universal Credit guidance in the HoC library sometime this month.

Owen Stevens
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Advice NI have released a report making a number of recommendations relating to benefit safeguards in UC: https://www.adviceni.net/sites/default/files/publications/making_uc_better.pdf

Owen Stevens
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A list of UCFS guidance deposited in the HoC library which mentions complex needs, home visits, or similar.  The guidance can also be accessed here: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/universal-credit-full-service-guidance

Availability of home visits or ‘agent as proxy’ assistance to access UC: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Assisted_Digital_v5.0.pdf

Home visit to complete annual verification review: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Annual_verification_V3.0.pdf

Relevance of complex needs to claim closure: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Claim_closure__re-claims_v5.0_.pdf

Complex needs overview: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Complex_needs_overview_V8.0.pdf

Relevance of complex needs to failing to attend a first Commitments Meeting: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Fail_to_attend_v11.0.pdf

Details of home visits: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Home_visit_v3.0.pdf

Relevance of complex needs to identity verification: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Identity_verification_v7.pdf

Availability of home visits to make new claims: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/New_claims_v10.0.pdf

* it’s also interesting to note the chapters where ‘complex needs’ considerations are not referenced.  For example, there’s nothing in the ‘sanctions’ chapter or the ‘suicide and self harm’ chapter

[ Edited: 14 Aug 2018 at 05:12 pm by Owen Stevens ]
Owen Stevens
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And now onto the Work and Health Programme provider guidance…

The attachments to this post include the following:
“please note references in this form to ‘safeguarding’ will be updated in line with Chapter 6 – Participants with complex needs and/or additional support requirements at a later date”

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Owen Stevens
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Guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-and-health-programme-provider-guidance

I’ve attached chapters below so that they can still be accessed if the online documents are amended.

Pretty thin stuff really…

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Owen Stevens
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More WHP guidance

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zoeycorker
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Availability of home visits to make new claims: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/New_claims_v10.0.pdf

* it’s also interesting to note the chapters where ‘complex needs’ considerations are not referenced.  For example, there’s nothing in the ‘sanctions’ chapter or the ‘suicide and self harm’ chapter[/quote]

sorry - is it just me - this one does not mention home visits ??

Daphne
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Top of page 2 , fourth bullet…

zoeycorker
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Ahhh - I see
Think I was expecting something more - like how to request a home visit and under what circumstances they would be provided
My bad!

[ Edited: 28 Aug 2018 at 12:42 pm by shawn mach ]
Owen Stevens
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There’s an update to one of the posts on the previous legacy thread which relates to complex needs guidance for sanctioned UC claimants: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/9141/P30/#55042

I’m trying to make sure that this current thread will be where all the updates on complex needs/benefit safeguarding for UC (such as they are) are posted but there’s a certain amount of stitching in posts predating this thread to be done, I hope it isn’t too disjointed.

Owen Stevens
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Owen_Stevens
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I’ve been reading through the response to FOI campaigner John Slater’s FOI on benefit safeguards: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/esa_pip_uc_internal_dwp_guidance

The response (dated 6/9/18) contains a document titled ‘UC Home Visits’ ( https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/518399/response/1239458/attach/10/UC Home visits.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1 ) which appears to be different to the UC guidance document with a similar title which was placed into the House of Commons Library on 18/7/18 ( http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Home_visit_v3.0.pdf )

I’m not too sure whether both or only one of the documents are current, I’ll update here if I find out…

Edit:
An FOI response dated 12/12/18 has confirmed that the version of the home visits guidance in John Slater’s FOI is the most up to date version.  The FOI also says that DWP will shortly be publishing further updated guidance for staff in the House of Commons Library.

[ Edited: 14 Dec 2018 at 11:31 am by Owen_Stevens ]
Owen_Stevens
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Hi all

One of the things I’ve been concerned about with UC benefit safeguarding guidance is the seeming absence of any process to notify third parties of potential risks to vulnerable clients.  I’ve come across some guidance on ‘proactive disclosure’ which will be useful for advisers to be aware of - it allows DWP to contact third parties about concerns regarding claimants with complex needs without having explicit consent to do so.

See the sections on proactive disclosure in the attached document.

While this is welcome (though this guidance - along with all other benefit safeguards guidance - should be publicly available rather than have to be FOI’d) my initial criticism is that (unlike the ESA guidance) the proactive disclosure is not built into staff processes.  This means that it will be reliant on staff being aware of the guidance and proactive - I’m not convinced that this will happen consistently.

Edit: it also strikes me that this particular extract is UCFS guidance.  Why was it not published in the House of Commons library along with the other UCFS guidance?

[ Edited: 22 Oct 2018 at 10:46 am by Owen_Stevens ]

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Owen_Stevens
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This post does not cover benefit safeguarding guidance but is related and this is as good a place to post as any…

The Universal Credit ADM has just been updated:
“G1 – added new paragraphs (G1128-30) to copy the guidance that currently exists in ESA Chapter 42 concerning repeated failure to attend a medical assessment.” (found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/754948/admg1.pdf)

This carries over some really useful paragraphs from ESA guidance (paras 42510 - 42512).

Although only guidance I have found these paragraphs really useful for escalating cases involving repeated failures to attend WCAs and for complaints.

Many thanks to Daphne for taking this issue up with OSEF

Dan_Manville
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Owen_Stevens - 22 October 2018 10:42 AM

Hi all

One of the things I’ve been concerned about with UC benefit safeguarding guidance is the seeming absence of any process to notify third parties of potential risks to vulnerable clients.  I’ve come across some guidance on ‘proactive disclosure’ which will be useful for advisers to be aware of - it allows DWP to contact third parties about concerns regarding claimants with complex needs without having explicit consent to do so.

See the sections on proactive disclosure in the attached document.

While this is welcome (though this guidance - along with all other benefit safeguards guidance - should be publicly available rather than have to be FOI’d) my initial criticism is that (unlike the ESA guidance) the proactive disclosure is not built into staff processes.  This means that it will be reliant on staff being aware of the guidance and proactive - I’m not convinced that this will happen consistently.

Edit: it also strikes me that this particular extract is UCFS guidance.  Why was it not published in the House of Commons library along with the other UCFS guidance?

Hi Owen

Is this guidance on whatdotheyknow? Otherwise is it available on the net?

Owen_Stevens
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Hi Dan

Yes - you can find it in the section on proactive disclosure here: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/?ACT=39&fid=30&aid=1826_8Fx96ACDn7SyV82pSG6d&board_id=1

ta

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Owen_Stevens - 08 February 2019 11:26 AM

Hi Dan

Yes - you can find it in the section on proactive disclosure here: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/?ACT=39&fid=30&aid=1826_8Fx96ACDn7SyV82pSG6d&board_id=1

ta

I’ve shared that link with the case manager concerned; I’m wondering if it’s available from a more…. ahem… impartial source.

Owen_Stevens
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:)
I’m afraid not.

Owen_Stevens
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Hello all

See attached for some guidance from recent FOIs

Also, my request for guidance on UC Home Visits was refused but I was directed towards publicly available guidance on gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/support-visit-benefit-claim
https://www.gov.uk/dwp-visit

I have requested a review of that response

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Owen_Stevens
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...and then two relating to proactive disclosure.  They are slightly different so am posting both versions.

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Owen_Stevens
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WillH
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Thanks Owen. Would it be a fair assumption then that the claimant profile cannot be seen by claimants either, as it’s referred to along with the history, which the DWP state claimants cannot see?

So to know what is in your claimant profile, you would have to make a subject access request?

Owen_Stevens
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WillH - 02 March 2020 01:20 PM

Thanks Owen. Would it be a fair assumption then that the claimant profile cannot be seen by claimants either, as it’s referred to along with the history, which the DWP state claimants cannot see?

So to know what is in your claimant profile, you would have to make a subject access request?

Yes I think those both seem like fair assumptions. Would be interesting to see how this could be used while supporting clients - if you (or anyone else!) has examples or suggestions then feel free to share these

Owen_Stevens
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Consent and disclosure bitesize

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WillH
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Hi Owen,
Thanks for this - it’s really useful, but there still seems to be a practical problem sometimes.

In almost the exact scenario given in the guidance, a CAB colleague rings the UC helpline, except in this case, ‘Terry’ has already given explicit consent on the journal.

The adviser explains this to UC. They say, ah, but we need you to answer the UC security questions before we can access the journal. And without accessing the journal, we can’t see the explicit consent.

The adviser is unable to answer the security questions, although she does have everything that should be needed to speak to UC assuming explicit consent has been given (Terry’s full name, DOB, address, NI number were that necessary).

As a result of this, the adviser (who works with some of the most vulnerable UC claimants in a Macmillan project) is unable to follow up all sorts of issues within UC. Interestingly, if she has a number for the local JC+ and is able to ring them instead, they can (or at least do) look at the journal without asking her the security questions!

Any advice (other than getting the clients to complain which isn’t particularly realistic). Partnership manager route already tried but not really the right route as they deal only with local issues & this is a UC helpline issue.

Will

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Hi Will

This is interesting.  I don’t know whether DWP staff are genuinely unable to access the journal without an answer to the security question.

Certainly neither the public nor the internal guidance say that the representative needs to answer the security question just that:

-

Once you have given explicit consent, the representative will need to confirm the following details to receive relevant information about you and your Universal Credit claim:

  your full name
  your address or date of birth
  what information you have agreed to share
  the purpose for the information being shared
  their name or the organisation they belong to (where this applies)

I guess the advisor could just ask for security answers.  I’ll log this with our Early Warning System.

 

wbamic
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It is possible for DWP staff to access the journal in these circumstance without the security questions being answered.  We have someone who isn’t aware of the security questions that had been set up for him by a friend and we have been on a number of occasions been able to battle through to get information from him journal over the phone.  However he has always been present when this has happened.

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Thanks both - I strongly suspected that they could look at the journal without the security questions but they are intractable & insist that they literally cannot access it to see the consent… I suspect it would be different if the client was present but the clients are in situations that don’t allow for that very easily (in hospices for example).

Owen - thanks, what I really wanted was for it to be raised with EWS… as you say it just shouldn’t be necessary to answer these questions.