Advice sector funding
The National Emergencies Trust is announcing new partnerships with Age UK, Heads Together and Shelter, who will each receive a share of £12million in Coronavirus Appeal funds ring-fenced to target specific at-risk groups across the UK.
Each partner will receive funding to help groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on remote services, including helplines and digital services. These have seen significant increases in demand since March, in particular from those seeking support from the charity sector for the first time.
From the Scottish Legal Aid Board:
Funding of up to £3.25 million is to be made available for a three-year programme to support access to debt advice in Scotland ...
The Covid-19 pandemic presents new challenges for the advice sector. Agencies have been rapidly refocusing working practices to enable continuity of advice and the impact of the pandemic may lead to a long-term increase in the need for formal debt advice solutions to be provided remotely.
The Debt Advice Journey Programme will fund projects designed to improve access to free debt advice by assisting with the development of changes to working practices that help manage demand on services and improve people’s experience of seeking advice.
The funding forms part of the Financial Services Levy for debt advice allocated by the Scottish Government. The programme will be managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to make funding available to test ideas that assist clients and allow existing debt advice staff to achieve a more effective resolution of debt problems within free advice services.
The Debt Advice Journey Programme objectives are to manage demand for debt advice and improve ways of working at key stages of the delivery of debt advice in free advice services. This work builds on the direction set out by Scottish Government through the Debt Advice Routemap which includes a vision for future allocation of the Scottish debt advice levy funds.
Applications for funding will be invited by SLAB shortly, with up to £650,000 available this year and up to £1.3million available in the two subsequent years. Successful projects will run to March 2023.
SLAB will welcome applications from agencies that provide free debt advice and access to statutory debt remedies, including Citizens Advice Bureau, independent advice agencies, law centres and local authorities.’
Charities with more data “find it easier to unlock government money”, the minister for civil society said yesterday.
Baroness Barran also defended the government from criticism over the amount of data demanded from charities applying for grants.
Speaking at the NPC Ignites conference, Baroness Diana Barran said that government and charities both have a “moral responsibility” to collect and share data as part of spending public funds.
... The minister also said that £200m in emergency funding that was promised to small and medium-sized charities in April and distributed through the National Lottery Community Fund, “is nearly all out now”.
However, she could not confirm that every grant will have reached charities by the end of this month, by which time more than seven months will have passed since the support was first announced.
Justice Select Commitee has published the govt’s response to the Committee’s August 2020 report on the impact of COVID-19 on the legal professions in England and Wales.
One of the Committee’s recommendations had been:
We recommend that the Ministry of Justice considers further grants for law centres and other not-for-profit legal services providers that are at risk of collapse. The Ministry of Justice should report back to us with its decision and provide its reasons if it decides not to provide such grants, and state what provision it will make for users of the centres that cease operations.
We agree with the Committee that Law Centres and other not-for profit providers play a vital role in helping people in communities across England and Wales access justice and resolve their legal problems. Over the past few months, the importance of these services has been brought into sharp focus and many providers have gone above and beyond to ensure vulnerable people across society can continue to get the help they need.
That is why, as a priority, the Government secured £5.4m in emergency grant funding to not-for-profit providers to ensure the people in the communities they serve can continue to access the help they need.
We are also continuing to work with our delivery partners - the Access to Justice Foundation and the Law Centres Network - and practitioners from across the not-for-profit advice sector to ensure people across England and Wales are effectively supported to access justice, as part of our wider work on legal support.
More broadly, we also continue to move forward with our £3.1m Legal Support for Litigants in Person (LSLIP) programme, a two-year grant funding pot also being delivered in partnership with the Access to Justice Foundation. The new programme is designed to provide services at local, regional and national levels with the aim of understanding more about how they can combine to help vulnerable litigants in person. To date, more than £500,000 of grants have been awarded to a number of charities to provide the new national-level services:
- Support Through Court (STC) and RCJ Advice – who are piloting a new remote support initiative, as well as adding new referral routes to STC’s existing telephone helpline.
- LawWorks – who will scale up their Free Legal Answers (FLA) website, which enables people on low incomes and not eligible for legal aid to access free, initial legal advice provided by registered pro bono solicitors.
- Law for Life – who will add new resources to their Advicenow website to assist people to deal with a range of legal problems, as well as creating new guidance to help individuals appear in virtual courts effectively.
A further £2 million of funding from the programme will be awarded to smaller not-for-profit organisations at regional and local levels this autumn. Distribution of this funding was moved back in order to give those organisations more time to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and put together their proposals.