Welfare Rights Service consultation 2019

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Purpose Lancashire County Council, like many councils across the country, is going through financially challenging times. This is as a result of funding not keeping pace with the increasing demand and cost of services being delivered. We need to continue to look at ways of reducing costs to help balance the books for future years. This means that we have to consider changes to some of the services we currently provide, as we do not have the resources to continue to deliver what we have done in the past. These changes were considered by our county councillors and we are now looking to consult on what impact the proposals may have. We really welcome your views.

This consultation is about the Welfare Rights Service which provides advice and assistance to people who live in Lancashire on all welfare benefit issues. We specifically support people with long-term health problems and terminal illness and people in work but on low incomes. We provide training and support to other county council services, local partners and agencies across Lancashire, who also refer customers to us for help. The service prioritises

1. Advising and assisting in legal challenges against benefit decisions, including representation at Appeal Tribunals.
2. Advising and assisting vulnerable customers under pension age, to navigate the benefit system and maximise their income. This includes negotiating with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) on their behalf when there are ongoing problems.
3. Targeted benefit take-up campaigns with older people to maximise their income to help improve or prolong good health and wellbeing and promote independence.
4. Providing urgent advice and support as a result of direct referrals from health professionals, for example, GPs, Macmillan nurses.

We are proposing to reduce access to the provision of welfare benefit advice and guidance services. This would mean that the service would focus on advising and assisting in legal challenges against benefit decisions, including representation at Appeal Tribunals within the limited resources available. As a consequence it is unlikely that we would provide support to the other areas of work identified above.
Subject Welfare rights
Commissioned by Welfare Rights
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Questionnaire - online
Questionnaire - postal
Consultation with Businesses
General public
Service users
Special interest group
Date 15/04/2019 - 09/06/2019
Undertaken by Business Intelligence

Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

01772 531712
Email: phadmin@lancashire.gov.uk