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Project CompleteThe total number of people assisted with advice was 4,318! Changes to the welfare benefits system including the introduction of Employment Support Allowance and the requirement for individuals on Incapacity Benefit to undertake a work capability assessment greatly increased the need for this service. Tough times are ahead for DUWC following the decision by Derbyshire County Council to withdraw core funding, but they hope to provide as full a service as possible into the future.

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2010/11 Year End

The total number of people assisted with advice during January to March 2011 was 537 against a target of 725 for the quarter (75% achieved against target).  The total number of people assisted with advice during the 2010/11 period was 1,715.  Although this was significantly lower than the target of 2,897, changes to the welfare benefits system including the introduction of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the requirement for individuals on Incapacity Benefit to undertake a work capability assessment have greatly increased the workload on individual cases.

A major issue this quarter was the decision by Derbyshire County Council to withdraw core funding, resulting in DUWC being approximately £40,000 down on previous years.  DUWC have reported that the support shown by the local community has been overwhelming with many people dropping into the centre and making donations.  Over 300 signatures have also been collected for a petition to keep the service going.  Tough times are ahead but DUWC are hoping to be in a position to provide as full a service as possible during 2011/12.

Working Neighbourhoods Fund support to this project has now ceased in line with the original funding agreement.

2010/11 Quarter 3
The total number of people assisted with advice during October – December 2010 was 389 against a target of 724 for the quarter (52% achieved against target).  This downward trend in the number of people being assisted with advice has continued and has been since the introduction of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the requirement for individuals on Incapacity Benefit to undertake a work capability assessment.  There have been a total of 28 tribunals this quarter.  The project has reported that DUWC’s volunteers have really risen to the challenge in keeping the service running.

Derbyshire County Council has taken the decision to cut core funding to DUWC from April 2011 resulting in a loss of £30,000 per annum.  At the time of submitting the Quarter 3 return, the Management Committee had yet to decide how this decision would affect the service.

2010/11 Quarter 2
The total number of people assisted with advice during July – September 2010 was 379 against a target of 724 for the quarter (52% achieved against target).  This downward trend in the number of people being assisted with advice has continued and has been since the introduction of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the requirement for individuals on Incapacity Benefit to undertake a work capability assessment.  The number of pending tribunals across the organisation has now risen to 660 – more than double the figure for this time last year. The Project Adviser has represented 32 people at tribunal over the past quarter.  DUWC’s volunteers continue to provide advice while the Project Adviser is representing clients at tribunal, however as they are less experienced, and often have issues of their own, they are unable to handle the same volume of cases.

DUWC continue to seek solutions to this problem, but funding applications to date have unfortunately been unsuccessful.

2010/11 Quarter 1
The total number of people assisted with advice during April – June 2010 was 410.  This was against a target of 724 for the quarter (57% achieved against target).  This has been as a result of the number of tribunals continuing to rise since the introduction of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the requirement for individuals on Incapacity Benefit to undertake a work capability assessment.  At the time of writing their monitoring return, DUWC reported that they had 102 pending appeals.  The dedicated input of volunteers is contributing significantly to relieving some of the pressure arising from the additional workload.  DUWC are in the process of submitting a bid to the Big Lottery to employ a dedicated advocacy worker.

The new Benefits Advice Worker (through the Financial Inclusion Project) started work at DUWC in Quarter 1.  Outcomes for that worker will be reported separately to this project.

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