Family Carers’ Workshop

Dear All

I have attached details of a Family Carers’ Workshop that Andre Geel and I are running on Saturday 11th October as outlined below. Please do pass this on to anyone who you think would be interested in attending. This workshop is for any family member looking after someone with a mental health illness. Many thanks. Best wishes Veronica

“MINDFULNESS AND MINDING-LESS”

A Skills Workshop for Family Carers

with

Andre Geel – Consultant Clinical Psychologist

&

Veronica Kamerling – Experienced Carer – Trainer

Saturday 11th October 2014

Registration: 09.00am Start: 0930 Finish: 16.30

The Fitzrovia Room, Park Crescent Conference Centre,

International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street London, W1W 5PN

Cost: £63.00 per person to include morning tea and coffee

BOOKING FORM FOR THE CARERS WORKSHOP SATURDAY 11th OCTOBER 2014

WORKSHOP FLYER FOR MINDFULNESS – MIND-LESS with Andre Geel 11th October…

Veronica Kamerling

Eating Disorders & Carers

01256 704117

07733 260 475

  1. eatingdisordersandcarers.co.uk
  2. londoncarersgroup.org.uk

 


Job Seeker Sanction Advice

A new website run by “a small network of 3 disgruntled ex- Department of Work and Pensions civil servants”, featuring advice on how to foil sanctions.

 

http://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/

Via Boycott Workfare


Mon 28th July at The Dragon Café

Create, Relate and Celebrate

Join us for a final Monday before we take a Summer break at the mid-point of The Dragon Cafe’s second year. Our Summer Medley will ensure there is music and movement through the day, but we also have opportunities to look closer at mental health care in Southwark with SLaM Presents at 2 pm, and developments in biomedical approaches in Research Works at 2.30 pm. In the evening you can get moving with VivArtista at 6.15 pm and a ‘flashmob’ style performance then join our Dragon for dance, drumming and celebration from 7 pm. Vive The Dragon Café!
PLEASE NOTE: we will be closed through August returning on Monday 1st September.

DC Programme- Monday 28 July 2014


Update re the future of our social media

Dear Subscribers,

We posted last month that funding would cease for our social media on 30th September: https://slamtwigops.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/funding-will-cease-for-our-social-media-in-less-than-3-months/

One of subscribers wrote in to the Trust as we requested, and Sarah Crack, from SLaM Comms, replied to them, copied to us. In Sarah’s email she said that the funding would now cease on Monday 8th September, almost a month earlier than we were told last month. We’re also concerned that a decision made by the Involvement team is being communicated to a third party, and by another bit of the organisation.

We wrote expressing our concern at this to SLaM on Monday 21st July, and on Thursday 24th July this new date was confirmed by Ray Johannsen-Chapman in the attached letter.

from Ray July 2014

We still can’t understand why they are closing our media before they have replacements in place.

SLaM has contested some of our posts, including us posting articles from the Guardian newspaper. We feel that this is over-cautious. All of us working in the variety of social media try to be very careful what we share with you and it would be good to know how you think we are doing. We don’t seek to take up an adversarial position with the Trust and we believe that everything that we post or send to you via our other social media is in the public interest.

Here are some excerpts from some of the emails we’ve received. It would be great if you could add your voice to them, and / or explore other avenues of funding for us to continue our work.

Best wishes,

D

Blog administrator

.

I’ve read that funding of the SLaM Involvement Forums’ online presence is due to stop in the near future.

I use your social media in several ways;

–                      as a member of SLaM and a former service user I continue to value my recovery and now I am no longer under services a large part of this is online. Whilst it is true that there is a vast amount of online information, blogs and social media around mental health I like things to be from a trusted and reliable source like SLaM (oh the joys of having paranoia in your diagnosisJ)

–                      In my work role I send  in details of events and activities that are coming up which I know reach people we would otherwise not come into contact with

–                      I hear about events which I may not be aware of and pass them onto our service users and disseminate them across my networks. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing this and this must extend the reach of the SLaM social media platforms far beyond the number of subscribers and visits.

People with a MH diagnosis are far less likely to use computers for a variety of reasons and I feel this decision moves them further from integration into the online community

I would be interested to know why, in an age where the power and importance of social media is growing by the day, funding has been taken from this resource.

.

I am writing to register my disappointment that the social media project SLAM TWIG Operations has had their funding cut.

In times where mental health services users’ benefits and services are being taken away, SLAM TWIGS was a beacon of light that gave hope through sharing opportunities and providing connections in a disconnecting world.

I, as a SLAM service user, found it invaluable in my recovery to move forward and not get lost in recovery’s no man land, where you pushed out of services with no signposts to help you on your way. SLAM TWIG provided some of those signposts.

Please reconsider your action.

.

I was very disappointed to find out that funding was to cease for the South London Involvement Forum.

I was directed towards the Forum earlier this year. I find their weekly digest full of useful information and details of all sorts of activities around the boroughs.

In particular I find their reports on the Hear Us meetings excellent. There must be an awful lot of effort put into them. I am not always able to attend the entire meeting and need the Forums detailed reports to find out what I missed and to clarify areas I did not understand.

I believe SLaM should be publicising the Forum as a resource rather than removing its funding. I find it far more useful than the displays of leaflets and posters around SLaM properties which can often be out of date.

.

I am a SLaM service user and member of the Involvement Register. I am writing to beg you to reconsider your decision to cut the funding from the service user blog. This is an invaluable form of social inclusion and involvement that myself and others benefit from everyday. If I am unable to get out of the house due to worsening of my condition, the blog keeps me informed and makes me feel connected to the community. When I am able to get involved, it offers me news and opportunities for bits of work, and also info about local groups, charities and advice. Mainly it is run by service users for service users so our views are represented and taken seriously.

I can’t believe the small amount it takes to run these services is deemed to be unnecessary. It will take away a valuable service and take away yet another small thing that improves the quality of my life.

I hope you take this view into account

.

Quite a shock about the possibility of having the funding discontinued for all of your great reporting online.

I particularly look forward to Matthew’s video analysis, for example.

I really appreciate receiving these regular email news bulletins from you, to inform me and keep me up to date with opportunities in ‘our’ community, and if at all possible would use a modest amount of my income to support you financially in the future to help you continue your good work.

This is a deserving cause alright.

Hoping to hear some better news..

.

I was really upset to see that the well established social media activities relating to TWIG are to cease. I know from the recent SLAM magazine that a larger social media body exists but I do not have a relationship with those postings and feel reluctant to form one.

D Rosier is a trusted, effective service user involvement expert and her judgment regarding the posts on TWIG which balance opportunities in work and education and socially as well as useful information regarding benefit changes and activities that highlight how people with lived experience of mental distress feel about their treatment.


National Carers Conference in Eating Disorders

Dear All

Please find attached details of the National Carers’ Conference in Eating Disorders as outlined below. Please do pass this on to anyone who you think would be interested in attending. Many thanks. Best wishes Veronica

Booking form for National Carers’ Conference 22.7.14

National Carers Conference in Eating Disorders 22.7.14

National Carers Conference in Eating Disorders

Sponsored by Ellern Mede Ridgeway

on Friday 21st November 2014

 

Professor Janet Treasure OBE and Gill Todd RMN, MSc,

invite you to a day discussing

“Living with an Eating Disorder

 

 

 

Veronica Kamerling

Eating Disorders & Carers

01256 704117

07733 260 475

  1. eatingdisordersandcarers.co.uk
  2. londoncarersgroup.org.uk

 


Benefit sanctions hit most vulnerable people the hardest, report says

Claimants not told about hardship system and sanctions imposed when they were not at fault, DWP study finds

Many jobcentre advisers identified a ‘vulnerable’ group who tended to be sanctioned more than others, the report said.

Systematic problems in the way the government administers and imposes benefit sanctions, including disproportionate burdens on the most vulnerable, are revealed in a report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The report found the way in which the DWP communicated with claimants was legalistic, unclear and confusing. The most vulnerable claimants were often left at a loss as to why benefits were stopped and frequently not informed by the DWP about hardship payments to which they were entitled, it said.

It also revealed serious flaws in how sanctions were imposed, with Work Programme providers required to send participants for sanctions when they knew they had done nothing wrong, leaving “claimants … sent from pillar to post”.

The independent report was written for the DWP by Matthew Oakley, a respected welfare expert who has worked as an economic adviser for the Treasury and for the centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange.

He is widely acknowledged as one of the leading thinkers on welfare on the centre right and as a result his criticisms, couched in careful language, are all the more damaging for a government that has consistently said the sanction regime is fair.

The DWP responded to the report by saying it would be updating the way it talked to benefit claimants, setting up a specialist team to look at all communications, including claimant letters, and working more closely with local authorities and advice centres to simplify the system.

The government will also streamline “the robust checks and and balances that are already in place that give claimants the opportunity to provide evidence why they have not complied with the rules”.

It will also clarify the guidance on how claimants can access hardship payments, as well as co-operate more closely with Work Programme providers so there is more integration about what a claimant is permitted to do without facing the threat of a benefit sanction.

Oakley’s report said: “No matter what system of social security is in place, if it is communicated poorly, if claimants do not understand the system and their responsibilities and if they are not empowered to challenge decisions they believe to be incorrect and seek redress, then it will not fulfil its purpose. It will be neither fair nor effective.”

Although Oakley said the regime was not fundamentally broken, he made 17 recommendations for reform.

His terms of reference confined him to the way in which sanctions are administered on mandatory back-to-work schemes, which cover a third of those claimants at risk of being sanctioned, but he said his proposed reforms were relevant to the entire benefits system.

The report said “letters were, on the whole, found to be complex and difficult to understand. Partly as a result of the legal requirements the department has to fulfil when it writes to claimants, regular concerns were that letters:

• Were overly long and legalistic in their tone and content;

• Lacked personalised explanations of the reason for sanction referrals;

• Were not always clear around the possibility of and process surrounding appeals or application for hardship payments; and

• Were particularly difficult for the most vulnerable claimants to understand – meaning that the people potentially most in need of the hardship system were the least likely to be able to access it.”

The report added: “Actual and sample letters that the review team saw were hard to understand (even for those working in the area), unclear as to why someone was being sanctioned and confusingly laid out.”

The review found that many people “expressed concerns that the first that claimants knew of adverse decisions was when they tried to get their benefit payment out of a cash point but could not”.

The report also said jobcentre advisers had highlighted the damage sanctions imposed on the most vulnerable. It stated: “Many advisers also highlighted the difficulties of communicating with particular groups of claimants. In particular, many advisers identified a ‘vulnerable’ group who tended to be sanctioned more than the others because they struggled to navigate the system. This concern for the vulnerable claimants was consistent throughout the visits.

“For these groups, particular difficulties were highlighted around the length of time it could take to ensure some claimants fully understood what was required of them and in conveying that a ‘sanction’ could entail the loss of benefit for a prolonged period of time.”

The report also criticised the failure of the jobcentre to highlight hardship payments. It said: “A more specific concern surrounding the hardship system was that only those claimants that asked about help in Jobcentre Plus were told about the hardship system. Advisers, decision makers and advocate groups argued that this means that groups with poorer understanding of the system are less likely to gain access.

“Since, on the whole, more vulnerable claimants are those with the poorest understanding of the system, this suggests that some of those most in need are also those least able to access hardship.”

The report also found that providers of mandatory work schemes were unable to make legal decisions regarding good reasons for missing appointments and so had to impose sanctions.

“This means that they have to refer all claimants who fail to attend a mandatory interview to a decision maker even if the claimant has provided them with what would ordinarily count as good reason in Jobcentre Plus. This situation results in confusion as the claimant does not understand why they are being referred for a sanction.

“A very high proportion of referrals for sanctions from mandatory back-to-work schemes are subsequently cancelled or judged to be non-adverse.”

A lack of coordination between the jobcentre and Work Programme can “result in a situation where claimants are passed from pillar to post, without either Jobcentre Plus or providers taking responsibility for explaining the claimant’s situation. More commonly, we heard that Jobcentre Plus advisers had to spend large amounts of time dealing with claimants’ queries about sanctions from mandatory schemes.”

Poor understanding of the good reason process mean claimants subsequently appeal a sanction and often win, at cost to the DWP and taxpayer.

A key reason the report found for the confusion was that, because different organisations use different IT systems, neither providers nor Jobcentre Plus hold all the information needed about a claimant’s current experience and potential sanctions.

Via welfare news service via http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/22/benefit-sanctions-vulnerable-people-hardship-dwp-report


SLaM updates about service user / carer involvement

Hello everyone,

Please find attached our ‘new look’ summaries about  how 2 of the SLaM advisory groups are working with staff to improve services.  The summaries are 2 sides of A4 now, so longer, but hopefully look more appealing to read.

MAP CAG advisory group summary newsletter July 2014

psychological medicine advisory group summary newsletter july 2014

Please distribute as appropriate and let me know if you would like paper copies to share with anyone interested.

With best wishes,

Alice

Alice Glover
Patient & Public Involvement LeadMood Anxiety & Personality CAG and Psychological Medicine CAG

email:  alice.glover@slam.nhs.uk             tel: 020 3228 0959

113 Denmark Hill |The Maudsley Hospital | Denmark Hill | London | SE5 8AZ