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CPAG - Early Warning System

CPAG - Early Warning System

CPAG - Early Warning System

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Early Warning System is CPAG’s new project which records the impact of benefit changes since 2013 (“welfare reforms”) on individuals and families across England and Wales (we have a sister organisation in Glasgow running the CPAG Scotland EWS).

After considering the work  we did doing front line advice at Tower Hamlets foodbank we concluded that we could do a better job of lobbying for a better, more equitable and compassionate benefits system and supporting advisers by finding out what is going on the “front line” i.e. the work benefits advisers and others are doing to support claimants.

We record contacts to our advice services, reports from trainees, the experiences of clients at the foodbank. In addition we really value the contributions made direct to the EWS by advisers who aren’t necessarily looking for advice but are conscious that the problem the client in front of them faces is affecting countless more claimants who never seek advice. The type of issue which the adviser wants something done about.

We use the case studies to better understand the impact of welfare reforms before the DWP stats are published

  • Bolster our lobbying work
  • Improve the support we give to advisers by refining and focussing our advice services, training, publications and conferences
  • Design improvements to the UC (and benefits generally) system
  • Present an accurate picture of welfare reform to the media, DWP civil servants and politicians

We’ve recently met the Sec of State Esther McVey and UC Director General Neil Couling outlining the problems we’ve seen with UC and earned a further invite to discuss these issues with Neil at a future date. We are optimistic that the lobbying we’ve done on assessment periods will bear fruit some time this year: the DWP are “examining the issue”

It’s easy to get in touch, either email ews@cpag.org.uk, call 02075128226 or use our dedicated case reporting form. It’s easy to make a report, you don’t need to be an expert and we won’t use adviser or client’s details unless we have sought and got their explicit approval before hand.

We publish a e-bulletin which includes news and an in-depth feature on a particular issue raised by advisers on the EWS. I’d be very pleased if colleagues and friends would sign up here.

Dan Norris, Welfare Rights Adviser - Early Warning System, Child Poverty Action Group

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