Financial inclusion information for professionals and volunteers

Financial inclusion information for professionals and volunteers

To receive updates on homelessness prevention and financial inclusion related services, provision and changes linked to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, please subscribe to the Active Inclusion Newcastle information update by emailing activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk

The following information is for professionals, volunteers and Councillors who want to support Newcastle residents to secure the foundations for a stable life – somewhere to live, an income, financial inclusion and employment opportunities.

Active Inclusion Newcastle

Active Inclusion Newcastle is a partnership approach developed as part of the Newcastle City Council 2013-16 budget setting process. It responds to the growth in demand for financial inclusion and homelessness prevention information, advice and support when resources and certainty are reducing; the transition residents and organisations need to make to a reduced welfare state; the scale of poverty and disadvantage many Newcastle residents face; and the need to change our culture, to promote preventative and partnership response. Active Inclusion Newcastle is guided by our local politicians’ values of fairness, inclusion and social justice and contributes to Newcastle City Council’s priorities of employment, education and skills, and housing. We do this by providing a framework to improve the coordination and consistency of information, advice and support, helping partners to increase residents' financial inclusion and to prevent homelessness. For more information, see our Active Inclusion Newcastle briefing note 2022-23 (pdf, 99kb)

The government acknowledged the strength of our Active Inclusion Newcastle approach by making Newcastle one of three national ‘early adopter’ Homelessness Prevention Trailblazers.  This project ran from January 2017 to 31 March 2019.  For more information, visit Newcastle’s Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer  where there is an overview of our approach and a range of reports and resources to share our learning

Active Inclusion Newcastle partnership arrangements

Ways to get involved

We hold Financial Inclusion Group seminars on a quarterly basis. For more information, see our Financial Inclusion Group page 

If you are interested in any of the other groups in the Active Inclusion Newcastle partnership arrangements, contact the Active Inclusion Newcastle Unit activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk

‘Trigger point conversations’ (information sheets)

We have information sheets to support you to have conversations with residents about the following issues:

We also have the following information sheet on financial inclusion which is specifically for Newcastle City Council Councillors to use:
Financial inclusion information for Newcastle City Council Councillors  June 2022 (pdf, 224kb)

Toolkits and practical guides

The following toolkits  give you more information on topics to support our aim to promote financial inclusion:

The following guides provide information for residents, professionals and volunteers to support our aim to promote financial inclusion:

Please also see the factsheets and guides on our benefits information page, including an Introduction to Benefits guide

Spectrums of advice

We seek to make the best use of the limited face to face specialist advice services in Newcastle by helping other non-specialist services to prevent and respond to financial exclusion and the risk of homelessness. This means moving from signposting to proportionate responses in which all partners can play a role.

To help us in with this we have developed the following spectrums of advice. These describe three broad tiers (general information, general advice and specialist advice) and act as a guide to help us to better understand where organisations fit into our provision in Newcastle and what support they need to do this. The support to services and organisations includes the information, consultancy lines and training described on this page.

To see our spectrum of advice for housing and homelessness, visit our Housing advice and homelessness information for professionals page.

Consultancy lines and email contacts for professionals

We have opportunities for you to talk to specialists about housing, welfare rights and debt issues. Please note that, unless indicated otherwise, these numbers are for professionals and are not for residents to use.

Referrals to Welfare Rights (benefits) and Money Matters (debt) (for professionals only)

To make a referral to the council's Welfare Rights Service, please complete the online referral form as fully as possible.  For help, phone the relevant consultancy line or email - as detailed above. NB those on Eclipse can make a referral through that system.  

Please note: The Welfare Rights Service is currently processing a backlog of referrals. More details on the referral form. To ease this, remember there are other benefit advice services in Newcastle which can be found in the booklet Where to Get Advice in Newcastle

For the Money Matters team, see Debt and money advice

Benefit Bulletins

To receive Benefit Bulletins email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk  giving your name, position and contact number.

Earlier Benefit Bulletins 

Information for advisers

If you are an adviser and wish to receive regular (about weekly) emails with the latest benefit changes and issues,  please email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk and ask to be added to 'advisers email'.

Active Inclusion Newcastle information update

This weekly email includes information and news items on issues related to financial inclusion and homelessness prevention, including future dates of partnership meetings and other items of interest.

If you want to subscribe to Active Inclusion Newcastle information updates, please email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk and send your email address and contact number.

Training 

Newcastle City Council’s Active Inclusion Service provides the following free training opportunities for Newcastle City Council and non-Newcastle City Council professionals, volunteers and Councillors.

We have 'live' training via Teams and E-learning modules:

'Live' Introduction to Benefits via Teams

This ‘Introduction to Benefits’ session gives a very basic overview of the benefits system, its structure, basic rules, who can claim what, claims, payments and challenging decisions, some problem areas and how to avoid them in the first place. Also explained is practical information about the benefit administrators, where you can get further information and advice for staff and the public. This 'live' via Teams session also allows for questions and should last no longer than two and a half hours.

These training sessions are aimed at those who are not specialist benefit advisers but give some benefits support to people (described as tier 1 and 2 in the above Spectrum of Advice for benefits). 

Training notes: 'Introduction to benefit and tax credits'

You may find our   Introduction to Benefits and Tax Credits training notes (pdf, 362kb) useful, which accompanies the training

Online ‘live’ sessions via Teams - dates:

Tue 6 December 2022. 2-4.30pm

Tue 14 March 2023. 2-4.30pm

How to access this training

Active Inclusion Newcastle: Support for people struggling with the cost of living crisis

This iLearn LiVE event is for front line staff in Adult Social Care and Children's Social Care who come into contact with people who are struggling financially due to the current cost of living crisis. You will learn why it is important to know about the services provided by Active Inclusion Newcastle, how we can help the residents you work with, how you can refer into our services and what other support may be available.

The sessions will be delivered via Teams and will last no more than 1 hour and include an opportunity for questions.

These training sessions are aimed at staff who are not specialist advisers but may support people who are experiencing difficulties with debt, benefits and housing (described as tier 1 and 2 in our Spectrums of Advice documents)

Online ‘live’ sessions via Teams - dates:

Tue 27 September 11-12.00pm

Wed 26 October 2-3.00pm

Thu 8 December 1-2.00pm

How to access this training

Supporting residents with Universal Credit migration - now!

At some stage the DWP will write to those who are still on the legacy benefits that UC is replacing - telling them they have to claim UC and their legacy benefits will stop. More detail about this on our Move to Universal Credit webpage.

But in the meantime, before this happens, what about the 12,000 Newcastle households still on legacy benefits? Some of them may be better off on UC and some may be worse off, and some have been wrongly advised to claim UC and dropped to a lower amount of UC - when in fact they didn't need to. 

We will shortly be sending out communications to those residents telling them (1) they may not always have to claim UC and (2) if they have a choice, they should find out if they would be better or worse off on UC. This is very important in the cost of living crisis. We are suggesting they look at the Move to Universal Credit webpage to suss it out themselves using online calculators etc but if they can't - to get advice and support from services in Newcastle.  We will also tell them about the support they can get in Newcastle if they can't manage the claim themselves. To help you provide and/or know about that support we have set up the following one hour Teams sessions:

For advisers:

Finished

The aim of these sessions for 'advisers' is to help you advise those presently on legacy benefits with all or some of the following: (1) understand when they have to claim UC and when they don’t, (2) know/or advise when they might be better off on UC and when they’d be worse off, and (3) where they can get advice and support if they need help to make or manage a UC claim. 

For those providing general support (non-specialist):

Wed 14 Sept

The aim of these sessions for 'non-specialists' is to give you a background about ‘the move to Universal Credit’, what to watch out for to make sure people do not wrongly claim Universal Credit, to have an understanding of the support available and make referrals to advisers if appropriate.  

How to access this training - remember to make sure you choose the correct sessions: 'adviser' or 'non-specialist'. If you have any questions about these sessions, please email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk

NB for YHN staff:  

YHN staff should sign up for the specific YHN sessions available via the YHN area in LMS

E-learning modules

The Active Inclusion Service has produced e-learning modules which are available to both Newcastle City Council and non-Newcastle City Council professionals, volunteers and Councillors.

Debt Awareness - tier 1 
This is aimed at frontline staff and volunteers who are in contact with residents who have money problems but do not provide budgeting or debt advice. It takes about 30 to45 minutes to complete. This training can also be completed by staff and volunteers who provide budgeting advice if they are new in their role and / or they want a refresher.

Introduction to Benefits - tier 1 
This is aimed at frontline staff and volunteers who do not provide active benefits advice but can give basic information and signpost to benefit offices and advice services. This means you are classed as 'tier 1' in the above 'Spectrum of Advice: benefits'. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. It can also be taken by new starters as part of an induction and as a refresher.

Introduction to Benefits - tier 2 
You should only do this module after completing 'tier 1'. This module is a continuation of tier 1 and is for those who can give some basic level of support to people with their benefits but are not welfare rights or benefits advisers. It means you are classed as 'tier 2' in the above 'Spectrum of Advice: benefits'. It takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Introduction to Universal Credit  
You should do this module after completing the two ‘Introduction to Benefits’ modules. This module provides an overview of Universal Credit, where you can learn something about who can claim Universal Credit, how to claim it, the rules, key messages, useful contacts and where to get support. It cannot give you the full rules or go into depth about special circumstances but points you in the right direction. It takes about 45 minutes to complete. 

How to access this training

For information about ‘Introduction to Housing and Homelessness in Newcastle’ training, see our Housing advice and homelessness information for professionals page.

Other training we previously provided

We will send out a notice when they - or alternatives - become available

Introduction to Budgeting

The ‘Introduction to Budgeting’ session is aimed at frontline staff and volunteers who provide face to face support to residents and could provide budgeting information and advice as part of their role. The session will give you the skills to help the residents you support to stay out of debt and manage their money. Following the session, you will be able to complete an accurate budget plan, identify how residents’ income can be increased and their costs reduced, help them to manage their bank account and bill payments and support them with other aspects of financial inclusion.

Preventing Benefit Sanctions

Newcastle City Council and Jobcentre Plus are working together to find ways of reducing the number of sanctions applied to unemployed people in the city by improving compliance with the requirements for receipt of benefit. As part of this work we jointly held quarterly workshops on supporting residents to avoid benefit sanctions. These have been suspended due to coronavirus but if you want to attend a live version on Teams please email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk  and if there is enough interest we can consider setting one up.  Also, see ‘How can I avoid a benefit sanction?’ on our Benefits information page.

Challenging benefit decisions - introduction

A new short face to face session, introducing how to challenge  some benefit decisions. Includes basics on the law and how it works, the main options of challenging and also getting a decision changed, finding and using the law and guidance, and further support. If you are interested, please email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk and once we have enough numbers we will set up the session.

 How to access this training:

Newcastle City Council staff:
Access the training by logging into the 'iLearn' Learning Management System. This is done by clicking the ‘iLearn LMS’ button, found in the top right of the intranet home screen. Once in the 'iLearn' area, click the 'Active Inclusion' button, then 'Benefits' or search for one of the above courses.

Non Newcastle City Council staff:

Click this link to sign up. 

It’s better to right click and choose ‘Open in new window’ so you continue to view these instructions

  •     If you already have an account, click the 'All other users' square
  •     If it's your first time here, you will need to create a new account by clicking on the 'Support & Login Options' below which reveals simple instructions, then click: 'create an account (External users)'

If you have any problems, email activeinclusion@newcastle.gov.uk

Once you have access to the 'iLearn' area, you can find our training by either:

  • clicking 'Externals - Active Inclusion' then 'job related' and 'Active Inclusion' or
  • clicking 'Find Learning' to search for a specific course

 
Information on housing advice and homelessness prevention

Newcastle has a range of protocols and other resources aimed at preventing homelessness. For more information, visit Housing advice and homelessness information for professionals.

For further information on the free multi-agency safeguarding training we offer visit Training - Newcastle Safeguarding

 

For the ‘Introduction to Housing and Homelessness in Newcastle’ training, see our Housing advice and homelessness information for professionals page.

 

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