Information for professionals and volunteers - financial inclusion

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

Please also see our special pages on coronavirus and benefits

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  2020-21 (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

‘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  February 2021 (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.

For the Money Matters team, see Debt and money advice

Benefit Bulletins

To receive Benefit Bulletins email  giving your name, position and contact number.

If you wish to see the following earlier Benefit Bulletins, please email 

  • Universal Credit scam, roll out news, mixed age couples, disability benefits changes, prisoners help and lots more news and advice July 2019 (pdf,  299kb)
  • Mixed age couples special May 2019
  • Universal Credit, mixed age couples, disability benefits and other news March 2019 (pdf, 230kb)
  • New Universal Credit announcements January 2019 (pdf, 224kb)
  •  Universal Credit and other changes in the Budget 2018, managed migration, change to the age you claim Attendance Allowance - and much more November 2018 (pdf, 277kb)
  •   The big Universal Credit migration plan, learn about Universal Credit, Newcastle West Jobcentre closure, top tips and much more August 2018 (pdf, 363kb)
  •    Various benefit changes, news, reports and top tips to help you navigate the benefits system May 2018 (pdf, 527kb)
  •    Universal Credit, free school meals, Council Tax Reduction Scheme and mortgage help changes in April 2018, top tips and more March 2018 (pdf, 385kb)
  •    Benefit changes in the Autumn Budget, emergency help over Christmas, DWP new freephone numbers, top tips and more December 2017 (pdf, 438kb)
  •    Council Tax Reduction consultation, mortgage help change, Jobcentre Plus office closure, Universal Credit news and other important news and top tips October 2017 (pdf, 376kb)
  •    Post-election and future benefit changes, mortgage help becomes a loan, Jobcentre closure, help for disabled, top tips and more July 2017 (pdf, 390kb)
  •    Big Benefit changes and news April 2017 (pdf 444kb)
  •    The benefit cap, Universal Credit full roll out in Newcastle and benefit changes for April 2017 January 2017 (pdf, 371kb)
  •    Benefit cap news, Universal Credit, supported housing and other important benefit news and tips November 2016 (pdf, 282kb)
  •    Full service Universal Credit roll out to Newcastle in February and March 2017, the household benefit cap changes from November 2016 and other benefit changes August 2016 (pdf, 286kb)

Earlier Benefit Bulletins

Information for advisers

At the moment we are producing a regular - less formal and quick - information email for professionals and volunteers who advise and support people with their benefits. This was initially for above described 'tier 3' (specialist) advisers but has widened out to include others who advise and support people with their benefits at or near tier 3 level. If you wish to receive these emails which occur once or twice a week on average, please email and ask to be added to 'advisers email'.

Debt Bulletins

Debt Bulletins keep you up to date with significant changes and news. Please bear in mind that they may be updated to include major changes.
If you want to subscribe to the Debt Bulletin, please email  and include your email address and contact number.

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 and send your email address and contact number.


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.

Here is a number of E-learning modules you can take.

Please note that our face to face training courses are temporarily suspended, we are also looking into alternative platforms.

How to access this training

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.

Here is a list of the face to face training sessions we normally provide. 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.

Introduction to Benefits

The ‘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. The session also allows for questions. These training sessions are aimed at those who are not specialist benefit advisers but may be able to give some benefits support to people (described as tier 1 and 2 in the above Spectrum of Advice for benefits).  You may find our Introduction to benefit guide (April 2021) (pdf, 580kb) useful, which accompanies the training

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 hold quarterly workshops on supporting residents to avoid benefit sanctions. Also. see ‘How can I avoid a benefit sanction?’ on our Benefits information page.

For information about ‘Introduction to Housing and Homelessness in Newcastle’ training, see our Housing advice and homelessness information for professionals 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 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 Learning Management System (new name: 'iLearn'). This is done by clicking the ‘LMS’ button, found in the top right of the intranet home screen. Once in the 'iLearn' area, you can click on the 'Active Inclusion...' button 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'

If you have any problems, email

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


Did you know?

Bi-monthly Benefit Bulletins keep you up to date with significant benefit changes and news
if you want to subscribe email 

Active Inclusion Newcastle sends out a weekly email which includes information and news items on issues related to homelessness prevention and financial inclusion, including future dates of partnership meetings and other items of interest. 
If you want to subscribe please email 


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