Vacancy - Preventative Services & Welfare Reform Champion

 

Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn are funded through the Tudor Trust to deliver welfare rights advice and advocacy to disadvantaged and vulnerable people who are adversely affected by the welfare benefits system.  

The project aims to prevent people from being unfairly treated by the benefits system through reasonable adjustments and challenging unfair and discriminatory practices. This will be achieved through effecting positive wider social change by influencing improvements to policies, ways of working and sharing this good practice with other advice providers.

The ideal candidate will have experience of giving welfare benefit advice and have knowledge of the impact of recent welfare reforms.  You will also have knowledge of the Public Equality Duties and how this is applied with reasonable adjustments. You will have the ability to advise and support clients with complex and multiple issues. This post requires travel locally to be able to fulfill the travel requirement.

The job description and personal specification, is available below.  To request an application pack, please email office@carh.org.uk or phone 01706 252012. Please note that CVs will not be accepted without an application form.

 

Hours: 15 hours per week (part of a job share)

Salary: £21,474 - £23,364 pro-rata per annum depending upon experience This post is funded until August 2020

Location: Rossendale & Hyndburn areas

 

Closing date: Wednesday 18th September 2019, 5pm

Interview date: Tuesday 15th October 2019

 

Preventative Services & Welfare Reform Champion

Job pack

 

Thanks for your interest in working at Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn. This job pack should give you everything you need to know to apply for this role and what it means to work at Citizens Advice.  

 

In this pack you’ll find:

  • Our values
  • 3  things you should know about us
  • Overview of Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn
  • The role profile and personal specification

Want to chat about this role?

If you want to chat about the role further, you can contact Rachel Whippy by emailing Rachel.whippy@carh.org.uk or calling 01706 252012

 

Our values

We’re inventive. We’re not afraid of trying new things and learn by getting things wrong. We question every idea to make it better and we change when things aren’t working.

We’re generous. We work together, sharing knowledge and experience to solve problems. We tell it like it is and respect everyone.

We’re responsible. We do what we say we’ll do and keep our promises. We remember that we work for a charity and use our resources effectively.


 

3 things you should know about us


1. We’re local and we’re national. We have 6 national offices and offer direct support to people in around 300 independent local Citizens Advice services across England and Wales.


2. We’re here for everyone. Our advice helps people solve problems and our advocacy helps fix problems in society. Whatever the problem, we won’t turn people away.

 

3. We’re listened to - and we make a difference. Our trusted brand and the quality of our research mean we make a real impact on behalf of the people who rely on us.






More about Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn

 

Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn is an independent registered charity, limited by guarantee.  We provide advice and information services to people who live and work in the local authority areas of Rossendale and Hyndburn. 

We help around 3,000 people with over 14,000 enquiries each year.  

 

Our Team

 

  • We have a board of Trustees from both Rossendale & Hyndburn with experience of both the public and private sector in charities, finance, guidance and development and human resources.
  • Our Senior Management Team consists of a Chief Officer, Advice Services Manager, Senior Supervisor and Finance and Admin Officer.
  • We have a paid team of advisers and administration staff working alongside our 34 volunteers.
  • All advisers, paid and voluntary, have been through a thorough and comprehensive training programme to make sure they can deliver timely, accurate and effective advice to our clients.
  • We welcome workers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the community we serve

Our Mission

 

Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn;

  • Seeks to reduce deprivation, inequality and improve access to justice by providing advice, information and education to ensure people know and understand their rights and responsibilities.

Ensure that people are given the opportunity to have their concerns heard, campaign for change on the issues that affect them or those they care most about and see change happen, particularly those facing discrimination

 

 Overview of Citizens Advice

 


The Citizens Advice service is made up of Citizens Advice - the national charity - and a network of around 300 local Citizens Advice members.

This role sits our network of independent charities, delivering services from


  • over 600 local Citizens Advice outlets
  • over 1,800 community centres, GPs’ surgeries and prisons

They do this with:  


  • 6,500 local staff
  • over 23,000 trained volunteers

Our reach means 99% of people in England and Wales can access a local Citizens Advice within a 30 minute drive of where they live.









  The role

 

Job Title:

Preventative Services & Welfare Reform Champion

Reporting to:

Chief Officer

Salary:

15 hours a week (part of a job share)

£21,474 - £23,364 pro rata, depending on experience, fixed term until August 2020, subject to funding

Location:

Bacup/Accrington and outreach locations in Hyndburn & Rossendale 

 

Citizens Advice Rossendale & Hyndburn receives funding from the Tudor Trust to provide preventative advocacy and advice to people who are claiming welfare benefits, to prevent them from being treated unfairly by the benefits system.  

 

This role is an opportunity to have a positive impact on individuals and influence policy on a wider scale, you will also work with colleagues and other advice providers to develop best practice and improve the experiences of vulnerable and disadvantaged people within the benefits system.

 

The right candidate will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the welfare system, particularly in relation to equality law and its application to welfare benefits advice.  You will also have knowledge and experience of giving welfare rights advice to clients, including claimant commitments and challenging benefit decisions.



  Role profile

To provide welfare benefits advice and advocacy to people being treated unfairly by the welfare benefits system; to challenge unfair decisions, negotiate fairer claimants commitments and prevent disadvantaged and vulnerable people from being sanctioned.  To share good practice with other welfare rights advisers 

 

Job Description

 

Advice and support

 

  • Provide advice to clients on housing, benefits and finances and other enquiry areas
  • Support clients to set goals and record their progress
  • Advocate for the client where necessary by calculating, negotiating, drafting or writing letters, telephoning and representing. 
  • Negotiate with third parties as appropriate including landlords. 
  • Assist and advise clients on homelessness and accessing homelessness support
  • Challenge unfair decisions and policies where appropriate
  • Assist clients with other related problems where they are an integral part of their needs and refer to other advisers or specialist agencies as appropriate. 
  • Make home/outreach visits as necessary. 
  • Provide practical advice and assistance in maintaining new tenancies
  • Provide advice and support in finding and securing tenancies
  • Provide advice on tenancy and housing rights & responsibilities
  • Support individuals to develop skills to maintain their tenancies, including referring and engaging with other providers
  • Explore holistically and refer clients to specialist providers for wellbeing and health related issues
  • Offer practical advice and support to claim welfare benefits and maximise income
  • Offer practical advice and support on budgeting including setting payments for rent and essential bills
  • Ensure that all advice work conforms to the bureau's Office Manual and the Advice Quality Standard and/or the Specialist Quality Mark as appropriate. 
  • Maintain case records for the purpose of continuity of casework, information retrieval, statistical monitoring and report preparation. 
  • Ensure that all work conforms to the bureau's systems and procedures. 
  • Maintain contact with clients for follow up in respect of referrals, outcomes and feedback

 

Research and campaigns

 

  • Assist with research and campaigns work by providing information about clients' circumstances. 
  • Provide statistical information on the number of clients and nature of cases and provide regular reports to bureau management. 
  • Encourage clients to share their experiences to promote the ‘beneficiary voice’  and influence positive change
  • Monitor service provision to ensure that it reaches the widest possible client group. 
  • Alert other staff to local and national issues, especially around local housing issues e.g. poor landlords, illegal evictions, repairs and accessing homelessness support.

 

Professional development

 

  • Keep up to date with legislation, policies and procedures relating to debt, welfare benefits and housing and undertake appropriate training. 
  • Read relevant publications. 
  • Attend relevant internal and external meetings as agreed with the line manager. Prepare for and attend supervision sessions/team meetings/management team meetings as appropriate. 
  • Assist with Service initiatives for the improvement of services. 

 

Administration, monitoring and evaluation

 

  • Review and make recommendations for improvements to services. 
  • Use Casebook for statistical recording, record keeping and document production. 
  • Regularly maintain databases including outcomes and prepare reports for funder
  • Maintain individual performance within project Key Performance Indicators & targets
  • Undertake regular evaluation and feedback work with clients, including recording outcomes and impact on a monthly basis
  • Maintain client progress systems in use such as the Recovery Star
  • Keep up to date with policies and procedures relevant to bureau work and undertake appropriate training. 
  • Provide regular reports to your line manager on progress of work against the project plan, including targets and outcomes 
  • Update, maintain and develop project plan
  • Maintain close liaison with relevant external agencies. 

 

Public relations

 

  • Liaise with statutory and non-statutory organisations and represent the Service on outside bodies as appropriate. 
  • Liaise with line manager and contribute to press releases and success stories

 

Other duties and responsibilities

 

  • Actively promote volunteering opportunities within CARH with clients to increase skills, confidence and employability
  • Actively promote client involvement in developing and improving the service through stakeholder engagement, feedback and consultation
  • Carry out any other reasonable tasks to ensure the effective delivery and development of the CARH service.
  • Promote other services and projects CARH provides and make active referrals into them 
  • Demonstrate commitment to the aims and policies of the CA service. 
  • Abide by health and safety guidelines and share responsibility for own safety and that of colleagues.

 

  Person specification

Personal Specification

Essential Criteria

Method of assessment

A= application form

I = interview

T = Test

  1. Demonstrable knowledge and experience of giving general advice including welfare benefits, debt and housing advice

A/I/T

  1. Excellent interviewing skills including empathy, reflective questioning and listening skills

A/I

  1. Demonstrable ability to liaise professionally with third parties on behalf of clients, verbally and in writing 

A/I

  1. Proven ability to work collaboratively with clients to achieve personal goals set

A/I

  1. A proven ability to support clients in an empowering and constructive way

A/I

  1. Demonstrable understanding of the problems clients may face and the support they need

A/T

  1. Ordered approach to casework and an ability and willingness to follow and develop agreed procedures

A/I

  1. Proven ability to interpret complex information in a way that clients are able to understand

A/T

  1. Proven ability to prioritise own work and that of others, meet tight deadlines and manage caseload

A/I

  1. Ability to work to a project plan, monitoring outcomes, targets and milestones

A/I

  1. Excellent organisational and time management skills.

A/I

  1. A commitment to personal development and training to improve skills

A

  1. Ability to use IT for case recording, providing advice and support, recording outcomes and impact and preparation of reports for funders.

A

  1. Understanding of and commitment to the aims and principles of the Citizens Advice service and its equality and diversity policies

A

  1. Interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate colleagues and other professionals

A/I

  1. Flexibility to work occasional unsociable hours as required by the post , such as evenings and weekends

A

  1. Willingness and ability to undertake regular travel to include home visits and outreach

A

  1. Possession of a full driving licence and use of a car, or otherwise able to fulfil the travel requirement

A



In accordance with Citizens Advice national policy we will require the successful candidate to be screened by the DBS. However, a criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to your being able to take up the job.