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News

Support the call for five key actions to welcome refugees

Justin Kouame, Chairperson of Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers addresses the crowd at Belfast City Hall Rally 10 September 2015

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Could you be NI Trustee for Parkinson's UK?

PARKINSON'S UK - Recruitment information

Could you be a trustee? Change attitudes. Join us.

We’re looking to recruit a new trustee from Northern Ireland to be part of our board.  The board is responsible for the overall governance of Parkinson’s UK and includes 12 volunteers, with representatives from each of the four UK countries.

Trusteeship is primarily a legal and fiduciary role with trustees working at the highest levels of strategic and analytical thinking to shape, and continually monitor, the work of the charity.  This is a really exciting time for the charity as we enter a period of strategic change and the guidance and leadership from the board will be crucial to the charity achieving its ambitious goals.  You can read more about our strategy to transform the future at: http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/transforming-future.

Being a trustee offers the chance to direct the work of our charity and make a real difference for people affected by Parkinson’s. Trustees also have the opportunity to join other working groups to get involved in different aspects of our work.

Job satisfaction

Trustees are unpaid, but reasonable out-of-pocket expenses are reimbursed. Our trustees say they get enormous job satisfaction from their role. We are looking for candidates who can think strategically and in the best interests of our diverse charity.

If you’re interested in applying and believe you meet the demands of the role contact Sarah Day, Company Secretary for an application pack:

Tel: 020 7932 1327

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Address: Parkinson’s UK, 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EJ

Completed applications must be submitted by 5 October 2015.

Parkinson's UK. Change attitudes . Find a cure . Join us 

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Conference: Eradicating Modern Slavery in Northern Ireland

Eradicating modern slavery - conference graphic

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Stronger Together workshops for employers on tackling modern slavery

Stronger Together is a multi-stakeholder initiative, created to help businesses tackle labour trafficking, forced labour and other forms of hidden worker exploitation.

Stronger Together provides free, downloadable guidance, tools and resources and a support network for employers; labour providers and others; to encourage companies to work together to reduce hidden worker exploitation and to tackle modern slavery.

We also run a series of UK based training workshops for those who have a responsibility to develop policy and implement operational procedures to tackle modern slavery, including HR, CSR, or technical and operational managers.

On 5 November 2015, in Craigavon, Stronger Together is holding a workshop, and we invite you to book your delegate place now. The workshop runs from 9.30 until 15.30 and will be held at Cido Innovation Centre, 73 Charlestown Road Ind Est, Portadown, Craigavon, BT63 5PP.

There is one free delegate place provided per organisation for ALP members, charities, NGOs and Project Sponsor own label suppliers.

Learn more at www.stronger2gether.org

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See our new training programme

Images from training programme 15-16 cover

We have an exciting programme of training and professional development for you. Read it online here, or download a PDF.

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Major UK survey of race at work

The largest ever workplace survey of race at work in the UK is being conducted by Business in the Community.

They want to hear from 10,000 working ethnic minority people and understand their experience of the UK’s workplaces.

In the UK, ethnic minorities are under-represented at every level of work. 14% of our population is from an ethnic minority background, but only 1 in 16 top management positions are held by an ethnic minority person.

This survey will help drive change and ensure workplaces and the economy is maximising all of the diverse talent in the UK.

Ethnic minority and white employees aged 16-64+ and currently in employment in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) can participate in this Race at Work Survey. The survey is confidential to complete.

The survey started on Monday 27 July 2015 runs until Sunday 13 September 2015 at www.raceatwork.org.uk.

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We're hiring: Support Worker to Social Security Legal Adviser

With funding from the Department for Employment & Learning’s Access to Work scheme; we are recruiting a Support Worker to assist a Legal Adviser in our Social Security unit.

The post will have a fixed term contract through to 30 June 2018 which may be extended if further funding is secured.  Amongst other essential criteria candidates must have:

  • Experience of providing administrative support to a caseworker or adviser in a legal casework environment
  • Good oral and written communication skills and be able to read aloud in an articulate manner.
  • At least 1 year of office experience in a paid or voluntary capacity

The post is for 15 hours per week (Expected to be 3 hours per day Monday to Friday mornings) and is paid at a rate of £7.85/hour.

Apply by 1 September. Application pack here 

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A deserving winner for our Social Justice Prize

Congratulations to Ms Aurime Ribaxiauskaite who won the Social Justice Prize at this year’s University of Ulster School of Law Prize Giving Day.

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Supreme Court rules on DLA for children in hospital

Advisers may be interested to hear about this GB case which, according to the Supreme Court, 'may pave the way for many other disabled children to establish the same entitlement'.

The Supreme Court ruled that the withdrawal of Disability Living Allowance following a child being in hospital in excess of 84 days can be a breach of human rights. The Court did not strike down the rule as a whole but stated that there is a potential breach and that each case should be assessed on its facts. 

Read the decision here: [2015] UKSC 47

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STEP NI is looking for an immigration law adviser

See STEP advert below:

Immigration Law Advisor

STEP is a community support organisation and registered charity authorised by the Law Society (NI) to provide Legal Services in relation to Immigration, Housing, Employment, Education and Discrimination and Social Welfare. Located in the Mid-Ulster Council area, a significant area of our work is to provide legal advice on immigration and immigration related entitlements and limitations.

We currently have a vacancy for an immigration advisor qualified to OISC level 3.

Salary: £27k - £30k depending on level of qualification and experience.

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Responsible to: Service Development Manager (Clients and Quality)

Responsible for: Provision of Immigration law advice and representation of clients

For an application form – please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

or telephone 028 8775 0211 quoting job ref: ILA2015.

Closing date for completed applications: Monday 24th August at 5pm. Interviews will take place the first week of September.

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August training at the Law Centre

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Want to be an apprentice solicitor at the Law Centre?

Apprentice solicitor 2015, Carolyn Rhodes

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UK government to cut vital support to asylum seeking families

The Law Centre is opposed to Home Office plans to cut support to asylum seeking families, due to come into effect on 10 August.

All asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their claim will now receive a flat rate of £36.95 per week per person*, whether they are adults or children.

Single parent families will be hit hardest: 

  • a single parent with one child will get £73.90 per week, compared to £96.90 now.
  • a single parent with two children will receive £110.85, compared to £149.86.
  • a couple with two children will receive £147.80. They currently receive £178.44.

The additional payments given to pregnant women and children under three will still be available. Pregnant women will continue to receive an additional £3 a week and very small children will continue to receive an additional £5 a week until the age of one, and £3 a week between the ages of one and three.

Concerns

The Law Centre has stressed its concerns with the current levels of support - well below what a family on benefits is expected to live on - in a previous briefing which described the negative impact on children’s health, education and long-term prospects. Read it here: Policy Response to Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children 

We are concerned that this reduction in support will further compound the issues for families, particularly single-parent families who will lose around a quarter of their income.

The Children’s Society has recently published a useful briefing on this issue. Read it here: Children's Society Asylum Support Briefing

 

The Refugee Council has called on government to abandon its planned cuts until it has commissioned an independent review into the fairness of current asylum support levels.

Right to work

We are mindful that the majority of asylum seekers do not want to be reliant on the asylum support system at all. They would much prefer to be self sufficient. Unfortunately, the UK government refuses to allow asylum seekers to work. The Law Centre believes that granting permission to work is the right approach here. It would bring innumerable benefits for individual asylum seekers and their children. It would also generate money for the government through workers paying taxes and would reduce expenditure on asylum support. It really is a win win solution.

* To compare, in Northern Ireland, a single adult under 25 entitled to Income Support or Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance receives £57.90 per week, £73.10 per week if over 25. 

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Call for volunteers!



The Law Centre's Legal Support Project (LSP) is recruiting volunteers to undertake representation in social security appeals and industrial tribunals.

Details of the LSP’s work and how to apply are here.

Applications should be received by 28 August 2015.

The LSP is running its next two day social security training programme on 15 and 22 September 2015.

If you have any queries about this volunteering opportunity please contact Sinead Mulhern, Head of Legal Support Project:

Phone 028 9043 5050

Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

lsp-logo-for-web

 

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Mental Capacity Bill: respecting our humanity

"What is the ‘problem’ the Bill aims to solve? It is not complex. We are fragile creatures. We break down, parts of us stop working (for a short while or for good), some things may never have worked entirely well. This fragility is fundamental to our vulnerable humanity." 

Colin Harper, our Assistant Director (Community Care and Mental Health Policy), explains in Scope NI why the new Mental Capacity Bill is important for all of us, and how it will help safeguard the human rights and equality of anyone who has impaired decision making capacity, whether permanent or temporary.

You can read the article here: http://scopeni.nicva.org/article/complex-solution-simple-problem

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Law Centre hosts roundtable on strategic litigation for social change

Speakers at Public Interest Litigation Workshop at Law Centre (NI)

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Learning from Scottish Welfare Reform Committee

Left to right: Ursula O'Hare, Michael McMahon MSP, Alex Maskey MLA, Grainne McKeever, Glenn Jordan

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Advisers and ESA staff roundtable at practitioners' meeting

Social security advisers and ESA staff around the table at Law Centre's social security practitioner meeting

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Celebrating Refugee Week

Access to healthcare event

The Law Centre celebrated Refugee Week 2015 by speaking at the launch of the week at Belfast City Hall, and running two events of our own.

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New cohort complete WRAP course

WRAP training officer Eamon Doherty and trainees June 15

Congratulations to advisers from Mencap, East Belfast Independent Advice Centre, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme and ACT who have completed our Welfare Rights Adviser Programme. 

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