Sandra Gives The Game Away: Jobcentres Given Sheriff’s Stars For Hitting Benefit Sanction Targets.

This is the time of goodwill to all our friends, neighbours, family, and also a time for reflection on the year. So to all the JobPlus staff everywhere have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and lets hope the targets you are given for 2015 are very productive and you get to keep your job, and forget about the peoples lives you ruin and those you kill.


Today the debate regarding the bedroom tax as been lost, it makes more than 500,000 people being affected, many of which are pensioners who have brought up families and paid their dues, taxes, and given their sons and daughters to protect this country from evil. This is their repayment. If you care then please share and vote for any party but Conservative or Lib Dem, they love the Bedroom tax. I have no doubt the Labour Party are being opportunistic and playing political games with the bedroom tax. I also believe there isn’t a hope in hell’s chance of it being repealed before the next election.

Yet I do wish reporters would actually know some basic facts –

“The ‘bedroom tax’ limits housing benefit if a claimant is deemed to have one or more spare rooms.”

The bedroom tax is so called because the legislation that enacted it says without any ambiguity whatsoever that it can only be imposed on a bedroom and NOT on any old spare room!!

I have just watched the first hour or so and Mark Harper the minister has misled parliament. He said – which of course Hansard will confirm this evening – that all overnight carers are exempted in the policy in response to a question about 60,000 carers being hit by it. The fact and regulation states this only applies to a NON RESIDENT overnight carer.
So apart from misleading parliament it is also the case that the minister doesn’t know what the policy actually is.
He went on to say that bedroom tax save £500m per year which i am frankly sick and tired of saying MUST be a knowing lie as it is mathematical impossibility given 481k affected at £14.92 per week can only make £380m or so per annum then take off DHP and all other costs – and of course that the bedroom tax along with benefit cap, LHA cap and SAR all of the HB cutting measures have seen the HB bill INCREASE and with 132,000 less claimants since April 2013.

The ONLY conclusion is that all the welfare reform policies including the bedroom tax actually COSTS more than they save. that is an apolitical and arithmetic fact

Numbers don’t lie only MPs do

Talk about hypocrisy, Salvation Army needs to distance themselves from the government policies, not do the work of the government.

the void

times-letter-sanctionsIn an act of breath-taking hypocrisy, the Salvation Army, along with the YMCA, have both signed a letter to The Times calling the current benefit sanctioning regime unfair and counter-productive.

This comes despite both organisations being involved in ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ and therefore responsible for reporting unemployed people to the Jobcentre to face sanctions if they don’t turn up for unpaid work placements.

The Salvation Army has even been praised by the DWP for ‘holding the line’ on workfare after scores of charities distanced themselves from the scheme. When peaceful anti-workfare campaigners visited the Salvation Army in protest at their use of workfare, the charity locked them inside and attempted to have them arrested with fabricated stories of staff being man-handled.

The Salvation Army have repeatedly defended their involvement in mandatory welfare-to-work provision and also their operation of a Work Programme sub-contract. Claimants on this scheme, including those on out…

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Benefit sanctions: review published 22.07.2014

Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions: review report and 17 recommendations (read online) – Government response Government to update communications with benefit claimants

Discuss review at:

BBC: Benefits sanctions double against women, disabled and lone parents

Guardian: Benefit sanctions hit most vulnerable people the hardest, DWP report says “Claimants not told about hardship system and benefit sanctions imposed when they were not at fault”

SNP: Benefit sanctions rocket at hands of Westminster “Lone parents have been hit the hardest, with a staggering 563 per cent increase in sanction since 2009.”

“4. CPAG is concerned that the terms of reference for this review appear to be narrower than what is required by legislation”

Copies of 17 submissions to JSA sanctions review

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The Big Life Group – Free Training
To be delivered as e-learning on Rochdale Council’s COLIN online learning site.

Free Training in Health Improvement
Health Chats – Understanding Health improvement Level 2
The course is 7 guided learning hours; this can be split over two sessions or three shorter sessions. I have also delivered full day sessions to suit need.

Accredited by Royal society of public health – This gives any person trained a stepping stone in health improvement and a qualification equivalent to GCSE A –C.
Each person trained can state they are a Health Chatter and will be able to link in with other services to receive more training. This is done through a quarterly newsletter and regular email and text updates.

There are case studies highlighting the benefits of the Health chats from people losing weight to joining groups. Three Health chatters actually got jobs after the course.

What are Health Chats?
Health Chats are opportunistic generic brief interventions aimed at imparting knowledge of healthy lifestyle behaviours, signposting to lifestyle and other services and nudging members of the community to take action to improve their health and wellbeing for themselves, their family and their community.
The aim of our Health Chats programme is to develop and systematically harness the work of frontline staff and community services, to improve customer, staff, patient/client and visitor health. Our initial programme will focus on:- Alcohol, Be active, Healthy eating, Mental wellbeing, Sexual health (focused on under 19s), Tobacco.

These lifestyle factors contribute to cancers, heart disease and strokes, respiratory diseases and diseases of the endocrine system. They also contribute significantly to excess and premature deaths, poor quality of life, increased hospital episodes and length of stay.

These themes will be core subjects, and woven into that will be learning on how these link to cancers, high cholesterol and blood pressure, and heart disease. Supplementary learning on wider determinants of health such as housing, employment, skills and debt management will also be offered.
Why have a Health Chat
Evidence from the World Health Organisation shows that:-
• One third of the industrial world’s disease burden is due to tobacco, alcohol, obesity and high blood pressure
• Three quarters of all cardio vascular disease is due to tobacco, high blood pressure and obesity
By acting on these issues we have the potential to reduce the burden of disease by 33% and reduce healthcare costs by 70%.

Each person trained could potentially save a life through signposting and raising awareness.
The Course covers:
• What is Health?
• Dimensions of Health
• Wider determinants of Health
• Extension exercise
• The 6 factors that affect health inequalities
• Health promotion policy – including NICE guidance and 5 Ways to Wellbeing
• Break out session – up to date health promotion messages
• Behaviour change approaches
• Communication skills
• Confidentiality
• How to have a Health Chat
All modules are covered in the course content.
Module 1 – Accredited session of 7 guided learning hours plus exam for RSPH Level 2 in Understanding Health Improvement. This has worked well so far as a two half-day sessions, but this may be offered in different formats depending on type of Health Chatter being trained.
Module 2 – Practical skills – how to chat and motivate behaviour change. Has worked well as part of the second half day session as per above.
Module 3 – Wider determinants on health – including employment & skills, debt & income, and housing – services and referral routes. To be delivered as e-learning on Rochdale Council’s COLIN online learning with relevant sections to be undertaken by Health Chatter to supplement their knowledge.
If you are interested in this training please contact Michelle Duffy on 07773078130 or email on

Hi Guys

I want with your help to help create a better and quality of life for the older people of our community. I recently attended a seminar in London given by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. What strikes me, the services in the capital of the country are far more superior to what’s available in the North. Money plays no part in the results! its the diversity of the community and the volunteers who make it work. Here in Rochdale we have a situation which I personally do not like. We have Rochdale Community Champions who will only integrate and volunteer within their own culture, For me that does not represent being a champion. Ethnicity, religion, and cultural differences should play no part in your role as a Community Champion. We have Champions who volunteer hoping by volunteering they will get a job or post within the RMBC? We also have Champions who will see it as an opportunity to get free highly regarded training courses then leave and open up their own trading or training establishment. Who can blame you?

If you really care about being a Champion and the spirit of being a Champion then lets get together to improve our older peoples lifestyle in the community

However my principles for Open Doors is simple:

  1. See and treat older people with high support needs as individuals and help them to do the things they want to do. example: Visiting family, storytelling, individuals often have some great fantastic stories and experiences to share.
  2. Build positive relationships with the people you work with. The experience and satisfaction from this is unimaginable. 
  3. Look for the strengths and assets each person has and support them to play an active role in the development and provision of services. Example ask what they want?
  4. Be open to doing things in new ways. Your way might not be the best way?

 See the Video

What is the video about?

The video shows older people with high support needs who live in the community. They talk about what is important in their lives and how they like to be treated.
It is based around the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s A Better Life programme The Foundation identified seven key challenges to be addressed for older people with high support needs to achieve a better quality of life:

  1. Old age is not about ‘them’: it is about all of us
  2. Older people are individuals and they are, as a group, becoming more diverse
  3. Relationships matter to us whatever our age; we have a fundamental human need to connect with others meaningfully
  4. Older people with high support needs have many assets, strengths and resources that they can also bring to the development and provision of services
  5. Whatever our age or support needs, we should all be treated as citizens: equal stakeholders with both rights and responsibilities
  6. The individual and collective voices of older people with high support needs should be heard and given power
  7. We need both to innovate and improve existing models

Social care has a key role to play in meeting these challenges.

A high support need is where person has one or more health conditions or disabilities and they need support from health and/or social care services to live their  lives as they want to

If you are open to progressing this further then please email me at for future planning.

Thanks and best regards 


What does IDS have on Cameron?

Politics and Insights

Cabinet reshuffle day is considered the perfect opportunity for government departments to bury bad news. And it’s surely too much of a coincidence that on this of all days, the Department for Work and Pensions has published its much-anticipated 163-page interim report of the impact of the Bedroom Tax. One of the most striking and damning findings is that disabled people are being unfairly and disproportionately affected, with seven out of ten households adversely affected having householders that are caring for someone with a disability.
The report also found difficulties among these 370,000 or so households in successfully claiming discretionary housing payments.The payments were intended to alleviate the effect of the policy among vulnerable groups.  This policy is causing devastating hardship for the most vulnerable citizens.
Originally posted on on 16th July 2014:
The TUC has accused the government of yesterday “shamefully” sneaking out a report on the bedroom tax that…

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