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ILF Scotland - Newsletter - December 2020

Type of document: Newsletters

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Published: December 6, 2020

Update

Launch of ILF Scotland Strategy 2020 – 2023

Last autumn, we held a number of events and an online consultation to gather your views and for you to have your say around ILF Scotland’s future vision. We are delighted to announce that we will be launching our new strategy for 2020 – 2023 on this year’s UN National Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December.

Our Chair of the Board, Susan Douglas Scott said, “The experience of many disabled people during this crisis necessitates fresh thinking about the provision of care, support and rights for disabled people. This new strategy looks to the future during the uncertainty of the present. It outlines a model of social care and support, based on human rights, that puts disabled people at the heart of defining their own needs and how they can meet them. As with fighting this virus, the only way we can make progress is together, and this strategy shows an ambitious and optimistic way forward despite the challenging times we currently live in.” A huge thank you for all of your input and for helping us co-produce our brand new strategy. You can read and access it in full on our website www.ilf.scot.

ILF Assessor Reviews Update

We have suspended visits to your home to carry out reviews of our ILF Scotland funding, other than for emergencies, until it is safe for us to visit again. If necessary, we can complete a review by phone or video call. However, if they haven’t done so already, an ILF Assessor will be in contact over the next few months to check how you and your family are managing, to ensure your care and support is working as well as possible, and to take up any issues we can on your behalf. We want to make sure that you are aware of the new policies we have introduced during Covid-19 to help you help meet your current needs and that you have accessed all the benefits you are entitled to claim.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Temporary Flexibility of Policy Application

We are applying our policies as flexibly as possible to give our recipients extra support if they need it during this time.

We have continued to pay all awards in full, unless you asked us not to, to allow you to continue to pay your PAs and care and support providers, even if they did not provide a full service.

You can use any unspent ILF funding to pay for additional, reasonable costs, including for replacement support for a temporary period. If you have insufficient ILF funds to cover this, you can apply to us for additional payments.

If you live in Scotland, and you used your personal finances / available income contributions to pay your PA their full wages, even if they were unable at times to support you because of Covid-19, you can claim the cost of this back from ILF Scotland.

If you did not apply previously, but think you might have benefited from these arrangements, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss.

We have authority to continue our flexible policy application arrangements until the end of November 2020. The position beyond that is currently being reviewed.

We update our website with any new information regularly so please refer to this if you can.

Feedback Survey

We are keen to learn from you about your lived experiences during Coronavirus. This will help us to make sure you continue to be at the heart of our plans for our services and the support we provide to you.

We have developed a very short and simple feedback survey. We hope that you are able to spare a few minutes of your time to tell us about the impact of Covid-19 on you, the support you need and what ILF Scotland might be able to do to support you in the future.

A paper based version is available on request by emailing enquiries@ilf.scot or by calling our main number on 0300 200 2022, but if possible it would greatly help our office team if you could complete the survey online at https://ilf.scot/ ilf-scotland-coronavirus-update-2/. You will also be able to access an easy read version on our website if you need this. The survey is now live and will remain open until 5th January 2021 . We will use the feedback to form the basis of our service planning for the year ahead.

Self Directed Support (SDS): Guidance on accessing support during Covid-19

Many people are unaware that there is new Covid-19 guidance about Self Directed Support budgets. You can access Scotland’s guidance on the SDS website here and Northern Ireland’s Guidance here.

Both governments have made it very clear that Health & Social Care Partnerships (HSPSc) and Trusts should maintain SDS, and that during this time, your local area has similar flexibilities to ILF Scotland.

If you live in Scotland, you can access information and SDS support here (PDF).

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can access information and SDS support here.

Re-opening of Day Services for Adults

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued a letter regarding the re-opening of day services for adults.

The letter reiterates the importance of daytime support to people who need it.

You can view the letter on the Care Inspectorate website (PDF)

Although we have not yet seen a return to full Day Care provision in Northern Ireland, there is a partial return albeit with reduced provision along with some limited additional assistance where day care services have been lost.

Review

Independent Review of Adult Social Care

On the 1st of September, during the First Minister’s statement to Parliament about the 2020 Programme for Government, she announced the creation of an independent review of adult social care in Scotland. She said:

“Presiding Officer, I have focussed largely so far on the National Health Service. But the pandemic has reminded us of the vital importance of social care services, and of the extraordinary professionalism, dedication and compassion of those who work in that sector. However, it has also underlined the need for improvement and reform. I can therefore announce today the immediate establishment of a comprehensive independent review of adult social care. The review will seek the views of those with direct experience of adult social care, and make recommendations for immediate improvements. However, more fundamentally, it will examine and set out options for the creation of a National Care Service.”

This critical review, which has the potential to lead to transformational change, is now underway. Mr Derek Feeley, who was previously the Scottish Government’s Director General for Health, and Social Care and the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, is chairing it. A panel of experts is supporting him, and we are pleased that Mr Jim Elder-Woodward OBE has been invited to join this panel as an expert with lived experience. Many of you will know Jim as a prominent disability rights activist and as the Chair of the ILF Scotland Advisory Group. Congratulations from us all at ILF Scotland to Mr Feeley and Mr Elder-Woodward and we wish them every success with this vitally important review.

You can find more information about the review on the Scottish Government website.

Susan Douglas-Scott, Chair of the ILF Scotland Board of Directors, wrote to Mr Feeley to request an opportunity to discuss ILF Scotland with the review panel. Susan and our CEO, Peter Scott, met Mr Feeley in early November, and a follow up meeting took place at the end of November.

The Minister of Health in Northern Ireland is on record stating that he is determined to drive forward reform across adult social care in Northern Ireland under the auspices of the “Power to People” Report published in December 2017.

The work we are collectively progressing around securing a potential re-opening of the fund complements the reform agenda being taken forward to help support citizens to live well in their own home in connection to their families, social networks and communities, providing maximum choice and control of their daily living arrangements and their care and support provision.

Benefits Update

ILF Scotland is aware that not all fund recipients have been receiving the correct level of Income Related Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and many have missed disability premiums. If this is the case, backdating of these premiums could be due. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau or welfare rights service can offer advice and support.

As a rule of thumb, most ILF recipients living in the parental home should be in receipt of £130.65 per week ESA (which includes the Enhanced Disability Premium of £17.10). ILF recipients who are living away from home e.g. in forms of supported accommodation should be in receipt of £197.60 per week ESA (which includes both the Enhanced Disability Premium of £17.10 and the severe disability premium of £66.95).

There may be exceptions to this, but it is worthwhile checking if you think you may not be receiving the full amount to which you are entitled.

You can get further information and advice about a range of services, including Welfare Rights by accessing this website https://advicelocal.uk/ and you can access information about Advice and Advocacy Services and Law Centres in Scotland via this online document (PDF).

We strongly encourage all recipients and carers who are approaching or are beyond state pension age to consider claiming Pension Credit. You can do this by calling on 0800 99 1234. If you need further information about Pension Credit please read the factsheet here (PDF).

Charter for Involvement

The National Involvement Network, which consists of a group of people who get support from different social care organisations across Scotland, have written a Charter for Involvement. The Charter sets out how people who use support services want to be involved in the services they receive and in the organisations that provide those services.

ILF Scotland has signed up to the Charter and by doing so we agree to put the Charter Principles and Statements into practice by drawing up an action plan to determine how we will improve involvement with the people who receive our support in decisions that affect their lives.

Our ILF Scotland Recipient Advisory Group and our Northern Ireland Stakeholder Group are helping us to tailor the Charter Principles and Statements to suit ILF Scotland’s circumstances so that it is meaningful to our recipients and to ensure that we can effectively implement it.

The main role of these groups is to support the improvement and development of ILF Scotland, by advising the ILF Scotland Senior Management Team on matters relating to the operation of the fund. We value the experiences members bring of using the existing fund along with the insight and advice members are able to give us about potential policy developments and ILF Scotland publications. We are very grateful to them for their help and ongoing support.

If you are a current ILF Scotland recipient and think you might be interested in joining this group in Scotland or Northern Ireland, please contact Linda Scott, Director of Policy, Engagement and Improvement at linda.scott@ilf.scot or telephone 07826 892215 for an informal chat and for more information about the role.

ILF Scotland Forum

ILF Scotland has always encouraged recipients to be involved in the future of the Fund. As a way of bringing ILF Scotland closer to recipients, we have developed an online forum where you and your support network can get involved in all of the things that matter to you.

LF Scotland Celebrates 5th Birthday!

Back in July, ILF Scotland celebrated its 5th birthday in style with a week of activities to mark the occasion. These ranged from contributions from our recipients to videos from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in Scotland and the Minister for Health in Northern Ireland to an exciting online celebration campaign.

You can find out more about what we got up to on our website at www.ilf.scot or by following us on our social media channels, which you can find the details to at the bottom of this newsletter!

UN National Day of Persons with Disabilities

The 3rd December is the UN National Day of Persons with Disabilities and, although it is important to shine a light on this day every year, this year the pandemic and the impact on disabled people has made it even more poignant. The theme this year is #notalldisabilitiesarevisable.

At ILF Scotland we will be marking the day with a number of activities that will support the UN’s campaign and focus on the impact that Covid-19 has had on our recipients, their families and their experiences. If you would like to know more or get involved please contact our Communications Team by emailing communications@ILF.scot or by phoning 0300 200 2022.

Northern Ireland

ILF Scotland has been working with the Northern Ireland Government and other stakeholders to explore the potential for reopening the Independent Living Fund in Northern Ireland. We hope that reopening the fund would lead to further enhanced independent living opportunities for disabled people in Northern Ireland.

Last year, the Centre for Independent Living Northern Ireland and Gauge NI undertook some research for ILF Scotland that shows the impact ILF Scotland funding has in Northern Ireland. You can see the results of this here: https://ilf.scot/news-post/northern-ireland-evaluation-report-launched/

Following this, we had a number of events planned in March but we unfortunately had to cancel these due to the pandemic. However, we launched a survey back in June to gather your feedback around the possibility of re-opening the fund in Northern Ireland. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this survey – we greatly appreciate your views. We are awaiting feedback on a report we collated from the survey from the Minister and the Department for Health in Northern Ireland. We hope that they will be able to take forward further, more detailed, consultation in the coming months. We will keep our website up to date with any developments.

Transition Fund

The ILF Scotland Transition Fund continues to remain open for applications from young disabled people aged 16-25. We will operate as flexibly as we can within our policy framework during this challenging time.

Due to an exceptionally high level of demand, the Transition Fund will now operate to a £1,500 maximum grant and we will give priority to first time applications.

We understand that this may be disappointing news to some individuals, however the fund will continue to provide an opportunity for young disabled people to access financial support. Evidence has shown us that young people can get great benefit from small amounts of money so £1,500 can still make big impact.

We are working closely with the Scottish Government and will keep this position under review.

Please see our website for further information about our eligibility and evaluation criteria.

For any specific questions about the fund, please email enquiries@ILF.scot or phone 0300 200 2022.

Person Centred Planning

Would you like to apply to the Transition Fund but are not quite sure what to apply for or not sure about your goals? Don’t worry, you can apply for a person centred planning (PCP) grant before you apply for a full Transition Fund grant. If you need to know more about PCP, you can visit the PCP Network Scotland website, which is now live - https://pcpscotland.wixsite.com/network.

Application Processing Timescale

Our target timescale for processing applications is 12 weeks from when we receive your information. However, because of the current demand on the Fund, we may take a bit longer to process your application. Please be assured that we consider every application and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible. We can only process an application once we have all the information we need. Therefore, the sooner we receive this, the better. You can find out further information and apply on our website.

Hope's Story

For disabled people aged between 16 and 25, this has been a particularly challenging time, as lockdown may have coincided with the final school, college or university term and the transition to the next stages of adult life.

However, at ILF Scotland, we have continued to engage with young people by assessing how the fund can help them identify opportunities to try something new.

Meet 23 year old Hope. She has always dreamt of making her own clothes and being able to show her personality through her unique style. Hope found embroidering extremely difficult in the past due to her visual impairment, and has been unable to join embroidery classes because of this.

Hope applied to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund to help progress her embroidery skills and get closer to achieving her goals of making her own clothes.

She used money from the Transition Fund to buy an electric embroidery machine and accessories. The machine will allow her to import her designs from her computer, making it much more accessible for her. Participating in embroidery will also allow her to join embroidery classes where she can meet new friends who are passionate about the same things and she can be part of a wider, online community.

Hope’s advice to other young people is, “Don’t be deterred by lockdown and the turmoil that is going on in life right now, go for it!” Check out our website www.ilf.scot to read more about Hope’s story.

Contact Us

If you require this document in an alternative format please contact us using the details below:

ILF Scotland
Ground Floor, Denholm House,
Almondvale Way, Livingston, EH54 6GA

Telephone: 0300 200 2022
Email: enquiries@ILF.scot

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