We are delighted to have won the Best Small Employer award at the Working Families Best Practice Awards 2023 in Vinters Hall, London.
The awards celebrate employers whose stand out cultures and working practices are leading the way in flexible and employee‑friendly workplaces.
ILF Scotland's Head of Business Services, Aileen McNiven, commented:
"We're thrilled to win such a prestigious award. We've always strived towards being a truly flexible and life-friendly employer and Working Families has supported us throughout our journey.
"To win the Best Small Employer award shows that ILF Scotland is a fantastic place to work where staff satisfaction means we are better able to support the disabled people we work with in Scotland and Northern Ireland."
"Our remarkable finalists are helping to highlight the benefits of family-friendly policies and cultures for everyone.
"They have found solutions that work both for the employees and the business and are reaping the rewards of a more productive and engaged workforce."
You can read more about the Working Families Best Practice Awards 2023 here: https://workingfamilies.org.uk/employers/bestpracticeawards/
The maximum amount of personal contribution any recipient pays towards the cost of their ILF Scotland funded support should be £43 per week. We do have the discretion to waive, in part or in full, this contribution in circumstances of hardship, which might include:
If you are unfortunately diagnosed with a terminal illness, please forward confirmation from a suitable medical professional e.g. letter from your consultant confirming the diagnosis, and we will waive any contribution in full.
The current cost of living crisis is making life difficult, and disproportionately so for disabled people. You may be struggling to pay your contribution due to financial hardship arising from the increased costs related specifically to your disability. Please write or email us to explain this and we will consider waiving part or all of your contribution.
A reminder that ILF Scotland has resumed in-person review visits. When it’s your turn for your ILF review, we will write to you and one of our assessors will then be in touch to arrange a suitable time and date for a visit. They will also contact your Health and Social Care Partnership or Trust and invite them to the meeting to talk about any changes to your support arrangements. If someone manages the money we pay you (an Award Manager), they should attend the visit, too.
Remember that it’s important to keep your records up to date as our assessors will ask for these as part of your review. Refer to Your Responsibilities Guide (https://ilf.scot/publication/your-responsibilities-guide-2015-fund/) for more detail.
Please get in touch with us if you need any assistance prior to your review or if you would prefer to complete the review using a video call. You can call us on 0300 200 2022 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst wider social care support services are still returning to pre-pandemic levels, we are aware that COVID-19 still exists. ILF can therefore continue to show some flexibility in the way in which we operate our policies. For example, you may need to arrange for additional PA or provider support if your existing PA cannot support you because of a new outbreak of COVID-19. So that your PA is not financially disadvantaged, you are likely to want to pay them their full wage while they are off sick or top up what they get through Statutory Sick Pay. If you do not have enough funding in your ILF account to cover this, we can help. Get in touch with us on 0300 200 2022 or email us at email@example.com.
The Scottish Government has recently issued updated COVID-19 guidance regarding the use of facemasks in Scotland. From 16 May 2023, people in health and social care settings are no longer advised to wear facemasks as a matter of course. Instead, mask use will be based on clinical need based on infection prevention and control advice.
The use of face coverings is still strongly recommended in all indoor settings accessible to the public across Northern Ireland.
Read more on our website at https://ilf.scot/news-post/updated-covid-guidance-facemasks/
Our staff will remain vigilant and continue to ask recipients and Award Managers their preference for wearing masks before meeting with them.
A Let’s Be Heard project has recently been launched asking for people to share their experiences of the pandemic, what worked well, what didn’t and what lessons can be learned. Read more and submit your response at https://www.covid19inquiry.scot/
By Andy Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a Personal Assistant’s (PA’s) contract of employment, holiday entitlement is generally expressed as the number of days a PA works in a week multiplied by 5.6. However, payroll agencies would normally calculate holiday entitlement based on every hour that a PA works in a week multiplied by 12.07%. This can sometimes cause confusion.
Commonly, where there’s a smaller care package of only one PA, when a recipient goes to respite or on family holidays the PA will go on their separate holiday too. In many cases the PA won’t claim for holiday pay but instead they will be paid their wages as normal while on holiday. With larger care packages, where there’s more than one PA, when one PA takes their holidays, one of the other PAs normally provides cover.
Whatever the arrangements, please be aware that if your PAs work additional hours, they may be entitled to additional holidays for working these hours. Also be aware that as a PA employer, holiday credits can accumulate if unspent so you should make sure that you keep enough funds to cover any potential additional holiday pay before returning any unspent money to ILF Scotland.
Your payroll agency will be able to advise you on this and how many hours or holiday credits your PA(s) have accrued. Try to get familiar with how to calculate holiday entitlement and to check with your payroll agency, every quarter, on how many hours or holiday credits each PA has accrued. It might be a good idea to introduce a simple sheet for recording holiday entitlement and holidays used.
By Andy Higgins (email@example.com)
Every employer in Scotland is required by law to hold Employers Liability Insurance, also known as Home Employment Insurance. ILF Scotland will provide the funding that is required to purchase a Home Employment Insurance policy that will cover:
A Home Employment Insurance policy usually costs no more than £140 and covers the PA employer and their staff for so much.
Get in touch with us at 0300 200 2022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Recipients can keep up to one week of their normal ILF Scotland award as a contingency fund but must return any excess funding ‘unspent monies’ to us. However, a recipient, may, on an exceptional basis, ask us if they can use some of their unspent monies in a different way to achieve their independent living outcomes. We call this a “Flexible Funding” request. You can find out more about this here Policy 41 Use of ILF Scotland Funding
One of our recipients, Barry, submitted a formal request to ask us if he could use a small proportion of the unspent monies he returned to us to pay for support to allow him to attend Calvert Trust Keilder Activities and we approved this. We consider all applications based on the individual’s circumstances and the independent living outcomes agreed with us at the last review. Barry had a fantastic time and he has kindly written about his adventures to share with others. You can read this on our website at www.ilf.scot
When a recipient goes into hospital and their stay extends beyond 28 days, they lose entitlement to qualifying benefits and because of this, ILF Scotland should suspend the award. If a recipient continues to receive support from their Personal Assistant while in hospital, please let us know and we may be able to sustain the award for a temporary period of time instead of suspending it. We know how valuable it can be to have the support of your PA when in hospital, and want to help with this.
The University of East Anglia has developed a new course for disabled people, current or prospective Personal Assistants (PAs), and anyone else who’s interested in disability support. The training is based on the lived experience of PAs, PA employers and their peer support organisations, including Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL).
The online course explores the role of personal assistance, and the risks and opportunities associated with it. It will encourage you to discuss ways to avoid and / or manage personal conflicts, whether you’re a disabled person or a personal assistant. It’s based on new evidence about the close working relationship between disabled people and their support workers – and how to improve it.
To find out more and sign up visit: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/personal-assistants-disability-support
A recent report by Age Concern indicated that there is currently £2.4 billion pounds in unclaimed Pension Credit and Housing Credit.
So how do you check that you’re getting all the benefits that you’re entitled to?
Our recent blog post gives you information and advice on the most common benefits that people forget that they’re entitled to, including cost of living support.
It also gives you the best support agencies to get in touch with to check your eligibility and get more information and advice. Visit https://ilf.scot/blog-post/welfare-rights-update/
Disabled people across the UK and Ireland who use a computer (Grid software on a dedicated AAC device or an iPad) to speak now have more choice to use a voice that matches their preferred accent, thanks to voice banking technology from Edinburgh based company SpeakUnique, and Smartbox Assistive Technology. You can find out more at https://thinksmartbox.com/.
From 2025, the UK's telephone network is going digital – much like televisions did in 2012. This means that after 2025, a traditional landline phone will need to be connected to a broadband connection in order to work. Your landline provider will get in touch with you when it's time for you to switch your phone. This might be ahead of 2025 as every area will be switched over at different times.
As the switchover is affecting everyone, this creates opportunities for criminals to develop new scams. These scam attempts could happen over the phone, via email, or in person on your doorstep. You do not need to pay anyone to switch over your landline phone so be aware and contact Action Fraud (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) if you’re worried. For more information about the Landline Switch-off visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/consumer-issues/changes-to-landline-telephones/
The Scottish Government has announced an increase to the minimum rate of pay for Adult Social Care workers from £10.50 to £10.90 per hour from 1 April 2023. This is an increase of 3.8%. ILF Scotland has therefore increased the hourly rate we pay to our recipients who employ Personal Assistants. This will allow you to increase your Personal Assistant’s hourly rate of pay to a minimum of £10.90 per hour from 1 April 2023 (including overnight hours of support).
If you use a Payroll Agency, you should get in touch with them if you haven’t done so already to tell them to pay your PAs this increased rate of pay.
For recipients who receive support from a care provider, they may advise you of an increase to the hourly rate they charge to enable them to pay their staff the new living wage. Please send this letter to ILF Scotland if you want us to increase your award to allow you to meet any such increases, otherwise we will pick this up at your next review.
Find out more on our website: https://ilf.scot/news-post/social-care-wage-update-2023/ If you have any questions regarding this, or if any circumstances have changed, please contact our operations team on 0300 200 2022 or by emailing email@example.com.
The Scottish Government has increased twelve benefits including Carer’s Allowance Supplement and Adults and Child Disability Payments by 10.1%.
Payment values for 2023-2024, which come into effect from 1 April 2023 are:
Child Disability Payment
Care lower: up from £24.45 in 2022-23 to £26.60 in 2023-24
Care middle: up from £61.85 in 2022-23 to £68.10 in 2023-24
Care higher: up from £92.40 in 2022-23 to £101.45 in 2023-24
Mobility lower: up from £24.45 in 2022-23 to £26.90 in 2023-24
Mobility higher: up from £64.50 in 2022-23 to £71.00 in 2023-24
Adult Disability Payment
Daily living standard: up from £61.85 to £68.10 in 2023-24
Daily living enhanced: up from £92.40 to £101.75 in 2023-24
Transitional rate: up from £24.45 to £26.90 in 2023-24
Mobility standard: up from £24.45 to £26.90 in 2023-24
Mobility enhanced: up from £64.50 to £71.00 in 2023-24
The Scottish Government published new guidance in November 2022 that describes how Local Authorities should implement social care support. The guidance is designed to help Local Authorities implement Self-directed Support, and explains what they should do to make sure that people are able to get the support that is right for them. You can read more about it at www.sdsscotland.org.uk/new-sds-statutory-guidance-published.
The Scottish Government is hosting a series of regional forums this summer, across Scotland, as part of the development of the National Care Service. They would like to speak to as many people as possible about their experiences of community health and social care support. They want to find out more about the unique nature of social care support in local areas across Scotland - and discuss what everyone would like to see in the future National Care Service. In person events are as follows:
14 July - Hilltown Community Centre, Dundee
18 July - Stranraer Millennium Centre, Dumfries and Galloway
26 July - The Corran Hall, Oban
1 August - An Crùbh Community Centre, Skye
8 August - Strathpeffer Community Centre, Highland
17 August - Isleburgh Community Centre, Shetland
22 August - The Inkwell, Elgin
Online events on 24 and 29 August for those who cannot make it along in person.
This is your opportunity to use your experience to shape the future of community health and social care in Scotland. For more information about the events and how to sign up, please visit https://ilf.scot/blog-post/national-care-service-summer-forums/
Self-directed Support was introduced in Scotland to allow greater choice and control for people using social care and support. The system aims to ensure a more personalised approach to social care, where users are equal partners in decisions about their care.
A new research report presents evidence about different experiences of Self-directed Support. It draws together lessons learned about how these experiences interact with people’s protected characteristics. The findings increase our understanding and awareness of how the current system helps or prevents people from achieving their personal outcomes, and the impact this has on equality.
This report supports work in Scotland to ensure that equality is embedded into social care reform and the creation of a National Care Service. View the full report at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/self-directed-support-and-personal-outcomes
In 2021, a group of Personal Assistants (PAs), PA employers and other stakeholders worked together develop a shared understanding of how PAs can be better valued as part of the social care workforce.
The Personal Assistant’s Outcome Map is a product of this work and has a broad application including anyone who would like to know more about personal assistants (PAs), their work, who they work for, how their support impacts on those they work for when this model works at its best, and the difference it makes to people.
The mapping resource has three broad aims which are:
You can view the resource at https://hub.careinspectorate.com/media/4979/personal-assistant-outcomes-map.pdf
The National Involvement Network (NIN), a network of people with disabilities or additional support needs in Scotland, have announced their upcoming meetings for the year. The meetings will take place as follows:
Thursday 29th June at the Pearce Institute in Glasgow
Wednesday 27th September in Edinburgh
Friday 8th December on Zoom
For more details visit https://arcscotland.org.uk/involvement/national-involvement-network/
At the request of the Northern Ireland Department of Health, we increased the ILF hourly wage rates of Personal Assistants, who were directly employed by our recipients, by 12 percent and in addition, increased all hourly rates to a minimum of £9.50 and backdated this to 1 April 2022. Read more at https://ilf.scot/news-post/northern-ireland-increase-to-ilf-awards-for-personal-assistants/
We are currently discussing the new National Minimum Wage of £10.42 from April 2023 with the Department of Health and we will communicate further with anyone affected about this in due course.
If you have any questions regarding this, or if your circumstances have changed, please contact an ILF Scotland Specialist Caseworker on 0300 200 2022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The payment schedule for further Cost of Living Support has been announced for Northern Ireland. Payments will be made to those who get eligible low income (means tested) and disability benefits. An additional Winter Fuel Payment will also be made.
You do not need to do anything to apply. If you are eligible (or if you are found to be eligible at a later date) you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you receive your normal benefit payments.
For more information and to check you’re eligible, visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/cost-living-payments
The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (the Social Care Council) has launched a new podcast called ‘Care to chat?’.
‘Care to chat’ is a podcast hosted by Dr Wendy Austin highlighting the Social Care Council’s commitment to supporting the social care and social work workforce in Northern Ireland. It features a broad range of conversations and interviews with people in the social work and social care community, as well as from across the health and social care system.
The 14-episode series will release a new episode every fortnight. Follow on your favourite podcast platform or listen to episodes on the NISCC website at https://niscc.info/care-to-chat-a-podcast-of-conversations-about-social-care-and-social-work-regulation/
Michaela Hollywood, ILF recipient and Northern Ireland Stakeholder Group member, has been awarded an MBE and recognised in the first Kings Birthday Honours list for her services to disabled people.
On sharing the news Michaela said, “I honestly don’t think I have the words to describe the feeling of getting the letter to say you’re worthy of this kind of recognition.
“I am only one part of the disability rights movement. I am only one person. I’m a girl from County Down, with Belfast roots. This sort of thing doesn’t happen to people like me.
“An MBE is a huge day for me and my family. To the people behind my selection – thank you. And thank you to all those I work with.” Huge congratulations to Michaela on such an incredible achievement. Read more about this in the news section of our website at www.ilf.scot.
We have two groups consisting of ILF Scotland 2015 Fund recipients and their representatives. One in Northern Ireland called the Stakeholder Group and one in Scotland called the Advisory Group.
Group members provide:
If you receive funding from ILF Scotland, we are keen to hear from you if you think you might want to join one of these groups and help shape our future work. Please contact Linda Scott (ILF Scotland’s Director for Policy, Improvement and Engagement) by emailing Linda.Scott@ILF.scot and she will arrange to get in touch and discuss further with you.
If you receive funding from our Transition Fund, you can join our Young Ambassadors’ Group.
As a member, you would:
If you would like to join the Young Ambassadors, please get in touch with Lee House, our Engagement Officer by emailing Lee.House@ilf.scot.
ILF Scotland’s Transition Fund has hit a momentous milestone by receiving its 10,000th application.
Opened in December 2017, the Transition Fund aim to help promote independence, community participation and social inclusion for young disabled people aged between 16 and 25 by providing grants they can use to try something new.
The Transition Fund recently celebrated its 5th birthday and has had a positive impact on many young, disabled people with over £11.5 million in grants awarded across Scotland for things like horsemanship lessons, start-up money for a bakery business, DJ equipment, vocal coaching and driving lessons.
A parent of a Transition Fund recipient said “Well done to you and the team on all your hard work, you really are helping change the experiences and lives of young people. We really can't thank you all enough.”
A huge congratulations to the team and to all the young people that have received a Transition Fund grant. Here’s to the next 10,000!
Disability and Youth Transitions is a research project exploring the experiences of disabled young people as they grow up. The research team is looking for participants to help share personal experiences with them and want to hear from young people with different kinds of disabilities, including learning and physical disabilities, long-term illnesses or health conditions (mental or physical) and autistic or neurodiverse young people. They want to talk to people from different backgrounds, including race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, class and living situation. Participants should live in or around Glasgow including Inverclyde, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire. Find out more and sign up at: https://disabilityandyouthtransitions.co.uk/
On June 16th 2023, the Scottish Transitions Forum (Scottish Transitions Forum - Scottish Transitions Forum) and ARC Scotland (ARC Scotland – The specialists in health and social care) launched Principles into Practice and Compass.
Principles into Practice is a new national framework that offers practical guidance to improve the planning and delivery of support for young people aged 14-26 who need additional support as they make the transition to young adult life.
Alongside this new framework, a new digital tool called Compass has been launched. There are three versions, one for young people, one for parents and carers and one for professionals. They are all designed to provide tailored information and support at the right time and gathers feedback to help shape transitions services and policy in their local authority areas.
You can find more information on the new Principles into Practice framework here (Principles into Practice - Scottish Transitions Forum) and about Compass here (PN2P and Compass – Information site)
During a recent audit of our communications and engagement activity we received a ‘good’ rating, however we are always striving to improve and would love to hear from you to know what we can do better.
If you have any ideas or would like to make any suggestions for what you want to see in the next newsletter in December please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We are also keen to ensure that all recipients and award managers receive communication in a way that suits their needs. If you want to receive updates in a different way please let us know.
Thanks for reading this newsletter. We hope you found it interesting. If you have feedback or ideas for future issues, please get in touch. We would love to hear from our 2015 and Transition Fund recipients about how ILF Scotland support has helped you. Email: email@example.com or call our main number 0300 200 2022.