Warning of advocacy role under threat

Joint teams of government pension services and local authority
social services staff will undermine the advocacy role of social
workers and other council employees, a welfare rights specialist
has warned.

Neil Bateman told delegates that having joint teams carrying out
financial assessments for social care services and helping people
to claim pension credit and other benefits was “fundamentally wrong
and misconceived”.

He said the joint teams had already caused some local authorities
to reduce their welfare rights work, adding that Department for
Work and Pensions staff lacked the skills to do this work.

“As we get into a partnership arrangement with the DWP, it’s going
to be that much harder to be advocates,” he said.

“It weakens the local authority as advocates for its community on
benefits issues and that’s a long-standing and important part of
local democracy.”

The government is aiming to roll out the joint teams across England
and Wales over the next two years.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.