Cost of Living – Enquiry Codes

We have received a lot of feedback from local Age UKs on cost-of-living issues, including how many older people are coming to you for support in this area, or how it is presented as a concern when older people are seeking support for other issues.

Information & Advice teams have told us that they would value a way to capture these enquiries. Collecting this data will also support Age UK to campaign and influence at a national level for additional support for older people affected by the cost of living crisis.

Changes

As a result, we have now updated the enquiry codes, and have added a new Tier 1 code.

25 – Cost of Living

There is also a Tier 2 code underneath this.

25A – Cost of Living, Energy

We have aimed to keep this as straightforward as possible for now. Please feedback to us any further suggestions. We will review the codes at the next quarter (Q4, January – March 2023).

What do you need to do?

Systems

For Information & Advice Teams using Charitylog, this will appear in your possible enquiry codes from 29 September. There is no further action required to ensure this code is available for use.

For Information & Advice Teams using Salesforce, this will appear in your possible enquiry codes from 1 October. No further action is required.

For Information & Advice Teams using alternative systems. You will need to add this into your own systems. We understand that for some Partners it will not be possible to do this immediately. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact localstatistics@ageuk.org.uk

Use of the New Code

The below is rough guidance, and we will look to refine this over the coming months as the code is used. We suggest using the code for cases where you feel it is appropriate.

The Tier 1 code (25 – Cost of Living) should be added to cases where the older person:

  • Expresses concern about the cost of living and their ability to pay bills, afford shopping or any other expenses
  • Identifies the cost-of-living crisis as a reason for their enquiry

The Tier 2 code (25A – Cost of Living, Energy)

  • Identifies energy prices as a reason for their enquiry
  • Expresses concern about energy prices
  • Will be unable to pay an energy bill without support

Questions and Feedback

If you have any questions or feedback please contact localstatistics@ageuk.org.uk

Updated I&A Resources for Service Managers

There’s lots of new guidance for Service Managers on the I&A Hub on the loop, find out full details below.

We’ve recently updated some of the guidance in the I&A Hub on the loop. More information on this can be found in the upcoming September issue of the Inform & Advise newsletter, which you can sign up for here if you wish. The following three sections have been highlighted for Signpost as they may also be more widely relevant to other services that you provide:

Dealing with distressed or challenging clients and supporting your advisers

This section now includes guidance on how to deal with suicidal clients and a tips document for dealing with distressed or challenging clients.


Diversity and inclusion training and resources

A new section detailing training and resources available via Age UKs various training platforms and other external providers on a range of diversity and inclusion topics.


Working with clients with learning difficulties and mental health conditions – training and resources

A new section detailing training and resources available via Age UKs various training platforms and other external providers on working with clients with either learning difficulties or mental health problems.


Trouble accessing the loop?

If you’re having trouble accessing the loop, you may need to use the access code qwerty123 otherwise do get in touch at theloop@ageuk.org.uk.

Cost of Living Campaign Win

We’ve been running our It Doesn’t Add Up campaign calling on the Government to do more to help older people with their energy bills since October. We are really delighted that on 26th May, the Chancellor announced a big package of support, with money specifically targeted at pensioners. A big campaign win for all of us!

Rosie McKearney, Senior External Affairs Manager, said: “Thank you to all of you who played your part in winning this support for older people. We’ve already received lots of emails from people who feel really relieved. This is why we do our jobs!”

We have received the following messages from some of our camaigners:

“I’m so relieved and happy because I will be able to put my lights on which I haven’t been doing since last year and I rely on battery lights.  I only put my heating on the winter just  gone 3 times.”

Age UK campaigner

“Thank you for your efforts over the past few months. Your pressure has paid off, as a 94 year old who will be able to budget for later in the year. How much I will get? I do not know but every little  helps.”

Age UK campaigner

The Chancellor’s package of support will be a relief to many older people, particularly those receiving means-tested benefits or living with a disability.

Pensioners will, at a minimum, receive £700 to help with their bills this year and if they are a disabled pensioner on means-tested benefits, they will get up to £1650. You can read more in our updated guidance here.

We were also relieved to see the Chancellor committed to bringing back the Triple Lock next year and we promise we will hold him to his word.

We know things will still be tough over the coming months, particularly if an older person is just above the threshold for qualifying for benefits, and we will keep fighting for them. We are also aware that the energy bills grant does not help older people living off-grid, in Park Homes or those who use pre-payment metres. We have made it clear a bespoke price cap must be created to support these older people and they need immediate financial support too.

For now, the most important thing to do is for older people to check as soon as possible if they are entitled to additional benefits as it may entitle them to an extra payment if they apply in time.

This really is proof of what we can achieve when we work together. Thank you to everyone across the network of local Age UKs for raising awareness of the cost of living and supporting our It Doesn’t Add UP campaign. Soon we will begin planning how to secure more support for older people as the cost of living crisis continues, to make sure no one is left behind. If you have any queries or would like to be involved, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk

Access e-learning through Age UK!

A reminder of the e-learning options available from Age UK, including how you can access them, as well as our plans to provide some additional e-learning platforms soon.

For a number of years, Age UK has provided a range of e-learning options to support Partners’ delivery of training online to your staff and volunteers. This is a reminder of the e-learning options available from Age UK, including how you can access them, as well as our plans to provide some additional e-learning courses soon.

What e-learning does Age UK currently provide?

For a number of years, Age UK has provided a range of e-learning options to support Partners’ delivery of training online to your staff and volunteers. This includes the Age UK e-learning Platform and Grey Matter Learning – find out all about both training platforms below.

The Age UK e-learning platform

A collection of courses developed by Age UK specifically for the network, covering mainly I&A topics.

Courses include:

  • The first five minutes
  • Welfare Benefits e-learning
  • Health and social care e-learning
  • I&A Adviser Induction
  • An introduction to Age UK for Volunteers
  • Dementia Awareness Training
  • Hosting of the recordings from I&A training provided by the TASO team
  • Charity Log training
  • Training on how to use the new features in the e-learning site

If you already have an account, you can log-in here.

If you do not have an account, you can register for one here.

Grey Matter Learning

A large collection of courses developed by Grey Matter Learning are available to support service delivery broadly across the social care sector, including for those offering registered care services.

Course topics include:

  • Awareness for many health conditions including: dementia, autism, bipolar disorder, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, MND, Parkinson’s
  • Care Certificate Courses
  • Leadership, coaching and mentoring

This training is provided to help partners access content that will help them work within the Age UK Network Quality Assurance Framework.

If you already have an account, you can access Grey Matter Learning here.

If you don’t have an account yet, please contact: support@greymatterlearning.co.uk.

What e-learning is being added?

We plan to continue to expand the e-learning platform in the future and are currently working on provision of a wide range of external courses for use by the network. Age UK has partnered with course provider SAP/Litmos and will, in April and May 2022, be uploading a suite of their e-learning courses to our e-learning platform. Partners will be able to allocate up to 5 users per Age UK to this suite of courses.

Courses will be on offer under the following categories:

  • Communication
  • Diversity & inclusion
  • Finance Skills
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Human resources
  • Leadership & Management
  • Project management

If the trial of 5 users per partner proves successful, we hope to expand access to these courses for those partners that are interested so they can include all their staff and volunteers, although there may be a charge for this expansion.

What if I already have e-learning provision I am happy with?

If you already have e-learning provision that you are happy with, you can continue to use the Age UK e-learning site or Grey Matter Learning as you do now and there is no requirement to access the new training nor to take us up on the offer of free licences for the upcoming SAP/Litmos content. You can continue to use your existing provider.

We are offering these e-learning platforms as we have heard that some partners are paying up to £45 per person for licences to training that we are able to offer for around £10 per head through the economies of scale of a larger contract and use of the Age UK e-learning platform. We are also aware of partners who are not currently able to provide an e-learning offer to their teams due to the cost involved, and we want to support any Age UKs that currently have a gap in their e-learning provision.

What other courses might be available in the future?

We are developing additional training to be hosted on the Age UK e-learning platform which will be rolled out over the course of this year.

The courses we are working on include:

  • Safeguarding training for Staff, Managers, and Volunteers.
  • Attendance Allowance: An overview course and training to complete claims forms
  • I&A Triage: Training to support the triaging of I&A clients to support delivering to those most in need
  • Welcome to Age UK: A course all about Age UK aimed at all staff and volunteers both locally and nationally to better understand the organisation
  • Working with older people: a course to support all staff and volunteers on working with older people

We would love to hear what you think of our plans to develop new courses – you can let us know via this short survey

How do I find out more?

If you have any questions about any of this information or if you want to find out more about our e-learning offer, please email chloe.longmore@ageuk.org.uk.

Charitylog User Guide Updated

The Charitylog user guide has been updated and is now available for you to view on the loop. Find out what is new and access the guide.

We have recently updated our existing Charitylog user guide (2015). Working with the assistance of Dizions and a number of brand partners, we have refreshed the document and uploaded it to the loop here. The key changes to the document include a longer introduction that provides extra information about the work organisations need to do when first setting up their Charitylog systems and the administrator work involved behind the scenes. Read on to find out more about the recent changes to the Charitylog user guide.

We felt this would be helpful for many of the new I&A managers and advisers who are quickly having to get to grips with a system that may be new to them, or for existing colleagues who are reviewing their set up. We have included current system screen shots to enable you to work through the steps required to get the most out of the available functionality, e.g. the steps required to set up templates.

We have also incorporated some very useful videos into the manual which are aligned with the Charitylog Wiki manual updates.

We hope you find the updated User Guide helpful.

#ItStillMatters Campaign – Supporting survivors of abuse

A new government campaign is raising awareness of support available for survivors of abuse. Their website is a useful resource to direct service users to. Find out more below.

A new government campaign, launched earlier this year, is raising awareness of support available for survivors of sexual violence and abuse and aims to help them take the first step in accessing support. The campaign website is a great resource to direct service users to, whether they’ve experienced something themselves, or are looking to support a friend or family member. Find out more below.

The central campaign message is that no matter when the abuse happened, whether it was over 30 years ago or last month, it still matters, it is not your fault, you can still get support and you are not alone.

The campaign website brings together a range of specialist organisations, at a national and local level, who understand and can offer confidential support. It also features survivors’ first-hand experiences, which are useful reading for those who are nervous about reaching out. Find out more here.

If you would like to use your social media channels to raise awareness of the campaign, please get in touch with charlotte.corsan@justice.gov.uk who can provide text, images, and videos, or you can adapt some of the key messaging below. The campaign hashtag is: #ItStillMatters.

Key messages and image for social media:
  • “Whenever it happened to you, it’s not too late to get support.”
  • “If you’ve experienced sexual violence or abuse, you can get confidential support from specialists who understand how hard it is to talk about.”
  • “You don’t need to face this alone. Visit gov.uk/sexualabusesupport to see the support on offer #ItStillMatters.”

You can also save the image below for use on social media:

Coming soon – I&A services online discussion groups

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation team are looking to organise a set of I&A services discussion groups. Find out all the details including how to get involved.

In the September edition of Inform & Advise, we offered all I&A managers and advisers the opportunity to discuss a range of topics in small groups. Many thanks to those who have expressed an interest in joining one or more of the proposed groups so far. We will assess numbers at the end of September and organise dates in October and November 2021. If you missed the piece in Inform and Advise and would like to know more or get involved, full details can be found below.

The aim is to pilot the discussion groups to see how valuable they are to local I&A staff and volunteers. If the discussion groups go well and demand for them continues, we will look at running them periodically throughout 2022.

The proposed discussion group topics are:

  • Reopening services safely after the pandemic
  • Remote supervision and support for I&A Teams
  • Overcoming the challenges of establishing an external Peer to Peer File Review Arrangement
  • Volunteering after the pandemic
  • Managing demand in your I&A services
  • Lessons learned from dealing with emergencies during the pandemic

The discussion groups will be facilitated by members of the Quality & Transformation team. They are not intended to be training sessions. Their purpose is to create a space for I&A service managers to share their experiences with other local partners. As I&A staff have all had to face the same or very similar challenges in adapting to a radically changed working environment and many are exploring how to work with clients going forward, this is a good opportunity to share views and ideas on what your work will look like in the future.

If you or members of your team are interested in attending any of the discussion groups please contact janice.davis@ageuk.org.uk.

Information & Advice Quality Programme – common areas identified for improvement

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have identified some common areas for improvement across the advice sector. Find the most recent trends below.

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team regularly review areas of compliance with the I&A Quality benchmarks, so that we can share learning across the network. We have found that the most common areas identified for improvement are similar to those identified across the independent advice sector as a whole and are important elements of quality assurance. Read on to view the most recent trends.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Quality of Advice

  • Lack of sufficient relevant information gathered to give correct advice
  • Insufficient advice recorded or incomplete advice given e.g. no means-tested benefits check when disability benefits awarded
  • Limited use of Factsheets and Information Guides to back up advice given
What can be done to avoid these?

Training in case-recording and/or the key Age UK topic areas of benefits and community care can help ensure your clients are getting the correct advice – further details can be found on the loop here.

Most common areas of non-compliance for Service Management

  1. Data Protection / Client confidentiality e.g. lack of consent or secure storage of client data
  2. Not recording sufficient client details for information enquiries (leading to under- reporting of work, clients needing to repeat their story on returning)
  3. Lack of Technical Supervision of advisors (usually of the Manager), including regular file checking to ensure accurate advice is given
  4. Lack of planning for a sustainable service
What can be done to avoid these?
  1. Ensure you have evidence of the clients’ consent to process their data, including to store it, share it with third parties, and share it with Age UK for quality audit. Ensure you record and date consent on the client record.

Please Note: legitimate interests as a basis for processing the data should not be used for special category data (i.e. personal sensitive data e.g. health, politics, ethnicity, religion). The ICO sets a higher bar for the way this data is handled, as it could create a higher risk of, for instance, unlawful discrimination. Consent is the best way to treat this type of data, as it is most transparent and simple.

The GDPR Toolkit on the loop can be found here.

  1. Ensure all staff providing I&A are aware of your procedures for recording information enquiries. This helps ensure the client does not have to keep repeating their “story”, and ensures you are not under-recording your work and reach. Enquiries should not routinely be recorded as “Anonymous” – only if consent is not given, or for very simple enquiries.
  2. Ensure you have procedures for both regularly checking the accuracy of advice and that your case management procedures are being followed, as well as the more in depth file reviews (IFRs) carried out less frequently. Ensure these include the advice carried out by the Supervisor or Manager). This is even more important when staff are working remotely or from home.
  3. Ensure the current year 12 month plan and budget is regularly reviewed. A short outline plan for the following 2 years is needed – it does not need to be in detail but should include an outline plan for a sustainable service.

New promotional leaflet – Age UK Information & Advice: A lifeline for older people

A new leaflet has been produced to promote the collective provision of information and advice across the Age UK Network.

A new leaflet has been produced which aims to raise the profile of Age UK’s information and advice provision – our collective provision through the national service and local partners’ services. The main purpose of the leaflet is for Age UK’s Influencing Team, and the Fundraising Team, to send to politicians, civil servants, and corporate contacts, in order to make them more aware of the kinds of support we offer older people, and the scale of what we do. 

You can view the leaflet here.

We hope that the leaflet will help us secure more support for Age UK I&A provision, and more funding for it, especially through funded national programmes, which form such an important source of income for our combined local and national I&A provision. 

We did look at making a version that local partners could adapt for their own use, but it would require too many editable elements to make it work. However, partners may find the text useful in drawing up their own materials to promote their I&A provision. 

To feed back about the leaflet, contact john.edwards@ageuk.org.uk.

Sainsbury’s Data Philanthropy

Age UK have been successful in applying to Sainsbury’s for a place on their annual Data Philanthropy programme.  In this Sainsbury’s take data sets from charities and do intensive analysis on them to bring out findings, and also suggest ways forward.

Age UK is planning on using this opportunity to undertake an analysis of data from the Advice Line and data from the Information & Advice pages on Age UK’s website.  We would also like to include data from Partners to provide a full view of the Information & Advice provision across the network.  All findings will be shared fully with Partners participating.

The data we would want to use is listed below, and the template to be used can be found below.

  • Contact
    • ID
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Postcode
  • Case
    • ID
    • Date of Enquiry
    • Time
    • Enquiry Code (Level 1)
    • Enquiry Code (Level 2)
    • Enquiry Code (Level 3)

In order to take part please email localstatistics@ageuk.org.uk   You will be required to sign a data sharing agreement with Age UK, and once signed will receive a link to upload the data through the Box.

The deadline for Age UK receiving data is 12pm on 6th September.  We acknowledge this is a short turnaround, however this is due to the timelines for Sainsburys.