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.

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.

Age UK Network News Roundup

A roundup of news from across the Age UK Network.

Here is a quick roundup of news from across the Age UK Network, including a Community Champion Award for Age UK Waltham Forest, and job opportunities at Age UK Torbay.

Community Champion Award for Age UK Waltham Forest

Age UK Waltham Forest have been nominated as a Community Champion for their work to support local older vulnerable people throughout the Covid-19 crisis. The award was given by Iain Duncan Smith MP for Chingford and Woodford Green who has invited the Waltham Forest team to a tour of the House of Commons when social distancing rules allow. You can read the full award letter below:

Job Opportunities at Age UK Torbay

Age UK Torbay have two current vacancies: Information and Advice Manager and Information and Advice Supervisor. Both roles are 30 hours a week and are permanent positions as part of a three year funding period.

Job descriptions and application forms can be found on the Age UK Torbay website.

For more information, please contact: recruitment@ageuktorbay.org.uk

Get in touch!

If you have a story from your organisation that you would like us to share with the Network, please let us know at signpost@ageuk.org.uk.

Charging for Services

Some information on charging for services, including a recent report from nfpSynergy.

Last month, ‘nfpSynergy’ published a report entitled ‘A Small Price to Pay’, which concluded with the following thought:

Perhaps the most important conclusion is that charging beneficiaries is something that every charity whose income has fallen this year should be looking at more closely. It can be an effective way to boost income and, in some cases, increase take up, revenue, and the perceived value of the service. It is a false dichotomy to assume that doing good has to be paid for by somebody other than the recipient of that good. There is no doubt that this is an issue that charities should be looking at with great thought and care. Ultimately, if the benefits of a service can continue when otherwise they would not, that in itself, can only be good.

However, it is not simply a matter of charging for services (I&A excepted); you need to make sure that the price is covering all of your costs.

To help you ensure that your services which are either commissioned, grant funded, or paid for by the beneficiaries themselves, are fully costed so that Full Cost Recovery (FCR) is achieved, you may want to refer to our Full Cost Recovery Manual, developed in conjunction with Cass Business School CCE. This contains fully worked examples of FCR, showing how overheads can be apportioned fairly across all service lines. It is available on the loop.

There is also a need to be mindful of charitable purpose here. Our understanding is that the price charged for any service should not be excessive as the service should be available to a wide section of the public.

You may have an opportunity to charge higher prices and therefore cross-subsidise your activities. The profit-making activity may be safely undertaken in a charity subsidiary with the profits donated to the parent charity, in a tax-effective way.

So this is not an issue to be tackled without thought, but equally, it is not one to be ignored either.

Settled – a new signpost organisation for EU citizens wanting help to apply for Settled Status

Settled is a new charity who can offer advice and support to EU citizens who want to apply for Settled Status. Download their guidance and consent form here.

Following on from our email to CEOs asking if you could provide older European clients with information on the EU Settlement Scheme, we have been contacted by a new charity, called Settled, who can offer advice and support to EU citizens who want to apply for Settled Status. They have produced the leaflet below which explains more about this issue and contact details for how to get in touch with them.

PLEASE NOTE – the leaflet/consent form below is only for use by other third parties – local Age UK I&A advisers must not use this form to assist your clients or offer them advice with applying for Settled Status. This remains a regulated area of advice that you are not authorised to provide.

If you are in any doubt, contact the Age UK Email Enquiry Service on info.team@ageuk.org.uk or speak to your Information and Advice Development Officer.

Further guidance for advisors is also available here

Download the leaflet and consent form below:

Age UK Croydon secondment opportunity

Age UK Croydon is offering a 3 month secondment opportunity to an experienced I&A supervisor.

Age UK Croydon is offering a 3 month secondment opportunity to an experienced I&A supervisor who is familiar with the IAQP assessment  process. Expressions of interest should be submitted to Age UK Croydon by Monday 4th January.  For further information about the role and who to contact please download the details below.

If you are interested in learning more about this secondment opportunity please email Susan.Underhill@ageukcroydon.org.uk

Later Life Goals Evaluation Webinar

The Later Life Goals project is set to restart after a 6-month pause due to Covid-19. This upcoming webinar is a chance to reflect on what we’ve learned so far.

Join us from 10.00 – 11.30 on Wednesday 16 September to hear more about the difference that Later Life Goals project can make to the lives of older people it’s supporting with information and advice. After a six-month pause due to Covid-19, we’re gearing up to restart the Later Life Goals project for its final year on 1 October, so it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve learnt so far.

During the webinar, our external evaluators, SocialQual, will take us through the findings of their small qualitative evaluation, looking at the difference the work has made to the lives of nine older people at two of the thirteen sites that Later Life Goals runs in. Fingers crossed, we’ll even have the chance to see and hear a little from the older people themselves through some short videos! SocialQual will also talk us through the thoughts and experiences of the advisors they interviewed.

We’ll then take a brief look at our interim quantitative findings on whether the project seems to make a difference to people’s feelings of loneliness and wellbeing. This was a key thing for us to test with Later Life Goals and, of course, loneliness is now a bigger issue than ever given the pandemic and the effect it’s had on our lives.

Finally, we’ll bring things together to look ahead to the final year of the project and beyond.

Join our webinar through Microsoft Teams by clicking this linkThe webinar runs from 10.00 – 11.30 on Wednesday 16 September

You don’t need the Teams app installed as you can join through a browser (Chrome or Microsoft Edge are best). Remember to turn your microphone and camera off once you join please.

We hope to see lots of you there and there will be plenty of time for your questions.

Guidance on completing online welfare benefit applications for clients

Age UK has produced some guidance to support local Age UK advisers when applying online for welfare benefits for their clients.

The Covid-19 crisis has led to an increase in local Age UKs looking to use online application processes rather than paper or pdf welfare benefit application forms. The DWP has been slow to develop online application processes, especially for older peoples’ benefits (the Pension Credit process is still a test version and was introduced as a response to the Covid-19 crisis), and there is no consistency across the processes developed by each separate department within the DWP.

To support local Age UK advisers with using these processes, especially when doing so remotely from their clients (ie over the phone or a video call, rather than face-to-face), Age UK has produced some guidance, which can be found below:

You can also find the guidance on The Loop and the ‘COVID-19 I&A Hub’.

There are number of risks involved with using online application processes, as opposed to supporting a client to complete an application form, and particularly when doing so remotely. The guidance has been developed in conjunction with the provider of our group professional indemnity cover and they expect all local Age UKs to adhere to this guidance.