Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA, has announced an £810,000 package of support to local Councils in Northern Ireland to help fund critical frontline advice services.
The funding will ensure that Councils can ensure advice organisations are prepared to assist the general public through the implementation of the ongoing changes to the welfare system.
Minister Givan said: “This essential funding, which I am releasing to our local government partners, will ensure that advice organisations are fully supported as they prepare for offering the critical advice that people will need about ongoing changes to the welfare system.
“Councils, through their funding of frontline advice organisations, play a key role in supporting members of the public through the changes to their benefits. It is imperative that staff working in frontline advice have the tools and training to enable them to fully support peoples whose benefits may be changing or have changed.”
Training will be provided to enable front line advisers to give accurate advice to clients on various ongoing changes including:
- Introduction of Personal Independence Payment
- Employment and Support Allowance changes
- Discretionary Support
- Housing Benefit Changes
- The support that the Executive committed to providing to those affected by the changes
- Benefit Sanctions
The funding will cover training and enable organisations to deal with queries and new processes through additional support measures such as outreach, or recruitment of extra volunteers.