Why have the changes been made around Financial Advice?

Many customers are poorer as a result of the impact of welfare reforms, levels of personal debt are rising and certain groups of customers are not equipped to meet the challenges of current reforms, especially Universal Credit in relation to information technology literacy and lack of basic skills.

In response to this Sunderland City Council has re-designed its approach to deliver a range of services and opportunities, this includes recognising that a traditional welfare rights solution is not sufficient to resolve many of the issues that customers are now facing and that additional financial advice is required in order to improve customer sustainability and resilience.

The Council’s funding of First Tier provision has been supplemented by short term external funding from the Department of Work and Pensions (Extra Burdens Funding) specifically provided to mitigate welfare reform changes.

There are two elements to the First Tier Welfare Rights Provision:

  • First Tier Benefits and Debt/Money Advice support on an open access basis
  • First Tier Targeted provision used to support specific groups identified as being directly impacted by welfare reforms

What are the changes?

Please note the following changes from 3 July 2017 to the First Tier Welfare Rights Casework Service:

The two current Providers – ShARP and Sunderland West Advice Project will remain and there will be an additional Provider – Citizens Advice Sunderland.

Please click here for details regarding provision for your information and if you think this information would be useful to any of your colleagues or staff, please don’t hesitate to share this information.