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User Newsletter Issue 6 March 2005

This newsletter has been issued to all ILF users. It is designed to keep you up to date with developments at the Funds, and give you information or advice that may be of interest. If you have any ideas for things you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, or have general comments about this edition, please get in touch with Jon Duckworth by writing, phoning or by email. For all other queries you should speak to your caseworker. All contact details are given on the back page.

LATEST NEWS

ILF RoadshowThe ILF Boldly Goes... To Space

Or rather to Leicester. The ILF is having its latest roadshow at the National Space Centre on 16th March 2005. The day is an opportunity for ILF users to meet and talk with ILF staff, participate in discussion groups, find out about local services for disabled people, and meet other ILF users. Users in the region have been invited, but anyone who is interested is very welcome to come along.

The event will run from 10.00am to 4.00pm, and people are free to drop in at any time. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

We hope to hold similar events in other areas over the course of this year. Watch our website for details, or contact: Jon Duckworth, Client Liaison Manager (0845) 601 8815.

Forthcoming Activities

You might recall from the last User Newsletter that David Smith, ILF Payment Assurance Manager, recently asked some users to participate in a survey looking at how easy it is for ILF users to administer their ILF award.

David would like to thank all our Users who kindly took the time to complete the Questionnaire during their review visits. Your help has been invaluable to the ILF.

About 450 people participated in the survey. Although this is a small number out of the nearly 18,000 people who currently use the ILF, the results were very valuable in showing how much support and assistance our Users and their representatives might need to fulfil their responsibilities as employers.

As part of our continuous efforts to provide an even better service, the ILF is currently looking at how we can help Users and make it easier to find information and support in these areas. We will be running another project over the summer to help us identify how we can do this. Part of this will involve looking at what help is available locally for ILF users. Details of the project are currently being drawn up and we will provide more information about it in the next User Newsletter.

Revised Consent

The ILF will be writing to all users during the early part of the new financial year to obtain revised consent for the processing of personal data. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act the ILF has a responsibility to ensure we have explicit consent from clients due to the sensitive nature of the personal information we process in order to make decisions relating to applications and payments.

Ex Gratia PaymentEx Gratia Payments

Although we always aim to provide a high standard of service, sometimes we may fall short of expectations. When the Complaints And Review Manager upholds a complaint or issues a revised decision, often the only action we can take as a means of redress is to offer an apology. We understand that in some cases this may be inadequate and that further redress may be appropriate.

From February 2005, we are introducing an ex gratia payment scheme for a trial period of 6 months. This means that when the Complaints and Review Manager deals with a complaint or decision review, it will be routinely considered if the way we have dealt with something has caused gross inconvenience or embarrassment. If this is found to be the case, then we will consider making a fixed payment as a means of redress.

If we find that bad administration has caused gross inconvenience or embarrassment or we have been the cause of excessive and unwarranted delay, which has contributed towards the gross inconvenience or embarrassment, then a further
fixed payment will be considered as a way of saying sorry.

If this also led to a financial loss, then a further payment will be considered to make up for this loss.

A review of the trial scheme will take place at the end of July. For further information, contact the Complaints and Review Manager, Avwiene Etefia.

Notice Periods

Under the terms of the ILF’s Trust Deeds, when a user stops being eligible for the ILF their payments should be stopped from the date they became ineligible. No notice period can be given as payments made after a person stops being eligible would not be allowed under the terms of the Trust Deeds.

This would not apply in cases where an ILF user is in the process of appealing against a decision to reduce their DLA, or when the ILF is paying a retainer during a period of hospitalisation or respite care.

Circumstances, other than non-eligibility, where a period of notice will not be given include those where fraud is discovered or where someone is employing less care than the amount upon which their award is based.

This is a change in policy.

For more information about the ILF’s eligibility criteria and changes that you should notify the ILF about you can read User Guide leaflets 1 and 6.

National Insurance Numbers

The ILF will only provide funding for care if they are satisfied that the person providing that care meets the National Insurance number eligibility. Therefore all personal assistants must be:

(a)aged 16 or over
(b)living in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or being treated as living in Great Britain and Northern Ireland
(c)working or claiming benefits

The ILF cannot make payments if a user is employing a foreign national while outside the UK, or pay for care provided by someone under 16 years old.

The ILF must be provided with the National Insurance numbers (including temporary ones) for all personal assistants employed with ILF money – apart from those provided through a care agency.

Whoops!

There’s been so much to mention in this edition of the newsletter that we haven’t been able to include the Questions and Answers feature that started in Issue 5. We will hopefully be able to continue this series in the next edition later this year.

How to contact the ILFHow To Contact The ILF

Telephone Switchboard Number: (0845) 601 8815

If you need to talk to someone about your award contact the switchboard and tell them your name (or the name of the person you are phoning about if you deal with someone’s affairs on their behalf). You will be connected to your caseworker.

Lines are open Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 4.30pm and Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm. (Phones are closed from 2.00pm to 3.30pm on Thursdays for staff training.)

Fax: (0115) 945 0945 / 0946

Email: client.service@ilf.org.uk

Textphone (for textphone users only): (0845) 601 8816

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