Newsletter July 2002
This is our first ILF Newsletter to clients. We intend to produce it regularly, giving you some information about our work each year. We hope you will find it both interesting and useful.
The most important recent event for the Funds has been the outcome of the Government’s Review. This looked at the role played by the ILF in supporting disabled people in the community. It also examined how we were organised and managed.
Both trustees and staff were delighted with the report from the Review. Sixty organisations and more than 1600 clients had contributed. The outcome from your response and the Government’s wider investigation has been a decisive vote of confidence in the work of the Funds.
We were pleased that the Government took on board many of our proposals. The two main improvements, which we recently wrote to you about, were the change in the treatment of earnings and the increase in the capital limit. As a result of the Review we have also been able to raise both the maximum we are able to pay as an award, and the maximum that the 93 Fund and local authority can jointly award when a person first applies. These changes will help future applicants as well as current clients.
Improvement in our services
Most of the other recommendations in the report, which were designed to improve our operational work, support initiatives that we have taken during this past year.
The formal complaints procedure that we informed you about in March was one of these. Another was the development of our relationship with social services departments, so that information needed to support jointly funded care packages can be exchanged as swiftly as possible. An efficient partnership between the Funds and social services is vital if we are to support our clients as well as we would like.
We are moving towards revisiting all clients on both Funds every two years. This is providing us with the opportunity to identify where more help can be offered. So far, 63 per cent of these revisits have resulted in an increased award.
This expansion of our revisit programme increased the demands on staff considerably. Although extra staff were taken on, some backlogs of work arose. In October 2001 only 49 per cent of decisions were being made within 12 weeks of application. However, by the end of March 2002, this had increased to 88 per cent.
We have been examining how we can improve our work processes and our widening our use of information technology. We are also reviewing all of our literature to make sure that we are providing clear and useful information. The comments from our Client User Group have been invaluable in helping us with this.
Client User Group
The Client User Group, which advises us on a variety of issues from the clients’ point of view, has been meeting every two months since September 2001.
So far, topics such as the design of literature and forms, communications between the Funds and Clients and the employments of personal assistants, have been discussed. Changes to our literatures have already been made as a result of these discussions and other suggestions are currently being considered.
The current Group’s members come from the East Midlands. In the coming year we hope to begin new groups in other parts of the country.
Staff and accommodation
Staff numbers in Nottingham have now increased to 199 and more are due to start this summer. This has enabled us to deal with our workload much more effectively, but means that we need to find larger offices. We are currently negotiating a move to new premises in Nottingham.
While we work towards this move, we are determined to continue to improve the quality of our services to our clients, ensuring that we make the best use of the resources available to us for your benefit.
93 FUND CLIENTS BY REGION
no. clients per 100,000 population
EXT. FUND CLIENTS BY REGION
no. clients per 100,000 population
Some statistics (March 2002)
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