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November 2005

Minutes of the User Group meeting held on 3 November 2005 - the ILF office, Nottingham.

Attendees        -    3

From the ILF     -    Jon Duckworth
                              Jane Jephson

Apologies        -    3

Matters Arising

Jon welcomed the group and thanked them for attending.  He said that one of the User Group has decided to leave because of poor health.  Jon passed on their best wishes to the rest of the group.  The member had said she enjoyed being part of the group.

Payment Assurance

Jon talked to the group about the payment assurance project and the fact that the ILF is under greater scrutiny as a result of its Executive Non Departmental Public Body status.  We need to ensure that the ILF's money is being spent on what it is intended for.  Need to show we can account for the monies better and prove that we are better than other comparable organisations.

MIDAS Mail Shot

Jon talked about MIDAS (Matching Intelligence Data Analytical Services).  He explained that this service enables the ILF to match Users benefit information with the information held by DWP.  It will basically tell us whether the information we hold is the same as the information they have on their system.  It will only tell us if it is different.  Jon told the group that this would give the ILF some kind of assurance that awards being made were appropriate.  

It would also mean that we do not have to write to our clients as often to ask for financial information.  Checking this information 4-weekly should also help the ILF prevent overpayments.

The group asked for clarification as to what was being checked.  Jon replied that the ILF would be checking benefit information only.  He continued that the ILF has got a responsibility to ensure that we are accountable for the public money that we get from the government.

The meeting then discussed the actual MIDAS Mail Shot.  They were given drafts of the information being send.  Jon informed the group that all the information had been passed to our Solicitors.

We confirmed that every client, or their representative would have to sign the consent.  

The group asked about the consequences of not signing the consent.  We confirmed that after a reminder their payment might eventually be suspended.  

User Group's comments -

  • preferred "confirm" rather than "check" on the letter
  • add "underpayment" as well as "overpayment" to the leaflet
  • liked the term "user" as they felt that it was going to everybody
  • general wording needs to be "stronger" but in a nice way
  • what happens if MIDAS has the wrong information?  Jon confirmed that if we were told that the information we hold is different our Users can always come back to us.

Overall the group felt it is yet another "hoop to jump through" but they could understand why the ILF has to do it.

Consent, Capacity and Capability discussion

Jon went through the CCC document and explained the purpose of it.  The ILF wants to be less intrusive, we want to collect information we need up front and then let our clients live their lives.  

In line with Data Protection principles the ILF need to be assured that they have received informed consent to process user's sensitive personal data.  This consent also relates to using the MIDAS service.  

We also want to ensure a person is capable of managing a care package.  Where ILF Users are incapable of understanding their responsibilities regarding the use of ILF monies and employment, we need to confirm that an appropriate person is prepared to do this for them.  Agreements will be signed up to regarding these responsibilities, which will be clearly outlined in the ILF's literature.

We confirmed that our assessors would also give their opinion if the client has the capacity to give consent and whether they are capable of managing an award from the ILF.  Consent signing will last for generally 2 years.
Jane confirmed that the ILF would be adding   the padlock sign to all our literature to let people know that we are processing their information.

User Group's views -

  • huge project but could see its importance.  They were concerned that if a client wants to keep control, the ILF should accommodate this.  We confirmed that we would visit a client more regularly if we were concerned that they may not have the capability.
  • social workers views ought to be sought as they may know the client better than the ILFA.
  • a signing-up period of 2 year is good.
  • concern over who a third party may be and did not feel that a social worker should ever be a third party due to possible conflict of interests.

Extending the User Group

Jon discussed the idea of other groups of ILF clients getting together in different parts of the country.  The ILF would have some involvement but would not actually facilitate the meetings.  The ILF would pay for room hire and expenses but the meeting would be ran by the clients themselves - perhaps invite the local ILFA to attend on a regular basis for continuity and support.

He continued that we have not had much success in getting clients to come to the ILF's offices.  He asked if the whole meeting/minutes put people off - would a coffee morning chat be more inviting?  

The user group said that they all wanted to give the ILF something back, but were very aware that meetings like this don't always work  - clients may not want the responsibility of meeting regularly.

We confirmed that we are aware of ILF support groups already in existence.

Jon confirmed that the recent Roadshow had been under-attended and new ideas needed to be considered.

The group suggested advertising on the ILF website for more people to attend and agreed to perhaps advertise it along the lines of a support group or a chat over coffee.

Any Other Business

Jon asked the group what was the best day to meet.   

The meeting then closed.
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