DEPARTMENT OF WORK & PENSIONS (DWP) – SUPPORTING GLASGOW WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN AND OFFENDING
BY JACQUI HUGHES, Employer Partnership Manager, DWP
During a Glasgow Working Group on Women and Offending workshop, I recognised the potential benefits of increasing awareness of DWP reforms and benefits, such as Universal Credit, with our partner organisations and services.
As a member of the group, I quickly organised awareness sessions with the opportunity for Community Justice Partners to ask specific questions and discuss their experience in supporting service users to claim benefits.
The sessions were extremely positive. Front-line workers and supervisors across a broad range of partners fed back that the most valuable aspect was being able to talk about the real examples they had encountered, and get the answers they needed to support their service users in the future.
The sessions were held in DWP premises and partners were also able to visit DWP training rooms and computer suites that could be made available free for partners’ use.
Materials from the session were shared widely across all Working Group members and Glasgow Criminal Justice Social Work staff, including a DWP YouTube resource with information on prisoners i.e. differences on those sentenced and those held on remand, and the role of DWP Prison Work Coaches in supporting prison leavers.
CLICK HERE FOR DWP YOUTUBE RESOURCE
DWP contacts in each area were also shared enabling third sector partners access to local support, which ultimately benefit those who need extra help.
Karen Baxter, Policy Officer and Community Justice Glasgow’s Lead for Women involved in offending commented:
‘These sessions were really useful and will go a long way to help Community Justice Partners’ work in supporting people needing to access benefits. The Glasgow Working Group on Women and Offending are really creative in breaking down the barriers for women in accessing the services they need. Our close working relationship with DWP has reaped many rewards over the year and this is just one example of how the partnership approach to working around women involved in the justice system pays off. Service and resource alignment, sharing skills and expertise to the benefit of all of the partners around women is what it’s about. Working as partners to overcome barriers such as this all contribute to meeting the priories set out in Community Justice Glasgow Outcome Improvement and help to reduce the risk that someone will re-offend’