Tuesday 23 July 2013

GLC launches City Rights Hubs to help the most vulnerable and marginalised people in Glasgow

Govan Law Centre is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new City Rights Hubs service funded by the Big Lottery Fund, from the Support and Connect Project. We will be providing outreach surgeries to Glasgow City Mission, The Marie Trust, Lodging House Mission Homelessness Day Centres, along with Base 75 and Grand Central Savings and other organisations.

The aim of our new project is to provide vulnerable and marginalised people in Glasgow access to their rights in terms of welfare benefits, debt, housing and homelessness law, and access to sustainable financial services.  We will bring tailored packages of services to where the greatest need is in the City of Glasgow. The project will work closely with our established Govan Law Centre team to develop and deliver the service. We are recruiting the following new posts:

Senior Solicitor, Part Time 18.5 hrs per week, Salary Pro Rata £29,405 p.a. We require a Senior Solicitor with significant court and tribunal experience to work within our new City Rights Hubs service funded, by the Big Lottery Fund.  Job specification is here.

Vulnerable Client Financial Inclusion Caseworker, 34 hrs per week, £25,000 p.a. We require a Vulnerable Client Financial Inclusion Caseworker with current welfare rights experience to work within our new City Rights Hubs service, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Experience of working with vulnerable groups is essential. Job specification is here.

Rights Hubs Project Administrator,  34 hrs per week, Salary commensurate with experience. We require an administrator with legal clerical experience to work within our new City Rights Hubs service, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.  Job sharing will be considered for this post. Job specification is here.

To apply for any of the above posts, please send a CV and personal covering letter to: “GLC City Rights Hubs Project”, Govan Law Centre,  18-20 Orkney Street, Glasgow,  G51 2BZ.  Closing Date:  Noon,  9th August 2013. E-mail: m @govanlc.com

Sunday 14 July 2013

How to tackle payday lenders: GLC's new Payday Loan Survival Guide

With 90% of the payday lending market failing to comply with consumer protection laws to the severe detriment of vulnerable consumers, Govan Law Centre (GLC) believes there is now an urgent need to help people in the UK fight back against payday lenders.

The payday lending market was recently referred to the Competition Commission, and in 2011/12 there were 8.2m new payday loans made in the UK alone. There is every expectation that this number will continue to rise, and with it the financial exploitation of consumers across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

GLC has therefore decided to publish a free 'Payday Loan Survival Guide' for consumers across the UK. Our new guide explains how consumers can take back control of their finances, challenge unfair interest and charges, stop payday lenders from emptiying their bank accounts, and pay back debts legally due on a reasonable and affordable basis. The guide has been written by GLC's Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly.

Govan Law Centre's new Payday Loan Survival Guide is designed for all consumers across the UK in difficulty with payday loans, and can be downloaded here (as a PDF) for free.

Our guide is free. It has been produced without funding, and we will be posting a link where charitable donations to GLC can be made by those who would feel able to help our work in this field.

Thursday 11 July 2013

GLC Scottish test case win for school child with diabetes

Solicitor for Callum,
GLC's Sarah-Jane Kissock
A child with diabetes has won a landmark ruling which saw the local authority criticised for failing to provide adequate support for his health care needs. 

Callum Wyper, aged 7, a pupil at Dykehead Primary School in Shotts, requires support during the school day to manage his diabetes, which includes the administration of insulin. However, due to a lack of provision by the education authority, Callum ended up missing nearly two months of school between December 2012 and January 2013.

North Lanarkshire Council had relied on volunteers from among existing school staff to support pupils with diabetes with their insulin regimes, but when this support was withdrawn and the education authority failed to provide alternative provision, Callum’s mother Julie and step-father James, felt they had no option but to withdraw him from school to ensure his diabetes was safely managed.
The Additional Support Needs Tribunal, which determined the case, decided that it would have been reasonable to recruit support staff whose duties included a responsibility for the administration of insulin. In failing to do so, the Council were found to have unlawfully discriminated against Callum in relation to his disability.
The Equality Act 2010 includes a duty on schools to make “reasonable adjustments” for disabled pupils. Since September 2012, that duty has included a duty to provide auxiliary aids and services, where required. This case which was taken on by the Govan Law Centre is regarded as an important test case and is the first to deal with the thorny issue of administration of medicines in school. The decision clarifies that the duty to assist disabled children with medication and other health care needs lies with the education authority. And as such, it is likely to benefit thousands of children with long-term medical conditions in schools across Scotland.
Callum’s mother Julie said: “We are so glad this is all over. We knew we were right to challenge the school and knowing the Tribunal have backed our case is a huge relief. All we wanted is for Callum to have the same chances at school as any other wee boy and are really pleased that the school and the council must take Callum’s diabetes seriously.”
Solicitor Sarah-Jane Kissock, of Govan Law Centre's Education Law Unit, who represented the family, said “We are very pleased that Callum's family have been vindicated by this decision and that arrangements will now be put in place to make sure that he does not have to miss school again in the future. We would urge Councils across Scotland to review their own policies in light of this decision to ensure that the support needed by children with diabetes is in place and secure. No child should miss out on their right to education as a result of a disability.”
Jane-Claire Judson, National Director of Diabetes UK Scotland who also attended the hearing in support of the family said: “The tribunal has demonstrated that failure to deliver on a school’s duty of care and not having inadequate plans in place to support a child with diabetes will lead to serious discrimination. The detrimental consequences to a child’s education are significant when such discrimination takes place as evidenced by this case. It is not a situation we expect to see in Scotland’s schools.
“Diabetes UK Scotland is pleased to note that the tribunal were very clear in their recommendation that caring for a child who needs insulin in school is a serious issue that needs to be anticipated and planned for.”
“Schools have a legal duty to put in place provision for supporting children with diabetes and for administering insulin. We look forward to seeing the council’s new policy on looking after children with diabetes in schools so that care programmes are developed that ensure teachers, support staff, and parents work together to look after the needs of the child. It is a disappointing situation that a family would have to pursue this through a tribunal process to ensure their child’s right to an education”
The case has also attracted the interest of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie, who has been working on this issue for some time, following concerns raised by children and young people, their parents and practitioners. To take this work forward, he has commissioned and undertaken a series of research reports which have looked at the issues in more detail.
A working group has since been set up by the Commissioner to consider the findings from these reports and look at recent policy, legislative and practice developments, with a view to making formal recommendations to the Scottish Government.