CPAG: Surviving welfare reform

CPAG Welfare Rights Conference 2013

Surviving welfare reform

North (Manchester) Thursday 5 September 2013

South (London) Wednesday 11 September 2013

Due to demand, and to ensure accessibility to as many people as possible, we are now hosting our Welfare Rights Conference in both the North and South of the country. We hope that this will give more people the opportunity to attend, keeping travel and accommodation costs to a minimum.


This year sees the biggest change to the benefits system in over sixty years. A raft of reforms are changing the landscape of social security and threaten hardship and anxiety to millions of claimants. All this at a time when the advice sector is under intense pressure, with funding being squeezed and cuts to legal aid for welfare benefits.

This conference will provide advisers with up-to-date, practical information to help them and their clients survive the impact of welfare reform.



Owen Jones is the author of 'Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class', which was published in June 2011. A columnist for The Independent he has commented frequently on welfare reform and the Government's cuts agenda. In 2013 he helped launch the anti – austerity movement, The People’s Assembly.

Amelia Gentleman writes on social affairs for the Guardian newspaper. She has written frequently on topics such as the Benefit Cap, the Work Capability Assessment and the Bedroom Tax enabling claimants to tell their story and highlighting the injustice of current welfare reform policy.


Chris Mould is the Executive Director of the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of foodbanks. Chris has overseen the massive growth in demand for foodbanks and has witnessed first-hand how welfare reform and benefit delays have driven more and more people to rely on foodbanks

James Bevan is a campaigns officer with Unite the Union and is responsible for the campaign “Our Welfare Works” which aims to encourage local resistance to welfare cuts and provides myth busting facts and figures on its website


Bedroom taxes and benefit caps.

Edward Graham, Advice and Rights Manager CPAG

The ‘bedroom tax’ affects thousands of people in social housing, causing widespread hardship and putting families at risk of homelessness. At the same time, the benefit cap affects a relatively small number of larger families, but with potentially devastating impacts on children. This workshop examines the rules, case law and any challenges to these provisions, as well as looking at the guidance for discretionary housing payments. It will also include a brief look ahead at how these and other rules, including non-dependant deductions, will operate under the housing element of universal credit.

Personal independence payment: implementation and implications

Simon Osborne, Welfare Rights Worker CPAG

Personal independence payment (PIP) replaces working-age disability living allowance (DLA) for new claims. This workshop provides an opportunity for advisers to share their experiences of the claims and assessment process, identify common issues, and learn more about how to help claimants gain entitlement to the new benefit.

Coping with universal credit: How the new claims and payments arrangements will affect vulnerable claimants.

David Simmons, Welfare Rights Worker CPAG

Universal credit will see the introduction of radical changes in the way benefits are claimed and paid. There will be no paper claim forms, and most claims and awards will be managed online. Payments will normally be assessed and paid on a monthly basis, and most payments will be made directly to claimants in a monthly lump sum.

This workshop will consider how these changes will affect vulnerable claimants and their advisers. It will explain the rules and the policy intent behind them, as well as the DWP’s ‘exceptions policy’ and other safeguards for vulnerable claimants. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to discuss how the changes may affect them and their clients.

Social fund replacement: short term benefit advances and Local Authority provision.

Martin Williams, Welfare Rights Worker CPAG and Michael Spencer, Solicitor CPAG

Following the abolition of crisis loans and community care grants, claimants in dire and urgent need of assistance can find themselves relying on discretionary payments from either the Local Authority or the DWP. This workshop will look at practical action advisers can take in assisting claimants to access both short term benefit advances and Local Authority social fund replacement schemes.


Our venue in the North of England is The University of Manchester Innovation Centre UMIC, Core Technology Facility, 46 Grafton Street, Manchester, M13 9NT

Our venue in the South of England is Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

Exhibition space

We will have an exhibition space hosting exhibitors showcasing their work, products and services. If you are interested in exhibiting at our conference find out more here or email

Booking a place and further information

Delegate places are £120 for voluntary organisations and £150 for statutory organisations and lawyers.

To book delegate place(s) or an exhibition stand please complete our online booking form or email

Please note that workshops are selected on the day on a first come, first served basis.