DWP: Touchbase – Fri 10 March

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

People given more time for voluntary National Insurance contributions 

The Government has extended the voluntary National Insurance deadline to 31 July 2023 to give people more time to fill gaps in their National Insurance record and help increase the amount they receive in State Pension. 

As part of transitional arrangements to the new State Pension, people have been able to make voluntary contributions to any incomplete years in their National Insurance record between April 2006 and April 2016, to help increase the amount they receive when they retire. 

Further information and guidance is available on GOV.UK.   

Menopause Employment Champion 

DWP has appointed England’s first Menopause Employment Champion to create better work environments for women experiencing the menopause. Helen Tomlinson is Head of Talent (UK & Ireland) at The Adecco Group and has over 30 years’ experience in the recruitment and employability sector. She will work with employers across all sectors to generate awareness of the issues surrounding work and the menopause and encourage and advise employers to develop impactful polices to support women to stay in work and progress further.

More information can be found on GOV.UK.  

Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding

Eligible households in Great Britain can apply for £400 of support under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF).

The scheme is aimed at those without a direct relationship to an energy supplier, including self-funded care home residents and people living in park homes, as well as households who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off grid.

To check eligibility and apply, please search for “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” in the search bar on GOV.UK or search engine. Those who need additional support, or do not have internet access, can call a dedicated helpline on 0808 175 3287.

Payments will be made by Local Authorities, who may also request additional information – but only once an application has been made via the secure portal or helpline.

Make Things Right: Social housing complaints campaign 
The Make Things Right campaign aims to ensure more social housing residents who need support know how to make a complaint. 

It is based on the idea that everyone deserves a home that is safe, secure and well maintained, and anything less is unacceptable. And if a resident has reported an issue and it hasn’t been fixed, it’s now easier to make things right. 

The campaign sets out the steps of the complaints process that residents can take if they are unhappy with the service from their social housing provider. 

The Campaign Toolkit contains guidance and links to assets to help spread the word among residents about how to make complaints. This includes posters, leaflets and social media posts for you to print or download and share with your networks. Some of them are translated into other languages too. 

You can also visit @luhc Twitter account to see and share content and updates.   

Voter ID campaign

The Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at some elections.

This new requirement will apply for the first time at the local elections taking place in some areas of England on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Anyone who does not have an accepted form of photo ID will be able to apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

Organisations working directly with voters, including local authorities and charities, can play an important role in supporting voters to ensure they have photo ID ahead of the elections.

The Electoral Commission has created partner packs for organisations in England. They are designed to help raise awareness, and to support people to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, ahead of the local elections in May 2023. The packs also include information on voter registration.

We would appreciate if you could please share the information about the new requirement with your audiences and on your social media channels (social assets are in the partner pack) – you can also retweet the Electoral Commission.