The Independent Living Funds is now closed 2016

In this section

Newsletter for Disability Organisations April 2004

Newsletter for Disability Organisations
Jeff Macbeth
Customer Services Manager

What is the ILF?

The Independent Living Funds are two Government funded Trusts, set up to provide financial help to severely disabled people who live in the UK to enable them to access the care they need in order to remain living independently in the community.

The Independent Living (1993) Fund is open to new applicants and currently supports a caseload of 9500 people. The Independent Living (Extension) Fund supports those people who received help from the original Independent Living Fund, which closed in 1993, and currently has a caseload of over 6000.

The Funds are discretionary Trusts created and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Social Development (Northern Ireland) but operating at arms length from Government. They are financed by cash limited grants-in-aid and managed by a Board of independent Trustees appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Their combined budget for 2003/2004 is over £194 million. The Independent Living (1993) Fund works in conjunction with local authority social services departments, helping to finance joint care packages.

Why produce a newsletter specifically for Disability Organisations?
Trevor Chapman has recently been appointed as the Information & Service Director – a new post created as a result of some organisational changes designed to meet our new business aims, particularly our relationship with local authorities and other outside organisations, including key disability organisations. Trevor previously worked as the Operations Director.

We already produce a newsletter for Social Services staff, disseminated through our network of ‘Contact Officers’ within the local authorities throughout the UK. We have also set up a User Group, which is currently being extended in order to consult our users over our practices and processes. We would now like to build up and develop our relationships with other disability organisations such as yourselves, to ensure that you are fully informed about the ILFs, are kept up to date with any major changes, but perhaps more importantly to ensure that you know that we welcome and encourage valuable feedback on the way we operate, and how our relationship can be enhanced in the future. We have decided that the best way to start this off is to produce a biannual newsletter specifically for disability organisations.

We have also set up a formal channel for you to pass your comments to us with the assurance that these will be considered at the correct level, and that we will give you an appropriate response.

Given that this is the first ILF newsletter specifically for disability organisations, we would especially welcome feedback as to what you feel your organisation would find useful to be included in future editions of this newsletter.

Any feedback about this and any other issues should be addressed to myself (Jeff Macbeth – Customer Services Manager), either by post, fax or telephone (see contact details) or by email: funds@irfs.org.uk

The Role of the Client Liaison Manager
Jon Duckworth

The ILF wants to consult more widely with its clients. Part of the reason for doing this is to find out whether we can improve the way we deliver our service, as well as finding out what we are doing right.

As Client Liaison Manager I am responsible for getting feedback from the people that use our fund and ensuring that we act on it. We consult with ILF users in a number of ways:

The Client User Group
A group made up of actual ILF users meet up every two months to discuss current issues. The meetings are chaired by a member of the group and they also partly determine the agenda.

Questionnaire
From April we will be issuing a questionnaire to all clients who have gone through the application process. We aim to find out how people get information about the ILF, whether they find it easy to apply, what their experience of the assessment visit is, and whether the letters they receive are simple to understand.
We hope to take the feedback from this questionnaire and see if there are areas for improvement.

Meeting People
As well as our Client User Group, we are building up contacts with a wide variety of community groups, voluntary groups and organisations representing disabled people. The aim is to talk to people who use our service and find out what their experiences of the ILF are. We are also staging our first “roadshow” in Glasgow (on May 25th at the Centre for Independent Living) so that ILF users can talk to staff, get advice on payroll and employment issues, and share experiences with other users too.

Race Equality Scheme
Another part of my remit is to find out whether there are aspects of our processes and procedures that may exclude people with disabilities from black and ethnic minority communities, prevent applications or prevent people from getting the most benefit from our funding. So far I have been trying to build links with groups representing BME communities and the initial discussions have been very enlightening. We want to find ways to encourage applications from all communities by focusing our presentations, posters and literature to raise awareness about the ILF in all communities.

If you would like to know more about any aspects of the ILF’s client liaison please get in touch with me:

Jon Duckworth, ILF, PO Box 7525, Nottingham NG2 4ZT. Tel: (0115) 945 0773 (direct line). E-mail: jon.duckworth@irfs.org.uk

The Client User Guide - Keeping Our Users Informed
Jon Duckworth
Client Liaison Manager

The ILF has put together a series of leaflets as information for people who receive funding.

The User Guide contains 15 leaflets covering everything from the Funds’ eligibility criteria and how payments are calculated to what people should do if they need more care and what changes they need to inform the ILF about.

This guide is sent out to everyone who has just had an assessment visit. It was put together with considerable input from the Client User Group. As actual recipients of funding they were able to tell us what information is most useful for them to know. Hopefully, all our users have found this guide a great help.
Anyone with access to the internet can view the 15 leaflets in the User Guide on the ILF website. To look at the Guide follow these steps:

1. Visit the Funds website http://www.irfs.org.uk
2. Click on General Information
3. Click on User Guide (Information Leaflets)
4. Click on whichever leaflet you wish to view from the index

The User Guide is intended primarily for our clients, but it contains a lot of information that will be helpful to anyone interested in finding out more about the ILF and how we work.

The ILF Website
Jon Duckworth
Client Liaison Manager

Visit the ILF website: http://www.irfs.org.uk

The website is continually being improved and updated and features information on how to make an application, how to fill in the application form, details about the ILF eligibility criteria, and current news and developments at the Funds.

The afore-mentioned User Guide is available to view, and there are also Policy Guidance notes, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and details of how to contact us.

There is large-print version of the site for people with visual impairment, and the site can be read in some other languages (such as Chinese, French and Spanish) although we are looking to translate it into more languages in the future.

We see the ILF website as a vital part of our communication with our users. Work is ongoing to make the website even better. If you have any comments about the ILF website, please get in touch with:

Jon Duckworth, ILF. PO Box 7525, Nottingham NG2 4ZT. (0115) 945 0773. E-mail: jon.duckworth@irfs.org.uk

Freedom of Information / The Publication Scheme
Simon French
Information Manager

The ILF has produced a Publication Scheme. This sets out what kinds of information held by the Funds is publicly available and in what formats. The scheme has been produced as a requirement of the 2003 Freedom of Information Act. The scheme is to appear on our website within the next month.
A copy of the Publication Scheme can be obtained by contacting me:

Simon French
The Information Manager
ILF
PO Box 7525
Nottingham
NG2 4ZT

Tel: (0845) 601 8815
Email: Information.manager@irfs.org.uk

CONTACT DETAILS

BY PHONE:
Phone lines are in operation Monday - Thursday 9.00am to 4.30pm, Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm. Phones are closed from 2.00pm to 3.30pm on Thursdays for staff training. The ILF telephone number is (0845) 601 8815.

BY EMAIL:
General queries and contact should be made using funds@irfs.org.uk

IN WRITING:
You can write to the Funds at this address:

Independent Living Funds
PO Box 7525
Nottingham
NG2 4ZT

BY FAX:
(0115) 945 0945
(0115) 945 0946
Customer Services (0115) 945 0948

TEXTPHONE:
(0845) 601 8816

APPLICATIONS TO THE ILF - Who can apply and what can the funding be used for?

To be eligible for the 1993 Fund a person must:

  • Be living in the UK
  • Be at least 16 years old and under 66 years old
  • Receive (or have an underlying entitlement to) the Highest Rate Care Component of Disability Living Allowance or equivalent Attendance Allowance
  • Receive support from their Local Authority Social Services Department (or council with Social Services responsibility) to the value of at least £200.00 per week
  • Have capital of less than £18,500
  • Be expected to live independently in the community for at least the next six months

Application forms can be obtained by ringing the ILF switchboard number and asking for Customer Services. (The application form can also be printed off the ILF website.)

ILF funding can be used to pay for the cost of employing personal assistants or a care agency to provide personal and domestic care to enable someone to live independently at home.


The Independent Living Funds is now closed 2016
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