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User Newsletter Issue No 4 – April 2004

This newsletter has been issued to all ILF users. It is designed to keep you up to date with developments at the Funds, and give you information or advice that may be of interest.

If you have any ideas for things you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, or have general comments about this edition or about the service you receive from the ILF, please get in touch with Jon Duckworth, Client Liaison Manager by writing to the office, or by phone (0115) 945 0773, or by email (jon.duckworth@irfs.org.uk)

Email Update

There’s good news for our clients who use email: it is now even easier to contact the Funds electronically. In December our computer system was updated to allow all ILF staff to receive and reply to emails directly.

If you would like to email the Funds about your case, use the address: client.service@irfs.org.uk

Your email will be forwarded to the person who deals with your case.

Information about the different ways you can contact us is given on the enclosed sheet.

Going Up!

The maximum sums that the ILF can pay per week have been increased. From 1 April 2004 the 1993 Fund will be able to pay £420 per week.

The Extension Fund will be able to pay a maximum of £715 per week. The ILF will not automatically increase a client’s award however. Increases will only be given if a care package needs to be reassessed for any reason. Policy and procedure remain unchanged.

The Funds Merge

Currently there are two Funds – the Extension Fund (dealing with customers who applied prior to 1993 and closed to new applications) and the 1993 Fund (which deals with all the new applications). Though the two teams are based in the same Nottingham office, they have until now maintained separate status.

To enable us to work more effectively the operation of the two Funds will be merged from April 2004. This will not affect the rules of the Extension Fund and the 1993 Fund or change the amount of money you are paid. In fact, the only thing likely to change for our customers is that you may have a new caseworker as a result of the merge.

Staff are undergoing training at the time of writing to ensure they are confident in dealing with the cases on both Funds.

Freedom of Information

The Fund has produced a Publication Scheme. This sets out what kinds of information held by the Fund is publicly available and in what formats. The scheme has been produced as a requirement of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act. The Scheme is still awaiting approval by the Information Commissioner and will appear on the ILF website within the next month. A copy can be attained by contacting:

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

Tel No (0845) 601 8815
Email: information.manager@irfs.org.uk

Client User Guide

The ILF now have a comprehensive guide for clients. It is designed to help users know how payments from the Funds can be used and the responsibilities attached to receiving an award from us. Some of you will already have received the guide (which is being given out after assessment visits). If you have not received the Client User Guide you can request one by contacting the office, or obtain a copy from our website (http://www.irfs.org.uk).

Client User Group News

Our user group continue to meet regularly to discuss ways in which the ILF can improve its service. The group consists of people who use the Fund and they were closely involved in the development of the Client User Guide (see above).

When the group meet again on 24 March 2004 they will discuss
the “hidden costs” of employing personal assistants, and the ILF customer services strategy.


If you would like to see minutes from recent User Group meetings they are available to view on our website. For more information about the group contact Jon Duckworth on (0115) 945 0773.

Retainers

In normal circumstances it is not possible for the Funds to pay a retainer for carers during a period when ILF payments would normally be suspended.

However if you directly employ personal assistants yourself (i.e. not agency or self-employed workers) and you have to go into hospital or residential care for more than 7 days it is possible to request a retainer from the Funds. The ILF can consider paying the full award for a maximum of 28 days.

Requests can be made by contacting your ILF caseworker.

Getting Better …

The ILF is constantly trying to improve the service we provide.

Here are some comparisons showing our improving performance since December 2002.

Average rate of clearing new applications:
In December 2002 we took 114 days, now it is 105 days.

Average rate of clearing an Extension Fund review visit:
In December 2002 we took 148 days, now it is 119 days.

Average rate of clearing a review visit on the 1993 Fund:
In December 2002 we took 208 days, now it takes 129 days.

Taking The High Road

The ILF is staging its very first “roadshow”. The event will take place at the Glasgow Centre for Independent Living on 25 May 2004 and will provide an opportunity for ILF users to talk with ILF members of staff, as well as other ILF users. There will also be people on hand to give advice on employing personal assistants and payroll. Clients in the Glasgow area have been invited – but anyone is welcome. The venue will be open between 10am and 5pm.

Pay Schedule

Accompanying this edition of the newsletter is a pay schedule. You can use this to tell at a glance when your ILF payment will arrive in your account, and also the deadlines the ILF staff work to in order to process your payments. This is particularly useful if you are paid on invoice or need to advise the Fund about respite or a period in hospital. Your payment cycle will be one of four, depending on your surname. (So if your surname is Alford you will be in the A to D pay cycle; if your surname is Fitzpatrick you will be paid in the E to K cycle, etc.)

Have Your Say!

Please direct comments about this newsletter or ideas for future newsletters to:
Jon Duckworth
Client Liaison Manager
PO Box 7525
Nottingham
NG2 4ZT.
Tel: (0115) 945 0773. Email: jon.duckworth@irfs.org.uk.


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