July 2012 – Written Question – Ealing Equality Council

by Nigel Bakhai on 17 July, 2012

Question

Would the portfolio holder please provide details of what advice services will be provided in the borough by Nucleus Legal Advice Centre and how this will impact on the funding and services currently provided by Ealing Equality Council?

Answer

In accordance with the service specification, Nucleus will:

1.            Provide information and general advice for Ealing residents free of charge in the areas of community care, consumer protection, debt, education, employment, family and domestic issues, housing, immigration / nationality, mental health and welfare benefits.

2.            Where appropriate, provide casework support free of charge to Ealing residents in the areas of debt, employment, family and domestic issues, housing, immigration / nationality, and welfare benefits to clients who are most in need, not eligible for Legal Help, who are unable to act for themselves and cannot afford a solicitor.

3.            Refer those eligible for Legal Help and Legal Aid to specialist legal advisers where these services exist.

4.            Where appropriate signpost and refer residents to other agencies to meet their advice needs.

5.            Where appropriate accept referrals from other advice agencies for casework support in the advice areas identified and subject to the limitations set out in 2. above.

Regarding the impact on the funding and the services currently provided by Ealing Equality Council:

1.            The funding / financial position of Ealing Equality Council (EEC) has been difficult for  time particularly after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission withdrew their grant of £40,000 to EEC last year.

2.            The Community Advice Programme which is a project hosted by EEC that provides an advice surgery every other Saturday may be able to continue as it is entirely volunteer based and they are in receipt of a small grant from the Council’s Small Grants Programme.

3.            EEC’s wider advice provision and work on equalities is at risk and Officers will seek a meeting with EEC as soon as possible to discuss their funding and financial position and offer whatever assistance that is appropriate. There are significant constraints in that the Council has no grant application programmes currently open and we may have to focus on any external funding opportunities that may be appropriate.

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