Information & Advice

Funded through the Big Lottery’s Advice services Transition Fund, Advice in County Durham is a partnership of local advice providers, committed to working together to improve the provision of advice across County Durham. The partnership aims to provide a seamless service for those seeking advice and enable organisations providing information and advice to work in a more collaborative way for the benefit of all concerned.
With austerity measures and funding cuts leaving more people in need of help and resources available to advice organisations being reduced, the need for new ways of working is greater than ever. The partnership will redesign access routes to advice by joining up the provision in simple pathways that both agencies and clients will understand, to ensure that there is ‘no wrong door’ when it comes to helping clients.
Clients will get a single point referral, easier access, earlier intervention, reduced waiting times and faster emergency response.
Organisations delivering advice will have the opportunity to gain approved centre status as a member of the partnership network, reflecting the level of service delivered.
Sam Scotchbrook– Project Co-ordinator, Advice in County Durham
Tel: 0191 3726704
Armstrong House, Abbeywoods Business Park, Durham, DH1 5GH
Universal Credit Training 

Introduction to Universal Credit Training course - delivered by Durham Welfare Rights Service

Just to confirm that I have now opened the window to take bookings for the following dates … 

Date and times : **Thursday the 22nd November 9:30am – 4:30pm **Thursday the 6th December 2018 9:30am-4:30pm 

Please note this is a one day course - Venue – Armstrong House , Durham You will receive joining instructions once you have been successfully allocated a place – places are on a first come first served basis- so book early to avoid disappointment I have attached the training brochure which gives an overview of the course aims and objectives 

**This will be the last training dates for 2018 – we will be announcing training for 2019 in the next couple of weeks

Stanley Advice Forum… 

Date of the first meeting … Monday the 26th November 2018 – 2-4pm – Bamburgh Suite Stanley Civic Hall Advice in County Durham are wanting to build positive working relationships with other statutory and third sector providers in the Stanley area, particularly those which are also supported by Stanley Town Council, as well as other community organisations, we want to strengthen and improve partnerships with these organisations to enable simple cross referral into each other’s services.

The Advice in County Durham Partnership are to host a Stanley Town Advice Forum which will meet on a quarterly basis to improve partnership working and to encourage cross agency cooperation. We would love to hear from anyone interested in being involved if you are from an organisation who delivers services or work in Stanley.. Please contact me to register to attend or for further information.. I look forward to hearing from you..


Thursday 6th December 2018 9:30am -12:15 Employability The Workplace , Heighington Lane Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6AH Coffee and registration from 9.00 am 

Advice in County Durham is a partnership of local advice providers, committed to working together to improve the provision of advice across County Durham. We are focusing this meeting on what support services are out there in relation to Employability within County Durham 

Details of speakers, booking form and the meeting format to follow soon… Get the date in your diary as this will be a popular event.. 

Many thanks Sam Ms Sam Scotchbrook Network Development Officer - Advice in County Durham Direct line: 0191 3726704 / Mobile: 07967344447

Just an update…Portal problems.. 

The domain on which the Advice in County Durham Website and portal is hosted is currently experiencing issues Here is a direct link which can be used to access the portal in the interim so you CAN still access the portal – please be reassured that you can still make referrals as normal… I’ll let you know asap once everything is back up and running – apologies for any issues this may cause

Referring to Durham Welfare Rights through the Referral Portal **New**

Durham WR have recently updated their referral criteria for all referrals sent to the service through the portal. As per the description below I have attached a copy of the Welfare Rights Form of Authority and a copy of the HMCTS medical authority form (this form is helpful as it enables the Welfare Rights Officer to secure a copy of the GP records more quickly when needed). The full criteria is copied below and is now available to view on the referral portal… 

Welfare Rights Criteria 
Durham County Council Welfare Rights specialise in the representation of clients at benefit appeal tribunals. This particular referral route is for the referral of clients requiring representation at tribunal only. Any general benefit queries or checks should be directed through our professionals advice line: 03000 268 978 open 12.30 – 15.30pm or the client can reach us directly through the public advice line: 03000 268 968 open 9 – 12pm. 
Welfare Rights will only take on a case for representation once the SSCS1 has been submitted. When making a referral to Welfare Rights for representation we ask referrers to include - a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration notice - a completed copy of the SSCS1 form, – a completed form of authority for Welfare Rights and – a completed HMCTS medical authority form. 
Any referrals not including this documentation risk being rejected. If your organisation does not provide support up to the SSCS1 stage you can refer the case to Citizens Advice County Durham who can assist with this and will then send the case on to Welfare Rights once ready.

If you require a copy of the Welfare Rights Forms of Authority or the HMCTS medical authority form please email

Update from DWP… **New**

Universal Credit Live Service will end in January and the Jobcentres in County Durham are busy preparing our customer for the change to Universal Credit Full Service, this will be a supported change and customers will be invited into the Jobcentre to make their claim to Full Service. If you have any customers contacting you about a letter they have received on this subject please encourage them to attend their appointment etc. If they have any questions they should contact their local Jobcentre. 

The changeover is due to start on 5th September 2018  

Information Websites

The following websites have been developed to help people living or working in County Durham access the information they need.  Please follow the appropriate link below to access the site you need.   

Durham Locate (formerly DIG)

Need help finding the right care and support? Locate is a free online resource providing a wealth of care and support information and services making it easier for you to make plans now and in the future.

Families Information Service (FIS)

The Families Information Service is a free and impartial service providing information to help parents support their children through to their 20th birthday, or 25th birthday if the child is disabled.  The website provides information on a wide range of things including – choosing childcare, where to find a nursery, pre-school or playgroup, sport and leisure clubs as well as family leisure activities, information about free and flexible early learning (formerly nursery education) for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, support for children with additional needs or disabilities, parenting groups and classes.
Help 4 Teens

Help 4 Teens provides a range of information for young people around careers and further education including:  careers database, qualifications, personal development opportunities, sources of financial support, volunteering opportunities, health and personal wellbeing.

Wellbeing For Life

Wellbeing for Life is a service commissioned by Durham County Council and delivered by five partners who have years of knowledge and experience of working and supporting local people across County Durham

This is Durham
The official Tourism Website for Durham
Advice in County Durham Newsletter **Current**

We are delighted to share Advice in County Durham's very first newsletter. 
The issue includes an exploration of the difficulties experienced by claimants moving from a joint to a single benefit claim, a refresher from the Building Financially Healthy Communities event and a look at what’s coming up next year… 

Click here to read the newsletter 

New Families Information Service contact number **Current**

In line with the corporate telephony project it has been agreed that the FIS service telephone number should change to an 03000 number as operated across Durham County Council.

The number 03000 26 99 95 has been assigned as the replacement and is effective as of now.  This information is up to date on the website.

Initially callers to the old number will get a new number message which we’ll review after 6 months to see if the calls have stopped to that old number.