2020 was the 36th year that the Disability Advice Service (East Suffolk) has been offering advice and support to the East Suffolk community.
On this page:
- The main numbers for 2019.
- A breakdown of the financial gain by type of benefit and by geographical area.
- A link to our client testimonials.
- Key comments from the independent audit of our advice quality.
- The beneficial impact of our Listening Service.
- We supported our clients to gain an additional £2,481,838 in benefits
- The service advised 1,248 clients.
- We had 5,379 enquiries in total during the year.
- We won 71 of 77 appeals cases where a decision was reached (92%).
- We gave £4,086 as small grants to individuals in crisis circumstances.
- We continued our partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society to deliver advice to their members across Suffolk.
- We continued our outreach services to Leiston, Framlingham, Felixstowe, Saxmundham and Woodbridge and their surrounding areas.
- We worked with a large group of housing officers from different organisations to deliver housing related help and advice including discretionary housing payments, housing arrears, evictions and homelessness.
Financial Gain: 2019
The total of benefit awards to clients as a result of our work in 2019 was £2,481,838, highlighting the essential need for our service in the East Suffolk area.
It’s not just clients who benefit – this chart shows the ripple effect ultimately leading to a significant investment in our local economies.
Audit of our advice quality
An audit of our advice service was carried out in January 2020 by the Financial Inclusion and Advice Service (FIAS). Their report included the following statements:
- “It was evident that in many of the cases seen the adviser had dealt with complex issues and managed client expectations very well.”
- “From the majority of cases seen, there was clear recording on Re-Dial. All the available fields had been used and additional notes had been made. Clear recording of checks by peers and discussion at ‘appeal meetings’ evident.”
- “The quality of advice given to clients was of a high standard. Clear that DAS advisors deal with complex cases and in the whole produce very good submissions which is reflected in their success rates which are higher than HMCTS outcomes.”
Impact of the Listening Service
The Listening Service came into being during the first pandemic lockdown and by the end of 2020 had engaged with over 900 clients, many of whom didn’t have specific issue they needed help with but stated that they were feeling fearful, forgotten or anxious and were genuinely so pleased to have heard from us. 23% of our calls led onto further referrals to one of our advisors or were signposted to other agencies such as housing, social care and medical services.