Council plan £74k online portal providing welfare advice

Moray Council

Moray’s councillors will be urged to back plans for a new online advice service aimed at helping people cope with changes to the welfare system.

The complex changes brought about by the UK Government’s welfare reforms and systems being put in place by the Scottish government aimed at helping those affected means that it is now no simple means for the public to navigate the system.

Officials at Moray Council say that more needs to be done to help people deal with the consequences changes including housing – dubbed the “bedroom tax” – as well as the introduction this week of personal independence payments.

Corporate Services director at Moray Council, Mark Palmer, said: “There is currently no easy way to navigate the complex mix of relevant services.”  Mr Palmer has suggested that an online database should be created that provides information on the services available in the region.

He added: “This will improve access to support services and allow people to access the support that they need.”

Councillors will be consulted on the proposal that will include a new officer being recruited to update and run the database and online portal.  If the proposals are agreed at the Policy and Resources Committee on Tuesday they are expected to cost around £74,000.

It is expected that costs for the project will be met from extra funding provided to the council by the Scottish Government in 2013/14, with Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney having indicated it was a matter for the Council to decide how such funding was used.

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