From time to time I have been able to point people towards really helpful websites when they are struggling to find good sources of reliable information about their rights, or about the rights of those they are trying to help.
Terry Stokes, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Lasa, has recently drawn my attention to a brilliant new site his company has developed with the help of core funding from the Esmee Faribairn Foundation, and with additional support from the Access to Justice Foundation.
Lasa has now been supporting organistioons in the use of technology and the delivery of social welfare advice to the disadvantaged communities they serve for more than 30 years. They were responsible for the development of the excellent pipinfo tool I have written about in the past, which is an invaluable aid for the advisers of people struggling with the PIPs regime.
Their new service, AdviceLocal, has been developed to help people who have social welfare problems to find out more about their rights and entitlements, to feel more confident about getting help with the questions they have, and to find local sources of advice and support.
It covers seven areas of law:
Welfare benefits and tax credits;
Debt and money advice;
Housing and homelessness;;
Employment and work issues;
Disability and social care;
Asylum and immigration.
It is very easy to use. Just try it and see. All you need to do is to enter a postcode and choose an advice topic, and you will then be able to access information tailored for your area, including the local authority resources you may need to know about, plus details of local independent advice organisations.
It is exciting to watch the development of really useful aids like this, which are for the most part being developed without any recourse to public funding.
Continuous quality control is, of course, all important.