IPR is delivering the new IPR Justice project, from 1st April 2021. Based on over 50 years’ experience of delivering strong outcomes for those living in poverty, this new initiative is designed to influence policy and practice on welfare rights, as well as to provide additional capacity to represent clients at Welfare benefits tribunals. The focus of the project is those with disabilities, notably mental health related.
There are two key aspects to this project. Firstly, IPR Justice will provide legal representation at Welfare Benefits Tribunals, through additional casework capacity. The project aims to further build our capacity to undertake legal action to maximise incomes. Appeals are increasing in response to flawed assessments and IPR has a strong track record of success at tribunals.
Secondly, IPR Justice will gather evidence of the experiences of people accessing the welfare system, in order to influence government policy. Our initial focus will be the introduction of tribunals held by video link, partly in response to the pandemic, and the effect this has on access to justice for all disabled and vulnerable claimants. We will also focus on the needs and experiences of claimants with mental health issues, as they often face particular barriers to accessing their welfare rights. We plan to work with partners such as Disability Rights UK, Child Poverty Action Group and others to influence policy and address the failing assessment and appeals system. We are working with partners such as Disability Rights UK, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and others to influence policy and address the failing assessment and appeals system.
We are delighted that this project has been largely funded for the next three years by Trust for London, with whom we have worked previously, and look forward to further developing our partnership with them. If you are an organisation working in a similar field and would like to explore working collaboratively with us on this project, or if you are a funder interested in supporting this project, get in touch through
If you live in Islington and need help with challenging a welfare benefits decision, or to find out more about IPR Justice, ring the IPR Telephone Advice Line on 020 7561 3685 on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday between 2pm and 4pm.
Remote Justice? Virtual benefits tribunals and disabled clients
Over the summer of 2021, IPR carried out research with welfare benefits advisers all over the country who had experience of representing disabled people at tribunals held by phone or video, and a small number of disabled people who had challenged their benefits decisions at tribunals. The results showed that holding tribunals in this way can work for some disabled people, but brings plenty of pitfalls and does not work for all. Our most important recommendation from this work is that everyone challenging a benefits decision at tribunal must be offered a genuine and informed choice of format, including a face-to-face hearing.
The Report entitled “Remote Justice? Virtual benefits tribunals and disabled clients” was launched at the IPR AGM on 9th November 2021, and is available for download here: Remote Justice? Virtual benefits tribunals and disabled clients (PDF).
There is also a short briefing document that summarises the key points from the report, available here (PDF).
IPR addressed the conference of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA) on the 10 December 2021, attended by around 180 delegates. Lindsay Owen presented the report and research at this virtual conference, and further discussion took place in breakout rooms. A summary of the advice is available here (PDF).