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Colchester Borough Council’s benefits advice team shortlisted for national award

The Essex Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service has been shortlisted in the Team of the Year category in this year’s LGC Awards

Date issued: 23 November 2018

The team providing holistic welfare benefits advice for people affected by cancer in north, mid and south Essex has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The Essex Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service, managed by Colchester Borough Council, has been shortlisted in the Team of the Year category in this year’s LGC Awards – dubbed the ‘biggest celebration of excellence in local government’.

The team is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and has been delivered by Colchester Borough Council under a partnership arrangement since 2011.

In 2017/18 – its most successful year so far – the Macmillan team supported 2,188 clients affected by cancer and facilitated £7.4m in benefit gains, exceeding both the £1m target in benefit gains and number of cases per officer.

In the same year, the team also achieved AQS Accreditation and was commended for its work during the onsite inspection for attaining the standard so successfully and without the need for remedial work.

The benefits advice service provides free, confidential guidance, information and support to help soften the financial blow for people affected by cancer, including their carers and families and the recently-bereaved.

The team can identify eligibility for benefits, assist with completing forms and provide support to challenge unfavourable benefit decisions, ensuring those affected by cancer receive the support and help needed to maximise their income.

The service is currently delivered from four NHS Trusts, offering face-to-face clinics as well as telephone and online access. Referrals can be made either by the client or on the client’s behalf by a friend, relative, representative or professional.

Cllr Tina Bourne, Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “I’m thrilled our Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service has been shortlisted as Team of the Year in these prestigious national awards.

“It is tremendously gratifying to see the expertise, dedication and sheer hard work of the whole team recognised like this.

“Their helpful and friendly advice about the financial support people living with cancer are entitled to claim not only give patients and carers one less thing to worry about, but also sets an exemplary standard of professional excellence – so I’m not surprised they have been shortlisted for such a major award.

“I congratulate them on this success and wish them every luck in the finals.”

Judging for the Team of the Year category had been delayed, after the competition was swamped with a record number of entries. This year’s winners will be announced in a ceremony on 13 March 2019 at Grosvenor House, London.

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