DFFF Update January - June 2023
DFFF has had a very busy 6 months of 2023.
Public Body Debt:
We have raised our concerns about how the Cost-of-Living Crisis has been crippling people with Public Body Debt by putting more people into debt for the first time or negating any Cost of Living payments people were receiving because they were eaten up by debts.
These concerns were legitimised when Aberlour and Robertson Trust issued reports with similar warnings.
We have met with the CEO of the Council and the Executive Director of Corporate services to discuss to find out more about how public sector bodies collect debts and how this could be improved in Dundee.
We have also met with the Head of Customer Services & I.T., the Senior Manager of Council Advice Services, and the Corporate Debt Manager to discuss how Dundee could lead the way in changing how public sector bodies collect debts. A debt recovery process that is centred around dignity, respect and human rights. We want the rest of Scotland to look to Dundee as an example of excellent practice and we want Dundee’s citizens to be living with less stress and fear.
In August we will meet with the Head of Customer Service & IT and her team again to continue to push this work forward.
Fairness Leadership Panel:
We have had 3 panel meetings so far, this year. DFFF has helped the Fairness Leadership Panel in monitoring on how Cost of Living Support has been executed by focusing on the 5 main themes: Food, Advice, Warm Spaces, Warm Items, and Communication.
We have also spent time visiting Community Projects to see what the have been finding challenging and what the panel should be focusing on.
Members then shared feedback on what they had heard during the visits during the last panel meeting and decided on areas that panel feels that are important to the City.
We have been working with the Principal Officer of Dundee’s Employability Partnership (Discover Work) and his team on how employability services work for Dundonians. Currently, It can be quite confusing and discouraging if someone is needing help looking for work and Discover Work would like to change this in Dundee. DFFF have been doing some consulting with them on their principles and policies and how they engage with the community to make sure that customers, then employers are prioritised.
Fairness Action Plan:
Members reviewed last year’s update of the Fairness Action Plan and raised questions, comments, concerns about some of its content. We have been working with the Head of the Chief Executive's Services DCC and her team to make sure this plan and the actions in it are having the most positive results for the citizens of Dundee. This is ongoing work.
Dundee Customer Services:
DFFF then send a letter to John Alexander Leader of Dundee City Council and Greg Colgan Chief Executive of Dundee City Council expressing our concern on limiting face to face appointments in Dundee House and the East and West Housing Offices. We have also been working with the Pensioners Forum on this piece of work.
In March DFFF held its second AGM. We welcomed 2 new members to the board of trustees, our old office bearers stood down and we elected a new team of office bearers for the coming year.
Meeting with Mhairi Black and David Linden:
Some members of DFFF had the chance to meet with Mhairi Black and David Linden both SNP MP’s to speak to them about on how the Cost of Living Crisis is effecting the people of Dundee. They will take what we had said back down to Westminster.
Even though it has been a very busy 6 months we have managed to do some fun stuff. Some members were crafty and made wonderboxes. A wonderbox used heat retention instead of Gas and Electric to cook.
We also hosted some members of the Glasgow Poverty Community. We had a nice day in the V and A. We spent some time having nice cakes and tea/coffee, reviewing on what each city is doing, had a tour the V and A, Dundee folk then paired with Glasgow people to give them a wee tour of Dundee City Centre.
DFFF are spending July doing fun stuff instead of business stuff.