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From January 2021 to January 2022 annual CPIH* is 4.9%. This means many support workers (interpreters, speech to text, lipspeakers), etc. are having to put up their fees.
(1) This may mean that you need to increase your ATW award. (If you have a capped award you can't increase it).
(2) If you have enough budget, you may just need to increase the amount you can pay support workers each hour.
(3) Or you may need to ask to increase your award and hourly rate.
If you have this problem then you need to get three new quotes, showing the new rates, and make a 'change of circumstances' request, sending the three quotes as evidence of the increase in fees.
Let DeafATW know if this works for you, or you have problem with this.
*CPIH = Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ Housing costs
Inflation and interpreter (etc.) fees - do you need to change your hourly rate or budget?
The DP222JP AtW Support Worker claim has a column that AtW users have to fill in when making a claim called “hours claimed”. But interpreters and interpreting agencies usually charge for minimum sessions, e.g. half, full day, or evening session fee, not by the hour.
This means that Deaf AtW customers have to record in the “hours claimed” column the number of hours to make sure that the interpreter is paid for their session fee, which might be more than the hours than is actually worked. E.g. the interpreter is booked for a 2 hour meeting, but their charge is for a half day session, the hours claimed may be for 3 or 3.5 hours.
If the interpreter is booked through an interpreting agency the Deaf person also has to keep a Time Sheet, and as part of that has to record the “hours worked”. This can be a problem because if the hours worked recorded is different from the hours claimed, AtW may not pay the invoice in full.
AtW understand that interpreters and agencies usually charge by sessions, that these sessions may not match hours worked, and that because of this the DP222JP and customer’s timesheet are confusing.
DeafATW has been discussing this issue with the DWP for some time, and will update this information if there is any news to share.
For more information about the information DWP say you need to provide on the claim form etc. click here for the DeafATW update about this.
AtW have published their changes to AtW during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
AtW have updated their factsheet for customers to include changes they're making to AtW because of COVID-19. www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-factsheet
These changes are mostly the same as the changes that DeafATW has shared in earlier updates. Please read these updates because I only explain new information in this update.
There are four things useful to say about the update:
1) In the Factsheet there is a section with the heading "If your support needs change". It then says "If the support you need changes, for example because you have started to work from home, you need to tell Access to Work."
This means that you only need to tell AtW you are working at home if your support needs have changed. If your support needs are the same, you don't have to tell AtW.
2) In the Factsheet there is a section with the heading "Assessments". This says that if you apply for AtW and know what support you need, you don't need a workplace assessment.
If you don't know what support you need, an organisation (not AtW) will do the assessment over the phone. Let that organisation know if you need the assessment done in BSL, e.g. through a video interpreting service.
3) In the Factsheet there is a section with the heading "Interpreters". It then says "You need to tell Access to Work if you change the type of support you are using. For example, if you start using an online interpreting service instead of a BSL support worker."
This advice looks different from the information that DeafATW shared in an update before. In this factsheet it seems to say that you should tell AtW if you change to use a remote interpreter instead of a face to face one. DeafATW has checked with ATW, and this means that if you stop using face-to-face interpreters and switch to a remote interpreting service and plan to carry on doing this in the future, then you should tell AtW. But if you are just using a remote interpreter because of Coronavirus, and will carry on using face-to-face interpreters in the future, then you don't need to tell AtW.
4) In the Factsheet there is a section with the heading "Claiming for costs". It then says "If you cannot leave home or ask someone else to post your claim for costs, contact your Access to Work adviser and ask if you can send your claim by email. They will tell you what you need to do. You can also send the email from your employer or your support worker by email."
This means that if you can't post your claim form you should contact your AtW adviser and ask them how you can email your claim form to AtW.
This information has been checked with AtW.
This information has been updated to say that the advice in the earlier AtW update is still correct after the updated customer factsheet was published. (For number 3 above).
Using remote interpreters instead of face-to-face interpreters, because of Coronavirus / COVID-19
If you have an award for face to face interpreting, but because of Coronavirus and lockdown you need to use a remote interpreter provider instead, you can use use your award to pay for this. If the cost remains the same overall, you don't need to ask or tell Access to Work.
When you do the AtW paperwork (DP222 claim form) you can say that this is "COVID-19 VRS instead of face-to-face", but you don't have to.
This advice looks different from the information in the updated AtW Customer Factsheet. In this factsheet it seems to say that you should tell AtW if you change to use a remote interpreter instead of a face to face one. DeafATW has checked with ATW, and this means that if you stop using face-to-face interpreters and switch to a remote interpreting service and plan to carry on doing this in the future, then you should tell AtW. But if you are just using a remote interpreter because of Coronavirus, and will carry on using face-to-face interpreters in the future, then you don't need to tell AtW.
This information has been checked with AtW.
This information has been updated to say that you can make this change without checking with AtW if the cost overall stays the same, and to check that it is still correct after the updated customer factsheet was published.
AtW publishes the guidance that AtW Advisers use when they make decisions about your support.
Click here to see the latest guidance.
It is a long document, but if you download the PDF you can search for things that are relevant to you.
When do interpreters (etc.) need to provide Unique Tax Reference (UTR) numbers for ATW?
30th July 2019
If the SW is self-employed and is supplying their own invoice for payment then AtW should have a record of their UTR number on the customer’s file, which is securely filed and can only be viewed by AtW staff. They should mot ask for it, and do not need it, to be added to the interpreter's invoice. Interpreters who work through their own Ltd company won't have a UTR.
What information do ATW need to make sure that Support Workers (interpreters etc.) get paid?
14th March 2019
Some people are confused about what information they need to send to ATW about their Support (Worker (SW), to make sure that the interpreter is paid, because the way that ATW explain what they need is not always clear. This is a summary of what ATW are asking for. Click below to read more information about this.
For freelance SWs booked direct ATW need you to send them:
1) A completed SW claim form.
2) Original SW invoice/s (attached to the claim form).
For SWs booked through an agency ATW need you to send them:
1) A completed SW claim form.
2) Original agency invoice/s (attached to the claim form)
3) A time sheet signed by the SW. (The timesheet is not an ATW form, it is your form. Download the document below for more information.)
Click here to download a plain English explanation of what ATW need.
20th April 2016
NUBSLI made a Freedom of Information request about the pay rates for interpreters and CSWs that they use when working out awards for Deaf people.
The answer was that AtW "does not have set pay rates for BSL/English interpreting and CSW support for Deaf and deafblind people.
Access to Work advisers, in discussion with the customer would establish both the level and type of support required and source this from within the area where they are working and do so on the best value for money basis."
So if an AtW adviser tells you that the award is based on a fee that you know is too low for your area, you can challenge them, and show them the DWP's answer to the FoI request. They should be allowing you to send in questes so you can show what the market rate is for your area.
Click here to read the full NUBSLI post.
AtW Advisers are asking for NI numbers of the interpreters you use - should you tell them?
21 September 2014
AtW have been asking for the NI numbers of the interpreters Deaf AtW users people book. They explain that this is for “internal audit purposes”.
However, the Data Protection Act limits the scope of information that can be collected from individuals to that which is proportionate and necessary.
It won't be clear in terms of NI records whether any particular invoice has been paid to any particular interpreter, and those who work under the framework of their own limited company will have different arrangements.
So DeafATW can’t see how collecting this information and handling is proportionate and necessary. If it isn’t necessary it could put you in breach of the Data Protection Act.
If you are asked to supply NI numbers, and other similar data about the interpreters you use, it may be worth explaining this to the AtW Adviser, and asking them to advise you on this issue.
Please let Deaf AtW know how they respond.
AtW Advisers asking to see Level 6 qualifications of the communication professionals you use - NRCPD response and letter you can download
21 September 2014 (posted on NRCPD site 19 August 2014)
This information has been copied from the NRCPD site.
"NRCPD has been told Access to Work advisers are asking to see the qualifications of communication professionals. In particular, they are asking for confirmation they have a level 6 qualification.
As well as being an unnecessary administrative burden, not all registrants have a level 6 qualification. That may be because they registered when a level 6 qualification wasn't required. Or it may be because a level 6 qualification isn't required for that register.
We have explained this to Access to Work. We have also said there is no need to check the qualifications of NRCPD registered communication professionals. Their fitness to practise is guaranteed by their registration.
If an adviser asks to see your qualifications or the qualifications of a communication professional you are supplying, please feel free to use this template letter."
Click to go to the NRCPD page. There is more information there about this. You can download the template letter below, or from their page.
Click here to download the NRCPD's template letter (a letter ready for you to add your name and address and send to your AtW Adviser)
Updates have been moved to this Blog, so that you can search by categories.