Background and Vision
The Oldham Community Advice Network, coordinated by the Ancora Project is a sub-group of the Poverty Action Group (PAG) convened by Action Together. The overall aim of the PAG is to reduce the impact of poverty in the borough of Oldham and to support individuals, families and communities to move from poverty to financial inclusion.
The Oldham Community Advice Network (OCAN) was established to meet the objectives of PAG through a specific focus on seeking to ensure that robust referrals between agencies enable individuals and families experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship and crisis receive accurate and timely advice.
The OCAN referral system directory can be viewed here.
Aims and Objectives
Oldham Community Advice Network exists to:
- Facilitate collaborative working between social welfare advice and information providers throughout the borough of Oldham. (‘Social welfare’ encompasses welfare benefits, money and debt, housing and homelessness, education, immigration and community support organisations.);
- Map and coordinate access to advice by offer, client group and specialism. This includes providing clarity on accreditation, levels of advice, signposting and referral processes;
- Allow individual member organisations to strategically manage capacity to receive and make referrals, as well as identifying gaps in accredited advice provision (e.g. immigration advice);
- Enable the Ancora Project to coordinate the roll-out of the OCAN online referral system including the recruitment, training and induction of new agencies;
- Develop and strengthen robust referral processes between the third sector and Local Authority, especially via the OCAN referral system;
- Support with the training and accreditation needs of information, advice and guidance providers;
- Meaningfully engage with voluntary, faith and community organisations, as well as education and health settings, which are a gateway into support for many individuals;
- Draw upon learning from existing Community Advice Networks in other areas (namely Norfolk, Tower Hamlets and Liverpool)
Membership, Structure and Functions
As a subgroup of the PAG, the network is intended to have an inclusive membership base.
- Social welfare advice providers from the third sector, local authority, other public sector bodies and private law firms may all join the network Steering Group. The information and advice they provide may be generalist or specialist. Steering Group membership will be administered by the Ancora Project
- Community support organisations from across Oldham are invited to join the network and use the OCAN online referral system
- All members commit to uphold the highest standards of transparency and integrity regarding accreditation and the levels of advice and guidance they are able to provide
- The network will meet quarterly. The Steering Group shall initially meet monthly, with the frequency of their meetings to be determined by the group thereafter
- Network members using the OCAN online referral system shall work with the coordinator to embed the system within their organisation and referral processes
- The network shall create and maintain a publically accessible online resource/ directory of support available across Oldham for people in financial crisis.
For more information on the Oldham Community Advice Network and OCAN online referral system, please contact Suzy Pabla at the Ancora Project: Suzy.Pabla@keyring.org or Julia David from the Coordinated Community Support Programme: Julia.David@childrenssociety.org.uk
Oldham Community Advice Network Referral System Directory
The Oldham Community Advice Network (OCAN) was established to meet PAG objectives through a specific focus on seeking to ensure that robust referrals between agencies enable individuals and families experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship and crisis receive accurate and timely advice.
The Ancora Project is coordinating the roll-out of the new OCAN online referral system including the recruitment, training and induction of new users. Organisations already registered on the system can log in here.
The below directory lists organisations across Oldham currently trialling the referral system. If you are interested in registering your organisation on the system, please contact Suzy.Pabla@keyring.org