Welfare Rights Conference 2023

Welfare Rights at a Turning Point - Ten Years of UC & PIP 

North (Manchester) Tuesday 19 September 2023 - Bookings Now Closed for Manchester

South (London) Thursday 12 October 2023 - Bookings Now Closed for London

Universal Credit (UC) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are ten years old this year. While PIP is established, managed migration to UC has only recently begun, providing plenty of new challenges for both advisers and claimants to navigate in this milestone year.  

These changes, coupled with the soaring prices we’ve witnessed in recent months, leave welfare rights at a turning point, with families on the lowest incomes affected the most.  

At our in-person annual conference, returning this year to both Manchester and London, delegates had the opportunity to discuss the latest developments and hear from political leaders, policy makers and experts in the field on how best to support claimants at such a challenging time. 



9.15 – 10.00 Arrival and registration, tea and coffee 
10.00 – 11.15 Host welcome and keynote speakers
11.15 – 11.30 Refreshment break & viewing of exhibition stands
11.30 – 12.45 Morning workshop session
12.45 – 13.30 Lunch 
13.30 – 14.45 Afternoon workshop session
14.45 – 15.00 Refreshment break & viewing of exhibition stands 
15.00 – 16.00 Afternoon panel session



We’re delighted to be holding our annual welfare rights conferences in person this year, with all the opportunities for networking and catching up with colleagues from across the sector that face-to-face events provide. The conference included keynote speakers, an afternoon panel session, and the opportunity to attend two workshops. Tickets also included morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, conference materials and access to pre-recorded content after the event.



North (Manchester) Tuesday 19 September 2023 

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth 
Debbie Abrahams is the Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, and has been an MP continuously since 2011. She is a former Public Health consultant and is a fellow of the faculty of Public Health.

Tom Royston, Garden Court North Chambers
Tom Royston specialises in immigration, housing, mental capacity and social security law. Tom will discuss how law can make welfare rights more effective, recent important cases, and his predictions for future trends.

South (London) Thursday 12 October 2023 

Anoosh Chakelian, New Statesman
Anoosh Chakelian is Britain editor of the New Statesman. She hosts the award-winning New Statesman Podcast and co-presents the Westminster Reimagined podcast series with Armando Iannucci.

Dr Jed Meers, University of York
Dr Jed Meers is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of York. He has undertaken research placements at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.



The afternoon panel session focused on managed migration to universal credit, arguably the biggest change to the benefits system in a generation. The rate of managed migration is due to rapidly increase in the next few months and our clients face familiar threats to their wellbeing and dignity as well as series of new pitfalls in transferring to UC. The session began with a short introduction to the progress and process of managed migration before looking at transitional protection and issues of concern. Attendees were able to ask questions about all aspects of managed migration and heard from our panel of experts on this complex and increasingly important aspect of advisers’ work.


• Carri Swann, early warning system/managed migration project worker, CPAG

• Jane Booth, technical officer at Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

• Martin Williams, upper tribunal project worker, CPAG

• Owen Stevens, universal credit advice project worker, CPAG

• Sarah Batty, welfare rights team leader at Durham County Council

• Will Hadwen, Freelance adviser for CPAG Scotland



With four expert workshops to choose from, a conference ticket provided access to two live workshops:


Backdating universal credit

Simon Osborne, welfare rights adviser at CPAG 

A claim for universal credit can be backdated but only in certain circumstances, and the DWP does not make it easy. This workshop looks at the rules on backdating, some of the practical problems and what recent caselaw has to say.  

In particular, we will consider what claimants can do to ensure that they get the maximum backdating the facts in their claim allow, with reference both to the developing caselaw authority and what claimants and advisers encounter in practice.  


Catalogue of Errors: understanding and using official error revision to secure arrears

Martin Williams, welfare rights adviser at CPAG 

Where something has gone wrong with a claimant's benefits more than 13 months ago then "official error revision" may be a remedy. 

In this workshop, Martin Williams will look at: 

  1. Definition of “official error”. 
  2. Different types of official error: understanding the difference between an incorrect decision and a decision that is wrong in consequence of official error. 
  3. Practical ways of discovering whether a decision is wrong because of official error and tips for drafting applications. 
  4. Appeal rights and official error revision. 
  5. Using any time revisions to challenge systemic practices- e.g. closed claim campaigns. 


EEA nationals: recent developments for claimants

Rebecca Walker, Benefits for Migrants Handbook author and CPAG trainer 

Following significant legal developments over the last year, this workshop will summarise how these affect the benefit entitlements of EEA nationals and discuss current issues. 


Same PIP, different day: Personal Independence Payment in 2023

Carri Swann, welfare rights adviser at CPAG 

Personal independence payment is turning 10. In this workshop we will look at this year’s PIP developments, touching on assessments, delays and digital claims, rounding up the year’s case law, and looking ahead to plans for PIP in 2024 and beyond.

Advisers should come away up-to-date on PIP rules and processes, and with some fresh ideas for challenging decisions.

- Case law update

- Health and Disability White Paper and what it means for PIP

- Policy and practice update

- Phone lines, specialist assessors, and more

- Plus: we asked the DWP for best-practice tips for advisers



Carri Swann is a welfare rights worker at CPAG. She is co-author of CPAG and Mind’s Mental Health and Benefits Handbook and also writes for CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, Universal Credit: What You Need to Know, Financial Help for Families, and Welfare Rights Bulletin

Martin Williams is a welfare rights worker at CPAG. He is widely experienced in representing claimants at both levels within the tribunal system, having worked in the appeals team at Lasa from 2001 until 2008. He is currently an author of CPAG’s Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit: the legislation

Owen Stevens is a welfare rights worker at CPAG.  He advises on Universal Credit via CPAG’s second tier advice service. He contributes to CPAG’s Welfare Rights Bulletin.  Before CPAG, he worked for Greenwich Welfare Rights Service. 

Rebecca Walker has worked in welfare rights since 1993 including for various citizens advice bureaux, Terrence Higgins Trust, Refugee Outreach and Advice Partnership and LASA. She is currently an advice worker with Citizens Advice Sheffield, and a freelance trainer and writer on welfare rights. For over ten years she has been an author of the Benefits for Migrants Handbook, the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and the Disability Rights Handbook

Simon Osborne is a welfare rights worker at CPAG. He is content consultant and an author of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, editor of and contributor to the Welfare Rights Bulletin, author of Winning Your Benefit Appeal and contributor to Legal Action magazine. 



The £235 (£211.50 for members) price includes attendance at two expert workshops, morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, conference materials and access to pre-recorded content after the event. 




We will have exhibition spaces at both events hosting exhibitors showcasing their work, products and services. 

An exhibition package includes: 

  • An exhibition table and access to the networking spaces for 2 people 
  • Organisation information at conference and profile on the website 
  • Lunch and refreshment 

Price of exhibition package £350 (plus VAT) 

To book an exhibition package please email [email protected]

Please note that delegate places must be booked if you wish to attend workshops and the keynote and afternoon panel sessions. 



We are delighted that the following organisations will be joining us in the conference’s exhibition area. If you would like to book an exhibition stand there is still time. See the information above.



Housing Systems offers a second-tier advice service, providing in-depth information and support on Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and the wider benefit system for advisers. They work with over 350 housing providers, councils, charities and voluntary organisations - providing the support advisers need to maximise customers' income and resolve benefit problems. Continually updated, the website provides extensive guidance to frontline teams together with time saving tools: standard letters, calculators, flowcharts, summary sheets and more.


Independent Age provides free information and advice for older people and their families on care, support, money, benefits, health and mobility, along with friendship services to relieve loneliness. They also use the knowledge and insight gained from their frontline services to campaign for a fair deal for older people – a reasonable standard of living, fair access to information and an opportunity to contribute to their communities.





University of Manchester Core Technology Facility  

46 Grafton Street 


M13 9WU

Manchester Conference Travel Information 



Resource for London

356 Holloway Road 


N7 6PA

London Conference Travel Information