Hackney Information & Advice Consortium

The Hackney Information & Advice Consortium offers advice on a wide range of issues such as Welfare Benefits, Housing and Debt in 25 GP Practices across Hackney.

Research has shown apart from clinical issues, there are other contributors to people’s ill health, such as housing, low income, debts, rent arrears, and immigration problems; these underlying problems are all significant in increasing people’s stress levels, causing anxiety and depression. Many people take these issues to their GP’s who are unable to assist and do not have the capacity to deal with social welfare problems.

    By placing HIAC Advisors in GP Practices, the project aims to:

  • Divert inappropriate demands from GP’s and other Health Care Professionals to Advisors who are better qualified to deal with these requests.
  • Contribute to improving the health of priority groups by increasing income and reducing stress.
  • Increase awareness and understanding amongst primary care staff the value of advice services.
  • Support patients onto onward progression routes by referring them on to Healthy Living Initiatives, Self-management courses, Training & Employment programmes.


You can download HIAC service list by clicking on the following link (updated: August 2012):
HIAC Service list


The HIAC Project is supported and funded by London Borough of Hackney.


The Project is managed by Social Action for Health, working in partnership with 8 Advice Agencies – Age UK Hackney, City & Hackney Carers Centre, East End Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Derman, Hoxton Legal Trust, Hackney Marsh Partnership, Agudas Israel and Hackney Community Law Centre.

Current work

  • Provide social welfare advice directly to patients each year in their local practice on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
  • Appointments with Advisors are 30 minutes (longer for complex issues.) Advisors carry out follow up work at their own base.
  • Complex cases are referred to specialist Advisors either at own base or other agencies.
  • Where appropriate Inter-practice referral arrangements have been set up.
  • We can arrange for home visits for housebound patients.
  • Provide Telephone advice for Turkish/Kurdish speakers.
  • Support and provide ongoing Training for Advisors.

Quotes from service users

It’s helped me move past struggling point. It’s so much easier to pay the bills. They still go up of course. But I just didn’t know that I could get this help.

I’ve now got proper housing with adaptations and it’s secure.

Now I don’t have this debt hanging over my head. It took such a load off my mind.

I think I need to see the doctor less often now, partly because I can see the advisor instead.

Quotes from GP’s of the patients using the service

This is a very valuable service. Patients are very keen and use it effectively. There is no doubt in my mind that access to quality advice on matters of welfare have a direct and positive impact on the health of vulnerable, low income patients. The service is a valuable resource for busy GPs who are often called upon by their patients to act on their behalf on matters of social welfare.

I believe this service is even more important at a time when the Government is changing the way Benefits are issued and this itself can have an effect on patients and their health and wellbeing. To be able to access someone at your GP Practice is a huge benefit to patients.

I’m a Practice Nurse, and patients are pleased and surprised to have this service in our practice.(Lower Clapton Group Practice, Lower Clapton Health Centre)

His use of the Practice has declined – he has only been in three times during the last year.

When I last saw her (last week) I did notice the difference. Her attitude was different and she seems much more willing to so something about her situation – more positive, previously she was very, well, lacking in energy.

A HIAC service user was very satisfied with the level of support provided by our advisor and sent a thank you card showing her gratitude to the project.

Contact Details

Marianne Sangster
Programme Manager