Oct 302012
 

We do not believe that any individual or group who claims to represent the disabled people’s protest movement should engage with DWP/Atos/Capita without insisting upon an end to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) with immediate effect as a prerequisite to any discussion.

 We regard any such engagement with DWP/Atos /Capita without this insistence on the above as a prerequisite to be nothing less than collusion in policies and systems that have been irrefutably shown to be harmful and, in many cases, lethal to the sick and/or disabled person being ‘assessed’.

 The WCA has no empirical, scientific medical evidence-base and the process has never been risk assessed.

 There remains no feedback or reporting mechanism.

 The discharge of both a statutory and ethical duty of care – owed by professionals, citizens and public authorities – to others in a vulnerable situation depends upon the existence of a reporting mechanism whereby any potential or actual risk to the life and well-being of a patient or to those around them may be reported and adequately addressed.

 This is precisely why the entire British medical profession has demanded that WCA end ‘with immediate effect to be replaced by a rigorous and safe system whereby avoidable harm’ may be prevented.

 That the General Medical Council (GMC) continues to accredit Atos assessment centres with ‘approved medical environment’ status is an utter disgrace.

 The Work Capability Assessment has caused death, suicide, homelessness, and left people without income dependent on family and friends. The WCA also causes an increase in mental health issues and a worsening of impairments. The latest figures show 73 deaths and suicides per week amongst those subject to this brutal process.

 The WCA is based on the discredited UNUM manufactured bio-psychosocial model. The   Centre for Psychosocial & Disability Research at Cardiff University literature has provided the academic foundation for the increasingly notorious WCA administered by Atos Healthcare in the UK, and without it is unlikely that the WCA would exist in its present form. The volume of incriminating evidence against the WCA has grown phenomenally, as people with serious, incapacitating illnesses continue to be found ‘fit for work’.

 When Freud set out his vision of welfare reform for disabled people he used a number of references to back up the plans for reforms.  No less than 170 of these references came from a group of academics based at or connected to the Cardiff University Department:. This centre originally led by ex Chief medical Officer at the Department for Work and Pensions Sir Mansel Alyward was funded by Unum to the tune of 1.6 million pounds from 2004 to 2009 to add academic credibility to the bio-psychosocial model: a model used by Atos to identify that if someone can press a button they are ‘fit for work’ and ineligible for any disability support.

 The connection between the WCA and the Cardiff Centre are only too obvious. The latter seeks to locate the source of incapacity in the individual’s psyche/attitude, promoting a form of ‘positive thinking’ as being curative, while the WCA claims to focus on what sick/disabled people can do as an argument that they have even the merest work capacity. But there is a more important connection. The Centre’s funder, Unum Insurance, employed tactics of ‘disability denial’ in the U.S. to avoid paying out on legitimate health claims. And since founding the CPDR Unum have sought to promote their ‘Income Protection’ product, marketing it upon the fact that the British public can no longer rely upon the state to support them if they become sick or disabled. Are we really to believe this is a coincidence?

 For more see: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/14/private-firms-role-in-creation-of-disability-assessment-regime-black-triangles-letter-published-in-the-guardian/

 DPAC and BT want to state categorically:

 1. We reject all ideas that ‘tinkering’ with WCA descriptors will serve any positive purpose. We call for the complete removal of the WCA with immediate effect and we have remained unwavering and constant on that position.

 2. We reject the bio-psychosocial model as having any purpose but to cut state support and replace it with private insurance and other company profits.

 3.We work from the social model philosophy and this means a pan impairment approach with no hierarchy of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ groups or individuals; this is in complete contrast to this government, or any set of groups intent on taking us back to medical model terminologies or helpless victim approaches

 4. We will work with any group who we believe genuinely opposes the government’s attacks on disabled people. However we are seriously concerned with those organisations who believe that they can work with the government to lessen the effects of these attacks. We believe that there is no alternative to outright opposition to the government if we are to stop the impoverishment and destruction of the lives of millions of disabled people in the UK. We are particularly disturbed that some of the large disability charities seem willing to work with the government effectively giving cover to their attacks on disabled people. We call on all disability charities and other groups to immediately withdraw from any work that lends credibility to the government’s so called welfare reforms.

 5. We do not support in any shape or form what this government is doing to disabled people: we classify disabled people as those who have to endure the negative attitudes of others, and those disabled by the ways this so called society treats us as less deserving than non-disabled people. We support an assessment that truely establishes a person’s ability to assess their capability to work, not based on a tick box approach.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 302012
 

Anoushka has contacted us and said I am hoping to write a piece for Disability Now prompted by Mark Hoban’s recent comments on the BBC in which he said that if Atos mistakenly found claimants fit to work it was not Atos’ fault, but down to the claimants not providing enough medical evidence. It was not entirely clear to me whether Hoban was blaming claimants or charities/NGOs which advise claimants or – most likely – both.  My own experience as a claimant has been very confusing – I wonder if my case was a rare example, or the norm.

If anyone who has had any of the following experiences could get in touch with her about their experiences of WCAs, DLA assessments and ATOS.

  1. Have you been told not to worry about producing any medical evidence at the assessment? Or have you had confusing or conflicting advice about this?
  2. Have you had any input in giving you advice from any charities and how was this? In particular f you have found them of little use or they have ended up being uncontactable she would like to hear from you.
  3. Did anyone have difficulty getting the medical evidence they needed.

If you are able to help with this please contact Anoushka at anoushka.alexander@yahoo.co.uk

 Posted by at 16:53
Oct 302012
 
Katy Clark has just launched a new EDM on the ILF so it would be really helpful if people can pass this onto contacts and get people and organisations to ask their MPs to sign up to it. Contact your MP (you can find who they are at www.parliament.uk) and ask them to see you about this. If you need a home visit ask for one as a reasonable adjustment. Otherwise send them an email or write to them.

If you have a website could you advertise it there as well please.

EDM 651: Independent Living Fund

That this House deplores the Government’s proposal to close down theIndependent Living Fund which currentlyfacilitates 19,373 of those with the highest support needswith theright to live in the community with choices equal to others, and their full inclusion and participation in the community, as anticipated by Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; regrets that the Government proposals to transfer the responsibilities of providing this support to local authorities and devolved administrations contain no commitment to maintain the current level of support, which will inevitably lead to an increasein isolation and segregation for many adults and the loss of independence and unnecessary admission of many others into residential care; believes the recent consultation on the issue lacked detail and based its assertions on outdated research; and calls on the Government to review this regressive step and look at ways of expanding the Independent Living Fund to provide needs-based support to all adults in the UK who require it.

Sponsors: Clark, Katy/ Durkan, Mark / Gilmore, Sheila / McDonnell, John / Ritchie, Margaret

House of Commons / Date tabled: 29/10/2012
Put your MP to work  – demand they sign EDM 651   http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/651.

Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.

You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

http://www.writetothem.com/

 Posted by at 11:33
Oct 292012
 

Bedding In is part of Disability Arts Online’s Diverse Perspectives project, which is funded by Arts Council England, and is commissioning eight disabled artists to make new artwork that “sparks conversations and debate about the creative case for diversity”.

Bedding In takes place at the Ipswich Art School Gallery from 1-3 November, from 11am to 6pm, as part of the SPILL Festival of Performance in Ipswich.

From http://www.roaring-girl.com/productions/bedding-in/

In bed

 Bedding In

Bedding In emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and with a propagandist campaign that has seen disability hate crime leap by 50%.

Says artist-activist Liz Crow, “I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening. I am also ill and spend much of life in bed. The private self is neither beautiful nor grownup, it does not win friends or accolades, and I conceal it carefully.

“But for me, along with thousands more, the new system of benefits demands a reversal: my public self implies I don’t need support and must be denied, whilst my private self must be paraded as justification for the state’s support.

“For some months, I have lain low for fear of being penalised, but the performer is beginning to re-emerge; instead of letting fear determine who I am, I’d rather stare it in the face.”

Bedding In is a performance in which I take my private self and make it public, something I have not done in over 30 years. It feels dangerous exposed exciting. In a gallery, over a period of three days, I will perform the other side of my fractured self, my bed-life. Since the public me is so carefully constructed, this will be a kind of un-performing of my self.

“I want to make a twilight existence visible. But more, I want to show that what many people see as contradiction, what they call fraud, is only the complexity of real life. This is not a work of tragedy, but of in/visibility and complication; a chance to perform my self without façade.

Each day, members of the public will be invited to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed or perching upon it to talk about the work, its backdrop, its politics.

Read also John Pring’s article

 

Oct 292012
 
  Action in Cardiff: We intend to hold a week long vigil against Atos outside their Gabalfa offices on St. Agnes Road, this is every day starting at 8am and finishing at 6pm, from Monday the 5th of November to Friday the 9th, it’ll be quite boring, no road blocking just sitting in chairs on the pavement with placards. We need someone to print out water proof placards, and possible some leaflets, any help on this is greatly appreciated. Bring water proof clothing, brolleys, warm clothing, a blanket, and maybe a towel, cameras to take pictures and video the event, something warm to drink (coffee or tea in flasks), and your own food, bring a book to read, and some music to listen to, we need legal observers to overseer the event and someone to notify the various press agencies, TV channels, Radio stations, (BBC, ITV, Ch4, Nation Radio, BBC Radio Wales, etc). Anyone who can turn up, even for an hour, please do.

 See: https://www.facebook.com/events/430345053681756/ for more details

 

 

Oct 292012
 

 

Vigil & protest: 12.30 – 1.30pm This Wed 31 OCTOBER
COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT CUTS = THE NEW POLL TAX
Worse than Thatcher! Oppose all benefit cuts and sanctions
Stop this Halloween Horror!
All welcome
Opposite Parliament – Lords’ entrance
Old Palace Yard, Abingdon St SW1 – Westminster tubeOn Wednesday the House of Commons will debate the Local Government Finance Bill which proposes to cut 10% of the grant local authorities receive from central government towards council tax benefits.People now entitled to Council Tax Benefit will be expected to pay up to 30% of their Council Tax. People already struggling on poverty-line wages and benefits, are up in arms at the prospect of yet another expense they cannot afford.

The government claims pensioners, sick and disabled people and families with young children will be exempt, but we all know that many people who should be protected, aren’t when you look closely.

This tax is on top of the housing and benefit caps, abolition of the social fund, the escalating prices of food, fuel and transport. Vulnerable people are being forced off sickness and disability benefits, mums are skipping meals so children can eat.

Opposition is growing, including in Cameron’s backyard of West Oxfordshire. They and other Councils are insisting on keeping Council Tax Benefit. We call on all Councils to do the same!http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/aug/26/council-tax-benefits-revolt

At least 2 million more people will be forced into debt to pay these bills, and could end up with massive fines and prison, without any legal representation because of cuts to legal aid and advice services.

With the poll tax, people refused on a mass scale — we can’t let this next disaster be railroaded through. There is plenty of money for all our needs – from military budgets, bankers’ bonuses, company profits and corporate tax.

The super-rich have got richer off our impoverishment.

“The annual Sunday Times Rich List yields four very important conclusions for the governance of Britain . . . It shows that the richest 1,000 persons, just 0.003% of the adult population, increased their wealth over the last three years by £155bn. That is enough for themselves alone to pay off the entire current UK budget deficit and still leave them with £30bn to spare.” (Letter: The scourge of our wealth divide, Michael Meacher MP).

THINGS YOU CAN DO

Come and raise your concerns on the Vigil ♦ Bring your own placards with issues you are concerned about ♦ call radio shows and your local press about how you will be affected ♦ Lobby your MP – find your MP here ♦ Contact your local councillors and ask for a borough-wide public meeting to oppose welfare reforms

——————————————————————————–

called by Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty, WinVisible

For more information: smsd@allwomencount.net             020 7482 2496

taxpayersagainstpovertytap@gmail.com             07961 177889

win@winvisible.org             020 7 482 2496

We are sick and disabled women, single mothers, claimants, anti-poverty campaigners, pensioners, students, housewives and other activists

Cameron’s local Oxford council joins revolt over benefits change

www.guardian.co.uk
Low earners will be £420 a year worse off, forcing councils to offset financial shortfall

 Posted by at 18:36
Oct 272012
 

By John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Labour has called for an “immediate investigation” after evidence emerged that Atos Healthcare won two lucrative disability assessment contracts by using “misleading” information about its links with disabled people’s organisations (DPOs).

Anne McGuire, the shadow minister for disabled people, said the revelations – passed to her by Disability News Service (DNS) – raised “extremely serious questions” over the award of contracts worth £540 million to assess disabled people for eligibility for the new personal independence payment (PIP), the planned replacement for disability living allowance.

Atos had suggested in tender documents that it would be working closely with organisations “such as” Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Disability Cornwall and ecdp (formerly Essex Coalition of Disabled People) if it won the contracts.

The pledge helped to ensure that Atos won two of three five-year government contracts.

Atos suggested in the tender documents that organisations such as GMCDP, Disability Cornwall and ecdp would help it design “disability awareness training” for its staff, and work with it on how to communicate with disabled people claiming PIP.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made it clear in August that the successful PIP assessment bids had “demonstrated strong evidence… of close working with disabled people’s representative groups”, after it awarded two regional contracts to Atos and one to the outsourcing giant Capita.

But GMCDP, Disability Cornwall and ecdp were horrified this week when told by DNS that they had been mentioned in Atos’s tender documents.

McGuire said there was a “state of chaos” at the DWP and “clear evidence” that Atos won the contracts with a bid that was “misleading”.

She said: “There must be an immediate investigation because the integrity of the entire process is now in serious doubt.

“Ministers must now explain exactly how these claims got through unchecked, and they must urgently appoint external auditors to get to the bottom of what on earth is going on, before we have another West Coast Mainline fiasco on our hands.”

Disabled activists have spent much of the last two years protesting about the way Atos has carried out its most high-profile government contract, to assess disabled people for their “fitness for work”.

The grassroots campaigning organisation Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is already considering legal action against Atos for suggesting elsewhere in the tender documents that it had been engaged in regular discussions with the company, a reference Atos is now claiming was “a mistake”.

Many of DPAC’s direct action protests have focused on Atos, which it says has “devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of disabled people”.

It even held The Atos Games, a week of protests during the Paralympic Games, to highlight disabled people’s anger at Atos’s sponsorship of London 2012.

Mike Adams, chief executive of ecdp, said he was “absolutely not” happy with his organisation being used by Atos in one of the tender documents, and said he would be writing to the company to complain.

He said: “How we got named in any tender documentation I have no idea. If anything in that tender document suggests we did [meet or plan to work with them], it is simply not true.

“There is a huge inference there that they have been discussing possibilities with us and that is not true. It is simply not true.”

Richard Currie, an executive member of GMCDP, said the idea of his organisation working with Atos was “absolutely preposterous”.

He said: “I would like to state in clear and unambiguous terms in no way would GMCDP be a party to anything to do with Atos.

“As an organisation we are not keen to work with organisations that actively make life more difficult for disabled people.

“We would never want anything to do with Atos. We do not feel they are a fit and proper company to do the assessments, as they proved with the employment and support allowance claimant debacle.”

Disability Cornwall also said that it had been completely unaware that it was mentioned in the Atos tender document until contacted by DNS. A Disability Cornwall spokesman said the organisation had never worked with Atos and never would.

Atos refused in August to name the DPOs and other disability organisations that helped it win the contracts, or even to say how many such organisations it had worked with, or why those organisations had refused permission to have their names released.

Linda Burnip, a member of DPAC’s steering group, said: “It is difficult to know whether we should fall about laughing because it is so ridiculous.

“Given The Atos Games and all the protests around the country, how can they have the nerve to say this?”

An Atos spokeswoman claimed that the statements it had made about DPOs being involved in its training and communication were “future intentions with regards the development of PIP”.

She added: “We have not stated anywhere in our bid document that organisations have been involved with Atos Healthcare in developing our PIP solution when they have not.”

DNS has not yet been able to confirm the accuracy of references to a string of other DPOs and disability charities in the documents.

The government has so far been unable to clarify whether it was aware that the DPOs mentioned by Atos had no intention of working with the company.

Instead, a DWP spokeswoman emailed a statement which said: “Atos have confirmed that they have not stated anywhere in their bid document that organisations have been involved with Atos Healthcare in developing their PIP solution when they have not.”

And she said that Atos had shown “a good understanding of the organisations who represented customers in the PIP space and offered robust, quality delivery proposals”.

Last week, DNS reported that Disability Rights UK (DR UK) was strongly disputing several references to help it had supposedly given to Capita, which won the third PIP assessment contract, in Capita’s tender document

Neither Capita nor DR UK has so far been able to clarify whether these references were included with DR UK’s permission.

John Pring

Editor: Disability News Service

Author: Longcare Survivors: The Biography of a Care Scandal

Tel: 020 8446 5900, 07776 206595

Email: john@disabilitynewsservice.com

www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Twitter: @johnpringdns

Skype: johnpring

 Posted by at 14:12
Oct 252012
 
Glasgow Against Atos Rolling Picket
Friday 26 October
Assemble 12noon,
Outside the Atos testing centre,
Cadogan Street,
Corunna House

The rolling picket will start moving from the Atos test centre at 12.30pm. It will end back at the Atos centre at 2pm. A static picket of Atos maybe held after that by those still assembled. Bring family/friends, whistles and pots and pans, placards, banners and anything else which helps draw attention.
 
 
Glasgow Against Atos Action Planning Meeting
Wednesday 14 November,
7.30-9.30pm,
Downstairs in Bar Bacchus,
80 Glassford Street,
Glasgow G1 1UR
 
Oct 242012
 

The Disabled Students’ Forum at Staffs Uni Students’ Union has called a demo against Atos for Weds Oct 31st at 2pm outside the Jobcentre Plus assessment centre, Ridgehouse Drive, Festival Park, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5SJ Although we’re a student group the demo is a public event. Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/494599457230619/?fref=ts Please could you share the event details on the website, social media etc?

Thank you!

Oct 212012
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nILPstGiigI&feature=share 

http://bambuser.com/v/3077474
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fYbqtrhBuU 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS646g6yqfk&feature=youtu.be 

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/21/video-tuc-a-future-that-works-marble-arch-and-park-lane-traffic-blockade-by-disabled-people/?utm_source 

http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-10-20/disabled-protesters-bring-london-to-s-standstill/

http://libcom.org/blog/what-october-20-tells-us-about-state-movement-21102012 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4778642389217.191551.1390352675&type=1 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/david-cameron-is-clueless-ed-miliband-joins-austerity-protesters-in-london-8219204.html 

http://soundcloud.com/mattieu-varnham/dpac-in-blockade-send-strong 

https://twitter.com/donnachadelong/status/259684038716030976/photo/1 

https://twitter.com/jamesvarnham/status/259664424112095233/photo/1 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68488342@N02/8108048736/

 

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/marching-is-not-enough-boycott-workfare-and-dpac-show-the-way/#comment-13305

 Posted by at 15:28
Oct 192012
 

NO MORE DEATHS FROM FUEL POVERTY
Posted by fuelpovertyaction ⋅

An action organised by the Greater London Pensioners’ Association, supported by Fuel Poverty Action and DPAC.

Saturday October 27 | Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre.

Meet at 12 noon outside the upper-level entrance to Primark (near the Disney Store)

=============================================

The latest gas and electricity price rises are a nail in many coffins. 65 people died every day last winter as a result of illnesses caused by cold homes. Many of these people were pensioners and disabled people. As energy company prices – and profits – soar, there will be many more deaths this year.

If we can’t afford to heat our homes we have a right to go into any warm building and make ourselves at home!
We have the right to warm up inside the offices of those driving fuel poverty: the Big Six energy companies, the government, landlords and letting agents.
We have the right to warm up inside public spaces threatened by cuts including libraries and day centres, which keep many people warm throughout the winter.
We have the right to warm up inside warm, privatised spaces that keep us shut out including shops, banks and shopping centres.

Pensioners from the Greater London Pensioners’ Association will be asserting this right by coming out of their cold homes and warming up inside the toasty Westfield Stratford shopping centre.

They demand:
That the government reinstate the Winter Fuel Allowance in full (this has been cut by £50 for those over 60 and £100 for those over 80.)
That the energy companies reinvest in affordable, cleaner and safer energy supplies and use their enormous profits to do so, instead of putting the cost on to the consumer.
That the government acknowledge an entitlement of all including the sick, disabled people, the elderly and families with young children, to a well insulated, warm place to live in good repair.

Please come along to support this pensioner-led action.

 Posted by at 15:40
Oct 192012
 

Follow Livestream from @albury for Oct 20th TUC march

If you cannot get to the march, you can follow it here.

Two of our supporters will be joining the front party with TUC leaders and others.

We understand that disabled people will be leading the march but we are asking for every DPAC supporter who can to join us at the short march meeting point at Jermyn Street/ St.James Street just off Picadilly at 11.30 am . We can’t say exactly at what time the main march will arrive there.

We hope to see you all there.

Map for the rally. http://afuturethatworks.org/the-rally/

Oct 182012
 

Bungling DWP Publish Atos Corporate Secrets on Government Website!
Posted on October 18, 2012 by johnny void

Bungling DWP officials have published the Atos tender document for the new Personal Independence Payment and given away reams of highly confidential commercial information in the process.

The documents contain pages of technical information about Atos’ internal systems, financial information and even the names of people who will be involved in managing the new PIP benefit assessments. Other documents reveal how Capita will be involved in the assessments.

Atos, who notoriously carry out the Work Capability Assessment for those on out of work sickness and disability benefits, have been given the contract to manage the assessments for PIP. These assessments will be based on the same crude computer based tests as the WCA and are to be used to re-assess disabled people currently claiming Disability Living Allowance. The stated aim is to strip benefits from 20% of disabled people.

Astonishingly Atos claim in their tender that they have a “successful record of engagement with Claimant Representative Groups”, including direct action campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). In truth DPAC have been behind many of the protests held outside Atos’ offices including the recent well attended protest at their London headquarters which was followed by an occupation of the DWP.

DPAC are seeking legal advice on challenging Atos’ lie in their tender for the lucrative PIP contract.

The documents can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/?page=4#toggle-1399

Scroll down to DEP2012-1399 and then click all files.

Already the documents have been widely distributed to disability and welfare claimants and details from the tender are beginning to emerge – such as the fact Atos are planning PIP assessments on the cheap by only hiring 1 doctor for every 50 physiotherapists.

Many parts of the documents are redacted, meaning some information is blacked out. Unfortunately the DWP – currently tasked with building the most complex IT system ever designed in the world to handle the change to the new Universal Credit benefits system – don’t appear to know much about computers.

To read the redacted text all that needs to be done is to simply convert the PDF files to a text file. This can be bodged simply by opening the file as a PDF, then go to Edit – Select All – Copy and then pasting the text into notepad. (Some of the tables in the documents have redacted information which cannot be viewed in this way. It may be possible to extract this info by other means, I don’t know, any ideas please mention in the comments)

Whilst it is not uncommon for tender documents to be released, many details, such as personal names and specific technical or financial information, are redacted under Freedom of Information laws relating to privacy and commercial confidentiality.

Not so at the Department of Work and Pensions where this information has been left lying around on the internet for anyone to access. DWP contractors should take note. Whilst the inept clown Iain Duncan Smith is in charge, your dirty little secrets are not safe at the DWP.

It is possible these documents may disappear offline very soon or even be redacted properly. Download them now whilst you still can.

The main tender documents are:

Atos Bid/Tender Documents For PIP Assessments London & South of England

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/Atos_ITT_Doc4Part5_TenderForm_Lot1.pdf

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/Atos_Doc4Part6Annex2_Lot3.pdf

Atos Tender/Bid Documents for PIP Assessments Scotland & North of England

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/A-Atos_Doc4Part5_TenderForm_Lot3.pdf

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/AtosITServicesUKLtd_Doc4Part6Annex2_Lot1.pdf

 Posted by at 16:00
Oct 172012
 

here is a press release about the legal challenge being launched against the ILF consultation, please use it to send to you local papers and others.

Legal challenge to government plan to close the Independent Living Fund

A judicial review has been launched to challenge the DWP consultation on closing the Independent Living Fund (ILF).  Six disabled claimants who receive support from the ILF have started judicial review proceedings to challenge the consultation, which closed on 12 October.

The ILF is a body of the DWP but under the management of independent trustees. Since it was created in 1988 it has helped many thousands of disabled people to live independent lives. It has targeted support at the most severely disabled people in the UK who face the greatest barriers to independent living, enabling them to remain living in the community rather than in residential care, to work, and play an active part in their community as full citizens.  In 2010 the fund was closed to new applicants because the government had reduced the amount of money it gave to the fund.  It is now proposing that the fund close completely in 2015, leaving users to rely on local authority adult care services.  This is at a time when the funding for local authorities is being dramatically reduced and many authorities are cutting services for disabled people.

The basis of the challenge is that the consultation does not comply with the basic legal requirements:

  • The government has failed to explain why it is only considering closing the fund, rather than other options, such as continuing the fund and re-opening it to young adults who want to live independent lives.
  • It does not give enough information about the difference between local authority assessment and provision and the ILF.  Local authority services focus on basic needs whereas the ILF is about enabling people to be independent, to work and be full citizens;
  • The government has failed to undertake any assessment of the way disabled people will be affected by the proposals, in breach of their legal duties under the Equality Act 2010.

The claimants are asking the court to make a declaration that the consultation is unlawful and that any decision that is based on the consultation is unlawful.  The DWP have until 30th of October to put forward its defence.

Contact:

Solicitors representing the claimants:

Scott-Moncrieff & Associates (Diane Astin/Kate Whittaker)

Office 7,19 Greenwood Place

LondonNW5 1LB                           Tel:  020 7485 5588/ 07792 700825

Deighton Pierce Glynn (Louise Whitfield)

8 Union Street

LondonSE1 1SZ                                              Tel:  020 7407 0007

 

Organisation _ Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

 Posted by at 16:54
Oct 172012
 

DPAC want to make it very clear that we  are not and will never be involved with Atos except as challengers to their process which leaves 73 people per week dead through taking their own lives or through being disabled /ill and which leaves other without income. Nor do we support either Atos or Capita contracts for carrying out PIP assessments.

DPAC are seeking legal advice and will be challenging ATOS claims in their PIP tender that they have consulted with us about PIP. Of course maybe they mean they read our leaflets when we’ve been protesting around the country both inside and outside their offices. Maybe their CEO has been suffering from hallucinations.

Also we have not been involved in any meaningful dialogue with DWP over the Independent Living Fund’s future.

This is what ATOS said untruthfully in their tender

Atos has a successful record of engagement with Claimant Representative Groups (CRG), Special Interest and Pressure Groups who represent claimants affected by sickness and/or disability, and we have experience and understanding of the challenges and opportunities that this presents. We make sure that we have clear objectives, and a solid understanding of the engagement intent and messaging. 

CRGs are important both as representative groups of claimants with
expertise on specific disability issues and as the first port of call
for claimant concerns with service delivery. Establishing relationships based on honesty and trust will help Atos and the Authority to improve overall understanding of PIP across a wide range of groups, and will feed into continuous service improvement. 

We engage with 

  • Citizens Advice, 
  • Mencap,
  • MIND, 
  • Disability Rights UK, 
  • Macmillan Cancer Support, 
  • SENSE, 
  • Rethink, 
  • RNIB, 
  • DPAC,
  • Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health, 
  • National Autistic Society and 
  • the Scottish Association of Mental Health

amongst others at a national level and regularly meet with
representatives at a local level to explain our role and discuss their
concerns. We currently have a database of more than 300 local CRGs for outbound communications.

=========================================

There is also this from paragraph 7 on page 31

We currently pro-actively monitor websites and social media using the
expertise of our suppliers Big Mouth Media for mentions of Atos and
disability assessments, and we will extend this during PIP. These
on-line services are an opportunity for local and national engagement
with the Atos team, and for the general public to draw areas of concern
to our attention. 

 

 Posted by at 15:03
Oct 152012
 
Here is a report of the meeting we had in the Piper bar. It went well and we will hold a pre action meeting on Wednesday 24 October currently booked in the Piper Bar.
Details of meeting
Glasgow Against Atos Pre Action Meeting
Wednesday 24 October,
7.30-9.30pm
Piper Bar,
Cochrane Street,
George Square
A protest is planned to take place on Friday 26 October in Glasgo. The meeting on 24 October will discuss ideas for this protest. If you are unable to make it to the meeting please contact the ‘Glasgow against atos’ facebook page,glasgow_frfi@yahoo.co.uk or 07734348065 to find out the protest details. Unfortunately the Piper Bar does not have disabled access. We are currently looking for alternative meeting venues in Glasgow city centre which are affordable and have disabled access. If you know of any venues please contact us on the details above. If we do not post details of a new venue the meeting will go ahead in the Piper Bar.
 Posted by at 18:20
Oct 152012
 

       

 

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Local Government Association (LGA) response to the consultation on the Future of the Independent Living Fund

Background 

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents Directors of Adult Social Services in Councils inEngland. As well as having statutory responsibilities for the commissioning and provision of social care, ADASS members often also share a number of responsibilities for the commissioning and provision of housing, leisure, library, culture, arts, community services and increasingly, Children’s Social Care within their Councils.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is here to support, promote and improve local government.

We will fight local government’s corner and support councils through challenging times, focusing our efforts where we can have real impact. We will be bold, ambitious, and support councils to make a difference, deliver and be trusted.

The LGA is an organisation that is run by its members. We are a political organisation because it is our elected representatives from all different political parties that direct the organisation through our boards and panels. However, we always strive to agree a common cross- party position on issues and to speak with one voice on behalf of local government.

We aim to set the political agenda and speak in the national media on the issues that matter to council members.

The LGA covers every part ofEngland and Wales and includes county and district councils, metropolitan and unitary councils,London boroughs, Welsh unitary councils, fire, police, national park and passenger transport authorities.

We work with the individual political parties through the Political Group Offices.

Visit www.local.gov.uk

Key Messages 

ADASS and the LGA welcome the opportunity to contribute to this consultation on the future of the independent living fund. Since the Ministerial announcement in December 2010 about the closure of the ILF to new applicants, ADASS and the LGA have engaged extensively – with the Minister, with DWP colleagues and colleagues from the ILF – in discussions about the future of the fund and this proposal to close the fund in 2015, transferring the care and support responsibilities to Local Authorities. In that sense, we have made a significant contribution to shaping this consultation document and the key issues to be addressed. The views of ADASS and the LGA on the key issues have already been shared in these discussions, but for the purposes of this response are grouped into comments around the five consultation questions as below.

Consultation questions

Question 1

Do you agree with the Government’s proposal that the care and support needs of current ILF users should be met within the mainstream care and support systems, with funding devolved to local government in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales? This would mean the closure of the ILF in 2015.

 We agree that at a time of considerable examination of the social care  system and finance it is opportune to review the existence of a parallel stand-alone  scheme, especially in the light of uneven distribution of the funding across the  country (ADASS dealing with England, LGA dealing with England and Wales).  However we would also wish to note the tremendous value placed upon the scheme by the body of users, and the sense of independence experienced. Councils’ approach to personal budgets is based on engendering the same sense of choice and control.

The devolution of funding into Local Authority (LA) social care budgets clearly has  the merit of bringing two funding streams together, and having all the resulting  adult social care funding allocated more equitably through the same system. Given  the uneven distribution of the ILF budget, it will be important in the first instance  to base the transfer of funds in each LA area upon the commitments to service users  in that area. This is important to protect those people during the transitional period, and to avoid an inappropriate scenario of financial winners and losers across the LA  system.

As time passes, as people’s needs are reviewed and as pre-2015 ILF funding completely  loses any identity within people’s personal budgets, it may be appropriate to consider a  move towards a formula-based distribution of this element of the social care funding, in order to reach an equitable spread of these resources as a new generation of service users and carers are supported within social care services.

Question 2

What are the key challenges that ILF users would face in moving from joint ILF/Local Authority to sole Local Authority funding of their care and support needs? How can any impacts be mitigated? 

The biggest issue for existing users will be the transition from financial support for social care based on combined LA and ILF funding  (or ILF alone for a small number of Group 1 users) into the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) criteria-based system alone, and the different eligibility thresholds which apply.

The majority of existing ILF recipients will have had a contribution from the Local Authority at least at the current threshold of £568 per week, topped up significantly by the ILF contribution following an ILF assessment. The limits of any LA care package are determined by the FACS criteria, which in a clear majority of LAs are set at the upper need levels of Critical and Substantial. The ILF assessment is not constrained by the FACS criteria, and allocates a significantly higher level of funding in most cases.

As ILF recipients transfer into the LA system in 2015, and are subsequently reviewed against the FACS criteria, the value of the personal budget calculated through the Resource Allocation System (RAS) will generally be at a lower level than the initial ILF/LA budget.

The mitigation of such re-assessments will be determined locally, and LAs may decide whether they wish to exercise discretion in offering periods of protection, or a phased move towards the new personal budget calculated by the RAS. However, LAs will need to balance such arrangements with considerations of equity in resource allocation.

It is likely that there will be a range of mitigations, such as exploring other forms of support, other community resources or more cost-effective ways of providing services, which will be explored through the personal support planning of care arrangements with individuals.

We believe it is crucial that any decisions on the future of ILF must be clearly communicated to ILF users. 

Question 3

What impact would the closure of the ILF have on Local Authorities and the provision of care and support services more widely? How could any impacts be mitigated? 

The key issue is that growth in the number of ILF recipients was capped following the Ministerial announcement in December 2010, and therefore so was the growth in ILF funding, which supported LA social care budgets in managing the demographic growth in pressures.

The obvious mitigation is compensatory growth in the government support for adult social care services, but this has to be addressed through the wider debate consequent to Dilnot and the Care and Support White Paper.  Resolving what will be done both on funding for Dilnot, and funding for the current system, must be done as a matter of urgency.

A determined effort to transfer NHS resources from the acute sector into community health and social care services in the community is an essential component of this strategy, to develop further support for services? such as prevention services and long-term conditions.  

Question 4

What are the specific challenges in relation to Group 1 users? How can the Government ensure this group are able to access the full range of Local Authority care and support services for which they are eligible? 

Many of the Group 1 users will have had some contact with LA assessment services, and a significant number may have had none, so these groups of recipients will face the challenges described at Q2 above plus the additional challenges of a resource allocation system alongside a very different set of eligibility criteria from those which were around in 1993.

The mitigation for this has to be as described above, but with additional information about, and preparation for, the new care management system in which they will be eventually reviewed and supported. 

Question 5

How can DWP, the ILF and Local Authorities best continue to work with ILF users between now and 2015? How can the ILF best work with individual Local Authorities if the decision to close the ILF is taken? 

DWP/ILF and LAs will principally have a role to engage with ILF users following the consultation and the government response up to the period of transition in 2015, interpreting and preparing for regulations about the transition as they are developed. We would be keen to work with colleagues in determining an engagement strategy ahead of the government’s response being published.

One of the key contributions the ILF can make to this transition is to engage with local authorities about the issues which are likely to face the ILF recipients living within their areas and for whose total personal budgets they will become responsible.

At an individual level, ILF teams working with LA colleagues will be able to identify whether there will be any particular transitional issues or challenges for people, and what mitigation strategies might be engaged.

At the whole authority level, it may be possible to work on estimates of the amount of ILF resource which is committed to support which falls outside the local FACS criteria.

Conclusion 

As noted above, we have engaged continuously with DWP and ILF on the future of the fund and in preparing for consultation.  We will continue to support this joint approach through to 2015 and the implementation of whatever mechanisms for funding transfer and individuals’ transition into the new arrangements emerge.

 

 

 Posted by at 12:56
Oct 142012
 

Two of our supporters will be joining the front party with TUC leaders and others.

We understand that disabled people will be leading the march but we are asking for every DPAC supporter who can to join us at the short march meeting point at Jermyn Street/ St.James Street just off Picadilly at 11.30 am . We can’t say exactly at what time the main march will arrive there.

We hope to see you all there.

 

 Posted by at 18:15
Oct 122012
 
We are FACING the biggest cuts to inclusive education provision whilst seeing the biggest expansion of FUNDED segregated provision in education ever. This is partly due to Condem doctrine but also due to the expansion of academies and free schools.
The Allaince for Inclusive Education –  ALLFIE needs strong support during the All-Party Parlimaentary Group on Disabiity’s meeting on the SEN legal reforms where Edward Timpson minister (Sarah Teather’s replacement) will be addressing the education sector on Monday 15th October 4 – 5.30 pm Committee Room 4 – House of Lords, c/o Parliament. We should be making it clear that none of us want Government’s great expansion of segregated provision… And we want an absolute right to attend mainstream education…… Please come and support *** ALLFIE ****. Contact Simone for more details simonee.aspis@inclusionlondon.co.uk
Full inclusion of disabled people in society can only start with a legal right to mainstream education.
 Posted by at 15:10
Oct 122012
 

The venue is 1,Stamford Street,Blackfriars,SE1 9NTand there’s a very full programme of events that are all important and informative and mostly interactive with your participation being needed.

Fuller details are available at cutscafelondon.wordpress.com or email cutscafe@riseup.net Telephone is 07842 631 370

In particular DPAC is involved with a Red Pepper debate on welfare reform on Sunday October 14th 2-4 pm and on Monday 15th 4-6pm a discussion on health service user empowerment.

Many of the other workshops are with those we network with so this should be a great week of activities for anyone who can get there.

 Posted by at 13:24
Oct 122012
 

New Chair nominated for Equality and Human Rights Commission

 

Baroness Onora O’Neill has been chosen by the Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, to be the next Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Her appointment will need to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee before it is confirmed. The selection comes in the wake of Trevor Phillips leaving the Commission after a controversial two terms as Chair.

 

Baroness O’Neill is a philosopher and a crossbench member of the House of Lords, who has held several academic positions and sat on the boards of various organisations to do with public science and bioethics. She has written extensively about choice and autonomy, so it will be interesting to hear her thoughts about disability equality. The incoming Chair’s background is one of privilege – she was privately educated and studied at Oxford and Harvard – and she is used to dealing with abstract academic issues rather than the nuts and bolts of disability politics on the ground. Time will tell whether she can connect with the needs of disabled people at grass roots level. Encouragingly, giving evidence to the Commission on Assisted Dying last year, she recognised the potential pressures on people with impairments and serious illnesses, saying that the idea of effective legal safeguards for assisted dying involved “misleading and unrealisable fantasies about individual autonomy”. She said that assisted suicide is “not safely legislatable”. We will have to wait for her appearance before the Joint Committee on Human Rights to find out more about where she stands on the issues that matter to disabled people.

 

It has been rumoured that Baroness O’Neill will be presiding over a sinking ship. Although the Commission escaped the government’s ‘bonfire of the quangos’, its budget has been slashed, its helpline has been given to a private provider, and its grants programme has been cut. Is the Commission being hollowed out ready to be shut down altogether – or will it be allowed to find a way to struggle on with a new operating model? Under this government, it’s anybody’s guess.

Oct 112012
 

 

Local Group facebook and other contact details.

 

For any local groups which don’t have individual contact details please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net to be put in touch with local organisers. Let us know if you want to set up a local group where you live.

National DPAC page

https://www.facebook.com/disabledpeopleagainstcuts/

National DPAC group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPAC2011/

Twitter @dis_ppl_protest

Berkshire

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BDPAC/

jollyangry@gmail.com

Brighton

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrightonDisabledPeopleAgainstCuts/

 

Miriam  mimseycal@sky.com

Chester – Lynda Hesketh  Lynda.hesketh@sky.com

Colchester

https://www.facebook.com/DPAC-Colchester-582963165200449/?fref=ts

Cornwall

https://www.facebook.com/groups/corwall.dpac/

Chris McCarther  c.mccarther@sky.com

Derbyshire

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=derbyshire%20disabled%20people%20against%20cuts

derbyshiredpac@gmail.com

local area groups in Derbyshire

Shirebrook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1267720179912075/?__mref=message_bubble

Amber Valley

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1040131086045190/

Buxton and High Peak

https://www.facebook.com/groups/760648537401511/

Bolsover and Claycross

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1492071161101430/?__mref=message_bubble

Erewash

https://www.facebook.com/groups/223679017970644/

Swadlingcote and South Derby

https://www.facebook.com/groups/888726361242676/

Dronfield and Wingerworth

https://www.facebook.com/groups/476282795910705/

Chesterfield

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1174927839186369/

East Midlands via mail@dpac.uk.net

Hastings and Rother

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPACH/

Ipswich and Suffolk

https://www.facebook.com/groups/236694016479162/

Leicestershire kittandnick leics@dpac.uk.net

London via mail@dpac.uk.net

Local London groups

Bromley

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586416764942593/

Croydon

https://www.facebook.com/groups/252152101582356/

Waltham Forest

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1418801565068005/

Islington

https://www.facebook.com/groups/118807631518479/

andygreene@live.co.uk

Lambeth – Roger Lewis – r.lewis450@btinternet.com

Manchester

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MDPAC/

Medway

https://www.facebook.com/DPACMedway/?fref=ts

Merseyside

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1030186870404557/

NE and Cumbria

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=DPAC%20NE%20and%20Cumbriadpacnortheast@gmail.com

Norfolk

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=dpac%20norfolk

Northampton

jsx_smith@yahoo.com

Portsmouth

https://www.facebook.com/groups/397321280336663/

Telephone Sarah 07967216236

Sheffield

https://www.facebook.com/DPACShef/?fref=ts

Southwark

Southwarkdpac@mail.com

Southampton

https://www.facebook.com/groups/727321727403784/

Warwickshire- linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk

West Midlands

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=west%20midlands%20dpac

Wirral

wirralDPAC@googlegroups.com

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/wirraldpac

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=wirral%20dpac

Wrexham – Sue Fortune – sfortune@Safe-mail.net

We also have groups in Glasgow, Lincoln,and Cambridge if anyone wants to get in touch email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 14:55
Oct 102012
 

 Say No to Austerity: TUC March 20 October 2012 

The TUC has made the following accessibility arrangements for disabled people to participate in the above event:

Disability Assembly Zone

(i)        SavoyStreet

There will be a separate stewarded disability assembly zone for the full march in Savoy Streetthat will feed into the march at the south of Savoy Streetwhen it moves off.  Disabled marchers travelling by car will need to apply for a vehicle access permit here at: http://afuturethatworks.org/victoria-embankment-assembly-point-information-form/

(ii)       St James Street

There will be a separate stewarded disability assembly zone for the short march in St James Street(off Piccadilly) that will feed into the main march as it passes.  Disabled marchers travelling here by car will need apply for a vehicle access permit at: http://afuturethatworks.org/short-march-assembly-point-information-form/

The deadline for all on-line applications for vehicle access permits is Friday October 12th.

Access Hub

There will be an ‘access hub’ hard surface area (accessible via hard paths that are suitable for wheelchairs) as part of the Hyde Parkrally.  This will include charging points for electric wheelchairs and water supplies for disabled marchers and guide dogs.  Disabled access toilets will be nearby.  Additionally there will be a signer on the giant screen.  There will be some limited vehicle access for disabled marchers wishing to travel directly to Hyde Park.  Please contact Gemma gtumelty@tuc.org.uk 

For all queries regarding access contact Gemma gtumelty@tuc.org.uk

or one alternative

The fight back against workfare continues on Oct 20th when tens of thousands are expected to march on London against austerity. As people march for a future that works, Boycott Workfare will be taking action for a future without forced unpaid labour.

The growing resistance against exploitative government work schemes is rattling the arrogance of workfare’s architects and profiteers. Retailers have withdrawn from workfare due to pressure from campaigners; warnings of “imminent contract failures” are being made by Work Programme charities. Neither Workfare nor the Work Programme is working.

Any of us could be subjected to forced unpaid work through the government’s back to work schemes, so it’s in the interest of all of us that we fight back. At the end of the day, workfare is an attack on the work and welfare of the unemployed and employed. It not only provides a source of cheap labour to profit-making companies but it also undermines the pay and conditions of those already in paid work.

Join Boycott Workfare in London on Oct 20th and let’s shut down the profiteers exploiting the unemployed.

Meet at 2.30pm at Oxford Circus.

Bring games, face paints, banners, noise and fight back!

Join the facebook event and invite your friends.

 

 Posted by at 14:50
Oct 102012
 

 

dpacportsmouth@hotmail.com
Rally Against ATOS, 16th October Winfoeld House Portsmouth
The past few weeks have seen yet more attacks on benefits and disabled people across the country, with George Osbourne’s speech spelling out yet more disgusting cuts to the benefit system, fines for people who make mistakes on benefit forms, proposals to restrict benefits for people who have more children whilst on benefits, cutting benefits for those who appeal ATOS decisions and preventing anyone under 25 from claiming housing benefit regardless of circumstance. ATOS the company contracted to reduce the numbers of people on disability benefits has repeatedly shown that they have no understanding of disabilities and no interest in what impact their decisions really have on peoples lives. ATOS has caused stress, strain and death among disabled people in our society and show no sign of stopping.The death of Colin Traynor after ATOS assessed him wrongly as fit to work was yet another tragic show of what ATOS and the current government really care about and it is not human life.Disabled People Against Cuts Portsmouth has called a rally against ATOS, We call for the WCA and recent Welfare Reform Acts to be scrapped, the DWP’s contracts with ATOS to end immediately, and the introduction of a more humane and compassionate welfare system We will not sit back and accept the attack, we will fight back. Help us to prevent more death and destruction of disabled people lives, Join us and Rally against ATOS!
 Posted by at 14:14
Oct 102012
 

It’s all happening in Yorkshire this week

2 important opportunities to make your voices heard

Coop and ATOS
There is an opportunity to protest about the Coop using ATOS this Thursday, 11th Oct.Leeds Coop members are meeting at 6.45pm in the city centre. Please pass this along to any DPAC and other supporters. For more details contact  John 07724149217

Sometimes, ‘sorry’ isn’t enough Nick

This Friday, 12 October, Clegg will be taking part in a live radio broadcast audience at The Crucible theatre in Sheffield city centre.

Many people feel that a stage managed event like that is just one more chance for Clegg to get away with his lies and his apology for making a promise.   That’s why, at 11.30 am on 12 October, people who really want to hold Clegg to account for his savage attacks on our welfare state, the privatisation of our NHS, his hike in tuition fees and against his savage assaults on disabled people will be giving him a special welcome to his ‘home’ city.

Let’s make him feel the heat of that welcome at The Crucible… 

If you’re on Facebook, just click on the links above or below to let them know you’re joining them…

http://www.facebook.com/ukuncut.sheffield#!/events/327395234025911/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

 Posted by at 11:45