Debbie

May 202015
 

If you have been sanctioned for not engaging in work related activity or threatened with a sanction while on employment support allowance-we want to hear from you for a potential legal challenge. Please email us at: mail@dpac.uk.net

We all know what sanctions do to people; we all know that sanctions have led to needless, avoidable and unforgivable deaths.  With sanctions for those on employment support allowance increasing (up 25%), with 50,000 of those sanctions imposed for not engaging in a work related activity with some affecting mental health users- Its beyond time to act against this outrage

For those facing sanctions we also provide some practical info from @refuted below.

All info is up to date although stats are now out of date

http://refuted.org.uk/2014/08/06/sanctionstips/

With many thanks to refuted for the info

 

May 162015
 

We are looking for a case study we could meet and film in the London area about the Universal Credit & Sanctions. TF1 is the leading broadcaster in France and its prime time news programme attracts on average 8 million viewers a day and broadcasts to some 500,000 Britons currently living in France. TF1 broadcasts globally to the French speaking world (Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and North African countries).

Please get in touch with DPAC if you can help at: mail@dpac.uk.net

 

May 082015
 

The devastating results show an electoral system in disarray and a Britain at odds with its own best interests. While Scotland and SNP came out firmly against austerity and Westminster politics resulting in them sweeping the board, Labour counted on middle England and left the base of its roots. Today disabled people, the unemployed, the low paid, the old, and children face more uncertainty and fear. Yet, in this election we have also seen new smaller parties rise up, these parties are going to get stronger. The political landscape is changing, not as fast as we would like, but its changing.

There were some good points McVey lost her seat, Farage resigned. The Lib Dems were almost wiped out, and Clegg has gone as leader. This is without doubt a comment on their collusion with Tories as they took a lot of Labour voters in the 2010 election. The polls were staggeringly wrong, with the first sign of this unbelievable result coming in the exit polls last night.

But disabled people are proud and strong, we will not give up. DPAC will increase its fight, its protests and improve its methods, because now we’re at war, fighting for our lives and futures. The Tories now have to back up their ‘growing economy’ myth, the right wing press will continue to be challenged with more alternatives and social media becoming the commentary that people trust. The much publicised UN inquiry will focus on the Tories and we will show the devastation and erosion of rights that the Tories have caused to an international platform. We can’t give up, but must fight harder, until every hardship, every death and every misery has been exposed and accounted for. It’s not the end-this is a new beginning-and we’re ready but we need all disabled people and our allies to stand firm and fight back even harder than you have done in the last five years. Apathy is not an option any of us can now afford

Apr 042015
 
Occupy Democracy will be returning in full force to occupy Parliament Square from the 1st to the 10th of May – during the General Election :)

On each of the TEN DAYS of this occupation there will be a DIRECT ACTION… and we need your ideas and energy included to ensure that the election period is truly spectacular!

All levels of experience are welcome – you don’t have to have taken part in direct action before to participate and get your voice heard. Everyone will be encouraged and supported to work within their own limits and at their own pace within a diverse group.

Want the voice of your campaign amplified during the election period?
Want to protest about corrupt politicians and lack of real democracy?
Want to highlight alternatives?
Show people the beauty of the future world we can create together?

No matter which protest, action group or issue you are interested in/working on, tackling the state of our democracy is crucial to getting your aims fulfilled and the needs of your community met.

Join Occupy Democracy over the election period in ensuring that the people’s voices are REALLY heard as the country goes to the polls. We  need as many disabled people involved  as  possible

Where: SOAS, room TBC (central London)

When: Sunday 12th April 11am – 5pm

Join the Facebook event for the action planing day https://www.facebook.com/events/877584405638513/

Mar 242015
 

Beyond – UKIP Cabaret

Dear gang. hope your so well. If anyone has received any
abusive messages / death threats please email leavethegaydonkeysalone@gmail.com
with all documentation and testimonials.

Ive got an interview with the police this evening.

We have amazing lawyers to support us too. Everything will
be passed on.

All part of the package. Please look after each other and
don’t get disheartened this is how bullies work.

Let me know anything I can do

Lots of love,  X

Pictures of the ‘terrifying’ UKIP Cabaret below

fake breast feeding in public, but not in a corner as Farage suggests

fake breast feeding in public, but not in a corner as Farage suggests

Terrifying scenes in the street

Terrifying scenes in the street

Maybe more terrifying were these on Facebook 


Facebook threats, similar were posted on twitter

Mar 172015
 

We ‘ve had increasing numbers of emails from those in the ESA support group facing constant harassment from local job centres. Harassment takes the form of letters and phone calls ‘inviting’ people to work focused interviews, chats with job coaches or other ‘helpers’. Another type of ‘invite’ suggests that the job centre need to check you’re getting the right amount of benefit they advise you to take in bank statements and other documents. Often these letters and phone calls wrongly state that your benefits are at risk if you do not attend. All such interviews are voluntary according to the regulations, not mandatory. Its sounds like a scam warning from some dodgy company doesnt it, but this is the DWP Job Centre, supposedly public servants, causing anxiety and misery.

We have reproduced two template letters to use if these scams happen to you -with thanks to John Slater

Your Name

Address 1

Address 2

County

Post Code

Name JCP Manager

Address 1

Address 2

County Post Code

Date

Ref: NINO

Dear JCP Manager   I received your letter of <insert date> stating that you have arranged a work‐focused interview for me on <insert date> at <insert time> without my knowledge or consent.

The DWP is aware that I have been placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance and therefore exempt from activity of this nature. S.19 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 specifically forbids the Secretary of State from imposing any work‐related requirements on anyone allocated to the support group.

This letter has caused me considerable distress and has exacerbated my illness. Should the DWP persist in sending me further letters of a similar nature I can only conclude that it does so knowing that it will cause me alarm or distress. Such actions are a criminal offence under section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997 and I retain the right to make a criminal complaint to the police.

As the DWP is acting contrary to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 please regard this letter as notification to cease and desist all such activities immediately.

I will not be attending the work‐focused interview and in doing so I will not be placing my entitlement to ESA at risk. Any suggestion by the DWP to the contrary will be considered harassment.

I remind the DWP that I will continue to comply with all lawful requirements in respect of my ongoing claim for ESA.

Yours sincerely

A. N. Other

Your Name

Address 1

Address 2

County

Post Code

Name JCP Manager

Address 1

Address 2

County Post Code

Date

Ref: NINO

Dear JCP Manager

I received your letter of <insert date> stating that you have arranged an interview for, without my knowledge or consent, on <insert date> at <insert time> because my circumstances may have changed and the DWP need to ensure my payments are correct.

The DWP is aware that I have been placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance and therefore exempt from any work‐related activity. S.19 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 specifically forbids the Secretary of State from imposing any work‐related requirements on anyone allocated to the support group.  It also makes no provision for people allocated to the Support Group to be summoned to attend random benefit interviews.

On the .GOV website the DWP states:

You’ll then be placed in 1 of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:

work‐related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser

support group, where you don’t have interviews

In fact the DWP has the Benefit Centre network that contains benefit integrity centres and performance measurement to undertake this type of review by appropriately qualified officers. Therefore, this interview appears to be incompatible with the DWP own processes.

In respect of payments the DWP knows that I am in the Support Group and the amount I am in receipt of. Therefore, it can easily determine if this amount is correct without recourse to a face to face review.

To the best of my knowledge my circumstances have not changed. If the DWP has evidence to the contrary please address them to me in writing as I find the benefit system far too complex and distressing to deal with on the telephone or face to face. I also rely on extensive support from other people when dealing with the DWP.

This letter has caused me considerable distress and has exacerbated my illness. Given that the proposed review is incompatible with the DWP own business processes and published guidance I can only assume that its purpose is to cause me alarm or distress.  Should the DWP persist in sending me further letters of a similar nature I can only conclude that it does so with the same intent. Such actions are a criminal offence under section 2 of the protection from Harassment Act 1997 and I retain the right to make a criminal complaint to the police.

Please regard this letter as notification to cease and desist all such activities immediately.

I will not be attending the interview and in doing so I will not be placing my entitlement to ESA at risk. Any suggestion by the DWP to the contrary will be considered harassment.

I remind the DWP that I will continue to comply with all lawful requirements in respect of my ongoing claim for ESA.

Yours sincerely

A. N. Other

Templates can also be downloaded at the links below

Correct Detail or Support Invite Reply Template (1)

WFI reply template

Mar 162015
 

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

The UNCRPD and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. The most severely disabled people are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. The most severely disabled people are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

Manifesto Pledges we are seeking from Parties

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical.

Stop the closure of the cost effective Independent Living Fund (ILF) and set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the Independent Living Fund in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff.

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend.

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments which even now is in complete chaos.

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizens income.

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

Housing: A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society: The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

Fully Inclusive Education: Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

Planned cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

Access to Justice: All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

Local Authority Statutory Services: There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK: Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

The above come from the UK Disabled Peoples Manifesto

Full manifesto, summary of manifesto and Easy Read versions are available in both PDF and Word version.

UK Disabled People’s Manifesto – Reclaiming Our Futures. PDF

Download Easy Read versions below

Easy Read versionas are below in both PDF and Word versions.

UK disabled people’s manifesto – Easy Read. PDF

Mar 162015
 

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

The current situation now is that England will be the only UK nation which no longer has an ILF as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have pledged to open replacement ILF funds so this will lead to what can only be described as the biggest postcode lottery ever. If you are fortunate enough to live in a devolved nation then you will still be eligible for this additional funding but if you are unfortunate enough to live in England then you won’t be.

Obviously it may seem to those who have no real experience of the way the care system operates that it makes sense to devolve all funding to local authorities even if it will not be ring-fenced either to current recipients or even to the adult social care budget however ILF funding covers essential support for independent living which local authority care will not. (even with the introduction of the new care Act from April this year).

Labour says it strongly agrees that independent living is crucial to ensuring that disabled people have the same rights, choices and chances as any other citizen. They tabled an amendment during the Committee Stage of the Care Bill which would have enshrined in law the right of disabled people to live independently. Unsurprisingly the government chose to vote against and defeat this amendment. Ed Miliband has said recently Labour also opposed the government’s plans for closure of the Independent Living Fund in the absence of a comprehensive strategy for a system of social care that protects people’s ability to live independently. Yet in spite of this if Labour is elected in May it will be a Labour government that allows the ILF to close.

Kate Green/You have said “it’s not Labour’s position to retain the ILF “

We have asked Labour to commit to keeping the ILF open for current recipients even if only in the short term until something better can replace it so that a generation of disabled people do not lose the right to continue to live independently in the community.

The Labour front bench have said they will allow the ILF to close because there is a real opportunity to develop a sustainable model of provision for the most severely disabled people within the integrated health and social care landscape that Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall have been articulating rather than continuing with a standalone fund. These proposals are based on a report by the Oldham Commission which clearly states that it will take the 5 years of a new parliament and an extra £10 billion of funding to achieve these changes. In the meantime there will be no protection for disabled people in England who need their needs funding now and not at some date far into the future. For them any new integrated care system will simply be too late to help. Moreover, as respected experts in the field such as Professor Pat Thane have pointed out, the current system is simply not functioning at the necessary level. Relying on the integration of health and social care as a solution to the crisis in social care is thus an irresponsible gamble to take with people’s lives.

In the original ILF consultation over 50% of local authorities said that the loss of ILF was likely to lead to disabled people having to move from the community back into Care homes, something that is not only morally wrong but which will cost Local Authorities, who by 2015 will have had social care budgets cut by £8 billion, or by about 33%, considerably more.

Already since 2008 over 90,000 disabled people or 1 in 6 have lost their care and support for independent living.

While it is true that the fund is now being wound down, and staff numbers are already reducing it is not true that it is too late for Labour to commit to keeping the ILF open in England as well as will be the case in other parts of the UK. PCS and a former manager at ILF have both given the Labour front bench detailed reasons of why this is the case.

As the devolved funding will not be ring-fenced in any way to either individuals or adult social care budgets Ed Miliband has said that Labour will put in place guidance for Local Authorities to encourage them to meet the needs of severely disabled people in their areas but this will not be mandatory and we have no reason to believe that cash strapped councils will have either the political will nor the financial ability to implement such guidance. They are very aware of the dangers of setting precedents for providing levels and types of social care support to some individuals and not for others. A Local Authority could easily consider itself to have more to risk by following than not following the guidelines. In order to ensure equity between all adult service users they may well feel they have no choice but to level down..

As emerged from formerly undisclosed documents from DWP during one of the court cases the devolved funding for ILF recipients is only in place until April 2016 and no additional funding was requested beyond that date by DWP. What will happen to the real people stuck in the middle of this chaos then has not been addressed by any political party.

Further Labour also cite “inconsistencies” in delivery as a reason to remove the right to live independently from severely disabled people but these are the result of unequal take up between different local authorities  and is symptomatic of the failings of local authority administered social care support. As a national model of service delivery the ILF is far more successful and cost effective than local authority administered social care. The latest ILF annual report records a user satisfaction rating of 97%. Overheads for the ILF come in at just 2 % of the budget in comparison with an average of 16% for local authorities. It is in fact a model of service delivery that should be built upon rather than shut down. We understand that provisions in the Care Act are aimed at reducing inconsistencies between local authorities, nevertheless the inconsistencies Labour cite as a problem of the ILF are many times worse in the current system upon which ILF users will now be solely reliant as a result of the closure.

Since the closure to new applicants in December 2010 disabled people who missed out on the ILF have suffered dramatically worse outcomes than existing ILF recipients with equivalent support needs. We have provided Kate Green with a number of case studies showing the reality of independent living for disabled people who would have been eligible for ILF but are now only receiving LA social care support. We are not just talking about disabled people no longer being able to go to work, or ever have a holiday or go to university, we are talking about people unable to leave their homes, left without access to food or water, unable to go to the toilet and unable to wash more than a couple of times per week. We know there is also an urgent need to address this inequity, so do not believe that the right answer is to level everyone down to the lowest levels of support.

In the short term we are asking that the ILF be retained as the only way to realistically guarantee protection for existing recipients. Disabled people are aware that this is not a big ask: the ILF represents a relatively small amount of money – only £32 million and the ILF will not be wound down beyond easy repair before May 2015.

Moving on from these moral aspects of retaining the ILF the political situation now is that the Labour Party is the only main opposition party unwilling to commit to keeping the ILF open if elected. We find it very difficult to understand why Labour continues to take this position and not avail themselves of the support of the 12million plus disabled voters,and their families and friends

WE’RE LOOKING FOR ANTI-AUSTERITY VOLUNTEERS!

 News  Comments Off on WE’RE LOOKING FOR ANTI-AUSTERITY VOLUNTEERS!
Mar 142015
 

Central London
4-hour shifts on dates between 30 March and 9 April

For more information please contact Jessie[at]roaring-girl[dot]com.

Figures (www.wearefigures.co.uk) is setting out to make visible the human cost of austerity and urge action against it.Using excavated raw river mud and taking up residence on the streets and foreshore of central London, artist-activist Liz Crow will sculpt 650 small human figures, each one representing an individual at the sharp end of austerity. Their number echoes the 650 constituencies throughout which the effects of austerity are felt%2

Mar 112015
 

Dear Supporters of Anthony,

Your support has made an important difference. Please pass on this message to the people who were there and for whom I do not have an email address.

Thanks so much for your support at the protest last week, at the NAS Awards in Harrogate, 3rd March 2015. Following the protest The parents of Anthony Kletzander welcomed the action taken by Mark Lever, Chief Executive of National Autistic Society, to formally write to The Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland calling for an Independent investigation into the allegations of abuse, made by Anthony and his parents.

This is an important move taken by the NAS. When an independent investigation into the allegations of abuse is initiated by HSE, Autism Accreditation, will be suspended from Nua Healthcare, pending the outcome of that independent investigation.

Clearly the focus of who conducts the “Independent investigation” will require much critical scrutiny, Anthony’s friends are here to do just that.

It is intolerable that a disabled person has to be subjected to such struggles to get what is accepted as a right for so many non disabled people.

We will continue the struggle with Anthony until he gets what he knows is his right to Independent Living, with appropriate support.

Joe Whittaker

Mar 102015
 
A recent article in the Guardian drew attention to the BBC’s current efforts to increase the numbers of disabled people on and off-screen. Tania Motie and Tanni Grey-Thompson argued that there are three stereotypes applied to disabled people – we are heroes, scroungers or brave victims. The BBC, they wrote, has a role in challenging this, and that:

Sophisticated, multi-faceted, authentic portrayal influenced by disabled people will really help to break down barriers and allow disability to become part of the DNA of our society.

This reminded me of how, 23 years ago, in 1992 – which like 2015 was also a general election year – the BBC launched a series of programmes made with and about disabled people, together with a booklet and poster advertising.  The series and the booklet were called Disabled Lives: we wanted to call it Disabling Society but Channel 4 had got there first with their own series that same year. The initiative resulted from an Advisory Group made up of disabled people brought together by the BBC to help them  develop programmes which challenged the stereotypical and unrealistic ways in which disabled people’s lives were portrayed.
It sounds familiar doesn’t it? But there were some differences.
The key difference is that, in 1992, disability was increasingly being identified as a civil rights issue, whereas today public debate is dominated by arguments and counter-arguments about whether we are ‘scroungers’ or ‘vulnerable’.
The 1992 booklet said that it, and the BBC series of programmes, was about:

one of the most exciting civil rights issues of our times, the right of disabled people to participate equally and fully in the communities in which we live….Today, there is a growing movement of disabled people who insist that our lives have value and that we want to be treated as equal citizens with equal rights.

This was before the Disability Discrimination Act which was finally passed in 1995 after many years of campaigning.  The programmes and the publicity gave a voice to this demand for an end to discrimination, but also emphasised the importance of changing the dominant cultural representations of disabled people, arguing – as Elspeth Morrison (one of the Advisory Group’s members) put it:

If we have no representation of ourselves other than those images used in charities’ advertising, crippled witches in children’s books, brave and tragic media stuff, theatre and film’s metaphorical use of disability as social inadequacy, social decay – if there is no expression of life as we live, it, how do we begin to validate ourselves and learn about each other?

One of the photographs (taken by David Hevey) used in the booklet and in the posters  – was of the Direct Action Network holding up a bus in Manchester.  No buses were wheelchair accessible at that time and access to public transport was an important part of the campaign for anti-discrimination legislation.
Independent living (having choice and control) was also a key focus, for people with the whole range of impairments and across all ages. The Independent Living Fund had been established in 1988 and more and more people with high levels of support needs were accessing it and starting to live the kind of lives their non-disabled peers took for granted. In general, more disabled people were demanding, and getting, their entitlements to support to enable them to go about their daily lives.
Organisations of disabled people (as opposed to the charities speakingfor disabled people) were increasing in number and influence in the early 1990s, reflected in the fact that the people on the  BBC’s Advisory Group were mainly from organisations of disabled people.  The initiative encompassed Deaf people, people with physical and/or sensory impairments, people with non-evident impairments and health conditions, people with learning difficulties, mental health service users and older disabled people.  As People First (the organisation of people with learning difficulties) said:
We are for difference
For respecting difference
For allowing difference
Until difference
Doesn’t matter anymore.
In the early 1990s, the most influential stereotype of disabled people was of us as objects of pity, as tragic victims who, at best, could be admired for ‘overcoming’ against all odds, at worst were considered to have lives not worth living.  The response of a government Minister to one of the petitions calling for anti-discrimination legislation was to say that he didn’t believe employers discriminated against us, rather they felt sorry for us.
Nevertheless, in 1992 things were shifting.  In the run-up to the general election, the Conservative Party (in government since 1979) devoted a specific section in its Manifesto to commitments to disabled people, celebrating that:

Under the Conservatives, more disabled people than ever before are getting the help they need and deserve. Since 1979, the number receiving Attendance Allowance has more than trebled; the number receiving Mobility Allowance has risen six fold; the number receiving Invalid Care Allowance has risen 25-fold. Today we spend some £12,000 million a year on benefits for long-term sick and disabled people. Even after allowing for inflation, that is 2½ times as much as Labour spent in the 1970s.

The Tories promised to introduce “new disability benefits [Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance] which will, in the next Parliament, bring extra help to at least 300,000 people. By 1993-94 these and other improvements will mean that we will be directing an extra £300 million a year to long-term sick and disabled people.”
They were proud of the “great success” of the Independent Living Fund and gave a manifesto commitment to maintaining it.
The Labour Party had very little to say about disabled people in their1992 manifesto. There was a nod to ‘training’ opportunities, to health services for people with long-term conditions and to better community services for people using mental health services and for people with learning difficulties.  The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto had more, committing them to introduce a Citizen’s Income with a specific disability component, human rights legalisation (to include disability) and a Charter of Rights for disabled people.
In those days, very few people argued that too much was spent on disability benefits. Very few people thought that disabled and sick people were making false claims for out of work or disability benefits.
In fact, in 1992 the Conservative government felt that not enough disabled people were being helped and introduced new benefits for which more people were eligible.  Today the Coalition government argues that too many people are receiving help with the additional costs associated with impairment and disability. The Disability Living Allowance – which the Conservative government of the early 1990s was proud to introduce – has been abolished and replaced with Personal Independence Payment with the aim of reducing the budget by 20% and accompanied by such long delays in responding to claims that aJudicial Review has been granted of the process.
In 1992, the government were proud of the Independent Living Fund and vowed to keep it.  Today, they have abolished it and many people with high support needs are at risk of losing the ability that ILF funding gave them to live ‘ordinary lives’.
In 1992, disability was a civil rights issue and we were on our way to getting the Disability Discrimination Act, enacted by the Conservative government in 1995.  Today, access to justice under the legislation has been severely undermined by cuts in legal aid, and the introduction of fees for taking a case to an Employment Tribunal.
In 1992, public debate was about whether disabled people were to be pitied as the objects of charity and needed to be ‘looked after’, or whether we should have equal rights to access education, employment, independent living.  Today, public debate is about whether we are avoiding our responsibilities to seek employment and need conditions and sanctions to get us ‘off benefits’, or whether we are ‘vulnerable’.   Instead of recognising the additional support, and the removal of barriers, which are required in order for us to access the same opportunities as others, we are – in order to avoid being labelled as ‘scroungers’ –  once again forced into the role of tragic victims, where the legitimacy of our requirements is to be measured by how ‘vulnerable’, ill and/or impaired we are.
So if we are to avoid being identified as ‘scroungers’, we have to prove how ‘vulnerable’ we are made by our impairments, illness and/or age.  Yet ’vulnerability’ is created by the society in which we live – by lack of appropriate support, and by prejudicial attitudes. ‘Vulnerability’ is created, for example, by removing benefits from someone because they failed to fulfil conditions which illness, impairment and/or poverty made difficult for them to do. ‘Vulnerability’ is created by threatening to stop providing support to enable someone to go to the toilet when they need to. ‘Vulnerability’ is created by a lack of suitable, affordable housing for a family affected by illness and disability.
Tackling discrimination, removing barriers, providing appropriate support which gives us choice and control in our lives – none of these are on the agenda for public and policy debate anymore. Instead, our social worth is to be measured by whether we are ‘hard-working’, which means engaged in productive labour.  Other important social roles – looking after others, bringing up children, contributing to our friends, families and communities – are not deemed worthy of support or celebration.
The BBC’s current initiative – all these years after the 1992 initiative – to increase the numbers of visible, ‘happen to be’ disabled people on screen and to increase their employment off screen is laudable.  But we also need to change the language of public discourse about sick and disabled people.
In particular, we need politicians, and all those participating in public debate in the run up to the election in May, to change the way they talk about disabled people.  We need to revisit the language and images the disability movement tried so hard (with some considerable success) to promote during the 1980s and 1990s – language which returns to some of the hopes reflected in the BBC’s booklet all those years ago:

Disabled people are fighting for a society which celebrates difference, a society which does not react to physical, sensory or intellectual impairments, or emotional distress,, with fear and prejudice.  We want a society that recognises the difficulties we face, but which also values us for what we are.

 

Our hopes for the future are based on the justice of our wish for control over our lives, the strength of our demands for equal participation, the passion of our belief in the value of our contribution to the communities in which we live.

 

with thanks to Jenny Morris for more see:

http://jennymorrisnet.blogspot.co.uk/

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

Mar 102015
 

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

Apr182014

DPAC Response to ‘How Labour would Reform the Work Capability Assessment ( Published April 18th 2014)

 

We read with interest the piece in the Independent by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green regarding Labour’s response to the Work Capability Assessment [1]

Labour should realise that disabled people are deeply distrustful of any Labour reform of a Work Capability Assessment system, which Labour introduced in the Welfare Act of 2007 with the stated aim of removing 1 million claimants from the benefit system [3].

Our position has been and will be that the Work Capability Assessment is deeply flawed in its basic concept, not just in terms of the details of its delivery, and inclusion in the workplace for disabled people cannot simply be achieved by a ‘back to work’ test.

manifesto

In the Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto [4], we state that a priority demand from government is that:

A comprehensive and strategic plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment including: increasing quality and range of personalised support available to disabled people, strengthening disabled employees rights and tackling employer discrimination and poor practice

Other key demands include that:

Economic productivity must not be the only measure of people’s worth and value, volunteering offers as much value to society as paid employment. While we recognise that volunteering can offer additional skills, it should not be the default option for disabled people because of our exclusion from paid work

There must be policy and media recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system. They should not be penalised or demonised as they are currently.

For true inclusion in the workplace for disabled people a wider approach is necessary including but not limited to:

Will Labour commit to the restoration of Disabled Student’s Allowance,
• Will Labour commit to the restoration of the Independent Living Fund,
• Will Labour commit to the extension of Access to Work (AtW) to include unpaid voluntary positions,
• Will Labour commit to the reversal of the reduction of people who currently receive DLA, but will not receive PIP and also lose their Motability access,
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of the requirement for councils to produce equality schemes on employment and access
• Will Labour commit to the provision of accessible transport.
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of “day one” protection from unfair dismissal in employment law
• Will Labour commit to the provision of Employment Tribunals enforcing mandatory organisation-wide measures on preventing disability discrimination
• Will Labour commit to the provision that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable equality targets for the employment of disabled people

(for further points see reference 2)

These currently are some of the barriers to inclusion in the workplace for disabled people, and they will not be fixed by simply amending the WCA. The issue must be seen within the context of the wider interconnected system of barriers in place. It must be seen in terms of what a large majority of disabled people have already identified as key problems.

In terms of inclusion we also need from Labour, a recognition that for many disabled people to be able to work there has to be a nationally transportable social care system with a guarantee that people would keep the same levels of funding wherever they needed to move to work.

We need recognition that there is an onus on government and employers to fully accept the spirit of the Equality Act 2010 [4] with its requirement to the opening of work opportunity to disabled people. Without this, no “fit for work test” aimed at cutting disability benefits will make any impact whatsoever on the numbers of disabled people who can attain and sustain employment.

We also need from Labour a stronger recognition that there are many disabled people who cannot enter the work place and should not have to live in fear of being pressured into doing so.

There is much that the article leaves out and that leaves us with a number of serious concerns and questions.

While we are not yet prepared to endorse in any way Labour’s new approach to the Work Capability Assessment, we do see the article by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green as a helpful starting point for discussions on the future of inclusion of disabled people, who want and are able to work, in the workplace and we would welcome an opportunity to meet with them and discuss this further. We would like meet with Kate Green and Rachel Reeves to ask the following questions:

1. Will Labour commit to stop spending public money on private
contractors and return any assessments of disabled people back to GPs
with medical evidence taken into account as well as give a commitment to
look at the barriers to work for disabled people who can and want to
work (in line with the social model of disability)?

2. Will Labour commit to a time and date to talk with DPAC, My Legal,
the Mental Health Resistance Network, Black Triangle, Deaf activists,
those with learning difficulties ( with an outreach of ½ a million
disabled people) to listen to the views of the largest network of grass
roots disabled people on the WCA and ESA?

3. If Labour are committed to scrapping the WCA when will Deaf and
disabled people, and those with mental health issues have sight of the
detail of any alternative Labour is proposing?

4. If Labour accepts the harm, devastation and premature deaths that have
been an outcome of the WCA why have they chosen to suspend their
prospective parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay, Deborah
Hopkins for speaking out in public about the harm caused by the WCA.

5. Will Labour address the disproportionate harm that the WCA and
sanctions on ESA and JSA are causing to all disabled people, in
particular those with mental health issues and learning difficulties?

6. We along with many others insisted that a centralised Independent Living Fund
for Scotland be established and it has been done. They have also promised to re-open ILF to new users, with a commitment of additional funds and recognition of its importance to independent living and obligations to article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Why has the Labour
Party not promised to re-establish it south of the border?

Many of the Statements included in this response are taken from the UK Disabled Peoples’ Reclaiming our Futures Manifesto and are endorsed by a UK network of disabled people and Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations, including: ALLFIE, Inclusion London, Equal Lives, DPAC, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and the TUC Disabled Workers Committee [2], who between them reach several million disabled voters.
References
1. How Labour would reform the Work Capability Assessment http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/how-labour-would-reform-the-work-capability-assessment-9265479.html
2. The Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/UK-Disabled-People-s-Manifesto-Reclaiming-Our-Futures.pdf
3. The Green Paper: The new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work. 2006 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://dwp.gov.uk/docs/a-new-deal-for-welfare-empowering-people-to-work-full-document.pdf
4. Equality Act 2010 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

Our Response to Labour’s WCA Proposal ( again) ( published Nov 14th 2014)

 Benefits and Work website yesterday published an email sent by Labour which explains their proposals to improve WCA.

It is a summary of previously announced proposals but we thought we would take this opportunity to restate, perhaps in even more strident terms our position with respect to Labour’s WCA Proposals.

We have done this many times of course, both on the blog and in direct communication with Labour but nothing ever seems to sink in.

Labours proposals are:

1. We will start by transforming the way the WCA is designed to make it more effective at helping disabled people into work. With Labour, disabled people would receive a copy of the assessor’s report of how their health condition may affect their ability to work, and information about the support that is available in their local area to help them – a first vital step towards a more integrated system of support.

2. Secondly, we would continue to produce an independent review of the WCA, and ask the Office for Disability Issues to support an independent scrutiny group of disabled people to work together with the independent reviewer to assess whether the test is being conducted in a fair and transparent way. We will commit to responding to the recommendations of this report.

3. Finally, a Labour government will go further in ensuring that the assessments get it right first time. We would make sure that in the new system there would be clear penalties for poor performance by assessors, measured both on the number of times decisions are overturned by DWP decision makers, and the number of times they are overturned on appeal.

These changes are falling very short of being crucial.

First they are very vague, and do not address the very high number of ESA overturned decisions by tribunals or even by DWP own reconsideration process (before mandatory reconsiderations were introduced).

The reviews that Labour is committed to produce have been discredited. Professor Harrington, by deciding to talk about his misgivings about moving IB claimants onto ESA only, after he lost his lucrative job for DWP when he could have spoken up before, Dr Litchfield because he devised the Mental health descriptors and was very unlikely to challenge them later in his review.

What disabled people have been waiting for, is a sign from Labour frontbench that disabled people have been unfairly targeted by cuts, but also mistreated, bullied, abused and driven to suicide.

They are still waiting.

One Labour backbencher suggested that one way to improve things very quickly was to pause the reassessments. This suggestion from Sheila Gilmore is welcome and it is surprising that it was not followed up by Rachel Reeves or Kate Green.

The focus on disabled people working, contributing to the economy shows that Labour, like the Tories only see people as economical variables, not people who deserve to live a decent life.

Lastly, if you still have some illusions, sanctioning disabled people wasn’t introduced by the Tories, it began under the last Labour Government.

These WCA Proposals from Labour are “figleaf policies”, intended only to do the barest minimum needed to avoid embarrassment for Labour. It hasn’t worked.  

So here it is again, our response to Labour on WCA (maybe this time it will sink in):-

Are you taking the Piss?

The WCA DOESN’T WORK

The WCA is a cause of stress and hardship to disabled people, it is inaccurate, causes harm, and it DOESN’T EVEN GET DISABLED PEOPLE INTO WORK.

The WCA has caused people to commit suicide and your WCA will continue to cause people to commit suicide.

You are still planning to use LIMA, a computer program to MAKE CATASTROPHICALLY WRONG DECISIONS, TIME AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

You are still planning to bully people who CAN NOT WORK with repeat assessments.

Will you stop mandatory consideration? If so how are you going to handle the flood of appeals from wrong decisions? If not, you are no better than the Tories.

More “Harrington” Reviews of the WCA? Don’t make us laugh.

YOU ARE STILL INTENDING TO USE PRIVATE CONTRACTORS WHO DON’T CARE ABOUT DISABLED PEOPLE BUT DO CARE ABOUT PROFITS

and after all that, after the fear, the misery, the anxiety, the hardship and the suicides, your WCA won’t get disabled people into work because THERE ARE NO JOBS AVAILABLE for us.

EMPLOYERS CAN’T BE BOTHERED WITH US, DONT YOU GET THAT?

And when a job is available, we can’t get there because WE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO TRANSPORT,

DPAC’s response to Labour’s WCA proposals in a nutshell:

SCRAP THE WCA & ESA and Scrap Sanctions for all.

Then come up with something much much better that addresses our real needs, not Daily Mail headlines.

Has it sunk in yet?

And again from 2014

As part of DPAC’s Who 2 Vote 4 campaign Anita Bellows delves in to the history files, to examine who made the decision to move Incapacity Benefit Claimants onto ESA and the warnings that were made about that at the time.


Even before the full reassessment of Incapacity Benefits claimants was in full swing, academics predicted a disaster with 600,000 claimants forced off Incapacity Benefits, particularly for those living in regions of high unemployment.

Guardian article refers to a study undertaken in 2011 by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research of Sheffield Hallam University (CRESR)  which showed that it was possible to anticipate the dire consequences of IB reassessments and of the ESA regime which relied on a tougher test, but which was already known at the time to be flawed: the Work Capability Assessment.

But the CRESR was not the first, and certainly not the only opponent to the IB migration, and to raise doubts about IB reassessment, the Work Capability Assessment, and the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) regime.

As early as May 2010, the Social Security Advisory Committee, the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee, and the House of Lords all separately warned first the Labour government and then the Coalition government of the potential negative impacts on disability benefit claimants if the IB reassessments went ahead, especially with a tougher test and a standard of assessment which was “not always good enough, especially for people with mental health and cognitive difficulties”.

Both governments decided to ignore these warnings and to go ahead, even before knowing the findings and recommendations of the first review of the WCA.

Background to the reassessment of  existing Incapacity Benefit claimants

Employment and Support Allowance did not initially affect existing claimants of incapacity benefits, but the Labour Government made it clear from the outset that existing claimants would be reassessed for ESA.

Budget 2008 [para 4.5] announced that all existing Incapacity Benefit claimants would be required to take the Work Capability Assessment from April 2013.

March 2010 regulations

Regulations laid before Parliament by the Labour Government on 29 March 2010 provided for the “migration” of the remaining incapacity benefits claimants customers to ESA between October 2010 and March 2014, provided they satisfied the Work Capability Assessment.

The draft regulations were subject to full scrutiny by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), who published its report in March 2010 with the response of the government.

March 2010 Social Security Advisory Committee’s report

The Committee believed that the migration arrangements in the draft regulations could not be implemented without the risk of operational stress and adverse impacts on significant numbers of vulnerable people before adding: “In our view, the Department should not embark upon the proposed migration until the well-documented problems with current ESA processes and procedures (including those with the WCA) have been resolved, any changes to the Pathways programme have been implemented and bedded-in, and improvements have been made to the support available for JSA claimants with a health condition or disability”.

The Committee raised also several concerns:

  • Lack of a solid evidence base for the decision to migrate or the proposed migration arrangements.

  • Underestimation by DWP of the support required by this group of claimants, in terms of both their participation in a more active benefit regime and the support required to move them closer to the labour market.

  • ESA evaluation for new claimants is not planned to be completed until 2011, by which time the proposed migration arrangements will have commenced.

And the Committee recommended that the migration to ESA did not proceed to the current timetable but waits until:

  • a stronger evidence base on what works and whether ESA is achieving its aims is available

  • the new regime for claimants with a health condition or disability (as an outcome of the Pathways review) has bedded down

  • DWP’s review of the WCA is complete, recommendations have been considered and any necessary changes have been made

  • demand-side approaches to stimulating the labour market have begun to have a positive impact on local demand for labour, particularly in areas with a high concentration of IB claimants.

And in case the migration did proceed as planned the Committee made several recommendations, notably that the quality of the WCA should be improved, particularly for claimants with mental health problems and cognitive and learning difficulties, and that Incapacity benefits claimants currently exempt from the PCA should be automatically treated as meeting the conditions for the ESA Support Group.

March 2010 Government’s response

In its response in the same document, Point 141, the Labour Government rejected the Committee’s call to alter the timetable for migration, but took on board some of the Committee’s concerns and undertook to continue to engage with “stakeholders” as the migration proceeded, stating:

The Government has carefully considered the Committee’s concerns in relation to the ESA transitional Regulations and their wider concerns about the migration programme. However, for the reasons outlined in this response it does not accept the Committee’s recommendation that migration should not continue to the current timetable. The Government considers the migration of existing incapacity benefits customers to be a key element of welfare reform and one that will greatly benefit customers at a time when support to get back to work is urgently needed. The Government does not believe it would be right or fair to delay this support for customers who have been without it for too long already”.

June 2010 House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee’s report

In June 2010, after the General election, the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee published a reportwhich echoed the concerns voiced by the SSAC about whether there would be sufficient support for these groups of claimants, and the lack of evidence on how ESA was working for new claimants, notably that the Committee, from the limited evidence they have seen thought that a

major project with a potential impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable in the community is being conducted in a rather ad hoc fashion. The second phase is being rolled out before the first has been evaluated and although better information will be sought on the outcomes, the Department’s intended course of action, and evidence to support it, all seem rather vague”

It voices also concerns about the capacity of only 20 Benefit centres to absorb and process the transition of 10,000 cases per week, the arrangements put into place by DWP for Job centres, as “many of the customers will have special needs”, and the quality of the Work Capability Assessment.

The Committee also asked DWP what percentage of those ESA claimants sent down the JSA route obtained work, and what happened to the 30% who moved off benefits, to which DWP replied that the Department did not hold the information centrally, but that it intended “to carry out a qualitative piece of in-depth research on unsuccessful ESA claimants who do not qualify for ESA, have their claim closed, or withdraw their claim”.

One report was published in 2011 [para 4.4.2] in which DWP acknowledged that it knew nothing about ESA claimants found fit for work, and not claiming JSA.

July 2010 House of Lords’s debate to motion

The House of Lords then debated a motion to take note of the Merits Committee’s report on 20 July 2010 which criticised the reassessment of existing IB claimants, the WCA and the ESA regime and which quoted Professor Gregg, the architect of the sanctions regime in the two most recent Welfare Reform Acts as saying: “To start moving people who may have been on incapacity benefit for years straight onto jobseeker’s allowance is ridiculous. Before wading into the stock, the system has to be right“.

To which Lord Freud answered by providing reassurance that everything was fine and under control, and that even this year in March (2010), “a DWP-led review of the work capability assessment found that generally it is accurately identifying individuals for the right support”.


The General Election is one year away and the choice is likely to be between the two main parties.

  • Both of them were alerted in 2010 to the risks people claiming incapacity benefits could be exposed to, if IB reassessments went ahead.

  • Both parties knew there was a real capacity gap in Job centres and Benefit centres to deal with the number estimated by DWP to be found fit for work.

  • Both parties were warned about the issues already plaguing the Work Capability Assessment.

  • Both parties chose to ignore these warnings and to proceed with a flawed reassessment process.

While the Conservative party, through Iain Duncan Smith, and the various Ministers for Disabled People has shown itself to be indifferent to the plight of people who need support because they cannot work, the Labour party should not be let off the hook.

Would Labour have done things differently? Maybe, but the fact is we don’t know, and while they were in power, they did not show any willingness to protect these groups of people from harm.

Before being trusted again, the Labour party has to acknowledge its errors of the past and make concrete proposals to put things right.

and any Google search will show that DPAC has been consistent in calling for the WCA to be scrapped

Mar 062015
 

Hallo dear DPAC members

As an occasional reader of your blog and website I am writing from New Zealand. There have been developments here that may be of some interest to you in the UK also. We have had major, some will say draconian, welfare reforms here in mid 2013, which also affect many disabled people on benefits. So far we have not had quite the same level of pressures put on persons with serious, longer term sickness and with physical and mental impairments as the DWP and their assessor ATOS put onto persons with the same conditions in the UK. But as the “reforms” are kind of “evolving”, and gradually being implemented, I fear that we are heading down a very similar path as has been followed in Great Britain.

So your former Provider of assessments ATOS will be replaced by US
 corporate MAXIMUS, while the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) remains little changed. That means there are likely to be little if any “improvements” coming to the disabled people already harassed with work capability assessments and the continued “tightening” of the welfare system in the UK.

 

We have here in New Zealand also had a few of the dubious, obviously hand-picked and biased UK “experts” – using a perverted version of the “bio psycho social model” approach – come here to “advise” our government on “welfare reforms”. One was Professor Mansel Aylward, who has visited here a few times now, and another was Dame Carol Black. There is also a “President” of the so-called AFOEM (Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine), by the name of Dr David Beaumont, who once worked for ATOS in the UK, and he has helped introduce Aylward’s theoretical teachings and approaches, that have now been widely accepted and adopted by the medical professional organisations for Australia and New Zealand “google” AFOEM and RCAP). Like in the UK attempts are made to tie in and put “expectations” onto doctors and other health professionals, to cooperate, and deliver the results the welfare agencies and governments here want.

The New Zealand and Australian governments seem both hell-bent to put more pressure on chronically ill and disabled people to get them into whatever kinds of jobs, while there are few suitable employment opportunities, and while employers are not by law expected to employ disabled, and to provide truly suitable work places and conditions. The focus is clearly on cost savings, and on reducing welfare numbers, and all else is more or less window dressing, to make the “reforms” look acceptable.

 

Hence a similar approach to the one used in the UK is applied here now, but in a slightly different way, where they are trying to avoid some “mistakes” that were clearly made in the UK. Nevertheless, we are in New Zealand faced with a very bizarre work ability assessment approach, which allows the assessors and the case managers of “Work and Income” (our equivalent to the DWP) endless DISCRETION. The last Reviewer of the DWP’s WCA now appears very interested in how New Zealand has “reformed” welfare and uses work ability assessments.

 

But this should send warning signals to disabled people and others that may be affected in the UK. By looking more closely at what they have so far done in  New Zealand, it can hardly be useful for the UK as a “model” to follow. The New Zealand department “Work and Income” is as part of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) actually conducting experiments with disabled people , trying out various assessment and job referral approaches, now increasingly provided by outsourced providers. 

There is little legal certainty and consistency in the system here, and this makes it very difficult for affected “clients” to challenge decisions, and to ensure they get a fair and reasonable treatment, that can also be based on clear legal and medical scientific guidelines.

So perhaps have a look at the information I can offer via the links below.

Read some of the following about this:

https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-discredited-indefensible-work-capability-assessment-wca-in-the-uk-and-what-its-demise-must-mean-for-nz-welfare-reforms-part-1/

 

https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/the-discredited-indefensible-work-capability-assessment-wca-in-the-uk-and-what-its-demise-must-mean-for-nz-welfare-reforms-part-2/

 

Also of interest:

http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-controversial-bio-psycho-social-model/

 

http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/designated-doctors-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc-the-truth-about-them/

 

http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-a/

(see the other parts published via that small blog offering a huge amount of useful information about what is going on here, and how it is linked to what has been, and is being done in the UK)


Keep up the good work with your movement, despite of times being very hard and challenging.

Best wishes

Marcus

New Zealand

Mar 042015
 

From 1st March Maximus took over the contract for carrying out the notorious Work Capability Assessment.

Disabled campaigners and our supporters are clear that simply altering the provider will fail to correct the gross injustice that the WCA represents. This is an assessment that seeks to redefine who is and is not disabled in order to push the most disadvantaged members of society off benefits while lining the pockets of the private sector with public money.

Maximus, a company with a history of disability discrimination and improper practices, will be paid more than double what Atos was for the contract. Meanwhile very little will have changed: Maximus will be using the same buildings, many of which are not accessible to disabled people, assessment staff will still not necessarily have any knowledge of the conditions they are evaluating, and, most significantly, the fundamental flaws of the assessment which tests functionality as opposed to employability will continue.

The only way to ensure a fair and just social security system is to scrap the Work Capability Assessment and bring benefit tests back within the public sector.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS Union
John McDonnell MP
Paula Peters, National Steering Committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Ellen Clifford, Inclusion London
Jane Aitchison, PCS, Joint National Secretary Unite the Resistance
Katy Clark MP
Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Mick Carney, National President, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Sean McGovern, TUC GC Councillor for Disabled Members
Siobhan Endead, National Officer for Equalities, Unite the Union
Linda Burnip, Disabled People against Cuts
Debbie Jolly, Disabled People against Cuts
Andy Greene, Disabled People against Cuts
Roger Lewis, Disabled People against Cuts
Anita Bellows, Disabled People against Cuts
Bob Ellard, Disabled People against Cuts
Denise McKenna, Mental Health Resistance Network
Jane Bence, New Approach
John McArdle, Co-Founder Black Triangle Campaign (Edinburgh)
David Churchley, Co-Founder Black Triangle (Glasgow)
Dr Stephen Carty GP,  Member and Medical Adviser Black Triangle
Steven Preece, Welfare Weekly Editor
Johnny Void, Johnny Void blog
Carole Ford, WOWcampaign
Laura Stringhetti, WOWcampaign
Michelle Maher, WOWcampaign
Ian Jones, WOWcampaign
Frances Kelly, CarerWatch
Rick Burgess, NewApproach
Eleanor Lisney, Sisters of Frida
Mark Harrison, Equal Lives
Sarah Hatch, South East London People’s Assembly
Amanda Nelson, South East London People’s Assembly
Pat Onions, Pat’s Petition
Anne Pridmore, Being the Boss

Mar 042015
 

Dear Francis Maude MP,

The new national framework for interpreting and translation will affect interpreters (spoken language, Deafblind and British Sign Language), translators (foreign language, British Sign Language, Deaf translators) speech-to-text reporters, lip speakers, and note takers.

 

In the interpreting community we have already experienced privatisation in the courts with the Ministry of Justice framework being run by Capita. Despite this being a failure and criticised heavily in an independent review, Crown Commercial Services look set on widening privatisation of interpreting to cover every publicly funded service in the UK. The intended outcomes of the framework agreement – both to save money and ensure quality provision – cannot possibly be achieved.

 

Following on from the disastrous consequences of changes made to Access to Work, the employment support programme for Deaf and disabled people, as well as issues of unqualified people being used as interpreters, the BSL interpreting profession is in a state of decline. Almost half of all NRCPD registered interpreters responded to a survey by he National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) recently. The results showed that 48% of respondents are thinking about leaving the profession. A considerably depleted workforce would, as in any market, drive fees upwards.

 

To de-professionalise the industry would have detrimental effect on the Deaf community and set access levels back to those last seen twenty plus years ago. The consequences of a framework which covers areas such as health, mental health, social services including child protection and other safeguarding areas could be catastrophic. Without qualified interpreters, clinicians and other professionals cannot complete their work safely. The risks to the Deaf community are unimaginable. We could, without exaggeration, be talking about loss of life and liberty.

 

We therefore request that this work ceases and alternative solutions a sought with the full consultation of the experts in this sector: the Deaf community and BSL interpreters.

 

Signed by:

 

Len McCluskey – General Secretary, Unite the Union

Teresa Pearce MP
Jennifer Smith – Chair, National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)

Linda Burnip – Co-Founder, Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Terry Riley OBE – Chair, British Deaf Association (BDA)

Jenny Sealey MBE – CEO/Artistic Director Graeae Theatre Company

Nicky Evans – Stop Changes To Access To Work Campaign

Geraldine O’Halloran – Inclusion London

John McDonnell MP

Ronnie Draper – General Secretary, Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers Union

Grahame Morris MP

Michael Meacher MP

Sir Gerald Kaufman MP

Rosie Cooper MP

Richard Wilson OBE – Graeae Patron

Dame Harriet Walter DBE – Actor/Graeae Patron

Ian Hodson – National President, Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union

Jane Aitchison – Joint National Secretary, Unite the Resistance

Mandy Brown – UCU NEC, Branch Secretary Lambeth College

Helen Davies – Branch Chair Barnet UNISON and Social Worker

Sean Vernell – UCU

Roger Lewis – Lambeth Unison Equalities Officer (PC)

Tim O’Dell –  UNISON
Mark Dunk – Unite the Resistance

Lesley Weatherson – Association of Lipspeakers

Vikki Bridson-Vice – Steering Committee, Visual Language Professionals

Alison Bryan – Chair, Deaf Access Cymru

Georgina Sullivan  – Association of Notetaking Professionals

Julia Jacobie – AVSTTR

Eileen R. Ford and Amelia Naranjo – National Union of Professional Interpreters and Translators (NUPIT)

Debbie Jolly – Co-Founder, Disabled People Against Cuts

Paula Peters – Chair, Bromley Disabled People against Cuts

Ellen Clifford – Lewisham Disabled People Against Cuts

Bob Ellard – National Steering Committee, Disabled People Against Cuts

Roger Lewis, National Steering Committee, Disabled People Against Cuts

Anita Bellows – National Steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts

Peter Llewellyn-Jones            Programme Director, postgraduate programmes in Interpreting and Translation Studies

Wes Mehaffy                          BSL/English Interpreter
Martin Fox-Roberts                 BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Smith                        BSL/English Interpreter
Mariella Reina                         BSL/English Interpreter
Susan Billam
Gary Northfield
Clare Vinton                            BSL/English Interpreter
Roma Parrick                         BSL/English Interpreter
Maria Munro                           BSL/English Interpreter
Adele Ward                             BSL/English Interpreter
Bridget Bree                            BSL/English Interpreter
Philip Bird
Rachel O’Neill                         Lecturer
Gloria Ogborn                         BSL/English Interpreter
Donna West                            Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Ali Hetherington                      BSL/English Interpreter
Paula Fye                                BSL and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Adama Fye
Jenny North
Mike North                             Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Ron Langridge
Cathy Davey                           Clinical Supervisor MBACP SEN Accredited
Alison Gilchrist                        BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Dodds                       BSL/English Interpreter (Deaf)
Gráinne Sheehan                    BSL/English Interpreter and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
James Banks                          BSL/English Interpreter
Van Holtom                             BSL/English Interpreter
Simon Bristoll                          BSL/English Interpreter
Nicky Glegg
Louise Bodycombe                 BSL/English Interpreter
Ivan Osborne                          BSL/English Interpreter
Veronica Nanson                    BSL/English Interpreter
Claire Dodds                           BSL/English interpreter
Elizabeth Mercer                     BSL/English Interpreter
Diana Coada                           Court interpreter (DPSI)
Louise Gough                          Translator (MITI)
Dr Zuzana Windle                   Legal interpreter
Hannah Watson                      BSL/English Interpreter
Dr Dimitra Kalantzi                  Translator (AITI)
Philippe Muriel (MCIL)            French Interpreter (DPSI) & Translator (Dip Trans) – Interpreter Trainer
Christopher Windle
Sarah Powell                           Clinical Psychologist
Elvire Roberts                         BSL/English Interpreter
Sue Leschen                           Legal and commercial French Interpreter
Ségolène Neilson                    Legal (DPSI), medical and business interpreter and translator
Rami  Kohli                             Legal (DPSI) Interpreter
Parvin Lackschewitz-Martin   Legal interpreter NRPSI (BA Honours in languages)
Mihaela Patrascu                    Legal interpreter DPSI DPI RPSI MCIL
Emma Lipton                          Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Laura Orsini                            Interpreter (NRPSI) and translator
Irina Norton                             Conference and Public Service Interpreter/translator
Sarah Martin                           Trainee interpreter
Eileen Ford
Yasemin Kafali                        Legal interpreter (NRPSI)
Mark West                              BSL/English Interpreter
Rebecca Hinks                       BSL/English interpreter
Forrai Éva                               Legal Interpreter, Hungarian, NRPSI, Met Police
Dione Deans                           BSL/English Interpreter

Sami Thorpe                           Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Manzoor Ahmed Khan            Legal interpreter

Rita Layden                             BSL/English Interpreter

Daniel Alun Roberts                BSL/English Interpreter

Celia Hulme                            Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate

Benjamin Silifant

Gillian Laird

Hazel Flynn                             Clinical Management Lead – Snr Accred BACP

Bibi Lacey-Davidson               BSL/English Interpreter

Tom Mould                              BSL/English Interpreter

Kate Outhwaite                       BSL/English Interpreter

Barbara Coll

Bryony Coombe                     Medical Underwriter

Cathryn McShane                  BSL/English Interpreter

Tawatchai Brome Brito           Interpreter Coordinator

David Phippard                       BSL/English Interpreter

Colette Phippard                     BSL/English Interpreter

Craig Brown                            BSL/Auslan/English Interpreter

Heidi K. Robertson                  Creative Freelancer

Anne-Françoise Boreland       French Interpreter (DPSI) and Translator

Ann Devaney                          BSL/English Interpreter

Emma De Casse                    Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Jackie Dennis                                     BSL/English Interpreter

Anthony Evans                       BSL/English Interpreter

Caroline Ridley                       Community Occupational Therapist working in Deafness/Mental Health

Mimi McQuaid                        Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Philip Wyatt                             Psychologist Therapist

Karen Parker                                      Teacher/Trainer Freelancer

Liz Wyatt                                 BSL/English Interpreter

Freya Hill                                 Communications Assistant
Yvonne MacAnara                  BSL/English Interpreter

Jenny Guppy                          Teacher of the Deaf

Julia Lord CPsychol                Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Julie Whitaker                         Speech-to-Text Reporter

Rob Troy                                 BSL/English Interpreter

Sahara DeVille                        Counsellor

Mary Altabev                          Interpreter/Translator NRPSI

Mark Oulton

Stephen Menton                     BSL/English Interpreter

Beverley Haslam                    BSL/English Interpreter

Stephen Hudson                     BSL/English Interpreter

Josie Fray                               Trainee BSL / English Interpreter, Social Worker

Caroline Corrigan                    BSL/English Interpreter

Parminder Kaur                      Legal interpreter NRPSI

Agata McCrindle                     Legal Interpreter NRPSI MITI MCIL APCI

John Donald                            Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Amanda Bavin                        STT Reporter

Cristina Santos                        RPSI 13999

Norah Griffiths                        Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Eszter Fejes                            RPSI 15008

Mary Brumby                          BSL/English Interpreter

Rachael Veazey                     BSL/English Interpreter

Valerie Hall                              Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Karla Hannigan                       BSL/English Interpreter

Vikki Bridson-Vice                  BSL/English Interpreter

Carol Spencer                         BSL/English Interpreter

Sarah Spencer

Emma Phillips                         BSL/English Interpreter

Jason Sharpe

Nicola Williams                       BSL/English Interpreter

Norman Thompson                 Retired

Laura Davies                           BSL/English Interpreter

Lynn Shannon                         Service Manager

Dr Nadia Hussein                    Arabic Language Legal Interpreter

Annie Brotherton                     BSL/English Interpreter

Thomas Giddens                    Freelancer

Kate Adams                            Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Diana Hubbard                        Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Omoyele Thomas                   Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Paul Bargery                           BSL/English Interpreter

Vicky Pannell                          BSL/English Interpreter

Deborah Haly

Louise Tingay                          BSL/English Interpreter

Catherine Hare-Cockburn      Deaf employee

Ian Cockburn                          Deaf BSL user

Tracey Hurrell                         BSL/English Interpreter

Jude Mahon                            BSL/English interpreter

Lucy Slater                              BSL/English Interpreter

Lee Douthwaite

Jayne Cooke                          BSL/English Interpreter

Barry Davey

Jason Bell                               BSL/English Interpreter

Isobel Higgins                          BSL/English Interpreter

Tracey M Robinson                Registered Manager

Philip Cowood                         Legal interpreter

Elizabeth Smith                       BSL/English Interpreter

Alison Green                           BSL/English Interpreter

Anne Richardson                    BSL/ English Interpreter

Rosanna Harrison                   BSL/English Interpreter

Tina Holmes                            BSL/English Interpreter

Rose Nest                               BSL/English interpreter

Heidi Watson                           BSL/English Interpreter

Jo Haywood                            Communications Manager

Tracey Strathdee                    BSL/English Interpreter

Edward Richards                    Deaf person and Managing Director CED

Natalya Dell                            Deaf person and Disabled Students’ Adviser

Naomi Bottrill

Rezene Woldeyesus

Andrea Spoczynski                 BSL/English Interpreter

Debra Robins                          BSL/English Interpreter

Susan Prosser                        Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Averil Dobson                                     BSL/English Interpreter

Kerry Bromley

Jean Smith                              Deaf BSL User

Robert Smith                           Deaf BSL User

Darren Smith

Beatrice Goutfer, MA             Legal translator and interpreter

Eva Gil                                    English Translator

Judith Hillary                           Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Holly Davies                            Freelance Translator and Interpreter (ES-EN)

Kate Boddy                             BSL / English Interpreter

Linda Day                                BSL/ASL Interpreter

Emily Davenport

Kerry Lover                             BSL/English Interpreter

Yve Coffey                             BSL/English Interpreter

Clare Nelder                            Deaf Teacher of the Deaf

Klasiena Slaney                      Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Tracey Cade                           BSL/English Interpreter

Rebekah Reynolds                 HR & Payroll Coordinator

Michelle Barnes                      BSL/English Interpreter

Melanie Pendrick-Wright        BSL/English Interpreter

Zakir Hossain                          Bengali & Sylheti interpreter

Ahmad Abed                           Interpreter

Nicole Gelister                        French Legal Interpreter NR 11393

Alena Linhartova                     Czech/Slovak/English Interpreter

Daniel Pageon                        Fellow of the ITI and CIoL

Callie Tremlett                         BSL Interpreter

Jasmine Killen                         Interpreter

Cath Whitehead                      Director Co.Sign Partners in Communication Ltd

Lucy Cotton                            BSL/English interpreter

Nobuko Primarolo

Carol Kyle                               BSL/English Interpreter

Aisha Maniar                           Freelance Translator

Kay McCrea                           BSL/English Interpreter

Aurora Matilde                        Humarán / Legal Translator

Jurate Clarke                          Lithuanian/English interpreter

Vera Tymchyshyn                  Teacher/Interpreter

Ray Williams                           BSL/English Interpreter

Jana Kohl                                German Legal Translator and Interpreter

Linda Staines                          BSL/English Interpreter

Philippa Merricks                    Deafway Animateur

Emma McGowan                   Deaf person

Peter Mackriell                        Counsellor working with Deaf people

Linda Duncan                          BSL/English Interpreter

Danny Stubbs

Shwan Hawrami                     NRPSI

Kathryn Sykes                        Speech to Text Reporter

Paula Cox                               BSL/English Interpreter

Samantha Kenward                Communications Researcher

Ligia Xavier                             Legal Interpreter

Liz Macartney                         BSL/English Interpreter

Jana Sefcikova                       Czech & Slovak Interpreter

Chris Bojas                              Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Sally Reynolds

Elizabeth Bojas

Peter Horvath Slovak             Czech to English Interpreter

Alison Miller

Oliver Westbury                      Deaf, Web Developer

Hamid Alemi                           English Interpreter

Quoc Lu                                  Deaf worker

Minna Saari

Hamid Alemi                           English Interpreter

Andrew Jordan                       BSL User

Redmond Kaye

Siobhan Hutton                       BSL/English Interpreter

MartIn Glover                          Architect

Andrew Hesselwood               BSL/English Interpreter

Jean Pateras                           Spanish interpreter

Lisa Godden                            BSL/English Interpreter

Nikki Champagnie-Harris       BSL/English Interpreter

Sarah Lucas                            BSL/English Interpreter

Jody Weaver                          BSL interpreter

Elizabeth Thomas                   BSL/English Interpreter

Colin Ayres                             BSL and Deaf Awareness Tutor

Michael Wells                          French/English Interpreter

Mohammed Akbar Khan        Interpreter

Linda Ofori

Michaela Gomolova               Czech Interpreter

Claude Salam                         French legal interpreter translator

Wendy Callaghan                   Counsellor

Monia D’Agostino                    Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Ben LeGrys                             Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Brigitte Berkaine

Tessa Longbottom                  Communication Support Worker

Stuart Wilson                           BSL/Highways Engineer

Debbie John                            BSL/English Interpreter

Mark Hetherington                  BSL/English Interpreter

Doris Moreton                         BSL/Interpreter

Jenny Moreton                        Grandparents Deaf

Tina Davies

Rianne Eimers                        Manager Healthwatch Kingston upon Thames

Therese Lane

Robert Foulkes                       BSL/English

Caroline Alexander

Katrina Foulkes

George McGowan                  BSL Tutor

Julie Lenton                             BSL/English Interpreter

Christine Rowlands                 Spanish interpreter

Brett Best                                BSL/English Interpreter

Yvonne Carolan                      Psychological Therapist

  1. Karamyar                       Public service interpreter

Robert Gould

Kate Menzies

Asher Woodman-Worrell

Marie Dimond                         BSL/English Interpreter

William Towning                      Communications Manager, Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People

Craig Bartlett

Ian Macdonald                        Legal interpreter MA FCIL NRPSI

Katalin Galuska                       Hungarian interpreter

Alison Barker-Mears

Samantha Riddle                    BSL/English Interpreter

Vicki Wan Slattery                  BSL/English Interpreter

Carl Slattery

Rosa Slater

Jordan Smith

Sophie Bailey                          French interpreter

Natalie Day

Michael Rudd                          BSL/English Interpreter

Maureen Hetherington            Human Rights

Dayna Winer

Emma Llewellyn                     BSL/ English Interpreter

Jo Cumberlidge                      BSL/English interpreter

Debbie Snodgrass                  BSL/English Interpreter

Elizabeth Oliver                       BSL/English Interpreter

Marie Vickers

Pamela Byles                          BSL/English Interpreter

Tina Little                                 BSL/English Interpreter

Sue Goman                            BSL/English Interpreter

Angela Walker                        BSL/English Interpreter

C M Roughley                         BSL/English Interpreter

Edith Garraway                       Interpreter

Leah Jewiss                            BSL/English Interpreter

Linda Slater                             BSL/English Interpreter

Jane Allighan                          BSL/English Interpreter

Lorraine Elliott                         BSL/English Interpreter and A1 assessor

Joseph Taylor                         BSL/English Interpreter

Kevin Smith                            BSL Interpreter

Karl Appleton                          College Lecturer

Judith Renshaw                      BSL/English Interpreter

Abigail Phillis                           Teacher

Elaine Wooding                       Deaf employee

Scott Wooding                        Deaf employee

Thomas Wooding                    Deaf employee

Paul Wooding                          Deaf person

Zoe Bevans                             BSL/English Interpreter

Clare Cotton                            BSL/English Interpreter

Nadine Taylor                         BSL/English Interpreter

Selina Rehman                       Deaf BSL User

Clare Chilton

Louise McDermott                  SignHealth Coordinator

Lizzie Wharton                        BSL Interpreter Lipspeaker

Jane Allighan                          BSL/English Interpreter

Anne Rudkin                           BSL/English Interpreter

Linzi Weatherson                    Lipspeaker

Rachel Tipping                        BSL/English Interpreter

Paul Doddridge                       Principal

Diana A Barimore                   Lipspeaker

Alexandra Calce                     BSL/ English interpreter

Paul Arnold                             Registered BSL interpreter

Timothy Hanley                      Deaf Graphic Designer

Elizabeth Oliver                       BSL/English Interpreter

Caroline Ryan                         BSL/English Interpreter

Emma Ferguson-Coleman     Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Research Fellow

Paul Ntulila                              Administrator and Trainee Trainer

Lina Kankeviciute                   Interpreter Services Coordinator

Bogumila Kolbus LLB             RPSI Polish Interpreter

Victoria Kolbus                        Polish interpreter

Elizabeth Watson

Clare Cotton                            BSL/English Interpreter

Julie Hornsby                          BSL interpreter

Karen Houlihan                       BSL/English Interpreter

Neziha Kaya                           NRPSI

Theresa McWhirter                 BSL/English Interpreter

Karen Whitehouse                  BSL/English interpreter

Daryl Jackson                         Relay Interpreter/Translator

Melanie Barr                           Support worker for the Deafblind

Alan Craggs

Paul O’Donoghue                   Deaf Person

Margaret Gray                        BSL / English interpreter

Richard Harrington

Lauren Harris                          BSL student (Level 6)

Debora Chobanian                  Portuguese Interpreter

Kate Collier                             BSL/English Interpreter

Louise Polo                             BSL Student

Elzbieta Okurowska                RPSI Polish Interpreter

Helen Coleman                       University Lecturer

Rob Bethel                              Reception Extraordinaire

Robert Arthur                          NHS

John Clawson                         NHS

Andrei Yellisiev                       Healthcare

Sarah Keeley                          Nurse

J Barnes-Jones                       BSL Teacher

Ian Bradley

Carol Dalchow                        BSL/English Interpreter

Jo Cumberlidge                      BSL/English interpreter

Paula Peters                           Disabled People Against Cuts

Judith Thompson                    BSL/English Interpreter

Tracey Tyer                            BSL/English Interpreter

Ian Bradley

Daryl McMullan                      Trainee BSL/English interpreter

Sophie Bailey                          Legal interpreter

Kevin Walsh

Geraldine O’Halloran

Philip Ardagh                           Children’s author

Richard Burke                         Civil Engineer

Kristiaan Dekesel                    Principal Lecturer Interpreting (BSL/English)

Yvonne Barrett                        Art Therapist

Wayne Goertzen                     Level 6 BSL CSW

Alan.L.Hale                             BSL Teacher

Michelle Teasdale                   BSL Coordinator

Dr Annabella Dyer                  Clinical Psychologist

Layne Whittaker

David Whittaker

Sean McCafferty                    Business Development Manager

Paul Hollingdrake                    Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Kath Keogan                           BSL/English Interpreter

Linda McCanna                      Communication support worker

Helen Jackson                        BSL/English Interpreter
Linda English
l Westley BSL
Evelyn Davenport                   BSL/English Interpreter
Mike Reed Trainee                 BSL/English Interpreter
John McDonnell MP
Joanna Wanmer                     Community Involvement Officer working with Sensory Impaired People
Samir Dawlatly GP
Hester MacAnara                   Director of Business Development
Wan Yeung
Jason Vessey                         Deaf BSL User
Ann Cashmore
Dean Granger
Lauren Kelly
Milly Kan                                 Tax Consultant
Erica Tyler-Chamberlain        Teacher
Karen Reissmann
Karyn Yeomans                      Asda Manager
Gloria Ogborn
John Ogborn
Kevin Ogborn

Grahame Morris MP
Maria Beswick
Debra Keyser
Jayne Skidmore                     Teacher
Antonia Ryan                          Trade Unionist

Elizabeth Hansford                 BSL/English Interpreter
Dr David Morrison                  Editor
W Leung Msc                          Occupational Health and Safety
Marie Simpson
Rachael Hayes                       Deaf Service Consultant
Darren Smith

Kay Davies
Zoe Davies
Mark Davies
Michael Hughes

Miranda Ross

Jane Rycroft                           BSL Interpreter

Ian Smith
Susan Davison
Alan Davison                           BSL Lecturer
Alexandra Sanderson

Helen Dunipace BA PG Dip

David Clifford                          BSL/English Interpreter
Tracey Pycroft                        BSL/English Interpreter
Amanda Kirk                           Communication Support Worker

Sue Herring                             BSL/English Interpreter

Rosemary Pell                        BSL/English Interpreter

Lisa Brailsford                         BSL/ENGLISH interpreter

Linda Doddridge                     Retired Deaf training manager

Ian Gouldstone

Karen Williams                        Company Director

Anna Baker                             BSL/English Interpreter

Barbara Smith
John Dunipace                        BSL/English Interpreter
Alice Elliott                              Eye Clinic Liaison Officer
Maureen Saville                      Registered Qualified BSL/English Interpreter
Rekha NARULA                     Interpreter & Translator
Adrian Jegeni                          NRPSI Albanian Interpreter
Aqil Minhas                             APCI/Urdu Interpreter
Maria Bartosova
Ian McGarr
V.G. Hine                                Russian interpreter
Renata Littlehales                   Pol-Eng Interpreter
Gunita King                             Latvian interpreter
John Newton                           Czech-English interpreter

Patrick Schunemann              NRPSI Interpreter
Michael Holland                      Primary school teacher
Yvonne Freiherr-Fenton         BSL/English Interpreter
Richard McEwan                    UCU FE Vice Chair/ Teacher
Stanley Beecham                   Legal Interpreter

Jonathan Slack
Nicola Rothwell                       Trainee Interpreter
M Miah                                    Lecturer

Angela Heffernan                   ESOL teacher
Tony Barlow                            BSL/English Employment Advisor

Billie Loebner                          Teacher/UCU member
Kamal Omer                           Arabic/English Interpreter/Translator
Joy Tucker                              BSL communication support
Mairead McKenna
Ian Crosson                             Lecturer

Susan Bloomfield                    Deaf BSL user
Sara Tomlinson
Ruth Peaker                            BSL/English Interpreter
Mike Christie                           Director

Katrina Mayfield                      Interpreter

Maria Parker                           BSL/English Interpreter

Meera Modi
Jai Jobanputra

Iain Case                                 BSL/English Interpreter

Louise Culver                          BSL/English Interpreter

Rachel Evans                         Student Interpreter

Jaishree Gohil                         RPSI/Gujarati Interpreter
María López García                Certified Translator, AITI
Charlene Spires
Mary Bennion                         Electronic notetaker for Deaf/disabled people

Mirela Watson                         Freelance Conference and PSI Interpreter
Liz Stott                                   Speech and Language Therapist
Moira Hall                                Administrator

Janice Connolly                      Deaf health champions volunteer coordinator

Steven Delaney-Cain             BSL/English Interpreter

Kathleen Hoare

Sarah Hannett                         BSL user/ advocate
Sam                                        Taxi Driver
Ann McKenna                         Tutor BSL
Edward Melvin                        CAD
Lisa Kelly                                 Notetaker
Samantha Allen                      BSL Project Worker

Liviu Coroianu DPI                  DPSI Criminal Justice Language Practitioner

Karen Lawson                         BSL/English Interpreter

Anne Coghlan                         Support worker with deaf/blind people

Joan Minett
Naomi Sanders                       Community Service team manager from Merseyside Society for Deaf People

Ian Maguire
Jonathon Jay                         Financial Paraplanner (son of deaf mother)
Nicola Fitzpatrick                    Trainee BSL/English interpreter
Abi Delaney

Michae Sadowski                   BSL user and BSL tutor

Haydon Littlewood                  Firefighter

Denise Griffiths
Amy Hyland                            Engagement worker
Danielle Russell                      Psychological Therapist
Sophie Gee                             Nurse
Christopher Russell                 Support Worker
Peter Martin                            Project Manager
Rebecca Griffiths
Kirsty Delaney-Cain
Jenna Johnson
Amie Johnson                         Outreach Worker
Kenneth Delaney                    Shop Manager Retired
Daniela Richards
Samantha scarr
Ruth Turner                             Advocate for Deaf people
Jamie little                               Support worker
Jocelyn Wilson
Sarah Guinness
Kevin Guinness
Rhiannon Quayle
Jessica Latham
Melanie Leece
Helen Delaney                        Mother of deaf daughter
Terry Delaney
Miss Dawn Dignam                Community services team manager for deaf/Deafblind
Joanna Endersby                    CSW
Joanne Burns                          BSL/English Interpreter
Lindsey Ryman

Margaret Williams                   Retired
Ann Potterton                          Management Consultant
Jacqueline Scott
Liam Poland
Susan Johnson
Chris Pang
Connie McCalla
Matthew McCalla
Inese Vimere                           Latvian Interpreter
Solah Bowden
Mike Delaney
Gemma Brodrick
Lindsey Tarry
Ann Ewart
Lynne O’Brien
Patricia O’Brien
Patrick O’Brien
siobhan keeble
Leonie grey

Patricia Clarke                        Support worker

Nick Beese                             Senior User Experience Designer
Lilli Beese                                Deaf Interpreter and Student Penny Clark

Samantha Clare
Heather Andrews
Lyn Ealey                                Community Support Worker/Deaf Employee
Gertrude Robinson                 Community Support Worker/Deaf Employee
Chris Curran                           BSL Interpreter

Sally Clelland                          BSL

Vikki Heywood CBE
Dayna Winer
Amelia Naranjo                       Interpreter/Translator (NRPSI)
Dionne Thomas                      BSL/English Interpreter
Caroline Barnes                      BSL/English interpreter
Sally Gillespie                         BSL/English interpreter
Frances Lewin                        BSL/English interpreter
Audrey Simmons                    Sign language interpreter
Steven Barrell
Meg Minion                             Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Gail Carter                              Advisor
David Bradshaw                     BSL interpreter
Leo John
Dominic John
Penny Celiz
Julie Doyle                              BSL/English interpreter RSLI
Jenny Pestell                          Freelance BSL/Eng interpreter
Lynne Bateman                      Registered Sign Language Interpreter
Joanna McCaul

Feb 252015
 

Reposted from the brilliant Kate Belgrave http://www.katebelgrave.com/ with thanks

Readers of this site will remember that a couple of weeks ago, I posted questions about people’s right to record and film face-to-face assessments as they go through the work capability assessments that are to be run by Maximus.

I wanted to know if Maximus will allow people to record their face-to-face assessments on their phones or any recording gear that they have – from the pointwhen Maximus takes over the grisly WCA process. I also had other questions, which I put to Maximus last week. I’ve listed these questions below, along with the answers (perhaps I should say “answers”) I got back (had to lean on Maximus’ US office for a response in the first instance, but got one of sorts in the end).

Needless to say, the entire exercise was a complete waste of time. You’ll see below that the responses give us five-eighths of fuck all as far as concrete information, timelines and/or actual process detail is concerned. No surprise there, of course – but I thought I’d post the responses anyway, because I think there is merit in highlighting the PR guff and detail-free twattery that Maximus has decided to specialise in when it comes to this contract. There’s also a dismissive aspect to a lot of the language, which you might find illuminating – a sort of “we’ll do things at our pace and you lot can wait” – air which nettled me badly. It should get on your nerves, too.

This sort of thing, for example:

Change cannot occur overnight”

[We] will take forward this and other ideas to the Department for their consideration”

I am unable to comment on such speculation,” when I raised a perfectly valid point about Maximus’ view of the future of the ESA Support Group.

Sue Marsh actually got in touch with me after the press office did to say that I could speak with her, because my questions “come under her job,” but that attempt at overture got right up my nose, as well. For one thing – if Sue Marsh is the person who is best placed to answer questions in the sort of details required, then the Maximus press office should go to her for those answers before responding to whoever asked them. It’s not my job to sweep together Maximus’ various outputs on its own assessment processes as and when those outputs drop out of different holes, or to wait around for the responses that Maximus feels it has best finessed. For another thing – I can’t see myself responding well to any aspect of the many-pronged charm offensive that Maximus has launched in its sorry and very costly attempt to sculpt and polish the WCA turd. Let’s face it – any company that comes out with a phrase like “more touch, more communication,” apparently in all seriousness, should not be encouraged to contribute further to any dialogue on any topic, or to remain involved in any process where people require something better than bullshit. It’s my view that in a general sense, any company that speaks lines like “more touch, more communication,” needs a smack in the soft parts right there.

Anyway.

Here are the sorts of responses you get if you ask Maximus questions about recording face-to-face assessments, or about support for people with mental health conditions as they go through WCAs, or whether or not Maximus would bid for contracts to “provide” work-focused activity for people in the ESA support groupif people in SG are ever pushed into such activity. I just want to give you a feel for the sort of Jog On contempt that those who ask for actual details about processes are treated with.

Opening response from Maximus:

We are firmly focussed on managing a stable transition for next week. Naturally when we are up and running we will want to introduce innovative changes to the customer experience but they have to be done with DWP consent and change cannot occur overnight.”

Well – that’s a Fuck Off if I ever heard one (and I’ve heard plenty of them). I think it’s the “Naturally” that makes me want to punch the screen when I re-read that effort. May I say that I’ve had enough of the phrase “Customer experience” as well. People who must go through the work capability assessment are not “customers.” They’re not wafting around a pick and mix display, or selecting iphones from a catalogue. They’re sick and disabled people who must endure an outsourced assessment process at the hands of voracious private companies that are in turn hired by governments which are absolutely intent on selling the idea that everyone on a benefit is a scrounger. There’s no customer choice or shopping around going on here. The government is the customer – not the people who the assessment process is inflicted on.

Ho hum. Here are the questions and answers, then. Short and not particularly sweet, etc:

Recording face-to-face assessments:

My question:

Re: the recording and filming of WCA face-to-face assessments. Will Maximus permit the audio recording and filming of WCA face-to-face assessments? If so, how will assessment recordings operate? Will people be able to record and film their assessments using their own recorders and cameras? This is an important point for people going through WCAs – without a recorded file of their assessment, there is little transparency of the face to face aspect of the process in particular. The DWP and Atos were challenged by lawyers on this point and forced to change protocol.”

Maximus response:

In respect of recordings we are studying this and will take forward this and other ideas to the Department for their consideration. We agree there are merits to this change, but there are other considerations as well, including the potential for the customer to be potentially constrained because some people are shy when being recorded. We want to ensure customers feel as comfortable through this process as possible, so all of these factors must be considered.”

Right. As it happens, a simple Yes or No would have sufficed here. Maximus could instruct its assessors that from of the start of the contract, people can record and film their assessments on their own recording gear if they want to, or bring someone along to do that (as I’ve said before, I’ll do it anyway. The hell with it). When Atos was in charge of this shambles, people had to ask for a change of appointment until they could get one with an assessor who was prepared to be recorded and where the dual recorders that Atos and the DWP insisted on were available. As for “the potential for the customer to be potentially constrained because some people are shy when being recorded” – I would have thought the answer to that one was simple. People – sorry, “Customers” – don’t have to record their assessments if they don’t want their assessments recorded. Naturally.

I can’t believe we’re still talking about this after all these years. Surely there is a limit to the number of times that the DWP and its providers can arse about on this subject? I’m also unclear on the basics here. Can people still ask for a recording to be made on official equipment? Does Maximus have enough equipment to meet demand?

Next up was:

My question: assessments for mental health claimants:

I asked: “What protocols and guidance will Maximus have in place for assessments for people with mental health conditions? Atos came in for considerable criticism regarding its failure to accurately assess ESA claimants with mental health conditions. Could we discuss the structures that Maximus will have in place and the training that assessors who conduct assessments for mental health claimants will have?”

Maximus response:

With regard to assessing claimants with MH conditions we have established a Customer Representative Group with MH charities on this. One of the group activities will be to review training materials so that they better reflect MH issues. We are also review the use and numbers of MH champions in the business as well as employing OTs who often have extensive experience at supporting people with MH issues in work and life.”

You can understand why I found this underwhelming – ie barely worth reading. I suppose that I was hoping for something a little more robust and detailed than plans for reviews, and more chat and roundtables with, presumably, the usual charities. I wrote extensively on Atos’ evasiveness on the work and effectiveness of these so-called Mental Function Champions (and found at the time that Atos didn’t report to the DWP on the performance or otherwise of those “champions.”) Just a little history on the sorts of shenanigans you can get on this topic: In 2012, Mark Hoban told parliament that “we have introduced a mental health champion in every single assessment centre throughout the country.” Actually, he hadn’t. The DWP told me that 60 mental function champions were in place and that they largely worked a phone advice line. A group of us had to work for months to get Atos and the DWP to agree to a meeting about the WCA and these “champions” with charity workers from a couple of small, independent mental health charities – ie the kind of organisations that weren’t generally invited to roundtables or to share their views on the DWP and Atos with the DWP and Atos. The whole thing was a total pile and to this day I speak with people who have mental health conditions and talk about suicide when discussing their next WCA. Why people can’t simply be assessed by their own GPs and support teams is beyond me (and that goes for all sick and disabled people who need benefits. The WCA isn’t required at all – unless, of course, your aim is to push the idea that work for all is great and that people who receive benefits shouldn’t).

Moving on:

My question: the future of the ESA Support Group:

I asked: “There have been reports of people placed in the ESA Support Groupreceiving letters from jobcentres calling them to work-focused interviews. Would Maximus consider bidding for any contract to provide welfare-to-work or work programme-type schemes if the government decides that people in the Support Group should engage in work-focused activity?”

Maximus response:

The company simply said that it was unable to comment on such speculation.

To which I say – Bollocks. I asked a perfectly legitimate question about Maximus’ view of the future of the Support Group. As Benefits and Work explains: “the ESA support group is for claimants who the DWP consider to have such severe health problems that there is no current prospect of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities.” So. Either Maximus respects the idea of the integrity of a support group which exists for people who are exempt from work and work-focused activity, or it doesn’t. If it does respect that idea, it won’t consider bidding for any future contracts for work-focused activity for people in the Support Group, if that is a line that the government decides to pursue. Which the government will. It already has. The DWP already sends letters to people in the support group asking them to attended work-focused interviews. Simple as that really.

Anyway – that’s Maximus. Not a lot of joy there. Perhaps I will try putting these questions to them again during next week’s day of #scrapWCA action. Details of activities here.

Follow Kate on twitter : @hangbitch

Feb 172015
 

We know that IDS’ Universal Credit has been a disaster in wasted costs and scrapped IT. The hallowed tax payer ( i.e poor people not the wealthy who have a set of schemes to avoid tax) have footed the bill for this.

We know that lives have been destroyed, people left without cash, mounting rent arrears, and have lost their homes too- the system is not fit for purpose.

Channel 4 are now doing a program on Universal Credit and how it has affected those it was supposed to help. Please let them know your experiences to give this destructive folly and its impacts a public airing.

Contact: Sarah Hay

email: sarah.hey@ninelivesmedia.co.uk

Tel: 0161 832 2007 or mobile 07976 413 823

Feb 142015
 

Those considered obese, and with drug and alcohol dependency are to face sanctions if they refuse treatment for their ‘life style choices’ announces Cameron. A review has been carried out by Dame Carol Black, well known as one of the architects of the Bio-psycho-social model on which the punitive work capability assessment is based- now an advisor to the Department of Health. The announcement today claims that particular groups will face sanctions if they dont get help. Yet Cameron’s unelected Government have consistently slashed front line support. Cameron’s announcement has been described as ‘a stupid stunt’ and ’embarressing’ by Alastair Campbell

But our own Ellen Clifford said it best:

The cheap election trick by the Tories to threaten to stop benefits to those who with drug and alcohol dependency issues and obesity who “refuse” treatment is obscene and some might say a convenient distraction from the issue of Cameron’s tax avoiding friends. Affecting only 100,000 out of 2.5 million sickness benefit claimants such measures won’t even dent the welfare budget but it will further demonise the poorest and most disadvantaged in society. People in these situations have often experienced terrible trauma and may never be able to work, not as a life style choice but as the result of complex and enduring conditions and the multiple barriers they face, including a disproportionate number of ex service personnel. No one treatment option works for everyone. With the savage cuts to frontline services those treatment options that are available are steadily decreasing. Benefit sanctions will not work and will only punish those who have suffered enough. If the government really cared about obesity and substance dependency they would be providing real support to people not taking away their lifeline. This shouldn’t be happening in the seventh wealthiest nation in the world.”

see: http://news.sky.com/story/1427279/obese-could-lose-benefits-unless-they-diet

There are 1780 ESA/IB claimants with obesity as primary condition out of 2,501.480 claimants, 56,000 with alcohol misuse, plus 33,650 with drug misuse, so we are talking about 3,6% of the total caseload. But these numbers do not refer to those refusing any treatment.There are, as far as we are aware, no figures for this.

Feb 052015
 

In view of the Labour Party at last confirming they will not keep the ILF open in England, although there will be funds in Scotland, Northern Ireland and also probably Wales we’re now asking for as many DDPOs and individuals to sign up to an eaction to send an email directly to their MP

http://www.pcs.org.uk/savetheilf

and also a petition to Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-independent-living-fund-1

Jan 262015
 

Please share this this post widely to help us get wide coverage of #saveilf on facebook and twitter

Ed Miliband's comments on the ILF on 26th Jan still leave us none the wiser as to what Labour intend to do about the ILF

Ed Miliband’s comments on the ILF on 26th Jan still leave us none the wiser as to what Labour intend to do about the ILF


update

We’re waiting for confirmation from a VERY silent Labour  party after tweets by  2 Labour party candidates stating not
once, but in the case of Trudie McGuiness 3 times  that she heard Ed  promised to save ILF.
Meanwhile we have the transcript of what he said and we still can’t manage to decide if he said he’d save ILF or that he wouldn’t. Your guess is as good as ours but do let us know what you think?

Possibly at some time in the near future the Labour party will be able to enlighten us all.

Ed transcript:

“First of all we said to the government they should not get rid of the independent living fund in the way they are doing. What they are doing is getting rid of it and passing it down to the local authorities, passing that money down to the local authorities.

So, firstly they should not be getting rid of the Independent living fund. And we’ve said that if it does go to the local authorities that budget has got to be protected.

We’ve got to find ways of protecting that money for some of the most vulnerable disabled people, some of whom I’ve met and who are saying “this is a terrible situation what’s happening to the independent living fund”.

Secondly, we’ve got to stop the assault on disabled people in relation to the medical tests that are going on and have fair and proper medical tests when it comes to the medical system.

{audience member – inaudible] Well you are right sir. We’ve got to sort out the way that these medical tests work. And we’ve said we are going to reform what is called the work capability assessment so that it gives a proper deal to disabled people.

Last thing I’ll say to you is this. We’ve got to actually enforce the law when it comes to disabled people. Because there are lots and lots of disabled people who want to work, want to actually go out and be part of the working population and can’t because they are not getting the help to do it.”

Jan 132015
 

NDY graphic

Press Release: 12th January 2015 @ 13:00
__________________________________________________

“NOT IN OUR NAME”
Terminally ill and disabled people speak out against the Assisted Dying Bill ahead of their protest outside the House of Lords on Friday, 16th January 2015.

NYD posters

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill will be debated in the House of Lords on Friday, 16th January 2015. Members of Not Dead Yet UK and others, will protest against the Bill outside the Houses of Parliament. They will carry pictures and statements from 80 terminally ill and disabled individuals whose conditions prevent them from travelling to London or sitting outside in cold weather.

Celebrity supporters of the Bill are well known already but politicians need to hear and value the opinions of people living with terminal illnesses and severe disabilities. We oppose any change in the law on assisted suicide because we fear it will put lives at risk. We do not accept that safeguards proposed in the Bill are adequate.

Not Dead Yet UK firmly believes that terminally ill and disabled people need the full protection of the law, especially at times when they, their families and friends may be fearful of the future. That is why we oppose the Assisted Dying Bill.

Sian Vasey, a Not Dead Yet UK member, said, “When people ask to be assisted to die, this is often in isolation and before everything possible has been done to alleviate their situation in terms of medical, social and emotional support. Fears for the future are the most common reasons for a person to request assisted suicide”.

Photo opportunity

Date: Friday, 16th January 2015

Time: 10:00AM – 1:00 PM

Venue: Old Palace Yard (opposite the House of Lords)

Sign up to the Thunderclap on twitter or facebook  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/21181-opposing-an-assisted-dying-law

Notes to Editors:

  1. Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose legislation on assisted dying for disabled and terminally ill people.

  2. NDY UK is an international ally to Not Dead Yet, USA http://www.notdeadyet.org/

  3. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of terminally ill and disabled people and oppose assisted suicide.

Jan 032015
 

Different forms of Government Propaganda began and ended the year. We saw delays, backlogs, more cuts, more campaigns and direct actions. We reproduce some of the DPAC actions, research and call outs from 2014. Highlights included the Westminster Abbey Occupation against the closure of ILF as part of the #saveilf campaign, lowlights included the court case that arrived at the decision that Penning had taken appropriate process into account by saying that ILF users could be entitled to less under local authorities. Chaos with the DWP, PIP, ESA was compounded by misinformation, dodgy stats , backlogs and increasing sanctions. The brilliant Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts achieved the abolition of ‘care’ charges by their local authority-proving it can be done. Esther McVey was awarded Scrooge of the year. DPAC was threatened with legal action for our support of the Anthony Kletzander campaign -in response we increased the campaign, and the relationship in the propaganda against disabled people between the DWP and the Mail was finally exposed

News that the UNCRPD Committee had initiated its first ever inquiry into grave and systematic violations of the UN Convention against the UK identified how far our disability rights and independent living had been eroded by the Coalition-although the Mail didnt seem to like it much

Our constant court cases against the DWP continued, and we have more lined up for this year too- yes, we could be talking to you Motability!

We look forward to 2015 and a change in the regime that has seen the poor grow poorer, while the richest grew richer. A year in which we launch Who2vote4? and the DPAC revenge tour. We will continue to fight for #saveilf with an event on 6th Jan at the House of Commons and an online twitter event.

For an excellent review of the fight against cuts from 2010-2014 please download From Cuts to Resistance and if you want a count down to the election , then the DPAC downloadable calender can help

Here’s to a better year in 2015 with thanks to all our members and supporters. Keep up with news in 2015 by subscribing to posts through our website www.dpac.uk.net or follow us on twitter @Dis_ppl_protest

Some selected actions of DPAC in 2014

January saw the posting of a call for those who were waiting for PIP due to backlogs. This post has received over 40,000 views,shares and many comments. The situation has now been described as a backlog that , at the current rate , could take 42 years to clear. For those claiming ‘reforms’ are working have a look to see that they are not: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/01/have-you-waited-months-for-a-pip-assessment/ and let’s not forget the backlog in ESA either-in short complete chaos for disabled people.

In ‘Austerity Street: the real impacts’ we reproduced some of the stories we had received from those left without cash and homes via sanctions, delays and backlogs. This was in response to Love Production’s poverty porn , Benefits Street, part of the media’s continued demonization regime -the campaign incorporated a twitter fest against the format of biased programming. We supported our partners in Canada Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (SCAP) and Ontario Coalition Aginst Poverty (OCAP). In an international campaign against increasing homelessness. Austerity is global. We supported Boycott workfare against CAPITA cashing in on poverty.

Through the excellent work of Nick Dilworth we exposed more BBC media double dealing and the fact that they weren’t publicizing the 88% success rates of those claiming ESA and asked ‘Are the DWP failing apart at every level? When a freedom of information response incorrectly claimed that PIP was subjected to sanctions. In another they claimed that the cap would be cut for those without children, both were incorrect. With Inclusion London we campaigned against the Care Act’s exclusion of ‘independent living’ and DPAC also  joined Hands off London Transport against ticket office closures, as well as regional Rail protests

February We joined  the many direct actions against the removal of legal aid. Raquel Rolnik ‘s report on the bedroom tax is published and recommends immediate suspension of the bedroom tax. The Government’s response is to accuse her of giving sacrifices to Marx and telling her to ‘sort out her own country’. We republish the excellent ‘Why the rise of UKIP is dangerous for disabled people’ and receive the usual abuse from Kippers proving the point. DPAC, Black Triangle and Wow publish a joint statement on Atos exit strategy , calling again for an end to the WCA. We expose how 9 out of 10 sanctions are dismissed when challenged

March More direct actions against proposed cuts in legal aid for judicial review.We publish ‘Punching Holes in Austerity’ an insightful analysis of DPAC and direct actions. DPAC supports #stopchanges2A2W against punitive changes in Access to Work. We publish an update on Anthony Kletzander and questions for HSE in Ireland with ENIL , a story of human rights abuse in Dublin, Ireland, a stand that we would later find invoked a threat of legal action against one of our co-founders.

DPAC joins protests against DWP and ATOS country wide. Protests that were reminiscent of the very first DPAC protests against Atos carried out by DPAC from 2011 onwards, culminating in the 2012 DPAC Atos games that saw Atos tarnished forever. DPAC leads direct actions and online protests against the despised disability Con-fident, leading to the highest number of tweets and retweets ever, exposing the scheme as no more than a Government gloss while they were cutting access to work and removing the means for disabled people to work. We produce a critical analysis of Pennings impact assessment regarding ILF. We reproduce the piece by John Pring asking ‘Where was your MP during the Wow Debate’

April The brilliant Ellen Clifford travels to Canada to embark on a successful speaking tour with raise the rates. We hold a well attended DPAC Grassroots Fightback conference. DPAC, Inclusion London, Equal Lives and the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People promote the #saveilf postcard campaignTop Corrie stars support the postcard campaign to #saveilf.  DPAC supports Lifeworks and protests against cuts to mental health support. DPAC gives its response to Labour on reform of WCA

 May DPAC releases its research documents for download. DPAC and ILF users block the DWP in protest. We learn that disabled students allowances are now under threat of cuts. DPAC publishes a powerful piece by one of our readers that sums up many peoples’ feelings: ‘I’ll never forgive or forget what this Government has done to me and thousands of others‘. We pay homage to the strength of Quiet Riot, celebrate the #dpactour and the success of the Freedom Riders.

June The Independent Living Fund’s Birthday protest happens in June with lots of action outside the DWP. We see JSA benefit sanctions sky rocket under the coalition Government. More actions happen to fight the bedroom tax.

We publish a piece by Angela 28 on how ‘care’ support has been threatened and why that threatens independent living and rights– legal representation was found for many people, but we were aware that this was happening to many more people through emails to dpac mail. Unlike some organisations we attempt to challenge these instances and reject the rhetoric that there is more ‘choice and control’ for disabled people.

At the end of June DPAC with UKUNCUT, and Occupy carry out a daring occupation of Westminster Abbey , after months of planning to highlight the #saveilf campaign. There were 3 police to every protester , and while we had no support from the dear old church , messages of support and publicity poured in

 July We publish a joint statement in response to the Work and Pensions Committee on the WCA from DPAC, Black Triangle, the Mental Health Resistance Network, Pats petition, Wow and New Approach in which we again say the WCA should be scrapped.

An ILF user makes a plea to Disability Rights UK (DRUK) on ILF after he was denied the right to speak at their independent living conference. DRUK did not feel the need to offer any response.  In Disability Rights UK : independent Living or new visions in Neo-Liberalism we ask why the DRUK ‘independent living ‘ conference was sponsored by an organisation running institutions, segregated schooling and ‘hospitals for those with mental health issues. We also launched a highly successful twitter campaign asking the same questions, again DRUK did not feel they owed disabled people any response to this outrage.

DPAC highlights more chaos at the DWP on appeals and sanctions. John McDonnell launches an Early Day Motion to #saveilf. Positive updates and actions on the WCA court case regarding mental health claimants by the Mental Health Resistance Network. We ask that people write to IDS to raise issues happening regarding mental health.

August Rethink calls people with mental health issues a ‘disease burden’ Mental Health Resistance Network respond to the outrage. We call for a stop to discrimination for those transferring from DLA to PIP who do not get backdated paymentsDPAC continues to support anti-fracking protests with Reclaim the power.

We republish the excellent Nick Dilworth’s piece on how the media are ignoring what’s happening to disabled people http://dpac.uk.net/2014/08/a-national-scandal-4-million-people-face-chaos-in-this-country-and-are-ignored-by-the-media/

ILF user John Kelly speaks to BBC on the impacts of the potential loss of ILF. We ask what happens when ILF funds are not ring fenced to local authorities

September sees a national day of Protest against sanctions, bedroom tax and benefit caps.

The fantastic Brian Hilton produces a set of pics for party conference season on #saveilf. DPAC crash the Tory Party Conference via a successful tweet attack and in person. We do the same to Labour.

We publish The Great Farago: UKIP sleight of hand and receive more abuse from Kippers, Richard Howitt Labour MEP quotes the piece and receives even more abuse.

New short film launched with the Daily Mirror on ILF.

The first inkling that the DWP are wrongly asking those in the ESA support group to attend work focused interviews comes to our notice.

DPAC is threatened with legal action for supporting Anthony Kletzander and publicising the abuse of his human rights in Ireland, our response is to publish an interview with Anthony’s parents  on the injustice Anthony and his family have endured.

October We reblog the excellent Johnny Void piece on the boss of Maximus http://dpac.uk.net/2014/10/meet-richard-a-montoni-the-five-million-dollar-maximus-boss-here-to-fleece-the-uks-benefits-system/.

We publish an open letter to Freud who declared that disabled people can work for less than minimum wage. DPAC and Occupy pay another visit to the DWP Caxton House building for ‘Freud must go!’ protest

In Secrets and Lies :maximus the new leader of the inhumans we ask why Disability Rights UK have agreed to a) be part of the Maximus testing process on the WCA and b) why they’ve teamed up with Unum and other insurance companies to develop a TV program showing how much better off disabled people will be if they take out private insurance- with user-led disability organisations like these we dont need enemies.

ILF users return to court to challenge the DWP on ILF. A successful #saveilf vigil happens with road blocks, many messages of support and some great pics.

Welfare assistance fund is next under threat of closure. Campaign to save it is launched.

November The Final Litchfield Review shows that the WCA should be scrapped.

One of our favourite reports of the year : IDS is chased around a building to drown out shouts of murderer at Ipswich- congratulations to the local dpac group for that one!

We ask people to come forward to launch a legal challenge on cuts to the disabled student allowance

£86 million goes missing from Pudsley’s children in need account BBC to blame for mislaying -complainants are actually advised to write to Pudsley via his BBC email

DWP increase attacks on disabled benefit recipients with claims they can harress them off benefits. We put out an urgent call-out http://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/urgent-people-awaiting-wca-assessments-particularly-in-birmingham-please-read/

Work Providers A4E are exposed again in relation to ESA and workfare. The Rev Paul Nicolson wins in court against council tax. Class War’s continuing protests against ‘poor doors’ get to the authorities who make arrests- and Boris is burnt. Meanwhile DPAC discovers Motability’s sneaky backdoor changes to individuals needing to be in work to qualify for support http://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/motability-and-the-deserving-and-undeserving-charity-not-rights/

December ILF users lose court case on ILF but its not over.

DPAC launches an Open letter to Ed, Kate and Rachel on ILF– we’re still waiting for a response

Hammersmith and Fulham abolish home ‘care’ charges, showing it can be done. Congratulations for a great campaign to the excellent Kevin Caulfield and Debbie Domb and all at Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts

Esther McVey is named scrooge of the year, which we though was a little too kind to the creature

Unsurprisingly the Work and Pensions report slammed the Government ‘mismanagament of Access to Work – the stop the changes to Access to Work campaign continues.

Questions are asked on the Government costs in fighting against disabled peoples’equality

The link between the DWP and the Mail propaganda is finally nailed and exposed as the DWP is caught out http://dpac.uk.net/2014/12/dwp-caught-giving-disability-propaganda-to-daily-mail/

Jan 012015
 

who2vote4
Below will be the basis of our demands from political parties for inclusion in their manifestos. We welcome feedback from members and supporters to add to this.
Our Who 2 Vote 4 campaign will be running in conjunction with Operation Disabled Vote and we have to make sure all politicians know that they will not automatically get the votes of the UK’s 12.2  million disabled people, their families and friends without meeting these demands.

After all as politicians are keen to keep telling us this is no longer a something for nothing country and our votes must also be won by those who are willing to uphold our rights and equality. For those politicians who are not prepared to promise this we say you will not get our votes.

We will be updating everyone as and when we get responses from candidates and please send the final version of these demands to your PPCs and let us know their responses so they can be published.

Further news of our exciting countrywide Revenge Tour coming soon

Demands

The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. People with the most severe disabilities are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

Manifesto Pledges we are seeking from Parties

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical.

Stop the closure of the cost effective Independent Living Fund (ILF) and set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the Independent Living Fund in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff.

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend.

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments which even now is in complete chaos.

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizens income.

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

Housing: A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society: The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

Fully Inclusive Education: Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

Planned cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

Access to Justice: All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

Local Authority Statutory Services: There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK: Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

Please also see The UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto