If you or someone you know living in Southampton has had their social care package from Southampton City Council cut in the most recent round of reassessments, we would like to hear from you.You can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Southampton City Council drafted in Capita to help deal with a backlog of assessments for care packages. Leaked emails suggest that staff who work for Capita are given financial incentives to reduce people’s care packages without assessment. To date 1 in 5 people have had their care packages reduced but none have had an increase, in spite of the increase in the National Minimum Wage (as employers disabled people now have to pay their PAs). This is contrary to the Care Act of 2014. DPAC held a protest against Southampton City Council on Wednesday 15th February 2017.
The protest was organised by Southampton DPAC with support from national DPAC
See the news item with an interview with DPAC’s Ellen Clifford on BBC South Today on 15th Feb:
We started off 2016 campaigning against Southampton Councils plans to cap social care packages having invested £12 million into a ‘super’ care home. These actions were abandoned by Southampton council due to pressure brought by DPAC at the time and because they were legally questionable.
Camden Momentum and WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities) are hosting this community screening, with speakers from Disabled People Against Cuts, and Gill Thompson (anti-sanctions campaigner on behalf of her brother David Clapson) followed by discussion. This comes after the moving and well attended vigil held 25 January for Lawrence Bond, the Camden man who tragically collapsed and died after leaving Kentish Town Jobcentre, having been found “fit for work” by Maximus and the DWP. Ken Loach, John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor) and Debbie Abrahams MP, came and spoke at the vigil. Ken Loach’s film is crucial viewing and the showing will bring people together to resist the benefit cuts and sanctions which have killed thousands of people and cause misery and destitution on a massive scale. We’ll discuss how we can oppose the latest disability benefit cut due in April.
John McDonnell said thatI, Daniel Blakeis one of the most moving films he’d seen, and was very pleased to team up with Ken Loach to urge people to go and watch it.
The recent revelation that a Trident missile test had to be aborted after the missile veered off course towards Florida highlights the continuing danger nuclear weapons pose to the world. Coupled with the many erratic statements from President Donald Trump, the time has come for international action to eliminate nuclear weapons everywhere.
The United Nations is starting to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban treaty at the end of March. This presents an opportunity to end the threat of nuclear annihilation and for the nine countries that have nuclear weapons to join the international consensus in favour of scrapping them.
Please join us in Parliament on Wednesday 1 March to tell your MP that the government must play a constructive role at the UN. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never spoken to your MP before, experts will be on hand to give you support and guide you through the process.
Update: Following interventions from several DPOs including DPAC, DRUK has agreed to recall and amend their report and we will be examining the changes closely. Watch this space……..
DPAC have previously had a few skirmishes with the hilariously named Disability Rights UK. DRUK are one of the big corporate disability charities that collect money from the public under the guise of championing disabled people.
To start with, our problem with charity for disabled people is we think it shouldn’t be necessary at all- we need equal rights, not charity handouts. DPAC’s slogan is “Rights Not Charity”.
But our particular problem with DRUK, is they advertise themselves as a charity for disability rights, while also taking money from this government with it’s horrendous welfare reforms, cuts to social care and attacks on just about every sphere of disabled people’s lives. DRUK also take money from private companies like Maximus to deliver “Disability Awareness Training” to its WCA assessors. And yet these people claim to stand up for disabled people’s rights?
You can see some examples of our previous battles with DRUK at the end of this post.
But this time they really have taken the biscuit. They’ve not only taken the biscuit, they’ve dunked it in our coffee, dropped the soggy bit on the carpet, taken another biscuit, and scoffed it.
DRUK are one of the lead organisations who have been paid by the government to do a report on the state of disabled people’s lives in the UK. This report is going to be submitted to the UN disability committee later this year. Its something called the “Shadow Report”.
Basically Britain signed up to the UN treaty called the UN Charter for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and every few years the government gets reviewed by the UN on progress towards implementing the treaty. So the government submits a report about that and it also pays non-government organisations to submit a Shadow Report to give their side of the story.
Its meant to prevent the government just giving a glossy everything’s fine report, and its meant to give a critical counter-balance to that as well.
So the government gave a wad of dosh to the Equality and Human Rights commission, who skim some off the top and gave a smaller wad of dosh to DRUK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales to write a shadow report.
The shadow report from DRUK & Co got released at the end of January and we had a look at it. OK its critical of the government in many areas, but one of the first things we looked at was what they said about one of the most important issues facing disabled people right now, the deaths of benefit claimants due to welfare reforms.
We looked, we searched – and the report contained nothing about it at all.
And then after asking around and doing a little digging, we discovered that the submission made by Inclusion Scotland to go into the report DID include evidence of deaths of claimants due welfare reform.
So we naturally wanted to know what happened to the vital evidence that was submitted by Inclusion Scotland but didn’t appear in the final report.
The answer came back that the evidence about claimant deaths had “accidentally been edited out” during final changes to the report. To say that we at DPAC were angry about this is an understatement.
We have written to Liz Sayce, CEO of DRUK to demand that they recall their report and put Inclusion Scotland’s evidence back into the report, here is the email we sent yesterday:
While we agree that DRUK should make the final decision about what is included in their CRPD shadow submission, like Inclusion Scotland DPAC are also very concerned that during editing of DRUK’s shadow report a vital section relating to claimant deaths and links between those and WCAs was omitted.
While we understand this was accidental and are sure you would never intentionally be so offensive to the memory of thousands of deceased disabled people we feel nevertheless that it is essential you recall the version of this report that was submitted in error and re-submit it with the additional information on the horrific impact on social security claimants the UK government’s welfare reforms to date has had on social security claimants.
On behalf of DPAC Steering Group
This morning we had a reply,
Thank you very much for your email. We support the inquiry done last year and the Committee’s conclusions and are acutely aware of the impact of sanctions and cuts on disabled people. Our shadow report is a joint report from Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Rights UK so Rhian from Disability Wales, Sally from Inclusion Scotland and I are agreeing next steps and will get back to you asap.
Liz Sayce OBE
CEO Disability Rights UK
We’ll keep you posted on what they decide, but if you want to tell DRUK to recall their Shadow Report and include information about claimant deaths, you can tweet them on @DisRightsUK or email them at email@example.com
A whistleblower from inside Capita has told Disability News Service (DNS) that Capita has been piling pressure on its team of social workers – while paying them more than £1,000 a week – to cut social care spending, on the orders of Southampton City Council. You can read the full DNS Article here
Southampton DPAC have convened this protest to shame both councillors and contractors. All DPAC members and allies that can get there are urged to go. This might be Southampton but it could be happening across the country soon and we need to demonstrate our willingness fightback here.
Event summary: Lush Cosmetics will be holding an international meeting for its staff, key invitees, and a range of bloggers, fans, and the public. We expect an audience at the event of around 2000, and a lot more through our online and streaming content – at our last event we ended up with a global online audience of 27million!
Our aim is to create an engaging, interactive and uplifting event that focuses on inspiring people to get involved in the issues being addressed through education and sharing of solutions. We also want tocelebrate the hard work of grassroots organisations such as yourselves in making things better.
Event dates Wednesday 8th February 12-6pm Thursday 9th February 12-6pm
On the 8th at 11.30 am John Kelly will be singing known and loved disability protest songs and on the 9th, Penny Pepper and Mary Ellen are performing at 3.30pm
Join Us for a special screening with Ken Loach of his award winning film “I Daniel Blake”.
Tuesday 28th February, at the Pheonix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London, N2 9PJ.
Admission Free, (there will be a bucket collection for DPAC) arrive at 5.45 to collect tickets, Film Starts at 6.15pm, after the film there will be a Q&A with Ken Loach and Paula Peters from DPAC, interviewed by Aditya Chakraborty
DPAC wish to express thanks to John Burgess for organising this event, and to Barnet Unison for paying for the venue, to Ken Loach for coming to speak and Aditya Chakraborrty (senior economics commentator for the Guardian) for coming to interview Ken and Paula
We are publishing the complete set of DPAC Submissions and government responses to the UNCRPD Comittee that DPAC used to initiate the inquiry into grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government
You can see the chronology of events in the process in this document , which puts the document given below into context of the whole process.
You can also view all of DPACs research documents and some from Reclaiming Our |Futures Alliance (of which DPAC is a part) documents on the Research Page on this site
(Click the headings below to jump to that section)
This is the new “must have” accessory in 2017 for the properly turned out street activist. Tastefully designed in shades of lurid green, it features Damian Green in a scene from “The Omen” with the caption “The Tories, more frightening that fiction”.
It costs a quid plus 78p postage. The quid will go to DPAC campaign funds and the 78p will go towards buying the newly privatised Royal Mail bosses a new private plane probably, but we can’t do anything about that.
The DPAC team would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy, peaceful and safe festive season and to provide a brief round-up of what has been happening over the past 12 months.
It has been both a triumphant and tragic year for DPAC, with some of our biggest ever achievements coming to fruition after years of work, but also the loss of some dearly loved and respected friends and colleagues.
Its been a year of continuing struggle against the cuts and other measures that have blighted disabled people’s lives, with steady progress being made. For the first time since 2010, this was the year that Tory MPs started to rebel against further cuts targeted at disabled people. We believe that this is a significant turning point in our struggle. We are still a long way from reversing the cuts that have caused us so much harm but at least we may have prevented further attacks from being made.
All this activity was against a backdrop of the biggest political upheavals in decades, possibly in most people’s lifetimes as the UK voted to leave the EU, the resignation of Cameron, sacking of Osborne and the ushering in of Theresa Mayhem’s chaotic government.
So hear is a month by month account of DPAC’s tumultuous year……
January began with Southampton City Council backing down over its proposals to cap social care support awards. The Council terminated the consultation early as a result of the feedback and concerns they received, including those of DPAC and our supporters.
January also saw the first ever strike action in NHS History by the Junior Drs and DPAC members showed solidarity and support to them by joining them on the picket lines at London hospitals and across the country.
The end of January it saw the Tories have their worst ever week in Parliament with three welfare reform defeats in the House of Lords with the cuts to ESA WRAG Group, bedroom tax, and redefining child poverty and David Cameron getting slagged by all sides for the appalling use of “bunch of migrants” during PMQs on Holocaust Memorial Day
February saw lobbying of parliament around the Cuts to ESA WRAG Group, with DPAC writing to MPs; protest outside parliament with table tennis to highlight the ping ponging going on between the House of Lords and House of Commons.
February saw the start of the campaign led by MHRN, with DPAC and Boycott Workfare support, about a trial of having DWP Workcoaches in GP Surgeries in Islington, a Labour London Borough. There was a war of words between MHRN and Islington Council Leader, which we reproduced online.
DPAC, Inclusion London and individual ILF Activists had a huge win against the Tory Government, with the news that the government was to provide local authorities with four years of transitional funding for former ILF recipients taking this to the end of the current parliament in 2020.
MRRN, DPAC and Boycott Workfare protest in Islington against having Work Coaches in GP Surgeries
We supported MHRN and Boycott Workfare with a protest in Islington with a protest called “Treatment for Surgeries, Job Centres for Jobs” to highlight Maximus job coaches based in GP Surgeries in Islington as part of the pilot for the health and work programme, which ended with a roadblock of Old Street Roundabout.
We sent more letters to MPs about the ESA Cut (here) and (here) and then when finally after a hard fought battle in both Commons and Lords, the ESA Cut was finally voted through we took our revenge on some of the MPs that voted for the cut, with Operation #ToryDump.
DPAC Members protest outside awaiting Zac Goldsmith (Picture: Paula Peters)
We hadn’t finished bugging Zac either: DPAC ambushed Zac Goldsmith in Croydon and again at Northumberland Park while he was on campaign trial for mayor of London elections to challenge his decision on voting for ESA WRAG Cut, and disrupted his photo shoot with Chancellor George Osborne.
The week ended with IDS resigning and DPAC holding a celebration party to celebrate his demise!
We got massive media coverage for this protest partly due to the commons authorities shutting down the BBC Live broadcast live on air. Here is some of the Media coverage we got from the protest with DPACs Ellen Clifford appearing on the main BBC news bulletin:
We began the month by telling the big corporate disability charity Scope to #EndtheBullshit
DPAC, along with the TUC Disabled Workers Committee organised a quick lunchtime direct action during the TUC Disabled Workers Conference and shut down Tottenham Court Road with a demand of #NoMoreBenefitDeaths.
Rick Burgess from Manchester DPAC went to represent us in Ireland at an Anti Austerity Alliance conference to inform them of welfare reform in the UK and what was happening to fight it as the government there had begun proposing some measures (there it all comes under the spin of ‘labour activation’) that appear similar. When they heard of what had gone on in the UK, there was stunned and horrified silence.
The remainder of June was concerned with the build-up to two major protests in July, DPAC’s National Day of Action against PIP and a protest against “Work Cure Therapy” which DPAC were supporting.
June will also be remembered for the shocking murder of MP Jo Cox just before the EU Referendum and a week later UK voting to leave the EU and PM David Cameron’s resignation.
DPAC held a national day of action against PIP on 13th July with 15 local actions taking place across the UK to highlight the appalling loss of disabled people’s Motability vehicles and loss of support after assessments, cumulating in a big central London action supported by DPAC, Winvisible and MHRN where Capita HQ, DWP HQ, and roads around parliament were shut down.
The second resignation of the year happened with Stephen Crabb (or was it really David Brent, we were never quite sure) when Crabb/Brent resigned following a grubby sex-text scandal. He’d been in the job for such short a time and had done so little, DPAC didn’t even bother to comment, let alone celebrate his departure. We did however produce some memes to welcome in his replacement Damien “The Omen” Green
A new meme from Brian Hilton to welcome the new Work and Pensions Minister, Damien “The Omen” Green
Nothing happened during the month of August, no protests, no twitterstorms, no ambushes of top politicians. Not a dicky-bird, nowt, nothing, nada.
But if the government thought we had all given up or gone on holiday they were very wrong! DPAC might be a nuisance when we’re active, but when we go quiet, that spells even bigger trouble on the horizon, and we we back in September with a full on Week of Action.
September saw the Paralympic Games in Rio Brazil, sponsored by ATOS. DPAC highlighted the appalling cuts to services and the tragic human impact of the cuts on disabled people with our Week of Action entitled #RightsNotGames.
Wednesday 7th saw the main central London protest of the week of action. It was timed to coincide with Prime Ministers Questions, and a A 90′ long banner reading “No More Benefit Deaths” hung from the embankment opposite Parliament during Prime Ministers Questions and was visible to the MPs inside.
Following the banner drop DPAC and allied activists shut down Westminster Bridge for over two hours.
Photo Credit: LetMeLookTV
Wednesday Evening into Thursday 8th was a 24 hour online protest, which saw the launch of an experimental Live online Protest format, a twitterstorm and our first ever facebook protest activity.
Saturday of the Week of Action consisted of DPAC hosting an International Conference with activists from around the world coming to show solidarity and discuss how to build the global resistance. The one day conference brought together perspectives and allies in the fight against austerity and neo-liberalism from the UK, Europe and Canada to look at geographic resistance and independent living. Speakers include John Clarke (Canada), Antonois Rellas (Greece), Catriona Kenny (Ireland), Kapka Panayotova (Bulgaria), The ak MoB (Germany) and John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor.
To end the week of action on Saturday evening and Sunday 11th there was the opening of “Assisted Suicide, the Musical by by writer/actor/activist Liz Carr which was being performed at the Southbank Centre in London.
We also published our “Guide to Disabled People, for Non-Disabled People” during the week of action, so that it could be shared amongst the Paralympic coverage online, in order to raise awareness in the general population about disabled people and the social model
Tory Party Conference Bullshit Bingo made conference week just a little more bearable
October brought the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham and along with it DPACs campaign to Toxify the Tory Party in revenge for all they have done to us. As well as protests in Brum during the conference, we organised a Social Media protest during the week to invade coverage of the conference on the hashtag #CPC16. And to make the week a little less doomladen with all the Tory Conference speeches, we invited people on social media to play Tory Party Conference Bullshit Bingo
But at a time that we would have been celebrating a massive victory, we lost our co-founder, friend, advocate and leading light in our movement, Debbie Jolly.
Debbie Jolly, photo by Pete Riches
Debbie made disability rights the focus of her life’s work. She was one of the key people in putting in instigating the UNCRPD investigation into the UK Government’s treatment of disabled people. Debbie was one of the co-founders of DPAC in 2010, and remained an important member of the organisation, helping to shape it into the campaigning force it is today.
NUBSLI and DPAC protesting against cuts that jeopardise the sustainability of BSL interpreting. Photo Credit @NUBSLI
December and the end of 2016 saw the Boycott of Language Line with a protest organised by NUBSLI and supported by DPAC, to highlight language line being awarded NHS contracts outside their Canary Wharf Offices.
There was more lobbying of MPs to highlight the appalling use of sanctions against claimants on JSA, ESA and Universal Credit with the Public Accounts Select Committee hearing into Benefit Sanctions.
And in a surprise move we saw the resignation of Lord Freud as Minister for Welfare Reform since 2010 and previously an advisor to the Labour government on the hated Work Capability Assessment. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
And then once again, tragedy struck as we heard of the death of Robert Dellar. Robert was one of those people who never sought publicity but behind the scenes, he worked tirelessly and was and influential and well respected as a campaigner for mental health survivors. Robert was one of the founders of Mad Pride in the UK and an inspiration for the setting up of Mental Health Resistance Network. Robert leaves a partner and many friends in the campaigning community for whom the world will be less of a place without him.
DPAC And MHRN protest at the Transforming Mental Health Conference. Photo: Paula Peters
And then finally we ended the year as we began with a victory when we shamed Islington Council into providing an adequate care package for disabled tenant Alex. Alex had fought the council for 18months trying to get safe accessible accommodation, with no result, when we published the case with a video on the blog and asked you to tweet to the council to shame them into action. Within just a few days, magically an appropriate funding package was agreed so that Alex could finally have a decent, safe and accessible place to live. It just goes to show that collective action in the age of social media can be used as a power for good against intransigent authority.
Throughout the year people have spoken for DPAC at meetings around the country and it is brilliant to be able to email someone and ask them to speak as far away as Bournemouth or Bridgewater. Within London demand for us to provide speakers has led to us adding Vicky and Nicola to the team. They both made their excellent debut speeches recently.
As always we’ve continued to provide valuable advice and peer support to hundreds if not thousands of people with many success stories.
Our on-line presence on social media is omnipresent and another valuable campaigning tool. We’ve organised many twitter storms and have trended on twitter numerous times.
We now have about 35 local groups some of which are still small but others that are now well established and taking part in regular protests including in Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Thank you to all the people who have donated their time and effort to help with research, specialist advice, graphics, video making, banner making, and so many activities far too numerous to list, that make DPAC happen. In this post we have mentioned by name many of the people who have worked for DPAC over the year, and in addition we particularly wish to thank Miriam Binder, Brian Hilton, Nick Dilworth, Rick Burgess, John McArdle, Gail Ward, Kate Belgrave, Jason Batchelor, John Slater, Rupert Harwood, Sally Kumo, but we could not list everyone and others prefer to remain anonymous, but you know who you are, and we thank you for your contribution.
Thank you to all the people and affiliated organisations who gave money donations to DPAC, both big and small, we really do appreciate every donation you make, to enable us to keep taking the fight to the government for change for the better.
Thank you to all the people who have read, commented, tweeted, shared our blog, helping to spread information and awareness.
But most of all thank you to all our members and supporters. Its your support and goodwill that lifts us up, keeps us going and carries us onward. We couldn’t do this without you.
The DPAC Steering Group, December 2016
[Text by Paula, Linda and Bob]
Looking forward into 2017….
As for next year we need you all to contact your MPs and ask them to come along to our meeting in parliament to launch the UN report. We also need any of you who can to come along as well.
Guilty of grave and systematic violations – What next after the UN disability inquiry? Briefing and Discussion
The meeting is January 24th 2-4pm in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House.
On 7 November 2016 the United Nations published the findings from a UK inquiry carried out by their disability committee under Article 6 of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The inquiry was triggered by extensive evidence submitted to the UN over a number of years by ordinary people concerned by the impact of UK government policy on Disabled people. It is the first time a state has ever been investigated in this way and the UK is now the first state in the world of whom the UN has found reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations of Disabled people’s rights.
The inquiry report was published alongside the UK government response to the findings, rejecting all eleven of the UN recommendations.
Critics of the inquiry point to discrimination and the terrible living conditions to which Disabled people in other parts of the world are subject. However, by ratifying the CRPD, the UK government signed up to the progressive realisation of social and economic rights. The UN inquiry investigated and found evidence of systematic and serious retrogression of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform. This supports concerns raised separately by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the UN Special Rapporteurs on Housing, Disabilities, Poverty and Food.
This meeting will provide a brief introduction to what the CRPD is, the inquiry process and how it was triggered and provide an over-view of the report and its recommendations, as well as raising the question of what next.
You can read previous DPAC Reviews of the year here:
Thanks to Jamie Kelsey Fry (@jamiekelseyfry) – editor of New Internationalist – who got DPAC and disabled people’s issues into BBC Radio London during his newspaper review this morning (Sunday Dec 18th)
He spent a lot of his time on the show talking about DPAC, social care, the UN Inquiry and lack of Accessible Rail Transport on Southern Rail.
Our Allies in Canada, OCAP, marching through a blizzard fighting to save the lives of homeless people in Toronto
Winters in Toronto are brutal, down to tens of degrees below zero, but that hasn’t stopped Toronto’s political elite from making people homeless and cutting back on support services and even worse, cutting back on emergency shelters for homeless people.
Toronto’s remaining homeless shelters are bursting at the seams.
In a city that drips with wealth, homeless people are left to die on the streets or face conditions of brutal overcrowding that denies them basic dignity and jeopardizes their health.
All summer long shelters have been packed, and now as head into winter, there is a real risk that even survival spaces like the Warming Centres and volunteer-run Out of the Cold programs won’t be able handle the overflow.
The City must stop cutting shelter beds in the city centre, and open new spaces now if we are to avoid tragedies this winter.
See the film that documents the crisis, be outraged at what the Toronto authorities are doing and then help to bring pressure on those authorities to do something (see what you can do at the end of this page).
Our Allies in Toronto,Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) marched through the streets in Toronto last night to demand the opening of more shelter space for the homeless just as a blizzard hit. It was brutally cold.
The situation is really urgent. A homeless man was brought to a hospital last night suffering from exposure but survived. However, we are racing to try and prevent deaths from happening.
What can you do to help?
If you use Twitter, send the Mayor of Toronto @JohnTorya message. Tell him that the homelessness crisis in his city is getting international attention. Tell him that people in the UK are outraged that in such a wealthy place he lets homeless people die through political neglect.
On 20th January 2017 Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.
That day, together, we will drop banners from bridges across the country to send a simple, hopeful and unmistakable message. We will build bridges, not walls, to a peaceful and just world rid of oppression and hatred.
“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, cooperation, peace, kindness and especially love.” –Martin Luther King
DPAC are a supporter of this action. See the facebook page for more details
Download the picture at the top right of this post (right-click and save the file) then use it as your Twitter and Facebook avatar picture from now until the 20th Jan 2017. And share the website http://bridgesnotwalls.uk/ using the hashtag #bridgesnotwalls
(for those who do not know already, John Burgess is Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON and a longstanding supporter of DPAC)
Text below by a friend of John Burgess
Who needs to apologise to whom as we approach the dates for the hearing on UNISONgate? I have read this apology by John which he made recently and published on Facebook and his Blog.
When asked to explain his apology I’ve noticed John has replied once with this (on facebook): “For legal reasons I am unable to make any comment on this matter.”
This is not how he usually speaks. It stands in complete contrast with the way he speaks about the actions of our employer.
When he’s been asked by others, “have you been gagged?”, again his response is: “For legal reasons I am unable to make any comment on this matter.”
What I do know is that he is now desperately trying to raise money. Whilst John will not comment on why, I smell a stinking rat as do many others. The question everyone is asking is, “Is UNISON asking John to pay compensation?” I guess the only people who know the answer are UNISON and John.
As a trade union member I’d like to know if unison is using members’ money to take legal action against a grassroots rep.
In the meantime I have three requests to make of those in the trade union movement:
1. Please send message of support and solidarity to John Burgess to his facebook page or to me and I’ll pass them on. [or add them as comments to this page and DPAC will pass them on]
2. Please share the facebook posts with others
3. If you can spare some money (and I know this time of the year it is not the best time to ask) you can donate money to help John – details here:
If you wish to donate then please write a cheque to: For William Morris Society and post it to c/o 34 Pioneer House, 46 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JH.
Alternatively do a bank transfer to: For William Morris Society (Holborn and St Pancras); sort code 60-04-24; acc. no.86807331; NatWest Camden Town Branch, 168 Camden Town High Street, London NW1 0NW,
For those who want to come to the Certification Officer hearing the dates are 19,20,21 December 10am each morning. See here for details:
Lush have been a long time supporter of DPAC and we at DPAC wish to thank Lush giving their support to us in this way.
Funds raised from the sale of the charity pot will be distributed by Lush to grass roots organisations working on animal protection, human rights and environmental issues around the world.
While DPAC won’t directly receive funding from the sale of the pots (although DPAC have received funds from Lush in the past), just as importantly, if not more so, it will raise awareness amongst Lush customers of DPAC and disabled people’s struggle for human and civil rights.
100% of the retail price paid by customers buying the product (minus the VAT, which has to go to the Government) is given away to fund grassroots organisations working on animal protection, human rights and environmental issues around the world. We prefer to fund smaller organisations, especially those who have limited resources and fnd it diffcult to find funding elsewhere. We offer funding from £100 to £10,000 to grassroots groups that need help to make a positive difference to our world. Our charitable giving is not a marketing exercise, and we ask nothing back from the groups we fund. We just want to help those who work tirelessly to make the world a better place, and who play a useful part in the movement to create change. (you can read more about Charity Post here)
What do DPAC do with our funding?
All of the funds DPAC receive are from donations from individuals and non-governmental organisations. DPAC do not accept funding from political parties.
All of the funds raised to DPAC go straight into campaigning and awareness raising. DPAC do not have any paid staff or premises. All DPAC work is performed by volunteers who give their time and effort for free.
DPAC Funds go to such things as funding legal challenges, getting materials and equipment that we use for protest actions, printing costs for leaflets and banners, expenses for keeping the website running and for paying travel expenses and when necessary accommodation costs for activists who need to travel to take part in DPAC activities.
** Update 13/12/16 ** Since publishing this information, we have had a few reports that the phone numbers below do not connect or that they forward onto lines which charge. So please be aware of this. If you do use the numbers let us know via the comments below the article what you find.
Current list of DWP 0800 telephone numbers that claimants can use to call the DWP for free from a mobile.
0800220674 NISSA Benefit Enquiry Line for AA, DLA, Carer’s Allowance & Carer’s Credit (this number redirects to other numbers for some benefits – these might be paid numbers)
0800991234 Pension Credit Application Line – TPS
08000224250 Customer First Line
08000556688 JCP First Contact New Claims
08007314811 PDCS TPS Pension Credit
08007317898 PDCS TPS State Pension New Claims
08009172222 PIP New Claims Service Line
[Thanks to @Imajsaclaimant for checking these numbers]
List of abbreviations:
TPS The Pension Service
PDCS Pensions, Disability &Carers Service
MOPR Method of Payment Reform
If they make a sanction referral against you, act immediately
Submit a written statement about why you should not be sanctioned
Insist on a meeting with the manager of the Jobcentre (or the workfare provider) to argue the sanction referral be withdrawn
If the sanction referral is clearly unjustified, make an official complaint.
Claim Hardship Payments from the Jobcentre
Inform Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit so these benefits continue
If your sanction is confirmed ask for a written statement of reasons
Write to ask for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision by the DWP
If this fails, appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal
Seek solidarity from us and others – consider a demo at the Jobcentre or workfare provider if they are not listening to you
LET’S ACT TOGETHER AND MAKE SANCTIONS UNWORKABLE
WAITED AGES TO GET HOUSING BENEFIT?
Don’t put up with it. If your claim hasn’t been sorted out two weeks after you have given all the information needed, then the Council are legally obliged to make you regular interim payments of Housing Benefit.
This applies to private tenants and housing association tenants. For Council tenants, where the Council are paying the Housing Benefit direct to their own Housing Department, the Council are legally obliged to pay Housing Benefit within 14 days, or if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as possible after that. An interim payment is a temporary payment of Housing Benefit which is paid regularly, like normal Housing Benefit, until they work out your claim. The law says the council must pay you an amount which it considers reasonable. (An interim payment is sometimes also called a “payment on account”.)
WHAT TO DO?
How do you get an interim payment?
Make sure that you have given the Council all the info necessary for them to sort out your claim. It may help to speed things up if you submit a letter requesting an interim payment with your original housing benefit claim form. But if you have not done that don’t worry.
Check that 2 weeks have passed since you gave the Council all the info they needed.
Ring them up, and tell them that by law they have to either sort out your claim immediately, or make you an interim payment immediately. The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, in particular Regulation 93(1), says they must do this.
Interim payments are NOT discretionary. According to the law they must be paid if the circumstances described in 1) and 2) apply.
If they still won’t pay, say you will make a complaint to the ombudsman about Council maladministration unless they pay you. (You can do this by contacting the local government ombudsman 0300 061 0614 PO BOX 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH email www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint/fact-sheetts-/benefits-and-tax .The ombudsman has the power to make a recommendation that compensation be paid in cases where there has been maladministration.
If they still won’t budge you can demand a meeting with the manager, to which you should go with a friend/adviser to insist that you are paid. If they refuse to give you an appointment ask for the supervisor/manager and insist on your right to an appointment. If they are still being unreasonable you could ring the Housing Benefit Performance Manager to ask for an appointment
If can also be useful to contact councillors who have the ultimate responsibility for Housing Benefit. The councillor responsible for Housing Benefit is the convenor of the Finance and Resources Committee. You could also contact your local councillor, ring the Council Info Centre to find out who they are.
Getting your MP or MSP to write on your behalf can also be useful, this generally results in your case being “escalated” and looked at by a more senior official.
Capita’s share price has fallen to a new 10-year low today (8 December 2016) after chief executive Andy Parker warned that “near-term headwinds” would hit trading performance in the first half of 2017.
The company’s share price of 513p at lunchtime today was 9% down on yesterday’s close. A year ago it was around 1200p.
It’s the lowest price since July 2006.
The “headwinds” warning may cause some customers, particularly officials and ruling councillors in some local councils, to wonder whether their arrangements with Capita for outsourcing “transformations” and future IT-related investments will be affected.
Capita announced today that it intends to dispose of the majority of the Capita Asset Services division and a small number of other businesses which no longer fit Capita s core business strategy.
It says these actions will consolidate Capita’ s position as the UK’ s leading provider of customer and business process management services, while underpinning the company’ s balance sheet.
Chief executive Andy Parker said: ” We are committed to delivering good returns to shareholders, supported by a strong capital structure and a clear growth strategy. In recent months, we have reviewed our management structure, operating model, business portfolio and our leverage to ensure we are in the strongest position to support future profitable growth.
” In November, we announced changes to our management and business structure and today we are announcing our intention to sell the majority of our Capita Asset Services division and a small number of other businesses.
“We have also commenced a programme of cost reduction and investments to position the Company strongly for renewed future growth. Together, these actions will create a leaner Capita, focused on its core strengths and with a much stronger balance sheet.
” I am confident that the markets Capita addresses offer long-term structural growth. We are however currently facing some near-term headwinds, which continue to make 2016 a challenging year and will affect trading performance in the first half of 2017.
“Our long-term contracts provide us with good revenue visibility across the year and the structural and cost reduction actions we are taking now will support progress in the second half of 2017 and into 2018. We therefore currently expect a similar trading performance to 2016 in the full-year 2017.”
Capita expects revenue to be around £4.8bn and underlying profit before tax to be “at least” £515m, excluding the cost of restructuring, for the full-year to December 2016.
The company had previously forecast underlying full-year pre-tax profits to be between £535m and £555m.
” Our new divisions are now fully aligned to the markets in which they operate and the divisional sales teams are working seamlessly with the central major sales team to better address these markets and fuel greater organic growth in 2018 and beyond.
” The decisive steps we have recently taken and those we are announcing today make us a more resilient business, committed to generating organic growth, maintaining and then growing our dividend and delivering sustained value for shareholders. ”
He added, “The headwinds we have faced in the second half of 2016 will affect trading performance in the first half of 2017.
” Our long-term contracts provide us with good revenue visibility across the year and the structural and cost reduction actions we are taking now will support progress in the second half of 2017 and into 2018.
” We therefore currently expect a similar trading performance to 2016 in the full-year 2017. Our average cost of debt in 2017 will continue to rise as a result of the rolling off of our interest rate swaps.”
The Telegraph quotes Parker as saying today that he had put a £50m programme of cost reductions in place in order to stem some of the losses.
The firm’s IT Enterprise Services division has been particularly weak in the last three months, leading the company to make “extensive” management and structural changes. It has reduced its 78,000 staff by almost 3% and moved some services to India.
Parker told Reuters, “There’s been a fallaway in what we would call discretionary spend, like training and (providing) employee benefits. People are delaying making decisions on implementing technology, so there is a whole host of things going on.”
Today’s lowered profit forecast follows a profits warning in September that full-year underlying pre-tax profits would be £535m to £555m for 2016, instead of a previously forecast £614m.
*Update: Capita’s share price closed the day down 4.29% at 539.79p.
And it is the same Paul Farmer who, as Chair of the Mental Health Taskforce released the “Five Year Forward View for Mental Health” report advocating the “Work Cure” enabling the DWP Policy that will attempt to place faux-‘therapists’ in Jobcentres to brainwash claimants into some sort of happy clappy state of mind, that subsumes their whole existence into the sole purpose of finding a soul destroying, insecure, exploitative job, and thus saving the government a few more pounds to spend on bombing other countries, vanity projects or tax cuts for people like Paul Farmer.
Never mind the fear, harm and suicides that this “work cure” rubbish is causing, Farmer is clearly onto a good thing pushing the “Work Cure”.
So that’s why MHRN and Allies are out in front of the conference handing out this leaflet to delegates as they go in.
8 December 2016
Dear ‘Transforming Mental Health’ Delegate,
Mind hopes to become a specialist Jobcentre as
Paul Farmer peddles the Work Cure lie through his Mental Health Taskforce
Work is a part of life that most of us have participated in and many have benefited from. Since the National Insurance Act of 1946 people who are unable to work for health reasons have received an income. We have all paid into this state run insurance scheme; we still do.
The Tory government is dismantling the welfare state, but then you know that, don’t you? People with mental health problems who are dependent on disability benefits have been thrown into turmoil. Some have killed themselves, many have become homeless or had to use food banks. Everyone who depends on these benefits lives in a constant state of fear, anxiety and insecurity.
The withdrawal of welfare benefits from disabled people was initially justified on the grounds that most claimants were ‘swinging the lead’ even though, according to the government’s own figures, benefit fraud was, at most, only 0.7%.
After six and a half years of cruel benefit cuts, the government has cut through flesh and muscle and has reached bone. No one now believes the benefit fraud lie so the government has constructed a new lie: work will cure us or, to put it another way, ‘Arbeit macht frei’. This lie was ratified by the Mental Health Taskforce and is based on biased, 10 year old evidence provided by the DWP and researched by the insurance company, Unum, who has obvious vested interests in the dismantling of the welfare state.
People with the most severe mental health problems can now expect to be subjected to pressure to return to work. We all know that work does not cure such problems and that even if it did, there are not enough jobs to go round. But do you care that it could possibly kill us?
National Mind is out for itself. In a bid for its own survival and to corner the market in getting people with severe and enduring mental health problems off of benefits, Mind plans to bid for DWP contracts to push this group of people into precarious jobs or endless job searches. This is a soft target now we know that conditionality is set to be applied to receipt of benefits for even those with the most severe problems.
Every service that once provided support for people with mental health problems is fast becoming an extension of the DWP. We don’t need more Jobcentres, they cannot treat our mental distress; we need mental health services that are independent of the political ideology that promotes dismantling the welfare state.
There is no gentle way of bullying people in mental distress into work. Mind says it would ‘only… go on to bid for contracts for local Minds to deliver that align with our values and that do not involve mandating and/or sanctioning people with mental health problems.’ Where has Mind been for the past six years?! Has it heard nothing about the brutality of the benefits system since it has been ‘reformed’? Does Mind care? Is Mind planning to dupe people into looking for work under the pretext of providing mental health care?
Many current benefit claimants have worked in the past and we know what we are able to cope with. Most people with mental health issues tell establishment figures that they want to work. Given the levels of vilification of people who are not working, it would be surprising if they were to say otherwise. However, the majority add that they are not well enough to work but that will not stop the DWP from bullying, sanctioning and harassing them. If we do find work, far from it setting us free, we can expect low paid, insecure jobs with a place in the line to the foodbank. Shockingly, Mind wants a piece of this pie.
Mental Health Resistance Network is committed to making the toxicity of Mind’s plans apparent to everyone who uses Mind services. We will not rest until the name of Mind is known about in the same way as Atos is known, as an abuser of people in mental distress.
Here is our promise. As much as Mind abuses us, we will work towards seeing Paul Farmer sacked and Mind brought to its knees. Just as Mind hopes to leave us open to bullying and harassment, we intend to find ways of sanctioning Mind for its betrayal of people in mental distress.
Mind wants to believe the lies. You might want to believe the lies too. We plan to expose Mind and the lies it peddles.
After 18 months of getting nowhere with care funding or a CHC referral, after our tweeting to shame Islington council, overnight Alex’s care funding was agreed and they were referred to CHC as well.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this campaign by emailing and tweeting to Islington Council. This just goes to show that when we take collective action we can win our battles for individual people to get the rights that should be theirs by default.
The larger battles over welfare reform and independent living take longer but the principle is the same, when we take strong collective action, we can bring about positive change.
Alex is severely disabled. They are bedbound 90% of the time, unable to use their hands or feet, and have life threatening hemiplegic migraines, which cause: stroke-like symptoms, paralysis, seizures, slurring, loss of consciousness, and can lead to coma and death. They are in excruciating pain, suffer asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and have gait abnormalities in their hands and feet.
Islington Council’s Occupational Therapy assessed Alex and referred them for a ground-floor, wheelchair-accessible flat in the local area for their support network and GP catchment area. The OT also referred Alex for an electric wheelchair.
Islington Council refuse to give Alex’s rehousing a Category A priority (which is intended for “households where a member of the household has an immediately life-threatening or progressive condition which is seriously affected by their current accommodation.”)
As of December 2016, Alex has spent 7/8 months fighting the council over rehousing and 18 months fighting social services for DPS care.
This video shows the severe problems Alex has leaving and accessing their flat as this involves a hallway and three flights of stairs.
Miriam Binder from Brighton DPAC is interviewed on why she supports the RMT strike on Southern rail (start at 4 minutes into the video). You can read more about her support for this campaign here. Many thanks also to the drivers, conductors and crew members at Brighton Station who have held a collection for DPAC .
We have had signs recently that the DWP are getting up to their old tricks and trying to get people in the ESA Support Group to attend a “back to work” interview at their Jobcentre.
According to the DWP Webpage, if you are in the Support Group you “You don’t have to go to [back to work] interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser. “, which means that they cannot require you to attend, and they can’t stop your money if you don’t go.
We are going to look closely at this and do whatever we can to get this stopped, but in order to do that we first need to gather information about how widespread this is, which areas it is happening in and how long it has been going on.
So we are asking for people to come forward if you are in the ESA Support Group and have been contacted by your Jobcentre to attend a back to work interview, we would really like to hear from you.
If you have had one of these letters please fill in the form below – we will always keep your name and email address confidential unless you give us your permission to disclose it
Important note: There is another sort of interview in which you are asked to take along bank statements and documents to prove your identity – you do have to attend this sort of interview. We advise that you take a friend or relative along with you.