Linda

Mar 112015
 

I need to acknowledge the use of work produced by Professor Luke Clemens which was provided by Kate Whittaker, of Scott-Moncrieff to us. The full summary produced is here http://www.lukeclements.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/0-Care-Act-notes-updated-2015-02.pdf

 

There are also 2 excellent youtube videos by Professor Clemens on Continuing Health Care and assessing social care needs.

 

Luke Clements lectures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmFZ5qzvCZE  on CHC

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEwBN873dYE   assessing social care needs

 

 

Background to Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 repeals almost all of the principal adult social care statutes. The list of ‘repeals’ is extensive including the National Assistance Act 1948, as well as the Acts and regulations that govern such things as direct payments, charging for social care, assessments (ie the NHS & Community Care Act 1990) and all the Carers Acts. It also replaces FACS criteria with a list of eligible needs.

 

The implementation timetable for the Care Act 2014 has been the subject of significant criticism. The 506 page guidance and 17 sets of regulations weren’t approved until mid-October – leaving local authorities less than 5 months to make major) changes (including training their workforce) before the Act comes into force in April 2015. It is I think fair to sat that many local authority social workers and managers are unlikely to know just what the Care Act entails even once it has replaced existing social care legislation so as disabled people and carers it is probably more important than ever that we know what it says and what our rights are.

 

The Government say this is  ‘the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years’ and it also provides a range of new rights for family carers.

The equivalent Welsh legislation (Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014) is not coming into force until 2016.

 

While the bulk of the Act will come into force in April 2015, the new appeals process and the ‘cap on costs’ provisions aren’t due to come into force until April 2016. A sum of £55.5m was ‘released’ which becomes the ‘Carers and Care Act Implementation Grant.’ aimed at meeting the expected increased potential demand from carers to access their ‘new rights’.

 

Luke Clemens says that “The speed with which the final guidance has been produced has resulted in it having a number of material errors and omissions. One is a section explaining the guidance’s status at law. The draft guidance contained a statement (page 3) that ‘local authorities are required to act under the guidance, which means that they must follow it, unless they can demonstrate sound legal reasons for not doing so’. This obligation stems from section 78 of the 2014 Act – which replicates the current duty (in section 7(1) Local Authority Social Services Act 1970) and means that existing case law concerning Department of Health ‘policy guidance’ will remain relevant under the new legal regime.”

 

The regulations detail specific obligations relating to market oversight / business failure (3 sets of regulations); the assessment of need; eligibility criteria; advocacy; charging; choice of accommodation; deferred payments; personal budgets; direct payments; the NHS interface; delayed hospital discharge; ordinary residence (2 sets of regulations); portability of care packages and cross-border placements; and registers for people with visual impairments. The longest set of regulations concern charging and there are none on some key questions – notably adult safeguarding.

The guidance contains a number of ‘examples’. While these had the potential to be of considerable value, they are disappointing: generally limp and have the predominant outcome that once the person had been pointed in the right direction, there was no need provide them with any local authority support.

 

The Act does not talk of disabled, elderly or of ill people: instead it uses the word ‘adult’ – but this is generally qualified as being an adult ‘in need’ of care and support. The regulations however stipulate that this is an adult who has ‘a physical or mental impairment or illness’. The current community care legislation generally requires that the impairment be both substantial and permanent.

 

Carer

Section 10 defines a carer as someone 18 or over  who provides or intends to provide care for someone but is not contracted to provide the care or providing the care as formal ‘voluntary work’. All ‘carers’ are now eligible for an assessment. This means that many more carers will be eligible for an assessment – for example those who are providing little or no physical or practical care – but providing emotional support This change, coupled with: (a) the abolition of the requirement that carers’ ‘request’ an assessment; and (b) the new ‘duty’ to meet carers assessed needs has the potential to recast radically the legal regime for carers.

 

As with the pre-Care Act law, there is no duty to assess carers who provide their care by virtue of a contract, or as voluntary work (section 10(9)). The guidance addresses the not uncommon situation of a carer who is paid to provide care for the adult (possibly through the use of a direct payment) but is also providing unpaid care for that person. At para 6.17 it advises that in such circumstances ‘the local authority must consider whether to carry out a carer’s assessment for that part of the care they are not providing on a contractual or voluntary basis’.

 

The act also includes provisions for young carers and disabled children.

 

Local Authorities also have far greater duties to provide assessments to eligible persons even those who self-fund, they must provide transparent information to people including how their Resource Allocation System operates, they must provide access to information and to advocacy for those who need it.

 

RAS will be based on the 10 outcomes outlined below with each outcome having a maximum number of points based on how expensive that outcome is to meet. Questions asked about support levels and the need to meet these will produce points for people whereasquestions about informal support which may be in place to help meet needs will remove points but it is also stressed in the Act that any assessment of needs must ignore care provided by informal carers and that such input can only be considered if appropriate and the informal carers are willing to provide such support. (6.64)

 

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) says that the Care Act is based on a strengths based approach to improve wellbeing and independence and that it looks at what people can do rather than what they can’t do as well as what those around them can do and what the community can do to support them to put off the need for care and support.

 

Underpinning principles (section 1)

The consultation process leading to the drafting of the legislation resulted in demands that the Act be underpinned by a coherent set of guiding principles (rather like those that apply in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, s1). The Act does not have such a set of principles – instead it contains a general duty to promote the ‘well-being’ of individuals (ie adults and carers). The duty applies to local authorities and their staff when exercising ‘any function’ under Part 1 of the Act (ie sections 1-80).

 

Well-being

Well-being is so widely defined that there was a risk that it would prove to be of little practical application and is fairly meaningless. Clemens says   however the guidance goes a considerable way to dispelling this fear.

 

‘Well-being’ includes personal dignity, physical and mental health and emotional well-being; protection from abuse and neglect; control over day-to-day life; participation in work, education, training or recreation; social and economic well-being; domestic, family and personal relationships; suitability of living accommodation; and ‘the individual’s contribution to society’.

 

The emphasis on the importance of ‘control’ has been seen as a cause for concern by some commentators: in many respects the inclusion of ‘control’ can be seen as a further manifestation of the ‘responsibilization’ agenda. Despite the Law Commission’s comments, ‘choice’ does not appear as a well-being principle.

When discharging any obligation under the Act, the local authority must ‘have regard to’—

 the individual’s views, wishes, feelings and beliefs;

 the need to prevent/ delay the development of needs for care and support;

 the need to make decisions that are not based on stereotyping individuals;

 the importance of individual’s participating as fully as possible in relevant decisions (including provision to them of necessary information and support);

 the importance of achieving a ‘balance between the individual’s wellbeing and that of any friends or relatives who are involved in caring for the individual’;

 the need to protect people from abuse and neglect;

 the need to ensure that restrictions on individual rights /freedoms be kept to the minimum necessary.

 

A criticism made of the ‘well-being’ obligation and the above list in particular – concerns the failure to include an explicit reference to the right to ‘independent living’ – ie as protected by Article 19 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The guidance, however, goes a good way to addressing this omission, stating that (para 1.19):

 

The wellbeing principle is intended to cover the key components of independent living, as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (in particular, Article 19 of the Convention). Supporting people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, is a guiding principle of the Care Act.

 

Such an express statement is of considerable value – not least because the courts and Ombudsmen have shown a surprising willingness to have regard to the Convention in recent judgments / reports.

 

Well-being is defined as including being protected from ‘abuse and neglect’ (s1(2)(c)) and the guidance gives emphasis to this stating that ‘it is not possible to promote wellbeing without establishing a basic foundation where people are safe and their care and support is on a secure footing’ (para 1.26). The problem, as is noted below, is that although the eligibility criteria lists ‘being able to make use of the adult’s home safely’ as an outcome – this in itself does not (on one interpretation) trigger the safeguarding duty as the adult would also have to demonstrate an inability in relation to another ‘outcome’: being an elderly ill person unable to keep herself safe – is not without more, sufficient to instigate the safeguarding duty.

 

Bits of particular interest to us

 

Services / care and support responses (section 8)

Under the current legal regime the object of a community care / carers assessment is to determine (among other things) whether there is a need for ‘services’. The community care statutes provide exhaustive lists of services that can be provided and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 provides a generalised statement as to what a carer’s ‘service’ might be. The Care Act repeals these statutes and (in keeping with its ‘outcomes’ rhetoric) avoids referring to the word ‘service’ when describing what may be provided to meet a person’s needs. Instead, section 8(1) contains an illustrative list of what may be ‘provided’ to an adult in need or carer – namely:

  1. a) accommodation in a care home or in premises of some other type;
  2. b) care and support at home or in the community;
  3. c) counselling, advocacy and other types of social work;
  4. d) goods and facilities;
  5. e) information and advice.

The absence of such things as ‘adaptations’ ‘travel’; and ‘holidays’ (which are specifically cited in the current law) was considered problematical by the Select Committee and in response to a question it asked the Department of Health, received confirmation that the Department considered that these services did fall within the ambit of the list.The Committee expressed the hope that the subsequent guidance would ‘make clear that the list is not intended to limit the ways in which a local authority might meet any eligible needs or agreed outcomes, removing any possible ambiguity on that point’ (para 170). Unfortunately the guidance does not make this sufficiently clear.

Support such as home adaptations, equipment and transport is often vital to enable ‘adults in need’ to live independently in the community. The facilitation / provision of suitable adaptations / equipment requires explicit guidance, given that the overlap of responsibilities between housing and social services authorities will remain (with such support being capable of being delivered under both the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the Care Act 2014).  The guidance fails to reiterate and build on the current guidance on this question.

 

Section 8(2) slips out of the ‘outcomes’ mode and gives examples of the ways need may be met which include the ‘service’ word – namely:

(a) by arranging for a person other than it to provide a service;

(b) by itself providing a service;

(c) by making direct payments.

 

Local authorities will be able to charge (under section 14) for the costs that they incur in providing care and support (under section 8) to meet the ‘needs’ of individuals – ie carers as well as elderly ill and disabled people. The question arises therefore as to whether local authorities will start charging for support such as advocacy, social work and information (and indeed how ‘social work’ is to be defined). The question is all the more pressing since local authorities will be able to delegate assessments (and most of their other functions) to independent sector organisations (section 79 – see below). In answer to a specific question on this point, the Minister (Norman Lamb) stated that these provisions do ‘not give a power to local authorities to charge for carrying out a needs or carer’s assessment in any circumstances’.

 

Assessment of adults in need (section 9)

The Act, the regulations and the guidance create important and welcome obligations on local authorities in relation to the advocacy and safeguarding needs of individuals

identified during the assessment and care planning processes.

 

The duty in the Care Act to assess adults in need is closely aligned to the existing duty (under s47 NHS and Community Care Act 1990). As with the current law, the duty is triggered by the appearance of need and arises regardless of the ‘level’ of those needs or the person’s financial resources (it applies, as now, to self-funders). The assessment must have specific regard to the well-being criteria (ie section 1(2) above) and must involve the adult and any carer. It is difficult to see how this can be achieved without a face to face assessment (unless the adult agrees this is not necessary) however para 6.28 of the guidance states that:

Where appropriate, an assessment may be carried out over the phone or online. In adopting such approaches, local authorities should consider whether the proposed means of carrying out the assessment poses any challenges or risks for certain groups, particularly when assuring itself that it has fulfilled its duties around safeguarding, independent advocacy, and assessing mental capacity.

There appears to be a downgrading (or at least a welcome acceptance of reality) of the value of ‘supported self-assessments’. Rhetorically they have promoted the unrealistic notion of disabled people identifying their own needs and mapping out their support – with a social worker giving gentle guidance and the benefit of her or his wisdom. In reality they have too often been the posting of a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to the person in need and then running the ticked boxes through a Resource Allocation System (RAS): highly impersonalised and designed to reduce care costs: to ‘lower expectations’. The guidance requires individuals who are able and willing to undertake a supported self-assessment be offered one (para 6.44) but that: (a) the local authority must assure itself that it ‘is an accurate reflection of the person’s needs’ (para 6.3); and (b) that regardless of what the individual may think ‘the final decision regarding eligibility will rest with the local authority’ (para 6.53).

The guidance gives useful emphasis to the need for assessors to be ‘appropriately trained’, but also states that registered ‘social workers and occupational therapists can provide important support and may be involved in complex assessments which indicate a wide range of needs, risks and strengths that may require a coordinated response from a variety of statutory and community services’ (para 6.7). In so doing the implication is that for non-complex cases social workers may not be necessary. The general (and welcome) tenor of the guidance is, however, that assessors must be ‘appropriately trained’. Para 6.88, for example states that if an ‘assessor does not have the knowledge of a particular condition or circumstance, they must consult someone who has relevant expertise’ and at para 6.86 it requires that:

assessors undergo regular, up-to-date training on an ongoing basis. The training must be appropriate to the assessment, both the format of assessment and the condition(s) and circumstances of the person being assessed. They must also have the skills and knowledge to carry out an assessment of needs that relate to a specific condition or circumstances requiring expert insight, for example when assessing an individual who has autism, learning disabilities, mental health needs or dementia.

The guidance requires that assessments be ‘person-centred, involving the individual and any carer that the adult has, or any other person they might want involved ‘ (para 6.9) and that they must ‘establish the total extent of needs’ (para 6.10). Local authorities are also required to ‘provide in advance, and in accessible format, the list of questions to be covered in the assessment’ (para 6.38).

 

Carer support ignored

The ‘eligibility criteria’ regulations make explicit that the decision about whether an adult has eligible needs, is made on the basis that it does not take into account any support that is being provided by third parties (ie carers): ‘instead, where a person receives support from a carer, this will be taken into account during the development of the care and support plan.’ This important point is addressed in the guidance, which at chapter 6 (Assessment and eligibility) states:

 

6.15 During the assessment, local authorities must consider all of the adult’s care and support needs, regardless of any support being provided by a carer. Where the adult has a carer, information on the care that they are providing can be captured during assessment, but it must not influence the eligibility determination.

 

This approach is restated in the care and support planning section of the guidance (para 10.26) which requires that authorities ‘must identify, during the assessment process, those needs which are being met by a carer at that time, and determine whether those needs would be eligible’.

Section 10(5) requires that assessments must take into account the extent to which the carer is ‘willing, and is likely to continue to be willing’ to provide care. The guidance at para 2.48 that ‘authorities ‘should not assume that others are willing or able to take up caring roles’ echoes earlier guidance – for example the original 1990 policy guidance to the Community Care reforms61 and guidance to the Carers (Recognition & Services) Act 1995.62

 

The nature and setting of the assessment

The guidance advises that to enable individuals to prepare for their assessment, they should be provided in advance (in an accessible format) with the list of questions to be covered in the assessment (para 6.38). At the same time the authority must consider if the individual may have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the assessment process and if so consider the need for independent advocacy (para 6.23). At the conclusion of the assessment the local authority must ‘ensure that it is an accurate and complete reflection of the person’s needs’ (para 6.46) – which must presumably mean sharing a draft and getting it agreed (or details of what is not agreed) – since a copy of the assessment must then be given to the carer / adult in need (para 6.98).The duty to endeavour to reach agreement at this stage is not however explicit – unlike the requirement in para 10.83, that authorities ‘must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the person for whom the plan is being prepared’.

Individuals must be ‘at the heart’ of their assessments and in the case of an adult ‘in need’ the authority ‘must also involve any carer the person has (which may be more than one carer)’.

 

Advocacy support

The Act, regulations and guidance make specific provision for advocates to be provided where a person has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being actively involved with the planning process. Less is said concerning the needs of those who don’t have such a difficulty – but nevertheless feel the need for support from friends or advocates.

 

Eligibility criteria (section 13)

Where an assessment identifies that an individual has needs for care / support then the authority must decide if these needs are sufficient to meet the eligibility criteria. The pre-Care Act legislation contains no reference to ‘eligibility criteria’: locating them instead in guidance (commonly referred to as FACS). The Care Act places eligibility criteria in a statutory footing (section 13) with the detail being spelled out in the regulations– which contain separate criteria for adults in need and for carers. Whether this change of status – or indeed the significant changes to the criteria themselves – will result in material change in practice is difficult to predict. Research suggests that for both carers and disabled / older people, the content of national criteria is less influential than ‘social work attitudes’ and local interpretations of the national criteria.

 

Adults in need eligibility criteria

For adults in need, the Care Act criteria have many similarities to the FACS guidance: the most obvious change is the absence of ‘bands’ (the ‘critical’, ‘substantial’, ‘moderate’ ‘low’ bands in FACS).

 

Under the new eligibility scheme, adults in need must satisfy three requirements:

 

(1) their needs must be the result of a physical or mental impairment or illness;

(2) as a result they must be unable to achieve two or more specified outcomes; and

(3) as a consequence, there is (or there is likely to be) a significant impact on their well-being.

 

In this process – a key word is ‘significant’ and it is one that also appears in the carers eligibility criteria. The guidance avoids a precise definition of what ‘significant’ means – para 6.110 stating that it is to have its ‘everyday meaning – but then adding that authorities must consider whether the adult’s needs and their consequent inability to achieve the relevant outcomes will have an important, consequential effect on their daily lives, their independence and their wellbeing’ (para 6.110) – and that:

‘Needs may affect different people differently, because what is important to the individual’s wellbeing may not be the same in all cases. Circumstances which create a significant impact on the wellbeing of one individual may not have the same effect on another’ (para 6.111).

 

Inevitably it would appear to follow that, as with the FACS criteria, the eligibility determination will continue to be subjective and made on the basis of the assessor’s professional opinion. The ‘inherently subjective’ nature of this process led a number of commentators, including the LGA and ADASS, to suggest that the draft eligibility criteria (published in June 2014) placed the threshold of entitlement closer to the ‘moderate’ band in FACS than the ‘substantial’ band. The final (ie revised) criteria appear to be ‘tighter’ – most noticeably requiring that the person is ‘unable to achieve two or more specified outcomes’. However, in this context, regulation 3 defines ‘unable’ in expansive terms: a person is to be deemed ‘unable’ if he or she:

(a) is unable to achieve it without assistance;

(b) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so causes the adult significant pain, distress or anxiety;

(c) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so endangers or is likely to endanger the health or safety of the adult, or of others; or

(d) is able to achieve it without assistance but takes significantly longer than would normally be expected.

The broad definition of inability to achieve – has also led commentators to suggest that even in this final formulation, the eligibility remain more generous than under the FACS guidance.

 

Regulation 2 details ‘outcomes’ as being:

(a) managing and maintaining nutrition;

(b) maintaining personal hygiene;

(c) managing toilet needs;

(d) being appropriately clothed;

(e) being able to make use of the adult’s home safely;

(f) maintaining a habitable home environment;

(g) developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;

(h) accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering; Care

(i) making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services; and

(j) carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.

 

Para 6.107 of the guidance provides examples of how local authorities should consider each of the above outcomes – while emphasising that the guidance does not constitute an exhaustive list of examples.

 

As noted above, the regulations and guidance are unequivocal concerning the input of carers: this must be ignored during the assessment process of the adult and during the determination of eligibility. As the guidance states (para 6.119):

The eligibility determination must be made based on the adult’s needs and how these impact on their wellbeing. Authorities must only take consideration of whether the adult has a carer, or what needs may be met by a carer after the eligibility determination when a care and support plan is prepared. The determination must be based solely on the adult’s needs and if an adult does have a carer, the care they are providing will be taken into account when considering whether the needs must be met.

 

The pre-Care Act rule – that the eligibility criteria can be sidestepped for people whose needs are urgent is carried forward into the new regime (section 19(3)). The guidance advises that where ‘an individual with urgent needs approaches or is referred to the local authority [it] should provide an immediate response and meet the individuals care and support needs’ and it then provides as an example, ‘where an individual’s condition deteriorates rapidly or they have an accident, they will need a swift response to ensure their needs are met’ (para 6.26).

 

Funding panels

Many local authorities use ‘panels’ of various types (sometimes termed ‘allocation panels’, ‘funding panels’ or ‘purchasing panels’) as a means of rationing services. The legality of the way that some of these panels operate is open to question – creating as they do, an additional non-statutory hurdle for people in need and their carers. The 2014 Act makes no change to this situation and so the concerns raised by the courts and the Joint Committee on Human Rights concerning the legality of such ‘panels’ overruling social work recommendations will remain relevant. The Local Government Ombudsman has also expressed similar misgivings. In a 2005 report, for example, he held that where an assessment has been carried out, a purchasing panel (and by implication a manager) cannot override the judgment of the assessor without providing clear reasons for doing so.

Due regard should be taken to the use of approval panels in both the timeliness and bureaucracy of the planning and sign-off process. In some cases, panels may be an appropriate governance mechanism to sign-off large or unique personal budget allocations and/or plans. Where used, panels should be appropriately skilled and trained, and local authorities should refrain from creating or using panels that seek to amend planning decisions, micro-manage the planning process or are in place purely for financial reasons. …

 

Duty /power to provide care & support for adults /carers (section 18 – 20)

The duty on local authorities to meet the eligible needs of disabled, elderly and ill people is retained and widened by the Care Act. The pre-2014 legislation contains no duty to meet carers’ eligible needs (just a power)85 nor (in general) does the pre-2014 legislation create a duty to meet the needs of ‘self-funders’ (ie people whose savings are above the capital limit – currently £23,750). Both these limitations are removed by the 2014 Act. Where an individual’s needs (ie a carer or an ‘adult in need’) meet the eligibility criteria then there will be a duty to ensure their care and support needs are addressed. The only stipulation being that they are ordinarily resident in the local authority’s area (as at present) and that if their assets are above the financial limit, that they ‘ask the authority’ to meet their needs. Until April 2014 the right of self-funder’s to require the local authority to meet their care needs will only extend to non-care home settings.

Even if a self funder with eligible needs does not ask the local authority to meet their needs – the local authority will (once the ‘cap on care costs’ comes into force in 2016) be under a duty to provide them with a statement (an ‘independent personal budget’ ) detailing what the cost would be to the local authority of meeting their needs – since this notional budget will count towards the ‘cap’.

 

Care & support plans (section 25-26)

The assessment process involves identifying ‘needs’ and then determining which of these (if any) are ‘eligible needs’. This stage is then followed by the development of a care and support plan that explains how the eligible needs will be met. These stages are two sides of an equation: on one side there are the eligible needs that have to be met and on the other are the details of how this will be done. In order that the individual can determine whether their assessed needs are fully addressed in the care plan, the guidance requires that they ‘must be given a record of their needs or carer’s assessment’ (para 6.98) and also their final care plan (para 10.87).

 

Needs versus ‘outcomes’

The Act seeks to distinguish ‘needs’ from ‘outcomes’. This chimes with the views of many commentators who consider that the ‘social model’ approach requires a ‘focus on outcomes’ rather than personal ‘needs’. There is much to be said for this, but there are dangers too.

On the positive side outcomes aim to identify the person’s ‘aspirations, goals and priorities’. The theory is that if the assessment focuses on these issues it will break free from the shackles of thought processes tied to existing service models – thinking about ‘what services are available’. Once the person ‘in need’ / carer have been helped to explain what they would like happen in their lives – then they (with the support of the authority) can seek to develop a care and support plan designed to enable these things to be achieved. The theory is that this process leads to better and sometimes more imaginative solutions.

On the negative side, however, there is evidence that the emphasis on outcomes is rhetorical rather than of substance (a criticism also made of many local authority ‘personalisation’ programmes). Much of the research concerning outcomes focused assessments identifies the importance of avoiding prescriptive ‘tick box’ questionnaires and of the need for a strong human relationships with assessors who have the skills and time to enable this approach to succeed. Local authorities are however moving to greater standardisation, more prescriptive assessment forms, less skilled / trained workforces with ever higher caseloads. increasing disconnect between what service users say and related evidence, and the thinking of government and policy-makers and what they seem to be doing.

 

A further reason for caution lies in the very ambiguity as to what constitutes an ‘outcome’. Just as some disabled people have historically been told that their asserted ‘need’ is merely a ‘want’ – some are now being told that their ‘need’ is no longer relevant – it is the ‘outcome’ that counts (and the local authority then proceed to tell them what this is). Not infrequently there is a pedantic circularity to the distinction – and one that should be confronted. Outcomes arise out of needs, which stem from impairments – so, for example, the regulations (when dealing with the criteria for an adult in need’) state that because of a person’s needs, a statutory ‘outcome’ could be ‘managing toilet needs’. The guidance (para 6.107) then explains how local authorities should consider each statutory ‘outcome’ for the purposes of determining eligibility – and in relation to ‘managing toilet needs’ it states that this requires a consideration of their ‘ability to access and use a toilet and manage their toilet needs.’ It would appear to follow that a ‘need’ to get to the toilet is only a ‘need’ but a need to mange my toilet needs’ is an outcome.

It is at this stage one asks whether the well-being requirement – that the authority starts from the ‘assumption that the individual is best-placed to judge the individual’s well-being’ (section 1(3)) – extends to accepting that the individual is best placed to say what they want to be able to do (their outcome) and to do so in their own terms – including using the language of need?

 

Provided the potential for casuistry in the ‘outcomes versus needs’ analysis is avoided, there is much to welcome in having a statutory list of ‘outcomes / needs’ – particularly as the guidance (para 6.107) states that this does ‘not constitute an exhaustive list) when determining the adult’s eligibility for care and support’.

 

Care and support planning – principles

Section 25 details what must be in every care and support plan (ie for a carer or an adult ‘in need’) and this duty is analysed in the guidance (para 10.36). The requirements include:

 the needs identified by the assessment;

 whether, and to what extent, the needs meet the eligibility criteria;

 the needs that the authority is going to meet, and how it intends to do so;

 for a person needing care, for which of the desired outcomes care and support could be relevant;

 for a carer, the outcomes the carer wishes to achieve, and their wishes around providing care, work, education and recreation where support could be relevant;

 

the personal budget …;

 information and advice on what can be done to reduce the needs in question, and to prevent or delay the development of needs in the future;

 where needs are being met via a direct payment … , the needs to be met via the direct payment and the amount and frequency of the payments.

The effect of section 25 is that the current requirements for care and support plans will continue – but they now become statutory rather than requirements of Department of Health guidance. Existing case law concerning care plans will remain relevant – particularly so, given that it places great emphasis on the importance of local authorities following guidance. (which will now be the detail in the 2014 guidance). In R v Islington LBC ex p Rixon (1997) it was held that central importance of a care plan was described as: the means by which the local authority assembles the relevant information and applies it to the statutory ends, and hence affords good evidence to any inquirer of the due discharge of its statutory duties.

In R (J) v Caerphilly CBC it was held that care plans must ‘set out the operational objectives with sufficient detail – including detail of the “how, who, what and when” – to enable the care plan itself to be used as a means of checking whether or not those objectives are being met’. A 2014 Ombudsman’s report held (in similar terms) that an assessment must be more than merely a descriptive document: it must spell out with precision what the needs are, what the impact of the disability is on the carer(s) and whether the disabled person and the carers needs can be met and can continue to be met into the future. The assessment must result in a care plan that identifies the needs, what is to be done about these needs, by whom and when. If a direct payment is made, it must specify precisely what need these payments are intended to meet, why this level of payment is considered appropriate, or what outcome this will result in.

 

The most significant difference under the new regime is that every such plan for an ‘adult’ must have a ‘personal budget’ offered. (s25(1)(e) ). Since most local authorities already do this – it will probably make little practical difference.

 

The 2014 guidance requires that the person being assessed must be ‘genuinely involved and influential throughout the planning process and that: ‘it should be made clear that the plan ‘belongs’ to the person it is intended for, with the local authority role to ensure the production and sign-off of the plan to ensure that it is appropriate to meet the identified needs (para 10.2). The care and support plan ‘must take into consideration the individual’s preferences’ (para 10.21).

The duty to meet eligible needs is not discharged just because a person has another entitlement to a different service which could meet those needs, but which they are not availing themselves of. The needs remain ‘unmet’ (and so the local authority under a duty to meet them) until those needs are actually met by the relevant service bring provided or arranged.

 

Personal budgets

Section 26 states that the amount of an adult’s personal budget is ‘the cost to the local authority of meeting those of the adult’s needs which it is required or decides to meet’. The guidance states at para 11.10 that:

The personal budget must always be an amount sufficient to meet the person’s care and support needs, and must include the cost to the local authority of meeting the person’s needs which the local authority is under a duty to meet, or has exercised its power to do so. This overall cost must then be broken down into the amount the person must pay, following the financial assessment, and the remainder of the budget that the authority will pay.

It follows from the above, that a personal budget may include an amount attributable to support that the local authority funds as a ‘discretion’ (ie support that it considers is needed – but which does not meet the eligibility criteria). Since the amount that an individual pays for their care will be added (from April 2016) to their ‘Dilnot taxi meter’ – towards their ‘cap on costs’ – the guidance needs to make clear whether the charges for discretionary services are included for ‘cap on costs’ purposes. If these charges do not count – then there is an obvious temptation for local authorities to include them in the plan as a discretionary support.

The expectation is that (for non-self funders) the personal budget will change as the care and support planning process progresses. At the start of the planning process it will be an ‘indicative amount’ shared with the person, and anybody else involved, with ‘final amount of the personal budget confirmed through this process’ (para 11.7). This means there is no need for an authority to use a Resource Allocation System (RAS) to generate a figure at the commencement of the process – an authority might have (for example) a simple set of ‘bands’. Research suggests that most RAS generate incorrect figures which have serious defects – not least their complexity and the rigidity with which some local authorities then apply them. In support of this approach the guidance advises that ‘complex RAS models of allocation may not work for all client groups’ (para 11.23) and that ‘regardless of the process used, the most important principles in setting the personal budget are transparency, timeliness and sufficiency’ (para 11.24).

The guidance (para 11.7) states that ‘Everyone whose needs are met by the local authority … must receive a personal budget as part of the care and support plan.

 

Direct Payments (sections 31-33)

The new legislation provides for an almost identical ‘direct payments’ regime as at present and the detail (as with the current system) is to be found in the regulations and the guidance. The only significant change is that direct payments will be available for residential care placements. This change is expected to come into force in April 2016 and pilots in 18 local authority areas are currently underway.

 

 

The relevance of local authority financial difficulties

Para 10.27 of the guidance makes clear that the current law concerning the relevance of a local authority’s financial position remains (as first detailed in the Gloucestershire judgment) namely that although authorities can ‘take into account reasonable consideration’ of their finances, they ‘must comply’ with their legal obligations. A local authority’s finances are relevant when it decides how to meet the eligible needs of an individual ‘but not whether those needs are met’. The guidance goes on to stress that authorities ‘should not set arbitrary upper limits on the costs [they are] willing to pay to meet needs through certain routes’ – although they may: take decisions on a case-by-case basis which weigh up the total costs of different potential options for meeting needs, and include the cost as a relevant factor in deciding between suitable alternative options for meeting needs. This does not mean choosing the cheapest option; but the one which delivers the outcomes desired for the best value. (para 10.27)

 

Sign off and copies of care plans

The ‘sign off of a plan should only occur once the authority has taken ‘all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the person for whom the plan is being prepared’ and ‘any third party involved in the preparation of the plan’ and this ‘agreement should be recorded and a copy placed within the plan’ (para 10.83). If the plan is not agreed then the authority should ‘state the reasons for this and the steps which must be taken to ensure that the plan is signed-off’ (para 10.86).

The Act also requires that a copy of the care and support plan be given to the adult in need / carer (and anyone else they request) (section 25(9) and (10)) and the guidance at para 10.87 makes clear that the copy must be ‘in a format that is accessible to the person for whom the plan is intended’ and copies should also be given to any independent advocate involved. Many care and support plans are computer generated and incomprehensible to all but the initiated. The requirement that the copies be ‘in a format that is accessible’ must require that this practice ends and plain English, jargon free plans are provided to those who require them.

 

And some of the rest

Prevention (section 2)

Local authorities will be under a general duty to provide a range of preventative services that they ‘consider’ will:

(a) contribute towards preventing or delaying the development by adults in its area of needs for care and support;

(b) contribute towards preventing or delaying the development by carers in its area of needs for support;

(c) reduce the needs for care and support of adults in its area;

(d) reduce the needs for support of carers in its area.

 

Charging and preventative services

The current requirement that intermediate care and reablement must be provided without charge is carried into the new regime. While it will continue to be a time-limited service, the guidance advises that ‘where it is provided beyond six weeks, local authorities should consider continuing to provide it free of charge beyond six weeks in such circumstances’ (para 2.61).

Where a local authority decides to charge for preventative services the guidance advices that it is ‘vital to ensure affordability’ and that it balances the ‘affordability and viability … with the likely impact of charging on the uptake’ – and that this be considered individually as well as at general policy levels.

 

Integration with the NHS (section 3)

Section 3 places a duty on local authorities to promote integration with health provision where it would—

(a) promote the well-being of adults with needs & carers in its area; or

(b) contribute to the prevention of the development of needs in adults / carers; or

(c) improve the quality of care for adults / carers, provided

This will include joint working in relation to the better Care Fund.

 

Information (section 4)

Local authorities will have an enhanced duty to provide adults in need / carers with information about care and support arrangements, including:- how the care system operates; the care and support choices they have (including the choice of providers); how to access this support and how to raise safeguarding concerns. The information duty will also include how to access independent financial advice – which will be of considerable relevance given the choices ‘self-funders’ will have to make under the new regime – particularly with regard to the ‘cap on care cost’ reforms.

The guidance explains that authorities ‘must establish and maintain a service for providing people with information and advice relating to care and support’ (para 3.11); that this must be provided for a variety of different formats; that the ‘duty in the Care Act will not be met through the use of digital channels alone’ and that the mix of provision will be expected to include ‘face-to-face contact’ (para 3.29).

 

Duty to promote effective high quality providers (section 5)

The Act (fleshed out by three sets of regulations36) contains a range of provisions designed to address the ‘supply side’ problems of the social care market – ie (a) the problem of large providers collapsing (such as Southern Cross failure in 2011); and (b) the increasing belief that the quality of services is generally poor and deteriorating. These provisions include ‘market oversight’ arrangements involving the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – amongst others (ss 53 – 57 Care Act 2014) and a temporary duty on social services to intervene if a particular provider ‘fails’ (ss 48-52). In July 2014 the Public Accounts Committee was of the view that the CQC (which will monitor the top 40 – 50 providers) lacked ‘the skills to undertake this expanded level of monitoring’.

Regulations38 have now been issued to provide for eleven fundamental standards39 of safety and quality that should always be met by providers of health and social care and draft CQC guidance.

Section 5 places a duty on local authorities to promote an efficient /

Workforce issues

The social care workforce has been a direct victim of local authority pressure on providers to reduce their fees. The guidance stresses the importance of authorities ‘fostering a workforce which underpins the market’ (para 4.21) and encouraging (by for example providing funding – para 4.29) ‘training and development’. Local authorities when commissioning services must assure themselves that their fee levels do not (among other things) compromise the service provider’s ability to: (1) ‘meet the statutory obligations to pay at least minimum wages; (2) ‘provide effective training and development of staff’ (para 4.31); and (3) pay remuneration that is:

at least sufficient to comply with the national minimum wage legislation for hourly pay or equivalent salary. This will include appropriate remuneration for any time spent travelling between appointments (para 4.30).

The guidance advises that where a provider has previously been in breach of national minimum wage legislation it should in general be excluded from the tendering process (para 4.102).

 

Delegation (section 79)

Local authorities will be able to delegate all of their functions under the Act – with few exceptions (eg safeguarding (sections 42 – 47) and charging (section 14)). Section 79(6) makes it clear that ultimate responsibility in such cases will still rest with the local authority (any acts /omissions by the delegated body will be treated as done / omitted to be done by the local authority). A series of pilots have run since 2011 to explore the potential for delegation: these have been small scale and almost all have been third sector not for profit organisations. Section 79 opens up the possibility of full scale delegation of quite a different order and might be contemplated by local authorities facing a steep rise in their assessment / care planning obligations resulting from their new duties to carers and to self funders. In anticipation of these reforms all English local authorities have been given power to delegate virtually all of their adult social services powers.

covered in the assessment’ (para 6.38).

 

Review of care & support plans (aka annual harassment)

Section 27(1) of the 2014 Act places a general requirement for local authorities to keep under review care and support plans (as well as when a reasonable request by the adult in need or a carer and section 27(4) requires that if they believe that that circumstances have changed materially, then they must undertake a further needs or carer’s assessment and revise the plan accordingly. The guidance creates an expectation that the care and support plans will reviewed ‘no later than every 12 months, although a light-touch review should be considered 6-8 weeks after the plan and personal budget have been signed off’ (para 10.42 – and see also para 13.32).

The guidance requires that reviews (like assessments) must be person-centred, accessible and proportionate: must involve the ‘person needing care and also the carer where feasible’ (para 13.2) and their purpose is ‘identify if the person’s needs (or any other circumstances) have changed’ (para 13.4). Very welcome is the note in the guidance that the ‘review must not be used as a mechanism to arbitrarily reduce the level of a person’s personal budget’ (para 13.4). Reviews should not be ‘overly-complex or bureaucratic’ and should cover the specified matters – which ‘should be communicated to the person before the review process begins’ para 13.12). These include: whether the person’s needs / circumstances have changed; what parts of the plan are working / not working / need changing; have the outcomes identified in the plan been achieved and are there any new outcomes they want to meet; is the person’s personal budget adequate and is there a need to change the way it is managed / paid; are there material changes in the person’s support networks which might impact negatively or positively on the plan; have any changes occurred which could give rise to a risk of abuse or neglect; and is the person, carer, independent advocate satisfied with the plan?

 

Charging (section 14)

As noted, local authorities will be able to charge for the cost they incur in providing social care support services. Under the pre-Care Act law, there was a duty to charge for residential care services and a power to charge for non-residential care (including carers’ services). The 2014 Act repeals the previous law and section 14 gives authorities the power (but not a duty) to charge. In the short term it is unlikely that there will be material changes to local authority charging policies – although reference to the well-established Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidance (CRAG) will change as this is repealed – but it is replicated in large measure by the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations and the guidance (including Annexes B, C, D and E).

 

The guidance states (para 8.2) that a single set of principles will condition local authority approaches to charging, namely:

 ensure that people are not charged more than it is reasonably practicable for them to pay;

 be comprehensive, to reduce variation in the way people are assessed and charged;

 be clear and transparent, so people know what they will be charged;

 promote wellbeing, social inclusion, and support the vision of personalisation, independence, choice and control;

 support carers to look after their own health and wellbeing and to care effectively and safely;

 be person-focused, reflecting the variety of care and caring journeys and the variety of options available to meet their needs;

 apply the charging rules equally so those with similar needs or services are treated the same and minimise anomalies between different care settings;

 encourage and enable those who wish to stay in or take up employment, education or training or plan for the future costs of meeting their needs to do so; and

 be sustainable for local authorities in the long-term.

 

Welcome as is the requirement that ‘people are not charged more than it is reasonably practicable for them to pay’ this represents (for people receiving non-residential care support) a dilution of their legal rights. At present the prohibition is contained in the statute and so is only capable of being removed by Parliament (whereas guidance can be re-written on Ministerial whim).

One problem with the approach of applying ‘the charging rules equally so those with similar needs or services are treated the same’ is that local authorities may start charging carers for services. The guidance anticipates this problem – but in a relatively ‘limp’ section seeks to argue that charging carers is not inevitable stating (para 8.50):

Local authorities are not required to charge a carer for support. …. a local authority should consider how it wishes to express the way it values carers within its local community as partners in care, and recognise the significant contribution carers make. … Local authorities should consider carefully the likely impact of any charges on carers, particularly in terms of their willingness and ability to continue their caring responsibilities.

 

Continuity of care (portability) (sections 37-38)

The Act prescribes the way local authorities transfer responsibility for the care and support of an adult – when she or he moves from one local authority area to another. It does this by attempting to embed ‘good practice’ (ie what should happen) into legislation. The problem is that there are no sanctions if either the first or second local authority fails to act properly – and so (as now) an individual would have to make a complaint/ go to the Ombudsman if a problem occurs.

Sections 37 – 38 are replete with detailed procedural obligations – but in essence they provide that where a local authority (the 1st local authority) is providing135 care and support for an adult and another authority (the 2nd authority) is notified that the adult intends to move into their area (and it is satisfied that the intention is genuine) then it must (among other things) undertake an assessment of the adult’s needs (and those of any carers he or she may have). If the assessment(s) have not been completed by the time the adult actually moves, then the second authority must meet the needs identified by the 1st authority (until its assessment is complete).

Chapter 20 of the guidance fleshes out how the process should operate – but signally fails to deal with what will happen when a person moves and the second local authority fails to act properly – for example by failing to fund the person’s needs to the same level as the first authority until it has completed its assessment. The guidance should have cautioned against the first authority stopping the funding in such cases – but it does not.

 

Ordinary Residence (section 39 – 41)

The existing law concerning the determination of a person’s ‘ordinary residence’ continues under the new legislation – with one major change.

The case law concerning the notion of ‘ordinary residence’ will remain applicable – ie that it refers to a person’s ‘abode in a particular place … adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes … whether of short or long duration’.As with the current law there are two significant ‘deeming’ rules – and it is in relation to the second of these that the material change is made.

The first deeming rule (now found in section 39(5)) concerns adults in NHS accommodation: such people are deemed to be ordinarily resident in the area in which they were immediately before they entered the NHS accommodation / ambulance.

The second deeming rule concerns adults whose accommodation is arranged by a local authority in the area of another local authority. At present this is restricted to cases where a local authority arranges accommodation in a registered care home. The legislation extends this rule to include not only care home accommodation, but also shared lives scheme accommodation and supported living accommodation. Local authority responsibility only attaches if the care and support ‘can be met only’ in the specified accommodation and the accommodation is in England (section 39(1)).

Para 19.31 of the guidance explains that:

Need should be judged to “only be able to be met” through a specified type of accommodation

 

in the specified accommodation and the accommodation is in England (section 39(1)).

Para 19.31 of the guidance explains that:

Need should be judged to “only be able to be met” through a specified type of accommodation where the local authority has made this decision following an assessment and a care and support planning process involving the person. Decisions on how needs are to be met, made in the latter process and recorded in the care and support plan, should evidence that needs can only be met in that manner. The local authority must have assessed those needs in order to make such a decision – the “deeming” principle therefore does not apply to cases where a person arranges their own accommodation and the local authority does not meet their needs.

Responsibility will however continue even if the person moves between different specified types of accommodation in another (or more than one other) area and it will also exist where the person takes a direct payment and arranges their own care (see paras 19.32 – 19.34).

 

Safeguarding (sections 42 – 47))

The Act places on a statutory footing some of the safeguarding obligations that are at present, only located in the guidance (principally the ‘No Secrets’ guidance) – for example the duty to make enquiries / decide what action should to be taken.

Section 42 contains the duty to make enquiries if adult with care & support needs:

  • is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse of neglect; and
  • is unable to protect him/herself against the abuse / neglect.

 

The Act does not explain what is meant by ‘abuse’ – save to specify that it includes financial abuse which is broadly defined – eg including putting the adult ‘under pressure in relation to money or other property’ and/or the adult ‘having money or other property misused’.

The Act provides no new powers to protect adults from abuse – merely ‘process’ obligations (eg to have a Safeguarding Board; to undertake investigations and to require individuals to provide information etc). The Welsh Act provides a power of entry – to enable social services to gain access and to speak with a person suspected of being abused – and the Scottish Act contains (in addition) a power of removal. Not only are such powers absent from the English Act, the existing National Assistance Act 1948 section 47 power to remove, is repealed.

 

Independent advocacy (section 67)

Section 67 of the Act and the regulations place a duty on local authorities to arrange independent advocacy if the authority considers that: (1) an individual would experience ‘substantial difficulty’ in participating in (amongst other things) their assessment and / or the preparation of their care and support plan; and (2) there is no one appropriate available to support and represent the person’s wishes. As the guidance states at para 7.4:

Local authorities must arrange an independent advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessment, in the preparation of their care and support plan and in the review of their care plan, as well as in safeguarding enquiries and SARs [Safeguarding Adults Reviews] if two conditions are met. That if an independent advocate were not provided then the person would have substantial difficulty in being fully involved in these processes and second, there is no appropriate individual available to support and represent the person’s wishes who is not paid or professionally engaged in providing care or treatment to the person or their carer. The role of the independent advocate is to support and represent the person and to facilitate their involvement in the key processes and interactions with the local authority and other organisations as required for the safeguarding enquiry or SAR.

The guidance explains that a person experiences ‘substantial difficulty’ when this exists in relation to any one of four areas – namely (para by 6.33):

understanding the information provided; retaining the information; using or weighing up the information as part of the process of being involved; and communicating the person’s views, wishes or feelings. Where a person has substantial difficulty in any of these four areas, then they need assistance.

s117 Mental Health Act 1983 (section 74)

Currently ‘’after-care services’ are not defined by the 1983 Act. The Care Act inserts a new subsection (5) into the 1983 Act to limit services to those:

(a) ‘arising from or related to the mental disorder’ and

(b) reducing the risk of a deterioration of the person’s mental condition (ie that may require re-admission).

The Act confirms that ordinary residence for the purposes of s117 is determined by where a person was based immediately before they were detained and gives the Secretary of State power to resolve ordinary residence disputes. It also inserts a new ‘s117A’ that provides for regulations to introduce a limited ‘choice of accommodation’ for persons subject to s117.

 Posted by at 21:25
Jan 292015
 

Legal Challenge re-PIP claims

We are aware that many disabled people are having problems with the way the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system works, and many people are having to wait a really long time for an assessment or decision. We know some people are waiting months, which is unacceptable.

If you are planning to apply for PIP, or have applied and are currently waiting for an assessment or decision, we can put you in touch with some solicitors who may be able to provide you with some free assistance which may speed up your claim where there is a delay. If you would like to find out about this please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

Legal Challenge re- Sanctions

We are also looking for  ESA claimants who have been sanctioned, or threatened with a sanction, because they have not been able to undertake work related activity for some reason which is connected with their disability. For example, the claimant cannot attend training because their mental health problem prevents them from travelling or from working in a group of people they do not know. In such a case, we could argue that the DWP should make reasonable adjustments such as providing them with training via the internet or providing them with means of travel to training as appropriate.

The best time for a case to start is probably at the point when a sanction has been threatened and before it is imposed, but get in touch if your benefit has been reduced as well.

We also hope that the question of the lawfulness of sanctions can be looked at as well but need some individual cases first.

If you are interested in getting involved with either of these cases please contact us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 Posted by at 13:08
Jan 282015
 

While Labour profess to support fully the right to live independently for disabled people we are now in a situation following plans to close the Independent Living Fund where England is left as the only UK country which will not have it’s own form of a fund to continue to support the additional funding requirements of those who have high support needs.

For any political party to say they want disabled people to have the same rights, choices and chances as any other citizen rings hollow without a commitment to keep in place even if on a temporary basis the funding necessary for this to happen.

The Labour Party’s official response to many people who have contacted them with regard to supporting keeping the ILF open has outlined a number of points which we would like to address.

1) The “inconsistencies” in delivery which you mention were the result of unequal take up between different local authorities  and was 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 you 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.

2) You also state that ‘ we understand the Fund is already being wound down, and staff numbers are already reducing’. This maybe correct but it is equally the case that there is very little being done in terms of winding down the ILF that could not very quickly be undone, even after actual closure of the ILF. This information has been provided by ILF staff and a former strategic director at ILF and  has been shared with Labour’s shadow DWP team by PCS union and others. This means that if a Labour government were to be elected in May 2015 it will very much be Labour’s decision to go ahead with closure in June.

3) In turn that brings us onto the fact that should Labour be elected to government next May it is they who will be in power and responsible for the UK’s failure to protect disabled people’s human rights under the UNCRPD, and it is they who will be deemed responsible for the continuing grave and systematic violation of those rights when the UN investigation into the UK takes place after the election. We believe this would cause unnecessary and easily avoidable  embarrassment to a newly elected labour government with international repercussions.

Whilst we welcome Labour’s goal of trying to ensure in the longer term that those currently supported by the Independent Living Fund can realise rights to live independently and with dignity, the ‘whole person care’ through which Labour intends to deliver on this goal is at this stage only a proposal and any benefits resulting from it are a long way off. 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.

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 wash more than a couple of times per week.

Whilst the intention of issuing guidelines to local authorities is well meaning, it is unrealistic within the current climate to see these securing the futures of existing ILF recipients. Cash strapped local authorities 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. An LA 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.

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; the ILF will not be wound down beyond easy repair before May 2015.

The alternative is that disabled people’s right to independent living will be wiped out, potentially for generations. Once a people lose choice and control over their lives, disempowerment sets in and rights that have been smashed aside over-night can only be won back over a long and hard road.

As it stands, if Labour are elected in May 2015, the final nail in the coffin of disabled people’s right to independent living as it currently exists will be hammered in under a Labour government. It does not have to be like this. The Labour Party has a golden opportunity to make a principled stand in support of disabled people and our rights to equality, inclusion and equality by supporting the continuation of ILF. Disabled people are mobilizing and campaigning across the UK, through initiatives like Operation Disabled Vote. A  principled stand by Labour on the ILF ahead of the General Election would be welcomed by the 12.2 million disabled people in the UK, our families, friends and supporters.

What you can do to help

We’re therefore asking people to email or tweet to Labour to say that England must not be the only UK country without an Independent Living Fund and that we know and have shown them the evidence that it is not too late to keep an ILF in England as well as in other UK countries. If Labour want disabled people’s votes then they must give an assurance that in the short term at least they will keep the ILF open until such time as something better can be put in place.

You can email Iain McNicoll, general secretary of the Labour Party at onenationpolitics@labour.org.uk

Ed Miliband at ed.miliband.mp@parliament.uk

And Kate Green at kate.green.2nd@parliament.uk

Or you can tweet them @IainMcnicol

@ed_miliband

@kategreenSU

Please also contact your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and let us know what replies you get.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:53
Jan 112015
 

http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/pictures/GALLERY-8203-100-march-Luton-justice-protest/pictures-25838488-detail/pictures.html

OVER 100 people marched through Luton today (Sunday) in protest against Bedfordshire Police.

Representatives from Justice 4 Leon, Justice 4 Faruk Ali and Justice 4 Mayah, who have united as the group Luton 4 Justice, were joined by campaigners for Slough man Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, who died in police custody in 2008.

The group marched from Nadeem Plaza to Luton Police Station at 1pm, which was closed during the protest, where speeches were given by campaigners.

The group had dispersed by 3pm.

Dhobir Ali, brother of Faruk Ali, said: “Today is a start of a long journey, with a lot of struggles ahead.

“We have a lot of questions left unanswered, such as the progress of the misconduct hearing and whether they will release the footage.

“We want to work with the police, but we also want there to be transparency.”

When asked what the next step for Luton 4 Justice was, Livery Louise of the Justice 4 Leon campaign said: “The next step after this is the Ferguson USA to UK tour where a Reverend central to the protests of the Michael Brown case is coming down to speak on a panel, which we hope will raise awareness even further and increase community cohesion.”

Read more: http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/pictures/GALLERY-8203-100-march-Luton-justice-protest/pictures-25838488-detail/pictures.html#ixzz3OXakZK61

Report back from Mandy a DPAC supporter who attended the event together with Andy Greene who spoke on behalf of DPAC

Strange that I should be in respite care, when the march was due to take place. My life is full of these anomalies. I consider being part of the protest as party of my therapy. It is import for people to feel valued and involved in important things. It doesn’t get much more important than the right to justice and that means justice for all.

I wasn’t aware that the march would be taking place until last Wednesday. However, there was enough time to liaise with Linda and Andy and to have some clue of where the march was to start.

After a few minor blips, I met Andy and Jim at Luton train station and we took a slow pootle to Nazeem Plaza

It was nice to have people to go along with especially all I really knew was that some people had died, either in police custody or due to negligence of other people (and a system that seems to serve itself…make that does serve itself).

When we got to the rendezvous point, I became aware that 2 adults and a child had died and  Faruk Ali a man with autism had been assaulted twice by police outside his home. The families had got no justice for their loved one. I am sure many people are aware of the ‘corruption’ that makes for our justice system but I was horrified, particularly, by the plight of Mayah. A young girl and the abuse her family members received, not just when Mayah was in hospital but since they have been trying to get those accountable to be made accountable. Having said that, all life is precious and the lives of the 3 people, taken too soon, unnecessarily, and the way public servants have lied, covered up the truth and put the families through hell upset and angered me. Gave me more resolve, when I was marching because it felt the only right thing for me to do.
During the march, I became detached from Andy and Jim. These things happen when I get caught up in what is going on. I felt a strong sense of solidarity and pride in being part of the march and having a booming voice came in really handy as we (as a collective) chanted the names of those who had died and yelled “Our Streets” in response to the question “Whose Streets?”.

The names of those we were marching for: Leon Briggs, Papa Mullah, Farouk Ali and Baby Mayah. It is important to remember these people and also to remember that if this is what has happened in Luton, similar miscarriages of justice (deaths in police custody and assaults of disabled people) must be happening all over this country.

The march ended at Luton Police Station, where family members (of the victims), community leaders and DPAC’s Andy gave speeches. Was well impressed by Andy. Blimey, he can give it some and fair play to him. He did DPAC and all disabled people proud.

I was very much touched by Mayah’s uncle. I nearly cried, hearing how Mayah died and how brutally her family members, including Mayah’s mother, were treated by the police. I know this sounds a bit biased but as a mother I can only imagine (and how awful that imagery is) what it would be like if that had been my daughter and I was being manhandled by policemen.

Before some of us, who had marched, went off for free soup at Ruby’s. {The owner, very kindly, made soup for all who took part} somebody (from some news channel or other) thrust a microphone at me, asking me why I attended the march. Bottom line, because the justice system should serve everyone and serve everyone properly.

 

 Posted by at 19:06
Jan 112015
 

as you may have seen Mark Harper may have deliberately misled parliament and said that disabled people’s organisations have told him his government are right to close the independent Living Fund and devolve non-ring fenced funding to Local Authorities. Following DWPs response to an FOI we have now written to those disability charities it seems Mark Harper claims have supported this decision to ask them if they did agree with the government.

The charities concerned are DRUK,  Mencap, MIND, RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Leonard Cheshire Disability and SCOPE.

Many thanks to John Pring and his Disability News Service for also working on this issue.

http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2015/01/independent-living-fund-ministers-unbelievable-failure-prove-commons-boast/

Dear CEO,

A published statement in parliament made in December last year has left Mark Harper the minister for disabled people facing accusations that he misled parliament over the level of support for the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
Mark Harper told MPs that he had “talked to disability organisations about this matter, and they agree with the
government” that the ILF should be closed and non-ring-fenced funding passed instead to local authorities.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141208/debtext/141208-0001.htm#1412082000005
Having now received a response to a Freedom of Information request about this matter the Minister for Disabled People’s Private Office has confirmed that the Minister does meet regularly with a large number of disability organisations including a regular monthly meeting with the Disability Charities Consortium – an informal coalition of seven disability charities; Action on Hearing Loss, Disability Rights UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap, Mind, RNIB and Scope – and attendance at the Fulfilling Potential Forum.

We know that those attending the Fulfilling Potential Forum have not agreed with the government’s plans to close the ILF and refusal to ring-fence the money.

We also feel it is unlikely, but not impossible, that you as one of the CEOs of the Disability Charities Consortium have agreed with this stance but before we pursue this matter further we would like you to confirm to us whether you have in meetings with Mark Harper agreed with the government’s position that the ILF should be closed and non ring-fenced funding devolved to local authorities.

We have posted this on our website and will add your responses to us as and when we receive them.

Linda Burnip

Disabled People Against Cuts

Responses

Linda
Disability Rights UK has never  agreed with government to ILF closure.
We have not agreed with government on closure or transfer.

On ring-fencing we campaigned in 2014 on the lack of ring-fencing by many local authorities, after we did a Freedom of Information request to find out what local authorities were doing – this was on national media.

See our statement and these FoI  findings at: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2014/august/most-councils-will-not-ringfence-ilf-resources

We will be doing a further Freedom of Information request shortly to sustain pressure

Best wishes

Liz

Dear Linda

I am currently chair of Disabilities Charities Consortium.

Disabilities Charities Consortium CEOs have met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October 2014. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and shared our joint policy platform (see attached document) and invited the Minister to outline his priorities up until May 2015.

There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focused on social care funding and legislative reforms. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our positioning document (attached) calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this. By the end of the next Parliament, all recipients of state-funded care must have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

With regard to Action on Hearing Loss, we have not had any conversation with the Minister for Disabled People about the Independent Living Fund.

With best wishes

Paul

Paul Breckell
Chief Executive
Action on Hearing Loss

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your recent messages to Clare Pelham with regard the Independent Living Fund.

In addition to the clarification that I know has been sent on behalf of the DCC group, I can confirm that we have had two recent meetings with Mark Harper MP, the introductory meeting between the Minister and the CEOs of the Disability Charities Consortium on 14 October, and an individual meeting on 27 November. We did not discuss the ILF at either of these meetings. In addition, over the last year we have specifically called for the ILF to be retained.

Yours,

Andy Cole 

Director of Corporate Affairs
Leonard Cheshire Disability

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your email regarding the comment that the Minister for Disabled People made in Parliament in December 2014 about the Independent Living Fund.

Scope has held two meetings with Mark Harper as the Minister for Disabled People – the first in September 2014 and the second in January 2015.  The agenda of neither of these meetings included a specific item on the Independent Living Fund.

We have always been clear that our position on ILF is as set out below.

As you know, in our response to the Government’s 2012 consultation entitled ‘The Future of the Independent Living Fund’ (available here:https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-of-the-independent-living-fund-ilf), Scope stated that ‘Whilst it may be reasonable to consider bringing the Independent Living Fund (ILF) into the mainstream care and support system at some point in the future, Scope is strongly opposed to closing the fund to existing users at this present time’ and that “the core issue of funding for all care and support services needs to be addressed before any potential consideration of closure of the ILF to existing users”.

Since then, Scope has been consistent and clear that we are very concerned about the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) because it is likely to lead to fewer disabled people being able to live independently and because those basic conditions for any movement of the fund into the mainstream care system have not been met. Our most recent position statement on the closure of the Fund can be found here: http://www.scope.org.uk/Scope-responds-lawfulness-closure-Independent-Living-Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium has met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October 2014. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and shared our joint policy platform and invited the Minister to outline his priorities up until May 2015.   There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focused on social care funding and legislative reforms. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our positioning document calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this. By the end of the next Parliament, all recipients of state-funded care must have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

I hope this answers your query in full, and please do not hesitate to contact me again if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,

Richard Hawkes

SCOPE

Thank you for your email and giving us an opportunity to respond to what the government has said.

As you’ll see from the attached response to the original ILF consultation, which we submitted in October 2012, we called, amongst other things,  for a ring-fenced budget allocation, if the ILF were to be closed. We then set out the different developments we wanted to see across Wales and Northern Ireland, were the ILF to close, to ensure a proper funding settlement for the devolved administrations. We believe that the lack of ringfencing is a very serious issue, which the government has not recognised.

In particular, I would draw your attention to the following from our response:

“Mencap urges the Government to transfer the funding from the ILF to local authorities in the form of a ring fenced specific grant. Otherwise it would be highly likely that local authorities will use the ILF funding to meet other gaps in spending. Furthermore Mencap calls upon the Government to take urgent action to address the funding crisis within adult social care. ”

You may also know that we are a member of the Care and Support Alliance, along with over 70 other organisations, campaigning together for a significant increase in funding for social care.

As a member of the Disabilities Charities Consortium, we have met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October last year- our first meeting with him after he took up the new role. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and the Minister’s priorities up until May. There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focussed on social care funding and the Care Act. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium, of which Mencap is a member, does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our joint policy document, which we use to guide our work together, calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this so that by the end of the next Parliament, all users of state-funded care services have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

I hope this is helpful, and welcome you placing responses on your website, so disabled people and their families can see the position that we and other charities have taken.

Jan Tegelles

Mencap

 

 

 

 Posted by at 18:05
Jan 112015
 

Although this case will take place in Scotland we believe that if won it would be carried over into legislation in other parts of the UK and is therefore vitally important so that the situation where people need care and support but are unable to pay for it can be ended once and for all. If you do live in any of the areas where volunteers are being sort please get in touch with us at mail@dpac.uk.net or driectly with Ian at office@ldascotland.org

 

Care charges and the legal case

Scotland Against the Care Tax

8 Jan 2015 — Dear All

As you know, over 20 councils in Scotland discriminate against people under the age of 60 by allowing them to keep less money before charging them for social care. This can mean that young people are up to £50 a week worse off.

We believe that this is illegal and we have secured the help of one of Scotland’s top Human Rights lawyers, Tony Kelly to help take this forward. Tony will seek to prepare cases under the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination on the grounds of age.

With the help of one of Scotland’s foremost advocates, Niall McCluskey who is preparing a legal opinion, we should have a really strong case.

I am looking for some volunteers to come forward to be part of the first stage of a legal aid case to take on this challenge.

The volunteers need to be under 60/65 and pay care charges in one of the listed local authorities. They can be on Employment Support Allowance or have a restricted income in some other way up to a limit of £26,000 per year perhaps through a pension. Volunteers should have less than £13,000 in savings. Volunteers may be subject to some publicity but we would like to have at least half a dozen people so the demands on any one person should not be too onerous. Guardians can do this on behalf of the person they care for.

The local authorities we could pursue this in are below. Ideally we would like to group volunteers for the test case from 1 or 2 of these local authorities but will work with whoever comes forward.

Aberdeen City Angus Clackmannanshire East Ayrshire
East Lothian East Renfrewshire Falkirk Inverclyde
Midlothian Moray Renfrewshire Scottish Borders
Shetland Islands South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire Stirling
West Dunbartonshire Argyll & Bute Dumfries & Galloway

A legal case like this not only will bring justice to thousands of people who are illegally paying more than they have to but will help to undermine the whole system of care charging which relies on these illegal payments to justify itself and will force politicians to act or risk being seen to endorse illegal acts against disabled people.

Please get in touch with me directly to talk about volunteering or encouraging anyone you know to volunteer. Please forward this message on to others who might be able to help.

All the best
Ian
office@ldascotland.org

 Posted by at 15:09
Jan 092015
 

Join The Day Of Action Against Maximus

Maximus Day of Action 2nd March A5 leaflet front and back 06

You can download this A5 leaflet to print, share, tweet and put on facebook here or just the front page here  and you can find more information on the Facebook Event Page


 

A national day of action has been called on March 2nd 2015 against Maximus, the company set to take over from Atos running the despised Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for sickness and disability benefits.

These crude and callous assessments have been used to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick computer based test ruled them ‘fit for work’.  A growing number of suicides have been directly linked to this stressful regime, whilst charities, medical staff and claimants themselves have warned of the desperate consequences for those left with no money at all by the system.

In a huge embarrassment for the DWP, the previous contractor Atos were chased out of the Work Capability Assessments after a sustained and militant campaign carried out by disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters.  In a panicky effort to save these vicious assessments Iain Duncan Smith hired US private healthcare company Maximus to take over from Atos this coming April.

This is not the only lucrative contract the Tories have awarded this company.  Maximus are also involved in helping to privatise the NHS, running the Fit for Work occupational health service designed to bully and harass people on sick leave into going back to work.  Maximus also run the notorious Work Programme in some parts of the UK, meaning that disabled people found fit for work by Maximus may then find themselves sent on workfare by Maximus.  There is no greater enemy to the lives of sick and disabled people in the UK today than this multi-national poverty profiteer who even are prepared to run welfare-to-work style schemes for the brutal Saudi Arabian government.

Maximus have boasted they will not face protests due to their involvement in the Work Capability Asessments and have even stooped as low as hiring one prominent former disability campaigner on a huge salary in an effort to quell protests against their activities.  We urgently need to show them how wrong they are and call for all disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters to organise against this vicious bunch of profiteering thugs.

Please organise in your local area and spread the word.

Maximus are likely to use the same assessment centres as Atos whilst a list of their premises which provide (privatised) healthcare services can be found below, and a list of Maximus offices where they provide welfare-to-work services can be found below that.

In Central London protesters will gather outside Maximus HQ on  at 1pm or 1.30pm. Level 1 Quuen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU, just round the corner from the DWP.

Look out for online action to be called on the same day.


 

List of Maximus Health programme Locations

Manchester

12 Edward Court, Altrincham Business Park | Altrincham, WA14 5GL
Tel: 0845 894 1664

Birmingham

2 Home Farm Courtyard, Meriden Road | Berkswell, CV7 7BG
Tel: 0845 504 0230

London (City)

Boston House, 63-64 New Broad Street | London, EC2M 1JJ
Tel: 0845 504 0200

London Bridge

3rd Floor, 115 Southwark Bridge Road | London, SE1 0AX
Tel: 0845 504 0202

HML Transport (Derby)

41 Brunel Parkway, Pride Park | Derby, DE24 8HR
Tel: 0845 504 0280

 

Employment and Works programmes

London Branches

Ilford

1st Floor, Newbury House, 890-900 Eastern Ave | Newbury Park, Illford, Essex, IG2 7HY
Phone: 0203 551 7595 | Fax: 0208 599 5218 | ilford@maximusuk.co.uk

Camden

2nd Floor, Bedford House, 125-133 Camden High St | London, NW1 7JR
Phone: 0203 551 7477 | Fax: 0203 551 7480 | camden@maximusuk.co.uk

Ealing

2nd Floor, 84 Uxbridge Rd | Ealing, London, W13 8RA
Phone: 0203 551 7488 | Fax: 0203 551 7495 | ealing@maximusuk.co.uk

Hammersmith and Kensington

Brook House, 235 -239 Shepherds Bush Rd | Hammersmith, London, W6 7AN
Phone: 0203 551 7499 | Fax: 0203 551 7500| hammersmith@maximusuk.co.uk

Hillingdon (Hayes)

914-918 Uxbridge Rd | Hayes, Middlesex, London, UB4 0RW
Phone: 0203 551 7525 | Fax: 0203 551 7526 | hillingdon@maximusuk.co.uk

Islington

2nd Floor, Unit 7, Blenheim Court, 62 Brewery Rd | Islington, London, N7 9NY
Phone: 0203 551 7535 | Fax: 0203 551 7540 | islington@maximusuk.co.uk

Peckham

Ground Floor, 218-222 Rye Lane | Peckham, London, SE15 4NL
Phone: 0203 5517565 | Fax: 0207 6351794 | peckham@maximusuk.co.uk

Romford

3rd Floor, Lambourne House, 7 Western Rd | Romford, Essex, RM1 3LD
Phone: 01708 629208 | Fax: 01708 629212 | romford@maximusuk.co.uk

Walthamstow

Landmark House, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane | London, E17 5QJ
Phone: 02035 517575 | Fax: 02085 275301 | walthamstow@maximusuk.co.uk


List of Maximus Work Programme Locations

London Branches

Ilford

1st Floor, Newbury House, 890-900 Eastern Ave | Newbury Park, Illford, Essex, IG2 7HY
Phone: 0203 551 7595 | Fax: 0208 599 5218 | ilford@maximusuk.co.uk

Camden

2nd Floor, Bedford House, 125-133 Camden High St | London, NW1 7JR
Phone: 0203 551 7477 | Fax: 0203 551 7480 | camden@maximusuk.co.uk

Ealing

2nd Floor, 84 Uxbridge Rd | Ealing, London, W13 8RA
Phone: 0203 551 7488 | Fax: 0203 551 7495 | ealing@maximusuk.co.uk

Hammersmith and Kensington

Brook House, 235 -239 Shepherds Bush Rd | Hammersmith, London, W6 7AN
Phone: 0203 551 7499 | Fax: 0203 551 7500| hammersmith@maximusuk.co.uk

Hillingdon (Hayes)

914-918 Uxbridge Rd | Hayes, Middlesex, London, UB4 0RW
Phone: 0203 551 7525 | Fax: 0203 551 7526 | hillingdon@maximusuk.co.uk

Islington

2nd Floor, Unit 7, Blenheim Court, 62 Brewery Rd | Islington, London, N7 9NY
Phone: 0203 551 7535 | Fax: 0203 551 7540 | islington@maximusuk.co.uk

Peckham

Ground Floor, 218-222 Rye Lane | Peckham, London, SE15 4NL
Phone: 0203 5517565 | Fax: 0207 6351794 | peckham@maximusuk.co.uk

Romford

3rd Floor, Lambourne House, 7 Western Rd | Romford, Essex, RM1 3LD
Phone: 01708 629208 | Fax: 01708 629212 | romford@maximusuk.co.uk

Walthamstow

Landmark House, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane | London, E17 5QJ
Phone: 02035 517575 | Fax: 02085 275301 | walthamstow@maximusuk.co.uk

South East Branches

Aldershot

Suite 1, 3rd Floor, Victoria House, Victoria Road | Aldershot, GU11 1DB
Phone: 01252 352354 | aldershot@maximusuk.co.uk

Aylesbury

Ground Floor, Walker House, George St | Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2HU
Phone: 01296 699870 | Fax: 01296 699871 | aylesbury@maximusuk.co.uk

Banbury

Suite A, Castle Link, 39 North Bar St | Banbury, OX16 0TH
Phone: 01295 675135 | Fax: 01295 675136 | banbury@maximusuk.co.uk

Bracknell

1st Floor, Unit 7, Bracknell Beeches, Old Bracknell Lane West | Bracknell, RG12 7BW
Phone: 01344 859150 | Fax: 01344 304632 | bracknell@maximusuk.co.uk

Burgess Hill

2nd Floor, Greenacre Court, Market Place | Bracknell, RH15 9DS
Phone: 01444 810280 | burgesshill@maximusuk.co.uk

Chichester

1st Floor, Friar’s House, 52A East St | Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1JG
Phone: 01243 850905 | Fax: 01243 785491 | chichester@maximusuk.co.uk

Dartford

Third Floor, West Hill House, West Hill | Dartford, Kent, DA1 2EU
Phone: 01322 352565 | Fax: 01322 293690 | dartford@maximusuk.co.uk

Eastleigh

Suite B, 2nd Floor, Smith Bradbeer House, High St | Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO50 5LG
Phone: 02380 658600 | Fax: 02380 650259 | eastleigh@maximusuk.co.uk

Guildford

4th Floor Dominion House, Woodbridge Rd | Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4PU
Phone: 01483 550 990 | Fax: 01483 457 151 | guildford@maximusuk.co.uk

High Wycombe

2nd Floor, Suite C, The Apollo Centre, Desborough Rd | High Wycombe, HP11 2QW
Phone: 01494 958414 | Fax: 01494 958415 | highwycombe@maximusuk.co.uk

Horsham

2nd Floor, South Suite, Sanford House, Medwin Walk | Sussex, RH12 1AG
Phone: 01403 800160 | Fax: 01403 230408 | horsham@maximusuk.co.uk

Milton Keynes

2nd Floor East, Elder House, 502 Elder Gate | Milton Keynes, MK9 1LR
Phone: 01908 711800 | Fax: 01908 711801 | miltonkeynes@maximusuk.co.uk

Oxford

1st Floor, Suite 3, Threeways House, George St | Oxford, OX1 2BJ
Phone: 01865 364364 | Fax: 01865 364365 | oxford@maximusuk.co.uk

Reading

Ground and 1st Floor, Summit House, 49-51 Greyfriars Rd | Reading, RG1 1PA
Phone: 01189 099189 | Fax: 01189 099191 | reading@maximusuk.co.uk

Slough

1st Floor, South Suite, Wellington House, 20 Queensmere, High Street | Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1DB
Phone: 01753 569500 | Fax: 01392 330195 | slough@maximusuk.co.uk

Southampton

2nd Floor, Podium Unit, Dukes Keep, Marsh Lane | Southampton, SO14 3EX
Phone: 02380 658585 | Fax: 02380 336480 | southampton@maximusuk.co.uk

 Posted by at 14:12
Jan 072015
 

Hannah a research student at LSE is carrying out research which doesn’t seem to be done by anyone else on how people are managing being left without money if they have asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration of an ESA decision. We think having more information about this process is vital but of course the government aren’t bothering to monitor the impact.

If you or anyone you know can help with this research, or if you have avoided asking for a Mandatory reconsideration because you wouldn’t have managed to be left without any form of income please contact Hannah directly.

************************************

Have you applied for ESA? Are you going through the Mandatory Reconsideration process? I am conducting a piece of research about individual’s experiences whilst they wait for their MR decision.

If you are interested in helping please contact Hannah: h.j.chetwynd@lse.ac.uk

 

 Posted by at 16:03
Dec 032014
 

Motability have introduced changes to their grant making conditions discriminate against disabled people with the highest support needs who are unable to work for a minimum of 12hours a week, carry out at least 12 hours voluntary work (which apparently can’t be internet based but has to be outside the home and doesn’t include travelling time), are not in education for at least 12 hours a week and who need specialised adaptations to transfer to drive or drive-from-wheelchair vehicles.

These changes have not been made publicly known or advertised to current customers in any way about who is eligible for a grant and the changes were made without any consultation.

We understand these changes were made from June 1st this year but customers are only being told about them when they enquire about a grant for a replacement vehicle.

The impact of these changes which affects those with the highest and most costly needs are potentially life-changing. It could well prevent people having contact with family (let alone friends) if they live in a rural area with little or no transport, it means anyone who can only travel with equipment like hoists. Oxygen cylinders and other bulky items won’t be able to go anywhere. It also ignores the fact that with other cuts to services people will not be able to ensure they have the physical support from someone else to drive them.

We have sought legal advice to see whether these changes can be challenged as discriminatory and now need to hear from anyone who is or would be affected by these changes in the near future and who would qualify for legal aid.

If you think you might be affected by these changes and are willing to consider taking legal action then please contact us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

http://linkis.com/disabilitynewsservice.com/fZhn2

 

http://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/motability-and-the-deserving-and-undeserving-charity-not-rights/

 

 

 Posted by at 18:27
Nov 182014
 

New regulations have very recently been laid before Parliament which will cut Disabled Students Allowance. At DPAC we are concerned that these cuts will seriously reduce or even prevent disabled students from taking part in higher education. We are concerned that the Regulations were laid without a public consultation and in breach of the public sector equality duty. If you are worried about the cuts to Disabled Students Allowance because you are (or will be) a university student who would apply for DSA, please get in touch with us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 Posted by at 21:42
Nov 072014
 

Here is a list of Local Authority responses to questions we asked about the closure of the Independent Living Fund. The questions were

1:      Will monies transferred from the closure of the ILF to your  local
authority be ring fenced to ILF recipients in your area? If no decision
has yet been taken, what is the process and timescale for this happening?

2:      Please could you state the process and timescale for meeting  with
current ILF recipients to prepare personal care plans for 1st  July 2015
onwards (bearing in mind the assessments at the Transfer  Review visits
only indicate desired outcomes and do not produce an  actual care
package).

3:      Will you be making any special dispensation for allowing ILF
users to continue to employ their current & in many cases long  standing
carers of many years, bearing in mind some may be paid a  higher rate than
what LA’s may usually advise and be family  members  too?

 

If you can’t find your LA on this list it is because they have failed to answer, although in most cases it may be fair to say those that have might as well not have bothered since few give any useful information. Many thanks to Frank Black for making the FOI submissions.

Barnet

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_2?nocache=incoming-566467#incoming-566467

Barking and Dagenham

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f?nocache=incoming-576952#incoming-576952

Barnsley

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_3?nocache=incoming-559366#incoming-559366

Bath & North East Somerset

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_4?nocache=incoming-568144#incoming-568144

Bedford

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_5?nocache=incoming-569216#incoming-569216

Blackburn with Darwen

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_8?nocache=incoming-566092#incoming-566092

Blackpool

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_9?nocache=incoming-566642#incoming-566642

Bolton

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_10?nocache=incoming-568298#incoming-568298

Bracknell Forrest
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_12?nocache=incoming-569559#incoming-569559

Brent

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_14?nocache=incoming-571157#incoming-571157

Buckinghamshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_18?nocache=incoming-570208#incoming-570208

Bury
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_19?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1
Calderdale
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_20?nocache=incoming-565972#incoming-565972

Cambridgeshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_21?nocache=incoming-567253#incoming-567253

 

Cheshire West & Chester

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_24?nocache=incoming-570292#incoming-570292

Croydon

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_28?nocache=incoming-568122#incoming-568122

Cornwall

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_26?nocache=incoming-563114#incoming-563114

Cumbria

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_29?nocache=incoming-570449#incoming-570449

Darlington

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_30?nocache=incoming-561744#incoming-561744

Derbyshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_32?nocache=incoming-570903#incoming-570903

Dorset
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_35?nocache=incoming-569165#incoming-569165

Dudley
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_36?nocache=incoming-562992#incoming-562992

Durham
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_37?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1

Ealing
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_38?nocache=incoming-570029#incoming-570029

Enfield

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_41

Essex

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_42?nocache=incoming-570051#incoming-570051

Gateshead

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_43?nocache=incoming-563097#incoming-563097

Gloucester

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_44?nocache=incoming-567544#incoming-567544

Greenwich

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_45?nocache=incoming-566072#incoming-566072

Hackney

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_46?nocache=incoming-569888#incoming-569888

 

Hammersmith & Fulham

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_48?nocache=incoming-570251#incoming-570251

Havering
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_53?nocache=incoming-563062#incoming-563062

Herefordshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/228969/response/566495/attach/html/3/FOI%20IAT%208194%20LA%20Prov%2029.09.14.doc.html

Hertfordshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_55?nocache=incoming-560560#incoming-560560

Hertfordshire (Further Clarification of Position)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_55?nocache=incoming-562918#incoming-562918

Hilligdon
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_56?nocache=incoming-569822#incoming-569822

Hull

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_62?nocache=incoming-567860#incoming-567860

Kent

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_61?nocache=incoming-561528#incoming-561528

Kirklees

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_63?nocache=incoming-569847#incoming-569847

Lancashire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_66?nocache=incoming-569431#incoming-569431

Leicestershire

http://axlr8.leicsfoi.org.uk/documents/5674/FOI%205674%20Response.pdf

Lewisham

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_70

Lincolnshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_71?nocache=incoming-562520#incoming-562520

Medway
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229200/response/570260/attach/html/3/Response%20101000455172.pdf.html

Milton Keynes
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_78?nocache=incoming-570189#incoming-570189

Newham
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_80?nocache=incoming-571092#incoming-571092

 

Norfolk

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_81?nocache=incoming-566589#incoming-566589

North Lincolnshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_83?nocache=incoming-571049#incoming-571049

Northumberland

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_88?nocache=incoming-572194#incoming-572194

Nottingham City

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229324/response/572195/attach/html/3/4336%20final%20response.pdf.html

Northamptonshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229322/response/568848/attach/html/4/FR5171%20Reply%20letter.pdf.html

North East Lincolnshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/232898/response/581032/attach/html/4/NEL%20374%20Response%20Letter%205.11.14.pdf.html

North Somerset

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_84?nocache=incoming-561582#incoming-561582

North Yorkshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_86?nocache=incoming-567863#incoming-567863

Nottinghamshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_90?nocache=incoming-561773#incoming-561773

Oldham
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_91?nocache=incoming-569799#incoming-569799

Oxfordshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_92?nocache=incoming-569556#incoming-569556

Peterborough
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closurse_of_independent_living_f_93?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1
Plymouth
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229342/response/567207/attach/3/Response%20866649.pdf

Reading
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_2?nocache=incoming-561919#incoming-561919

Richmond upon Thames
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_5?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1

Rochdale

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_6?nocache=incoming-570279#incoming-570279

Salford

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_10?nocache=incoming-572937#incoming-572937

Sandwell

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_11?nocache=incoming-570887#incoming-570887

Sefton

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_12?nocache=incoming-570388#incoming-570388

Sheffield

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_13?nocache=incoming-570202#incoming-570202

Shropshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_14?nocache=incoming-569392#incoming-569392

Slough

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_15?nocache=incoming-567246#incoming-567246

South Gloucester
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_18?unfold=1#incoming-565896

Southend
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_21?nocache=incoming-569645#incoming-569645

St Helens

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_9?nocache=incoming-567621#incoming-567621

Sunderland

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_27 – now reassessing ILF recipients from July 2015

Swindon

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_30?nocache=incoming-568379#incoming-568379

Telford & Wrekin

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_32?nocache=incoming-569396#incoming-569396

Thurrrock

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_33?nocache=incoming-566012#incoming-566012

Torbay

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_35?nocache=incoming-567602#incoming-567602

Trafford

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_36?nocache=incoming-566654#incoming-566654

Wakefield

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_37?nocache=incoming-572535#incoming-572535

Walsall

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_38?nocache=incoming-571154#incoming-571154

Waltham Forrest

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229747/response/572733/attach/html/3/PAUL%20TAYLFORTH%20FOI%20re%20independent%20living%20fund%202014%200634.pdf.html

Wandsworth

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_40?nocache=incoming-569256#incoming-569256

Warrington

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/229750/response/572570/attach/html/3/0318%20Taylforth%20closure%20of%20independent%20living%20fund.pdf.html

Warwickshire
Will Warwickshire ring-fence devolved ILF funding either to individuals or
to Adult Social Care budgets?

No strategic decision has been made in relation to this.

When, before June 2015,  will people who need 24 hour care and support
find out from WCC what level of funding they will continue to receive
after June 2015 when ILF is likely to close?

Warwickshire County Council have a programmed approach over the next 10
months with the transfer, and people will be informed prior to the ILF
closure date.

West Berkshire

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_43?unfold=1#incoming-568198

West Sussex
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_44?nocache=incoming-572780#incoming-572780

Wiltshire
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_47?post_redirect=1#describe_state_form_1

Wirral
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_49?unfold=1#incoming-573085

Wokingham
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_50?nocache=incoming-565748#incoming-565748

Wokingham

Please can you tell me how many people in Wokingham Borough Council area receive 24 x 7 care packages using the Independent Living Fund.
-There are 16 clients in Wokingham currently receiving ILF funding however as they receive funding via Direct Payments we do not have the information regarding their specific care arrangements.

2. How long before June 30th 2015 will these people know what will happen to their funding?
-Wokingham Borough Council’s policy and transition programme are currently being finalised, so we are unable to respond to this question at this point in time.

3. Please can you inform me of the plans being made for migration of people from ILF funded 24 x 7 care to Council funded care before the closure of the ILF.
-Wokingham Borough Council’s policy and transition programme are currently being finalised, so we are unable to respond to this question at this point in time.

Wolverhampton
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/closure_of_independent_living_fu_51?nocache=incoming-565629#incoming-565629

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:51
Nov 072014
 

Rev Paul Nicolson, of Taxpayers Against Poverty, is publicising his two recent court victories — which we can all use to challenge our Council Tax bills and the court costs added on top. See letter below.

And read the interview with him and Haringey single mum Michelle Moseley: ‘A powerful win’: single mother takes down council in supreme court.


 At the Supreme Court in June 2014 when the case was heard by the five judges.


At the High Court last month.


Key judgments on council benefit cuts

The Guardian, Sunday 2 November 2014

Two judgments given in October will impact on all council-tax payers, magistratescourts, local authorities and governmental consultations of the public. On 29 October the supreme court decided that the London borough of Haringey’s 2012 council-tax consultation was unlawful. On 10 December 2012 I had written to the leader of Haringey council: “I am shocked that no alternative to hitting the fragileincomes of the poorest residents of Haringey [with council tax] … was included in the recent consultation.” Declaring that consultation unlawful, Justice Lord Wilson wrote: “The protest of the Rev Nicolson in his letter … was well directed.”

Alternatives to the council’s preferred options must now be put to the public in a future consultation. In all fairness there must be an alternative to local government taxation of benefits that are being shredded by central government (Cameron accused of getting sums wrong on cuts, 31 October).

On 7 October the high court gave me leave for judicial review of the £125 costs for a summons sought by Haringey council from 28,882 late or non-paying households in 2013-14. The costs are imposed by Tottenham magistrates against benefit incomes on top of inevitable arrears.  I have deliberately allowed my council tax to become a civil debt. I was duly summoned to court, which allowed me the opportunity to ask the magistrates how they arrived at that £125. Haringey council has now withdrawn a summons against me, “as a matter of prudence during this period of on going litigation” and waived the £125.

The council has not replied to my letter inviting them to cease issuing all summons until it has reviewed the rationality and legality of that £125 it asks the magistrates to impose. Maybe all magistrates and councils in England and Wales should take notice.

Rev Paul Nicolson

Taxpayers Against Poverty

 

 Posted by at 19:44
Nov 072014
 

 

 DPAC fully support disabled students taking part in this march even if the NUS disgracefully say they no longer support it. We’d like to ask all disabled people who can to join with disabled students fighting for inclusion and rights to come along and join the march. Access information will be available shortly on the facebook page and we will add it to the website as soon as we have it.https://www.facebook.com/events/775841715811858/permalink/775879035808126/

 

19 November at 12:00

 

Assemble – Senate House, Malet Street, London

 

 

On 19 November, school, college and university students from across the country will be marching in London under the banner “Free Education: No fees. No cuts. No debt.” Disabled students will be there! It’s time to put this issue onto the political agenda and to fight for a public, democratic education system that serves the vast majority in society and is free and accessible to everyone.

Disabled student will be meeting at the front of the march, outside Senate house. For more information on accessibility and anything else please email againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com
Free education is not just about abolishing fees, disabled students demand:

-Full living grants for all, and abolish tuition fees

-Full financial support for all access needs, save DSA but even more. We need to cancel DSA cuts, not just delay them.

-Decently funded support services on campuses for disabled students and university psychological services

-Defend the NHS from privatisation and fund it properly, improve mental health care resources

-Smash high rents, provide good quality accessible student housing. Ensuring Universities invest in accessible accommodation.

-Fund institutions to upgrade for full accessibility

To achieve these, we need a democratic, public education system controlled by communities, students and workers, and we need to fund it using the resources of those who can afford it – by taxing the rich, and by putting the wealth of the banks that we bailed out under democratic control.

****Invite your friends and colleagues!****

The demonstration is being organised by the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts (http://anticuts.com/), the Student Assembly Against Austerity, and the Young Greens.

******More information on access on the demonstration coming soon********

 Posted by at 17:54
Nov 072014
 

We’ve had some complaints about poor access at Marylebone station and at other points along the Chiltern railway line. We are interested in hearing from anyone else who has experienced problems with access.

 

  • In particular we want to know whether you had problems due to lack of staff being available to support you. Did this mean you missed your train? What problems did this cause?

 

  • Whether you had problems at any of the unmanned stations covered by Chiltern eg. Warwick Parkway, Stratford

 

  • Whether you’ve had problems physically being able to fit onto the trains due to overcrowding. If this has been a problem could you let us know what time you travelled and whether it was after a match day event in London.

 

Please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 Posted by at 15:41
Nov 042014
 

Join us to support Doug Paulley in his fight against FirstBus discrimination

Meeting Tuesday 11th November, 9.15am outside the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, WC2A 2LL (nearest station Blackfriars – stepfree to platform)

Doug Paulley, a campaigner and wheelchair user from Wetherby, takes his battle over wheelchair priority on buses all the way to the Royal Courts of Justice next week.

And we want to have a strong supportive presence outside the court to show FirstBus that disabled people everywhere are standing up for our right to ride.

Back in September 2012, Doug won a case against FirstBus over their ‘first-come, first-served’ policy which denied bus access to wheelchair users when the buggy space was occupied. But FirstBus are now appealing this decision, seeking to overturn the judge’s support for disabled people’s right to travel.

 

If Doug wins, it will set an important precedent and show bus companies across the UK that wheelchair users have a right to the wheelchair bay – a right protected in law.

The case will probably be heard from 10am. Transport for All members will be outside the Royal Courts of Justice with our placards from 9.15am with our voices raised, to show FirstBus that we stand beside Doug and the right of all disabled people to travel with freedom and independence. Join us!

Please email to let me know if you can make it, if you would like to be met at the station, or for any help with journey planning. lianna@transportforall.org.uk

The Royal Courts of Justice are served by buses 11, 23, 26, 76 and 172.

 Posted by at 18:23
Oct 162014
 

 Defend the Right to Protest National Conference 

“WE DO NOT CONSENT”

Sunday 16th November, 11am til late, SOAS

 

Dear DPAC

 

I am writing to invite your organisation to Defend the Right to Protest’s annual conference “We Do Not Consent” – a one day conference to discuss how we tackle the criminalisation of protest, state violence and injustice in a climate of austerity, rising racism and inequality.

 

It takes place in the context of a continued assault on civil liberties, including recent threats by the Tories to withdraw from the ECHR and introduce new “extremism disruption orders.” It follows the stream of revelations about police corruption and under cover policing, repeated attacks on the right to protest and the ongoing scandal of deaths in police custody.

 

We hope the day will provide a forum to address these issues and for groups and organisations campaigning over these questions to make links and  build support. 

 

We are still finalising the timetable but there are already a great range of people and campaigns involved – see:http://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/we-do-not-consent-defend-the-right-to-protest-conference-2014/

There will be sessions on cover cops and the secret state, protest policing, deaths in custody, racism and the fight for justice; universities, know your rights, international solidarity and more to be announced.

We wish we had more time and space for many more speakers and campaigns – but from 11am – 5.30pm plenaries and forums will provide lots of scope for participation from the floor.

From 6pm to 11pm there will be film, music and refreshments! 

We are also dedicating a room to campaign stalls – if you would like to book a space email info@defendtherighttoprotest.org 

We really hope you can come, and also help us to make this an event a hub of debate, experience sharing and organising. Get in touch if you have ideas or suggestions for the day and spread the word to your friends colleagues and supporters. 

More information and updates can be found on the DtRtP website here: http://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/we-do-not-consent-defend-the-right-to-protest-conference-2014/

We also have a Facebook page for the conference: https://www.facebook.com/events/284372698418778/  

Text for email circulars and websites is also included below. 

We hope to see you there!

Best wishes

Hannah Dee  & Susan Matthews

Defend the Right to Protest

WE DO NOT CONSENT:  Defend the Right to Protest Conference 2014

Sunday November 16th, 11am till late 

SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, WC1H 0XG London

Get updates on the FB event page

A one day conference to discuss how we tackle state violence and injustice in a climate of austerity, rising racism and inequality.

Speakers include: Helen Steel McLibel defendant & Spies out of Our Lives, Rob Evans author Undercover, Carole DugganMerrick Badger#Campaign Opposing Police Violence, Susan Alexander mother Azelle RodneyOwen Jones author The Establishment, Jules Carey lawyer who represented Ian Tomlinson’s family, Dave Smith Blacklist Support Group, John McDonnell MPJenny Jones GLAFidel Santigi Fully Focused, Hamja Ahsan Free Talha Ahsan Campaign, Nina PowerSheila Coleman Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Stephen Graham Cities Under Siege,  Matt Foot legal aid lawyer of the year 2013, Kevin Blowe NETPOL, Hannah Dee DtRtP Chair, Marcia Rigg sister Sean Rigg, Simon Pook defence lawyer representing fracking protesters, Areeb Ullah KCLSU VP Education, Raj Chada lawyer representing Fortnum Mason, Critical Mass, Dale Farm, Rachel Harger paralegal police actions, Robert Reiner Emeritus Professor of Criminology LSE, Waquas Tufail Northern Police Monitoring Project, Mike Jackson Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners

Workshops and plenaries include under cover cops and the secret state, protest policing, deaths in custody, racism and the fight for justice; austerity and the assault on civil liberties, neoliberalism & the police, know your rights, international solidarity and more to be announced.

Conference 11am-5.30pm – plenaries and workshops 

6pm -7pm Screening of Burn, Ken Fero ’s new film with Q and A

Plus food, drink and music – special guests tba till late.

Tickets £3 unwaged, £5 waged, £10 solidarity (suggested donation)

Book herehttp://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/national-conference/

Fb eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/284372698418778/ 

Tickets £3 unwaged, £5 waged, £10 solidarity (suggested donation)

 

 Posted by at 21:25
Oct 162014
 

We say Lord Freud should resign after his disgusting comments that disabled people are not worth the minimum wage.

Freud is the architect of the government’s noxious welfare reform programme that is pushing disabled people off benefits and causing untold distress and misery, in too many cases leading to suicides and avoidable deaths.

The policies Freud designed show utter contempt for disabled people. His latest comments made to a Tory councillor at a party conference fringe meeting confirm this.

What kind of a society are we that the lives of disabled people are left in the hands of someone who thinks disabled people have lesser worth and refers to them as stock.

There are 11 million disabled voters plus their families in the UK. Do the Tories think allowing this type of reprehensible comment to be made by one of their senior ministers will encourage any of us to vote for them? If they wish to retain credibility (if they have any that is)and Freud refuses to resign they must sack him immediately.

Join us to demand  Freud resigns or is sacked. Monday October 20th at DWP head office, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 12.30pm til 2.30pm ….. and if you can’t make the Caxton House Protest – you can join the Twitter Protest

 

 Posted by at 14:47
Oct 162014
 

Can you donate 50p to DPAC’s work?

 

We all know the attacks we’re all facing as disabled people and next year in the run up to the General Election we want to make sure that the 11 million disabled people and their families get their voices heard by politicians. But to do that we need money for a battle bus tour, leaflets, and other publicity costs and events. The grant we hoped to get to cover these costs was turned down on the grounds that our campaigning would be ‘too political’ We want to remain too political and ungagged in spite of the gagging laws introduced to silence campaigners by the Condems and to make sure all of our voices are heard.

We’re now left with no other choice but to ask you, our supporters, if you could donate 50p towards our plans for next year so that we can afford to make sure disabled people’s concerns are heard loudly and clearly.

You can donate to us via paypal on our website www.dpac.uk.net or directly via BACs to Disabled People Against Cuts 08-92-99 account number 65454743.

Brief summary of cuts we face.

A recent Demos report from April 2013  ‘Destination Unknown’ shows that hundreds of thousands of disabled people will be hit simultaneously by up to six different welfare cuts. This does not include cuts to care and support funding in addition.

By 2018 disabled people will have lost £28.3 billion of financial support affecting up to 3.7 million disabled people.

The losses come against a backdrop of flat-lining incomes and spiralling costs of living for disabled people, for whom daily life already costs more. At the same time it’s becoming harder for disabled people to be part of the community.

Councils – facing average budget cuts of more than 28% – have been forced to ration social care support leaving as many as 40% of disabled people without help to get up, get washed, get dressed and go out.                   

 Benefit and other attacks.                            

 

  • Scrapping of Incapacity Benefit and failure of Work Capability Assessments.
  • Loss of right to appeal and Mandatory Reconsiderations during which time disabled people are left with no income for an unspecified length of time.
  • Legal Aid and advice and advocacy centre cuts.
  • 1% cap on benefit rises
  • Time limitation for Contributory ESA of WRAG
  • Freezing child benefit
  • Overall Benefit Cap
  • Scrapping of Disability Living Allowance and introduction of Personal Independent Payment
  • Universal Credit
  • Abolition of Independent Living Fund and cuts to social care funding.
  • Bedroom Tax and Changes to Local Housing Allowance.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments only given to 1 in 3 disabled people.
  • Uprating and cuts to Tax Credits
  • Localisation and at least 10% cut for Council Tax Benefit
  • Cuts to Access to Work funding
  • Loss of access to inclusive education.
  • Loss of free bus travel.
  • Reductions in MH services across the board.
  • Growth in Food Bank usage.
  • Increasing Fuel Poverty.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 14:42
Oct 092014
 

You are invited to an open meeting on 23rd October 6pm to 8pm to find out more about the changes to Access to Work and how Deaf and disabled people and interpreters have been opposing these changes and how you can get involved.  

The meeting will be on:

·       23rd October 2014 – 6pm to 8pm

·       Venue: 336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA

·       BSL interpreters available – let us know if you have other access needs

·       Refreshments available.

For further details contact Ellen Clifford – Ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk – please let Ellen know if you are coming.

 Posted by at 18:08
Oct 092014
 
Potential legal challenge to PIP delays.Anyone who has/is experiencing delays with regard to their PIP application might be able to mount a legal challenge. If you are in this situation and would be willing to speak to a solicitor with regard to making a legal challenge please email us at mail@dpac.uk.netBBC South Today programmeBBC South Today, regional TV News for Hampshire, Dorset, West Sussex and a bit of Surrey still need to find people willing to appear on TV about PIP. They’re looking into what impact the change to Personal Independent Payments has had on people with disabilities in the South  They need a case study for someone who has unsuccessfully applied for PiP – or has had severe delays with their application. Maybe it’s had a financial impact or just been more stressful than the old system. Anyone able to help should contact you could contact Katy Austin on 02380 374540, 07732 986357 or email katy.austin2@bbc.co.uk.

 

 Posted by at 17:05
Oct 022014
 

DPAC have supported Transport for All in campaigning and carrying out numerous protests to make sure that all Crossrail stations will be accessible when it is built. Originally this was not going to be the case but late yesterday evening Transport for All were informed that all of London’s Crossrail stations will now be fully accessible when it opens in 2019.

 

We would all like to thank everyone who wrote letters, attended protests. lobbied and tweeted for an accessible Crossrail. This shows that when we all work together and are willing to get out on the streets as well as campaigning in other ways we can and do change things.

 

 Posted by at 11:51
Aug 182014
 

We’re currently producing a brochure for campaigning work and wanted to include a few examples of how each cut has affected disabled people. We already have examples for most things but if you have been affected by the bedroom tax, council tax reduction changes, or the overall benefit cap, cuts to social care or increased charges for care could you please send us a short email about what has happened to you and how this has affected you to mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Many thanks for help with this.

Linda

 Posted by at 21:01
Aug 052014
 

Permission has now been granted and the second  ILF Court Case will go ahead.

The papers went to a judge today and he has granted both permission and expedition (which means speeding up the usual timetable for the court case). The hearing should be “as soon as possible”, which could mean anything at the moment, as the judges are on holiday and the court has a very bad backlog, but we would hope we will get a trial date for some time in September/October as planned.

On behalf of all ILF recipients we’d like to say a continuing thank you to those involved in taking the case. We know from experience just how gruelling and stressful taking legal challenges can be and we offer our solidarity with you all.

 

 

 Posted by at 19:09
Jul 082014
 
Here is information on making complaints to IPCC
They have  guidance just read the section and you will see link.
Here is link to MPS complaints
You can make individual complaints and also organisational complaints.
Those directly affected by the restriction of medication , food and drink should individually complain.
It will take time for the complaints to be processed so I suggest people do this asap.
If you need help making a complaint they can approach MP, Citizens Advice and some DPOs may assist too.
The MPS has already launched an inquiry into policing at the Westminster demonstration

 Posted by at 18:10
Jul 012014
 

Urgent – Legal Challenge to PIP 20 metre descriptor to be held in Birmingham Administrative Court, Bull Street next week on July 9th and 10th.

 

The solicitors have asked for a room for observers to the case and are waiting for confirmation of that. They would like anyone who can to attend to show how important this case is to disabled people.

 

There will also be a vigil outside the court from 1- 2pm on July 9th. Bring placards, banners and friends and supporters.

 

To get updates on room availability and to check the case will not be affected by strike action on July 10th please email

birminghambenefitjustice@gmail.com

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:30