Linda

Apr 192014
 

“You have to love your own baby becos everone says they are a nusance”

 Sally age 8

I have come to recognise another truism! – If you are a parent of a disabled child. The school will give whatever support, you believe, is necessary for your child – as long as it matches with what the school is prepared to offer.If you want something different ,You! “The parent”  who is typically the mother, become “A problem” . The more articulate you are the more you are seen as “bloody awkward”.Colourful labelsgrow, the more you persist : “too pushy”, “in denial”, “neurotic”, “deranged”,”obsessed”, “too emotional”, “irrational” “naive” are a few of the polite names given to parents.

 

The rhetoric from schools and education authorities promoting partnership, between parents and professionals is common. This laudable aim, if realised,could save a great deal of pain and heartache for all concerned. The ultimate goal for most parents is for their child to feel safe welcomed and a belonging to the school. This is “gold dust” one parent said. Initially parents will “bend over backwards” to keep on the “good side of school” they are motivated by the desire to make this goal a reality for their child to experience. However, because there currently exists an unequal distribution of power and authority between parents and professionals the potential for “partnership” is only likely to happen when parents conforms to the plans of professionals.

 

After twenty five years being with parents advocating for their disabled child, I have not met a parent who had wanted conflict with the school. It is however, the professional who has the responsibility to change what they are doing to ensure the child can feel safe welcome and belongs to the school.A consequence of seeing the parent as a problem is that it is a distraction from supporting the child. There is a shift to devaluing and marginalising the parent ,which generates a struggle that can continue for weeks, months and sometimes years.

 

One mother said:

 

“They (the professionals) made me a monster. At first, I was totally compliant with everything they told me about my son. I would have balanced on my head if they wanted me to . Then I realised they lied to me and started bullying me- now professionals are having to manage the monster they created.”

 

The very act of questioning the practice of a school or an authority by a parent can result in unleashing of an assault that can leave the parent exhausted. The struggle increases if the parent challenges more than one statutory service and therefore multiple professionals. Such a position can overwhelm parents, with formal letters, procedures , phone calls ,e-mails, and now texts. The communications often contains implied threats or advice encouraging the parent to simply accept that which is being offered by professionals, even when they know this will go against what the parents believe is not in the interests of their child.

 

Does this mean that parents are always right and professionals wrong about a child’s support requirements? Such an assertion would be absurd. However, when a parent lacks confidence in the support provided by the school or when they are unable to influence the schooling experience for their child,when parents  witness their child is disrespected, denied important opportunities, with no friendships the parent is likely to be propelled into demanding change. When a parent is forced to take such an exposed yet principled position, they will be subject to scrutiny and interrogation, by a number of professionals who will hold a different position, at a case conference or annual review. Whilst such formal settings are routine for professionals for parents they can be traumatic.

If individual professionals were subjected to the same degree of scrutiny and interrogation before a panel of critical parents they would, quite rightly, be calling upon their professional associations to represent their position.

 

The professional in a protracted dispute with a parent will have access to supports throughout the process : they have time away from work, they can hand over to another colleagues, they can have someone to type letters,make phone calls, arrange meetings, they get travelling expenses, they get time off in lieu if they work beyond contracted hours, they can even move to another job whilst in the middle of a serious dispute with a family, and they receive a salary- Professionals have protection from a school or system culture, where professionals will protect each otherkeeping internal disagreements behind closed doors, allowing them to present a united front.No such accommodations are available to parents engaged in the same protracted dispute not of their initiation. When the professional decision is made it becomes bizarrely impenetrable. Parents are patronisingly encouraged to follow the ” Complaints Procedures” if they are “‘unhappy” with the decision. This would be another professional procedure that can take months, with little expectation of changing the original decision.

 

Being a parent who is knowledgeable about the education system,aware of legislation and particular policies, is not a  guarantee that your child will get the support you believe to be  appropriate for your child. Being the “Parent” you can be positioned so that your contributions are devalued if they differs from professionals ” in charge” because it is they who the system invests the authority. A mother of a disabled child, who was extremely knowledgeable and articulate about the complexities of her child’s support requirements, she was aware of different teaching methods,  how to differentiate curriculum, adapt resourcesfor particular children. This woman wasfamiliar with the range of external agencies able to enhance the support available in school. In addition she was familiar with internal workings of thelocal education authority, where her child attended school. This mother started her professional career as a teacher in the same authority, served eight years as a special educational needs co-ordinator(SENCO), followed by seven years as a deputy head teacher, finally taking on the roleof education advisor. But now she was positioned as a “parent” again she was asking for something different from that which the school was prepared to offer. She was described as being “too involved” and “too emotional” and no longer “objective” This mother was forced into a conflict with the professionals, from the authority she had served as a senior educationist.

 

How can such exhausting disputes be minimised? Professionals have to learn to listen and listen then listen again first to the child and the parent advocating for their child.

 

The professionals will have had training, they may well have many qualifications, they can have much knowledge about a particular impairment and yet know nothing about the support requirements of Heathar who may have that particular impairment. Professionals can only support Heathar effectively if they are able to develop a relationship with Heathar. The parent, advocating for their child can be a valuable introduction to Heathar.

 

If professionals ask questions, to which they don’t already assume the answer they are more likely to develop a meaningful understanding with the child and learn about the child. When  a person is genuinely listened too, good relationship happen. This is far more likely to lead to the parent having confidence in the actions of the professionals who are there to serve their child. Professional can also build on a good relationship with the parent when they don’t:

 

Tell ​a parent their child is not the only one in the school!

 

Tell a parent the school does not have the resources to support their child!

 

Tell a parent that support to their child – will result in support being removed from other children.

 

Tell a parent that you are an extremely busy person!

 

Tell a parent that you are an expert in this type of condition, when referring to their child.

 

Tell a parentthe date and time of a meeting without first checking on their availability.

 

Tell a parent to come to a meeting on their own

 

Tell a parent you have to leave their meeting early because you have an important                       appointment to attend.

 

Tell the parents of an important decision, just before you go on school holidays.

 

Give the parent a patronising smile and nod of your head, when you totally disagree with them.

 

George Bernard Shaw suggested that it was the reasonable person who adapts themselves to the world as it exists. However, it is the unreasonable person who persists in adapting the world to accommodate a different way of thinking. GBS concluded, that all progress depends upon the “unreasonable” person orthe ” bloody awkward” parent?

 

Joe Whittaker

April 2014.

 Posted by at 19:22
Apr 192014
 

 SAVE THE NHS.

Come and learn about why the NHS is under threat and how you can join the fight to save it.

PUBLIC MEETING.

Tuesday 13th Mary 2014 at 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm

HG Wells Centre.

Off St Mark’s Road (Off Masons Hill/High Street)

BROMLEY

Kent.

BR2 9HG.

Speakers:  Dr Bob Gill General Practitioner Welling.

Linda Kurcher – Expert on US/EU Trade Agreement.

Professor Allyson Pollock – Expert on Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

Transport:

Buses:  61,208, 320, 336, 358, 402.

Nearest Rail Station.  Bromley South ( from central london, Catford, Orpington.  This station is fully accessible with a accessible lift to street level at this station)

 

Greenwich & Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham trades councils present Banner Theatre with Burning Issue commemorating the miners’ strike £10 (£5) 7pm Saturday 10 May http://lewishamtradescouncil.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/come-and-address-burning-issue_22.html or contact tony.reay@gmail.com07903 755 074

 Posted by at 18:22
Apr 042014
 

Dozens of young people with learning difficulties and their families have hit out at a decision to slash foundation learning courses for pupils with profound or moderate learning difficulties – from five days a week to three at One, formerly known as Suffolk One, in Ipswich. the link to the article in the East Anglian Daily Times is below.

Suffolk DPAC will be working with them to try to prevent this as the only other alternatives for their education are at special school sixth forms.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/ipswich_angry_parents_claim_education_of_children_with_learning_difficulties_will_be_damaged_after_one_cuts_foundation_courses_1_3478573#sharinganchor

As we know segregated classes within mainstream settings do not count as inclusive education. But neither does the forced placement of disabled learners in fully segregated settings of so called special schools, colleges, universities or any other learning environment. DPAC opposes both!

We refer all to our allies ALLFIE (The Alliance for Inclusive Education) for a better understanding of what inclusive education means and how it can be achieved-DPAC strongly supports Inclusive education as a fundamental principle of independent living and as the only way to achieve full equality and inclusion for all disabled people.

Please see the ALLFIE web site for more informaion on inclusive education and get involved in their campaigns

http://www.allfie.org.uk/

also please see the valuable comment from Joe Whittaker below

 

 

Mar 312014
 

Bedroom Tax demo in Swindon in conjunction with the  Swindon Tenants Campaign Group, on 5th April as part of a national campaign.

At the fountain, Canal Walk, Swindon Town Centre

10.30 am on April 5th

We will have leaflets to distribute and banners.

We also have a project collecting peoples stories about ATOS injustice in Swindon. We will be arranging a meeting with our MPs to present our concerns. People can join the face book group or email SPA  peoplesassemblyswindon@gmx.co.uk or phone 01793 522824 if they would like to be a part of this. All information will be treated with strict confidentiality.

https://www.facebook.com/SwindonAtosProject?ref=ts&fref=ts

 Posted by at 17:44
Mar 302014
 

As British Gas owners annouce their profits, we announce that we will be targetting the British Gas AGM

Centrica, owners of British Gas, today revealed their profits had dipped slightly to £2.7bn. British Gas profits from their customers was announced to be £571,000,000 – that’s £571m of pure profit made at a time when over 10,000 people died last winter from cold homes, when 20% of households are in debt to their supplier, when about 1 in 4 people are making the “choice” between heating or eating. Centrica wanted sympathy and asked that hostilities towards them and the energy sector must end.

We don’t agree.

Centrica talk about wanting an ‘end to hostilities’ and it’s an appropriate way of looking at the situation of millions of people in fuel poverty today. People in fuel poverty do feel like there’s a war against them, they do feel attacked by a company which breaks into their homes to install unwanted and expensive Prepayment meters, with prices that are so violently high that they’re forced top chose between heating and eating. We all feel abused by a company that makes £7million profit per day but sees it fit to raise prices by 9.2% and let people freeze to death in their homes. The communities in Lancashire which have clearly said NO to fracking feel violated by Centrica going for shale Gas, with all it’s associated risks to health, wellbeing and environment, at a time when we need to be slashing our carbon emissions and going for renewable, sustainable energy.

We think the way to ‘cease hostilities’ as Rick Haythornthwaite, the newly appointed Chairman of Centrica puts it, is to end the profiteering of energy companies like Centrica. Energy is not a game. Warm, damp and mould free homes are not a privilege for the rich. They should be a minimum standard that everyone should have access to. Over 70% of the British public want to see energy back in public hands. Centrica need to wake up and smell the coffee – the days of a for-profit energy market in the UK are numbered.

We will be targeting British Gas as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with our energy system. We will be holding a mass protest this May at their AGM in London. We will be joined by those hardest hit by fuel poverty and we will be calling on the government to bring our energy back into public, democratic ownership and to invest massively in renewable, community owned energy. We want to see an end to winter deaths and sickness from fuel poverty. We want to see an end to the ‘Poverty Premium’ faced by millions in this country forced into dependency on payday lenders, sky-high rents, ‘kettle packs’ at foodbanks and extortionate pre-payment meters. Enough is enough. It’s time to end the cold homes casino and callous profiteering of companies like British Gas. Rick Haythornwaite: stop punishing us and profiteering from us. Until you do there will be no end to the pain, distress and anger that people all over the country feel precisely as a result of yours and the other Big Six’s insatiable lust for profit. No justice, No peace.

http://fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/2014/02/20/as-british-gas-owners-annouce-their-profits-we-announce-that-we-will-be-targetting-the-british-gas-agm/

 Posted by at 12:47
Mar 162014
 

ILF- DWP equality analysis relating to the closure of the fund

Press release

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/future-of-the-independent-living-fund

 

Ministerial Statement

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/March_2014/6th-March/18.DWP-AligningSocialCareSystem.pdf

 

Full Equality analysis

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287236/closure-of-ilf-equality-analysis.pdf

 

Throughout this document the numbered paragraphs in italics are the wording used by the government in their equality analysis.

 

In spite of the Court of Appeal ruling on November 6th 2013 quashing the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund to current users the government have again announced the closure of the fund from June 2015. This decision will negatively affect the UN convention rights of disabled people particularly in relation to articles 19, 24 and 27.

 

In relation to the new equality analysis the government made to try to meet its duties under the Equality Act 2010 they admit that going ahead with the closure of the ILF will lead to a regression of disabled people’s rights as outlined in UNCRPD.

 

That is in spite of them being a signatory to the convention which commits the UK to ensure the progressive realisation of disabled people’s rights to live independently in the community and be able to take part in society on an equal basis to non-disabled people.

 

The cost of the ILF is currently a mere £320 million which is a miniscule amount of overall public spending.

 

Within the equality analysis the government have also implied that ILF can be replaced by Disabled Students Allowance or Access to Work funding which is  either duplicitous in explaining the use of Disabled Students Allowance and Access to Work funding or shows a total ignorance about what these funding streams can actually be used for.

 

Articles 4, 19, 24 and 27 have been breached and in particular the three parts of Article 19 which recognise the equal right of all disabled people to live in the community, with choices equal to others, the need to take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by disabled people of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community.

 

The general obligations in Article 4 of the UNCRPD, Article 4(2) of which states that parties to the Convention should undertake measures with a view to progressively achieving the full realisation of the rights of disabled people.

Article 24 – education – ensure persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability; and

 

Article 27 – work and employment – safeguard and promote the realisation of the right to work and promote employment opportunities

 

Overview of analysis

The government make clear that the changes being outlined will only apply to England and not the whole of the UK as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to make their own decisions about ongoing care and support funding for their residents.

 

Perhaps most importantly in reaching their decision and carrying out this equality analysis the government have only looked at the immediate transition period when one years non-ring fenced funding only will be devolved to local councils and not to the longer term impact of closure of the fund when there will be no additional devolved funding available to local authorities.

 

The 2013 Spending Review allocated a total of £262.3m to be transferred to local authorities in England and to devolved governments in Scotland and Wales in 2015-16 (funding for Northern Ireland is already a matter for the Northern Ireland administration).

 

They have not in any way considered or evaluated the impact of closure of ILF once this transition funding ends in 2016.

 

The government say they have based this second decision on evidence gathered during the consultation on the future of the ILF undertaken in 2012, along with further representations made to them since the consultation closed. However they give no information about what that evidence is, where or how it was collected or whether it involved any input from disabled people themselves. (point 12)

They then say at point 14 that the government is fully committed to supporting independent living through personalisation and localisation of care and support. This drive to push care and support funding for independent living onto local authorities is happening against the backdrop of the same government being found by the Council of Europe in March 2014 to have made such savage cuts to local government funding that the UK is in breach of its international obligations and official rapporteurs for the Council of Europe have found funding levels inadequate and too low to provide essential public services including health, social and elderly care. This findings of this report have been supported by the Conservative councillor and previously leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, Sir Merrick Cockell, who is now chairman of the Local Government Association. [1]

In addition the Care Bill if passed will restrict eligibility to care funding to substantial and critical only. The analysis says at this point – from April 2015 – that everyone will have a right to a personal budget but in later paragraphs of the equality analysis contradicts this entirely.

The government say that there is no doubt that the ILF continues to play a very important role in the lives of its users However they were the ones that created inequity in the system when they closed the fund to new users that since they closed the fund to new applicants in 2010. This has meant some disabled people are unable to access the fund.

They continue to say that closing the ILF and transferring the funding to local authorities in England and to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales would enable them to use all the funding available for adult social care to support disabled people in a more consistent, effective and equitable way, within a cohesive mainstream system. Yet they refuse completely to consider any type of ring-fencing of that funding which means none of it has to be used to fund social care at all. With extensive cuts to social care and a system in crisis these platitudes are not credible. They further ignore the fact that any inequities in the system result from their decision to close ILF to new users from 2010.

Impact of Closing ILF identified by the government’s equality analysis.

The government say closure of the ILF will have a direct effect on disabled people, and in particular, those disabled people who are current users of the ILF. Two conditions are predominant among ILF users: severe learning disabilities and cerebral palsy (33% and 16% respectively).

Government admit that closure of the ILF will affect a disproportionate number of people with learning disabilities. However, they say there is no available evidence that would enable them to assess whether those with learning disabilities would be more significantly affected or affected in a different way when compared with users with other conditions.

33.The government say the ILF has undoubtedly played a significant role in supporting its users to live independently in their own homes, to access educational and employment opportunities and to participate actively in their communities. Closure of the ILF and the fact that the funding transferred to local authorities and the devolved administrations will not be ring-fenced in respect of current ILF users or disabled people more generally, has generated concern that ILF users will, as a result of reductions or changes to their current care and support arrangements, be denied opportunities they now have to participate fully in society.

This is clearly a regressive step and represents a grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s UNCRPD rights in relation to articles  4(2), 19, 24 and 27.

36.The government say that in the consultation disabled people’s concerns were linked to worries about care packages being reduced and disabled people being unable to achieve the same outcomes as they have with the ILF.

The equality analysis says this is most likely because the ILF provides greater flexibility in the use of funding than most local authorities. It is almost certain that closure of the ILF will mean that the majority of users will face changes to the way their support is delivered, including the real possibility of a reduction to the funding they currently receive. This is because the ILF funds some aspects of care that some local authorities do not and may also provide different levels of flexibility in the use of such funding.

37.The statement says loss of ILF funding could mean that current ILF users will have to make different choices about their daily lives. For example, this might be because they will no longer be able to employ a personal assistant. (37)  but the government fail to explore exactly what that would mean for disabled people and say simply the extent to which this will occur is impossible to calculate, given the variety of conditions and differences in local provision.

Thus in the equality analysis the government itself says that there is a real possibility of a reduction in funding, in less flexibility about what is funded and that choice and control over how people live their lives will be lost.

38.Another common concern raised by disabled people in the consultation was about inability to access social activities, voluntary work or employment either because of reductions in the number of care hours funded, or because the local authority would fund attendance a day centre rather than pay for a personal assistant to accompany people to activities of their choice.

41.The equality analysis shows this is likely to have an adverse, detrimental and regressive effect on ILF users because of monetary reductions in the amount of support a person receives and because of changes in how that support is delivered. In its joint response to the consultation, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care stated that;

“As ILF recipients transfer into the LA system in 2015, and are subsequently reviewed against the [local authority assessment] criteria, the value of the personal budget calculated through the Resource Allocation System will generally be at a lower level than the initial ILF/LA budget.”

45.While it is accepted that closure of the ILF will mean monetary changes to the value of the support ILF users receive under the current arrangements, the crucial point for users will be what outcomes they are able to achieve rather than the money that they personally receive through a direct payment.

The equality assessment says any reductions in the value of care packages will not necessarily undermine those outcomes, local authorities currently offer users both care services and direct payments to meet their needs. Therefore, whilst the closure of the ILF may mean that users receive less money through a direct payment, this may be offset by more care services being paid for directly.

This directly contradicts what the government say with regard to the increasing use of personal budgets in the Care Bill. Provision of direct services is not the same as having a personal budget and being given choice and control over what you want to purchase. So at the same time that they are arguing local authorities will increasingly use personal budgets to meet disabled people’s desired outcomes they also say more direct services will be provided.

54.The 2,800 group 1 users who may have care and support needs that are defined as moderate or low under local authority assessment criteria, will not continue to receive funding. In practice, this could mean the loss of a carer or personal assistant as currently funded by their ILF award.

This impact is impossible to quantify given the variety of health conditions and disabilities and variations in local provision.

 

48.The position for Group 2 users is different, as these users are already required to be in receipt of a minimum amount of local authority funding in order to meet the ILF eligibility criteria. For the vast majority of all users this minimum contribution is now £340 a week. The requirement to have this level of local authority funding means that it is reasonable to assume that Group 2 users have support needs that would be defined as ‘substantial ‘ or ‘critical’ under local authority assessment criteria. Yet Local authority funding for around 34 hours care falls far short of the 24 hour support which most Group 2 ILF users need to be able to live independently and take part in the community and other activities.

49.There are a number of existing or planned features within the local authority system which are likely to mitigate the effect of closure of the ILF on the outcomes individual users achieve and, as a result, on the potential impact on their ability to live independently or to exercise control over their lives.

52. In some cases ILF users have indicated that they consider the impact would be severe. It is simply not possible to quantify accurately how the closure of the ILF would impact on individual care and support packages or how any funding cuts would translate into the loss of independence or reduce choice and control over their daily lives.

70.A number of those responding to the consultation expressed fears about having to enter residential care and, as a result, would no longer have any choice around their place of residence. As stated above, the government argue it is simply not possible to quantify to what extent this is likely to be a consequence of closing the ILF.

DWP claim that they closely monitor the impact of changes to policy but have repeatedly said throughout the equality assessment that there is not enough information to say what the outcome of closure of ILF will be. They have failed to take steps to monitor any aspect of the closure of ILF, for example they could have monitored the impact of closing ILF to new applicants from 2010 or to assess the effects of care package cuts on individual ILF users. They could have asked LA’s to produce accurate figures of what they would fund at the joint reviews. This would have given DWP would precise figures of what wouldn’t be funded and illustrated clearly what the impact of closing ILF would be for users. However it seems that DWP did not want this to be known and therefore did not collect this data when they had the opportunity to.

 

71.Data from the Department of Health shows that the overall number of adults of working age in residential care (in England) is not increasing. The total number of working age people in residential care has been falling since 2008-09, but the proportion of all social care users in residential care has been rising (due to greater falls in the number of people receiving other forms of care). Although there has been no discernible change in the general trends around residential care since the ILF was closed to new users in 2010, this data needs to be treated with caution due to the relatively small number of people who may have been eligible for the ILF (had it not been closed to new users). The data does not therefore necessarily indicate that 2010 changes have not had an effect on trends in residential care.

If the proportion of disabled people receiving social care funding but in residential care is rising overall this is an  indication that fewer disabled people are living in the community with the support they need to be included in society and to have choice and control over their lives.

61.A small number of the approximately 2000 plus people who responded to the 2012 consultation on the future of the ILF, and who expressed concern about changes to current care packages, explained how this would affect their lives in practice. Nevertheless, those who did provide further detail explained how they believed this would impact on their ability to live in their own or family home, on their educational or employment status or aspirations, and on their ability to access social or other community-based activities.

62 In addition to those users who expressed fears about having to move into residential care, referenced above after paragraph 40, a number of users stated that with the support of ILF-funded personal assistants they had been able to access higher education and enter employment. Their concern was that they would be unable to continue in higher education or employment if the overall level of support was reduced. As a consequence they would be disadvantaged as the opportunities that had been afforded to them would be reduced.

70.The government say that it is not possible to quantify to what extent disabled people are likely to end up in residential care due to closing the ILF.

63.It is accepted that, with direct payments from the ILF many users have been enabled to access a range of educational, employment and social opportunities. However, the ILF’s primary function is simply to make cash payments to enable them to purchase services, most commonly, the employment of a personal assistant or carer.

64.It is not possible to accurately quantify the impact of closing the ILF on individuals for both Group 2 users and those Group 1 users who meet their local authority’s minimum eligibility criteria. This would involve making speculative or predictive assessments that, for example, compare ILF recipients with other disabled people who do not have ILF support; or comparing what individual ILF users receive now with what they could get from 2015 onwards. In this case onwards only refers to until 2016 when any transitional funding to local authorities will end. This issue as previously stated has been totally ignored and no attempt to address it has been made.

Since ILF has been closed to new users since 2010 why have no attempts been made to collect data which would allow DWP to make some accurate forecast of the impact?

 Access to education and Work

68.For disabled people who want to pursue higher education, there are a range of Disabled Student Allowances available. These are payable in addition to other sources of student finance and the amount payable is based on individual needs rather than income. Eligible students can get help with the costs of specialist equipment, non-medical helpers, extra travel costs associated with a person’s disability and a range of other additional costs.

However without the support from ILF none of these DSAs allow a disabled person to undertake study as none of them provide the support needed to meet personal or social care needs.

69.For disabled people with more complex needs which cannot be met by local authorities, there is also a range of specialist disability employment provision, including Access to Work, Work Choice and Residential Training.

Again in the case of Access to Work funding personal needs cannot be met from this funding.

Opportunity to work and study -“Through support from the Independent living Fund I have been enabled to go back to University and to enter employment, firstly through casual work as an “expert by experience” for the Care Quality Commission and to then go on to get my first full-time job in 20 years….. I am worried for the day that my 42 hours funded by the ILF disappear …..(and I am) no longer able to pay for the support I need to lead the meaningful life I currently enjoy thanks to the ILF.”

 “I am an active member of the Disabled People’s movement, which includes being co-Chair of the [a local disability equality forum] that advises [local council] on its disability policies and supports local disabled people. I am also a school governor of a local infants school, and I am involved with [local university] in the training of social work students and medical students. I am able to do all this because of the support of the ILF to pay for personal assistance. However, without this funding I would either be trapped in my own home, or worse institutionalised in a care home.”

78.As already discussed in this document while the ILF has allowed users the opportunity to participate in public life, or in any other activity in which participation by disabled people is disproportionately low, and in doing so, inadvertently fostering relationships and helping to combat prejudice and promote understanding, there are a number of other initiatives which are expressly levelled at addressing these criteria. What these are however remains a mystery as the government have misconstrued what Disabled Students Allowance, and Access to Work funding can actually be used for and already said in their equality analysis that when ILF is transferred to local authorities the levels of care and support funding people get will be reduced.

89.The ILF user base is comparatively young when considered in the overall context of the adult care and support system, where 67% of service users are 65 and over, compared to 9% of ILF users. The majority of ILF users are between 26 and 55 (68%).

 

In the absence of any adequate monitoring of the outcomes for disabled people generally and in particular the absence of any monitoring of outcomes for disabled people unable to access ILF funding since it was closed to new applicants it is interesting to note that the ILF user age range starts at 26 in these figures.

 

93.DWP is committed to monitoring the impact of all its policies. We will therefore be developing plans for monitoring the actual impact of the closure of the ILF on those groups who share protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, and in particular on former users of the ILF and disabled people more generally.

Why haven’t they been monitoring what’s happened from 2010?

Why haven’t they been collecting data from the joint transitional reviews on what Local Authorities would fund after 2016?

What plans do they have to monitor what local authorities do with the devolved ILF funding they get for 2015-16?

Why do they not already have plans in place for monitoring the actual impact rather then their rather wishy-washy “we can’t tell what the impact will be” attitude?

39. A significant number of users did provide more detailed testimony to show how they believed their ability to live independently and to participate fully in society would be compromised.

Examples of ILF user concerns of a loss of independence and control over daily life

“If the ILF were to close completely (he) would lose almost 50% of his care package: He has been scored in the highest funding band on the Local Authority’s Resource Allocation System, but their highest indicative budget would only provide care up to a (limit) for someone living at home. This would mean he could not be looked after at home and would almost certainly need to go into residential care”.

“Before I had ILF my parents who both work full time had to help me with the most basic of tasks (getting undressed, eating dinner, assistance getting to bathroom during the night) making me feel like a burden to my own family. My social life hit a stand still as I was unable to go out and meet friends as I was too unwell to really leave the house.”

“….people like me will end up sitting alone looking out of the window for most of the day unable to even go to the toilet. Until now, despite being severely disabled…..and unable to walk or use my hands or arms, I’ve been able to live a fulfilling life.…. [without the ILF] I will be imprisoned at home, and will even have to give up my dogs…”

“…With no ILF and no ring-fencing of money my son’s budget will either be reduced so much that it no longer adequately covers his needs and he will end up with unacceptably substandard care. Or he will end up having to go into residential care which would also not be acceptable to him.”

Before I was introduced to the ILF I was looked after by the local authority. I had no life at all, just a horrible existence. I didn’t get out of bed for months at a time. I was not encouraged to take part in life with the children. My care was extremely basic – to be kept clean, fed and medicated”

“Without the ILF funding I would either be left to rot in a home or be dead. My support worker and carers are my lifeline; with this funding I am able to live my life. Should this funding be cut, I can honestly say I would not last long in the community. Obviously should I end up in a home, then the money the government are wanting to save…would have to be paid out for my home fees….”

“ILF allows me to do, as closely as possible, what normal human beings do. I do not do ‘activities’ or ‘access the community’ – I go out for a drive, for a picnic, to visit people, the kind of things ‘real’ people do.”

 

 

 Posted by at 20:34
Mar 092014
 

We told MPs we’d be watching to see who went to the WOW debate in parliament so we’re gratfeul to John Pring for permission to reproduce this article which shows how few MPs were there and outlines various excuses.

News story by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

8 th Mar 2014

MPs’ excuses for missing ‘historic’ debate lack the WOW factor

By john pring

The low turnout by MPs in for the WOW petition will damage efforts to persuade the public to engage with politics and politicians, according to the campaign’s organisers.

Backbench MPs agreed to hold the debate – which focused on the need to assess the overall impact of the government’s welfare reforms on disabled people, and calls to scrap the “fitness for work” test – after more than 100,000 people added their names to an e-petition created by the War On Welfare (WOW) campaign.

It was the first time that disabled people had secured a debate in the main Commons chamber on an agenda they had chosen themselves.

But there was frustration at the low turnout among MPs, particularly on the government benches.

Disability News Service (DNS) tried this week to contact some of the MPs who hold positions on disability-related all-party parliamentary groups to ask why so many of them stayed away from the WOW debate.

A spokesman for Robert Buckland, the Conservative MP and chair of the all-party autism group, said he had attended instead the speech given in parliament by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Her speech finished by 12.45pm, while the WOW debate continued until 2.30pm.

Buckland’s spokesman said the MP “then had childcare issues back at home so had to return to the constituency quite early”.

He said: “He has a long-standing interest in disability issues. He had an interest in the topic but unfortunately just because of his diary on the day was unable to attend.”

John Woodcock, the Labour vice-chair of the all-party group on young disabled people, said he had been attending a foreign policy conference in Sussex, but he insisted that he remained “really committed to working closely with disabled people and campaigning organisations on furthering this agenda”.

Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat former care services minister, had meetings with ministers about the care bill, and then chaired a meeting of the CentreForum Mental Health Commission.

A spokeswoman for Burstow said he had “a particularly busy day last Thursday, otherwise I am pretty certain he would have gone to that debate. He was literally in and out of meetings.”

Annette Brooke, the Liberal Democrat MP and vice-chair of the autism all-party group, was unable to attend the WOW debate because she was in her Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency, but her spokeswoman said she had been “very active recently in her role on autism”.

She said: “Unfortunately with backbench debates on Thursday, MPs are sometimes not able to participate in debates which they are really keen to speak in as they have to head back to the constituency.”

But the Labour MP Russell Brown, secretary of the autism group, who attended part of the debate but was not able to speak due to other parliamentary commitments, said that party whips will have made clear to MPs that they are supposed to be working in parliament throughout most of Thursdays, at least until mid-afternoon.

He said: “You shouldn’t make arrangements for constituency business when you know… that you should be in parliament.”

He said it was “not a reasonable excuse to say it is a long-standing engagement”, although parliamentary-related business, such as a constituency visit from a government minister, was probably an acceptable excuse.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Liberal Democrat chair of the all-party deafness group, was unable to attend the debate because of a ministerial visit to his Gordon constituency in Scotland.

But Charlotte Leslie, treasurer of the autism group and Conservative MP for BristolNorth West, said she had had “back-to-back meetings and then had to make it back to the constituency in the early afternoon for constituency commitments”.

She said: “As I am sure you know, an MP’s diary can get booked up many months in advance.

“We do not get notice of debate dates until a couple of weeks in advance, and it is not always possible to rearrange several hours of meetings, since many people have made huge efforts and re-arranged their own schedules to be able to make the date to see me.”

But she said she had read some of the WOW debate online.

The disabled Conservative MP Paul Maynard was unable to attend the debate because as parliamentary private secretary to the Cabinet Office minister for government policy, Oliver Letwin, he had to attend two sessions of the deregulation bill committee.

Other MPs who hold positions on disability-related all-party groups, and who apparently failed to attend the WOW petition debate, and have so far failed to respond to DNS enquiries, include Conservatives Chris Skidmore, Stephen Phillips, Sir Peter Bottomley and James Morris, Labour MPs Tom Clarke, Rosie Cooper, Jonathan Reynolds and Robert Flello, and the disabled Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd.

In all, 21 Labour MPs spoke in the debate (8.2 per cent of the parliamentary party), five Conservative MPs (1.7 per cent), two Liberal Democrats (3.6 per cent), one of the six MPs from the SNP (16.7 per cent), the only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, but none of the three MPs from Plaid Cymru.

Rick Burgess, a co-founder of the WOW campaign, said: “MPs constantly say they want people to engage with politics. We engaged with politics and look how few of them engaged with us!

“We did what they asked. We did the petition, we engaged with them. On the day, it didn’t feel like we were welcome.”

Ian Jones, another co-founder of the WOW campaign, said his MP, Theresa May, had said she could not attend the debate because of her ministerial responsibilities as home secretary.

But he said she and other MPs should have attended the debate because it was “an historical event”, the first time that disabled activists had secured a debate in the main Commons chamber.

He said: “To have any respect for the e-petition system, when people actually get together and get the 100,000 signatures, the MPs should take it seriously and debate it.

“It just seemed to me that the Tories were just paying lip service.”

6 March 2014

 

 Posted by at 15:45
Feb 202014
 

Bedroom tax appeal judgment

Vigil outside Royal Courts of Justice: 9.15am Friday 21 February

Disabled people and supporters will gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday morning as the Court of Appeal delivers its judgment in the ‘bedroom tax’ legal challenge.

Under new Housing Benefit rules introduced in 1 April 2013, persons deemed to have 1 spare bedroom have had their housing benefit reduced by 14% and persons deemed to have 2, or more, spare bedrooms have had their housing benefit reduced by 25%. This bedroom tax or ‘removal of spare room subsidy’ as the government prefers to call it, has had a devastating impact with two thirds of those households affected containing a disabled person.

Last year 10 claimants represented by 3 law firms, argued the new rules discriminate against disabled people. In July 2013 the High Court accepted that they are discriminatory, however decided that the discrimination was justified and therefore lawful in cases concerning disabled adults, although not in cases of disabled children unable to share a bedroom because of their impairments.

Lawyers for disabled adults went to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the discriminatory impact of the measure on disabled people cannot be justified and is unlawful. Lawyers for disabled children and their families also appealed the earlier ruling because the Government has failed to provide a date by which it will implement the high court judgment meanwhile despite the judgement families with disabled children who cannot share rooms because of their impairments are still subject to the bedroom tax.

Evidence of the injustice of the bedroom tax is widespread with families falling into arrears and at threat of eviction. A report by the Papworth trust found that 1 in 3 disabled people hit by the bedroom tax have been refused the Discretionary Housing Payment so far and of those, 9 in 10 disabled people are cutting back on food or bills. There has been at least one suicide as a direct consequence of the distress caused by the new Housing Benefit regulations.

Grassroots campaigns have presented consistent opposition to the hated tax. In April last year a group of disabled activists and supporters from DPAC and UKUncut travelled to Iain Duncan Smith’s mansion in Buckinghamshire to present an under-occupation eviction notice and enjoy an uninvited picnic in his extensive grounds. There have been a series of legal rulings highlighting the unfairness of this poorly thought out and unworkable measure.

We say that no one should have to move and the answer is to build more social housing. A legal victory against this rotten policy would highlight how unworkable and unfair the government’s so-called welfare reforms really are.

The vigil has been called by the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation and Disabled People Against Cuts.

The judgment is due to be given in court room 72 at 9.55am.

 

 

Notes for editors

1) Two thirds of the people affected by the bedroom tax nationally (around 420,000 out of 660,000) are disabled people

2) The challenge against the government was brought by 10 families through a three day hearing from 15 to 18 May: http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/May-2013/Bedroom-Tax-Challenge-at-the-High-Court-(1)

3) Aragon Housing published a report on the first 100 days of the bedroom tax that evidences the disproportionate impact on disabled people as many other issues that make it unworkable

4)  In December it emerged that a loophole had been identified whereby anyone receiving Housing Benefit continuously since before 1996 should be exempt and in January the government had to publish official guidance acknowledging this. A recent Upper Tribunal ruling that defined the term ‘bedroom’ using the plain dictionary meaning also implications for implementation of the bedroom tax.

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/regulation/full-details-of-first-bedroom-tax-tribunal-rulings/6528701.article?PageNo=1&PageSize=50

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/changes_to_housing_benefit/bedroom_tax_loophole

http://www.innertemplelibrary.com/2014/01/upper-tribunal-on-bedrooms-nearlylegal/

5) Disabled People Against Cuts is a national campaign led by disabled people, set up to oppose the government’s attacks being carried out in the name of welfare reform. For more information see http://www.dpac.uk.net

6) The Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation is a federation of anti bedroom tax and benefit justice campaigns across England and Wales. We were formed in May 2013 shortly after the launch of the Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation. For more information see: http://www.antibedroomtax.org.uk

 

 

 Posted by at 12:34
Feb 182014
 

It was amazing to see so many people at the meeting last night. There was no doubt that everyone there was strongly against introduce these dangerous weapons to a police force we can’t trust.

In case you weren’t there, last night Dietrich Wagner, a German pensioner blinded by a water cannon, visited the official public meeting on water cannon and warned about the life changing dangers they will pose to Londoners.

Dietrich was also able to tell the media his story and everyone from Channel 4, ITV to the BBC shared his warning about water cannon with the UK public. Even the Daily Mail wrote a strongly anti-water cannon article and published his quote that ‘The use of water cannon is akin to the breakdown of the democratic process.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2561709/Dont-deploy-water-cannon-blind-victim-urges-police-Pensioner-says-wants-make-people-aware-lethal-controversial-weapon-is.html

There is 10 days left of the “engagement” process before Boris decides whether to push for them so if you haven’t already then tell them what you think at: watercannonengagement@mopac.london.gov.uk

We heard from Jenny Jones that the Met and Boris hell bent on introducing them so the campaign needs to build from here. Please share this image and help build the movement against these deadly weapons.

Other media coverage:
http://notowatercannon.wordpress.com/media-coverage/

We’ve also got a Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Water-Cannon-on-Our-Streets/1438349739735074

Feb 162014
 

The WOW petition debate which has been supported by John McDonnell MP will take place on Thursday 27th February 2014 around 11.30 am at the House of Commons chamber.

Please contact your MP to ask them to attend this important debate. You can find your MP’s email details at www.parliament.uk

You may want to remind your MP that as we are approaching an election in the not too distant future you will be monitoring to see whether they attend or not on your behalf.

Template letter mainly taken from WOW

http://wowpetition.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/draft-letter-to-mps-option-2.html

Dear …..

I am writing as your constituent to ask you to represent my views in Parliament.

I support a government e-petition, the WOW petition, which passed the 100,000 signature mark, and on the 10th December 2013 and was granted a full chamber debate by the Back Bench Business Committee in the New Year. This in itself is a historic event as it is the first time in the history of this country that disabled people have secured a Main Chamber debate.

The petition calls for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform as it affects disabled people and those with a long term health condition as well as family carers, and an end to the Work Capability Assessment, as demanded by the British Medical Association.

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

Please add a personal message here to illustrate how this Government’s Policies are either directly affecting you, your family, people you know or society and why you believe the Government should properly debate their policies, the effect they are having and the hardship they are causing to specifically targeted groups with UK society. 

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

I know you are very busy, but please allow me to present some evidence to support the need for these measures.

The Welfare Reform Act  was promoted as the biggest shake up in welfare for 60 years, so it was extraordinary that no assessment was carried out on how it would affect disabled people. I believe the government now needs to take stock, and face the fact that disabled people have been caused great distress and hardship by measure such as the Work Capability Assessment, bedroom tax, the twenty per cent cut in the budget for Disability Living Allowance, the closure of the Independent Living Fund to new applicants, and many more measures. The think tank Demos has calculated that disabled people, already more likely to be living in poverty, will lose around £28 billion over five years. This hardly seems to be sharing the burden of austerity fairly.

As for the Work Capability Assessments, these have been a disaster. The British Medical Association last year called for them to be scrapped with immediate effect. Parkinson’s UK’s research found that almost half of people with a progressive illness, when assessed, are told they will get better and placed in the Work Related Activity Group. This means they are required to prepare for work, and if they are unable to do what is required of them can be sanctioned leaving them with no income. Please remember these are people with Parkinsons Disease and other progressive illnesses.

As my representative in Parliament I am requesting that you attend and speak at this debate so that your constituents and I can understand your views on government policy towards disabled people.

I would also like to add that we are quickly approaching national elections and I and your other disabled constituents will be watching how you are willing to support us very closely.

Yours sincerely,

 Posted by at 21:23
Feb 132014
 

Independent living amendment – One more chance to get independent living included in the Care Bill but we have to act now!

Just email the template letter below to you MP – Find out who is your local MP at: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ Their contact details are available at: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Encourage your users/members to send the letter too.

If you need more information please don’t hesitate to contact Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.co.uk

Many thanks for your action!

Henrietta

Here’s the template letter:

Dear (Name of your MP)

Please write to the Minister of Care, Norman Lamb to ask him to put forward the Clause below as a Government amendment to the Care Bill 2013 at Commons’ Report Stage:

Clause 1, page 2, after line 1, insert:

“(j) the right to living independently and being included in the community.”

This Clause, which was recommended by Joint Committee on Human Rights, will provide for a free-standing right to independent living that could be directly enforceable by individuals in domestic law.

Why is the amendment needed?

The Government has not included the right to independent living in the Care Bill, believing that the duty to promote Well-being covers this vital right. However, although the current ‘well-being’ definition in the Care Bill 2013 does incorporate some aspects of independent living, it leaves out vital independent living concepts of equality, choice, access, inclusion, rights and equal participation.

This is supported by Law Society’s response to the Care Bill, which points to the limitations of the well-being principle saying that “the failure to reference the right to independent living as central to the provision prevents the necessary approach to the individual and their specific needs”.

The lived experiences of disabled people overwhelmingly support the need for a free-standing, enforceable right to living independently and being included in the community, because support in many areas is being cut to a clean and feed model of care, which prevents participation in the community and an active life. This situation will become even more urgent if the closure of the Independent Living Fund goes ahead: Local Authorities will be responsible for those with highest care and support levels of need, at a time when Council’s support packages are being cut to the bone, with the consequence that disabled people are increasingly denied equal life chances and quality of life.

We need independent living and being included in the community in the Care Bill to ensure the full and equal participation of disabled people as much as the well-being of the individual.

We agree with the Joint Committee that the Care Bill is the most appropriate opportunity for the Government to provide the necessary legislative underpinning of the right to independent living as enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

We would also like to highlight that the judgement on the Independent Living Fund (ILF) which raised the need for the Minister to consider the UK’s obligations under Article 19 when making the decision on the closure of the ILF.

I urge you to ask the Government to bring forward the amendment above at Report Stage of the Care Bill 2013.

Regards,
(Your name and organisation)
References:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/human-rights-committee/news/care-bill-substantive/

2http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/domains/inclusionlondon.co.uk/local/media/downloads/Bracking_v_DWP_4.5_draft.pdf

3 http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=259

 Posted by at 12:01
Feb 112014
 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/tismes-page/atos-assessments-update/480168792087405

 ATOS assessments in East Anglia are at Critical levels.

Last week, a meeting held at ATOS the CEO told staff there that face-to-face home assessments were now at such level that 80,000 people across the UK are waiting for them alone.  This is JUST home visits – it does not include those people who are waiting for assessments at Assessment Centres.

The DWP are warning people it could be 6 month to a year before you will be seen for ATOS assessments and even longer to get a decision on your benefit application.  The DWP informed me in late October that they were “just starting to process May applications” and when I rang last week they were now “only just starting to process end of May/June” applications – nothing has moved in 4 months!

Yesterday management at ATOS had a CRISIS meeting in the morning which lasted over 3 hours.  ATOS is drafting people to Norwich and Ipswich from all over the country as a matter or urgency.  Yesterday they announced that every one is going to get a home visit.

Figures have emerged that the backlog has reached 40,000 in Norfolk/Suffolk area alone!

ATOS assessors are REQUIRED to now carry out 44 assessments a day in centres and 4 home visits a day per person.  However, it takes 2 hours to do paperwork per person to write report but ATOS staff are only being given 35 minutes to write reports!

Monday morning an email was circulated from “on high” – a new DWP directive was put out.   ‘We are looking at achieving’ a Fail rate 65%!

There are fewer Drs on PIP assessments than for ESA but these Drs and nurses are rebelling and putting their foot down and demanding duty of care protocols are followed!  The UK floods are only adding to the pressure and staff are deeply concerned that disabled people in flood areas are not only being left to cope with the aftermath of flooding with no support but because their benefits are being held up due to this non-assessment situation, there is going to be a MASS Starvation situation unless these benefits are sorted out ASAP.

ATOS is aware of problems but only looking at it from a Business needs perspective and not putting the right training protocols into place.  Staff are only getting 2 days PBR training (should be a week) – and only thinking of getting the queue down but all that is happening is that the queue is being shifted from one area to another.

There is good news though:  ATOS are being inundated with customer service calls.

The more people who ring the more pressure that gets put on ATOS to do assessments.

This then puts pressure on ATOS to pressurise DWP in turn to give more resources to get assessments done.

What you can do:

CALL ATOS today and COMPLAIN if you have been waiting MORE than 3 months for an assessment.  If you contact your GP and get your GP to chase you will get a Home Assessment.  If you have applied for PIP more than 4 months ago, if you ask your GP for a home visit you will be given one within 14 days!

Contact your MP and get them to ring ATOS with your NI and DOB.  This will bring extra impetus on ATOS to get your assessment moving.  Call your MP today tell them how long delay is – this is only way you will be seen before June.  People who are chased up by MPs say they are going to top of list.

PLEASE PLEASE SHARE THIS NOTE!  Get the word out – get people complaining.  This is the only way that people are going to get their assessments.

To apply for PIP 0800 917 2222

PIP Processing Centre no. (To check on PIP Claim progress):  0845 850 3322

ATOS:  0300 3300121

DLA is still 08457 123456

 Posted by at 20:15
Feb 112014
 
bromley DPAC will be presenting the bedroom tax to bromley council on Monday 24th February 2014 at bromley council full budget meeting at 7 pm. This meeting will also announce the next round of cuts that will affect Bromley residents.
Meeting takes place. Bromley Civic Centre
Stockwell close
Bromley, Kent BR1 3UH.
Main council chamber.
nearest train station is Bromley South…(disabled access is availlable for wheelchair users or people with mobililty issues)
Buses 61,208.161, 358, 126 all go to the stop opposite the civic centre..

 

 Posted by at 20:11
Feb 032014
 

BREAKING: 2/3 women, 87% long-term sick or disabled and 1 in 6 carers will be affected by change to Bedroom Tax pre-1996 exemption

An article by Joe Halewood, who has been the most vocal and articulate opponent of the bedroom tax, throws light on what the changes intended by the government following the discovery of  the Bedroom Tax pre 1996 exemption will mean for the people affected. This exemption means that tenants who have been continuously entitled to Housing Benefit since at least 1 January 1996 and who have occupied the same dwelling since that date are exempt from the bedroom tax.

Joe Halewood, a Housing Consultant, has been working with Reclaim, a local grassroot organisation which in December asked pre-1996 tenants to email them with their initials and their post code.

The results for the first 250 or so households which were unlawfully hit with this pre-1996 bedroom tax are as follows:

  • Two-thirds were women
  • 87% were long-term sick or disabled
  • One in six were carers for a family member 

These are the kind of figures IDS would not want you to know and they explain why he is in such a rush to change the law.  These figures are unlikely to change as more data is gathered. Disabled people who had their homes adapted to fit their needs are not likely to move, which explains why 87% of them will be hit by a change to the pre-1996 housing rule.

It is possible to bring pressure to bear on this government and on MPs by alerting public opinion on the impact this change will have for people who are least likely to find a job to offset the cost of the bedroom tax.

Joe Halewood’s article is here:  http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/cover-your-cock-up-ids-and-no-we-wont-be-on-our-knees/

 

 

 Posted by at 13:42
Jan 272014
 

Richard Butchins who we have worked with before is looking for people who have been faced with a very long delay waiting for a PIP assessment or decision or both. This is for a Channel 4 documentary but will not in any way be like the recent Benefits Street.

Richard produced and investigated ATOS medical assessments for an excellent channel 4 documentary. We are entirely certain that Richard’s programme will represent the true facts and not be sensationalised in any way.

Please contact Richard directly if you can help with this

richard.butchins@hardcashproductions.com

 Posted by at 16:12
Jan 172014
 

Remember the massive Solidarity Sunday march during Reclaim the Power in
Balcombe?

How’s about we do it again!.

Sunday 26th January at Barton Moss.

Be there and show Cameron that we see through his bribes and we don’t want
fracking or the dash for gas.

Fracking is Stoppable! Another World is Possible!

Please forward to list and help mobilise people from your area/offer to
help with eg media/publicity etc.

SOLIDARITY SUNDAY @ BARTON MOSS

https://www.facebook.com/events/204357003090823/?ref=5&source=1

26th January 2014,    1:00pm

Barton Moss Road (off A57), Salford, Greater Manchester M30 7RQ

Do you live in the 60% of the UK that has been made available to fracking
companies? Solidarity Sunday is an opportunity to support a community
fighting fracking NOW, but also to highlight the threat to your community
and the resistance taking place where you live!

LETS MAKE THIS BIG.

*Things to Bring*

** BANNERS/SIGNAGE representing your community and the extreme energy
development your resisting
** WARM/WATERPROOF clothes
** Food & Water
** If travelling in a vehicle, anything from the camp’s wish-list:
http://northerngasgala.org.uk/whattobring/

*If You Cant Attend*

If you can’t make it dont worry – this is a nation-wide day of solidarity
and resistance:

** MESSAGES OF SOLIDARITY!: Send photos of your message to
info@northerngasgala.org.uk
** Use the day to get your group together where you are: Run an
info-stall/hold a film screening

See http://northerngasgala.org.uk/solidarity-sunday/ for more details and
directions to Barton Moss Community Protection Camp
etc. Try to avoid bringing alcohol, drugs, anything which could be
construed as a weapon (glass etc.).

Latest News from Barton Moss:
http://frack-off.org.uk/barton-moss-latest-news/
Directions: http://northerngasgala.org.uk/map/
Know Your Rights: http://northerngasgala.org.uk/knowyourrights/
More about Threat to North West:
http://frack-off.org.uk/fracking-threat-in-the-north-west/
New UK fracking licenses confirmed:
http://frack-off.org.uk/new-uk-fracking-licenses-conf

 Posted by at 16:59
Jan 162014
 

Bedroom Tax Appeal

Vigil – Monday 20th January, 9.30am, outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Disabled people and our supporters will hold a vigil outside the high courts to mark the start of a three day appeal hearing looking to overturn the judgment handed down in July 2013 that found the government can lawfully discriminate against disabled people through implementation of the bedroom tax.

Monday’s legal challenge focuses on discrimination against disabled people, who make up two thirds of those affected – exemption for disabled children was recently won. Other challenges brought against the discriminatory nature of the policy, by separated parents with shared care of children, and mothers fleeing domestic violence in housing with security measures, are on hold behind this case and could be affected by the result, so it’s even more important for everyone to show their support.

The bedroom tax is vicious and punitive. All social housing tenants should have a right to a family home for life. The longer people have to suffer the bedroom tax, the longer people are having to go without essentials like food and heating in order to try to make up the shortfall they are left with, the higher the arrears that are mounting up, and the closer we come to evictions. In November the Disability Benefits Consortium reported that 9 out of 10 disabled people and three quarters of carers affected are now having to cut back on food and heating.

Campaigners from the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation, Camden Association of Street Properties (Camden tenants), Disabled People Against Cuts, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty and WinVisible are calling the vigil in solidarity with the disabled people taking the appeal and everyone affected. It is also an important opportunity to keep the spotlight on how unfair and unworkable this policy is and to maintain pressure to axe the tax.

We invite everyone who can get to the high courts on Monday to come and show support. The media are keen to hear from disabled people who are directly affected by the bedroom tax and if you are willing to share your story please let us know.

The following Monday 27 January, the appeal against the total Benefit Cap is being heard.  Women Against Rape and Single Mothers’ Self-Defence are calling a protest against the Cap outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 9.30am.  We hope you’ll be able to support that too.

 

 

 Posted by at 18:26
Jan 142014
 

Thanks go to Liz Kendall who argued for independent living and choice to be included in the Care Bill when Independent living and Choice was debated in the Care Bill Committee on Thurs 9 January  – Norman Lamb argued against.   Liz Kendall used the wording suggested by Inclusion London and supported by DPAC re the definition for independent living,  see below.  Norman Lamb said the definition of independent living was unclear.

Please tweet your thanks to Liz Kendall MP in recognition of her efforts

Unfortunately the vote narrowly went against the amendments 10 to 12, so the amendments will not be recommended by the Committee, but the fight goes on as other MPs can recommend amendments when the Bill returns to the House of Commons….    It also now goes back to the Lords so you may wish to contact some lords about this as well.

Please write to your MPs to urge them to propose the independent living amendment and others that are vital for disabled people. See the template letter prepared by Inclusion London attached. 

Here’s a piece from Liz Kendall’s speech:  The debate available at:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmpublic/care/140109/pm/140109s01.htm

Liz Kendall: The Bill is an important opportunity to ensure that our legislation fully addresses the needs, aspirations and rights of disabled people. Disability organisations have rightly welcomed the new duties that the Bill will put on local authorities to promote well-being and prevention. However, many organisations, such as Inclusion London, Scope and Mencap, have argued that a duty to promote independent living is also essential. That is not a minor or technical point, but a point of principle. Independent living is crucial to ensuring that disabled people have the same rights, choices and chances as any other citizen in this country. Independent living is essential to getting a good education, finding a job, building a career and taking part in community and public life. It is about ensuring that people can live in their own home with whoever they choose to live with and have the opportunity to have a family life. It is about ensuring that they are able to get out and about, meet up with friends and participate in the cultural life of the community and the country. In other words, independent living for me, and more importantly for disabled people and the organisations that work with and represent them, is about being able to participate in, contribute to and be included in society, as the rest of us usually take for granted. 

Disability organisations say that disabled people’s rights to independent living are being undermined by the Government’s policies in social care and the welfare system. The Government’s decision to reduce local council budgets by a third, the biggest reduction in any part of government, is having a real effect on services that are essential to helping with the basics of daily life, such as getting up, washed, dressed and fed. We do that every day, which is essential to getting on with the rest of our lives, but for disabled people— 

Grahame M. Morris (Easington) (Lab ….. I recall that, in our discussions with Swedish parliamentarians, who have a sort of Standing Committee on Health, we were told that if any responsibilities were placed on local government, it is a legal requirement for the necessary resources to be made available for the councils to carry out those services and delegate the functions.

Liz Kendall:  My hon. Friend makes an important point about the needs of adults with disabilities and about the importance of having a right to the basics of daily life, which are essential. The recent joint inquiry by the all-party groups on local government and on disability showed the real problems with the services in the current system: four in 10 disabled adults are now failing to have their basic social care needs met; and nearly half of all disabled adults say that services are not supporting them to get out and about in their local community. The same erosion of independence and opportunities is happening in the social security system through the closure of the independent living fund; problems with the Work programme; how the personal independent payment is being implemented; and the bad bedroom tax. 

 

 

 Template letter to MPs

Dear   Add the name of your MP,

I am writing to you regarding the Care Bill which is in currently being discussed by MPs.

The Care Bill has been described as a once in a life time opportunity to tackle the social care crisis which is impacting on my life. I am asking for your support to propose the amendments to the Care Bill below, to ensure that I am given the support I need for my independent living. 

Independent living for disabled people

As a disabled person I have the right to the same opportunities, choices and rights as other citizens. I want to get a job, build a career and have an education and to take part in community and public life.  I wish to decide when I go bed, what I eat and to live in my home with people I choose to live with, I also want to be able to leave my home to go out and about – go shopping, go to see a band. I would like the opportunity to be a parent and friend, have a family and social life. All these elements are included in independent living for disabled people.  Independent living is being able to contribute, participate and be included.

Funding

Social care is in crisis resulting in more and more disabled people going without the essential support they need. This situation is likely to continue because the Care Bill does not tackle the fundamental issue of funding for social care. I have not got large savings and do not own my house, so I will not benefit from the Government’s funding reforms.  I would like care and support to be funded so it supports me to lead an independent life of participation, inclusion, dignity and equality. To achieve this I believe it should be funded out of National Insurance contributions/general taxation and free at the point of need like the NHS, this would ensure I get the care I need for independent living in the future.

Amendments to Care Bill

I would be grateful if you could put forward the amendments below to the Scrutiny Committee or to the House of Commons when the Bill reaches Report stage, to try and ensure that independent living for disabled people becomes a reality. All the amendments are highlighted in bold: 

 

1. Amendment to: Clause 1 ‘Promoting individual well-being’ 

Can you please propose the following amendments to the definition of ‘well-being’ and to the General responsibilities of local authorities:

1 Promoting individual well-being and independent living

(1) The general duty of a local authority, in exercising a function under this Part in the case of an individual, is to promote that individual’s well-being, independence and inclusion as equal and valued citizens and members of the community.

(a) That duties under independent living promote the wider definition of independent living as expressed in the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

2. Advocacy

It is very important that disabled people are provided with independent advocacy right through the process of obtaining and maintaining care and support.

It is important because independent advocacy enables disabled people to participate in the assessment and review process but also enable disabled people to give direct feedback about the quality of services, which will help prevent on-going abuse of disabled people in the future. Therefore we ask you to put forward the following amendments to three clauses, (see wording in bold)

Clause 5.Promoting diversity and quality in provision of service:

A local authority must have regard to —

(c)      the need to offer and provide an independent advocate to enable service user feedback to improve the quality of services  

Clause 9.  Assessment of adults need for care and support:

A local authority, in carrying out a needs assessment, has

(d)     A duty to offer and provide an independent advocate to the adult to enable full participation in all needs assessments and reviews

Clause 42.   Enquiry by local authority:

(2)The local authority must-

(a)     Offer and provide an independent advocate to an adult who is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect to enable them to give evidence and participate fully in the enquiry. 

3. Amendment to Clause 9 ‘Assessment of an adult’s needs for care and support’

The assessment is the key gateway to care and support so it is important that disabled people, who are expert in their own needs, should be at the core of the assessment process. Can you please propose the following that:

  • All care assessments reflect the rights to independent living and choice encompassed in the UNCRDP.  Also that all care and support assessments should be a person centred process. 

 

4. Amendment to Clause 13 ‘The eligibility criteria’

The government has announced that the national eligibility threshold is to be set at ‘Substantial’. This means support will only be provided at a very late stage when disabled people’s health, wellbeing and independence has deteriorated badly. Can you please propose an amendment so that:

  • The eligibility threshold for care is set at ‘moderate’ to ensure that disabled people are able to receive the support needed to maintain and sustain health, wellbeing and independence

 

5. Independent Living Fund (no existing clause)

The impact on the independent living of disabled people with high support needs if the Independent Living Fund (ILF) closes in 2015 will be devastating. I would be grateful if you can propose a new clause to ensure there is:

  • A duty on local authorities to provide equivalent support as provided by the ILF that ensures independent living in the community on an on-going basis.  
  • Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the Independent Living Fund in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision. 

5. Amendment to ‘Continuity of care and support when an adult moves’ – Clause 37 ‘Notification, assessment etc

I believe I should have the same freedom to move home as non-disabled people i.e. without the fear that my care package will be removed or reduced. I urge you to propose and amendment so there is a duty to:

  • Ensure the new care package provided by the receiving authority must be equivalent to the existing care package, provided by the first authority.  

Together these amendments will help make the Care Bill better for disabled people and help make independent living a reality for me and other disabled people.

Can you please let me know what action you will take and what amendments you will be proposing and supporting.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:37
Jan 072014
 

Independent Living & The Care Bill 2013 – help make this Bill better for disabled people 

The Care Bill going through Parliament this January 2014 will shape social care for years to come yet the Bill currently does not include any mention of independent living and fails to address key concerns like independent advocacy and funding of social care. 

The Care Bill is being discussed by MPs from 9 January till early February, during this time changes can be made to the Bill to improve it. We know you are extremely busy but please take the time to get in contact with your MP to ask them put forward amendments to the Care Bill to ensure independent living is at the heart of this important piece of legislation and also encourage your service users and members to contact their MPs as well.

We have received some great news – Liz Kendall, the Shadow Care Minister has put forward important changes to the Bill suggested by Inclusion London and supported by DPAC regarding choice and independent living, for discussion by the Care Bill’s Scrutiny Committee! Pressure from your MP now will help these amendments to be accepted in the House of Commons.

Detailed below is all the information you need to lobby your MP. It won’t take that long and your input could make all the difference.

How to lobby your MP

  1. 1.   Email or write to your MP. 

Find out who is your local MP at: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

Their contact details are available at: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Send the attached letter to your MP, feel free to change the letter to reflect your / their circumstances.

  1. Tweet:
    Service users / members can tweet about any responses to their letters or meetings, which will keep interest in the Care Bill alive. Use your own twitter account or email your tweet to henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.co.uk who will tweet it for you.
  1. Attend your MP’s surgery or ask for a home visit.
    Information about your MP’s surgeries times and venues is available at:http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/London_MP_Surgeries

Home visits:  If you are not able to attend your MP’s surgery because of your impairment you should ask for a home visit.

  1. DDPOs you can organise a meeting between your MP and your members and users about the Care Bill.

For information on how to contact your MP go to: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ 

We know you are extremely busy but please take the time to get in touch with your MP. This is a vitally important piece of legislation that will have a huge impact on disabled people’s lives now and in the future. We can make this Bill better.

Many thanks to Inclusion London for putting together this campaign pack for people to use. Further information on the Care Bill is available to read at   http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/ 

Template Letter for individuals

 

Dear   Add the name of your MP,

I am writing to you regarding the Care Bill which is in currently being discussed by MPs.

The Care Bill has been described as a once in a life time opportunity to tackle the social care crisis which is impacting on my life. I am asking for your support to propose the amendments to the Care Bill below, to ensure that I am given the support I need for my independent living. 

Independent living for disabled people

As a disabled person I have the right to the same opportunities, choices and rights as other citizens. I want to get a job, build a career and have an education and to take part in community and public life.  I wish to decide when I go bed, what I eat and to live in my home with people I choose to live with, I also want to be able to leave my home to go out and about – go shopping, go to see a band. I would like the opportunity to be a parent and friend, have a family and social life. All these elements are included in independent living for disabled people.  Independent living is being able to contribute, participate and be included.

Funding

Social care is in crisis resulting in more and more disabled people going without the essential support they need. This situation is likely to continue because the Care Bill does not tackle the fundamental issue of funding for social care. I have not got large savings and do not own my house, so I will not benefit from the Government’s funding reforms.  I would like care and support to be funded so it supports me to lead an independent life of participation, inclusion, dignity and equality. To achieve this I believe it should be funded out of National Insurance contributions/general taxation and free at the point of need like the NHS, this would ensure I get the care I need for independent living in the future.

Amendments to Care Bill

I would be grateful if you could put forward the amendments below to the Scrutiny Committee or to the House of Commons when the Bill reaches Report stage, to try and ensure that independent living for disabled people becomes a reality. All the amendments are highlighted in bold:

1. Amendment to: Clause 1 ‘Promoting individual well-being’ 

Can you please propose the following amendments to the definition of ‘well-being’ and to the General responsibilities of local authorities:

1 Promoting individual well-being and independent living

(1) The general duty of a local authority, in exercising a function under this Part in the case of an individual, is to promote that individual’s well-being, independence and inclusion as equal and valued citizens and members of the community.

(a) That duties under independent living promote the wider definition of independent living as expressed in the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

(See Inclusion London’ paper attached for all the amendments to this clause). 

2. Advocacy

It is very important that disabled people are provided with independent advocacy right through the process of obtaining and maintaining care and support.

It is important because independent advocacy enables disabled people to participate in the assessment and review process but also enable disabled people to give direct feedback about the quality of services, which will help prevent on-going abuse of disabled people in the future. Therefore we ask you to put forward the following amendments to three clauses, (see wording in bold)

Clause 5.Promoting diversity and quality in provision of service:

A local authority must have regard to —

(c)      the need to offer and provide an independent advocate to enable service user feedback to improve the quality of services  

Clause 9.  Assessment of adults need for care and support:

A local authority, in carrying out a needs assessment, has

(d)     A duty to offer and provide an independent advocate to the adult to enable full participation in all needs assessments and reviews

Clause 42.   Enquiry by local authority:

(2)The local authority must-

(a)     Offer and provide an independent advocate to an adult who is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect to enable them to give evidence and participate fully in the enquiry. 

3. Amendment to Clause 9 ‘Assessment of an adult’s needs for care and support’

The assessment is the key gateway to care and support so it is important that disabled people, who are expert in their own needs, should be at the core of the assessment process. Can you please propose the following that:

  • All care assessments reflect the rights to independent living and choice encompassed in the UNCRDP.  Also that all care and support assessments should be a person centred process. 

4. Amendment to Clause 13 ‘The eligibility criteria’

The government has announced that the national eligibility threshold is to be set at ‘Substantial’. This means support will only be provided at a very late stage when disabled people’s health, wellbeing and independence has deteriorated badly. Can you please propose an amendment so that:

  • The eligibility threshold for care is set at ‘moderate’ to ensure that disabled people are able to receive the support needed to maintain and sustain health, wellbeing and independence

5. Independent Living Fund (no existing clause)

The impact on the independent living of disabled people with high support needs if the Independent Living Fund (ILF) closes in 2015 will be devastating. I would be grateful if you can propose a new clause to ensure there is:

  • A duty on local authorities to provide equivalent support as provided by the ILF that ensures independent living in the community on an on-going basis. 
  • Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the Independent Living Fund in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision. 

5. Amendment to ‘Continuity of care and support when an adult moves’ – Clause 37 ‘Notification, assessment etc

I believe I should have the same freedom to move home as non-disabled people i.e. without the fear that my care package will be removed or reduced. I urge you to propose and amendment so there is a duty to:

  • Ensure the new care package provided by the receiving authority must be equivalent to the existing care package, provided by the first authority.  

Together these amendments will help make the Care Bill better for disabled people and help make independent living a reality for me and other disabled people.

Can you please let me know what action you will take and what amendments you will be proposing and supporting.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 16:36
Jan 072014
 

We promised to update everyone about the outcome of this case where our ally Citizen Smart was charged and in court for singing anti-Tory songs.

 

http://dpac.uk.net/2014/01/anti-tory-songs-now-illegal/

 

Yesterday was the day of the court case but the case has still not been heard. Our understanding of the events are the court had difficulty trying to video-record proceedings so there wasn’t enough time to hear the case and the trial has been postponed again. We will let people know how this farce is progressing when we get more news.

 Posted by at 15:37
Jan 062014
 

The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices open, now plans to close them as part of the 12.5% cut in the budget of London Underground (LU) announced on 21st November. This will, at a stroke, reduce safety, reduce service, cause inconvenience to the travelling public and increase the cost of travelling cattle class. The intention of London Underground is to create a self-service, supermarket model, and that means all Ticket Offices are due to close by 2015.

Look at the crowds in busy ticket halls like Euston – long queues for the ticket office, and even longer queues for ticket machines. It appears that more space, more ticket machines and more staff are actually what’s needed. Even in the current insanity that pervades the mayor’s office, the mayor must be aware that the crowds and the queues include millions of tourists – both foreign and domestic – and they are likely to tell their friends and relatives of their under whelming experience on London’s underground.

The news of the savage cuts was given at the same time as announcing the 24 hour running of some tube lines; neatly hiding the cuts from all the headlines. The mainstream media has played along with this scenario, and has also repeated London Underground’s assertion that the Railway Marine and Transport Union, the RMT, is balloting for strike action over the 24 hour running. They are not. They are balloting for strike action over the cuts.

Little prominence has been given to the phasing out of the Oyster card, to be replaced by contact-less bankcards. The Oyster card works fine for the passenger, but LU want to switch to a system that conveniently means that any ticketing problems experienced by passengers are no longer dealt with by LU, but by the passenger’s bank!

More about these cuts here

http://handsofflondontransport.wordpress.com/

The Hands off London Transport campaign is staging a Flash Mob protest this Friday, January 10th 3pm Euston Tube station ticket office for all those who can make it along.

January 16th – public meeting – Conway Hall, 18.30 pm with Bob Crowe, Ciara Doyle and others. More details to follow.

https://twitter.com/HandsOffLT

 

 

 Posted by at 20:59
Dec 112013
 

report back from DPAc member who went along to see what Mike Penning the minister for disabled people had to say to the select parliamentary committee on ILF, PIP and WCA.

Anne Begg, said, can you please tell us what you are going to decide with the future of the ILF, as 22,000 severely disabled people do not know what the future holds for this fund, and the future is so uncertain for them, in light of the appeal that the claimaints won, has the minister made a decision on the future of the fund, if to close it in 2015 or re design it?

Mike Penning said, I have read the decision from the courts and I will not be appealing the decision, I totally accept it.  I have not read the submission report as it has not been delivered to me, therefore i cannot make a decision when I have not have the report delivered to me.  When a decision has been made all 22,000 claimaints in receipt of ILF will be communicated to (his words) and there is the money to let them know what the outcome of my decision will be.

He was told by Anne Begg, you are causing high anxiety and stress to some of the most severely disabled in society, surely you can tell them something to put their minds at rest?  He said no, I cant and I wont as I have not read the report and as there is a court case around this, I do not want another court case on top, when the decision has been made on the ILF, all claimants will be notified.

It then went to PIP, Jason Feeney the operations director for PIP was also present as a witness,  the PIP stats for new claimants will be released tomorrow.  So far, 30,000 new claimants have been through PIP, and 15,000 claims were turned down, 1 in 7 claimants were denied PIP denial rate is at 50 per cent.   He plans to release in Jan/Feb 2014 the next regions to see the roll out of PIP, this will be done in stages.  The mandatory re assessment is set for October 2015 to finish in October 2017.  They plan to assess 155,000 a quarter, will be on budget and on time.

Penning plans to introduce the PIP form in PDF format over time, but is worried about security issues around this at the moment.

With the Atos contract for PIP in the areas where Atos have PIP there are financial clauses in the contract where PIP do not meet there contract targets, He said, Atos are in it to make money “well, we all knew that didnt we?”  The HCP are still receiving training to make sure the system works well, and understand there are delays with claimants, (we are now called “customers”) are experiencing at present, hence the staged roll out as they want to get it right.

Mr Penning, said, if claimants submitted enough supported evidence 17 per cent of people will not need a face to face assessment, and people with visual, hearing, and communication impairments can have an appointee speak on the phone to the PIP office on their behalf.  He said, in regards to the questionnaire where there is a four week turn around to get it back to the assessment centre, it can be extended to four weeks, but, then the claim will end.

In regards terminal conditions, they are working setting up in each region and benefit office a terminal office department so that people who have a terminal illness will have their claims done and completed with in 7 days.

October 2015 for mandatory re assessments stays for current DLA recipients, there will be no more delays.

With regards Dr Paul Litchfield, his fourth wca review will be published tomorrow thursday 12the dec, along with the new claimant pip stats.

There was not the time to discuss the WCA and Mr Penning has been asked to come back to the commitee in the new year, and bring Dr Pritchard along as a witness to discuss the 4th review.

Anne Begg said she would e mail when the date of the call back for the W.C.A is.

The WCA will be heard on 19th feb, so well done to wow.

Martin and me represented dpac for this today, and the two of us faced three armed police at gun point in the corridor outside the committee room, at the end of the meeting Mike Penning was surrounded by armed police and taken up the corridor while we were watched carefully.  Don’t know what they thought we were going to do.

I think we are rattling them big time, and the security level for all buildings has been raised to substantial as well.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:29
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