DPAC notes with interest the news reported by John Pring that disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) are to boycott a review, set up by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) and Mencap, into one of the most controversial parts of the government’s welfare reform bill.
The two big disability charities, announced this week that they were launching a new “independent review” into how the mobility needs of people living in residential care are met and funded.
The bill currently gives the government powers to stop paying the mobility element of the new personal independence payment – which is set to replace disability living allowance – to people in state-funded residential homes.
Given that the review will be led by “crossbench peer Lord [Colin] Low, former chair of RNIB and now its vice-president and also president of Disability Alliance with other members of the review’s “steering group” include a disabled resident of a Leonard Cheshire residential home, the governor of a special school, a local government expert, the director of a think-tank, and an expert in care provision”, it is not surprising that DPOs should raise concerns about the independence of the charities’ new review.
The question is posed as to why no user-led organisations were told about it or asked to take part.
Jaspal Dhani, CEO of UKDPC said he was concerned that the review could be used to promote the need for residential services rather than disabled people’s right to live in the community.
Mark Harrison, chief executive of Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, said he was “angry” with the decision to set up the review, which he said was “typical behaviour from two disability charities that are for disabled people, not of disabled people”.
He said the two charities had yet again “violated” the disability movement’s principle of “nothing about us without us”.
Sue Bott, director of the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL), said NCIL would also not be taking part, while she was “struggling to see what this independent review will achieve other than to try and raise the profile of the two organisations involved”.
DPAC would like to point out although we understood the need for disabled people to march with the big charities at the Hardest Hit rally, we had grave reservations about their (big charities’) motives for organising the event, it looks like we might be confirmed in our suspicions.