Many thanks to Tony Kay who allowed us to publish his letter to show the concern with Scope shutting down of Dial UK
I must say that when we first heard about the DIAL UK merger with Scope back in 2008 we did have reservations because we did know that Scopes remit was focussed only on those people with Cerebral Palsy whereas DIAL UK had a disability wide remit. However we accepted that DIALUK were in a very tricky situation and that they were running on their reserves and that the merger whilst not the best solution to the problem was perhaps the only way they could continue. I am sure that DIAL UK were given assurances at that time that it was a merger and not what now appears to be happening which is a takeover and the loss of the DIAL UK brand.
We have been affiliated to DIAL UK for over 20 years and throughout this time we have received invaluable support including a paid consultancy to develop a Business plan. This was over 12 years ago and the relationship we built up with the designated Consultant has continued ever since mainly on a ‘pro bono’ basis and this support has been crucial to us. We have also accessed training received lots of useful information via the monthly information packs and been able to call on DIAL UK staff when required. This has only been possible due to the expertise of the DIAL UK staff and their knowledge and understanding of all things disability related.
We have no real affinity with Scope and at this time I do not feel it would be appropriate to be part of a Scope Network. Also I do not want the organisation information and statistics we send to DIAL UK to be made available to Scope as I have reservations that this could be used to help Scope to compete against our Organisation when trying to secure new and existing funding.
I was recently doing a Google search of DART more out of curiosity than anything and came across a funding bid by the Local Scope service for the creation of a local Calderdale Brokerage Service for disabled adults and children, plus their families. Within this bid it states that Scope were ‘in the process of exploring working in conjunction with one of our DIAL groups Calderdale DART’ The bid was submitted in February of this year and whilst I do not know if it was successful or not, the fact is that no one from Scope has been in touch with me at any time. Is this how it is going to be in the future?
Our affiliation has always been with DIAL UK and if this is to be lost due to the enforced restructuring, then I feel we may need to look elsewhere for support as we do not feel it would be appropriate to be affiliated to Scope given their current remit and how they have let down the staff of DIAL UK who have provided an excellent service for 30 years and who have now been let down by an Organisation who have renegade on the merger arrangement agreed in 2008, knowing full well that DIAL UK cannot fight back because that merger turned into a full blown takeover.
Read also Scope to shut down DIAL UK, make all staff redundant
Scope a National charity plan to shut down a smaller charity DIAL UK and make the DIAL UK staff redundant following a recent merger. This will impact on Disabled People’s Advice Services.
West Yorkshire Solidarity federation has been passed the following information which directly affects one of the locals members.
News has just come in that Scope (essentially a national non advice giving organisation) is going to shut down DIAL UK following an earlier merger. This will affect disabled people’s advice services at a time when the need is greater. Added to this experienced staff are being dumped. Scope will claim that it has no option following cuts in funding, but they are still managing to pay their chief exec thousands.
We have been told the following:
“If – as seems likely now – none of the current staff get positions in the new structure the main sources of knowledge and intelligence about the network will be lost when it is most needed. Understanding the network and its operation and working on its behalf is the essential uniqueness of DIAL UK.
In this new structure there is no focus on the DIAL brand, name or work of the network. It seems it will become the Scope Network, with no specialist dedicated support for current and potential new members.
Scope are not an Information and Advice provider, they are not a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) or a user led organisation (ULO) so do not understand the mechanisms of running a network or the issues faced by individual member groups.
Dial UK currently receives over 20,000 calls every year from disabled people in addition to the thousands dealt with by each of the hundred plus Dial groups – where will these calls go?
If, as we fear, Dial UK ceases to exist, disabled peoples’ organisations will be abandoned by their main source of advice, support and information – where will they get this support? From Scope’s new people whose Job Descriptions don’t mention or the essential element of understanding pan disability issues and the problems disabled people face”.