Apr 292016

SCOPE announces: “We are reinvigorating the disability movement”  SCOPE for Change.

How dare they!

Here’s the problem: SCOPE is not and has never been a part of any so called ‘disability movement’, whatever that is. It’s a multi-million pound disability charity whose existence demands that disabled people are oppressed, vilified and subjugated. Their sales pitch depends on it-why would they change anything?

There’s a difference between organisations ‘of’ disabled people, which is those led and run by disabled people, and those ‘for’ run by non-disabled people. The ‘for’  organisations rarely, if ever,  include disabled people in any positions of power. Yet, they are arrogant enough to speak for us and claim to know what disabled people want and need. Then they rattle their tins for us and we don’t see a penny.

Imagine that process applied to any other equality group: a set of men speaking exclusively for womens’ issues, white people speaking exclusively for people of colour- Each claiming to know better what those groups need, collecting money on that flawed basis –and keeping it!

SCOPE names itself as a disability charity, but its a corporate entity with an income of £101.1 million in 2015. It has senior staff on £150,000 per year. SCOPE is not and has never been part of any ‘disability movement’, like other charities SCOPE is part of the disability business- its just another parasitic corporate entity.

As things get worse for us, money rolls in to SCOPE from those that don’t understand the grassroots politics of disability. A grass root politics that rejects charity, rejects others speaking on our behalf, rejects the colonisation of disabled people as quazi representatives of the charity corporate business brand.

SCOPE like all the other big disability charities make money from disabled people- the worse the crisis gets for us -the better it is for them: donations soar, their overpaid elite get salary increases and disabled people remain in exactly the same place in society.

We don’t need or want disability charities. We need actions, strong voices critical of government, and mediocre organisations withdrawing from government groups. Groups such as Priti Patel’s apparent ‘task force’ set to advise on ‘support’ for those in the ESA WRAG group who’ll lose £30 a week from April 2017.

How could any group, charity or even user-led organisation even agree to this travesty? SCOPE and others may say they’re doing it to ‘help’, but collapsing into little government clichés doesn’t help-refusing to engage and rejecting the very idea that some disabled people will have 30% of their income removed does.

We’ve seen the lengths big Disability charities like MENCAP will go to keep their MP patrons-patrons who voted for the 30 pound cut to ESA are not being sacked-so whose side are they on? It isn’t ours.

Now SCOPE gather some young disabled people and dare to announce they are ‘reinvigorating the disability movement’ what next? And what types of campaign will these people be directed to?

Remember the awful ‘end the awkward campaign’? A patronizing piece of expensive rubbish brilliantly critiqued by Brain Hilton.

Remember the ILF /DPAC campaign against the ILF Closure? When some from the ILF campaign group insisted on writing to SCOPE to ask them what they were going to do, multi-million pound SCOPE told them it wasn’t in their program and to get in touch with DPAC.

When DPAC protested outside SCOPE’s offices in 2013 SCOPE used it as publicity to tweet they’d had a productive meeting with us!

When SCOPE , bizarrely, decided to celebrate 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act in 2015 with an exhibition of ‘the disability movement’ we were confused but saw it as a way for them to avoid challenging the decimation of rights today. A decimation that initiated the UN Inquiry by four people from DPAC not by any multi-million charity, remember.

When SCOPE announced closure of residential homes in a newspaper without bothering to tell the residents, it said they were developing independent living. They were losing loss making inconveniences and selling them off.

When SCOPE was exposed by Boycott Workfare for entering the government market for the punitive workfare regime for disabled people in 2012-they claimed it was an ‘isolated incident’, and amazingly claimed to have no idea of compulsion or sanctions for disabled people.

The slogan ‘Rights not charity’ is a stalwart of the disabled people’s movement for a reason. We want human rights, justice, and equality –not charity models that present us as pitiful, vulnerable creatures to be saved by the collecting tin.

The vicious attacks on disabled people by this government, and attacks by new Labour before them,  has not moved SCOPE to do anything other than produce intermittent bland and meaningless media statements.

But they wouldn’t do anything else would they, because they sit at the governments table, enjoy funds from government departments and are doing very well. They’ve done very well since 1952 when they were set up as the Spastics Society. They had an expensive brand change to SCOPE in 1994 because they thought that the Spastics Society just wasn’t modern enough.

They stole our words, our lives, our campaigning terms and put the social model of disability on their website- a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It didn’t wash then and it certainly doesn’t wash now.

Neither SCOPE nor any other multi million pound big Disability Charity speaks or acts for disabled people-we speak and act for ourselves.

For the young campaigners who have unwittingly joined SCOPEs latest public relations/donations campaign, albeit six years into the biggest assault on disabled people’s lives in recent history. If you want to make a change do it with a user-led disability organisation ‘of’ disabled people or set up something your selves.

Please though, above all, read up on the history of the struggles of disabled people to free ourselves from charities incarcerating us in institutions, speaking on our behalf and making millions on our backs-understand the slogan ‘Rights not charity’!

And for SCOPE forget ‘end the awkward’ #endthebullshit because most of us aren’t fooled.


SCOPE still spends 22.4 million on residential ‘care’ for disabled people

Debbie Jolly

Big thanks to Bob for the title



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  13 Responses to “SCOPE #endthebullshit!”

  1. I’ve been trying to submit a comment – and it keeps saying I’ve said that – so, for the 5th time …
    That’s powerful stuff, and I couldn’t agree more.
    In the 90s I was a non-founding member of a mental health group called Lifeboat, Tyneside Mental Health Co-operative, which broke off from Newcastle MIND – and was a pioneer in being one of the first all “service user” (as the terminology was in those days) run groups, applying for our own funding, running regular social events for extremely isolated mental health survivors.
    It was the time of ‘Care in the Community’, with its pious aims of health and social services actually working together, and utterly inadequate resources – and we used to turn up at meetings as a block, asking pointed questions, and generally exposing the nonsense PR as the complete sham it was. And it was funny to see all the psychiatrists and professionals, who’d long pontificated about how much they wanted more ‘’user involvement”, put into total contradiction by our un-servile behaviour!
    After some years for various reasons, the group decided to fold – but wanted to go out with a bang, and as one of the few not on psychiatric drugs and so not subject to blackmailing pressure, I was invited to become the Chair and edit a Private-Eye style satirical magazine about mental health issues – and lo and behold Health and Social Services, who were also our two main funders, both decided further grants were more needed for other things – which is exactly what we wanted and expected!
    But it was such fun while it lasted, and you could see people growing in confidence and self-expression – me too! – and the freedom, throwing off the shackles, of having to pretend to be beholden, to be oh so incredibly grateful for every morsel of condescending help, always (though sometimes unconsciously) given with emotional strings – at least as a self-supporting group, demanding to be given what we needed as a right, which any decent, caring person would respond to, and the dignity of being treated as equals, who could often at least be specific about what help we needed and wanted, and if anyone had wanted to listen, had some deep insights about human development and relationships, precious knowledge tempered by surviving hard-won experience in crisis.
    It was by no means all roses – as with any mental health group, people had crises, and some committed suicide, which is always extremely difficult to come to terms with. But I’ve yet to experience the same feeling of camaraderie and the honesty and consideration, in any group managed in any way by professionals or even carers, however commendable their motives.

  2. I was invited to transfer to PIP from my higher rate, lifetime award but did not receive the notifications, possibly due to DWP IT failures. No other mail was missing and I was suspicious. Having been seriously ill I tried To appeal the removal of DLA but was refused. Every major charity told me I had no route to appeal even if hospitalised. Eventually I tracked down and read the legislation, engaged my MP IDS through arm twisting, citing the regulations and hinting media contacts. After gaining a mandatory reconsideration after months of legal debates with DWP staff, I updated all the advice lines and charities as the DWP guidance was wrong but the responses were awful. Scope made me wait 6 weeks for a response and it was a generic response. Clearly a pat on the head and no review of their incorrect advice that if followed would see a disabled person forgo 6 months plus of payments and corresponding payments. Disability Rights UK wrote it was ok because the advice they sell has a disclaimer and they can’t be sued for incorrect advice. Thanks for writing this. I was wrongly advised by 6 major organisations and only the CAB has partially amended their advice.

  3. I am so glad to read your report as I have said this for so many years. There is a huge conflict of interest for so many charities out there all being part of a money making machine and endorsing the image of pity on disabled people. Well done for being a voice!

  4. It really doe,s beat me who Scope do help as a charity.My sister was born with cerebral palsy and is severely affected cannot walk talk ,feed or wash herself or sit up but she is bright as a button and a lovely person. She is now almost 58 years, our mother devoted her life to her and even though we collected for Scope as children,in all those years she never received any help from this charity.I think it also so wrong the way they closed down homes where people were settled and uprooted them and these are the people they are supposed to represent.

  5. As a disabled person for over a decade, I’ve approached a plethora of disability and related orgs for e.g. advice, info, support in that time.

    Truthfully, I can say that NOT ONE has been of any use (until I stumbled across a good org just this year, one that actually does do what they say on their website).

    Worse than that, some have made my situation worse or shockingly e.g. tried to co-erce me into giving them pro bono assistance (in my areas of expertise) before they’d give me any support. A couple of others cited my former areas of expertise as a reason to avoid offering support – to paraphrase, ‘because you know how things should be done, but aren’t’ and, ‘anyway, you don’t need any help because you’re obviously so capable’.

    Hmmm. Wonder why I ended up homeless for a long period and even living out of my car for a short while then…

    Seriously, SCOPE is the tip of the iceberg. And obviously not so good at covering up their contempt for their would-be beneficiaries.

    A decade’s worth of shocking, vile, even abusive, experience at the hands of many publicly funded ‘disability support’ organisations (including NHS-funded outfits) has made me realise the appalling fact that, conservatively, 90% of them are no more than *!$^&+!@* parasites that seem to exist largely to provide jobs for those who are otherwise unemployable and to line their own nests.

    Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Experiment perhaps explain, but do not excuse, some of this scandalous behaviour towards vulnerable people. And I’m hoping that everyone here has read EHRC’s ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ report…

    In other words, this plethora of parasitical organisations are part of the problem.

    As parasites – on HM Treasury as well as the innocent, trusting public – and dysfunctionally co-dependent on we people with disabilities, they should all be wound up and their £billions sequestered into a massive trust fund, administered by disabled people for disabled people.

  6. This is the second time I have read such aweful truths of the Scope charity.
    I was being supported by a scheme run by scope and was devastated when it was stopped due to ‘lack of funds’ right at a time disabled people needed their support the most.
    Ironically it was shut down just as this current governement started their attacks on people with disabilities, with cuts upon cuts upon cuts. I feel like I’ve been played by them and that really hurts.
    Needless to say, I will never go near Scope again.
    It’s bad enough loosing the rights that disabled people b4 me fought so long and hard for but to know that a so called disabled charity could abuse their power in this way is evil. It sickens me greatly.

  7. I remember now I think 10 years ago, seeing a local paper piece of a photo of SCOPE residents outside in wheel chairs, demonstrating at the closure of their SCOPE home.

    It said, whilst closing down homes, SCOPE directors had been paid over £600,000 that year..

    Most large CHARITIES now use any money, firstly on their own salaries, administration and sustainability.

    They use their name and now brand, to gain more money from it, at the expense of their beneficiaries and their own workers.

    The fact that SCOPE, are loading in, shows the money to be had, in removal of all disabled physical and mental to state cages, in the guise of living ‘independently’ in their own community.

    The only problem for SCOPE, is that the government want venture capital private monopolies to own all the care sector to help boost economy and private investment.

    Remember too, all this money is tax free, and the only people trying to actually help the beneficiaries, are often unpaid, and doing it because they think the charity has insufficient funds.

  8. Where was SCOPE when disabled people and their carers and friends were writing, blogging, campaigning, going to select committee hearings, chaining themselves to railings, trying to camp on Westminster Green, writing Spartacus reports, being kettled, getting themselves arrested?

    I’ll tell you – they were running 130 Mandatory Work Activity Placements a month in 240 of their shops, being paid by DWP to force people to work for free. They claimed they didn’t agree to those people being sanctioned, and only withdrew from the scheme when other charities had been shamed into it.

    The pomposity beggars belief – how DARE they claim to be “re-invigorating the disability movement”? SCOPE is not part of the movement I’m part of – it’s quite vigorous, thank you very much.

    Thank you for this, Debbie and DPAC. Stay angry. I certainly will.

  9. Excellent scathing, truthful, factual analysis. Perhaps we can have a campaign where we persistently bombard with truth-telling comments their Facebook and Twitter stating our disapproval and anger.
    Solidarity Ann

  10. Just emailed this to Scope, asking them to do as the title suggests. Chances are nowt will happen, but who knows!

  11. Excellent piece. As an autistic person I know a good deal about organisations who don’t have any of the people they are supposedly trying to help in responsible positions. I also have some experience with SCOPE, having volunteered at one of their shops and subsequently been ignored by them when I applied for a paid job. I have just posted a link to this piece on my blog.

  12. Excellent piece, so glad that you are taking scope to task,utterly reprehensible behaviour that they clearly have no desire to change after all salaries and careers depend on it.

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