Update: Following interventions from several DPOs including DPAC, DRUK has agreed to recall and amend their report and we will be examining the changes closely. Watch this space……..
DPAC have previously had a few skirmishes with the hilariously named Disability Rights UK. DRUK are one of the big corporate disability charities that collect money from the public under the guise of championing disabled people.
To start with, our problem with charity for disabled people is we think it shouldn’t be necessary at all- we need equal rights, not charity handouts. DPAC’s slogan is “Rights Not Charity”.
But our particular problem with DRUK, is they advertise themselves as a charity for disability rights, while also taking money from this government with it’s horrendous welfare reforms, cuts to social care and attacks on just about every sphere of disabled people’s lives. DRUK also take money from private companies like Maximus to deliver “Disability Awareness Training” to its WCA assessors. And yet these people claim to stand up for disabled people’s rights?
You can see some examples of our previous battles with DRUK at the end of this post.
But this time they really have taken the biscuit. They’ve not only taken the biscuit, they’ve dunked it in our coffee, dropped the soggy bit on the carpet, taken another biscuit, and scoffed it.
DRUK are one of the lead organisations who have been paid by the government to do a report on the state of disabled people’s lives in the UK. This report is going to be submitted to the UN disability committee later this year. Its something called the “Shadow Report”.
Basically Britain signed up to the UN treaty called the UN Charter for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and every few years the government gets reviewed by the UN on progress towards implementing the treaty. So the government submits a report about that and it also pays non-government organisations to submit a Shadow Report to give their side of the story.
Its meant to prevent the government just giving a glossy everything’s fine report, and its meant to give a critical counter-balance to that as well.
So the government gave a wad of dosh to the Equality and Human Rights commission, who skim some off the top and gave a smaller wad of dosh to DRUK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales to write a shadow report.
The shadow report from DRUK & Co got released at the end of January and we had a look at it. OK its critical of the government in many areas, but one of the first things we looked at was what they said about one of the most important issues facing disabled people right now, the deaths of benefit claimants due to welfare reforms.
We looked, we searched – and the report contained nothing about it at all.
John Pring’s Disability News Service also picked this up and published this article about it: UN report failure on benefit deaths by national DPOs ‘is extreme insult to activists’
And then after asking around and doing a little digging, we discovered that the submission made by Inclusion Scotland to go into the report DID include evidence of deaths of claimants due welfare reform.
So we naturally wanted to know what happened to the vital evidence that was submitted by Inclusion Scotland but didn’t appear in the final report.
The answer came back that the evidence about claimant deaths had “accidentally been edited out” during final changes to the report. To say that we at DPAC were angry about this is an understatement.
We have written to Liz Sayce, CEO of DRUK to demand that they recall their report and put Inclusion Scotland’s evidence back into the report, here is the email we sent yesterday:
While we agree that DRUK should make the final decision about what is included in their CRPD shadow submission, like Inclusion Scotland DPAC are also very concerned that during editing of DRUK’s shadow report a vital section relating to claimant deaths and links between those and WCAs was omitted.
While we understand this was accidental and are sure you would never intentionally be so offensive to the memory of thousands of deceased disabled people we feel nevertheless that it is essential you recall the version of this report that was submitted in error and re-submit it with the additional information on the horrific impact on social security claimants the UK government’s welfare reforms to date has had on social security claimants.
On behalf of DPAC Steering Group
This morning we had a reply,
Thank you very much for your email. We support the inquiry done last year and the Committee’s conclusions and are acutely aware of the impact of sanctions and cuts on disabled people. Our shadow report is a joint report from Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Rights UK so Rhian from Disability Wales, Sally from Inclusion Scotland and I are agreeing next steps and will get back to you asap.
Liz Sayce OBE
CEO Disability Rights UK
We’ll keep you posted on what they decide, but if you want to tell DRUK to recall their Shadow Report and include information about claimant deaths, you can tweet them on @DisRightsUK or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of DPAC’s previous run-ins with DRUK
- November 2011:Report from DRUK conference about tackling disability poverty November 22nd
- July 2012: Dangerous, Misguided and Wrong: Remploy Factory Closures (about a report leading to the Remploy Closures written by Liz Sayce, now CEO of DRUK)
- September 2012: UKDPC on the ‘Fulfilling Potential Disability Strategy’ and what DPAC says…..
- December 2012: A QUESTION OF INTENT: DPAC’s response to comments from Disability Rights UK on DPAC’s ‘tactics’
- April 2013: The Disability Action Alliance or Whatever Happened to the Disability Strategy?
- July 2014: Disability Rights UK: Independent Living or new visions in neo-liberalism?
- July 2014: A plea from an ILF user to DRUK
- November 2014: Not Satire, Its DRUK!