Aug 182018
 

As usual Disability News Service exposes shocking information and continues to be a thorn in the side of DWP and others.

Disability charity’s appointment of Unum boss as new chair ‘is truly disgraceful’

A disability charity’s decision to choose as its new chair the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test has been branded “a betrayal” of disabled people and “a truly disgraceful appointment”.

United Response, which provides a range of support services to about 3,000 disabled people across England and Wales, this week announced the appointment of management consultant Malcolm McCaig.

McCaig has been a non-executive director of Unum UK since July 2009 and was appointed to chair the company’s board last year.

But Unum has spent decades attempting to influence UK government policy on welfare reform and is blamed by many disabled researchers and activists for pushing successive governments to make the process of applying for out-of-work disability benefits harsher and more stressful.

Those policies have been closely linked to the deaths of countless benefit claimants and with causing significant harm to the physical and mental health of many others.

Campaigners argue that Unum has spent years trying to undermine the social security system to boost the market for its own income protection insurance (IPI) policies.

In 2011, Unum launched a major UK marketing campaign to promote the need for IPI policies, just as the coalition began its three-year programme to reassess about 1.5 million existing claimants of old-style incapacity benefit through the new work capability assessment (WCA).

United Response this week celebrated the appointment of its new chair, describing him as “a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion” who would be “a major asset to the organisation”.

But Mo Stewart, the disabled researcher who has done most to raise concerns about Unum’s influence on welfare reform*, described McCaig’s appointment as “an insult to the chronically ill and disabled people being coerced and intimidated by the DWP, who used Unum as advisers for welfare reforms that have caused death, despair and destitution for those in greatest need in the UK”.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) described the appointment as “a betrayal of all the disabled people and their families who have suffered under the work capability assessment”.

A DPAC spokesperson added: “More than that, though, we consider it active collusion in Unum’s interest in replacing the UK social security net with an insurance system from which they will profit and disabled people will be harmed.

“Given Unum’s history in the US of denying disability in order to avoid pay-outs this is a truly disgraceful appointment.”

Rick Burgess, another leading disabled activist, said: “Given Unum’s reputation in being a ‘disability denial factory’ and its role in abusive disability welfare changes, this appointment is completely inappropriate, unless of course United Response plans on replicating Unum’s approach to disabled people.”

It is also not the first time Unum has courted links with the disability sector.

Two years ago, the Mental Health Foundation was heavily criticised for launching a partnership with Unum that aimed to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace and encourage employers to safeguard the mental health of their employees.

Unum’s links with the UK government date back to the 1990s, when Peter Lilley, social security secretary in John Major’s Conservative government, hired senior Unum executive John LoCascio to offer advice on how to cut the number of claimants of long-term sickness benefits.

A detailed memo submitted to the Commons work and pensions committee in 2002 by a director of Unum – then known as UnumProvident – called on the Labour government to “ensure both that work always pays more than benefits, and more importantly that it is clearly seen to do so”.

And in 2005, Unum bragged in a document that it had “always been at the leading edge of disability assessment and management”, and that government policy was now “moving in the same direction” as “our views and understanding” and was “to a large extent being driven by our thinking and that of our close associates”.

Three years later, in 2008, the Labour government introduced the WCA.

Stewart said McCaig’s appointment “disregards the history of this American corporate giant, the fact that they were official government advisers from 1992 regarding ‘welfare claims management’ which influenced the introduction of employment and support allowance and the notorious WCA”.

She also pointed out that Unum was accused of operating a “disability denial” agenda by a professor at Yale Law School and was identified by the American Association for Justice as being the second worst insurance company in America.

In 2005, California’s insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, described Unum Provident as “an outlaw company” that had “engaged in a strategy to increase its bottom line at the expense of its customers”.

The company has previously admitted widespread criticism of its past actions in the US, mainly over its refusal to pay out on large numbers of genuine insurance claims by disabled people, a record also mentioned five years ago in a Commons debate on the WCA.

Unum also sponsored Cardiff University’s Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research for four years.

That research, said Stewart, led to the fatally flawed biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment on which the WCA is based.

Unum has repeatedly dismissed claims that it pushed the government to introduce the WCA system, and two years ago even claimed that it “never has lobbied on the topic of welfare reform or related matters”.

United Response failed to respond to the concerns about Unum.

But Tim Cooper, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Malcolm is an outstanding individual whose background and vast experience will prove invaluable in leading United Response and helping it achieve its vision.

“We undertook an extensive recruitment process resulting in an incredibly strong shortlist of candidates, and Malcolm’s skill set and demonstrable understanding of the charity led to his appointment.”

*Stewart’s book, Cash Not Care, details Unum’s influence over successive UK governments, and how it led to the introduction of the WCA

16 August 2018

 

 

Union backs claims of widespread discrimination by ‘hostile’ university

A “Disability Confident” university is facing claims that it forced a disabled member of staff to scour the campus for accessible rooms in which she could deliver her lectures.

The University of Liverpool also told Dr Kay Inckle that it might be considered “reasonable” for her to go down stairs on her bottom in some circumstances rather than be timetabled into ground floor or fully accessible rooms.

And it told the wheelchair-user that she would have to wait in the wings for the end of the annual procession of academic staff through the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall before she was allowed to join them on stage at the end-of year conferment ceremony in which students receive their degrees.

After she protested about her treatment, she says, she was eventually allowed to join the procession.

The university has even claimed that it cannot afford to pay for an access consultant to ensure plans for a £30 million refurbishment of the building where the school of law and social justice and her office will be located are accessible.

Instead of paying for a professional consultant, the university has asked Inckle, and possibly other disabled staff, to offer advice on access requirements for the refurbished building.

The university will also not commit to putting a fire evacuation lift in the building to ensure that disabled people can escape in an emergency, says Inckle.

And one of the two lifts in the main student union building has been out of action for nearly a year, which means that wheelchair-users have not been able to reach the upper floors.

Despite the claims, the university is one of about 7,000 employers that have signed up to the government’s discredited Disability Confident employment scheme.

It claims to be a Disability Confident Employer – the second of the scheme’s three levels – as an organisation that is “recognised as going the extra mile to make sure disabled people get a fair chance”.

Critics have previously argued that it is easy for employers to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and then continue to discriminate against disabled people.

Inckle, a sociology lecturer who specialises in work on disability, self-harm and mental distress, told Disability News Service that she has been treated with “absolute contempt” by the university.

And she said it was “sickening and laughable” that the university saw itself as a Disability Confident employer.

Now the local branch of her union, the University and College Union, has passed a motion condemning the university’s treatment of her and other disabled staff and students, and is calling for support from disability rights groups.

Its motion says: “The branch is concerned with how the University is discriminating against disabled staff and students in a variety of direct ways from failing to provide accessible rooms and hold accurate information of the accessibility of rooms, to ensuring new buildings are fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010.

“There are also frequent failures to make reasonable adjustments in an effective and timely manner and a hostile and obstructive response towards those who request such adjustments.”

It adds: “A request for an accessible room is not discretionary; it is a legally binding, non-optional and reasonable adjustment.”

The union branch has concluded that the university is breaching the Equality Act 2010 and that its discriminatory actions are “heavily impacting staff and students”.

Inckle described how she has repeatedly been allocated rooms for her lectures that were accessible for disabled students but inaccessible for her because the lecturer’s area could only be reached via steps.

When she complained, she was told to search the campus herself for accessible rooms that would be suitable for her to lecture in.

She has even been allocated rooms that she would not be able to evacuate from in the event of a fire, and she says it took 10 months for the university to provide an accessible toilet for her to use in her own department.

She said: “I was told by one member of university staff that the university might think it was reasonable for me to go down stairs on my bum in some situations rather than provide me with fully accessible rooms.”

On another occasion, a member of university staff demanded that she demonstrate to him how she could be evacuated down stairs in her wheelchair before he would give her permission to use the fire evacuation lift.

Her pleas to address the shortage of accessible parking spaces near her office have also been dismissed.

She said: “As a disabled woman, I am seen as useless and worthless and as an annoyance.

“I am treated with absolute contempt. They see me as a nuisance who needs to shut up and go away.”

A University of Liverpool spokeswoman said: “The University of Liverpool is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Equality Act and to supporting students and staff with disabilities to flourish.

“Colleagues at the University and College Union have recently raised a number of points with the university regarding the experiences of disabled staff and students and we are actively looking into these.

“We are eager to work with the trade unions and have agreed to meet with them to discuss this further as soon as possible.”

16 August 2018

 

 

DWP repeatedly breaches FoI laws ‘in bid to hide secret jobcentre reports’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has repeatedly breached freedom of information laws in an apparent attempt to prevent the release of secret reports written by disabled people recruited to work within its jobcentres.

Two years ago, DWP published a work, health and disability green paper, Improving Lives, in which it revealed plans to recruit about 200 new “community partners”.

Ministers said these community partners would have “personal and professional experience of disability” and would support work coaches in jobcentres.

The aim was for them to “provide valuable first-hand insight” into the issues faced by disabled people in “securing and sustaining employment”, with work coaches able to draw on their local knowledge.

The community partners, many of whom were to be seconded from disability organisations, would also help map local provision of peer support and service-user groups.

But Disability News Service (DNS) has since learned that these community partners submit regular reports on their work, often based on their experiences of visiting jobcentres.

For years, DNS has been reporting on the alleged failure of DWP jobcentres to safeguard disabled people left in vulnerable situations because of flaws in the benefits system.

Many of these failings have led to the deaths of benefit claimants and have subsequently been reported on in secret DWP peer reviews (now renamed internal process reviews).

The deaths of disabled people such as Lawrence Bond, David Clapson and Alan McArdle – and many others – have been linked to alleged failings of policy or practice within jobcentres.

DNS therefore submitted a freedom of information request to DWP in May, asking to see any of the reports written by community partners working in London Jobcentre Plus districts in 2017 and 2018, in case any of them included concerns raised by Community Partners about such failings.

Such requests are supposed to be answered within 20 working days, but there has so far been no written response from the department’s freedom of information department.

On 5 July, DNS emailed DWP’s freedom of information team to ask why it had failed to respond to the request, and followed that up with another email on 19 July, warning that the failure to respond was a clear breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

DNS has since spoken to a civil servant in DWP’s freedom of information team, who promised to try to find out why no response had been sent.

She told DNS this week that she had repeatedly attempted to secure a response from the jobcentre operations team and had warned them that they had breached their legal duties under the act.

She said she did not know why they had failed to respond to the request.

She told DNS: “I chased it again this morning and I don’t know why it has taken so long. I have reminded them of their duty to reply in time and that is where I am with it.

“You have every right to go to the Information Commissioner’s Office [to lodge a complaint].

“I have tried. I don’t know why they are digging their heels. I am sorry.”

A DWP spokeswoman refused to explain the reason for the repeated breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

But she said in a statement: “Any issues relating to FOI requests can be dealt with by writing to freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gsi.gov.uk.

“If you are unhappy with the handling of an FOI request please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“The latest statistics show that DWP answered 95 per cent of FOI requests within 20 working days, exceeding the information commissioner’s compliance threshold of 90 per cent.

“As you know, DWP spokesperson statements must come from the DWP press office, and we regularly provide you with statements, as we are doing so in this instance.

“Please can you therefore use the above wording in your story instead of quoting from phone calls with DWP employees.”

16 August 2018

 

 

Deaths and hospital admissions follow short-notice closure of Leonard Cheshire home

At least two disabled people have died while others have been admitted to hospital following the short-notice closure of a residential home by a disability charity.

Leonard Cheshire faced allegations of “insensitive and abusive” behaviour in May over the way its executives told disabled residents that they were about to close their care home because they could not afford to keep it open.

About 20 residents and other service-users were given less than three months’ notice of the charity’s plans to close Greathouse, near Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Leonard Cheshire blamed staffing problems, a drop in the demand for places and the cost of repairs for its decision to close the home on 27 July.

But the charity confirmed this week that two former residents of Greathouse have died soon after being forced to leave the home.

One had been a resident for 15 years and died soon after moving out, while the other had moved to Greathouse more recently and was said to have had a stroke after having trouble settling at his new home.

A third former service-user, a disabled woman who used the home’s respite service and was said to have been deeply upset at not being able to visit Greathouse, is also believed to have died, and other former residents have had to be admitted for hospital treatment.

Anne Keat, whose son Richard was a resident at Greathouse and has now been moved to another home nearby, said she and other relatives were convinced that the deaths and other health problems were connected to the closure.

In addition to the deaths, she said, as many as five or six former Greathouse residents had been hospitalised, including Richard.

He lost more than 20 kilogrammes – more than a quarter of his bodyweight – after learning of the closure and had to be admitted to hospital for three days.

She said: “He literally disappeared before our eyes. It was a pure grieving process, it was horrible to see.”

She said the Greathouse chef had commented several times on how much less food he was cooking in the weeks leading up to the closure, because residents had lost their appetites.

She said: “Leonard Cheshire have a lot to answer for. I just think they have behaved appallingly.”

Earlier this month, Leonard Cheshire was also criticised over its decision to sell 17 residential homes to other care providers and was accused of making “a complete mockery” of its supposed commitment to service-user involvement.

Disability News Service has heard from three separate sources that three former Greathouse residents have now moved to Leonard Cheshire homes that are among the 17 listed for sale next year and so are likely to go through a further period of uncertainty and upheaval.

One source, who has friends among ex-staff and relatives of former residents, said the deaths were “so distressing”, and added: “This is a scandal, but no-one cares.”

Doug Paulley, who lives in a Leonard Cheshire home in Wetherby and has publicly criticised the way the charity is run, said the deaths were “very sad” but predictable.

He said: “Leonard Cheshire knows that people die if they are forced to move from their care homes, but they did it anyway.

“These actions that devastate disabled people who live in their homes – it is disgusting.

“It is difficult to prove but I have no doubt that people being moved forcibly against their will when they have severe impairments has caused deaths.”

He said the charity had given the residents of Greathouse the minimum possible notice – three months – of its intention to close the home.

Although it is impossible to prove that the deaths and health problems were caused by the sudden closure of Greathouse and residents being forced to move to new homes, some research has suggested a link between involuntary relocation from residential homes and a negative impact on residents’ health.

A Leonard Cheshire spokeswoman said: “We are aware that two former residents of Greathouse have sadly passed away.

“Our heartfelt thoughts are with the families at this difficult time.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this point until the facts are established.

“Care was taken in supporting all residents of Greathouse with their individual moves, including health checks and the transfer of records around complex conditions so that continuity of care was properly managed.

“Continuity and quality of support, and the welfare of all residents is our top priority during the coming months as we look to secure a new provider for the services that we have taken the difficult decision to sell.

“Any sale is unlikely to occur before the end of March 2019 and could take longer. We will support residents and their families throughout this process.”

She said the charity was not aware of the death of the woman who used the respite service.

She added: “With regard to the other residents you refer to we will not comment on the health of individual residents beyond our statement.

“If residents have transferred to other providers, any queries about the care and wellbeing of residents who transferred to other providers need to be addressed to them.”

She declined to comment further.

16 August 2018

 

 

Concerns over green paper’s ‘chilling’ failure to address accessible housing crisis

The government has been criticised by disabled campaigners and the equality watchdog after its new social housing green paper failed to include a single mention of the accessible housing crisis.

Only three months ago, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) warned that more than 350,000 disabled people in England had unmet housing needs, with one-third of those in private rented accommodation and one-fifth of those in social housing living in unsuitable properties.

EHRC called in its report for the government to draw up a national strategy to ensure an adequate supply of new homes built to inclusive design standards.

But this week’s social housing green paper, described by communities secretary James Brokenshire as a “new deal” for social housing residents – those who pay rent at below market levels – does not mention accessible housing once.

The word “accessible” only appears in the 78-page document four times, on each occasion relating to the need for accessible information or complaints procedures.

The green paper does refer to supported housing, which it explains has a “key role to play” in supporting minority groups including people with mental ill-health, learning difficulties and other disabled people.

But there are no proposals to improve supported housing, other than referring to a U-turn announced last week, in which ministers said that it would continue to be funded through the social security system rather than being devolved to local authorities as originally planned.

The green paper also mentions an ongoing review of the disabled facilities grant (DFG), which provides funding to make disabled people’s homes more accessible, for example by widening doorways or installing ramps, and which will see spending increase from £220 million in 2015-16 to £505 million in 2019-20.

But there are no new proposals for increasing the supply of accessible housing, or even requests for ideas on how the accessible housing crisis could be addressed.

Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, said that reading the green paper and realising its failure to mention the crisis in accessible housing – despite the conclusions reached in the EHRC report – had been a “chilling” experience.

She said: “Despite the fact that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in social housing, that over half of all households in the social housing sector have disabled members and that according to the EHRC report there are around 365,000 disabled people in England with unmet housing needs, with one in five disabled people in social housing living in unsuitable accommodation, the new green paper on social housing fails to mention the crisis in accessible housing at all or offer any solutions to it.”

She added: “The paper refers a number of times to the Grenfell tragedy but fails to mention the numbers of disabled tenants housed there, a number on upper floors who were unable to escape, due to the chronic lack of accessible housing that is a problem across Britain.

“The chilling part is that the only mention of meeting disabled people’s housing needs or of accessibility comes through the government’s commitment to invest in supported housing.

“The recent government announcement on increased funding for supported housing states that a unit within such housing will ‘have its own front door’, as if to detract from what this represents, which is ghetto-isation and re-segregation of disabled people.”

EHRC told Disability News Service that it was concerned and disappointed by the green paper’s failure to address the “chronic shortage” of accessible housing.

An EHRC spokeswoman said in a statement: “Almost half of social housing is occupied by disabled tenants or those with a long-term illness and their needs must be specifically reflected in the green paper.

“The ambition to empower tenants is welcome, but we are disappointed that specific initiatives for disabled people and the need to address the chronic shortage of accessible housing are not mentioned.

“We will be responding to the consultation and discussing the proposals directly with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to raise our concerns.”

The green paper offers five “core principles”: a “safe and decent home”; “swift and effective resolution” of concerns about the safety or standard of a home; “empowering residents” and ensuring landlords are held to account; tackling the stigma of living in social housing; and “building the social homes that we need and ensure that those homes can act as a springboard to home ownership”.

But although prime minister Theresa May says in a foreword that the government is “committed to getting more of the right homes built in the right places, sold or rented at prices local people can afford”, the green paper provides few if any firm proposals.

Instead, it includes a series of questions to be answered through a public consultation – which closes on 6 November – although none of them relate to accessible housing.

Although it was not mentioned in the green paper, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced this week that it was extending funding for its Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund (CSSHF) for another three years.

CSSHF received £315 million in its first five years (£63 million a year) and produced about 3,300 accessible “supported or specialised” properties suitable for disabled and older people.

Funding will now rise to £76 million a year for the next three years, with DHSC expecting “thousands” more homes to be built.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) failed to explain the failure to mention accessible housing in the green paper.

Instead, she pointed to the reference to the DFG review, and added: “We realise many disabled people face challenges in their daily lives, but we’re clear that their homes should not cause them problems.

“Our green paper sets out our plan to tackle stigma and ensure social housing can be a stable base that supports people when they need it.

“Our new planning rulebook also makes clear that councils must take the needs of the elderly and disabled people into account when planning new properties.”

MHCLG also said that as design of homes was at the heart of the green paper, that would include making sure properties were suitably accessible.

And it said that disabled people were among nearly 1,000 residents who took part in 14 engagement events around the country leading up to the green paper.

16 August 2018

 

 

User-led alliance set to raise concerns for second time with Mental Health Act Review

User-led groups and service-users are set to raise grave concerns about the work of the team reviewing mental health laws on behalf of the government, including its refusal to take a “full human rights-based approach” to reform.

An alliance of user-led organisations, mental health service-users and survivors, and their allies, are to write for a second time to the Mental Health Act Review (MHAR), which is examining the Mental Health Act 1983, which covers England and Wales.

More than 120 organisations and individuals – led by the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) – wrote to the review in May raising alarm about its reluctance to recommend full rights that comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The letter called on the review to address the concerns raised by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, after it investigated the UK’s implementation of the UN disability convention last year.

The UN committee said in the “concluding observations” to its examination of the UK that the government should “repeal legislation and practices that authorise non-consensual involuntary, compulsory treatment” and the detention of disabled people “on the basis of actual or perceived impairment”.

Two NSUN representatives met the review team last month to discuss their letter, but they said they did not think their concerns were taken seriously, while the response from the review’s chair – Professor Sir Simon Wessely – and his three vice-chairs “fell well short of what we might have hoped”.

Wessely made it clear that he and his vice-chairs would not recommend full implementation of the UN convention.

Now NSUN is set to write to the review for a second time next month, in response to the views expressed by Wessely and his vice-chairs at the meeting.

The follow-up letter is likely to stress again the importance of a human rights-based approach to reform which gives mental health service-users the same rights as everyone else, and express strong dissatisfaction with the review’s dismissal of the concerns.

The letter is again expected to secure significant support from user-led organisations, mental health service-users and survivors, and allies.

Among the other concerns raised by the NSUN alliance in the first letter are that service-users, survivors and user-led organisations have been outnumbered in key parts of the review structure, leading to a “tokenistic” approach.

And they say the review has been “incredibly rushed”, with the review brief being to produce recommendations this autumn, ahead of NHS England’s 10-year funding plan, which is expected later this year.

This has caused “significant barriers to service user and carer involvement” in the review.

And they want to see a greater effort to reach those with lived experience of detention and compulsory treatment, with an adequate focus on those from particularly disadvantaged groups, including those from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, people from disadvantaged socio-economic groups, people with learning difficulties and people with physical impairments.

They also want the review to place more of a focus on social models of mental distress, and to examine alternatives to clinical services and provision of resources for these alternatives.

They also have major concerns about the quality of the interim review report, which was published in May, because of the reporting and reliability of the data it used, and the lack of clarity on the evidence for its findings.

Dorothy Gould, freelance researcher, trainer and consultant for NSUN, said: “It is utterly wrong that the 21st century has been reached without people with mental health diagnoses/in mental distress having the same human rights as everyone else – and now, to compound this, the review chair and vice chairs are not willing to recommend that we do even now.”

Sarah Yiannoullou, NSUN’s managing director, said the review team had made it “quite clear” that that they were not going to recommend any move towards mental health legislation which was fully compliant with UNCRPD.

Yiannoullou said the review was incredibly important because it was likely to be the basis for the last major reform for the next decade.

She said: “Whatever recommendations there are, that’s it for the next 10 years.”

A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokeswoman declined to answer questions about the key points made by NSUN, as the review was ongoing, but said in a statement: “We’re determined to ensure the Mental Health Act works better for patients and their families, which is why we commissioned a review of the act and will be considering the final recommendations of the review when it reports later this year.”

But DHSC also said that a service users’ and carers’ group was embedded in the governance of the review, and that every working group established by the review had at least one service-user or carer as a full member.

DHSC said that more than 2,000 people and organisations had provided views for the review through a call-for-evidence, a survey and face-to-face meetings.

The department also said that 30 small focus groups had been held with service-users and carers, with participants including those with experience of low, medium, high security and forensic services, autistic people and those with learning difficulties, and those from BAME communities.

A further two workshops with service-users, carers and professionals have just been held, while at least 15 more focus groups will be re-run in early autumn to test the review’s thinking.

For more information about NSUN’s campaign, or to offer support, contact Dorothy Gould (gould.dorothy@gmail.com), NSUN’s lead on the review, or Sarah Yiannoullou (sarah.yiannoullou@nsun.org.uk)

16 August 2018

 

 

Legal ruling secures new protection for autistic pupils

Thousands of disabled children have won new protection from being unfairly excluded from school after a judge ruled that the government’s equality laws were unlawful.

The upper tribunal ruled last week that a 13-year-old pupil, known as “L” for legal reasons, should not have been excluded from his school because his behaviour was linked to his autism.

Now campaigners are calling on the education secretary to change the law to take account of the appeal victory.

L had originally been excluded from school for one-and-a-half days, when he was 11, because of his aggressive behaviour.

The way that Equality Act regulations have been interpreted has meant that children like L who were defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” were often not treated as “disabled” and were therefore not protected by the Equality Act.

This lack of protection meant schools did not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances was proportionate or explain how they had made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour could be prevented or reduced.

But Judge Rowley, sitting in the upper tribunal, has now found that this rule comes “nowhere near striking a fair balance between the rights of children such as L on the one side and the interests of the community on the other” and was a breach of the Human Rights Act.

He said that “aggressive behaviour is not a choice for children with autism” and that the education secretary had “failed to justify maintaining in force a provision which excludes from the ambit of the protection of the Equality Act children whose behaviour in school is a manifestation of the very condition which calls for special education provision to be made for them”.

He added: “In that context, to my mind it is repugnant to define as ‘criminal or anti-social’ the effect of the behaviour of children whose condition (through no fault of their own) manifests itself in particular ways so as to justify treating them differently from children whose condition has other manifestations.”

He said he believed that his decision was “in harmony with” both the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), who are almost seven times more likely to be permanently excluded than other pupils.

L’s parents said in a statement: “We have always believed passionately that our son and other children in his position should have equal rights to be able to go to school and receive the support they need to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“School should be somewhere he can go without fear of discrimination or exclusion for actions which he has no control over.

“Knowing that one of the key rules that prevented that has now been found to be unlawful is of great comfort to us, and we hope, many other families.”

Michelle Daley, interim director of The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), said: “ALLFIE has continuously expressed our deep concerns about the increase in the level of exclusion of disabled children and children with SEND and also the increase in the number of children in segregated provision.

“All credit to L and his parents for pursuing the case and in helping to bring about this ruling to get the state to recognise the human rights of disabled children.

“This is an encouraging move forward, ensuring that children will be protected under the law.

“We now hope that further changes will be made to properly implement article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to end segregated education.”

Polly Sweeney, human rights partner at lawyers Irwin Mitchell, who represented L’s family, said: “We are delighted with this outcome and pleased that the upper tribunal has recognised in strong terms that the profound and severe discriminatory impact that these rules have on vulnerable children such as L when accessing education is unlawful.

“As has been made clear in the judgment, this decision does not mean that schools are prevented from excluding children where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

“However, it will ensure all disabled children are afforded the same safeguards, protections and rights under the law regardless of whether their disability gives rise to challenging behaviour.”

Barrister Steve Broach, who argued L’s case at the tribunal, said on Twitter that the successful appeal “shows the power of the Human Rights Act”, as rules made under the Equality Act were found to have breached L’s human rights.

Melanie Field, executive director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which funded the case, said: “We are delighted with this judgment which will require schools to make reasonable adjustments to try to prevent or manage challenging behaviour and justify that any exclusion in these circumstances is proportionate.

“This is a positive step towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential through education and increasing the inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education.”

A DfE spokeswoman said: “The government is fully committed to protecting the rights of children with disabilities, as well as making sure schools are safe environments for all pupils.

“We will be carefully considering the judgment and its implications before deciding the next steps.”

The government launched a review of exclusions earlier this year, led by former Tory education minister Edward Timpson, which is examining how schools use exclusions and why some groups are disproportionately excluded.

16 August 2018

 

 

Retailers back UK’s first ‘accessible shopping day’

Major retailers have backed the launch of the UK’s first “accessible shopping day”, which will see businesses promise to introduce new measures to benefit their disabled customers.

Purple Tuesday, to be held on 13 November, is being led by Purple, the social enterprise formerly known as Essex Coalition of Disabled People.

It has secured backing from businesses and organisations including Asda, Barclays, Argos, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, The Crown Estate, the British Retail Consortium, and Hammerson, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, and has been endorsed by the government.

As well as endorsing and promoting Purple Tuesday, every organisation that signs up must make at least one long-term commitment aimed at improving the experience for their disabled customers, such as introducing regular “quiet hours” for neurodiverse shoppers.

Purple will provide retailers that sign up with a training kit to help staff feel confident in assisting disabled shoppers.

It believes there are a “vast array” of adjustments that can be made by retailers that will have a “significant impact”, and many – like the training kit – can be introduced quickly.

Any business or organisation that interacts with disabled customers can sign up to Purple Tuesday, which will also promote the need for accessible retail websites.

Mike Adams, chief executive of Purple, said: “Less than 10 per cent of companies have a dedicated strategy for targeting disabled customers.

“Fundamentally, Purple Tuesday isn’t about a single day in the year but encouraging lasting change that creates a virtuous circle between businesses and disabled consumers.”

Earlier this year, a report co-authored by Adams, Leading From The Front, found the estimated value of the “purple pound” – the collective spending power of disabled people in the UK and their families – to be £249 billion a year.

The report said that three-quarters of disabled people had walked away from a business because of poor disability awareness – costing businesses £420 million a week – while inaccessible websites and apps cost £11.75 billion in lost revenue in the UK in 2016.

It also pointed out that fewer than one in 10 businesses have a defined strategy for targeting disabled consumers.

Purple Tuesday has evolved from a campaign launched by Purple last year, Help Me Spend My Money, which encouraged retail and hospitality businesses to provide disability equality training to their in-store staff and take other measures such as providing an accessible website.

Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, said: “Shopping should be a pleasant experience, but for many disabled people it can often be the cause of distress and frustration.

“By failing to cater to their disabled customers, many businesses are missing out on billions of pounds and denying disabled people the opportunity to enjoy something which many people take for granted.

“I look forward to working alongside Purple and members of my Disability Retail Forum on this hugely important agenda, highlighting examples of best practice in the retail sector and encouraging others to make small changes which can make a massive difference to their customers.”

16 August 2018

 

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

 

 Posted by at 21:02
Aug 182018
 

Call for evidence: Pre-paid cards for social care

Pre-paid cards (or payment cards) are increasingly being used by local councils as a way of making direct payments for social care. Instead of funds being paid into a Disabled person’s people’s bank accounts, funding is ‘loaded’ or paid into a card account. This means that councils can monitor in detail all transactions as they happen, and potentially may suspend an account, if they do not approve of how Disabled people are using the cards.

Across the country, Disabled people have been told by councils that they ‘have to’ use a prepaid card, even if they have been managing their own funding for many years (2).  We also know of a case in the South West where someone was threatened to a cut to their social care funding, unless they accepted a pre-paid card.

As payments usually have to be made online, or over the phone, using a card may also be inaccessible for some Disabled people.

This system has been promoted to local authorities by National Prepaid Cards Network (1) as a way of ‘clawing-back’ money and controlling the way Disabled people use direct payments. Advice to councils has included; ‘The prepaid card remains the use of the council which allows a wider range of sanctions to be applied tactically where required’

In 2017 the Independent Living Strategy Group (3) conducted research that showed:

  • Over a million pounds a year is spent on fees and operating the cards.
  • Just two card companies were providing services to most local councils using payment cards.
  • The way that councils use pre-paid cards varies widely across the country, with some using cards as way of restricting the way that direct payments can be used.

The ILSG also found that some councils are imposing pre-paid cards on Disabled people, contrary to the governments own guidance:

Whilst the use of such cards can be a useful step from managed services to direct payments, they should not be provided as the only option to take a direct payment The offer of a ‘traditional’ direct payment paid into a bank account should always be available if this is what the person requests and this is appropriate to meet needs.’ 4

(Or, as a Disabled activist pointed out recently; ‘If you are offered a pre-paid card for direct payments, you have a choice. You don’t have to have it!’)

However, despite this research and recommendations made by the ILSG to councils, there still seems to be widespread concern about pressure on Disabled people to accept a card and misinformation about their use.

If you have been offered a pre-paid card as the only ‘choice’, or been pressured to accept a card by your council, the Independent Living Strategy Group would like to hear from you.

  • Please note that they cannot, unfortunately, offer any support in any difficulty that you have with your Council but they will be raising concerns about prepaid cards with the Association of Directors of Social Services at a meeting in September. Any information you provide will not be used in any way which could identify you.

Please e-mail jennymorris.net@gmail.com

 (Article by Bristol and South West Disabled People Against Cuts)

 

References

1 https://prepaidnetwork.org.uk/guidance-resource/

2 http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/10/13/councils-use-prepayment-cards-risks-contravening-care-act-study-claims/

3 https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/comment-and-media/payment-cards-must-support-not-restrict-choice-control-users-direct-payments/

4 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance

 Posted by at 20:48
Aug 182018
 

Norwich Art Show Announced

Vince Laws & DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) have teamed up to ensure there is a Norfolk Disability Pride Art Show. The show falls under 3 headings:

1) ‘I Protest!’ 

Protest Art by Vince Laws & DPAC Artists

including the DEAD PEOPLE DON’T CLAIM banner

and the DWP DEATHS MAKE ME SICK shrouds.

Supported by Disabled People Against Cuts

dpac.uk.net

2) A Very Queer Nazi Faust – Props, Photos, Poetry & More!

Highlighting the plight of disabled people under the current Tory government.

(Following the live art performance at Norwich Arts Centre on Weds 12 Sept at 8pm, tickets £6.66.)

Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists with funding from the Spirit of 2012. Supported by Norwich Arts Centre. Supported by Norfolk County Council.

avqnf.co.uk

3) Norfolk Disability Pride Art Show supported by DPAC

At St Margaret’s Church of Art,

St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, NR2 4AQ

Sunday 16 – Saturday 29 September 2018.

Accepting and hanging work Sunday 16 Sept 11am-5pm.

LAUNCH PARTY Sunday 16 Sept 5-10pm, (after the Norfolk Disability Pride event at the Forum earlier the same day, 11am-4pm.)

Performance evening Saturday 22 Sept, details TBC.

A Very Queer Nazi Faust end of show Party open to everyone on Friday 28 Sept from 5-10pm.

Take down Saturday 29 Sept. All work must be collected by 5pm.

Call to Artists

You don’t have to show protest art.

Work needs to be relevant to Norfolk Disability Pride, but you don’t have to be disabled to take part.

Work can be for sale or display only. Donate what you can afford to take part, all money goes to DPAC.

To enter work contact vincelaws@gmail.com

Volunteers Welcome

Help Vince hang work on Sunday 16 Sept 11am-5pm.

Help host the Launch Party on Sunday 16 Sept 5-10pm.

Help welcome visitors 17-29 Sept, open daily 10am-5pm. (Early shift 10am-1.30pm. Later shift 1.30-5pm)

Entry to the art show is FREE throughout, however donations to DPAC welcome. I hope to pay them back the venue hire & costs.

What: ‘I Protest!’ Art Show, with A Very Queer Nazi Faust props and photos, and Norfolk Disability Pride Art Show.

Where: St Margaret’s Church of Art, St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, NR2 4AQ.

When: Sunday 16 to Saturday 29 September 2018.

When: Launch Party: on Sunday 16 Sept from 5-10pm, then open daily 10am-5pm.

Why: Part of Norfolk Disability Pride 2018. Fighting for disabled peoples’ human rights.

Who: Vince Laws, DPAC, Art of Norwich, Unlimited, Spirit of 2012, Norwich Arts Centre, Norfolk County Council.

Contact: vincelaws@gmail.com

Norfolk Disability Pride contact: penny.parker@equallives.org.uk

Tickets for A Very Queer Nazi Faust: https://norwichartscentre.co.uk/events/vince-laws-queer-nazi-faust/?spektrix_bounce=true

Poster shows 3 images:

Top photo by Ruski: Shows Tory MP for Norwich North, Chloe Smith, speaking on the steps of Norwich City Hall at Norwich LGBT+ Pride, while Vince Laws stands silently beside her holding a sign which reads ’Tories Guilty of grave and systematic abuse of disabled people – United Nations’.

Middle photo by Vince Laws shows part of A Very Queer Nazi Faust sign, and 2 of The Naked Abseilers.

Bottom photo by Vince Laws shows an oil painting of some sunflowers.

 Posted by at 20:39
Aug 152018
 

TUESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 6-8pm
House of Commons, Westminster, room tbc   All welcome

DO NO HARM

A seminar to gather evidence of the significant harm caused to children by separating them from their mothers and families, and which families are targeted for child removal and forced adoption.

Hosted by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP

Organised by Legal Action for Women

Speakers so far:

Andy Bilson, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire – new research into rising levels of investigation of families by social services and of children taken ‘into care’

Victoria Childs, Psychotherapy and Counsellors Union – the (lifelong) impact of separation from birth families

Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Shadow Minister for Children & Families

Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape – separation can be worse than witnessing domestic violence: a New York court ruling

Anne Neale, Legal Action for Women, Suffer the Little Children & their Mothers – updated findings from the past year’s self-help case work

SHODA RACKAL, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter – protecting the bond between mother and child

Jean Robinson, Association for Improvement in the Maternity Services – the threat of having children taken stops mothers accessing services

A mother who kept her child, a mother who got her child back, and a grandmother whose grandchild was forcibly adopted.

Contact: law@allwomencount.net   020 7482 2496

 Posted by at 15:57
Aug 142018
 

The Social Market Foundation is currently undertaking a major research project looking at benefit sanctions in the United Kingdom, updating and expanding the Independent Review of Sanctions that they undertook for Government in 2014. More information on the project is available at:http://www.smf.co.uk/making-sense-of-sanctions/

As part of this they want to ensure we gather the full range of views, perspectives, and evidence on sanctioning and the sanctions system. They have opened a call for evidence into these issues, which are available at: http://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Call-for-evidence-questions.pdf

 Posted by at 17:42
Aug 092018
 

DWP figures provide fresh evidence to explain PIP claim rejections

New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.

Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.

The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.

Some researchers have suggested that DWP decision-makers are accepting too many PIP assessment reports prepared by Atos and Capita without subjecting them to proper scrutiny, despite increasing evidence of incompetence and dishonesty by the Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who write them.

DNS has previously spoken to a DWP civil servant working on the PIP “frontline”, who has said that DWP case managers have strict targets for the number of PIP claims they need to process every day and are quizzed by their superiors if they miss their weekly targets.

He has said they are “instructed to act on the assessor’s report, given that they are the medical experts”.

The new figures, provided by DWP following the DNS freedom of information request, appear to confirm concerns that DWP decision-makers are letting many substandard and misleading reports slip through the net.

DNS had asked DWP how many of its decisions on PIP eligibility were made without any attempt to seek further advice or clarification from Atos and Capita, discuss or resolve problems with them, or even return the report to be completely rewritten.

DWP initially said it would be too expensive to produce such figures, but DNS then asked it to test a random sample of 100 assessment reports from Capita and 100 from Atos.

This week, DWP produced those figures, which show that of a random sample of 100 Capita reports, 94 PIP decisions were made without any further contact at all with the company.

And of 100 Atos reports, 97 decisions were made without any further contact with the company once DWP had received the assessment report.

Campaigner John Slater, whose freedom of information work has previously produced crucial data about the DWP’s disability benefit assessment contracts, said the latest figures raised serious concerns about the actions of DWP decision-makers.

Figures he secured from DWP earlier this year showed that an audit of more than 4,000 Capita assessment reports – between April and December 2016 – found about 7.5 per cent were so poor as to be deemed “unacceptable”.

In all, 33 per cent of the audited Capita reports were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.

But this week’s DWP response suggests that its decision-makers are making further checks on just six per cent of Capita assessment reports.

Slater said: “The DWP figures do not reflect the audit management information data it disclosed for 2016.

“Even when you take into account the age of the 2016 data, I would have thought that the number for Capita PIP reports might have been closer to 80 out of the 100 reports sampled.

“This suggests that decision-makers are not looking at the reports critically and are assuming they are accurate.

“I can’t offer anything specific on the Atos data as the DWP still hasn’t disclosed the audit data and the information commissioner is still pursuing the case.

“However, 97 out of 100 still seems unrealistically high.”

Disabled People Against Cuts researcher Anita Bellows, who has also carried out crucial work examining the assessment contracts, also raised serious concerns about DWP decision-makers apparently rubber-stamping more than 95 per cent of all Atos and Capita assessment reports.

She said: “Considering the number of successful appeals against a PIP decision, it is obvious the DWP has not addressed the issue of assessors’ reports and dishonesty.”

She said the figures on successful appeals showed that “very simple errors or untruths” are not picked up by DWP’s decision-makers when making the initial decisions, and then again at the “mandatory reconsideration” internal review stage.

Bellows said: “The figure of 71 per cent of successful PIP appeals is just incredible.

“It means that the DWP made a wrong decision in 71 per cent of cases, not only once but twice.

“There is no better illustration that the system is not working for claimants.”

A DWP spokeswoman refused to answer questions about the new figures, including whether they suggested that one of the reasons for the high rate of successful PIP appeals was that the department’s decision-makers do not have enough time to check assessment reports with Atos and Capita and are not encouraged to do so.

But she said in a statement: “We’re committed to ensuring that people get accurate high-quality assessments and the right decision, first time round.

“A relatively small number of all PIP decisions are overturned at appeal – four per cent.

“Our assessment providers have developed an audit programme with us which we also monitor.

“In addition, the department itself audits a robust random sample of all cases, applying a rigorous set of quality measures to assure that the standards expected by the department are being delivered across the full network.

“Where healthcare professionals fall below the required high standards and do not improve, processes are in place to revoke their approval to carry out assessments.”

The new figures follow years of mounting anger about the way PIP has been designed and run, since it was launched five years ago as a replacement for working-age disability living allowance.

They also follow a lengthy DNS investigation which found claims of widespread dishonesty by PIP assessors – from both Atos and Capita – with hundreds of claimants saying that their PIP assessment reports contained clear lies.

9 August 2018

 

 

DWP refuses to pay £125 to discover number of disabled people in full-time jobs

Ministers are refusing to commission work that would cost just £125 and would show how many disabled people are in full-time paid employment, and how that number has changed under successive Tory-led governments.

Ministers, including the current work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, have repeatedly boasted of how their policies have led to an increase of hundreds of thousands of disabled people in work, including a rise of nearly 600,000 between April 2013 and June 2017.

But those claims are based on figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which includes in its measure of “employment” people who are in part-time work, are self-employed, and those in government-supported training and employment programmes.

This means there are no published government figures that show how many disabled people are in full-time paid employment, and how that number has risen or fallen under successive governments since 2010.

To try to find those statistics, Disability News Service (DNS) submitted a freedom of information request to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), asking for figures for each of the last 10 years for how many disabled people were in full-time, paid jobs.

DWP replied that “this information is not held by the department” and suggested that DNS approach ONS instead.

ONS also said that it did not have that information but explained that it would probably take its experts less than half a day to produce them from existing sets of data, and that it would charge £125 (plus VAT) to do so.

When passed this response and asked why Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, had so far shown no interest in producing these figures – and whether she would now commission the necessary work from ONS – a DWP spokeswoman declined to answer.

Instead, she sent a lengthy statement which explained the role of ONS and praised its independence.

In the statement, she said the ONS definition of employment was “in line with internationally agreed principles of what constitutes employment, and which allow comparisons of the UK with other countries”.

She added: “This definition of employment includes not just people employed in full-time employee jobs; but reflects other forms of work that exist in our economy, including part-time employment; self-employment; and people on government training schemes and employment programmes.”

Asked again if Newton could explain why she appeared to have no interest in asking for these figures to be produced, when they would show how many disabled people were in full-time paid employment, the DWP spokeswoman refused to add to her statement, and said: “That’s our response to your query.”

9 August 2018

 

 

Legal action threat over wheelchair service’s ‘bullying, delays and poor service’

Wheelchair-users in Kent are threatening to take legal action over growing concerns about delays, poor service and even bullying and harassment by the company running the NHS wheelchair services contract in the county.

Four disability groups – Kent’s Physical Disability Forum (PDF), the Kent charity Freedom for Wheels, Kent’s Wheelchair Users Group (WUG) and the Centre for Independent Living Kent (CILK) – have written an open letter to the area’s eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) raising “grave concerns” about the performance of Millbrook Healthcare.

The letter, which is also supported by some members of the Medway Physical Disability Partnership Board, has been copied to every one of Kent’s MPs.

The groups say in their letter that they “no longer have any confidence in Millbrook to provide the wheelchair service across Kent” and do not believe that Thanet CCG – which negotiated the wheelchair services contract on behalf of the eight CCGs in Kent and Medway – is “a fit and proper organisation to oversee that contract”.

Thanet CCG was one of four east Kent CCGs placed into special measures this week by NHS England, partly because of “issues with the quality of services they commission”.

Millbrook has this week strongly denied allegations of bullying, harassment and unsafe behaviour by its staff, while Thanet CCG has denied seeing any evidence of harassment and bullying.

Professor Mike Oliver, the disabled academic who first defined the “social model of disability” and a long-standing WUG member, is playing a key role in the campaign to expose the failings in the wheelchair services contract.

He has been a user of wheelchair services in the county for more than 50 years, and he believes the service – which currently provides manual and powered wheelchairs to almost 20,000 adults and children – is worse now than it has ever been throughout that time.

The four groups have been unable to secure detailed figures on delays, waiting-lists and other aspects of Millbrook’s performance, but Oliver said the anecdotal reports they had received from disabled people were deeply concerning.

In one case, a man who repeatedly asked for proper foot-plates to be fitted to his wheelchair now faces the possibility of having his foot amputated because of a pressure sore he believes was caused by the unsuitable wheelchair.

A disabled child was reportedly told by a member of Millbrook staff that if he did not sit still he would have his wheelchair taken away, while another wheelchair-user had their arms and legs forced into position in a wheelchair.

Another case saw a woman take delivery of a wheelchair from Millbrook, only to find it was filthy, with the cushion smelling of urine.

Oliver gave evidence to Kent County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee last month about the concerns and told them: “The service now is the worst it has ever been.”

And he said the four groups were unanimous in believing the contract had to be removed from Millbrook.

He said there had been “harassment, bullying” and examples of “possible assaults, of threatening behaviour of children, and we know there is at least one serious incident being investigated by the police”.

He added: “The situation in our view has reached a critical stage.”

In a report to the committee, Thanet CCG admitted that the number of children on the waiting-list had risen from 210 to 443, and the number of adults from 1,046 to 1,971, since Millbrook took on the contract.

Of these, 251 children and 999 adults had been waiting for more than the 18-week target, while 62 children and 272 adults had been on the waiting-list inherited from the previous provider and so had been waiting longer than a year.

The report said the CCGs were treating the situation “very seriously” and that the delays in resolving the issues were “very regrettable”.

Thanet CCG also said it was in discussions about providing further funding for Millbrook because the caseload it inherited when it took over “included both a backlog of long waiters and a much higher complexity case-mix” than had been expected, and that Millbrook was drawing up an improvement plan.

But Oliver told the meeting that he and his fellow campaigners did not accept the CCG report and had told Thanet CCG that providing Millbrook with more funding would be a mistake.

Despite his comments, Thanet CCG is currently seeking approval from the other CCGs to provide extra funding to Millbrook to clear the backlog.

The Millbrook contract is already worth £5.1 million a year, which includes the costs of staff, wheelchairs and spare parts.

The committee was also shown a report listing concerns raised by PDF, which included a string of complaints about delays, poor service and Millbrook incompetence.

Oliver and fellow campaigners have been raising concerns about the service since a meeting last November, more than six months after Millbrook took on the contract in April 2017.

But Oliver told Disability News Service (DNS) that Millbrook “pooh-poohed our concerns”, blamed backlogs inherited from the previous contractor and promised “immediate improvements” by the beginning of 2018, which it failed to deliver.

He himself has been waiting for a replacement arm-rest for his wheelchair since January.

The four groups are now considering seeking legal advice for a possible court action against Thanet CCG.

Oliver said he believed that the state of wheelchair services was worsening across the country and was in a “very bleak” state.

Millbrook Healthcare told DNS this week that it had “not been presented with any evidence that suggest service users and their families are being harassed, bullied or threatened by our staff” and that there had been “no incidents or safeguarding concerns involving our staff reported to us, or our partners in the CCGs”.

A Millbrook spokeswoman said: “In a response to Professor Oliver, we and the CCGs have requested that if there is specific evidence to support these claims, then these need to be provided so that we can conduct a full investigation and take the necessary actions.”

She said Millbrook staff had drawn up their own “impact statement”, in which they claimed that the “blanket slur has caused anxiety and offence” and that they had themselves “suffered verbal abuse whilst carrying out their roles”, which often left them “feeling distressed and vulnerable”.

She said: “Our teams pride themselves on their continuing professionalism, consideration and standard of care to service users.”

She said that all loaned wheelchairs were “subject to our full infection control and decontamination process” and were thoroughly refurbished – according to the manufacturers’ guidelines – and inspected before being handed over to service-users.

She said that poor quality data handed over by the previous provider of wheelchair services meant the level of backlogs was unclear at the start of the contract, and it had “taken time to build an accurate picture of the service”.

The Millbrook spokeswoman said: “We appreciate that some service users have had to wait longer than anticipated for their wheelchairs, for which we again apologise, but now we know the extent of the issue, we can assure service users that the CCGs and ourselves are putting all our efforts into improving the situation and moving service users through the service as quickly as possible.”

She claimed that Millbrook was meeting the 18-week target for all children referred to the service to receive their wheelchairs, even though current average waiting-times for children referred to the service were still 17.1 weeks for urgent referrals for a powerchair, and 15.7 weeks for a manual wheelchair.

For adults, the average waiting-times for urgent referrals were 17.3 weeks for powerchairs and 11.7 weeks for manual wheelchairs.

Millbrook had not clarified by noon today (Thursday) how it could be meeting those targets if average waiting-times were so close to 18 weeks, or confirmed that it accepted the waiting-list figures provided to the council by Thanet CCG.

A spokeswoman for Thanet CCG said the CCGs had written to Professor Oliver, urging the forum to share evidence for its claims “so we can investigate them urgently and thoroughly”.

She said: “Checks that we have carried out to date have not uncovered evidence of harassment, bullying or threats by Millbrook Healthcare staff.

“There have not been any serious incidents or safeguarding alerts raised against Millbrook Healthcare.”

But she added: “We are very sorry that the service people have been receiving has fallen short of what we would hope to provide.

“The recent quality visit conducted by NHS Thanet CCG found that Millbrook Healthcare had a process in place to triage and prioritise patients with the highest need on the waiting list, minimising the risk of patients coming to harm.

“Whilst this provides the CCG with assurance that patient safety is being managed, it is clear that pressure on the service due to a growing caseload is severely affecting patient experience and we repeat our apology for this.”

She said Thanet CCG did not accept that it was not an appropriate organisation to lead on the contract.

She said the CCG had concluded that terminating the contract would “lead to an increased risk around retention of the existing provider’s skilled and competent staff”, with Millbrook already losing nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of its employees between June 2017 and June 2018.

She said this was partly “due to pressures on the service associated with the inherited backlog and patient complaints” and that “clinical staff with specialist expertise in wheelchair assessment are not easy to replace”.

She said Thanet CCG had therefore concluded it was “in the best interest of patients to work with the current provider to resolve contract challenges rather than to re-procure which may increase risk to patients”.

She said that providing Millbrook with extra funding to address the “issues associated with the inherited caseload” would enable the company to “deliver an ongoing and sustainable service for patients”.

But Cllr Sue Chandler, chair of the county council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, said in a statement: “The committee expressed grave concerns about the wheelchair services contract and its management by NHS Thanet CCG and I have written to all Kent CCGs to express these concerns.

“The committee has also requested a written response from Thanet CCG, within two weeks, as to whether it is considering terminating Millbrook Healthcare’s contract and the reasons for that choice; and to provide an action plan detailing how the issues will be resolved in the interim.

“The committee will be considering this issue in September, either at an additional or existing meeting of the committee.”

9 August 2018

 

 

Train company faces calls to rip up scooter policy after latest ‘shameful’ episode

A rail company is facing calls to change its “reprehensible and unsupportable” attitude to disabled passengers, after one of its guards threatened to throw a woman off a train because she was using a mobility scooter.

Sara Harvey was on the way to a wedding with her husband Liam and had boarded a Northern Rail service to Bolton in her scooter – with the assistance of station staff – when a guard told her she would have to leave the train because the company did not allow any scooters on its services.

The company’s policy is that it does not allow mobility scooters on its trains – in contrast with many other companies, which do allow some scooters – unless they are “folded down before you board, and carried on like luggage”.

Harvey, who is autistic and has a physical impairment, and campaigns as Agony Autie, filmed the altercation with the guard and live-streamed it on Facebook.

She told the guard that she had booked assistance, and had already travelled by train from Chester to Manchester Oxford Road, and had been clear when buying her ticket that she uses a scooter.

She has previously travelled problem-free with her scooter with Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin.

She was eventually allowed to continue with her journey, after support from fellow passengers, some of whom threatened to leave the train with her if she was thrown off.

Harvey told Disability News Service today (Thursday) that the Northern executives responsible for drawing up the company’s scooter policy had “done nothing but cause harm and pain” and that it “emboldens their staff to be hostile”.

She said: “I was told by the guard to ‘get off, get off, get off, you’ve broken the rules. This train goes nowhere with you on it.’ I was treated like a criminal.”

She is now set to meet Northern to discuss what happened but says she has not been told yet how to make a formal complaint and fears that she is “being manipulated” by the company.

She said Northern was only paying attention to the issue now because of the media coverage of the incident.

She said: “It happens all the time on their trains. The difference is that this went viral and hit the mainstream media.

“They put people in distress every day. With this, the difference is the public could see my distress. If my distress wasn’t filmed, they wouldn’t care.

“I told them: you have treated me like the scum of the earth because I am differently abled to you.

“I want to make sure it never happens again. These people don’t care about the customers.”

Harvey said Northern needed to “inject a good deal of common sense” into their policies and practices as well as “empathy and compassion training”.

She said: “At the moment they see us as slow, we take up too much of their time.

“They see it as we make their jobs difficult, but these are our lives and every time they see us as slow and every time they think we make their jobs difficult, they need to be taught that those feelings are ableist.

“People need to be self-aware that you can’t hate on someone who is differently abled from you because they are slower or you see them as a burden.

“I want staff attitudes completely changing and all the way to the top. If platform staff are getting this training, the CEO is getting this training because the CEO and the policy-makers don’t have a clue either.”

Harvey said she had a “full-blown meltdown” the day after the incident, once she had returned home.

She said: “I beat myself in the head about 20 times. It was all because of Northern Rail. They have made me ill.”

The incident, which caused widespread anger and frustration among disabled campaigners, came only weeks after comedian Tanyalee Davis was reduced to tears after being publicly “shamed” by a train guard with another company who forced her to move her mobility scooter to make way for a mother with a baby buggy.

Accessible transport campaigner Doug Paulley has been calling on the regulator, the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), to act on Northern’s blanket ban on mobility scooters for more than seven months.

Northern launched a pilot scheme last September, allowing some scooters to use services on a limited part of its network.

Paulley said ORR had raised the issue of the Northern ban on scooters in a June 2017 letter approving the company’s Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP).

The letter noted the pilot scheme but warned that ORR remained “concerned that your policy for travel on the rest of your network remains more restrictive than that of other operators”.

Paulley – a member of the Northern/TransPennine/Hull Trains combined inclusivity forum of disabled lobbyists, although not speaking on their behalf – said there had been no sign of Northern extending this pilot scheme.

He said: “I think Northern’s attitude is reprehensible and unsupportable.”

He said the company used the same trains as other companies which had “less restrictive scooter policies” and added: “They are out of step with the industry and the regulator.

“It’s shameful and yet another example of how Northern are failing passengers – and in respect of this policy, disabled people in particular.”

Northern had failed to answer questions about its scooter policy by noon today but issued the following statement: “We are truly sorry to the customer for her unacceptable experience travelling with Northern and the distress it caused.

“We are currently investigating the incident and have spoken directly with the customer and organising to meet in person to discuss her experience and see how we can learn and improve and help staff to be more autistic and disabled aware.”

An ORR spokesman said it was encouraging Northern to extend its pilot scheme across its network.

He said: “ORR is committed to improving accessibility of the rail network and to promoting the rights of passengers requiring assistance and the services available to them, and we were sorry to hear about the experience of Ms Harvey on her train journey last week.”

He said that some train companies face “challenges” with carrying scooters, such as the size of carriages and the width of platforms, and “foremost consideration must be the safety of both the passenger and staff assisting them”.

But he added: “We have been in regular contact with Northern about its scooter pilot and scooter card scheme since we approved its DPPP last year.

“Although the geographical area of the pilot is limited, we understand that it has enabled some passengers to now travel on their network who previously were unable to do so.

“Northern is continuing to work to enable passengers with mobility scooters to travel as much as possible on their network, within the constraints mentioned above.

“We are encouraging Northern to continue to expand this approach as far as it is safely and operationally possible.”

He said ORR was also reviewing its guidance on writing DPPPs and would consult on proposals to update it later this year, including whether there should be any changes to requirements on carrying mobility scooters and other mobility aids.

He added: “We are also focused on improving staff training, including staff awareness and understanding of differing disabilities as customer service and staff attitude can play a significant part in how comfortable and confident passengers with disabilities feel when making their train journey.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to say what action it was taking to address the uncertainty and distress caused to scooter-users by the range of policies operated by different rail companies.

But a DfT spokeswoman said in a statement: “It is vital that all passengers, including disabled passengers, can feel confident when using public transport.

“This is why the department has published an Inclusive Transport Strategy that will make the entire network more accessible by 2030.

“It is right that the operator has apologised for the way this passenger was treated.

“We expect all train companies to do everything possible to provide the same access and make travel easy for disabled people.”

9 August 2018

 

 

UN’s ‘human catastrophe’ rights expert to deliver high-profile UK lecture

The UN expert who told the government that its cuts to disabled people’s support had caused a “human catastrophe” is to visit the UK this autumn to deliver a high-profile lecture on disability rights.

Theresia Degener, the professor of law and disability studies who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, will deliver the first Caroline Gooding Memorial Lecture at the University of Leeds in October.

Last August, Degener told the UK government’s delegation – during a public examination of its progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe” which was “totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in”.

She later gave an interview with the BBC – which was not broadcast – in which she warned that the portrayal of disabled people by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits could put them at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”.

The annual lecture was set up as a memorial to the equality consultant and author Caroline Gooding, who played a leading role in securing improvements to disability rights legislation as a member of the Disability Rights Taskforce.

Gooding was later director of legislative change at the Disability Rights Commission throughout its eight years. She died in July 2014.

The lecture will be hosted by the university’s renowned Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) and its Centre for Law and Social Justice, and will take place on 3 October.

Professor Anna Lawson, director of CDS and co-ordinator of the university’s Disability Law Hub, said she and fellow organisers were “delighted” that Degener was able to accept the invitation to deliver the lecture.

She said: “She is a disabled woman who, like Caroline, has made it her life’s work to push for disability equality and inclusion using the law.

“As chair of the CRPD committee, she occupies what is one of the most influential positions in disability rights globally.

“The fact that her committee has recently reviewed and made recommendations to the UK on its implementation of the CRPD makes the timing particularly good.

“Theresia also knew and admired Caroline and her work.”

She said the lecture would not be focused specifically on the UK but would be “relevant to all countries that have ratified the CRPD, including the UK”.

Lawson said there would be questions and discussion after the lecture, while there are hopes that the event will be live-streamed.

Degener will lecture on “inclusive equality”, a concept introduced by the UN committee through a “general comment” in March and which it hopes can be used to help implement CRPD.

Inclusive equality, the general comment says, argues for redistribution to address socioeconomic disadvantage, and attempts to combat “stigma, stereotyping, prejudice and violence” and recognize the “dignity of human beings and their intersectionality”.

It also recognises the importance of including different social groups in society, but also the need to “make space for difference as a matter of human dignity”.

In the general comment on article five of the convention – on equality and non-discrimination – the committee warns that countries are still approaching disability through charity and medical models, which fail to fully acknowledge disabled people’s rights.

It also warns that the laws and policies of many countries “perpetuate the exclusion and isolation of and discrimination and violence” against disabled people, and that they are often “imperfect and incomplete or ineffective” or “reflect an inadequate understanding of the human rights model of disability”.

In the BBC interview, Degener explained that, compared to other countries with “less economic power” and less advanced equality and discrimination legislation, the UK’s austerity policy was “less human rights oriented”, so that “UK appears to be a strong country when it comes to equal rights but a very, very weak country with relation to economic, social and culture rights”.

She also said the UK’s record on disability rights was “going backwards in a pace and to an amount that it worries us a lot” and that the evidence in front of the committee was “overwhelming”.

The general comment also says that disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) must “play a central role in the development of legal and policy reforms”, including the response to the prejudice faced by disabled people seen as being “a burden on society”.

The committee’s concluding observations, which followed its public examination of the UK’s progress in implementing the convention last August, called on the government to do more to include DPOs in planning and implementing polices affecting disabled people.

Degener was not available this week to comment on her plans for the lecture.

9 August 2018

 

 

MPs win praise for online abuse proposals

MPs have won praise after calling on the government to ensure disabled people finally secure equality in the protection they are offered by hate crime laws.

Members of the Commons petitions committee said in a new report that it was not right that it was a crime to incite hatred on the grounds of religion or race, but not disability.

The petitions committee was publishing draft recommendations following an inquiry into the online abuse of disabled people, and said it hoped its work would be “a wakeup call” to the government.

It has now launched a consultation on its recommendations before it publishes its final report – the first time a Commons committee has taken such a step – so that disabled people and their allies can respond to its draft proposals.

Among those recommendations is for the government to introduce a new law that would make it a crime to incite hatred against disabled people, a long-standing demand of disability hate crime campaigners.

Anne Novis, a leading disability hate crime campaigner and chair of Inclusion London, said: “I am thrilled to see the recommendation from this inquiry, which include most of the recommendations we submitted in writing and I gave verbally at the inquiry meeting, and other Deaf and disabled people gave via a testimonies session which Inclusion London helped to organise.”

She said the government had repeatedly failed to listen or respond to “repeated evidence and requests for equity in law on hate crime”.

Novis welcomed the recommendation that disability should be included within hate crime incitement laws, and that there would be “a full and inclusive consultation” on the committee’s draft proposals.

She added: “I hope we will see an appropriate and timely response from this government that does not ignore us, or defer responding, as it has done re disability hate crime for many years.”

In its report, the committee attacked the government’s “shocking” failure to consult disabled people in drawing up its online safety strategy, and warned social media companies that they had been “neglecting the needs of their disabled users for far too long”.

Helen Jones, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, said: “It is deeply disappointing that social companies don’t engage fully with their disabled users.

“With their vast financial resources, there’s no excuse for their failure to make their platforms as safe for disabled people as they are for other users.”

She said the inquiry showed that social media was “rife with vile, degrading and dehumanising comments” about disabled people.

The committee called for mandatory teaching in schools on disability hate crime, and for the government to develop an action plan to address the exploitation of people with learning difficulties, both online and offline.

The committee said: “In our inquiry, we have come across some examples of good practice in attempting to meet the needs of disabled people and their families.

“More often, though, we found that disabled people were not being consulted or even considered.

“This was particularly apparent in the very disappointing evidence we received from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and heard from social media companies.

“We do not intend to make the mistake of ignoring disabled people here.”

The inquiry was launched in response to a petition set up by former model Katie Price, which was signed by more than 220,000 people and followed years of disablist and racist abuse targeted at her teenage son, Harvey.

The committee rejected Price’s call for a register of offenders, similar to the sex offenders register, but said the government should look at other ways of making it easier for employers to find out if someone has been convicted of online abuse.

Jones said: “We’ve listened to disabled people to come up with our recommendations to tackle online abuse of disabled people and we will spend the summer listening to them again.

“By launching this consultation, we want to make it clear that the voices of disabled people must be heard.”

She added: “It should be normal practice for select committees to consult on their recommendations, so I’m pleased that the petitions committee is taking this step.”

9 August 2018

 

 

MPs launch inquiry into care discrimination faced by LGBT service-users

Disabled activists have given a guarded welcome to the launch of a new inquiry by MPs into the discrimination faced in accessing health and social care services by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

The Commons women and equalities committee, which has launched the inquiry, said that the results of a government survey, published last month, showed the discrimination faced by many LGBT people in accessing healthcare.

It said the survey showed that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents who had been in a care home said that being open about their LGBT status had had a negative effect on their care.

The committee said its inquiry would “consider whether provision is adequate, whether discrimination is still occurring, and what more needs to be done to improve access to health and social care”.

The LGBTQI+ disabled people’s organisation Regard welcomed the decision to launch the inquiry but raised concerns that its focus appeared to be on access to healthcare rather than social care.

Dr Ju Gosling, co-chair of Regard, said the committee also appeared to be confused about the distinction between healthcare and social care.

She said: “While the evidence is clear that LGBTQI+ people face discrimination in health care, it also shows it is more extreme in social care.

“LGBTQI+ people are also much more dependent on social care than other disabled and older people, due to the reduced availability of support from family and friends.”

Gosling also raised concerns that the committee appeared to have excluded non-binary and intersex people from its new inquiry, “when we know they face specific barriers in accessing health care”.

She said Regard would submit evidence to the committee’s inquiry.

Last October, ground-breaking research co-produced by Regard found that more than a third of LGBTQI+ disabled people have experienced discrimination or received poor treatment from their personal assistants because of their sexual or gender identity.

Almost a third said they felt they had been discriminated against by their local authority on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

And more than 90 per cent said their needs as an LGBTQI+ disabled person were either not considered or were only given some consideration, when they were assessed or reviewed by their council.

Among the questions the committee is asking are: in which areas of healthcare do LGBT people experience worse outcomes than the general population? How effectively do health and social care providers take the needs of LGBT people into account? And what does the evidence show about levels of discrimination against LGBT people in accessing health and social care?

Maria Miller, the committee’s chair, said in a statement to launch the inquiry: “Evidence suggests that the healthcare needs of LGBT people are not currently being met effectively, some report that they still face discrimination in health and social care, and there are inequalities in outcomes between LGBT groups and the wider population.

“We welcome the government’s recently announced action plan and its commitment to ensuring that LGBT people’s needs are at the heart of the NHS.

“This is therefore a crucial time for us to look at how services can best be provided and improved for LGBT patients.

“We want to hear from organisations, individuals, researchers and service providers about what can be done to make health and social services more effective for LGBT people.”

The deadline for written evidence to the inquiry is 5 October 2018.

9 August 2018

 

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

 

 Posted by at 20:32
Aug 092018
 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/social-care-funding-uk-government-local-councils-proposals-local-government-association-lga-a8470361.html

https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/lga-launches-own-green-paper-adult-social-care-reaches-breaking-point

 

Have your say on the future of adult social care – respond to the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) survey.

The consultation, which is the largest ever launched by the LGA, will last for eight weeks and will shape the LGA’s demands ahead of the Budget, due in the autumn.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “People have a right to live the life they want to lead and high quality adult social care and support plays an essential role in this. It is also vital to society. It strengthens communities, reduces pressures on the NHS, supports around 1.5 million jobs and contributes as much as £46bn to the UK economy.

“But work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support has been kicked into the long grass by successive governments for the past two decades and has brought these services to breaking point.

“It has created a deeply uncertain and worrying future outlook for people who use adult social care services now and the growing number of people who will need them in the future.”

The LGA has produced their own ‘green paper’ and would like your views on it. Things you might want to consider are -:

  • should care be free at the point of delivery,
  • should it be funded through taxation,
  • should it be delivered by local government or should alternatives be considered,
  • should the postcode lottery be ended and a national system of social care be put in place working in a similar way to which the ILF did.

You may not want to answer all of the questions in this consultation or feel they are all relevant to you but please answer those that you can and ask others to as well. Do also give examples of how the current system is failing to meet your needs either due to charging policies, refusal to provide help with specific tasks or unmet needs you have.

To complete the consultation, please read the LGA’s green paper and then submit your views via the online form, which is available at:

https://futureofadultsocialcare.co.uk/the-green-paper/have-your-say/

 Posted by at 20:10
Aug 092018
 

Sano Physiotherapy markets itself as a professional service offering sports massage and rehabilitation but has a murky side business renting out its rooms to controversial disability assessor ATOS. 

 

ATOS has recently changed the name of its benefits assessment arm to ‘Independent Assessment Services’ with the words “delivered by ATOS” written in tiny letters underneath. You will not see ATOS branded in big letters across any of Sano Physiotherapy commercial premises despite renting spaces to the much discredited benefits assessor in Pudsey and Castleford.

 

You will find a picture of Tory MP, Stuart Andrew shaking hands with Matthew Taylor, clinical lead for Sano Physiotherapy LTD outside the companies new premises in Pudsey. Stuart often promotes himself as a community champion in Pudsey with photoshoots like these whilst voting for welfare cuts and benefit changes in parliament that affect his constituents.

 

The Independent newspaper recently put in a freedom of information request which found the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) paid Independent Assessment Services and Capita nearly £255m last year to perform Personal Independent Payment assessments. How much has Sano Physiotherapy LTD made from this windfall whilst local residents are having to use foodbanks?

 

Sano Physiotherapy LTD is facilitating controversial disability assessments which potential private customers need to be made aware about so they can choose a more ethical physiotherapist firm that doesn’t have a murky side-line in profiteering from the suffering of benefit claimants.

Please let us know of any other firms involved in aiding Atos or Capita with details of who and where they are. You can email us at amil@dpac.uk.net

 

 

 

 Posted by at 19:11
Aug 082018
 

Campaign Bootcamp has recently opened applications for its October residential campaign training, which supports new activists to develop the confidence, tools and community they need to run effective campaigns that challenge injustice. The six-day training is a space where activists from across the UK, across identities, ages and experiences, come together to learn from each other, strategise, gain new skills and find new allies. Campaign Bootcamp offers many scholarships that cover up to the full cost of the training, including scholarships for policing and criminal justice activists, environmental activists, disabled activists, migrants, activists tacking systemic issues such as housing and health, BME activists and more. You can get more information here: https://campaignbootcamp.org/bootcamps/bootcamp-14/
Key information:

  • Campaign Bootcamp is a year-long programme designed to give campaigners the skills, confidence and community they need to succeed

  • The year starts with a six-day residential training at an accessible venue, Gilwell Park (Epping Forest) just outside London
  • You’ll learn about strategy, tactics, messaging, working with the media, creating persuasive social media content, building allies and much more
  • Dates for the training are Sunday 7th October – Friday 12th October 2018

  • Applications are now open now and will close at 9am on Tuesday 21st August

  • Apply online here: www.campaignbootcamp.org/apply
  • There’s a lot of scholarships available, which cover up to the full cost of the programme. Learn more and apply for one here: https://campaignbootcamp.org/bootcamps/bootcamp-14/

—-

Campaign Bootcamp is a trading name of Campaign Academy Ltd, a charitable company limited by guarantee. We are registered in England and Wales under charity number 1169639 and company number 08390873. Our registered office is 115 Mare St, London E8 4RU, United Kingdom. The Campaign Bootcamp name and logo are registered trademarks.

 Posted by at 17:36