Concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Alternative report from civil society
Overview of key concerns
Response to UKG’s Follow Up report to the Concluding Observations
Civil society follow up information on recommendations made by the Committee in paragraph 114 of its inquiry report
Civil society follow up information on Concluding Observation recommendations
UK DDPO Recommendations
Annex A: Global Disability Summit Charter for Change
Annex B: Inclusion London briefing on Mental Capacity (Amendment) bill
Annex C: Examples of engagement with DDPOs in specific policy areas that demonstrate room for improvement
Annex D: Independent Review of the Mental Health Act
Annex E: List of DDPOs who contributed to this report
AtW Access to Work
CCG Clinical Commissioning Group
DfID Department for International Development
DFG Disabled Facilities Grant
DHSC Department for Health and Social Care
DLA Disability Living Allowance
DPTAC Disabled People’s Transport Advisory Committee
DWP Department for Work and Pensions
EHCP Education Health and Care Plan
EHRC Equality and Human Rights Commission (part of the UK Independent Mechanism)
ESA Employment and Support Allowance
ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
ILF Independent Living Fund
IMG Inter-ministerial Group
IMNI Independent Mechanism for Northern Ireland
INGOs International Non-Governmental Organisations
JSA Job Seekers Allowance
LA Local Authority
LHS Local Housing Strategy
MR Mandatory Reconsideration
NAO National Audit Office
NI Northern Ireland
ONS Office for National Statistics
PIP Personal Independence Payment
PSED Public Sector Equality Duty
SDGs Sustainable Development Goals
SEND Special Educational Needs and Disability
SG Support Group
TUC Trade Union Congress
UC Universal Credit
UKG UK Government
UKIM UK Independent Mechanism
UNCRPD United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
WCA Work Capability Assessment
WILG Welsh Independent Living Grant
WG Welsh Government
WRAG Work Related Activity Group
Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs)1 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland2 have compiled the following civil society report to provide information on the implementation of Articles 19, 27 and 28 by the UK Government (UKG) over the past 12 months. This correlates with the Committee’s request at paragraph 73 of the Concluding Observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, adopted on 29 August 2017, that, within 12 months, the UKG should provide information in writing on measures to implement the Committee’s recommendations as set forth in paragraphs 45, 57, and 59.
Readers are reminded of the devolution framework in the UK. Where the UK Government is referred to, this can mean all 4 nations in the UK where the issue is a “reserved” one or to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Actions of the UKG on devolved issues will only be applicable in England and separate action may be taken by governments in other nations.
B. Overview of key concerns
Below is a summary of shared key concerns that cut across the three articles within focus:
Continuing retrogression and re-institutionalisation of Disabled people.
Inadequate strategic implementation and monitoring of the UNCRPD.
Failure by UKG to recognise the UN Disability Committee findings and recommendations.
Inadequate specific engagement with DDPOs and, in some countries, a lack of trust between DDPOs and Government.
Escalation of future needs due to adverse impacts of current policy.
The lack of any protection for Disabled people in Northern Ireland. This is especially in light of the fact there is no devolved government there and lack of adequate oversight by the UKG.
Continuing retrogression and re-institutionalisation of Disabled people.
4.1 Disabled people’s socio-economic rights under Articles 19, 27 and 28 have been further retrogressed since the adoption of the Concluding Observations in August 2017. The crisis in funding for social care has led to further removals of essential daily independent living support for Disabled people and the closure of community services for people with mental distress, in particular DDPOs and services led by people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and other marginalised groups. LAs responsible for the delivery of support services are struggling to meet demand; in England LAs are starting to go bankrupt, putting at risk their ability to meet even minimum legal duties3. Social care charges are increasing,4 leaving thousands in debt or choosing to pull out of receiving support altogether.5 Just under half of social care users surveyed by In Control said they had frequently, or occasionally, used money intended for other household costs such as food and heating to pay for care and support.6
4.2 People with learning difficulties, autism and mental distress continue to be sent many miles away from their communities to receive treatment.7 There is wide concern that the Mental Capacity (amendment) Bill (England only) currently passing through Parliament will weaken protections and the duty to consider the best interests of the person in authorising deprivation of liberty.8 There is a chronic shortage of accessible housing with around 365,000 Disabled people in England with unmet housing needs9, yet plans for new housing too often limit inclusion of Disabled people’s needs to segregated “supported housing” complexes.10
4.3 Placements in segregated education are rising11 while cuts to “special educational needs and disability” (SEND) budgets are reducing the quality of inclusive education and availability of education for Disabled pupils12. The number of Disabled pupils left without any educational placement was also found to have risen: official statistics showed 4,152 Disabled pupils were without a place in 2017 in England, up from 776 in 201013. School exclusions have sharply risen with rates of exclusion five times higher for SEND pupils than non-Disabled pupils.14
4.4 Increasing barriers to employment are adversely impacting on Deaf and Disabled people’s right to work. The government cites a figure of 600,000 additional Disabled people in work since 201015, yet official figures also show greater numbers of Disabled people leaving rather than entering employment.16 The UK has a persistent disability employment gap which is currently over 30 percentage points.17 The disability pay gap is another major inequality18 Research published in 2017 highlighted a number of policy and operational issues with the Access to Work (AtW) disability employment scheme that are not yet addressed.19 The recent government announcement of increased funding for supported businesses through AtW is viewed by DDPOs as retrogressive measure, representing investment in segregated employment at the expense of supporting mainstream employment opportunities.20
4.5 Under Article 28, many of the same issues on which we reported previously remain a significant problem, with Disabled people still subject to tightening eligibility, the removal21 and sanctioning of benefits22, and the spare room subsidy removal (“bedroom tax”).23 In addition to this we now have the roll out of Universal Credit (UC), which is set to affect 8 million households, of which 58% will have a Disabled member.24 Adverse impacts experienced by UC claimants have led to widespread concern expressed by civil society organisations25, local authorities26, the media and general public.27 In a report published in June 2018 the NAO called on the DWP to “ensure that operational performance and costs improve sustainably” before further roll out progresses28.
4.6 Welfare conditionality is a core principle at the heart of UC. Mounting evidence demonstrates the harm that conditionality and sanctions cause as well as counter-productive impacts for Disabled people, in fact moving them further from the labour market.29 DDPOs are extremely concerned about widespread application of job search requirements without reasonable adjustments leading to sanctioning practices that discriminate against Deaf and Disabled claimants. New research from Activity Alliance and the Dwarf Sports Association UK shows that fear of losing benefits is preventing Disabled people from taking part in physical activity and accessing the associated health and social benefits. More than a third (34%) of those surveyed reported that they or someone they know has had benefits sanctioned or removed as a result of being physically active.30
4.7 At the State Examination in Geneva last year, particular concern was raised by the Committee that Disabled people in Northern Ireland (NI) have less legislative protection than in any other part of the UK. It was also acknowledged that the situation for Disabled people in NI is particularly egregious. In the 13 months that have followed, the situation in NI has, unfortunately, got even worse. This is because of a lack of devolved government and a lack of engagement by the Westminster Government with NI DDPOs.
4.8 These retrogressions are happening within a context of restricted access to justice due to legal aid changes. Disabled people are overrepresented users of civil legal aid. As a result the reduction in scope of legal aid enacted through LASPO31 and significant drop in publicly funded cases has had a disproportionate impact.32 The changes prevent many Disabled people who use adult social care services from recourse to challenging cuts to their support. Advice and law centres have closed33 and it is increasingly difficult to find solicitors to take on cases – even where Disabled people are still eligible for legal aid. The changes have also dramatically reduced support available to navigate the welfare system. Figures published by the Ministry of Justice in October 2017 showed that just 440 claimants were given legal aid assistance in welfare benefits cases in 2016-2017, down from 83,000 in 2012-13. This represents a drop of 99.5%.34 Meanwhile we continue to wait for the government’s LASPO post-implementation review.35
4.9 Examples of progressive policy-making and attempts to uphold Disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD continue to be limited to the devolved nations, where the implementation of mitigating measures and strategic frameworks for the realisation of Disabled people’s rights, although not without room for improvement,36 represent a progressive break from the approaches taken by Westminster government. Nevertheless, DDPOs in Scotland remain unsure of how the Scottish Government and LAs intend to tackle the crisis in social care given low staff morale, incompatibility between competitive tendering requirements and choice and control for Disabled people, provision of the new living wage and the ever increasing demand for services with a growing older population. None of this can be realistically achieved within current funding levels and DDPOs continue to call for a national debate on the future funding of social care, and subsequent action.
4.10 This is particularly true in NI, where unfortunately there has been no devolved government since January 2017. Positive steps were taken by the Northern Ireland Executive in respect of the rights of Disabled people, and commitments were made in respect of implementing the provision of the Equality Act 2010 to NI as they pertain to disability, especially around indirect discrimination of Disabled people in NI. Unfortunately, the collapse of the NI Executive has resulted in this work not being implemented. The UKG has, disappointingly, not stepped up to ensure this important work is delivered for disabled people in NI.
4.11 While some gains have been made for British and Irish Sign Language users in the UK, these have only been made in the context of damaging Government cuts (in relation to the AtW cap)37, inconsistent provision across the devolved nations (in the case of the Scottish BSL National Plans), and short-term fixes (in the case of reinstating the Access to Elected Office Fund only for a 12 month period in England).38 We agree with the noting of the BSL (Scotland) Act as having overseen some key improvements within Scotland by placing a duty on Scottish Ministers to promote the use and understanding of BSL. We would welcome similar legislation across the UK
Inadequate understanding, strategic implementation and monitoring of UNCRPD
5.1 We have concerns that the UNCRPD is not embedded within government and is poorly understood at all levels, including ministerial. In response to criticisms of the impact of their domestic policy on Disabled people in the UK over the past year, UKG ministers have consistently cited the worse conditions of Disabled people in poorer countries.39 This represents a misunderstanding of the UNCRPD duty on the progressive realisation of socio-economic and cultural rights: the situation in the UK is of such concern because it constitutes serious, systematic retrogression, not because the starting point is further behind other countries. As discussed below at paragraph 6, the UKG either does not understand, or is not willing, to accept its duty under the UNCRPD, as outlined in detail in the General Comment on participation adopted by the Committee this year, to consult and engage with UK DDPOs in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.40
5.2 A concept of “independent living” that does not align with Article 19 is prevalent in policy-making and practice at all levels and there is a failure to understand the inherent link between inclusive education and Article 19 rights.41 Social care is increasingly focused on how to reduce awards and restrict eligibility. In this context “independent living” is taken to mean free from use of state-funded support.42 DDPOs are concerned by what appeared to be an attempt by a minister to redefine the concept of inclusive education to include segregated education at the “Global Disability Summit” held in London in July 2018,43 while a new parliamentary inquiry into the educational support provided for Disabled children and young people launched in April 2018 failed to mention inclusive education.44 The UKG has no plans to remove its reservation and interpretative declaration on Article 24 of the UNCRPD.
5.3 There has been no direct engagement with Disabled people in NI by the Independent Mechanism for Northern Ireland (IMNI) in the past year. IMNI held an information session to which some Disabled people were invited, and held another roundtable meeting to update people on the work they had done. Both events took place in Belfast which, due to lack of transport access, made the meeting inaccessible to many.
5.4 Disability data collection and analysis is inadequate for major policy areas including social care and Universal Credit. Recommendations of a recent Parliamentary review on the future of social care45 echoed a mounting call for a body tasked with modelling the amount of funding needed by social care in the future and ensuring funding keeps pace with need.46 The fact that no such modelling currently exists represents a serious omission at the heart of the growing crisis in social care. DDPOs are gravely concerned at a failure to assess the access needs of Deaf and Disabled people due to be moved onto UC and a lack of disaggregated data to monitor impact. There has evidently been no central data modelling47 carried out to estimate numbers of people who will require special assistance to access the digital by default service and on which to base decisions on staffing numbers and retention of physical premises.48 Data on sanctions applied under Universal Credit is not disaggregated by disability.49
5.5 There is a lack of disaggregated data in NI, especially in respect of Disabled people. Without this the State party cannot fulfil its obligations under the UNCRPD. In the absence of devolved government in NI, the UKG must ensure mechanisms are put in place in NI to ensure data is adequately and accurately captured.
5.6 There is currently no framework for strategic implementation or monitoring of the UNCRPD within England or across the UK as whole. In May 2018, a new Interdepartmental Ministerial Group (IMG) on disability and society was announced.50 Cross-government working to implement, embed and monitor the UNCRPD is urgently needed to ensure that policy development and monitoring reflect the needs, interests and rights of Deaf and Disabled people, particularly since the work of the government Office for Disability Issues has been curtailed since 2010.51 Without a strategic approach to disability equality, the government is struggling to meet its own targets on, for example, getting one million more Disabled people into employment.52 However, we are disappointed that DDPOs were not consulted about the establishment of the IMG and we have no information about what it will do.53 We note that since devolution of responsibility for meeting the independent living support needs of Disabled people to the devolved administrations and English LAs/CCGs, there has been a failure to monitor how Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 are being met or to promote implementation of the UNCRPD among LAs and CCGs.54
5.7 There are no mechanisms in place in NI to ensure that the UNCRPD is implemented across departments of the NI Executive in the event devolution is restored, and no engagement from UKG in general or the Secretary of State in particular in the absence of devolution in NI to ensure this occurs. Also, there are no effective means of monitoring the UNCRPD in NI, from IMNI or the devolved NI Executive or, in its absence, the Westminster Government.
5.8 In Scotland, there is not yet a process to implement and follow up on the Concluding Observations recommendations.55 Whilst Scotland has a measurable strategic framework – Fairer Scotland for Disabled People – which was conceived to demonstrate the Scottish Government’s approach to implementing the UNCRPD, it is clear that it does not cover all aspects of the Convention. It is not clear what measures and practices of monitoring evaluation are being applied to the framework, nor what financial resources are applied to it and whether these are sufficient. Scottish DDPOs expected to be working closely with Scottish Government to monitor and evaluate the actions in the framework however, little has been provided by way of opportunities or a structured framework for monitoring and evaluation and less so one that involves Disabled people and DDPOs, or indeed the Scottish-based Independent Mechanism organisations. To date Inclusion Scotland has only been afforded “observer” status on the Delivery Plan Programme Board. In addition, the majority of the actions in the framework will not evidentially lead to the transformational change that is required.56
5.9 In Wales there is not yet a process to implement and follow up on the Concluding Observations recommendations partly because the Welsh Government has undertaken a review of its Framework for Action on Independent Living. The revised draft framework should be published during Autumn 2018 and is expected to set out how the Welsh Government will be taking forward the principles of the Convention, taking account of the UN Committee’s recommendations where appropriate.
Failure by the UKG to recognise the UN Disability Committee findings and recommendations.
6.1 The UKG continues to disagree with both the findings of the UN Disability Committee’s special investigation into the UK under the optional protocol57 and the committee’s Concluding Observations from the examination of the UK under the UNCRPD that took place last year. There appears to have been no attempt to initiate a process for implementation and follow up of the recommendations,58 certainly not in consultation with DDPOs, and neither report has been disseminated in line with the committee’s recommendations.59 In June the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work said in Parliament, “we were disappointed that the UN representatives who came to the UK simply did not take on board the evidence that the Government gave them and did not acknowledge the full range of support.”60 She spoke about the need to “rebut the allegations levelled against us” and suggested an ideological difference with the approach taken by the committee, saying: “We firmly believe that a disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life, including in society or in the workplace.” This indicates a belief by the UKG that the provision of state funded support and a social security safety net holds Disabled people back. The position that support must be withdrawn or that withdrawal must be threatened in order to empower people is un-evidenced,61 alongside overwhelming evidence of the harms and human rights retrogressions that this approach causes.
6.2 While continuing to dismiss the expertise and approach of the UN Disability Committee, the UK has, through its Department for International Development and in partnership with International Disability Alliance, initiated a global disability “Charter for Change”, in which it is encouraging State parties to sign (see Annex B). We are concerned that this represents an attempt to bypass the authority of the Committee. It was launched at a global summit on disability co-hosted by the UK which throughout the past year has been used by UKG ministers to deflect criticism from their record on disability within the UK.62
6.3 The attitude of the UKG towards the UNCRPD and the Committee is not anomalous but is consistent with their general approach towards international socio-economic rights. There continues to be no response from the UKG to the Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from June 201663 and in March 2018 at the launch of the new EHRC report detailing Britain’s progress in implementing the ICESCR.64 65
Inadequate engagement with DDPOs and lack of trust.
7.1 There has been no engagement at UKG level with DDPOs concerning implementation of the UNCRPD. This is despite the recommendation of the UN Disability Committee at paragraph 74 of the Concluding Observations66 and despite attempts to initiate dialogue by UK DDPOs:
On 28 February 2018 UK DDPOs wrote jointly67 to the Prime Minister to draw attention to the lack of response from the UKG to the Concluding Observations six months on, to request a meeting to discuss how the Government was implementing the UNCRPD committee’s recommendations and how the Government planned to work with organisations led by Deaf and Disabled people in monitoring and implementing the Convention. (see also 4.5)
On 25 April 2018 we received a response from the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Health and Work explaining that the letter had been passed to her and invited us to meet with her.
On 6 June 2018 we replied welcoming the positive response and asked for a date to meet.
On 10 July 2018 we received a reply from the Minister explaining that due to “ongoing diary commitments” she would not be able to meet with us.
A few English DDPOs have instead, since the beginning of August, received individual invitations to meet Karen Jochelson, head of the Office for Disability Issues, to discuss implementation of the UNCRPD.68
7.2 There continues to be inadequate engagement by the UKG with DDPOs in ongoing policy planning and implementation and a general failure to recognise the importance of consulting organisations of Disabled people.69 Annex D details three examples relevant to Articles 19 and 28 where engagement with Disabled people and our organisations has been either refused or marginalised by the UKG in key areas of policy. Engagement with non user-led charities is continuously prioritised over engagement with DDPOs.70None of the bodies set up to engage with Deaf and Disabled people and our organisations as part of the UK government’s disability strategy has met for over a year.71 DDPOs remain concerned at the lack of engagement over withdrawal from the European Union with DDPOs in relation to design, planning and delivery at UK, national and local levels.72 In the past 12 months, Deaf campaigners have worked with MPs to champion a number of causes within Parliament, however, each time responding ministers have concluded that none of the recommendations made will be taken up, and that no meaningful movement in these areas will be made.73
7.3 The tendency for the UKG to dismiss concerns and criticism is not limited to engagement with Deaf and Disabled people. It extends to any critical voices including those of non user-led charities, Parliamentary committees, academics and public bodies responsible for scrutiny. The NAO report into the roll out of UC concluded that the DWP is led to “often dismiss evidence of claimants’ difficulties and hardship instead of working with [local and national organisations that represent and support benefit claimants] to establish an evidence base for what is actually happening. The result has been a dialogue of claim and counter-claim and gives the unhelpful impression of a Department that is unsympathetic to claimants.”74
7.4 With the UKG not listening, in order to mitigate harmful policy impacts, DDPOs and disability charities are left with no recourse other than to initiate national campaigns and support legal challenges against the government.75 Legal action has led to some significant policy reversals and mitigations, most notably since last year concerning the PIP regulation changes,76 Access to Work cap,77 UC transitional protections,78 and ESA back-payments for 70,000 Disabled people.79 However, the scope of what can be addressed in the courts is limited to points of law and the outcomes of challenges are mixed, with the high court reluctant to “micro manage” government policy.80 It is not a satisfactory way to shape policy.81
7.5 Engagement with the UKG is undermined by an increasing lack of trust. In July 2018 the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament about the NAO report82 which she incorrectly claimed called for a faster roll out. The NAO took the highly unusual step of publicly writing to her to list the inaccurate statements made. Lack of trust was also a key conclusion of an inquiry by the Work and Pensions Committee into the benefits assessment process for ESA and PIP.83 Without trust, consultation and engagement cannot take place in “good faith”, as called for under the UNCRPD, “[a]cting truthfully and fairly with each other…based on transparency, mutual respect, meaningful dialogue and a sincere desire to reach a collective agreement.84
7.6 Scottish Government are generally active engagers via consultations and seminars, the latter sometimes delivered via DDPO networks. DDPOs were and are involved in a number of project specific and thematic advisory, working and strategic planning groups, and requests for meetings with Ministers can sometimes be met. There is particularly good practice relating to adult social care and social security.85 Scottish Government have funded the DDPO Inclusion Scotland to develop a Policy Panel and a Core Group of people using Adult Social Care, which will have a direct link to the minister as a front-line for policymakers to develop policies and strategy in co-production with Disabled people and other groups who use social care support, which will launch in October 2018, and its impact noted.86 Throughout the Social Security Bill’s (now Act) progress through Parliament DDPOs had several meetings with the Social Security Minister, the Bill Team and other senior officials in Government. Many of the changes requested by Disabled people were taken into account and amendments made to the original legislation.87 In many ways the Social Security Directorate has provided a model for engagement. However, engagement opportunities are not without issue including lack of accessibility and inclusion,88 mixed engagement alongside non-DDPO disability organisations and the lack of auspicious listening and evidence of influence or change from DDPO contributions. The delivery of inclusive and accessible engagement by different policy directorates is variable at best.89 There has been some success in the recognition of BSL and related barriers but there is little to no progress in the wider access and engagement in English, for example, for deafened and Hard of Hearing people.
7.7 Welsh Government are generally active engagers via consultations and stakeholder groups, the latter sometimes delivered via DDPO networks. For example, DDPOs are involved in the Disability Equality Forum, the National Independent Living Steering Group and the Transport Accessibility Panel amongst others. The WG grant fund Disability Wales (DW) to engage with Disabled people and DDPOs to help inform national policy. However, following a 50% cut in the grant, DW’s capacity is limited to fully support engagement across the wide range of policy issues affecting Disabled people. The experience of meaningful and inclusive engagement varies according to the directorate however sometimes the involvement of DDPOs in advisory groups can be used to justify unpopular decisions as with the transfer of the Welsh Independent Living Grant to LAs.
Escalation of future needs due to adverse impacts of current policy.
8.1 The continuation and acceleration of policies with a detrimental impact on Deaf and Disabled people are causing an escalation of need which will lead to even greater problems for the future. Excluding Deaf and Disabled pupils from educational opportunities and increasing educational segregation90 will lead to greater inequality for future generations while inadequate responses to dramatically rising incidences of mental distress experienced by children and young people will have serious consequences both for those individuals and society as a whole.91 Cuts to independent living support and preventative services has a knock on effect on crisis and NHS services.92 Evidence of reduced strain on NHS services through the introduction of free personal care for Disabled people over the age of 65 in Scotland has led plans to extend eligibility to under 65s from April 2019 onwards93, however there are no proposals to replicate this offer in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, the cost of inadequate support provision is being keenly felt with cuts to social care linked to 120,000 excess deaths in England in a study published in November 2017.94 UKG continues to deny causal links between suicides and welfare reform but evidence continues to suggest otherwise. Figures analysed in December 2017 showed that the proportion of people claiming the main out-of-work disability benefit who have attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014, after the introduction of ESA and a new assessment process,95 while the latest individual tragedies to hit the news this month96 are those of Mark Barber, a Disabled man who took his own life after learning his benefits would be cut by £20 per week,97 and Steven Arnold, who killed himself after having fallen into financial difficulty following a workplace accident that left him unable to continue in his self-employment.98
C. Response to the UKG’s Follow Up report to the Concluding Observations
We are pleased that UKG has provided a follow up to the Concluding Observations that addresses both the Concluding Observation recommendations and those of the inquiry report in 2016.
We are disappointed that the Follow Up report does not more thoroughly address the substantive issues highlighted in the recommendations and effectively ignores a significant number of them, in particular those recommending a cumulative impact assessment, ensuring that legislation and policy measures align with the UNCRPD and a human rights model of disability and implementation of a media campaign to promote Disabled people on benefits as full rights holders. There is a tendency in the report to list legislative and policy measures and spend without providing evidence of effectiveness or impact.99
The Follow Up report and covering letter provide further evidence in support of points made above concerning a failure to properly understand either the Convention or a human rights approach to disability100 and poor engagement with DDPOs.101 The reflections on progress in the cover letter include areas where DDPOs also have concerns about retrogression such as housing, mental health services, employment, participation in society and transport. Many of these are set out in the sections above and below. In relation to the specific education measures listed, whilst we welcome the level for literacy and numeracy being adjusted for Disabled apprentices, this does not go far enough,102 and UKG is investing much more heavily in segregated supported internships rather than supported apprenticeships particularly for people with learning difficulties. There is no evidence of strategy to tackle the factors that give rise to people with learning difficulties and autism ending up institutions in the first place.103 The stated aim of the UKG to improve access to transport for Disabled People is not supported by the experience of passengers over recent years. For example:
A trial of “turn-up-and-go” access to rail has failed to report in 3 years and train operating companies still insist on 24 hours’ notice to guarantee assistance;104
The use of Driver Only Operation has increased against advice from DPTAC, the UK Government’s own advisory body;105
Access for All funding designated to improving step free access to stations across the country has been repeatedly cut, most recently by nearly £50m;106
The UK Government has failed to act on a Supreme Court judgement and DPTAC advice to legislate to enshrine in law the right for wheelchair users to have priority access to buses.107
There has been no meaningful engagement by DFID with UK DDPOs since the Government signed and ratified the CRPD. UK DDPOs have been excluded by DFID in favour of disability charities and INGOs. The £29m Disability Inclusive Development (DID) programme is subject to an investigation by the EHRC to see whether the procurement breaches the Equality Act. DFID have failed to fund any UK DDPO over the last decade to engage in development cooperation.108
D. Civil society follow up information on recommendations made by the Committee in paragraph 114 of its inquiry report
114a) Conduct a cumulative impact assessment of the measures adopted since 2010, referred to in the present report, on the rights to independent living and to be included in the community, social protection and employment of persons with disabilities. The State party should ensure that such assessment is rights-based and meaningfully involves persons with disabilities and their representative organizations;
We are disappointed that the UKG continues to maintain a position that it cannot do this. The EHRC commissioned its own cumulative impact assessment (CIA) of welfare and tax reforms since 2010 published in March 2018.109 The Greater London Assembly is in the process of conducting a CIA for London using the same methodology as the EHRC and both Scottish and Welsh governments are exploring carrying out their own. In 2014 the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirmed that they think it is possible to do a CIA of tax and benefit changes for the Disabled population as a whole.110 In response to the work by the EHRC, the UKG has said it is not possible to carry out a gendered analysis capable of modelling intra-household distribution of income, however this does not prevent a cumulative impact assessment on disability (or race). The UKG Follow Up report says that full impacts on households of government spending cannot be reliably modelled, however the EHRC has tackled this by carrying out two separate but linked assessments for welfare and tax reforms (as published) and public spending (due to be published in October 2018).
114b) Ensure that any intended measure of the welfare reform is rights-based, upholds the human rights model of disability and does not disproportionately and/or adversely affect the rights of persons with disabilities to independent living, an adequate standard of living and employment. To prevent adverse consequences, the States party should carry out human rights-based cumulative impact assessments of the whole range of intended measures that would have an impact on the rights of persons with disabilities;
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is too weak as a safeguard to preventing disproportionate impacts. Public sector bodies are required to prove only that they have considered the disproportionate impacts of policy measures that they can lawfully implement so long as this due regard is evidenced. It also relies on individuals personally affected by the policy measures to initiate legal proceedings. For individuals who often lack support and resources this is a very hard ask. In December 2017, the High Court ruled that changes to the PIP regulations brought in by the UKG were “blatantly discriminatory”.111 Had it not been for the one individual – a person who experiences psychological distress – who took the case, those regulation changes would still be in place. UK DDPOs would like an extension to the three month time limit for initiating JR proceedings.
We do not believe there has been an equality impact assessment for UC that looks at the impact of digital by default design on Deaf and Disabled people or sufficient data modelling to ascertain numbers of Deaf and Disabled benefit claimants likely to require reasonable adjustments.
114c) Ensure that: any intended legislation and/or policy measure respects the core elements of the rights analysed in the present report; persons with disabilities retain their autonomy, choice and control over their place of residence and with whom they live; they receive appropriate and individualized support, including through personal assistance, and have access to community-based services on an equal basis with others; they have access to security social schemes that ensure income protection, including in relation to the extra cost of disability, that is compatible with an adequate standard of living and ensure their full inclusion and participation in society; and they have access and are supported in gaining employment in the open labour market on an equal basis with others;
Limited understanding of the UNCRPD as discussed in paragraphs 4.1 – 4.2 above, combined with a failure to consistently accept a human rights approach to disability, continues to leave a number of areas of government policy divergent from the principles of the UNCRPD. Both the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill currently going through Parliament and the independent review of the Mental Health Act, also currently in process, are inconsistent with UNCRPD Articles 12, 14, 15, and 17 as well as 19.112 Approaches to work, health and disability and welfare reform continue to be underpinned by a biopsychosocial model of disability that is incompatible with a social model/human rights approach to disability.
The UNCRPD is not enshrined in domestic legislation and a recent high court judgment concerning the Care Act 2014 warned that “great care must be taken where international treaties such as the UNCRPD set out broad and basic principles as being determinative tools for the interpretation of a concrete measure such as a UK statute”.113
The UKG is not monitoring the implementation of the Care Act 2014 and neither is it promoting or monitoring implementation of UNCRPD Article 19 by Las, Clinical Commisioning Groups or devolved administrations. Many LAs and CCGs do not understand or accept their obligations under the UNCRPD. Adoption of policies at LA/CCG level such as caps on support to live in the community, removing choice and control through pre-payment cards114, and the adoption of “strength-based” approaches115, are inconsistent with Article 19 rights. Where LAs/CCGs implement policy in breach of the Care Act it is left to individual Disabled people, civil society organisations and the UK Independent Mechanism to initiate challenges in order to protect Disabled people’s rights.116
The decision to cut the amount paid to Disabled people in the ESA WRAG from 1 April 2017117 was made in spite of evidence indicating how the reduction would lead to impoverishment. The many DDPOs, charities and other civil society organisations who responded to the consultation on the government green paper “Improving Lives” were disappointed that the government chose not to reverse this measure.118 In July 2018, members of the cross-party House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee questioned the Secretary of State over witness evidence they had received showing the cuts were “increasing stress and poverty for people in the WRAG” and had provided a “disincentive to get to work”.119
The UKG Follow Up report refers to both Enhanced and Severe Disability Premiums. Neither exist for new claimants under UC. This means £41.10 less a week than existing claimants on legacy benefits or transitional protections.120
AtW provides support to enable Deaf and Disabled people to get into and stay in work. It does not support us to gain employment on an equal basis with others. The DWP made clear in a recent judicial review hearing concerning the AtW cap that the aim of the scheme is not to support Deaf and Disabled people with career progression or to access more senior professions and roles where, due to a person’s impairment, this requires costs in excess of what the Department considers reasonable to pay towards support for one individual. This restricts choice of employment depending upon impairment and level of support need.121
114d) Ensure that public budgets take into account the rights of persons with disabilities, that sufficient budget allocations are made available to cover extra costs associated with living with a disability and that appropriate mitigation measures, with appropriate budget allocations, are in place for persons with disabilities affected by austerity measures;
Public budgets continue to be set by the UKG according to overriding principles of reducing or restricting public spending rather than according to need.
The serious situation concerning local authority funding has been outlined in paragraph 4.3. The social care budget shortfall is gravely impacting on Disabled people’s right to independent living. The UKG is failing to heed warnings from council leaders, the social care sector and Disabled people about the unsustainability of the social care situation.122 A raft of recent reports have called for an independent body tasked with modelling the amount of funding required to adequately meet social care need. The UKG has provided extra resources to adult social care,123 however, as the scale of continuing cuts demonstrate, however, together with the fragile state of the care market,124 there is not yet a sustainable, long-term solution to the funding of adult social care. This funding position is also having a major adverse impact on the survival of DDPOs.
The UKG Follow Up report references how 30% of current PIP recipients receive the highest level of support compared to 15% for DLA. A note of caution is needed for such a direct comparison since PIP has only two rates (standard and enhanced) whereas DLA had three (higher, middle and lower).125 It should also be noted that large numbers of Disabled people who previously received DLA are being turned down for PIP. Figures published in June 2018 show that since the rollout of PIP, 381,640 Disabled people who previously received DLA have been turned down for the new benefit upon reassessment.126 Loss of DLA/PIP has a wider adverse impact for individuals who then lose other benefits to which DLA/PIP acts as a passport.127 The transitional support package for claimants who lose access to a Motability vehicle after reassessment for PIP is not sufficient compensation for the loss of access to the outside world that this entails. According to Motability figures published in April 2017, 51,000 people had vehicles taken away since 2013.128
When benefits are reduced, mitigation measures are often only implemented for existing claimants but not for new ones, for example the removal of EDP and SDP under UC and the ESA WRAG cut.
114e) Introduce all adjustments necessary to make all information, communications, administrative and legal procedures in relation to social security entitlements, independent living schemes and employment/unemployment-related support services fully accessible to all persons with disabilities;
There has been an attempt by the DWP to improve communications with Disabled people129 and the DWP Accessible Taskforce as referenced in the UKG follow up report is one forum that seeks to engage directly with DDPOs. Sadly the meetings of the taskforce have themselves, on occasion, not been accessible to Deaf stakeholders.130 There was a promising pilot of accessible application formats for AtW and the introduction of a new video relay service to enable British Sign Language (BSL) users to access government services. However, on the ground we continue to see AtW advisors ignoring the preferred communication formats of individual customers. The DWP has also been subject to legal action for failing to communicate in accessible formats with benefit claimants.131
Local authorities are not implementing accessibility standards for communicating with adult social service users.132
The UC application process is inaccessible to many Deaf and Disabled people.133 This will adversely affect millions of people required to apply for UC under through its roll out. Research by the Government Digital Service (GDS)134, showed that 30% of UC claimants cannot set up the online account that UC uses.135 Although there are options available such as face to face visits for claimants, we are deeply concerned about rationing of special assistance measures and that no data modelling has been conducted to ascertain the level of need for these reasonable adjustments. Meanwhile closures of Jobcentres and staff redundancies have been made on the basis that a digital by default service will require less staffing and physical premises. No steps have been taken to provide materials in British or Irish Sign Language.
We do not yet have evidence of impact of the BSL (Scotland) Act. It is unclear how it will be rolled out because there are not enough BSL interpreters in Scotland to meet demand. There is also an issue around advocacy in that there is a presumption that advocates (for example in justice or social security) can reasonably be a hearing person. Scottish DDPOs raised this issue and the need for advocates to be BSL users. In the UKG follow up report cover letter, language and communication are referred to as “cross cutting enablers” rather than understood as rights.
114f) Ensure access to justice, by providing appropriate legal advice and support, including through reasonable and procedural accommodation for persons with disabilities seeking redress and reparation for the alleged violation of their rights, as covered in the present report;
See paragraph 3.7 for evidence of adverse impacts blocking Disabled people’s access to justice directly resulting from legal aid cuts. There is lack of awareness of the Civil Legal Advice service, including in Wales, resulting in low take up of legal aid. The EHRC has recently launched an inquiry into this matter.
The claim made in the Follow Up report that mandatory reconsideration (MR) has not restricted access to the appeals process (for welfare benefit decisions) is un-evidenced. Anecdotally we hear from many Disabled people who cannot cope with going through both MR and an appeal and so give up, despite the impoverishment it results in. It is welcome that the government has now publicly dropped its target for at least 80% of MR decisions to uphold the original decision but the majority of MR decisions continue to do this in contrast to the majority of appeal decisions which over-turn it.136 A claimant has much less chance of access to redress with MR than with an appeal, to which MR acts as a barrier. Between 2013 and September 2017 557,000 people who were turned down at MR failed to then go on to appeal.137 We do not know how many of those would have won.
114g) Actively consult and engage with persons with disabilities through their representative organizations and give due consideration to their views in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any legislation, policy or programme action related to the rights addressed in the present report;
UK DDPOs continue to experience very poor engagement and are frequently turned down to meet UK government Ministers. See paragraphs 6.1 – 6.2 and Annex D for more detail.
We look forward to hearing more from the UKG about their plans to reinvigorate stakeholder engagement as cited in their follow up report.
The Follow Up report mentions two specific consultation exercises:
“Improving Lives”. See comments at paragraph 14.
The consultation for widening eligibility for the Blue Badge scheme took place only after a legal challenge by a Disabled person.138
114 h) Take appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against persons with disabilities in public and the media, including that dependency on benefits is in itself a disincentive of employment; implement broad mass media campaigns, in consultation with organizations representing persons with disabilities, particularly those affected by the welfare reform, to promote them as full rights holders, in accordance with the Convention; and adopt measures to address complaints of harassment and hate crime by persons with disabilities, promptly investigate those allegations, hold the perpetrators accountable and provide fair and appropriate compensation to victims;
We are pleased that UKG will be refreshing its Hate Crime Action Plan and we hope to see it improved through stakeholder engagement.
Initiatives to tackle disability hate crime continue to be undermined by an unwillingness by the UKG to undertake positive messaging concerning Disabled benefit claimants as equal citizens and full rights holders. There has been considerable investment in recent years in awareness raising programmes to remove mental health stigma, and yet, recent research by Scope has found that 48% of Disabled people have worried about talking about their impairment or condition with an employer.139
The House of Commons Petitions Committee recently undertook an inquiry into online abuse against Disabled people due to the scale of this problem. Much of the abuse, both online and in the street, experienced by Disabled people refers to benefit scrounging/cheats.140 Disabled people were extremely concerned by an online poll conducted by YouGov in March 2018 which asked members of the public whether they thought “those who receive more money from welfare benefits than they pay in taxes” should be allowed to vote in General Elections. It is unknown who commissioned the poll.141
114i) Ensure that, in the implementation of legislation, policies and programmes, special attention is paid to persons with disabilities living with a low income or in poverty and persons with disabilities at higher risk of exclusion, such as persons with intellectual, psychosocial or multiple disabilities and women, children and older persons with disabilities. Those measures should be put in place within contributive and non-contributive regimes;
EHRC research into the cumulative impact of welfare reform and tax measures since 2010 found that negative impacts are particularly large for households with more Disabled members, and individuals with higher support needs.142
114j) Set up a mechanism and a system of human rights-based indicators to permanently monitor the impact of the different policies and programmes relating to the access and enjoyment by persons with disabilities of the right to social protection and an adequate standard of living, the right to live independently and be included in the community and the right to work, in close consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in all regions and countries that constitute the State party;
UK DDPOs continue to call for a cross-departmental, cross-government strategic mechanism to monitor and implement the UNCRPD. The mechanisms listed in the UKG offer insufficient protection against retrogression of Disabled people’s rights.
114k) Respond to the present report within the time limit prescribed under the Optional Protocol, widely disseminate the Committee’s findings and recommendations and provide appropriate follow-up to the recommendations of the present report, including during the consideration of the State party’s initial report before the Committee.
The report has never been disseminated.
E. Civil society follow up information on Concluding Observation recommendations
45a) Recognise the right to living independently and being included in the community as a subjective right and the enforceability of all its elements and adopt rights-based policies, regulations and guidelines for ensuring implementation;
We have concerns that the UKG does not fully understand the right to independent living. The Follow Up report describes provisions within the Care Act 2014 with no evidence of its effectiveness. The experience of DDPOs is that it has failed to protect Disabled people’s Article 19 rights with no credible attempt by the UKG to address retrogression in this area. Currently 1.2 million older and Disabled people are unable to get the care they need, almost double the number since 2010.143 Despite more adults needing care, the number of receiving it has fallen by at least a quarter between 2009/10 and 2013/14 alone.144 A survey by the Care and Support Alliance found that due to a lack of social care over a third of respondents cannot leave their homes and over a quarter have been unable to maintain basics like washing, dressing and/or visiting the toilet. The Follow Up report refers to the Mental Capacity Act but not the amendment bill going through Parliament which in its current form will significantly weaken existing protections.145
There is so far scant evidence of any positive impact on the amount of care or Disabled people’s assertion of the quality of care as a result of health and social care integration. LAs continue to raise charges and to lower the threshold for charging.
Scottish DDPOs have consistently called for and now welcome revised Local Housing Strategy (LHS) guidance. However, it is only one part of a much larger picture. There seems to be no room for manoeuvre with the Housing Minister on a national 10% target for wheelchair accessible housing across all tenures.146 We are concerned that without a national minimum target and, with inconsistencies between LA targets, private builders will pick and choose which LA to build in. LAs accept that the data that they use to create their LHS is insufficient and they are not clear on the need for accessible housing. It is also clear that whilst a local target may be set in a LHS (and many LHS make no mention of them), that these targets do not conclusively lead to more accessible housing. More needs to be done to ensure that local targets are met, and that they take account of different property types and all tenures.
Welsh DDPOs have been involved in a revised Framework for Action on Independent Living through the WG Independent Living Steering Group. It is expected to contain stronger commitments to raising awareness of and implementation of the UNCRDP and positive actions for tackling issues such as the Disability Employment Gap.
The UNCRDP is referenced in the Code but not in the Social Services and Well-being Act itself.147 To make this duty meaningful LAs should develop and provide training and resources to enable them to appropriately implement the UNCRDP when exercising these functions.
45b) Conduct periodic assessments in close consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities to address and prevent the negative effects of the policy reforms through sufficiently funded and appropriate strategies in the area of social support and living independently;
As stated in the UKG Follow Up report, the promised green paper on future funding for social care is now expected in Autumn 2018.148 It will only deal with social care for older people. A parallel work-stream looking at working age adult social care appears poorly thought through with no clear explanation for how this fits with the green paper. Lack of engagement with DDPOs on social care has been widely criticised149 and is evident from our omission in paragraph 17 of the Follow Up report.
Regulation has been passed in Scottish Government to effectively extend free personal care to under 65s150 with effect from 01 April 2019. However, the details of how this will be implemented have not yet been published. It should be noted that it is not social care but “personal care” that will be free. This means that for many who currently pay care charges, there may be little or no difference to what they are charged for their care package.
The WG has set a maximum weekly charge on LA social care of £80 across LAs in Wales. Ministers are exploring the use of tax raising powers to introduce a compulsory insurance scheme to pay for older people’s care.
The WG agreed to extend the time frame for completing assessments for former ILF recipients as not all LAs had made sufficient progress. Following a grassroots campaign against its closure, the WG agreed to the development of a questionnaire to be circulated to WILG recipients to obtain their experiences of the assessment process and whether they feel that their needs will continue to be met once transferred to LA support. The questionnaire was developed and is independently monitored by All Wales Forum for Parents and Carers with support from Disability Wales. Analysis of responses to date indicate that, whilst two thirds are satisfied with the assessment process and their new package, approximately one third is not for various reasons.
45c) Provide adequate and sufficient and earmarked funding to local authorities and administrations, the devolved governments and overseas territories to be able to provide resources allowing persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community and to exercise their right to choose their place of residence and where, and with whom to live;
Additional funding from the UKG for social care is insufficient to address the scale of the crisis, as outlined by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in their 2018 budget survey report.151 In March 2018 the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that UKG plans for the future of funding for local authorities “risk a growing funding gap for adult social care and conflict with efforts to provide consistent and high-quality care services across the country”.152
Additional funding for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) is welcome. Investment in DFGs has been shown to be cost effective for councils while meeting Disabled people’s housing needs. Delays in processing applications can still be a problem for under-resourced local authorities.153
Welsh DDPOs and other organisations are calling for more robust commitments from the WG in the revised independent living framework in tackling the chronic shortage of accessible and adaptable homes in Wales (as evidenced in the EHRC Housing Inquiry Report). Specifically, they are calling for each LA to adopt, develop and implement an Accessible Housing Register (AHR) and for the WG to develop standards and monitor the effectiveness of AHRs.
45d) Set up a comprehensive plan, developed in close collaboration with organisations of persons with disabilities, aimed at deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, and develop community-based independent living schemes through a holistic and crosscutting approach, including education, childcare, transport, housing, employment and social security; and
We welcome any decrease in numbers of Disabled people in long-stay institutions. Funding constraints at local level prevent LAs from developing the range of community-based support services that is needed. We are disappointed that the UKG has not followed up this recommendation to set up a comprehensive deinstitutionalisation plan in close collaboration with DDPOs.
The 10 year Mental Health Strategy is in the right direction, but there is no evidence of any impact so far. The issue of substitute decision making has not been tackled and there is considerable evidence that those with mental health issues, particularly children and young people, cannot access appropriate services when they need them. Until the review ends and the consultation process announces what changes will be put in place, we do not know if these actions will result in Disabled people securing their human rights or perhaps even having less rights than previously. In these two processes (Mental Health Act Review and Incapacity Consultation) there have been serious flaws in the way that Disabled people have been involved.154
45e) Allocate sufficient resources to ensure that support services are available, accessible, affordable, acceptable and adaptable sensitive to different living conditions for all persons with disabilities in urban and rural areas.
See paragraph 3.1 for evidence of the adverse impacts of English LAs increasing their charges for social care.155
57a) Develop and decide upon an effective employment policy for persons with disabilities aimed at ensuring decent work for all persons with disabilities, bearing in mind the target of one million jobs for persons with disabilities and envisaged by the State Party, and ensure, equal pay for work of equal value, especially focusing on women with disabilities, persons with psychosocial and/or intellectual disabilities as well as persons with visual impairments, and monitor development;
Official statistics analysed by Scope in September 2017 showed more Disabled people leaving than entering employment.156 The fact of an additional 600,000 Disabled people in employment over the past four years needs to be understood within the context of both a rising population and a rising percentage of the working age population who are Disabled. This percentage rose from 16% in 2012/13 to 19% according to the latest data available from the DWP in May 2018.157 The disability employment gap continues to remain unchanged. Since 2010 the number of Disabled people in self-employment has risen by 244,435.158 Research published in August 2017 showed that more than half of all self-employed people failing to earn a decent living, alongside evidence that two in five of the UK workforce are still in ‘bad jobs’.159
DDPOs have extensive and grave concerns regarding approaches promoted by the Work and Health Unit160 that involve psycho-compulsion and are not consistent with a human rights model of disability.161 We do not welcome the doubling of Employment Advisers in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services which will further undermine effective therapeutic provision for the rising numbers of people with mental health support needs.162
Funding for the Work and Health programme163 represents just one quarter of the annual spending on the work programme which it replaced in March 2017.
So far this is output not outcome with no evidence so far. The consultation on public sector targets has not yet reported. Scottish DDPOs are advising on the forthcoming Disability Employment Action Plan via an ‘Expert Advisory Group.’ The difference in principles and values with some organisations which are not DDPOs who are also involved is evident. There is concern that the work will fail to lead to the sea change that is needed but instead to more of the same: employability services which focus on Disabled people’s perceived deficits and little on supporting employers to stop discriminating. This will then fail to address the employment gap. There is no detail of how the £1m to support employers will be designed. DDPOs have proposed a one stop shop, provided by Disabled people with lived experience of what works, but off record indications are that the money will go to existing employability services.
It is welcome that the new Fair Start Scotland scheme is voluntary and non-participation does not affect benefits. However, the 38,000 target is for all participants, it is not solely for Disabled people for whom there is no specific target and includes an offer of supported employment, an internationally recognised ‘place and train’ model enabling Disabled people to learn on the job with support from colleagues and a job coach. This is a good intention but so far it is just an on output and not an outcome. Despite efforts by DDPOs, of the 9 contracts awarded for Fair Start Scotland, they did not include partnerships with DDPOs.164
When EHRC (Scotland) reviewed the PSED in April 2017, they looked at the publication rates for the equal pay statement. For listed authorities with more than 150 staff, April 2017 was the first reporting cycle in which their equal pay statements had to detail occupational segregation grades (vertical) and occupations (horizontal) for disability, gender and race. Less than 50% of listed authorities published any meaningful analysis of occupational segregation information by disability.165
Inclusion Scotland, as a DDPO, runs the Scottish Government’s Internship Programme. It capably demonstrates that Disabled people are best placed to design and deliver support for employment.
We have expectations for Scotland’s the BSL National Plan 2017-2023. Amongst other areas, this should ensure that government funded employment programmes and training opportunities are accessible to BSL users, and the creation of experience panels of Deaf people to test the accessibility of the new social security system.
Welsh DDPOs and other organisations are calling on the WG to introduce its own version of “Disability Confident” which will be more credible with Disabled people, employers and other stakeholders including active engagement of Disabled people, support and resources to employers to develop inclusive workplaces and independent monitoring.
A Ministerial announcement is expected later in 2018 concerning the WG’s proposed plan and package of measures to reduce the disability employment gap in Wales, which stands at 36% and in some regions is even higher e.g. 50% in Neath and Port Talbot.166
57b) Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to all persons with disabilities who require it in the workplace, that regular training on reasonable accommodation is available to employers and employees without disabilities, and that dissuasive and effective sanctions are in place in cases of denial of reasonable accommodation;
Responsibility to challenge breaches of the Equality Act 2010 and the duty to provide reasonable adjustments rests on the individual Deaf or Disabled person who may themselves be unfamiliar with the law. We welcome the inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee and hope the UKG will respond positively to its recommendations.
57c) Ensure that legal and administrative requirements of the process to assess working capabilities, including the Work Capability Assessment, and those who conduct the assessments are qualified in line with the human rights model of disability, and take into consideration work related as well as other personal circumstances. The State party must ensure adjustments and support necessary to access to work and recognise financial support not subjected to sanctions or job seeking activities;
Both the WCA and the assessment for PIP were purposefully designed not to follow the social model and to align instead with the Waddell and Aylward biopsychosocial model of disability as functional assessments. This was clearly articulated during the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill through Parliament in 2012. Government Minister Lord Freud stated: “our approach is…akin to the biopsychosocial model… It is not, however, a full social model assessment. I accept that. That is something that many noble Lords and disability organisations would like, but I have to point out that it was not our intention to develop it in this way. As a department, we do support the social model.”167 Within the WCA there is continued reliance on forms of communication such as written correspondence and form-filling that are inherently inaccessible for many Deaf sign language users.
The claim made in paragraph 88 of the UKG response that “claimants will not be asked to undertake anything that is unrealistic or could put their health at risk” cannot be substantiated. Evidence points to widespread failures by work coaches to make reasonable adjustments, leading to work earlier this year by the DWP Accessible Taskforce to produce guidelines to relieve what had become an urgent problem. A survey by PCS Union published in February 2018 revealed that nearly three quarters of frontline UC staff believe they have not been sufficiently well trained to do their job properly and feel ill-equipped to “deal with some of the most vulnerable members of society”.168
57d) Withdraw its reservation to article 27 of the Convention; and
We note the review mentioned in the UKG Follow Up report.
57e) Bear in mind the links between article 27 of the Convention and target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
UK DDPOs are not currently funded to participate in discussions or work relating to targets to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
59a) Introduce, adopt and implement legislative frameworks to ensure that social protection policies and programmes across the State party secure income levels for all persons with disabilities and their families, by taking into account the additional costs related to disability, and ensuring the possibility of persons with disabilities to exercise their parental responsibilities. The State party must ensure that persons under the new Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group access to full compensation of disability related costs.
The strong links between disability and poverty indicate an insufficiency of social security protection.169 Three quarters of households using foodbanks contain someone with a health condition and/or impairment and one third contain someone with mental health support needs.170 It should be noted that the estimated 54bn spent on benefits to support Disabled people cited in the UKG Follow Up report171 includes spend not directly linked to disability such as housing benefit as well as benefits and compensation paid to Disabled people’s family members including Carer’s Allowance and Industrial Death Benefit.172 Recent analysis also shows that spending increases on disability benefits have not kept up with inflation, representing real terms losses for Disabled people.173
The UKG response states that “UC encourages people into work”. This is misleading. As a recent report from the NAO states: “Both we, and the Department174, doubt it will ever be possible for the Department to measure whether the economic goal of increasing employment has been achieved”.175
The UKG has been resistant to ensuring Disabled people are not financially worse off under UC. Though it is welcome that Disabled people who migrate onto UC through change of circumstance will now receive transitional protection against shortfall between their UC entitlement and their legacy benefit, it should be noted that this was only brought about through a legal challenge taken by two severely Disabled men who had lost £178 a month, leaving them unable to meet many of their basic needs.176 The DWP applied for permission to appeal the High Court ruling which found the men had experienced discrimination and initially attempted to appeal against the court ruling that the two men should be paid damages for their losses.177 New transitional protection guidance that was put out for consultation following the court case suggest paying transitional protection at a flat rate for those migrated onto UC through change of circumstance rather than matching their losses as occurs under managed migration.178
No compensation for loss of income through the ESA WRAG cut has been forthcoming from the UKG.179 The Follow Up report says no families have experienced a cash loss. This is because the cut was not applied to existing claimants. Existing claimants who move into work but then need to go back onto ESA will be affected by the reduced rate and this acts as a disincentive to employment. The report also states the change “did not affect anyone whose ability to work is significantly limited by their health condition”. Given widespread inaccuracies and level of unacceptable standards found in assessments for ESA, this assertion cannot be made.180 Significant numbers of Disabled people wrongly assessed as capable of work related activity and put in the WRAG are subsequently placed in the Support Group (SG) on appeal. Many others cannot face appealing and struggle on.
There are similar concerns regarding the quality and accuracy of PIP assessments.181 See paragraph 19 for comments on PIP rates.
We note that concerns have still not been addressed about the costs of hearing parents of Deaf children to learn British or Irish Sign Language in order to communicate with their children. While civil society organisations are implementing programmes to attempt to address this crisis, without government-led subsidies and grants, the issue cannot be fully addressed. Without support, families are being faced with costs of tens of thousands to acquire a language they can use with their own children.182
The JRF Report Poverty in Wales 2018 (7 March 2018), found that 39% of Disabled people in Wales are in poverty compared with 22% of non-Disabled people; and that the poverty rate among Disabled people in Wales is the highest in all of the UK.183
It is estimated in Wales that almost a third of DLA claimants were refused PIP amounting to a total loss of £87m.184
59b) Carry out a cumulative impact assessment, with disaggregated data, about the recent and coming reforms on the social protection for persons with disabilities, and in close collaboration with organisations of persons with disabilities define, implement and monitor measures to tackle retrogression in their standard of living and use it as a basis for policy development across the State party; and
See paragraph 8.
59c) Repeal the Personal Independent Payment (Amendment) Regulations of 2017 and ensure that eligibility criteria and assessments to access Personal Independent Payments, the Employment Support Allowance, and the Universal Credit are in line with the human rights model of disability;
The PIP regulation changes were repealed but only following a legal challenge taken by a Disabled woman who was personally affected.185 We are concerned about the timetable for reviewing claims to identify the 200,000 claimants who lost entitlement due to the changes and are owed back-payments. We call for this to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
We contest that assessments for PIP and ESA/UC which, effectively deny eligibility to Disabled people in need of support, are in line with a human rights model of disability.
59d) Ensure sufficient budget allocation for local authorities to accomplish their responsibilities regarding assistance for persons with disabilities, and extend support packages to mitigate negative impacts of the social security reform in Northern Ireland; and
Overwhelming evidence points to the unsustainability of English LAs creating a desperate situation of rising levels of unmet need.186
Devolution of social security benefits to Scotland is not yet online and there is no evidence of impact yet, only intention. However, the approach by Scottish Government, and elements of the Act including rights to advocacy, are welcomed.
Despite the WG endeavouring to protect funding to social care, the overall cuts are having a significant impact on the amount and quality of care provided. UNISON Cymru recently described the home care system in Wales as being ‘in crisis’ including insufficient training for care staff in carrying out their role.187
59e) Conduct a review of the conditionality and sanction regimes concerning the Employment and Support Allowance, and tackle negative consequences on mental health and situation of persons with disabilities.
See comments at paragraph 3.6 concerning welfare conditionality. Since 2010, over 110,000 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions and 900,000 Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) sanctions of Disabled people have been applied with a further 140,000 ESA and 160,000 JSA sanctions of Disabled people applied but later cancelled. Disabled people on JSA are 26 – 53% times more likely to be sanctioned that non-Disabled JSA claimants.188 The UKG continues to resist calls to use its own data to conduct an evaluation into the impact of conditionality.189 Research into experiences of conditionality by Disabled people shows damaging mental health impacts.190 Welfare conditionality is predicated on the idea that benefit claimants are work resistant and need to have their behaviour changed under threat of punishment. It denies the material reality of the barriers that Disabled people face to earning a living through employment and is not consistent with a human rights approach to disability.
It is unclear what the specific impact of the Scottish Welfare Fund is for Disabled people.
F. UK DDPO Recommendations
UK DDPOs continue to support the recommendations made by the UN Disability Committee in both their 2016 inquiry report and the Concluding Observations in 2017.
In addition, we call on UKG and, where relevant, devolved governments, to:
Legislate for Disabled people’s right to independent living and being included in the community as set out in Article 19 of the UNCRPD, including through enshrinement of the full UNCRPD in domestic legislation.
Implement Section 1 of the Equality Act 2014 in England and Wales, bringing into force a socio-economic duty.
Establish a mechanism for implementation and monitoring of the UNCRPD across UK government including public bodies and local authorities including monitoring the accessibility and impact of consultation exercises on UNCRPD implementation.
Commit to open and transparent engagement with UK DDPOs on implementation of the UNCRPD including funding DDPOs so they can fully engage.
Embed DDPO engagement in policy development and review across government.
Undertake a review of disability data collection across government with a view to improvement and also including how DDPOs can be funded and trained in Washington Group data so that DDPOs can contribute to data collection.
an independent body responsible for modelling the amount of funding needed both by social care to ensure future funding keeps pace with need. and by DDPOs, including those representing inter-sectional issues, alternative and culturally appropriate models.
an independent living task force led by Disabled people to develop proposals for independent living support for the future.
Ensure funding for user-led research related to services and resources which are important to Disabled people.
Abolish charging for social care.
Pause the passage of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill to undertake engagement with stakeholders and ensure the legislation is consistent with the UNCRPD.
Take action to appropriately address the concerns of DDPOS and mental health survivors/users regarding the independent review of the Mental Health Act, its failure to consider relevant articles of the UNCRPD, inadequate engagement with people with lived experience, including those from marginalised communities, its inadequate supply of information and serious shortcomings in the interim report.
Put an urgent focus on intersectional issues, both “protected characteristics” recognised in the Equality Act 2010 and those not yet addressed under this Act.
Urgently invest more in community services and appropriate therapeutic support for children and young people experiencing mental distress capable of addressing complex and enduring needs.
Remove the UKG reservation and interpretative declaration on Article 24 and the right to inclusive education.
Stop placing children and young people in long stay hospitals which is not consistent with article 19 & 24 and to invest budgets into improving community services.
As education up to 16 years is compulsory in the UK, inclusive education should be embedded across all the articles
Stop the increase in establishment of special schools and transfer of resources from existing mainstream services to segregated services.
Carry out a study to calculate the value for money of the Access to Work scheme.
Stop the roll out of Universal Credit and design a social security system for the future that is based on an accurate analysis of need and is consistent with a human rights approach to disability.
Undertake data modelling to assess the access and support needs of benefit claimants to inform policy development.
Overhaul assessments of PIP and ESA and replace with assessments that take into account the real world barriers that Disabled people face.
Carry out a review of the impacts of conditionality and end benefit sanctioning.
We call on the WG to:
Incorporate the CRDP into Welsh law and policy.
Develop and produce a code of practice on the implementation of the CRDP in exercising its functions.
Encourage the adoption of Accessible Housing Registers in each LA and develop Standards on the monitoring and effectiveness of AHR.
Introduce and resource the development of a “made in Wales” version of the Employers Disability Confident Scheme which is independently monitored.
We call on Scottish Government, alongside taking account of the applicable actions in the UK section of this Annex, to:
Ensure that that DDPOs in particular those of learning disabled people, are included in the development of policies relating to deprivation of liberty, assessment of capacity and supported decision-making.
Work with DDPOs on a national debate on the future funding of social care including (i) the incompatibility between tendering requirements and Disabled people’s choice and control and (ii) abolishing charging, and then take action.
Review, publish and act on the outcomes for Disabled people as a result of Fairer Scotland for Disabled People and extend these actions to cover other issues raised by disabled people as priorities for change.
In keeping with the principles of the CRPD, ensure that the focus of forthcoming plan on employment takes account of the barriers presented by policies and practises and removes the focus on perceived deficits by Disabled people.
In keeping with Recommendations 11.a and 11.b of the Concluding Observations191, ensure allocation of financial resources to support DDPOs and develop mechanisms to ensure the full participation of DDPOs in the design and implementation of policies, and monitor and measure these, including the Fairer Scotland for Disabled People Delivery Plan.
Commit to a national strategy for the provision of accessible housing and consider the potential for creating a new, cross tenure, design and adaptability standard that would ensure homes for rent and private sale are accessible to Disabled people.
THE GLOBAL DISABILITY SUMMIT 2018: CHARTER FOR CHANGE
We gather here in London and across the world to achieve a common aim: to ensure the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion for all persons with disabilities.
Important progress has been made in the decade since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). But we must do more. We must strive for real change through the Convention’s implementation and the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals for persons with disabilities. Now is the time.
So today we commit to:
1. Catalyse political will and leadership to turn our promises into change; in long-term plans that we invest in, implement and review.
2. Promote the leadership and diverse representation of all persons with disabilities to be front and centre of change; as leaders, partners and advocates. This includes the active involvement and close consultation of persons with disabilities of all ages.
3. Eliminate stigma and discrimination through legislation and policies that make a difference, promoting meaningful leadership, and consistently challenging harmful attitudes and practices. All people deserve dignity and respect.
4. Progress and support actions that advance inclusive quality education for people with disabilities, with the necessary resources to put plans into practice: every child has the right to learn from birth.
5. Open up routes to economic empowerment and financial inclusion so that persons with disabilities can enjoy decent work and achieve financial independence. This will mean creating more and better jobs, providing social protection, ensuring the necessary skills training, making workplaces accessible and hiring people with disabilities.
6. Revolutionise the availability and affordability of appropriate assistive technology, including digital, which will enable persons with disabilities to fully participate and contribute to society.
7. Change practices to make all humanitarian action fully inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. We will mainstream inclusion across all Disaster Risk Reduction and humanitarian sectors, and implement our commitments in the Charter ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action’. 8. ‘Leave no one behind’ and put the furthest behind first. We will champion the rights of the most under-represented and marginalised persons with disabilities, of all ages, affected by any form of multiple discrimination, and notably women and girls with disabilities.
9. Gather and use better data and evidence to understand and address the scale, and nature, of challenges faced by persons with disabilities, using tested tools including the Washington Group Disability Question Sets.
10. Hold ourselves and others to account for the promises we have made here today. We agree that our individual commitments will be reviewed, assessed and published on a regular basis, with the results published online.
Inclusion London briefing on Mental Capacity (Amendment) bill
As an organisation that is run and controlled by Disabled people we are extremely concerned about the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill, that is currently at the Committee Stage in the House of Lords. We believe this bill will have a significant, negative impact on Disabled people’s human rights. Our concerns are echoed by leading academics and lawyers. Provider organisations such as Dimensions who would be given significant new responsibilities under the bill have also raised serious concerns.
Our key concerns:
The lack of consultation with people affected by the bill and their organisations – In many important aspects the bill is at odds with what has been proposed by the Law Commission after it undertook its review and engagement. There is no evidence of the engagement with people who are affected to discuss the divergence from initial proposals. We are also seriously concerned about the fact that none of the materials for the bill and the bill itself are available in alternative formats, especially in Easy-Read. This indicates to us that people who are affected could not and still aren’t able to meaningfully engage with the proposed changes. We therefore believe the passage of the bill should be halted at least until all the materials are available in accessible formats and consultation undertaken.
Weakening human rights protection – not only does the bill go against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD192), which the UK has ratified, it will significantly weaken the few existing protections people have under current legislation. We know deprivation of liberty is often used as an alternative to providing better and sometimes more expensive care. The bill makes it easier to detain people. It removes independent assessments for the majority of cases, except when a care home manager or a local authority decides that the person concerned is objecting. The bill does not require them to consult with the person concerned, give any weight to their wishes and feelings or even to inform them or their relatives about the decisions that are being made. There are no attempts to introduce elements of the supported decision-making system. The bill restricts access to independent advocacy and does not improve in any way the person’s ability to challenge decisions that are made about them. The bill does not make it clear that deprivation of liberty cannot be used when other less restrictive options, such as providing more support or looking at true reasons behind the person’s “challenging behaviour” could work to achieve the aim.
We believe amendments are needed in the following areas to ensure the bill is compliant with international human rights standards including the UNCRPD and the ECHR:
Ensuring everything is done to promote Disabled people’s liberty including provision of sufficient and appropriate support, so deprivation is only ever as a last resort.
Making it easy to challenge decisions that deprive liberty, including by ensuring everyone has a right to an advocate of their choice and a duty to refer cases to the Court of Protection when there is a dispute and access to non-means tested legal aid.
Ensuring significant weight is given to people’s wishes and wants when decisions are made, including choice of a person who will support them to make decisions or makes decisions for them.
Preventing deprivation of liberty for the purpose of protecting others.
Ensuring effective participation of the person in the process: they should be consulted, informed in an accessible way, asked if they want to challenge and helped to do it if they want to.
Putting in place effective safeguards to ensure people are not deprived of their liberty unnecessarily.
Access to independent advocacy should be on an opt out basis.
Examples of engagement with DDPOs in specific policy areas that show room for improvement
1.1 Future of social care (Article 19)
1.11 To all intents and purposes DDPOs have effectively been excluded from all work and consultation on the future of social care.
1.12 Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Heath gave an oral statement on 7 December 2017193announcing the Green paper on Social care for older people, a series of roundtable consultation events with stakeholders and a parallel programme of work on working age social care led by the Department of Health & Social care (DHSC) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
1.13 Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (a Disabled Peer) raised concerns about the parallel programme of work on working age social care in the House of Lords on 20 February 2018194 only to find out that a round-table event on working age social care was being organised without any representation from DDPOs. Following an intervention from Lord Cormack, Baroness Campbell was invited to the roundtable meeting which took place on 28 February 2018 at which no DDPOs were present.
1.14 On 4 April 2018 Inclusion London and 34 other DDPOs195 wrote to Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Social Care, expressing our concern at the lack of DDPO involvement in the round table event and requesting DDPOs active involvement in the work on working age social care going forward. In her reply196 dated 11 May 2018 the Minister stated that since the roundtable “officials have met with a range of people including, Disability Rights UK, people with lived experience and national charities and further discussions are planned”. There was no specific mention of, or commitment to meet, DDPOs in her letter.
1.15 Inclusion London received an email from Helen Wiggins at the DHSC on 17 May requesting a meeting to discuss the parallel working age work stream. We asked if we could open the meeting up to our DDPO members and on 11 July a two hour meeting took place between two representatives from DHSC and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (the DHSC representative turned up an hour late), and Inclusion London & member DDPOs. Neither representative from the government could cite any other engagement with DDPOs (except DRUK) in the working age consultation but they did confirm they had met with a number of charities.
1.16 To our knowledge the 11 July meeting has been the only meeting between the government and DDPOs on the future of social care.
1.21 On 25 May 2018 the Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for Children and Families wrote to the Alliance for Inclusive Education to turn down a request to meet to discuss Article 24 rights. There is currently no mechanism for dialogue with UKG over Article 24.
1.3 Review of Personal Independence Payment Regulations
1.31 After the High Court quashed changes to the Personal Independence Payment Regulations which the government rushed through in February 2017 to prevent many people living with mental distress from qualifying for higher rates of PIP in the case of RF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the DWP had to revise the guidance which is used by the assessors to determine whether or not a person meets criteria to qualify for this benefit.
1.32 During April and May 2018 the lawyers from the Public Law Project (PLP) who represented the claimant (RF) urged, on her behalf, the DWP staff responsible for drafting the changes to engage with DDPOs for feedback about the proposed changes. DDPOs even offered practical help, such as sending information and collating feedback, which was passed on to the DWP. The DWP sent RF and her barristers the draft guidance changes which they stressed could not be shared with anyone else. At this point, PLP sent them the contact details of DDPOs that were involved in the case and had offered to give feedback on the regulations and again urged the DWP to send the draft to them. The DWP’s initial response dated 24 April 2018 stated that they were undertaking a “targeted stakeholder feedback” with named organisations, only one of which could be considered a DDPO. Then 7 days, before the 30 May 2018 deadline for this targeted feedback exercise, DWP officials told PLP that “it would be challenging to involve organisations who haven’t previously been involved in discussions with the Department” and they “do not intend on widening the engagement”. On 25 May 2018, DWP officials confirmed that the only offer they could provide for engagement from other DDPOs, including those who had been involved in the case and as named by RF, was to email their general email address without access to seeing the draft guidance itself.
Adults with Incapacity Act/Mental Health Act (Articles 12, 19 and 28)
2.11 People First Scotland (PFS) has been involved with Scottish Government in relation to consultations on two Acts – proposed changes to the Adults with Incapacity Act and a limited review of the Mental Health Act. The Acts impact on Article 12 (Equal Recognition before the Law, specifically exercise of legal capacity) as well as on Articles 19 and 28, in respect of people with intellectual impairments (learning disability). If the Acts, in their current forms are applied to an individual, they both effectively remove self- determination, freedom of movement and association, impacting on our enjoyment of the above Articles, and others. No firm conclusions have yet emerged from either Review. We recognise the willingness of officials to meet with DDPOs and to publish Disabled people’s input in the Review documents, however it seems that little weight has been given to this input and little has changed.
2.12 PFS highlighted the disparity and their own disappointment at being excluded from policy development work to develop policies on deprivation of liberty, assessment of capacity and supported decision-making. This is despite the fact that it is PFS members who are being deprived of their liberty and whose legal capacity is being removed on the grounds of impaired intellectual capacity and despite this being the only organisation to have produced a framework for supported decision-making in Scotland.
2.2 Work and employment (Article 27)
2.21 Inclusion Scotland, and other DDPOs, were members of the Congress Planning Group. The Congress, which took place in April 2018, is one of the Actions (no 49) from the Fairer Scotland Delivery Plan and was positioned as a key milestone towards the Scottish Government’s goal to ‘at least half the employment gap’ (Action no 28 of the Delivery Plan). Other, non-DDPO, 3rd sector disability organisations were also part of this planning group by invitation of the Scottish Government and there were difficulties around our different values and how the Congress would meet (or not as it turned out) these values. The role of DDPO’s in working with Government to progress rights, and dignity in this case, was undermined. Scottish Government could usefully be reminded of the central role that DDPOs play in the UNCRPD process, and to demonstrate clearly that they understand the distinction between DDPOs (organisations of) and disability organisations (organisations for).
2.22 Inclusion Scotland is currently part of the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group working towards publication of a “Disability Equality Action Plan”, due in October. The aim of this is to develop actions to ‘at least half the employment gap’. However, early indications are that this will focus on employability services for Disabled people, at the expense of support to grow employer’s own “employerability”. The need to support “employerability” is a solution arising from the Annual Disabled People’s Summit and promoted in our report Situations Vacant. Scottish Government has been advised of Disabled people’s solutions to halve the employment gap, but appear to favour an employability approach thus perpetuating the belief that our unemployment is due to a deficit in our skills and attitudes.
Independent review of the Mental Health Act
These have been some particular concerns for DDPOs, individuals with lived experience and allies who signed a letter from NSUN197 about the Mental Health Act Review dated 29 May 2018. There were over 120 co-signatories to the letter including 40 DDPOs, with the remainder coming from individuals with lived experience and allies (both organisational and individual). Concerns include:
Limits to the co-production principle set out in the terms of reference
An inadequate focus both on the UNCRPD itself and on recommendations from the Convention’s Committee last October. There are also concerns about the impact which Brexit may have on the human rights of people in mental distress
The unrealistic speed of the Review
A difficulty for Disabled people with making informed choices both because of a lack of publicity about alternatives to the Mental Health Act 1983 and because of inadequate information about the Review itself
Current flaws in data collection from people with lived experience who belong to marginalised communities, including those who come from BAME communities, have learning difficulties, are deaf, experience gender issues, have physical disabilities, or sight impairments, identify as LGB, or T and/or are older
Serious shortfalls in the quality of the interim report
The prevalence of a clinical model and clinical language in the report.
NSUN representatives have raised these concerns through channels such as the Review’s advisory panel meetings, topic groups and stakeholder events, the letter to the Review Chair and Vice Chairs on 29 May and meetings with the Chair, Vice Chairs and members of the secretariat. However, replies received have not been adequate. The response to NSUN’s letter at the meeting held to discuss it on 13 July 2018 was experienced as both unsatisfactory and discourteous. In particular, the Chair challenged whether DDPOs would really want the UNCRPD fully implemented. NSUN is now in process of putting together a follow-up letter, in consultation with co-signatories to the first letter, and drafting a further set of detailed recommendations about changes needed if the Review is to be compliant with the human rights set out in the UNCRPD.
List of DDPOs who contributed to this report
Alliance for Inclusive Education
British Deaf Association
Disability Action (Northern Ireland)
Disabled People Against Cuts
DPAC Bristol and South-West
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
National Survivor and User Network
People First Scotland,
People First (Self Advocacy)
Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance
Sisters of Frida
Transport for All.
1 An organisation is a DDPO if: their Management Committee or Board has at least 75% of representation from Deaf and Disabled people; at least 50% of their paid staff team are Deaf or Disabled people with representation at all levels of the organisation; they provide services for, or work on behalf of, Deaf and Disabled people; and they follow an equality and human rights approach in their work. We use the terminology “Deaf and Disabled people” to reflect the cultural model of Deafness, whereby Deaf sign language users identify not as Disabled people but instead as a linguistic minority.
2 The following DDPOs have contributed to and support this report: Alliance for Inclusive Education, Black Triangle, British Deaf Association, Deaf Scotland, Disability Action (Northern Ireland), Disabled People Against Cuts, Disability Wales, Inclusion London, Inclusion Scotland, Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living, Merton CIL, National Survivor and User Network, People First Scotland, People First (Self Advocacy), Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, Sisters of Frida, Transport for All.
3 Towards Disabled children and adults in their areas.
On 8 March 2018, the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report which showed that government funding for local authorities has dropped by 49% in real terms since 2010, resulting in a 29% drop in spending power: National Audit Officer (2018) Financial sustainability of local authorities 2018 [online] Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Financial-sustainabilty-of-local-authorites-2018.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
In July 2018, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned that government-imposed budget cuts over the last seven years have left a number of councils under “enormous pressure” and “in a worrying financial position”, and raised concern about the lack of government plans to secure councils’ financial future:
UK Parliament (2018) No Government plan to secure councils’ financial future – News from Parliament. [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2017/financial-sustainability-local-authorities-report-published-17-19/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
By enforcing a section 114 notice, Northamptonshire County Council has become the first LA in over 20 years to effectively declare itself bankrupt, banning all new expenditure in order to hit its legally required balanced budget. Other local authorities are likely to follow suit. Somerset County Council, for example, was recently warned by auditors that it was due to run out of money imminently. The NAO revealed that one in 10 LAs could run out of reserves within the next three years. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism also found that 22 councils had reduced these reserves by more than 50% in the last five years.
Davies, G. (2018). County councils in crisis: three more named as showing signs of financial distress. [online] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Available at: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-03-08/councils-in-crisis-three-more-named-as-showing-signs-of-financial-distress [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Fogg, N. (2018). Will Northamptonshire be the last council to go bankrupt? We’ve crunched the numbers. [online] Citymetric.com. Avail able at: https://www.citymetric.com/politics/will-northamptonshire-be-last-council-go-bankrupt-we-ve-crunched-numbers-3773 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
The Children’s Commissioner for England has warned that “vulnerable children” face “catastrophe” over crisis-hit councils: BBC News. (2018). Vulnerable children facing ‘catastrophe’. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-45069057 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
4 Since last year we have experienced growing numbers of English LAs adopting harsher charging policies to increase the amount that Disabled people have to pay towards the costs of their social care. All but one local authority currently chooses to exercise their power to make a charge for social care services to people who need support. Over a third (41%) of social care users surveyed by national inclusion charity In Control said they had experienced a substantial increase in the level of charge over the past 2 years. A third of people providing a figure for the increase in charges said they had experienced an increase of over 50% in the last two years. This research is not yet published (due November 2018).
5 An investigation by GMB union found more than 166,000 people are trapped in debt for their social care. Freedom of Information requests also show at least 1,178 people have been taken to court by local authorities for social care debts. Of the total of at least 166,835 people who are in arrears on their social care payments, more than 78,000 have debt management procedures started against them by their authority for non-payment of social care charges. The true figure is likely to be higher as some authorities didn’t respond:
gmb.org.uk. (2018). GMB – At Least 166,000 Trapped In Social Care Debt. [online] Available at: http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/social-care-debt [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
6 As above, this research is not yet published (due November 2018). Other key findings include: people are having to find money for care and support from other areas of essential spend; 33% reported that they had reduced spending on housing costs; 43% had reduced the amount they spend on food and 40% on heating to meet the cost of care; and 21% reported that they had gone into debt by borrowing to pay for care and support.
7 45,864 new detentions under the Mental Health Act were recorded in 2016/17. The NHS digital statistics service estimates there was an increase in detentions of around 2% from the previous year:
NHS Digital. (2017). Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures: 2016-17, Experimental statistics – NHS Digital. [online] Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures-2016-17-experimental-statistics [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Data collected for inpatients with learning disabilities and autism at the end of May 2018 showed that of 2,400 inpatients in hospital at the end of the reporting period, 1,405 (59%) had a total length of stay of over 2 years. 41% of inpatients in hospital in May 2018 had travelled over 50km for treatment. Just over half of the people have a date planned for them to leave hospital (1,485):
NHS Digital. (2018). Learning Disability Services Monthly Statistics Provisional Statistics (AT: May 2018, MHSDS: March 2018 Final) – NHS Digital. [online] Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/learning-disability-services-statistics/learning-disability-services-monthly-statistics-provisional-statistics-at-may-2018-mhsds-march-2018-final [Accessed: 11 Sep. 2018].
8 Shared by DDPOs, public lawyers and academics. See Annex B, also:
Inclusion London (2018) Mental Capacity Amendment Bill: Act now to prevent the government from weakening our human protections [online] Available at: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/campaigning-networks/il-legal-network/mental-capacity-amendment-bill-act-now-to-prevent-the-government-from-weakening-our-human-rights-protections/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018].
9 In England for example there are around 365,000 Disabled people with unmet housing needs.
GOV.UK. (2018). English housing survey 2014 to 2015: adaptations and accessibility of homes report. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2014-to-2015-adaptations-and-accessibility-of-homes-report [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Social housing is particularly important for Disabled people since Disabled people are twice as likely as non-Disabled people to live in social housing:
AKW (2016) The Social Housing Ageing & Disability Crisis [online] Available at: https://www.akw-ltd.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/AKW_Social_Housing_Ageing_Crisis_Whitepaper.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
In 2015-16 49% of households in the social housing sector had at least one Disabled member:
Department for Communities and Local Government (2017) English Housing Survey Social rented sector, 2015-16 [online]. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/632464/Social_rented_sector_report_2015-16.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
An inquiry by the EHRC into disability and housing found that there is very strong and unmet demand from Disabled people in the social housing sector, where the average waiting time is over two years and, in one case, 20 years. The report concludes that “increasing the availability of social housing needs to be part of the solution to the shortage of accessible homes”:
EHRC (2018) Housing and Disabled people – Britain’s hidden crisis. [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/housing-and-Disabled-people-britains-hidden-crisis-main-report.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
10 The government green paper on social housing published in August 2018 fails to mention the need for new accessible housing, only mentioning housing for Disabled people within the context of “supported housing.”
GOV.UK. (2018). Social housing green paper: a ‘new deal’ for social housing. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/social-housing-green-paper-a-new-deal-for-social-housing [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
11 The education watchdog Ofsted’s 2017/16 annual report warned that some parents were being asked to educate their Disabled children at home because their schools claimed they could not meet their needs. It stated that the proportion of pupils with a SEN (Special Educational Needs) statement or EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) attending a state-funded special school, rather than mainstream provision, had risen to 45% from 40% in 2010:
Ofsted (2017) The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2016/17 [online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666871/Ofsted_Annual_Report_2016-17_Accessible.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
12 Findings from a survey of over 900 staff working in schools in England found that cuts affecting SEND pupils are worsening, with half of respondents saying their school had cut support for SEND children this year, compared to 40% last year. Interim findings showed that one in five teachers were aware of illegal exclusions of SEND students within their educational setting. The number of Disabled pupils without any educational placement was also found to have risen to 4,050 in 2017 in England, up from 776 in 2010:
NEU – The National Education Union. (2018). Vulnerable special needs pupils at risk of exclusion due to funding cuts – NEU survey. [online] Available at: https://neu.org.uk/latest/vulnerable-special-needs-pupils-risk-exclusion-due-funding-cuts-–-neu-survey [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Hazell, W. and Ward, H. (2017). ‘1 in 5 teachers aware of illegal SEND exclusions’ | Tes News. [online] Tes.com. Available at: https://www.tes.com/news/1-5-teachers-aware-illegal-send-exclusions [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Richardson, H. (2018). No school for 4,000 special needs pupils. [online] BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43604865 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
13 Harris, J. (2018). The sinister segregation policies excluding children who don’t ‘fit in’. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/16/pupils-special-educational-needs-children-mainstream-schools [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
14 Just under half of all school exclusions affect Disabled pupils. A survey by the charity Ambitious about Autism suggested that as many as 26,000 children and young people on the autism spectrum are being unlawfully excluded each year:
Ambitious about Autism. (n.d.). Why is this campaign important? [online] Available at: https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/why-is-this-campaign-important [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
The number of children permanently excluded from state primary, secondary and special schools in England increased by about 1,000 between 2016 and 2017, according to the Department for Education (DfE) figures. The total (7,700) equates to more than 40 permanent exclusions a day during the 2016-17 school year. Pupils with an EHCP or a statement of SEN had the highest fixed-period exclusion rate at 16% in 2016-17 – more than five times higher than pupils without, at 3%.
15 Department for Work and Pensions (2018) Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18. [online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721224/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2017-2018.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
16 Analysis of ONS statistics show that for every 100 Disabled people moving into work, 114 leave. This compares with an equivalent of 100 non-Disabled people moving into work and just 97 leaving. Analysis of the Labour Force Survey two-quarter longitudinal dataset shows that between October 2016 and March 2017, 123,000 Disabled people moved out of work. This represents 5% of the total number of Disabled people in employment between January-March 2016. During the same period 108,000 Disabled people moved into work; 3% of the total number of Disabled people who were out of work in October-December 2016:
Scope.org.uk. (2018). Government not meeting Disabled workers pledge. [online] Available at: https://www.scope.org.uk/press-releases/government-will-fail-one-million-Disabled-people-work [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Office for National Statistics, Social Survey Division (2018) Labour Force Survey Two-Quarter Longitudinal Dataset, October 2017 – March 2018. [data collection] UK Data Service. SN: 8344, http://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-8344-1 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
17 Disability Employment and Pay Gaps. (2018). [ebook] TUC. Available at: Tuc.org.uk. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Disabilityemploymentandpaygaps.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
18 Analysis by the TUC of the Labour Force Survey shows that the pay gap between Q3 2016 and Q2 2017 was 15%. This means that on average an EA Disabled worker earns £1.50 less an hour than a non-Disabled counterpart:
In August. the EHRC also published research showing that just 3% of organisations measure their Disability pay gaps:
EHRC (2018) Measuring and reporting on disability and ethnicity pay gaps. [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/measuring-and-reporting-on-ethnicity-and-disability-pay-gaps.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
19 There are targets to expand services without comparable increases in funding. The report found that:
- Almost half the respondents had experienced changes to their Access to Work package with “cuts” or “cost cutting” as the most frequently given reason
- Evidence of rationing strategies
- Nearly all of those experiencing changes reported negative impacts on their work. In the worst cases people had lost their job, turned down work or reduced their income as a result of the changes
- Many respondents reported a personal, as well as professional, impact from the changes through stress, poorer health, and loss of self-esteem or confidence:
Inclusion London (2017) Barriers to Work: A survey of Deaf and Disabled people’s experiences of the Access to Work programme in 2015/2016 [online] Available at: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Barriers-to-Work_InclusionLondon_Oct-2017-1.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
20 GOV.UK. (2018). Increased funding announced for Disabled people with the greatest barriers to work. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/increased-funding-announced-for-Disabled-people-with-the-greatest-barriers-to-work [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
21 Figures published in June 2018 show that since the roll out of PIP, 381,640 Disabled people who previously received DLA, which PIP replaced, have been turned down for the new benefit upon reassessment. (Calculated on: 1,264,000 PIP applications being re-assessed DLA claims and 72% of DLA reassessment claims being successful):
Work and Pensions (2018) Personal Independence Payment: Official Statistics [online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/714950/pip-statistics-to-april-2018.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
There is continued widespread concern shared by DDPOs, disability charities, public lawyers, academics, Parliamentarians, the media, and the wider public about the design, quality and operation of assessments for ESA and PIP. Latest figures from January-March 2018 show the rate for assessment decisions over-turned at appeal to be 71% for PIP and 70% for ESA. Where law centres or advice agencies are involved in representing claimants, there is a success rate of nearly 100%:
Ministry of Justice (2018) Tribunals and Gender Recognition Statistics Quarterly, January to March 2018 (Provisional) [online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/716008/tribunal-grc-statistics-q4-201718.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
22 Benefits including ESA, Income Support, JSA and UC can be stopped or reduced if claimants are deemed to have breached jobcentre rules, typically by failing to turn up for appointments or applying for enough jobs. Benefits can be stopped for between four weeks and three years. There is mounting evidence that conditionality (the idea that benefit claimants have certain conditions they must meet in order to receive their benefits) and sanctioning are counter-productive in that rather than incentivising Disabled people to find work, they move them further from the labour market.
23 More than two thirds of those affected by the “bedroom tax” are Disabled people. As of May 2017, there were 414 thousand households in Great Britain who had a deduction made from their housing benefit due to the removal of the spare room subsidy. Of these, there were 278 thousand where the claimant or partner was receiving DLA, PIP or ESA. These figures do not account for Disabled people not in receipt of those benefits, so the actual percentage is likely to be much higher:
UK Parliament. (2017). Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing: Written question – 109181. [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-10-23/109181 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
24 Citizens Advice (2017) Delivering on Universal Credit [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/welfare%20publications/Delivering%20on%20Universal%20Credit%20-%20report.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
25 There have been a number of protests and lobbying campaigns against UC:
Pring, J. (2018). DPAC’s universal credit ‘crime scene’ protest is fresh call for action to Disabled people. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dpacs-universal-credit-crime-scene-protest-is-fresh-call-for-action-to-Disabled-people/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
Unitetheunion.org. (2018). STOP Universal Credit. [online] Available at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/stop–fix-universal-credit/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
BBC News. (2017). Charity calls for Universal Credit action. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41226942 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
26 A report published in October 2017 by Southwark Council (in partnership with Croydon Council and Peabody), found UC has the potential to be “catastrophic” and lead to a spiral of debt for claimants unless major flaws are addressed. The report found that in the 20 weeks of transferring from the legacy benefit system to UC, the average claimant had £156 of arrears. In Southwark alone, where 12% of council tenants had moved onto UC, rent arrears totalled over £5.3m. One food bank in the London borough reported an increase in the number of referrals by 94%:
The Smith Institute (2017) Safe as houses: the impact of universal credit on tenants and their rent payment behaviour in the London boroughs of Southwark and Croydon, and Peabody. [online] Available at: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/assets/attach/5092/Safe_as_Houses.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
27 A public and media outcry pressured the government into changing the UC helpline to a freephone number. Previously it was 45p a minute for landline and 55p a minute for mobiles, with callers often facing long waiting times to speak to an adviser:
Mason, R. and Walker, P. (2017). Universal credit helpline charges to be scrapped. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/18/universal-credit-helpline-charges-to-be-scrapped [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
28 The report concluded “that the project is not value for money now, and that its future value for money is unproven.”
National Audit Office (2018) Rolling out Universal Credit. [online] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/rolling-out-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
29 “Sanctioning may have zero or even negative impacts on job-related outcomes”.
Geiger, B. (2017). Benefits conditionality for Disabled people: stylised facts from a review of international evidence and practice. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 25(2), pp.107-128.
This is also one of the conclusions drawn from soon to be published qualitative research from the University of Essex and Inclusion London carried out through interviews with Disabled claimants in the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group.
30 The research, due to be published in October entitled “The Activity Trap: Disabled people’s fear of being active”, finds: almost half (47%) are fearful of losing their benefits if they are seen to be more active; almost half (48%) fear being seen as ‘too independent’ for a Disabled person; More than half (55%) said they were likely to be more active if benefits weren’t at risk of being taken away. http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/research.
31 Legislation.gov.uk. (2012). Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. [online] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/10/contents/enacted [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
32 EHRC (2017) Being Disabled in Britain: a journey less equal [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/being-Disabled-in-britain.pdf [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
33 The closure of advice and law centres as a consequence of LASPO have resulted in “very significant problems” for Disabled people in enforcing rights under the Equality Act. Catherine Casserley, a barrister with Cloisters who has practised discrimination law since 1996, including for the former Disability Rights Commission, stated Disabled people had “very significant problems” enforcing their rights under the Equality Act. She cited advice centres and law centres closing, while it seemed that even some of the judiciary appeared to have difficulty understanding disability discrimination law:
Pring, J. (2016). ‘Enforcement is key on Equality Act’. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/enforcement-is-key-on-equality-act/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
35 The evidence gathering for the post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) is ongoing:
GOV.UK. (2018). Post-implementation review of LASPO. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-implementation-review-of-laspo [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
36 See paragraph 7.6.
37 In March 2015, the UKG announced a cap on Access to Work (a scheme providing support for Deaf and Disabled people to get into and stay in employment) to be introduced from October 2015, then for existing users from March 2018. The cap was initially implemented at 1.5 times the average annual salary, and subsequently rose in April 2018 to double average annual earnings. The rise coincided with a court case brought by a Deaf man with support from a number of DDPOs and the EHRC. The persistence of the cap policy means that those requiring the highest awards are still negatively impacted. Approximately 200 Deaf people initially had their awards reduced due the initial cap, constituting 90% of those affected. In addition, any new Deaf and Disabled entering the workplace requiring interpreters or the higher level of support will be affected. The implementation of an Access to Work cap denies access and inclusion in the workplace for Deaf and Disabled people with the most costly access requirements.
38 More United. (2018). More United wins campaign to restore disability fund. [online] Available at: https://www.moreunited.uk/meeting-minister-women-equalities [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018]. The Access to Elected Fund was a grant scheme providing awards between £250 and £40,000 for Deaf and Disabled people standing for election to, or selection as a candidate for, various offices including UK Parliament, English local government, Police and Crime Commissioner, and other local and national elected roles. The fund aimed to address under-representation of Deaf and Disabled people in local and national political life. However, in 2015 the government stated it was “frozen” and put “under review”. After significant pressure by More United, EHRC and DDPOs, the government agreed in May 2018 to restore the fund, but only for 12 months, after which time, Deaf and Disabled people will continue to have significant barriers to standing for political positions due to the additional costs incurred.
39 In a debate on the UNCRPD secured by an opposition MP in October 2017, then Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt started her contribution describing the “medieval conditions” of “hospitals and orphanages of post-revolutionary Romania” which she experienced while in the Navy twenty-six years ago. She then talked about the UKG’s international aid efforts on disability before turning to the domestic situation:
Hansard.parliament.uk. (2017). UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Hansard. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-10-12/debates/A20CF46E-116A-47B2-BA33-11CAA47B3FC0/UNConventionOnTheRightsOfPersonsWithDisabilities [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
40 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018) General comment on article 4.3 and 33.3 of the convention on the participation with persons with disabilities in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. [online]. Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CRPD/Draft_GC7.docx [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].
41 As outlined in UNCRPD General Comment on article 19; living independently and being included in the community (paragraph 89):
Ohchr.org. (2017). OHCHR | General Comments. [online] Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/GC.aspx [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
42 This is how it is understood at ministerial level and how it is deployed as a way of making savings by LAs, too often resulting in denial of need and failure to uphold Disabled people’s right to independent living as understood by the UNCRPD.
In one example, in a debate on the future of social care in the House of Commons on April 25 2018, a minister within the DHSC responded to a question from an opposition MP about Disabled people’s right to independent living, by stating “one of our priorities is to make sure that Disabled people can live independently for longer”:
hansard.parliament.uk. (2018) Social Care – Hansard. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-04-25/debates/E7C9CDC1-C97B-4FC0-93FC-1E2A7FE7C189/SocialCare [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
In one examples at LA level, Bristol City Council has a “Maximising Independence team” within adult social care. This is part of the “Better Lives Programme” tasked with making savings of over £12 million over the next three years by “ensuring residents can maximise their own independence”. Appendix 6: savings proposals. (2018). [ebook] Bristol City Council. Available at: https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/documents/s19531/Appendix%206%20-%20Savings%20proposals.pdf [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
43 Penny Mordaunt, Minister for International Development and former Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, in her key note speech. When asked what inclusive education meant to her, Penny Mordaunt responded: “Inclusive education means that everyone has an education and it is done in a way to reach their full potential.”
Pring, J. (2018). Global Disability Summit: Anger over Mordaunt’s bid to redefine inclusive education. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/global-disability-summit-anger-over-mordaunts-bid-to-redefine-inclusive-education/ [Accessed: 16 Sep. 2018].
44 Inquiry by the House of Commons education select committee.
UK Parliament. (2018). Special educational needs and disabilities inquiry launched – News from Parliament. [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news-parliament-2017/special-educational-needs-and-disability-launch-17-19/ [Accessed: 16 Sep. 2018].
Pring, J. (2018). ‘Deep concern’ as launch of MPs’ inquiry into SEN support ignores inclusive education. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/deep-concern-as-launch-of-mps-inquiry-into-sen-support-ignores-inclusive-education/ [Accessed: 16 Sep. 2018].
45 Publications.parliament.uk. (2018). Long term funding of adult social care – Health and Social Care and Housing, Communities and Local Government Committees – House of Commons. [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/768/76810.htm#_idTextAnchor124 [Accessed: 16 Sep. 2018].
46 Similar recommendations have been made this year by:
Institute for Public Policy Research (2018) The Lord Darzi Review of Health and Care Final Report: BETTER HEALTH AND CARE FOR ALL – A 10-POINT PLAN FOR THE 2020s. [online] Available at: https://www.ippr.org/files/2018-06/better-health-and-care-for-all-june2018.pdf https://www.ippr.org/files/2018-06/better-health-and-care-for-all-june2018.pdf [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
The Kings Fund (2018) Hypothecated funding for health and social care, how might it work? [online] Available at: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-05/Hypothecated_funding_Kings_Fund_May_2018.pdf [Accessed: 16 Sep. 2018].
47 A Parliamentary Question on this has remained effectively unanswered:
Publications.parliament.uk (2008) Universal Credit: Disability: Written Question 169883. [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-09-03/169883/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
48 Between 2016 and 2018, over 100 Jobcentres (about 15% of the network) will have closed. The government justifies the cuts in Jobcentres and employment services because overall unemployment has fallen. There are significant concerns that the system does not have the capacity to meet the needs of the millions of people who will claim UC and who will be expected to prepare for work and search for jobs. It may also fail to cope with a rapid increase in the number of people claiming benefits in the event of another economic recession:
The Conversation (2018). Why are Britain’s jobcentres disappearing? [online] Available at: http://theconversation.com/why-are-britains-jobcentres-disappearing-91290 [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
49 DWP figures show that from May 2017 to April 2018, 2.8% of UC claimants have been subject a sanction compared to 0.3% of people on JSA, and 0.1% of people on ESA. With the rate of sanctioning so much higher under UC it is important to be able to assess any disproportionate and potentially discriminatory impacts on Deaf and Disabled people:
GOV.UK. (2018). Benefit sanctions statistics to April 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-april-2018 [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
50 By the Minister for Disabled people, Work and Health during oral questions in the House of Commons. Hansard.parliament.uk. (2018). Disabled People: Financial Support – Hansard. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-05-21/debates/664052A1-FCA0-4A29-8E48-FD0C7B56A20C/DisabledPeopleFinancialSupport [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
51 In March 2010, there were the equivalent of 48 full-time staff working in ODI; in May 2018 there was the equivalent of just 15.45. In 2017, the ODI website was updated just three times, compared with five updates in 2016, and 17 in 2015:
Pring, J. (2018). Office for Disability Issues staff levels have plummeted since 2010, DWP admits. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/office-for-disability-issues-staff-levels-have-plummeted-since-2010-dwp-admits/ [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
52 This was a commitment in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, repeated at the launch of the work, health and disability command paper “Improving Lives” in November 2017. Cuts to social care and retrogression of the right to independent living are acting as an increasing barrier to employment opportunities for Disabled people:
Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (2017). Strategy seeks one million more Disabled people in work by 2027. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/strategy-seeks-one-million-more-Disabled-people-in-work-by-2027 [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
53 The Minister said: “I am really pleased to announce today that we have created a new inter-ministerial working group to bring the full force of the Government behind ensuring that every Disabled person in our country has the ability to reach their full potential.” DDPOs have no other information than this:
Hansard.parliament.uk. (2018). Oral Answers to Questions – Hansard. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-05-21/debates/C9F3BE31-D224-4098-B796-C1E05765341E/OralAnswersToQuestions [Accessed 16 Sep. 2018].
54 Some DDPOs have attempted to educate local authorities about Article 19 directly. There is limited evidence of this being successful as local authorities struggling with funding cuts are mostly defensive against any suggestions for improvement. Adult social care practice is now routinely in breach of Article 19 due to funding constraints but no one is prepared to accept responsibility for this with frontline practitioners blaming local government managers, who blame central government, who in turn blame local government.
55 Inclusion Scotland have met with the Scotland-based Independent Mechanism organisations who have agreed that they will approach Scottish Government to ask that this be set up.
56 We understand that Scottish Government are currently considering publication of an update on their delivery plan but they have not engaged with Deaf and Disabled people to gather our assessment of delivery and ‘transformational change’, so that this can be taken into account.
57 Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, carried out by the Committee under article 6 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.
We documented in follow up submissions to the inquiry last year how the UKG dismissed the findings of the Committee and rejected all eleven recommendations. They failed to disseminate the Committee’s findings and recommendations in any way. Then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, publicly described the Committee’s Report as demonstrating “an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive”:
58 In October 2017 then Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Penny Mordaunt stated “I will set out our long-term reporting plans shortly”, but this has yet to happen:
Hansard.parliament.uk. (2017). UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-10-12/debates/A20CF46E-116A-47B2-BA33-11CAA47B3FC0/UNConventionOnTheRightsOfPersonsWithDisabilities [Accessed 17 Sep. 2018]
59 Recommendation (k) of the inquiry report was that the report be disseminated; paragraphs 74 and 77 of the Concluding Observations recommend wide transmission of those Concluding Observations to “Government and Parliament, officials in relevant ministries, devolved administrations, Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories, local authorities, organizations of persons with disabilities and members of relevant professional groups, such as education, medical and legal professionals, as well as to the media, using modern social communication strategies” and dissemination to “non-governmental organizations and representative organizations of persons with disabilities, and to persons with disabilities themselves”.
60 Hansard.parliament.uk (2018). UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-06-20/debates/67B003C3-EE0D-4394-A7F9-D46DBBCC557D/UNConventionOnTheRightsOfPersonsWithDisabilities [Accessed 17 Sep. 2018]
61 The evidence cited for the success of their approach is an additional 600,000 Disabled people in employment.
62 In a debate on the UNCRPD called by an opposition MP in the House of Commons, then Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt focused her contribution largely on DFID’s work. She said: “As I turn to the domestic agenda… I want to emphasise that I am keen to promote what we are doing because it is a catalyst for change elsewhere in the world.” She also referenced what she described as “the factual inaccuracies” of the Concluding Observations:
Hansard.parliament.uk (2017) UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-10-12/debates/A20CF46E-116A-47B2-BA33-11CAA47B3FC0/UNConventionOnTheRightsOfPersonsWithDisabilities [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
63 The EHRC and civil society organisations have urged the UKG to implement the recommendations from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Concluding Observations. The response received by Sir Oliver Heald QC MP was that although the Committee report and recommendations provide “valuable guidance” they cannot “extend, by interpretation, the international obligations contained within the Covenant” and that it would not be “appropriate” to “pre-empt” the response from the UKG to the UN at the next examination, due in June 2021:
EHRC (2018). International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/international-covenant-economic-social [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
64 EHRC (2018). Progress on socio-economic rights in Great Britain. [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/progress-socio-economic-rights-great-britain [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
65 A junior justice minister whose responsibilities include human rights, appeared to dismiss calls for the government to do more to protect the social and economic rights of Disabled people and other groups and to suggest that “the realities of the world” mean the government cannot afford to meet the report’s call for action on the rights laid out in the covenant. Organisations involved in writing this submission were present at the event, which is covered in the following news article:
Pring, J. (2018) Minister suggests ‘realities of the world’ mean government will not halt attack on rights. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/minister-suggests-realities-of-the-world-mean-government-will-not-halt-attack-on-rights/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
66 “that the State party, in close cooperation and collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities, initiate a process to implement and follow-up the recommendations issued by the Committee on its report adopted pursuant to proceedings under article 6 of the Optional Protocol”.
67 We wrote as the “UK DPO CRPD Monitoring Coalition” which is a coalition of DDPOs from across the UK and involves all the DDPOs who were involved in the shadow reporting process in 2017 and others who have been co-opted to ensure we are representative of different impairment groups as well as intersectional identities.
68 In Geneva on 24 August 2017 Karen Jochelson, speaking at the public examination of the UK by the UNCRPD committee said: “we have noted this dialogue’s emphasis on engaging with Disabled people and Disabled people’s organisations in decision making and policy making. We will reflect on this as we plan our next steps following publication of the concluding observations.” It is nearly one year since these remarks but only now are some English DDPOs being contacted.
69 As defined in the UNCRPD General Comment on the participation with Disabled people in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.
70 See example 1.3 in Annex C. In this example the Department for Work and Pensions chose to engage with non-user led charities and not DDPOs. We were recently told by civil servants at DfID that the office of Disability Issues had supplied the with a list of UK disability organisations to consult over their disability framework. Only one organisation on this list could be considered a DDPO.
71 The Fulfilling Potential Forum, set up “to discuss how Disabled people can fulfil their potential”, has not met since November 2016. The Disability Action Alliance (DAA), launched by the UKG in 2012 to offer advice on the implementation of its disability policies, also appears to have been discarded, and its steering group has not met since May 2018. A third body, the Fulfilling Potential Advisory Service, which was set up alongside the forum in 2014 to provide expert advice on disability-related issues, was disbanded soon after it was launched. The UKG’s original intention was that the three bodies would replace Equality 2025, its high-level committee of Disabled advisors, which was ended in 2013:
Pring, J. (2018) Network neglect leaves government ‘closer to coercion than to coproduction’ [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/network-neglect-leaves-government-closer-to-coercion-than-co-production/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
72We believe that Disabled people must be given a voice in the Brexit debate; Governments should address the chronic lack of accessible information available to Disabled people about the process and implications of Brexit. We continue to recommend that the UNCRPD be incorporated into Scots Law and we await the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. Inclusion Scotland (2017). Plotting a course: Brexit and disabled people’s rights in Scotland. [ebook] Inclusion Scotland. Available at: http://www.ilis.co.uk/uploads/Brexit%20PUTT%20-%20FINAL%20report.pdf [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
73 For example, with debates on Deaf language rights, deaf children’s services and a BSL GCSE being brought to the House of Commons.
74 National Audit Office (2018) Rolling out Universal Credit. [online] Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/rolling-out-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
75 As Dan Carden MP said in a debate on the UNCRPD in Parliament “Having to be part of national and local campaigns just to get basic human dignity…is outrageous.” Hansard.parliament.uk (2018) UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [online] Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-06-20/debates/67B003C3-EE0D-4394-A7F9-D46DBBCC557D/UNConventionOnTheRightsOfPersonsWithDisabilities [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
76 The High Court ruled that changes to PIP regulations brought in by the UKG in March 2017 to exclude people who experience psychological distress from eligibility for support “Moving Around” and “Planning and Following a Journey” were “blatantly discriminatory”.
RF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Available at: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/3375.html [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
77 When a legal challenge was brought against the introduction of a cap on Access to Work, the UKG increased the cap from 1.5x to 2x the national average salary. The legal challenge was taken on the grounds that a cap discriminated against Deaf sign language users and Disabled people with high support needs whose support costs are above the cap.
DPG Editing (2018) Access to Work Cap Challenged in High Court [online] Available at: https://dpglaw.co.uk/access-work-cap-challenged-high-court/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Department for Work and Pensions and The Rt Hon Esther McVey (2018) Grant to support Disabled people in the workplace rises by over a third [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/grant-to-support-Disabled-people-in-the-workplace-rises-by-over-a-third [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
78 The high court ruled in favour of two Disabled men who had lost over £170 per month when they were moved onto UC. The men both previously received Severe Disability Premium (SDP). Neither SDP nor Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP) exist under UC. Transitional protection rules introduced to protect the income levels of Disabled people moving on to UC did not apply where claimants moved to UC due to a change in circumstance. For both men, the change of circumstance was moving to an area where UC had already been rolled out. The high court ruling found that the Secretary State of Work and Pensions had unlawfully discriminated against the two men. In a policy u-turn, the DWP is now consulting on new transitional protection rules which will cover Disabled people moving onto UC under a change of circumstance (“natural migration”). However, the high court did not find in favour of the claim against removal of SDP and EDP under UC and new applicants to UC will not be able to receive these additional payments:
Leigh Day (2018) First legal challenge against Universal Credit finds Government acted unlawfully [online] https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2018/June-2018/First-legal-challenge-against-Universal-Credit-fin [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
R (TP and AR) -v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Universal Credit) [online] https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/r-tp-and-ar-v-secretary-of-state-for-work-and-pensions-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
hansard.parliament.uk (2008) Universal Credit. [online] https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-06-07/debates/18060727000016/UniversalCredit [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
79 Back-payments for up to 70,000 Disabled people who were underpaid when they were moved from incapacity benefit (IB) to ESA will be backdated to the date that they moved to ESA. The announcement follows legal action from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) which challenged the Department’s original decision to limit backdating of the arrears to 2014, the date of a tribunal decision. The underpayments arose following an error by DWP staff:
CPAG (2018) CPAG legal action leads to full arrears for Disabled claimants. [online] Available at: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/cpag-legal-action-leads-to-full-arrears-Disabled-claimants [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
80 In the judgment on the first bedroom tax legal challenge Lord Justice Laws said: “In my judgment, Ms Markus’ [barrister for the claimants] criticisms are misplaced. They amount to an attempt to persuade the court to “micro-manage” the policy-making process.”:
MA & Ors V Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [online] Available at: https://www.leighday.co.uk/LeighDay/media/LeighDay/documents/Bedroom%20tax/MA—ors-v-Secretary-of-State-for-Work-and-Pensions-QBD-30-7-13.pdf?ext=.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
81 And is dependent on individuals who are disadvantaged having the courage and support to go through the gruelling experience of taking legal action.
82 National Audit Office (2018) Rolling out Universal Credit. [online] Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/rolling-out-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
83 The inquiry report states: “Trust is fundamental to the overall running of a successful society. Likewise, trust in the assessment systems is essential to PIP and ESA functioning effectively. …We heard much to suggest the Department is falling short on meeting this objective.”
Publications.parliament.uk. (2017). [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmworpen/829/829.pdf [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018]. paragraphs 8-9
84 A per paragraph 33 of the General Comment on article 4.3 and 33.3 of the Convention, on the participation with persons with disabilities in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.
85 The Scotland Act 2016 gave Scotland new devolved powers over social security, including for certain benefits. When the changes take effect (from 2018) budgets of, and power over, 11 benefits affecting 1.4 million people will be gradually transferred to Scotland. Scottish Government closely involved Inclusion Scotland, and other DPPOs, in developing the new Scottish Social Security legislation, anti-poverty legislation and implementation. DDPOs were represented on both the Expert Group on Carers and Disability Benefits and the new Child Poverty Commission. We have also regularly participated in several Scottish Government Social Security stakeholder, reference and working groups in regards to policy making and implementation.
86 DDPOs posit that this has potential to be hugely influential, and to partially overcome the lack of suitable influence and engagement mechanisms in the wider Health and Social Care Integration framework.
87 Including on rights to advocacy support, accessible communication, an independent scrutiny commission, discontinuing unnecessary face to face assessments, and assessments not being carried out by the private sector.
88 Particularly for people who are Deaf or have learning disabilities.
89 Some directorates do have good intentions and attempt to plan around inclusion, some respond to requests and others effectively ignore advice and requests. In many cases we are disenfranchised from commenting on, advising and steering in many policy spheres. In particular, people who require Easy-Read, British/Irish Sign Language or other communication support are left without accessible and timely information and are thus prevented from contributing. Seminars are organised without recourse to accessibility and inclusivity. Offers to support DDPOs to run seminars do not usually take account of the higher costs of accessibility and the difficulty in estimating these prior to an event to satisfy budgeting requirements.
90 See paragraph 3.3.
91 New research shows a six-fold increase in children and young people stating they have a mental health condition over the last two decades. More investment is needed to ensure all children and young people needing support can access it:
NHS Confederation (2018) Research shows it is crucial to invest in children and young people’s services, says Mental Health Network. [online] Available at: http://www.nhsconfed.org/media-centre/2018/09/research-shows-it-is-crucial-to-invest-in-children-and-young-people-services [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
The number of referrals by schools in England seeking mental health treatment for pupils has risen by more than a third in the last three years. In almost a third of all referrals for which data was available, the child in question was denied specialist treatment. The number of schools seeking professional help for students from NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) was 34,757 in 2017-18, compared to 25,140 in 2014-15:
NSPCC (2018) School referrals for mental health treatment rise by over a third [online] Available at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/one-third-increase-in-school-referrals-for-mental-health-treatment/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
92 While increasing reliance on young carers to replace state-funded social care support will negatively impact on the futures of those young people, for example, through missing education to undertake caring responsibilities. Government figures in January 2018 revealed that the number of recognised young carers in the UK has risen by more than 10,000 in four years:
Bulman, M. (2018) Number of young carers in UK soars by 10,000 in four years, figures show [online] Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/young-carers-uk-numbers-rise-figures-support-family-social-care-benefits-community-a8177806.html [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
93 Legislation.gov.uk (2018) The Community Care (Personal Care and Nursing Care) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2018 [online] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2018/200/made [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
94 The Community Care (Personal Care and Nursing Care) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2018 https://blogs.bmj.com/bmjopen/2017/11/15/health-and-social-care-spending-cuts-linked-to-120000-excess-deaths-in-england/
95 Analysis of NHS statistics published by Disability News Service showed that in 2007 – a year before the introduction of the WCA – 21% of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants told researchers they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. The following year, IB began to be replaced by ESA, eligibility tested by the WCA. By 2014, more than 43% of claimants were saying they had attempted suicide:
Pring, J. (2017) ‘Staggering’ ESA suicide figures prompt calls for inquiry and prosecution of ministers [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/staggering-esa-suicide-figures-prompt-calls-for-inquiry-and-prosecution-of-ministers/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
96 September 2018.
97 Youle, E. (2018) Post-it notes reveal anguish of Disabled man who killed himself after £20 benefit cut [online] Huffington Post. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/austerity-disability-mark-barber_uk_5b88f4ace4b0511db3d6b768 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
98 Waldron, B. (2018) Man took his own life with a crossbow as his home was about to be repossessed, inquest is told [online] Derby Telegraph https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/burton/steven-arnold-burton-inquest-1975976 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
99 It is assumed that this is due to a combination of inadequate data and the fact that such evidence that does exist concerns the adverse and retrogressive impacts of measures.
100 The cover letter makes frequent reference to living “independently” in a sense which is different from the concept of independent living set out in Article 19. It also sets out measures being taken to address the needs of autistic people within a section headed “Health”, indicating a medical model rather than social model/human rights understanding of neurodiversity.
101 The section in the cover letter on “Equity and Dialogue” avoids any commitment to engaging with DDPOs who are only specifically mentioned under the section on transport.
102 Only Disabled people with a SEN statement or EHCP will only be eligible – making up only about 3% of the SEND population – therefore very few will benefit. Many Disabled students and pupils with dyslexia, Autism and learning difficulties will not benefit from the adjustment. We do not yet know what the assessment arrangements will be:
UKG (2018) Statistics: special educational needs (SEN) [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-special-educational-needs-sen [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
103 Increasing numbers of Disabled pupils are being refused EHCPs, denying them access to education, health and care support. Disabled pupils are being placed in Residential Special Schools because of LA unwillingness and inability to provide the support they need to live at home and within their communities:
Dame Christine Lenehan (2017) These are our children. [online] https://www.ncb.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/attachment/These%20are%20Our%20CHildren_Lenehan_Review_Report.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
104 Rail Delivery Group (2015) London Turn Up and Go trial for Disabled passengers. [online] Available at: https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/media-centre/press-releases/2015/190-2015-05-11.html [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
105 ABCommuters (2018) Exposed: Disabled access cover up at the Department for Transport. [online] Available at: https://abcommuters.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/exposed-Disabled-access-cover-up-at-the-dft/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
106 Sir Peter Hendy (2015) Replanning Network Rail’s investment programme. [online] Available at: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/publications-resources/our-plans-for-the-future/the-hendy-review/ p138 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
107 Department for Transport and Nusrat Ghani MP (2018) Response to advice on the use of wheelchair spaces onboard buses. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/response-to-advice-on-the-use-of-wheelchair-spaces-onboard-buses [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
108 Pring, J. (2018) Government ‘discriminated against DPOs’ in awarding £29m development programme [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/government-discriminated-against-dpos-in-awarding-29m-development-programme/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
109 EHRC (2018) The cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/cumulative-impact-tax-and-welfare-reforms [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
110 Pring, J. (2014) Ministers humiliated over cumulative impact assessment. [online] Disability News Service. Available at: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/ministers-humiliated-over-cumulative-impact-assessment/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
111 RF V Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: ADMN 21 Dec 2017
112 See Annex C for more information about concerns regarding the Mental Capacity (Amendment) bill and Annex D for DDPO experiences in raising concerns about the independent review of the Mental Health Act and resistance from the review chair to compliance with the UNCRPD.
113 R(Davey) v Oxfordshire  EWHC 354 at  –  and approved in  EWCA 1308
114 A survey published in October 2017 on increasing use of Payment Cards by Councils to administer Direct Payments, found that LAs can view transactions made by Disabled people by accessing the client’s account online. The use of money on the cards is often tightly controlled and LAs may suspend the use of a card if they do not approve of how a Disabled person is using it. More than a million pounds a year is spent on fees and costs to operate the cards. The number of Disabled people on pre-payment cards is set to increase rapidly:
Independent Living Strategy Group (2017) Payment cards in adult social care: A National Overview 2017. [online] http://www.in-control.org.uk/news/in-control-news/payment-cards-in-direct-payments-must-not-undermine-choice-and-control.aspx [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
115 Increasing use of “strength-based” approaches are explicitly about saving money as Warrington Council papers confirm. The aim of the approach is to identify resources such as friends, family members and community groups who can replace state-funded support. The result is to deny Disabled people the same opportunities to be included in the community with choice and control over our own lives.
Warrington Borough Council (2018) Executive Board – 10 September 2018. [online] https://bit.ly/2NstKXd page 6 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
116 For example, in 2018 thirteen CCGs agreed to review their NHS Continuing Healthcare policies following the threat of legal action by the EHRC. The u-turn resolved almost eight months of disagreements between CCGs across the UK over their unlawful NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) policies. This followed research carried out by Disabled campaigners into CCG “care capping” policies (which breach the Care Act 2014), that revealed 43 CCGs with policies of concern were initially contacted by the EHRC.
117 This was reduced by nearly £30 a week despite widespread opposition including two rebellions by the House of Lords.
118 Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health and Social Care, the Rt Hon David Gauke MP and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (2017) Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-lives-the-future-of-work-health-and-disability [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
119Work and Pensions Committee (2018) Oral Evidence: Disability Employment, HC 1147 [online] Available at: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/work-and-pensions-committee/disability-employment/oral/86763.html [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
120 EDP and SDP currently give Disabled people with high support needs living alone £15.90 and £62.45 weekly respectively, in addition to a weekly ESA Support Group rate of £109.65. Neither exists under UC. Instead claimants meeting these criteria will receive a standard weekly UC payment of £73.34 plus a “Limited capacity for work and work related activity” supplement of £73.56. This is a total of £146.90 which is £41.10 less than the ESA Support Group rate + EDP + SDP (£188).
121 A judicial review, which was lost by the claimant, took place on 26 and 27 June 2018 at the High Court.
122 Research published in June 2018 showed that despite provision of extra government funding, social care services are on the verge of collapse in some areas of England. The report states councils “cannot go on” without a sustainable long-term funding strategy to underpin social care, and warns continuing cuts to budgets risk leaving thousands of people who need care being left without services. It revealed that English councils plan to push through social care cuts of £700m in 2018-19, equivalent to nearly 5% of the total £14.5bn budget. Since 2010, social care spending in England has shrunk by £7bn. Half of LAs overspent on adult social care budgets in 2017-18, with half of these drawing on council reserves to meet the overspend:
ADASS (2018) ADASS Budget Survey 2018 [online] Available at: https://www.adass.org.uk/media/6434/adass-budget-survey-report-2018.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
123 Through the Improved Better Care Fund, the adult social care precept and two one-off adult social care grants. In total, these amount to an extra £2.3 billion in 2017/18, £1.0 billion in 2018/19 and £0.35 billion in 2019/20.
124 48 directors say they have seen home care providers closing or ceasing to trade in the last six months (impacting on 3,290 people) and 44 directors had contracts handed back by home care providers (impacting on 2,679 people) in the same period. Directors’ biggest concern about the impact of savings made or planned is the prospect of providers facing financial difficulty (expected in 2018/19 by three quarters of directors) and quality challenges (expected in 2018/19 by two thirds of directors). 78% of directors are concerned about their ability to meet the statutory duty to ensure market sustainability within existing budgets.
125 It is to be expected that under a new two- rather than three-tier system there would be increase in the percentages of both the highest and lowest awards.
126 See footnote 21.
127 PIP claimants may be entitled to extra money on top of existing benefits, as well as a reduction in council tax or road tax bills and discounts on travel.
128 Of the 51,000 taken off, more than 3,000 people have since rejoined the Motability scheme after original decisions to refuse them PIP were overturned. However, they will have lost their vehicles while their appeals took place:
BBC (2017) Thousands have disability vehicles taken away [online] BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39575293 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
129 Since the Royal National Institute for the Blind threatened legal action in 2014:
Malik, S. and Wintour, P. (2014) RNIB threatens DWP with court action for failing to cater for blind [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/19/rnib-dwp-blind-court-action-benefits [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
130 As unqualified interpreters, or too few interpreters have been provided. While this is purely an illustrative observation, the reality is that that an infrequently convened taskforce is an inadequate substitute for consistent procedural access provision.
131 One individual has now won three legal challenges against different government departments over failures to make reasonable adjustments for information provision:
Norris, R. (2018) Campaigner defeats third government department on accessible information [online] DisabledGo. Available at: https://www.Disabledgo.com/blog/2018/07/campaigner-defeats-third-government-department-on-accessible-information/#.W5rse_ZFzIU [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
132 For example, the NHS Accessible Information Standard guidelines – https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
133 In 2011, 61% of Disabled people lived in households with internet access, compared to 86% of non-Disabled people. According to 2018 figures from the ONS, 20% of Disabled people have never used the internet:
ONS (2018) Statistical Bulletin: Internet users: UK, 2018 [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2018 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
134 GDS themselves set up the online account system called “Verify”.
135 Glick, B. (2018) Thousands of Universal Credit claimants unable to use Gov.uk Verify to apply for benefits. [online] Computer Weekly. Available at: https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252434188/Thousands-of-Universal-Credit-claimants-unable-to-use-Govuk-Verify-to-apply-for-benefits [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
136 Figures cited by the Work and Pensions Committee in their inquiry report into ESA and PIP assessments show that of the almost one million MRs of PIP and ESA decisions since 2013, 82% of PIP MRs and 89% of ESA MRs upheld the original decision:
House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee (2018) PIP and ESA Assessments [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmworpen/829/829.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Latest figures from January to March 2018 show the rate for assessment decisions overturned at appeal to be 71% for PIP and 70% for ESA:
Ministry of Justice (2018) Official statistics: tribunals and gender recognition certificates statistics statistics quarterly: January to March 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognitions-certificates-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2018 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
137 www.parliament.uk (2018) PIP and ESA Assessments [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmworpen/829/82908.htm [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
138 The family of an autistic man with learning difficulties took legal action on his behalf, against the Department for Transport (DfT) and their local council, after he was told he no longer qualified for a Blue Badge because of the new DfT guidance. It was argued that DfT’s apparent failure to carry out a proper consultation on the new guidance was a breach of its PSED under the Equality Act 2010, and was disability discrimination. DfT backed down, promising a review to “look at how the scheme works for people with non-physical disabilities”. The high number of responses to the consultation indicates the numbers adversely impacted and keen to see the changed guidance reversed. The recent announcement that this will take place is very welcome:
Pring, J. (2016) Government agrees to review ‘discriminatory’ blue badge guidance [online] DisabledGo https://www.Disabledgo.com/blog/2016/10/government-agrees-to-review-discriminatory-blue-badge-guidance/#.W5r2ZfZFzIV [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Department for Transport (2018) Policy paper – Blue badge consultation: summary of responses and government response [online] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blue-badge-Disabled-parking-scheme-eligibility-consultation-summary-of-responses-and-outcome/blue-badge-consultation-summary-of-responses-and-government-response [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
139 Marsh, P. (2017) “There is still lots of stigma around mental health” [online] Available at: https://blog.scope.org.uk/2017/11/06/there-is-still-lots-of-stigma-around-mental-health/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Another useful, as yet unpublished report related to mental distress is the user-led, co-produced Keeping Control study which explored hate crime, discrimination and abuse against people with mental health diagnoses: Carr, S, Cohen, R, Faulkner, A, Gould, D, Hafford-Letchfield, T, Khisa, C and Megele, C. (2018) Keeping Control Research Study: Participant Findings Summary, SSCR (Unpublished). The findings demonstrate that hate crime, discrimination and abuse are all too prevalent, still more for people from marginalized communities.
140 Petitions Committee (2017) Inquiry: Online abuse and the experience of Disabled people [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/petitions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/online-abuse-17-19/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Inclusion London (2018) Inclusion London’s evidence to the Commons Petitions Committee’s inquiry on online abuse and the experience of Disabled people [online] Available at: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Inclusion-London-evidence-inquiry-online-abuse-Disabled-people-Amended-Final.doc [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
141 Turner, M. (2018) Tory founded YouGov under fire for questioning whether benefit claimants should be allowed to vote [online] Available at: https://evolvepolitics.com/tory-owned-yougov-under-fire-for-questioning-whether-benefit-claimants-should-be-allowed-to-vote/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
142 Also certain ethnic groups, women, and particularly negative impacts on intersectional groups who experience multiple disadvantages (for example, lone parents with Disabled children). On average, Disabled lone parents with at least one Disabled child fare to lose almost three of every ten pounds of their net income; almost £10,000 per year. Around one and a half million more children are forecast to be living in households below the relative poverty line as a result of the reforms:
EHRC (2018) The cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/cumulative-impact-assessment-report.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
143 Age UK (2017) Briefing: Health and Care of Older People in England 2017 [online] Available at: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/documents/EN-GB/For-professionals/Research/The_Health_and_Care_of_Older_People_in_England_2016.pdf?epslanguage=en-GB?dtrk=true [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
144 The Health Foundation (2017) The social care funding gap: implications for local health care reform [online] Available at: https://www.health.org.uk/publication/social-care-funding-gap-implications-local-health-care-reform [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
145 See Annex B.
146 This is despite the findings of the EHRC’s Housing Inquiry, and Disabled people’s solutions and the report of the Annual Disabled People’s Summit ‘Our Place Our Space’:
Inclusion Scotland (2017) We Say: Our place, Our space. [online] Available at: http://inclusionscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/6324-ILIS-Summit-Report.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
The Housing Minister is on record as saying that he will not countenance ‘arbitrary targets’ despite unequivocal evidence of current and projected need (17,000 today and projected to rise by 80% by 2025).
147 Unlike the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Principles on Older People.
148 It was initially promised before the end of June 2018:
Parliament. Uk (2017) Social Care Update: written statement – HCWS258 [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-11-16/HCWS258/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
149 See Annex C.
150 By removing the current restriction that it applies only to those over 65.
151 ADASS (2018) ADASS Budget survey 2018 [online] Available at: https://www.adass.org.uk/media/6434/adass-budget-survey-report-2018.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
152 Government plans to abolish general grant funding for councils from 2020 – meaning councils will depend on council tax and business rates for the vast majority of their general funding.
IFS (2018) Adult social care funding: a local or national responsibility? [online] Available at: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/12857 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
153 Ashford Borough Council featured in the news for its good practice in expanding its DFG scheme and virtually abolishing waiting times. Due to the current financial circumstances of many councils, it is unlikely that this will be widely replicated.
Ashford Borough Council (2018) Council initiative virtually abolishes waiting times for Disabled Facility Grants assessments in Ashford; scheme expanded so more people will benefit. [online] Available at: https://www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/council-initiative-virtually-abolishes-waiting-times-for-Disabled-facility-grants-assessments-in-ashford-scheme-expanded-so-more-people-will-benefit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
154 The AWI accessible information was produced 5 weeks after the main consultation document and, like many so-called accessible or Easy-Read versions, did not cover or explain the main points of the Government proposals or offer any analysis to help people understand the proposals. It was written in such an Easy-Read way that every proposal was simply presented as “a good thing” to invite agreement and acceptance.
155 Initiatives looking at future funding for social care, including a Citizen’s Assembly which fed into a joint report by the Health and Social Care and Housing, Communities and Local Government, found that a significant proportion of the public in England believe that social care is free on the same basis as the NHS. Attempts by Government to reform the system to lower the levels that individuals must pay towards their own care traditionally experience a backlash because they are mistakenly viewed as attempts to introduce rather limit charges. A necessary step towards reform must be public education, yet Governments are reluctant to expose the realities:
Communities and Local Government Select Committee (2018) Long term funding of adult social care [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/768/76810.htm#_idTextAnchor124 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
156 The Labour Force Survey two-quarter longitudinal dataset shows inflows and outflows that demonstrate that for every 100 Disabled people who move into work, 114 move out of work (for non-Disabled people, only 97 move out of work for every 100 that move in). Based on current rates of inflows and outflows, if one million Disabled people were to move into work, then 1,140,000 would move out of employment:
Office for National Statistics, Social Survey Division (2018) Labour Force Survey Two-Quarter Longitudinal Dataset, October 2017 – March 2018. [data collection] UK Data Service. SN: 8344, Available at: http://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-8344-1 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
157 Department for Work and Pensions (2018) Family Resources Survey. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-resources-survey–2 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
158 ONS (2018) User requested data: Number of employed people with Disabled or non-Disabled status by basic economic activity and full-time or part-time work, UK April 2009 to March 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/adhocs/009015numberofemployedpeoplewithDisabledornonDisabledstatusbybasiceconomicactivityandfulltimeorparttimeworkukapril2009tomarch2018 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
159 Wheatley, H. (2017) New Research: More than half of self employed not earning a decent living [online] Available at: https://neweconomics.org/2017/08/self_employed_not_earning [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
160 The “joint departmental unit between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care” referred to in paragraph 54 of the UKG Follow Up report.
161 This paper by Lynne Friedli and Robert Stearn describes the coercive and punitive nature of many psycho-policy interventions and considers the implications of psycho-policy for the disadvantaged and excluded populations who are its primary targets:
Friedli, L. and Stearn, R. (2015) ‘Positive affect as coercive strategy: conditionality, activation and the role of psychology in UK government workfare programmes’ in Medical Humanities [online] Available at: https://mh.bmj.com/content/41/1/40.full [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
162 The IAPT project was funded because it was framed as getting people back to work and saving money in terms of greater tax dividends:
Layard, R. (2012) Mental health: The new frontier for the welfare state [online] Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/47418/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
However, it has failed to live up to its evidence-base – e.g. half of ‘low intensity’ CBT patients relapse in twelve months – and the outcomes are even worse in areas of high deprivation:
IAPT (2016) Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of IAPT services, 2015-16 [online] Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/news-and-events/news-archive/2016-news-archive/mental-illness-recovery-linked-with-deprivation-report-finds [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
To try to mask this problem, the government have doubled the number of EA workers at the expense of what service users want which, even in IAPT, is overwhelmingly a personalised, flexible approach where the goals are not preordained by services:
Hamilton, S., Hicks, A., Sayers, R., Faulkner, A., Larsen, J., Patterson, S., & Pinfold, V. (2011) Report for Commissioning Support for London. [online] Available at: https://www.rethink.org/resources/a/a-user-focused-evaluation-of-iapt-services-in-london [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
There have always been problems in IAPT with putting the goals of service users first as the programme is based on rigid treatment protocols, but now both IAPT staff and service users report increasing pressure to privilege work as a health outcome:
Watts, J. (2016) ‘IAPT and the ideal image’ in Lees, J. ed. The Future of Psychological Therapy. Abingdon: Routledge.
The doubling of EA advisors will only serve to double this pressure (psychocompulsion) on service users, especially in a wider context where co-location of mental health and DWP services is becoming a new norm. Claimants are sanctioned for failing to follow the ‘work and health’ claimant commitment central to UC, making meaningful consent difficult. It also represents a prioritisation on employment outcomes over services that provide support with complex traumas and save lives. This doubling of funding for EA advisors comes at the time where funding for other mental health services, including talking therapies for people with distressing psychosis or chronic trauma, have been decimated:
UKCP and BPC (2015) Quality Psychotherapy Services [online] Available at: https://www.bpc.org.uk/sites/psychoanalytic-council.org/files/Summary%20findings%20from%20NHS%20survey.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Placing the funding with EA advisors removes funding from other services with a more established evidence-base. In one recent example, Camden Clinical Care Commissioning Group withdrew funding from a Citizens Advice Bureau GP outreach programme which was demonstrably effective and highly valued by service users and health providers. Coincidentally, it was simultaneously forced – through proposals set out in the Improving Lives green paper – to fund the doubling of (far less evidence-based) EA advisors, despite local protest:
Citizens Advice Bureau (2017) Impact and Evaluation of GP Advice Service in Camden [online] Available at: http://www.camdencabservice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Impact-and-Evaluation-of-GP-Advice-Service-in-Camden-August-2017-vFINAL.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
163 Paragraph 59 of the UKG follow-up report.
164 Most were awarded to partnerships of non-DDPOs and a private company was awarded two contracts.
165 EHRC (2017) Measuring Up? Monitoring and enforcement [online] Available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/public-sector-equality-duty-scotland/scotland-public-sector-equality-duty-projects/measuring [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
166 Citizens Advice (2017) Work and health in Wales [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Wales/Social%20care%20in%20Wales/Work%20and%20health%20in%20Wales%20-%20final%20version%20-%20Google%20Docs.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
167 Publications.parliament.uk (2012) Daily Hansard [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201212/ldhansrd/text/120117-0001.htm [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
168 Public and Commercial Services Union (2018) PCS survey results for staff working on Universal Credit [online] Available at: https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/pcs-survey-results-for-staff-working-on-universal-credit [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
169 Once account is taken of the higher costs faced by those who are Disabled, half of people living in poverty are either themselves Disabled or are living with a Disabled person in their household. There are 4.2 million Disabled people living in poverty; 29% of all people living in poverty. Of these, 2.8 million are working age adults, 1.1 million are pension age and 320,000 are children. After housing costs, the proportion of working age adults living in poverty (28%) is higher than the proportion of non-Disabled working age adults (18%). 30% of people who live in households with Disabled members live in poverty compared to 19% of those who do not:
Tinson, A., Ayrton, C., Barker, K., Born, T.B., Aldridge, H., Kenway, P. (2016) Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2016 [online] Available at: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-2016 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Department for Work and Pensions (2017) National Statistics: Households Below National Income: 1994/95 to 2015/16 [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201516 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Barnard, H. (2017) UK Poverty 2017 [online] Available at: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2017 [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
170 Loopstra, R. & Lalor, D. (2017) Financial insecurity, food insecurity and disability [online] Available at: https://trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/06/OU_Report_final_01_08_online.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
171 Paragraph 100.
172 Paid to the relatives of workers killed in industrial accidents: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/670428/outturn-and-forecast-autumn-budget-2017.ods
173 Topple, S. (2018) The DWP has finally revealed it has cut Disabled people’s benefits. Here’s by how much. [online] Available at: https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2018/09/15/the-dwp-has-finally-revealed-it-has-cut-Disabled-peoples-benefits-heres-by-how-much/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
174 Department for Work and Pensions
175 National Audit Office (2018) Rolling out Universal Credit. [online] Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/rolling-out-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
176 The challenge was brought by two severely Disabled men, TP and AR, who both saw their benefits dramatically reduced when they moved Local Authority and were required to claim UC. Recently released figures from the DWP suggest that 500,000 individuals are in receipt of the SDP. Delivering the judgment, Mr Justice Lewis said: “There appears to have been no consideration of the desirability or justification for requiring [the men] to assume the entirety of the difference between income-related benefits under the former system and universal credit when their housing circumstances change and it is an appropriate moment to transfer them to universal credit. That is all the more striking given the government’s own statements over a number of years that such persons may need assistance and that there was a need to define with precision the circumstances in which they would not receive such assistance. The implementing arrangements do at present give rise to unlawful discrimination [contrary to the European convention on human rights].”
Leigh Day (2018) First legal challenge against Universal Credit finds Government acted unlwafully [online] Available at: https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2018/June-2018/First-legal-challenge-against-Universal-Credit-fin [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
R (TP and AR) -v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Universal Credit) [online] Available at: https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/r-tp-and-ar-v-secretary-of-state-for-work-and-pensions-universal-credit/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
177 Butler, P. (2018) Government to pay thousands to Disabled men who had benefits cut [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/31/government-to-pay-thousands-to-Disabled-men-over-benefits-discrimination-universal-credit [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
178 UK Government (2018) Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (Managed Migration) Amendment Regulations 2018 [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/718579/uc-transitional-regs-2018.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
179 A survey carried out by the Disability Benefits Consortium before the £30 per week ESA WRAG cut took place found that 60% of 1,755 respondents said the amount of ESA they received was not enough to live on. When asked about the consequences of this, 62% said they struggled to stay healthy, 49% said they could not pay bills, 36% could not afford taxis to medical appointments, and 32% said they could not afford to eat:
Disability Benefits Consortium (2015) Almost 70% of Disabled people say cuts to ESA will cause their health to suffer and half may return to work later [online] Available at: |https://disabilitybenefitsconsortium.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/almost-70-of-Disabled-people-say-cuts-to-esa-will-cause-their-health-to-suffer-and-half-may-return-to-work-later/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
180 The Work and Pensions ESA and PIP assessment inquiry found evidence of “systematic poor quality” of assessment reports, and how the DWP has struggled throughout the current PIP and ESA contracts to ensure that reports are of sufficient quality to enable accurate decision-making.
House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee (2018) PIP and ESA Assessments [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmworpen/829/829.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
Government figures released in May 2018 suggest that tens of thousands of ESA benefit claims could have been decided by civil servants on evidence from assessment reports that should have been rejected because their quality was “unacceptable.”
Pring, J. (2018) DWP figures on ‘unacceptable’ WCA reports cast doubt on decisions made on tens of thousands of ESA claims [online] Disability News Service. Available at: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-figures-on-unacceptable-wca-reports-cast-doubt-on-decisions-made-on-tens-of-thousands-of-esa-claims/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
181 The Work and Pensions Committee inquiry found that neither PIP assessment contractor has, at any point in the PIP contract, met the performance target of 3% of reports deemed “unacceptable”. Capita’s own auditing found that at points in the contract almost 60% of its reports were “unacceptable”.
House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (2017) ATOS, Maximus and Capita questioned on ‘gruelling’ medial assessments [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news-parliament-2017/atos-maximus-capita-medicals-17-19/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
182 Based on current quotations from two different large BSL tuition companies (CityLit and Remark!) at time of writing, a two-parent family have to pay between £10,000-£14,000 purely in tuition to reach a level 6 in BSL (the highest examination grade, and benchmark for fluency).
185 See comments at paragraph 9, also Annex D for refusal by the DWP to engage with DDPOs over this issue.
186 See Footnote 3.
188 Baumberg Geiger, B. (2018) A Better WCA is possible [online] Available at: https://www.demos.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018_A_Better_WCA_is_possible_FULL-4.pdf [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
189 In its November 2016 report, the NAO recommended that the government use its own data to evaluate the impact of sanctions in the UK. The report states “The Department has limited evidence on how people respond to the possibility of receiving a sanction, or how large this deterrent effect is in practice” and “To show that its use of sanctions represents value for money the Department needs to build a strong evidence base about the effects of sanctions and the trade-offs involved”. As the NAO pointed out, the DWP has administrative data on individual benefit histories, sanctions and employment, and data on local sanction rates and performance which could be used. To date this recommendation has not been met:
National Audit Office (2016) Benefit sanctions [online] Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/benefit-sanctions/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found in 2017 that there were ‘significant gaps in the Department’s understanding of sanctions’ and urged it ‘to make and report progress in improving data systems, including on linking earnings outcomes to sanctions data’. Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC said “It is an article of faith for the Department for Work & Pensions that sanctions encourage people into work. The reality is far more complex and the potential consequences severe……Suspending people’s benefit payments can lead them into debt, rent arrears and homelessness, which can undermine their efforts to find work.”:
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (2017) Benefit Sanctions inquiry [online] https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/benefit-sanctions-16-17/ [Accessed: 17 Sep. 2018]
190 Extracts from interviews with Disabled claimants in the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group carried out through the research can be read at Annex C of the written submission to the UN Extreme Poverty Rapporteur from the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance due to be published here on the Inclusion London website.
191 CRPD/C/GBR/CO/1 2017
192 The bill goes against the following key articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: 12, 14, 17, 19. In 2017, in its Concluding Observations for the UK Government, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has urged the UK government to “Repealing legislation and practices that authorize non-consensual, involuntary, compulsory treatment and detention of Disabled people on the basis of actual or perceived impairment or any form of forced intervention or surgery” and “allocating appropriate funding and setting up adequate support systems to enable Disabled people to live in the community in a place of their choice”.