The New Savoy Conference is the annual gathering of professional and
charity bodies providing psychological therapies (IAPT) in NHS primary
IAPT is an assembly-line service providing short-term therapies to over
a million people every year. Despite the commitment of its frontline
therapists and psychologists, IAPT is failing the mental health needs of
communities all over England, while working with government policies
that themselves generate psychological distress and social alienation.
Come and join therapists, mental health activists, psychologists and
welfare campaigners. Meet at the Harrington Gardens entrance of the
Millenium Conference Centre (Gloucester Road tube) from 8.15am to
greet conference goers.
Contact email@example.com for more information.
• The hierarchy of IAPT and psychological services in the NHS who gather at these conferences continue to offer liberal mouthings about DWP welfare reform policies, WCA and PIP, sanctions, coercion around Work and Health. But they’ve actually taken no real action to boycott DWP/Health collaboration, despite all the developments re judicial reviews, UN condemnations, the recent Parl Committee report, and the UC debacle.
In his intro to the conference, in the programme link above, Jeremy Clarke (NS chair) says:
“The second issue is the running sore of welfare benefit reform, and its negative impact on mental health, that undermines whatever benefit we make to population wellbeing. Have we reached a consensus now for how we can turn the tide? The BBC’s Mark Easton will find out”
• The overall theme is depression; there are sessions on the crisis in the IAPT workforce, latest staff survey, impact of targets; session on Work and Health Unit; Wessely’s review of human rights and compulsory treatment; session on Employee Assistant Programmes (often run by people like Maximus); familiar faces in the list of speakers
•The scam of IAPT as a service in local communities. It has a massive evidence base, tons of statistics for every CCG in England including “recovery” rates; ethnicity stats; deprivation stats; etc etc No-one really analyses the figures. For IAPT it seems just collecting the stats is their claim to being evidence based and therefore their claim for funding from the Government. In fact, their stats reveal a shockingly failing provision.
For example, ot of 1,350,000 referrals a year 85% either never enter any kind of therapy, or never finish a course of treatment, or don’t “move to recovery” (as IAPT jargon has it). In my CCG (Tower Hamlets) only 6.6% of referrals to IAPT “recovered” and among the Bangladeshi community who make up over 30% on TH population only 3% “recovered”. Farmer’s Taskforce target for % of population who “need IAPT therapy” is 15%, rising to 25% by 2021. In TH about 2% of the pop were referred/referred themselves to IAPT, of whom as I say 6.6% “recovered”.
IAPT will be a major part of the propaganda around the NHS reorganisation now in progress, via the STPs and the ACOs they are developing . STP management have “the mental health crisis” high on their agenda – certainly their PR agenda – and selling more provision for IAPT services will be a major plank of the campaign. See Hunt on this role for IAPT here.
IAPT is rarely taken to task as a service that is massively failing communities all over England. This is true in the Labour Party as much as any where ekse. This has to stop. It is a propaganda service for neoliberal capitalism and its dissemination of psychological scapegoating and coercion across society
Last year, 15 people grounded a deportation charter flight for ten hours to prevent it taking off. This March, they are going to court charged with a terrorism-related offence. If found guilty, they could serve many years in prison.
Join our demonstration on the first day of their trial on Monday March 14th from 8.30am-10am outside Chelmsford Crown Court (New Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1EL) to support the defendants and speak out against deportation charter flights. There will be speakers, songs and spoken word, and food kindly provided by Food not Bombs and Oxford Action Resource Centre. More info about the demo can be found here:
A coach leaves from London at 6.45am on Monday March 14th with return tickets on a sliding scale (£16 waged; £10 unwaged; free for people with experience of the asylum process or immigration.) The coach is wheelchair accessible but you need to let us know if you are/might go so seats can be removed. firstname.lastname@example.org
So, you would never vote Tory in a million years and you hate everything they stand for, but, are you really sure you’re not inadvertently handing over your hard-earned money to major Tory party donors?
The Electoral Commission keeps records of major donations to political parties, and we’ve been having a long hard look at them to weed out all the companies that fund the Tories.
In a campaign we are calling #StopFundingTheTories, we want to raise awareness of the companies, products and services that, if you hand over your hard-earned money to, you are unwittingly funding the Conservative Party.
In contrast to Labour, whose membership numbers have soared under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories could now have as few as 60,000 paid-up members contributing to party coffers. And, due to this plummeting of their membership numbers, the Tories are now heavily reliant on their super-rich backers handing over vast sums of money to keep them afloat.
According the latest accounts, the Tories took in just £1,459,000 from ordinary membership fees, whilst Labour’s members contributed almost ten times as much to their party, at £14,393,000. The Tories, however, beat Labour in terms of donations.
In the last quarter [the Tories] received nearly £3million in private donations from less than 100 people. This means an average donation of £30,000 – or, as you or I would call it, a luxury car.
The Tories also received over £700,000 from 61 companies, with an average donation of over £10,000. A figure which goes to show exactly why their interests seem so closely wedded to corporations and the rich.
Donations to the Conservatives make up over 80% of donations by private individuals and corporations, whilst donations to Labour make up just under 0.5% of these figures.
It’s little wonder then that the Tories seem increasingly intent on pleasing their super-rich backers with policies that exclusively benefit them, to the detriment of ordinary people.
Given that there is very little likelihood of the Tories’ membership numbers rising any time soon, their only sustainable funding comes from the huge donations of their super-rich backers – who are, through the products and services they sell, actually bankrolled by you and me – ordinary people. This means that, in essence, for every pound we hand over to one of these companies, a proportion of that money is then handed to the Tories.
So, if you want to avoid unwittingly funding the Tory party in any way, shape or form, here is a comprehensive list of the companies, products, and services you will want to avoid giving your money to at all costs.
Westfield – The company that owns Westfield Londonand Westfield Stratford City has donated almost £500k since 2008.
Selfridges. With shops in London, Birmingham and Manchester, the company has donated over £300k since 2009.
Bicester shopping village. Owned by Value Retail which has donated £9k since 2016.
Next. Director Simon Wolfson has donated over £400k since 2008.
JCB. You’re unlikely to be in the market for a bulldozer, but construction company JCB has licensed hundreds of products, from lightbulbs to boots to brooms to pyjamas. Since 2008, JCB and its subsidiaries have donated over £4.5m to the Tories.
Moonpig. Founder of flower and gift company Moonpig, Nick Jenkins, donated £166k between 2009-15.
Boden. CEO Julian Granville donated £12k between 2009-15.
Richer Sounds. Founder and 100% shareholder Julian Richer donated £150k between 2010-14
Lycamobile. The SIM card company donated over £2m to the Tories between 2011-16.
Tempcover. Car insurance company, donated £400k since 2015.
Scottish Power. Have donated £48k since 2010. They’ve also given considerable amounts to Scottish Labour although the last donation was in 2016.
E.On UK. The gas and electricity supplier donated £8.4k to the Tories in 2016.
Pimlico Plumbers. Large London-based plumbers, have donated £65k since 2015
Microsoft Ltd (British subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation). £137k between 2006-15.
Food and drink
Sainsbury’s. President John Sainsbury has donated over £2m to the Tories since 2008.
Bestway. Cash and carry with huge network of outlets. Have donated over £700k since 2008.
Samworth Brothers. Make Ginsters, Soreen Malt Loaf, Melton Mowbray pies. Director Mark Samworth has donated £585,000 to the Tories since 2010.
Iceland. Director Malcolm Walker has donated £110k since 2012.
Warburtons. The bread company donated £25k in 2010.
Global Brands Ltd. Make various branded drinks including Hooch and VK alcopops. Have donated £21k since 2015.
Radnor Hills Mineral Water Co Ltd. Mineral waters and fruit juices, donated £7k since 2015.
Delamere Dairy Ltd. Dairy products, especially goats milk. £7.5k since 2015.
Hotels and entertainment
Flamingo Land. This Yorkshire theme park and zoo has donated £83k since 2014.
The London Cabaret Club. Have donated £95k since 2015.
Imperial London Hotels Ltd. Seven hotels in central London. Have donated £12k since 2015.
Country House Weddings Ltd. Four wedding venues in the south. Have donated £33k since 2009.
Beds and Bars Ltd. Budget tourist accommodation in the UK and Europe. Donated £5k in 2017.
Cameron Mackintosh. The producer of Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton donated £15k between 2012-17.
Genix Healthcare Ltd. Network of NHS and private dental clinics. Has donated almost £500k since 2008.
New Cross Nursing Group Ltd. Nursing agency with branches across the country. Has donated £42k since 2014.
Gatwick Airport Ltd. Donated £18k in 2016.
National Express. The bus and coach company has donated £15k since 2011. They’ve also funded Labour in the past, although not since 2013.
Express Newspapers Ltd. Donated £154k between 2008-17.
Northern and Shell. The company which publishes the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, OK!, New!, and also owns Channel 5 and the Health lottery. Donated £10k in 2017. [A takeover by Trinity Mirror is imminent– Trinity Mirror are not Tory donors, as far as we can tell.]
In solidarity with Women’s Strike DPAC supports the Women’s Strike in London.
Taking place in more than 56 countries on International Women’s Day, the strike, organised by the Women’s Strike Assembly UK will see women walk out of paid work in offices, shops and factories, as well as unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms.
Women’s Strike – 8 March 2018 Actions and events will be announced in the coming weeks – stay tuned!
London: 1pm Women’s Strike Assembly Russell Square, WCB1 – all genders, kids welcome, food provided
London: 7pm Sex/Work Strike – all welcome, 55 Dean Street Soho
Capitalism has always relied on the free labour of women to provide support for the paid work of men and to nurture families even when women themselves are also working. The children of women then become the next generation suffering Capitalist exploitation. Working women have 2 jobs – one paid- often low paid and one unpaid.
Regardless of this the only work that is valued both economically and socially is work contributing to the market economy, through the production of goods and services. As disabled people we know this from first hand experience as even those of us who aren’t women have been scapegoated as useless eaters by the Tories and their corporate lackies.
Like disabled people women are often devalued, and divided leaving them with little power to fight against their oppressors. When women do join together and fight back however they can achieve amazing things like Greenham Common, Women for Peace Campaign in Belfast, Sisters Uncut and the amazing Focus E15 Mums.
So DPAC women please support this strike from home or if possible on the street in London or Birmingham. For the first time since 2010 there will be no service available from DPAC on March 8th as we support the strike.
Disability Rights Supreme Court bedroom tax winners taken back to court again
WHEN Jayson and Charlotte Carmichael received the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the bedroom tax, in their case, contravened their human rights, they thought this was an end to their mammoth four-year battle.
It was a fight the Carmichaels felt they had to undertake, as the two bedrooms they have are both in use.
Charlotte’s disability and the equipment she requires for sleeping means it’s impossible for Jayson to share a bedroom with her.
The bedroom tax is a direct charge against her disability. There is no “spare room” but the blunt tool that is the bedroom tax disregards their individual needs and as a result the Supreme Court found it was contravening their human rights.
However, the vindictive Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is now taking a ruling in the Carmichaels’ favour from the First Tier Tribunal in 2014 to the Court of Appeal on February 20 and 21, arguing that the tribunal shouldn’t have used the Human Rights Act in its judgement.
This tribunal in 2014 said: “There was no objective and reasonable justification for such discrimination in dealing with such a seriously disabled person regarding their housing benefit.
“Accordingly the appealed decision is set aside and Section 4 (1) Human Rights Legislation 13 (b) (5) so as to avoid discrimination in the matter of housing benefit to this discrete group of disabled persons.”
The local council obeyed the ruling and the Carmichaels were not charged the bedroom tax.
This is what the DWP argument is about: bizarrely Jayson and Charlotte are being taken to court because the council obeyed the ruling of the First Tier Tribunal, which used the Human Rights Act in its ruling.
It feels like the bloody nose the DWP received as a result of the Supreme Court rulings has meant it is now trawling through the Carmichaels’ case, desperately searching for something it can try to use against them.
Is this really the best use of the court’s time and public money when Jayson and Charlotte’s case is so clear-cut?
It will make it five years that they have been fighting the government, which adds an enormous amount of stress on to a couple who are already dealing with a progressive disability with all the cost and additional pressure this entails.
However, this doesn’t mean the Carmichaels are ready to give up and roll over, as they firmly believe that their fight against this discriminatory tax is not just for them, but for the many others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Jayson says: “We’re stressed by the fact they are still continuing to use the bedroom tax to take us to court, despite the historic win in the Supreme Court when we made legal history.
“We have an excellent legal team, but it still is disappointing that the government and their top lawyers have been able to take us to court on something that no longer has much to do with our personal circumstances.
“It’s as if we are trapped in a legal technicality. The outcome means so much for others, that’s the one thing that keeps us going. The Human Rights Act is there and people should be able to access it whenever it is applicable — something this government is now trying to stop.”
Of course, ideally the bedroom tax would be abolished — something Labour has already pledged to do when elected. This is because the bedroom tax is discriminatory at its core.
What has also become clear from Jayson and Charlotte Carmichael, and that of the Rutherford family as well as other high-profile cases, is that this tax hits those with the most serious disabilities particularly hard, despite what the government might try to claim.
Theresa May’s recent reshuffle has put Esther McVey in charge of the DWP. She was a minister in the DWP with Iain Duncan Smith from 2013 to 2015, implementing some of the cruellest and most draconian “reforms,” including the bedroom tax.
By putting her in charge of the DWP it sends a message that there is more pain ahead for the increasingly large section of the population hit by the changes made to welfare benefits.
It makes it imperative for those wanting a fair society for all to take the lead from campaigners like Jayson and Charlotte, and do all we can to fight against these attacks on disabled people.
Ruth F Hunt is author of The Single Feather (Pilrig Press).
Please respond to the latest Office For Rail and Road consultation on Assisted travel. It is really important that they have as many responses as possible so the strength of public opinion cannot be ignored. That is why it is vital everyone responds as an individual or as a family to say they want staff on stations and trains. With 13.3 million people reporting a disability in 2015/16 we all have friends and relatives who will be discriminated against if there are no staff at stations or on trains. Women too will be much more at risk when traveeling.Below is a suggested response or you can send in whatever you want to say. Please share with friends and family and ask them to respond also.
and very much welcome that you state “Our vision is to empower confident use of the railway by all”
As you are no doubt aware there are currently a number of proposals to introduce Driver Only Operation on trains.
I believe that passengers deserve more than just a guaranteed driver on a train and that as a minimum there should be a fully qualified and safety critical Guard, as well as the driver.
I believe it is guards and station staff who are absolutely crucial to ensuring confident safe, secure and accessible rail experience for all, but especially the older, vulnerable or disabled passenger.
I want to see more not less staff at stations and on trains. It is the staff on the railway who assist passengers and provide invaluable information, help, advice, security, safety and re-assurance. They must be retained at stations and on trains if disabled, older and vulnerable passengers are not going to be discriminated against and are free to travel as and when they want, safe in the knowledge that help is close by and they are not alone on the train.
I hope you will take on board my concerns and ensure that these essential staff are retained so that my family and I can have the same access to rail transport as everybody else, to be able to go where everyone else goes and to do so easily, confidently and safely.
If not going on full March, but wish to participate in short March, Bus No 91 goes to Trafalgar Sq, Go to Bus Stop X and alight at Bus Stop K which is Charing Cross/Trafalgar Sq Bus Stop. (People travelling from Kings Cross/Euston).
Meet at Bus Stop H which is the Bus Stop for Charing Cross outside the Main Station.
Buses 6,9,15,23,139 and 176 all stop at Bus stop H.
40 yards down the road is a dropped kerb where disabled people can get into the road safely and lead the march to the Speakers Rally which is opposite Downing Street.
If disabled people wish to participate in the full march they welcome to
The full march assembles at 12pm at Gower Street WC1E 8BT which is close by to University College London Hospital
Nearest Accessible Train stations for the full march are Kings Cross St Pancras and Euston
Kings Cross has step free access from Platform to Street Level on underground lines
For those who do not wish to participate in either the full or short March but may wish to see the Rally and hear the speakers:
The Rally will be held at:
London SW1A 2AA
Nearest accessible underground station to Downing Street is Westminster, Jubliee Line is step free from Platform to Street Level. Turn right out of lift and then 100- 200 yards at the end of the road turn right into parliament street/whitehall and opposite Downing Street will be the stage for the rally.
The Rally will be provided with BSL and there will be a safe space at the front of the stage so that BSL users and disabled people using mobility equipment or needing space from large crowds can access. Please get into the space before 2.15 pm.
After the demo is finished:
If returning to Kings Cross/Euston. Bus Stop F (opposite Charing Cross Station) Number 91 Bus stops there.
This has been organised by DPAC, HCT and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
At quarter to four this afternoon the Government sent PLP a letter confirming that they will not be appealing RF’s win at the High Court. This means that as of tomorrow – Regulation 2(4) from the 2017 Regulations is quashed and the original 2012 Regulation on planning and following a journey stands. The MH judgement also still stands (see further below), so those with psychological distress can be considered for all descriptors in planning and following journeys (Activity 11).
The key difficulty May be that they have said during litigation that they don’t have records of who is affected, so how they will begin that process is unknown. Mind estimate around 160,000 people will be affected.
If you might have been affected by this illegal change sneaked in last March then please get in touch with DWP and/or your MP to ask for your money to be reinstated and backdated.
The decision not to appeal was apparently made by lovely Esther who said “I hope that by making this statement it is clear that the Government is committed to improving the lives of people with a Mental Health condition.”
I am sure all of you who have a MH condition will be very pleased to know this although you might also be rolling around laughing at her empty words.
Your experience will help inform Inclusion London’s evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights ‘Defending Rights: attitudes to enforcement inquiry. Information about the inquiry is below:
‘Scope of the inquiry
The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of respect for human rights.
Those rights are supported by political parties, and such rights have long been an integral part of common law, as well as being enshrined in statute by the Human Rights Act 1998.
However much rights may be recognised and protected within the legal framework, there can be barriers to achieving a culture which understands and respects human rights and practical barriers to those who wish to enforce their legal rights.
In this wide-ranging inquiry, the Joint Committee on Human Rights is calling for evidence on factors which may impede individuals from using the UK’s human rights framework effectively.’
Whatever happened to free speech and freedom of opinion? It seems that this is something Tory MPs don’t believe in especially when it is a disabled person exercising those rights.
Mick Hardy, a veteran disability rights campaigner from Norfolk, is being taken to court for shouting at Chloe Smith MP at the Norwich Pride Parade 2017 where she gave a speech. What exactly could Mick have said that would lead him to be charged with allegedly inciting public disorder and threatening behaviour ? What could he possibly have shouted at the Tory scumbag that would lead her to take him to court?
You might have guessed but if not Mick shouted “Chloe Smith you’re a fucking little Nazi.” Surely for any MP being heckled like this is just part of the job- and for a Tory MP being called a Nazi must be par for the course. And of course Chloe Smith is little about the same height as me so it can’t be that word she took offence at.
Mick is not online. Mick has both physical and mental health conditions. Chloe Smith knows who Mick is because he stood against her as the Disabled And Not Dead Yet Party candidate at the 2015 general election.
Mick says ‘this is a very stressful time and he wants to thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for all their support. He refuses to be intimidated because he is only highlighting what is happening to those most vulnerable to Tory cuts in society! Solidarity.’
120,000 people have died because of ‘economic murder’ inflicted by Chloe Smith and her party as reported in The British Medical Journal. If we leave the system unchanged until 2020 then 200,000 people will have died because of Tory policies. Mick says “When are we allowed to mention the Nazis? How do we make them stop if we don’t protest?”
The treatment of disabled people under this government has been described as a ‘Human Catastrophe’ by the United Nations.
If people living nearby want to come to court to support Mick come at 9am on the 9th February to Norwich courts. BBC will be there.
It gave Mick a great lift to know people are talking about his case and offering support.
Depending on the outcome of this totally vacuous case we may need to help crowdfund for Mick’s court costs all because he exercised his right to free speech.
As always we are so grateful to you all for the various types of support we’ve had this year from you. Without that support none of the things we do would be possible. We’ve seconded four extra people to the Steering Group this year and are very happy to welcome their input. We also always need help with the more boring admin tasks that are nevertheless so vital so if anyone has any time or energy to spare please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Also too I hope nothing vital is missed out of this round up but with around 15 pages of notes it is difficult to make sure everything and everyone is included.
This year saw yet another General Election and that together with the Brexit catastrophe we seem to be facing has made it difficult to raise our issues with politicians although we’ve succeeded in making ourselves very visible to them several times this year.
The unprecedented UN inquiry which we instigated found that the Tories (and indeed the Lib Dems and Sir Nick Clegg) were guilty of both the grave and systematic violation of our rights.
DPAC together with ROFA and Black Triangle Campaign have also been to Geneva in March and August to present further evidence to support these violations to the UN Disability Committee.This year as well as continuing to work on the Inquiry the Committee carried out the normal periodic review of the UK’s implementation of UNCRPD. This involved submitting two further detailed reports proving the regression and abuse disabled people face in the UK .
The UN report from this review was again very damning and Chair of the Committee, Teresia Derenger described what has happened to disabled people under the Tories rule as a “human catastrophe.”
We await the government’s response to that report which will no doubt be yet another barrage of lies and deceits as they thrash around trying to justify their horrendous treatment of disabled people. Meanwhile the research team continue to work closely with the UN to gather further detailed evidence of the atrocities faced on a daily basis.
Protests – both local and national
January started off with a protest at the High Court supporting Doug Paulley in his discrimination case against First Bus company.
We also protested against underhand changes to PIP regulations which were sneaked in and which have now been legally challenged.
The judgement for the legal challenge is due any day now and we have been actively involved in supporting this including in November a vigil once again at the High Court with Mental Health Resistance Network and Winvisible.
We continue to work closely with the free psychotherapy network made up of MH survivors and professionals plus a smattering of others and had a lively early morning protest outside the Savoy Conference Centre with them.
We joined in with UNITE’s National Day of Action against Benefit sanctions as did many local DPAC groups at the end of March.
March and April saw a lot of joint actions with RMT over the plans to introduce Driver Only Operated trains which for disabled people will be a disaster further reducing our ability to travel when and where we want. Further protests with RMT have continued throughout the year in London, Yorkshire, Ipswich and Brighton in particular.
April and May also saw us very busy both visibly and invisibly fighting to #TrashtheTories as part of our #NotthefuckingTories election campaigning. We held our week of action from April 14th-21st.
We held a Tories Out protest at parliament and tried to get into Tory party HQ although surprisingly they didn’t let us in and barricaded themselves behind locked doors.
As part of #TrashtheTories we joined activists from Berkshire DPAC in Maidenhead (Theresa’s constituency) on June 2nd and also on the same day activists in Windsor to get our message about her and Theresa’s team out to the electorate. We had earlier considered visiting the village she lives in, Sonning, but the many heavily armed guards and lack of accessible toilets made it an undesirable target. What it is to be so popular you have to be protected by dozens of armed police.
We also invested a lot of money, time and effort into facebook adverts during the election campaign which allowed us to reach over half a million voters in the most marginal constituencies with a series of messages. Not all of the responses we got back to the adverts were positive as some of those we reached were Tory or UKIP voters. In London we had an active and successful campaign in Croydon to get rid of the sitting Tory MP and held hustings in several places as well as enrolling disabled voters.
Given the election and the loss of time for serious lobbying we thought in July just before MPs went off for the summer recess that they needed to be reminded we’re still here so we blocked the lobby entrance in parliament getting much needed media attention from that action. Later this year we were shortlisted for a Liberty Human Rights prize for this.
We also joined a number of other protests the Budget Day Protest, various NHS protests both against STPs and calling for a Scrap to the Cap on pay, Anti-Atos protest in July, and a National Day of Action against Universal Credit about which we are calling for #StopandScrap and not merely #PauseandFix as we do not believe UC can be fixed as it is like the WCA essentially flawed based as it is on conditionality.
Manchester DPAC also planned and hosted the protest at the Tory Party Conference there organising a wall of noise to disrupt Theresa’s speech.
Local groups have also been involved in many local campaigns and protests against STPs, Atos, Maximus and DWP assessments, Housing Benefit cuts, against loss of local services, and against closures of Job Centres and women’s refuges to name but a few.
Speaking and other activities
DPAC activists have spoken at events and meetings around the country far too many to mention them all but some events DPAC speakers spoke at include Bridges without Walls, RMT rallies, International Women’s Day, Norwich May Day rally, National Pensioners Party Conference, Marxism, CWU disabled workers conference, Reb Law, South West UNITE Bristol history seminar, Bristol Austerity March, Pembrokeshire demo to unseat Stephen Crabb, Weston General Hospital save A&E department, anti DUP rally called by Owen Jones, NEU disabled workers’ conference, LRC fringe at PCS conference, and speech sent to UCU Equalities Conference.
At the Labour Party Conference Paula spoke as a CLP delegate and raised the attacks against disabled people and Ellen spoke at the PCS meeting on transforming social security, at Momentum’s a World Transformed festival and was also on a panel with Dawn Butler and Owen Jones. Roger also spoke at a fringe meeting.
We also had a number of successful local direct action workshops through our Lock Up Your Wheelchairs tour.
Last February we also exhibited various art installations at the LUSH summit which lasted for 2 days and had over 2,000 visitors.
We’ve also with help from some of you been interviewed for numerous programmes both for viewing in the UK and abroad, written articles for publication both here and abroad and generally kept spreading the word whenever possible. As well as this we’ve had various research interviews for projects and helped with film work especially for the election campaign.
More recently a DPAC steering group member was involved in co-ordinating the National Disabled People’s Summit including 14 workshops to look at how we can more effectively co-ordinate our resistance to the Tories and bringing together ROFA and TUC disabled members. We also funded and organised with support from ROFA an Independent Living Campaign Conference and have been working closely with Fuel Poverty Action group against restrictions on the cap on energy Bills which at the moment will exclude many people who should get this help.
We have also supported disabled and anti-racism campaigners in Bristol to respond to the murder of disabled asylum seeker Kamil Ahmed and plan a national event for next year.
Next year we also plan a major campaign to #StopandScrap Universal Credit and will continue as always to fight for disabled people’s right to live independently with the right levels of support.
As people are likely to know Phillip Hammond is blaming disabled people being part of the UK workforce for lower productivity rates. This is without any evidence being provided to support this bollocks. So we’d like to reply to Phillip and let him know what we all think about this latest abuse. Please feel free to tweet this post to Tory MPs including @TheresaMay
Apologies to anyone who is sensitive to what some might consider bad language.
Philip Hammond is a prick. We know this, you know this – everybody knows this. Let’s not encourage him. Assume everything he says is just pure shite. This load of shite is particularly dangerous because it reinforces stereotypes and myths, and enables othering. More dangerously, some people feel empowered to go further than othering and take their frustrations out on people who’ve done nothing but try to live the best lives they can.
Don’t be a prick. Don’t believe or peddle this shite.
#SackTheTories – BUDGET DAY PROTEST
Stop the Universal Credit Crisis – Stop Tax Avoidance – Fund Our NHS
Day of action the night before the Budget
November 21st 6pm – 7:30pm, Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London
The Government’s plans to overhaul the welfare system by forcing people onto Universal Credit have been widely criticised by MPs, charities, and campaigners all warning that this is likely to cause a rise in homelessness, poverty, and unnecessary debt. It will leave thousands without an income for weeks as they wait to be transferred, many will be left thousands of pounds worse off, and there is reduced support for claimants. The Trussell Trust have said that they expect a 30% increase in foodbank use this winter in areas where Universal Credit is rolled out. Child Poverty Action Group have found that Government welfare reform will push 1 million children below the poverty line.
Disabled People face losing £40.10 per week with the scrapping of Disability Premiums from Universal Credit.
Vicious Conditionality which could force people to seek extra work for up to 48 hours per week will affect everyone regardless of whether they are in or out of work, disabled or non-disabled.
The cost of moving to Universal Credit was originally estimated at £2.2bn, however it is now at a staggering £15.8bn and still rising.
Revelations in the Paradise Papers show how companies, politicians and individuals are avoiding paying billions of pounds in tax using offshore tax havens rather than paying their fair share here. Theresa May said she would clamp down on tax avoidance but loopholes are still in operation.
More people than ever are having to rely on foodbanks to feed their families, our NHS is in a funding crisis, public sector workers are still facing a pay cap below inflation, millions can’t access affordable housing while the richest individuals and biggest companies take money that should be spent on dealing with these problems and squirrel it away for themselves. The Government is doing nothing to stop it.
Last winter our NHS was driven into the worst crisis in it’s history. We witnessed patients dying in hospital corridors, staff stretched to breaking point and the Red Cross declaring a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in our NHS. This winter looks set to be worse. Head of NHS England Simon Stephens warned the Government last week that unless billions of pounds is found in the budget for the NHS it won’t be able to cope.
The People’s Assembly is calling a nationwide day of action the night before the Chancellors Budget is announced. We’re organising ‘Stop the Universal Credit Crisis – Stop Tax Avoidance’ protests in towns and cities across the country. As part of the protests we’re collecting food which will be donated to local foodbanks so their shelves are stocked to deal with the fallout from Universal Credit and the continuation of austerity policies in the budget.
We want to urge the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to close tax loopholes and force the tax avoiders to pay their fair share, to end the public sector pay cap with an increase above inflation, and to make sure our public services are properly funded.
We will also be using the thousands of pounds that was raised through sales of Captain Ska’s track ‘Liar Liar’ to buy tonnes of food and deliver it to foodbanks across the country. But before it’s delivered, we’ll be displaying all of it right on the doorstep of Downing Street to show Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the effect their damaging policies are having on ordinary people – this will take place as part of the London wide protest on Tuesday 21 November. Join us at Downing Street or at one of the many protests that will be taking place across the country and don’t forget to bring along food for the foodbank collection.
The last chance to see the Resistance Exhibition in London before it goes around the country (Autumn 2018 and onwards). We’re delighted to be part of Makerversity’s Tools for Change, where makers have been creating imaginative protest materials.
If you can make it down between Saturday 18 and Wednesday 23 November to Somerset House on The Strand, central London, please register here:
Dear Mr. Stevens (Tory Councillor for Horley, West Sussex),
I watched your performance on BBC QT with shock and disgust. Your cognitive dissonance, delivered with such religious fervour, is as repulsive now as it was when the German people pretended the Holocaust wasn’t happening in order to assuage their collective guilt. You metaphorically covered your nose and averted your eyes to the dark, greasy pall of death that hangs over this country, and instead decided that attack was the best form of defense of the indefensible. I make no apologies for comparing the current genocide of the disabled with that of Hitler – he began with a cull of the mentally ill and disabled, after all.
My question is, what on earth makes you think you know better than a reporter who has actually researched the subject in minute detail and spoken to victims and relatives of those who have been murdered by or are suffering under the government you voted for? Or, indeed, what makes you think you know better than the sick and disabled, themselves?
Disabled people may not be living in fear of the sound of Jackboots on the ground outside their door, but they are living in fear of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) regime – so much so that there is actually now a medically recognised condition called “Brown Envelope Syndrome” just for the illnesses brought on by state-sponsored oppression and harassment. Did you know that, Mr. Stevens? Or did you miss it because you were you too busy straining to look the other way (as I imagine you do regarding the exponential increase in child poverty, homelessness, and the systematic dismantling of the NHS for privatisation, since 2010)?
The millions of sick and disabled people suffering from government oppression in the UK can disabuse you of your ignorance – if you can face them. They can confirm that the genocide of the most vulnerable is most certainly real and has been going on since 2010. I know this because I am one of the sick people the government has been trying to cull – and almost succeeded on three separate occasions. Where it failed to succeed in killing me off, however, it did succeeded in making my existing health issues far, far worse, and I have actually developed multiple new and very serious conditions related specifically to DWP oppression. It has been so bad, in fact, that I have a case for DWP Maladministration currently with the Ombudsman, a stage reached only after more than three long years at the hands of the DWP’s internal complaints system (any idea why it should take so long Mr. Stevens? Almost like it was designed to put you off, make you give up, or give you the chance to die before it’s heard…).
I also use my experience to help other disabled people being harassed into an early grave by the DWP – hundreds of them. I have talked people down from the edge. Coaxed them away from the painkillers, sleeping pills, and alcohol they were about to use to end it all because they couldn’t take any more DWP oppression, lies, and mindless bureaucracy; they simply had no more fight left in them. I helped save their lives and snatch them from the grip of the vile, murderous hands of the Tory government. So, unlike you, I do not speak purely from my own narrow and convenient perspective; I speak for the experience of many, many others in addition to myself.
If you do not wish to be accused of having the blood of sick and disabled people on your hands, which, as a Tory voter, you most certainly do, then I respectfully request you actually look carefully at what you’re voting for, in future. The information regarding MP’s voting records is in the public domain, for example, as are the DWP death figures, the figures for the number of terminally ill cancer patients refused PIP each year, the UN reports describing the plight of the UK’s disabled under the Tories as a “human catastrophe”, the coroners’ reports regarding the suicides linked to the Work Capability Assessment that were served to the government several years ago and then buried and denied, the huge numbers of cases overturned at tribunals, the reports from disability organisations into the devastating effects of the welfare cuts – cuts aimed overwhelmingly at the sick and disabled – and so on.
And if anyone at BBC QT behaved in a Trumpesque manner, Mr. Stevens, it was you. Your bluff and bluster and use of ‘alternative facts’ to go on the attack without even letting Mr. Chakrabortty finish his sentence or give explanation (facilitated, as ever, by Mr. Dimbleby) is reminiscent of Trump’s late night Twitter rants.
Unfortunately for people like you, it’s getting more and more difficult for this government and the right-wing media to hide the genocide of the sick and disabled in this country – and it will be exposed in the very near future. The cracks have been appearing for some time. For Aditya Chakrabortty to actually get those words out on live TV, before your crass attempts to cut him off, is a first. It’s been seven torturous years too long in coming, but it finally happened. And when the floodgates open and the truth of the sheer scale of this government cull of the nation’s vulnerable is finally revealed in all its vileness, Tory voters will have only two choices: either continue to deny the facts, or wring their hands at the horror of it all and wail about how they wish they’d known the truth.
But you, Mr. Stevens, have but one choice. You have been told. You can no longer claim you didn’t know. So, will you continue to just deny and attack, as you did on BBC QT?
Or, perhaps my character assessment of you is incorrect. Perhaps you have simply been misinformed and misled for the last seven years. Perhaps you’d like to learn the truth for yourself so you can make an informed decision and help effect change? Is that the real you, Mr. Stevens? Are you simply a hapless victim of propaganda and misinformation?
Well, if you’d like a window into the misery and suffering of just a tiny percentage of sick and disabled under the government you voted for, why not go onto the government’s OWN website (not advertised – I found it by accident, and it was only open for comments for a very limited time) and read up on the experiences of real people being oppressed right now by the Tory Boot Boys at the DWP (and do bear in mind that many sick and disabled people don’t have access to the internet or can’t use it, or are simply too sick and beaten down to complain – yet still thousands responded in a very short time):
Obviously, those writing on this forum are still living, so if that isn’t enough for you, then please go to: http://calumslist.org for a list of people killed by this government and find out how they suffered and died.
And if, after all that, you still feel inclined to defend this governmental abuse and genocide, why don’t you try and prove how wrong I am, and how I’ve imagined the pain, misery, and oppression I’ve suffered unnecessarily since 2012 (when they came for me)? I’d like to see you try and wash that blood off your hands, Mr. Stevens, as I have enough evidence to bury you in paperwork for a decade.
And do you know that life for all disabled people (except those cushioned by wealth) is lived under a black cloud of fear? And that the fear is never absent for even one second of any day since this vile regime was instigated? The sick and disabled of this country live the most difficult of lives already – they now have to cope with pain and illness without a moment’s peace. Is it any wonder they are sicker than ever? Please stop for a moment to consider this, Mr. Stevens: this government has repeatedly and deliberately targeted the sick and disabled for harassment and cuts to their income, as they are the demographic least physically able to fight back and have the least resources available to do so. How morally bankrupt does a person have to be to think this is acceptable?
It is so bad, in fact, that in September 2016 I served the DWP with a Death Letter that prevents it covering up the details of my death if it does succeed in killing me, so it can’t hide behind the Data Protection Act (DPA) as it does now in refusing to discuss particular cases. I have a copy on file with my GP and a solicitor, and I give permission for full disclosure of the coroner’s report and all aspects of my appalling treatment at the hands of this government since 2012. I understand many others have started doing this, too.
The sick and the disabled are also tired of government, media, and people like you conflating the two labels to justify government abuse. You can have a perfectly health disabled person that, with a few adjustments made available by an employer, is willing and able to work, and sick people who are just ill for a while and intend to go back to work… and then there are the seriously ill and severely disabled who will never be able to work no matter what the disgraced assessors at disability denial companies like Atos, Capita, and Maximus tell you. The former examples are used to justify the treatment of the latter, and allow the type of cognitive dissonance you displayed on BBC QT to flourish among the close-minded. It allows people like you to focus on a relatively able subgroup of disabled, like Paralympians, for example, to make erroneous assumptions that the others, the very vulnerable, can’t really be all that disabled, after all – meaning they certainly can’t be having rather a bad time of things and being killed off by the Tories. Newsflash! Very sick people are disabled by the limitations of their conditions (like being in a coma), BUT disabled people are not necessarily sick (like most Paralympians).
And if you’re trying to tell yourself all this simply can’t be true in the UK in 2017, or that surely the courts would be full of cases against the government for actual bodily harm and unlawful killing, as well as institutionalised and systematic abuse of sick and disabled peoples’ Human Rights… you’re in good company – we’re all wondering why it hasn’t happened, too.
I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the issues I raised, Mr. Stevens – although I’d prefer you use facts, this time, rather than rely on a tirade of abuse and indignation, as you did on BBC QT.
PS. Since you’re crowing about your disgusting performance on BBC QT on social media, I have copied this letter to various news outlets and other interested parties to also be made public in the interests of fairness and truth.
anyone who is both a DPAC supporter and member of UNITE community can apply to UNITE to attend this meeting. We need a united front to make it clear to everyone that #pauseandfix is not an option with Universal Credit. It must be#StopandScrap. If you are able to register to go to this please let us know ny emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To book a place email
Tony.Winchester@unitetheunion.org requesting a place at the mini-conference on the 20th December include your unite membership number and branch number in your email.
DWP CLAIMANTS AND STAFF WORKING TOGETHER
CONFERENCE for UNITE COMMUNITY, PCS and LUS MEMBERS
Wednesday 20th December 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. at PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Rd, London SW11 2LN
Nearest Overground Station: Clapham Junction
9.30 – 10.00 a.m.: – Registration
00 – 10.40: Introduction and speakers:
John McDonnell (invited) Labour Party
Liane Groves National Coordinator, Unite Community
John McInally PCS Vice-President
10.40 – 11:00:
The Welfare Charter – Nick Phillips, London Unemployed Strategies
Stand Up For Your Rights groups – Waltham Forest and Southwark SUFYR
11.00 – 11.30 a.m. Questions and contributions
11.30 – 11.45: Break
11.45 – 12.30 p.m.: Workshops
The Welfare Charter: Labour Party and TUC – how to progress from policy to action to legislation
Stand Up For Your Rights Groups: how to set up a group in your area; strengths and weaknesses
12.30 – 1.00: Feedback from workshops and discussion
1.00 – 1.45: – Lunchbreak
1.45 – 2.00: Joint campaigns between Unite Community, PCS and LUS
Tony Reay – PCS
Liane Groves – Unite Community
Nick Phillips – LUS
2.00 – 3.00:– Workshops x 4 (North, South, East and West regions)
To discuss local and national campaign priorities including:
Universal Credit rollout
Digitisation and the threat of mass redundancies;
Rights to representation for claimants
3.00 – 3.45: Feedback from workshops and discussion
3.45 – 4.00: Conclusions and what happens next
4.00 ff.: Campaign/demo picture followed by refreshments and party
A statement in solidarity with the London Anarchist Bookfair Collective. From some friends of the Bookfair
Please share a widely as possible.
On Saturday 28th October the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair took place in North London. As usual several thousand anarchists and fellow travellers from diverse tendencies attended, ran stalls, held meetings and other activities. The Bookfair is organised by a small voluntary collective of five, with a wider group of supporters who help out with setting up, facilitating areas or aspects of the events on the day, collecting donations to cover costs of this free event, tidying up at the end, and so on. It is a monumental amount of work, that generally falls on this small group of people (with families and lives, like the rest of us), who come together to spend much of the year running up to October facilitating the staging of an event and a space for several thousand others in the movement. The Bookfair Collective have always shown willing to take on board suggestions, follow up ideas, and include people and organisations with a view to broadening the range of ideas encompassed and the diversity of the program. They have always been open to more involvement in running the Bookfair.
Saturday’s events and the Open Letter
There were a series of incidents at the Bookfair this year which included distribution of leaflets about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act being consulted on and an ensuing stand-off. Several people intervened to stop what looked like a developing potentially physically violent incident against a lone woman activist by a group of people. We would hope that most people reading this would do the same.
Some of the people who intervened to do this were members of the Bookfair Collective but they were not doing so as a group in ‘authority’ on the situation, but as individuals and friends supporting a comrade; just as other bookfair-goers in the past have stepped up to stop others being chucked out. We would suggest it is a misinterpretation of events, and the role of the collective, to see this as a ‘Bookfair Collective intervention’ in order to stop the self-organisation of the group involved.
In the wake of the events on Saturday, an Open Letter has been written and circulated online, calling for changes to, and a potential boycott and/or picket of, next year’s Bookfair.
“a pattern of response from Bookfair organisers where incidents of transphobia, anti-semitism, islamophobia, racism and misogyny are ignored” and “organisers have stepped in to defend and support those who use oppressive, violent and dehumanising language to perpetuate racist, colonial and patriarchal systems of oppression.” and the collective “allows racist imperialism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny and ableism to ingratiate themselves as part of the culture of the Bookfair”
We would dispute this and would call for specific examples for any of the above, and evidence that we can reasonably judge from, enough to prove a pattern that the Bookfair Collective have refused to deal with them when raised.
What is the Anarchist Bookfair?
More fundamentally, we would ask to whom are the demands in the open letter really directed?
The Bookfair is not set up to be the representative body for anarchists, nor can it be. It is neither a membership organisation, nor are members of the collective Mediation Practitioners, there to settle the sometimes seismic differences and different perspectives that attendees bring to the event.
Come the day of the Bookfair that space the organisers have facilitated is filled with the politics brought into it by the anarchist movement itself, in all its initiatives, vivid colours and traditions. If a chasm of difference exists over issues that flare up, such as last weekend, the Bookfair Collective are not in a position, nor have the physical resources to arbitrate. So we ask: whose responsibility is this and how do disagreements (sometimes leading to threats of violence or actual violence) get dealt with? The existing statement on these issues can be found on the Bookfair’s website:
We are left to wonder whether anarchist practice has become so inculcated by ‘customer service’ culture that even the Bookfair is attended by consumers forgetting the fundamental essence of DIY, self-organisation and self-regulation of events.
The Bookfair Collective operates on the principle that it is not for the small collective that organises it to take on defining and enforcing a rigid policy on safety and behaviour; it is for the wider movement that takes part in the Bookfair to do so, along anarchist principles of opposing centralized authority with dispersed and grassroots responsibility.
Points raised in the open letter call for a radically different event, with a much more centralized program, organized or tightly overseen by the collective. If we as a movement, decide that this is what we want, many more of us will need to commit time and energy to organising and supporting this annual event.
We reject transphobia and have all actively supported struggles against oppression. We support the right of trans identifying people to live their lives free from harassment and abuse, to organise, campaign and engage in debate with whoever they choose; and to be addressed by the gender pronouns of their choice. We support the rights of all women to be heard. We recognise that both trans activists and gender critical feminists are currently feeling attacked, at times to the level of their very existence and identities. We would hope that everyone participating in London Anarchist Bookfair would treat each other respectfully and continue to believe that dialogue is possible so that we can strengthen our struggle against oppression and build a better world. We reject bullying and intimidation – in physical or written form.
The Bookfair can never be the ‘dreamed of Utopia’ the open letter imagines, despite all our desires and dedication. We agree with the open letter on one thing, that we should all always be challenging ourselves and each other to widen liberation and ensure the Bookfair is a safe and respectful event, drawing in communities, and reflecting them. But we also believe it needs to allow for discussion and dissent, while excluding hatred and oppression.
We are not members of the Bookfair Collective but some of us have been in the past, and some of us have been involved in wider support work for Bookfairs. All of us are long-time attendees of the Bookfair. As such we hope that it continues, we offer our solidarity and practical support to the Bookfair Collective. We urge the Collective to look beyond the signatories of the open letter to the many wider groups and individuals who attend and take part in the event every year, and to realise that they do have a groundswell of support out there.
Rather than calling for a boycott of the Bookfair, we would challenge the writers of the open letter to engage meaningfully with the Collective and others to help create the change they want. In the light of the statement’s refusal to engage with the Collective until their minimum demands are met, the Bookfair Collective would be reasonably entitled to ignore the open letter.
So we stand by the Bookfair Collective, and salute how the Bookfair is organised; recognising the immense work done in making it happen every year. But it remains up to all of us who attend and take part in it to ensure that it measures up to the standards of love, solidarity and empowerment that we all desire. It is not possible for the small collective that currently facilitates the space to police them. Nor is it fundamentally anarchism.
NUT headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD
Since 2010 Disabled people have been subject to brutal attacks in every area of our lives caused by the disproportionate impact of austerity measures and the dismantling of the welfare system. In August the United Nations disability committee publicly declared that they are now more worried about the UK than any other country in the entire history of the committee and that UK Government “social cuts” have led to “human catastrophe”. This followed publication at the end of last year of the Committee’s investigation into the UK which found evidence of “grave and systematic violations” of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform.
Yet the Tory Government continues to deny there is a problem.
This summit will bring together Deaf and Disabled people from the trade union movement, Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and grassroots campaigns to explore how we can more effectively co-ordinate our resistance and organise joint campaigning in identified areas.
The event will be largely workshop based with the aim of each workshop to come up with and agree a campaigns plan that participants will go away and work together to put into action. The idea of the Summit is to inspire concrete activity that will lead to real change.
David Gauke the latest in a long line of ministers of state for DWP this week refused to halt the roll out of Universal Credit despite warnings from many credible sources including his own backbenchers that it was a disaster in waiting.
As the roll out of Universal Credit proceeds more and more disabled people are likely to find that they miss out on any transitional protections and in the worst case scenario that their claim is treated as a new one they face the loss of £78.35 a week from their social security payments.
This is because in Universal credit there are no Severe Disability Premiums or Enhanced Disability Premium paid. They simply vanish into thin air.
Research has shown that the additional cost of being disabled is £550 per month extra but the nasty party are stripping claimants of most of the money they need to meet those additional costs.
We’re planning something for International Day of Disabled People with more details about this to follow but in the meantime we’re asking people to contact their MPs and ask them to justify taking £78.35 pw away from those who have the highest support needs/ are most severely disabled.
Maybe they’ll say how they manage to sleep at nights.
Please then send us a copy of your letter and their response to you. email@example.com
Please send details of your experiences to Work & Pensions Committee by November 10th. You don’t need to address all of the questions just any that are relevant. Please note we do not want you to send this information to us but directly to the Committee.
Committee launches new inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments
In the last Parliament the Committee held an urgent one-off evidence session in the wake of the announcement of Government plans to restrict the number of people who qualify for PIP, a move which would limit the cost of PIP by £3.7 billion. Evidence taken then revealed worrying disparities between the applicants’ recall of the assessment process and the final report produced to enable DWP to make a decision. The Committee also heard concerns about the contractor assessors’ ability to understand and properly assess a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and about the dignity and conduct of the assessment process. The latest data shows that claimants are successful in appealing against their decision in 65% of cases, for both PIP and ESA, and that there has been an 29% increase in such appeals being registered since this time last year.
Given high ratesof overturn at appeal, the Committee invites evidence on the effectiveness of assessment processes used to determine eligibility for these benefits, and the experience of applicants going through it. The Committee is interested in receiving recommendations for change both on the assessment process for each benefit individually, and on common lessons that can be learned from the two processes.
Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The truly amazing rate of overturned ESA and PIP decisions seems to point to something being fundamentally wrong with the initial assessment and Mandatory Reconsideration stages. Quite apart from the human cost this represents – the distress and difficulty for applicants trying to get help with daily living or getting into work – it looks to be wasteful, inefficient, and a huge cost to taxpayers.
“We would like to hear from claimants – and assessors – about whether and where the system works, or is failing, and how it might be fixed.”
In particular, the Committee would welcome evidence on the following points, by 10 November 2017:
Assessors and assessments:
Do contractor assessors possess sufficient expertise to carry out assessments for people with a wide range of health conditions?
Is DWP quality control for contractors sufficient and effective?
Should the options for reforming the Work Capability Assessment mooted in the Government’s Improving Lives green paper be taken forward?
What examples of best practice in assessing eligibility for benefits are available internationally, and how transferrable are they to ESA and/or PIP?
Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal:
Why do claimants seek to overturn initial assessment outcomes for ESA and/or PIP?
Why are levels of disputed decisions higher for PIP than for ESA?
Is the MR process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?
What accounts for the rate of overturned decisions at appeal for PIP and/or ESA?
Are there lessons that could be learned from the ESA MR and appeal process for PIP and vice-versa?
What changes could be made earlier in the process to ensure fewer claimants feel they need to appeal?
Do prospective claimants currently understand the purpose of the assessment?
How could claimants be helped to better understand the assessment process?
Are some groups of claimants particularly likely to encounter problems with their assessments – and if so, how can this be addressed?
Should the assessment processes for PIP and ESA be more closely integrated? How else might the processes be streamlined for claimants?
An easy read version of these terms of reference is available on our website, and we encourage people to join the discussion on our web forum, whether you would like to submit evidence to the inquiry or not.
Committee Membership is as follows:
Frank Field – Chair (Labour), Heidi Allen (Conservative), Andrew Bowie (Conservative), Jack Brereton (Conservative), Alex Burghart (Conservative), Neil Coyle (Labour), Marsha De Cordova (Labour), Ruth George (Labour), Chris Green (Conservative), Steve McCabe (Labour), Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party)