May 112015
 

Secret Changes to Motability Grant Making Conditions – People needed for Legal Challenge

Motability have introduced changes to their grant making conditions discriminating against disabled people with the highest support needs who are unable to work for a minimum of 12 hours a week, carry out at least 12 hours voluntary work (which apparently can’t be internet based but has to be outside the home and doesn’t include travelling time), are not in education for at least 12 hours a week and who need specialised adaptations to transfer to drive or drive-from-wheelchair vehicles.

These changes have not been made publicly known or advertised to current customers in any way about who is eligible for a grant and the changes were made without any consultation.

We understand these changes were made from June 1st this year but customers are only being told about them when they enquire about a grant for a replacement vehicle.

The impact of these changes which affects those with the highest and most costly needs are potentially life-changing. It could well prevent people having contact with family (let alone friends) if they live in a rural area with little or no transport, it means anyone who can only travel with equipment like hoists. Oxygen cylinders and other bulky items won’t be able to go anywhere. It also ignores the fact that with other cuts to services people will not be able to ensure they have the physical support from someone else to drive them.

We have sought legal advice to see whether these changes can be challenged as discriminatory and now need to hear from anyone who is or would be affected by these changes in the near future and who would qualify for legal aid. In particular we want to hear from anyone who currently does not have a vehicle and has been refused the right to apply for grant funding.

If you think you might be affected by these changes and are willing to consider taking legal action then please contact us at  mail@dpac.uk.net

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/motability-face-court-action-discriminatory-new-rules/

 

 Posted by at 20:33
May 062015
 

DPAC are very happy to post this update from Anthony’s friend and advocate, Joe Whittaker:


 

5 May 2015 — Dear Supporters,

I have just returned from a visit to see Anthony in Dublin.

Anthony is delighted that within the coming weeks he is going to be in his own home with his own support staff and enjoying his chosen lifestyle, once again.
A bungalow in his local and family neighbourhood has been found. The process of Anthony recruiting his own pa’s has started. ALL staff will be given full and ongoing training in Anthony’s communication – essential ingredient, for Anthony to direct his own life, with the support he requires.

Anthony is very much aware that there will be struggles to overcome to re establish his independent life but he has an absolute determination that he will achieve it given the recently established, and hard won, positive climate, which Anthony and his family know would not have happened without your warm and very practical support.

Anthony intends to post many photos when he is in his own home celebrating his and your victory.

Will keep you posted

Joe Whittaker
Friend of Anthony Kletzander


 

 Posted by at 10:10
Apr 092015
 

Please see below the news release from Joe Whittaker, Anthony’s friend and steadfast supporter and advocate, without whom, none of this would have happened.

 

Anthony Kletzander Wins his Right to Independent Living.

8th April 2015

We are delighted to inform all Anthony’s supporters that The Health Service Executive have agreed, on Friday 6th April 2015, to fully support Anthony’s return to sustainable independent living.

Discussions have already started with ‘Possibilities Plus’ in Dublin to manage Anthony’s support requirements, each of which will be directed by Anthony. Anthony will be selecting his own accommodation, with his own staff to start again his lifestyle in his local community, with a view to further university study and reconnecting his friends at Quiet Riot in, Manchester.

We want to thank all Anthony’s friends for their active support.The success of this campaign would not have happened without this support – thank you to everyone of you.

We want to thank, in particular, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) for their commitment and guidance, who were not deterred by the threat of legal action against DPAC website for publishing details of abuse against Anthony.

Now the hard work starts to ensure we listen and listen and listen again to Anthony to ensure his Rights are fully realised.


 

This is fabulous news and all at DPAC are delighted, for Anthony, Anthony’s parents, Linda and Sigi, for Joe and Anthony’s friends.

We are also delighted because it shows that big organisations, such as Ireland’s HSE and Nua, are not invulnerable to pressure.

Protesting works, public shaming works, fighting back works.

We want to thank all the people who tweeted, facebooked, signed and shared petitions and posts, donated, wrote letters and emails,  and sent Anthony good wishes, you all played a vital role in this victory, it would not have happened without YOU!

And now our thoughts turn to all the other people who  have been wrongly incarcerated for the ‘Crime” of having Autism. We don’t know how many tens? hundreds? thousands? We don’t know the number but we do know its Wrong. And we will continue the struggle for Independent Living for them all.

You can learn more about what Anthony has had to go through by watching this video of Anthony’s mother, Linda speaking at a meeting organised by Finian Mcgrath TD (equivalent of MP). He organised the meeting about the treatment of disabled people in institutions which grew to about 60 people.

Yes we know that much of the video is on it’s side but its still worth seeing to learn about what people like Anthony have to go through.

 Posted by at 13:13
Mar 312015
 

Sign in support of the campaign now! 

Email Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.co.uk with the name of your organisation or as an individual.

Ultimate aim of the campaign

Motability agrees to reverse the changes to eligibility criteria for Motability’s Special Vehicles Fund for Drive-from-Wheelchair/Internal Transfer (DFW/IT) vehicles used by disabled people with complex needs. 

Other aims:

·        Motability agrees to conduct a formal public consultation on the changes, including a face to face meeting with current grant users. Until this consultation is concluded and a consultation response report publicly published the changes should be immediately reversed.

·        Motability agrees to publishes  their equality impact assessment of the changes

·        Motability agrees to publish clear and full information about the changes on their website. 

Why the need for the campaign?

Motability has changed the eligibility criteria for their Special Vehicles Fund (SVF) for Drive-from-Wheelchair/Internal Transfer (DFW/IT) vehicles used by disabled people with complex needs. We believe these changes could destroy the ability to live independently and be included in the community of those affected. 

What are the changes?

From June 2014 ‘a usage test’ was introduced by Motability regarding DFW/IT vehicles.  This test applies to those applying to the SVF first time and current users when renewing their contract (see statement provided by Motability attached). Below is information on how the changes are being implemented in practice.

Current users are telephoned some months in advance of the renewal date of their contract and asked if the vehicle is to support ‘substantive employment, education, volunteer working or to enable the disabled driver to provide vital and sole care to another, for example, a school-age child or children or a disabled loved one who resides with the disabled person.’  About 12 hours a week seems to be considered ‘substantive’. It appears that those that do not fulfil this criterion are no longer eligible for a vehicle.

We are very concerned that disabled people who rely on access to such vehicles will no longer be eligible for grants from the scheme and therefore unable to replace vehicles, which are essential to their independence. These vehicles are often used by disabled people with the highest support needs, who for a range of reasons relating to their impairments, are unable to access public transport because it unavailable or not possible because of pain levels or the need to carry equipment such as hoists or oxygen or a particularly large vehicle as illustrated in the case study below:

Case study

Because of the specialised seating on my wheelchair, it is too large to travel on bus.  Only 3 weeks ago I couldn’t go to hospital Emergency A&E because the ambulances can’t take me!  I was severely dehydrated, they ended up sending a doctor to my home and doing 48-hour IV just because I couldn’t go to hospital.  

There is NO way I am every going to be employed which is depressing enough, I can’t get  voluntary work because I can’t even go and see anyone to consider it (no transport!).  I really am so depressed over these changes. 

These new changes mean I am confined to the distance of my own wheelchair with no access to public transport, and no access to Motability.

The impact

The independence given to disabled people to drive their own vehicle often means they can become involved in their community and do voluntary activities. Without a DFW/IT vehicle many disabled people will be excluded from visits to families and friends and will be unable to take part in any aspects of social, religious, community, wellbeing activities and political life.  In addition these changes will prevent disabled people getting into education, obtaining employment or volunteering unless already involved in these activities and therefore will never fulfil the new criteria for a DFW/IT vehicle.

Motability did not conduct a consultation before implementing these changes and as far as we are aware they did not carry out an Equality Impact Assessment regarding the impact of the change, also there was no public announcement or any information published concerning the changes.   Disabled people only become aware when asked the questions on the telephone. There is still only limited information given by Motability at: http://www.motability.co.uk/understanding-the-scheme/financial-help/eligibility-for-financial-help

Motability administers government funds, yet they seem to be ignoring the Equality act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, which states the duty to facilitate:

·        ‘the personal mobility of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice’

·        access to ‘quality mobility aids’

·        disabled people’s right to ‘full inclusion and participation in the community’.   

Disabled people’s organisations are acting together with other voluntary sector organisations to ask Motability to reverses the changes to the eligibility criteria for the SVF for DFW/IT vehicles.

What can you do?

·        Sign in support of the campaign by emailing Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.co.uk

·        Sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/stop-unfair-and-secret-changes-to-motability-grants#petition-letter   2,500 people  signed in the first 3 weeks!

·        Promote petition, email, Facebook, Twitter etc.

·        Send letter of protest and case examples to Motability.

·        Survey members on their experiences of Motability reviews

·        Contact your local MP, and relevant Ministers

Join the coalition of disabled people’s organisations and voluntary sector organisations supporting the aims of the campaign above, to do this please email Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.co.uk with the name of your organisation. 

Please forward this email to your contacts. 

Many thanks,

Henrietta

Henrietta Doyle

Policy Officer

Mobile: 07703 715091

Direct line (Wednesday’s only) 020 7036 6033

Office Tel: 020 7237 3181, SMS: 0771 839 4687

www: http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/

 Posted by at 19:07
Mar 252015
 

A complaint to the United Nations was today launched on behalf of disabled people in the UK whose rights have been breached by the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF). The ILF, which is the subject of an on-going and desperate battle between disabled people and the Department for Work and Pensions (1), is high on the priority list for disabled people deciding how to vote at the forthcoming election. The complaint brought by Inclusion London (2) on behalf of two disabled women, Nicky Baker and Dr Melanie Wilson Jones, alleges that the government has violated Articles 17, 19, 20, 30 and 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), ratified by the UK in 2009 (3).

The Independent Living Fund was set up in 1988 to support disabled people with high support needs to live in the community when the alternative was residential care. Since then it has helped thousands to live active and full lives, contributing to their communities and participating in education, employment and volunteering, family and social life. It is an effective way to provide support with both low cost overheads and extremely high user satisfaction rates (4).

On 13 December 2010 without any consultation or impact assessment, it was announced that the ILF would be closed permanently to new applicants. A ministerial statement was made referring to “informal consultation with disability organisations” but there is no record of this consultation (5). Since then, disabled people who missed out on the Fund have been left without the support they need to take part in day to day life and disabled people’s life chances have dramatically fallen. Meanwhile the government has failed to monitor the impact of the closure.

Nicky Baker, age 30, is a qualified auditor working within a disabled people’s organisation as well as studying part time for a degree. Although eligible for support from the ILF, the Fund was closed the day after she telephoned for an application form. The social care package she receives from her Local Authority does not provide the support she needs to live an independent life, for example to go on dates with her boyfriend without having her parents there or to take part in sufficient training for the high level of powerchair football she reached.

Dr Melanie Wilson Jones received a substantial amount of support including from the ILF after sustaining a brain injury. She made such progress that her needs decreased and thus her support was reduced. However following a road traffic accident in 2011 she sustained a further brain injury requiring someone to be with her constantly. Now unable to get support from the ILF, she is reliant on her husband who works full time and her 16 year old daughter to make up the extra hours of support she needs for evenings and weekends.

Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, who are supporting the challenge, said: “It is the pooling of resources and collective solidarity that has allowed this to happen. We’re grateful to DPAC supporters for their financial support towards travel costs, to the solicitor and barrister who gave their time pro bono, to Inclusion London for their staffing resources and of course to the two disabled women willing to put themselves forward to make a complaint on an issue that affects all disabled people in the UK. Without all of these factors this could never have been brought to fruition.”

Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London, who authored the complaint said, “The closure of the Independent Living Fund signals the end of independent living for disabled people. It took many years for disabled people to fight their way out of the institutions and to have the same chances as anyone else to live in the community alongside family and friends. At the current time Local Authorities are simply not able to provide the level of social care support required to uphold disabled people’s fundamental human rights”.

Sophie Partridge, a current ILF recipient, said: “The ILF has played a huge part in supporting me to have equal access to an independent adult life and a level playing field alongside non-disabled people. Without the ILF being re-opened to new applicants, I worry that young disabled people will never get the same life chances as I have had.”

Solicitor Louise Whitfield, from law firm Deighton Pearce Glynn, who is representing the complainants said: “From a legal perspective, I cannot see how the UK Government can justify closing the ILF to new applicants with no consultation or consideration of the rights protected under the UN Convention. Under Article 19, those rights include the fundamental right to independent living which has clearly been breached by this decision and I hope that the UN Committee takes appropriate action to recognise these very significant breaches”.

For more information or to speak to either the complainants or other disabled people affected by the closure of the ILF contact: ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk or call 07505144371.

Notes for editors:

1) The future of the ILF has been the subject of two legal challenges: the first was won by disabled claimants at the Court of Appeal in November 2013 and the second was lost in the High Court in December 2014. There have been continued protests and direct actions led by disabled people and their supporters since 2010, including in June 2014 the attempted occupation of the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

2) Inclusion London is a pan impairment pan London Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation (DDPO) which provides policy, campaigning and capacity building support for London DDPOs. Inclusion London promotes disability equality and has been working with the disabled people led campaign Disabled People Against cuts to support ILF recipients in the campaign to keep the ILF open.

3) The UK is signed up to the UNCRPD Optional Protocol. This means that individuals can take complaints to the UN disability committee for breach of the UNCRPD if all domestic avenues have been exhausted. If the committee find the complaint admissible, they will investigate. and produce a set of recommendations for the State in question. One previous complaint was made to the UN disability committee but found inadmissible as the incidents in question which related to employment discrimination occurred before the UK ratified the convention. For more information about the UNCRPD: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=150

For more information about previous uses of the Optional Protocol: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=4&DocTypeCategoryID=6

4)

5)

 Posted by at 21:42
Mar 162015
 

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

The current situation now is that England will be the only UK nation which no longer has an ILF as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have pledged to open replacement ILF funds so this will lead to what can only be described as the biggest postcode lottery ever. If you are fortunate enough to live in a devolved nation then you will still be eligible for this additional funding but if you are unfortunate enough to live in England then you won’t be.

Obviously it may seem to those who have no real experience of the way the care system operates that it makes sense to devolve all funding to local authorities even if it will not be ring-fenced either to current recipients or even to the adult social care budget however ILF funding covers essential support for independent living which local authority care will not. (even with the introduction of the new care Act from April this year).

Labour says it strongly agrees that independent living is crucial to ensuring that disabled people have the same rights, choices and chances as any other citizen. They tabled an amendment during the Committee Stage of the Care Bill which would have enshrined in law the right of disabled people to live independently. Unsurprisingly the government chose to vote against and defeat this amendment. Ed Miliband has said recently Labour also opposed the government’s plans for closure of the Independent Living Fund in the absence of a comprehensive strategy for a system of social care that protects people’s ability to live independently. Yet in spite of this if Labour is elected in May it will be a Labour government that allows the ILF to close.

Kate Green/You have said “it’s not Labour’s position to retain the ILF “

We have asked Labour to commit to keeping the ILF open for current recipients even if only in the short term until something better can replace it so that a generation of disabled people do not lose the right to continue to live independently in the community.

The Labour front bench have said they will allow the ILF to close because there is a real opportunity to develop a sustainable model of provision for the most severely disabled people within the integrated health and social care landscape that Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall have been articulating rather than continuing with a standalone fund. These proposals are based on a report by the Oldham Commission which clearly states that it will take the 5 years of a new parliament and an extra £10 billion of funding to achieve these changes. In the meantime there will be no protection for disabled people in England who need their needs funding now and not at some date far into the future. For them any new integrated care system will simply be too late to help. Moreover, as respected experts in the field such as Professor Pat Thane have pointed out, the current system is simply not functioning at the necessary level. Relying on the integration of health and social care as a solution to the crisis in social care is thus an irresponsible gamble to take with people’s lives.

In the original ILF consultation over 50% of local authorities said that the loss of ILF was likely to lead to disabled people having to move from the community back into Care homes, something that is not only morally wrong but which will cost Local Authorities, who by 2015 will have had social care budgets cut by £8 billion, or by about 33%, considerably more.

Already since 2008 over 90,000 disabled people or 1 in 6 have lost their care and support for independent living.

While it is true that the fund is now being wound down, and staff numbers are already reducing it is not true that it is too late for Labour to commit to keeping the ILF open in England as well as will be the case in other parts of the UK. PCS and a former manager at ILF have both given the Labour front bench detailed reasons of why this is the case.

As the devolved funding will not be ring-fenced in any way to either individuals or adult social care budgets Ed Miliband has said that Labour will put in place guidance for Local Authorities to encourage them to meet the needs of severely disabled people in their areas but this will not be mandatory and we have no reason to believe that cash strapped councils will have either the political will nor the financial ability to implement such guidance. They are very aware of the dangers of setting precedents for providing levels and types of social care support to some individuals and not for others. A Local Authority could easily consider itself to have more to risk by following than not following the guidelines. In order to ensure equity between all adult service users they may well feel they have no choice but to level down..

As emerged from formerly undisclosed documents from DWP during one of the court cases the devolved funding for ILF recipients is only in place until April 2016 and no additional funding was requested beyond that date by DWP. What will happen to the real people stuck in the middle of this chaos then has not been addressed by any political party.

Further Labour also cite “inconsistencies” in delivery as a reason to remove the right to live independently from severely disabled people but these are the result of unequal take up between different local authorities  and is symptomatic of the failings of local authority administered social care support. As a national model of service delivery the ILF is far more successful and cost effective than local authority administered social care. The latest ILF annual report records a user satisfaction rating of 97%. Overheads for the ILF come in at just 2 % of the budget in comparison with an average of 16% for local authorities. It is in fact a model of service delivery that should be built upon rather than shut down. We understand that provisions in the Care Act are aimed at reducing inconsistencies between local authorities, nevertheless the inconsistencies Labour cite as a problem of the ILF are many times worse in the current system upon which ILF users will now be solely reliant as a result of the closure.

Since the closure to new applicants in December 2010 disabled people who missed out on the ILF have suffered dramatically worse outcomes than existing ILF recipients with equivalent support needs. We have provided Kate Green with a number of case studies showing the reality of independent living for disabled people who would have been eligible for ILF but are now only receiving LA social care support. We are not just talking about disabled people no longer being able to go to work, or ever have a holiday or go to university, we are talking about people unable to leave their homes, left without access to food or water, unable to go to the toilet and unable to wash more than a couple of times per week. We know there is also an urgent need to address this inequity, so do not believe that the right answer is to level everyone down to the lowest levels of support.

In the short term we are asking that the ILF be retained as the only way to realistically guarantee protection for existing recipients. Disabled people are aware that this is not a big ask: the ILF represents a relatively small amount of money – only £32 million and the ILF will not be wound down beyond easy repair before May 2015.

Moving on from these moral aspects of retaining the ILF the political situation now is that the Labour Party is the only main opposition party unwilling to commit to keeping the ILF open if elected. We find it very difficult to understand why Labour continues to take this position and not avail themselves of the support of the 12million plus disabled voters,and their families and friends

 Posted by at 23:06
Mar 152015
 

The Deaf  community in North Staffordshire region have had all funding  for Hearing Aids withdrawn!
This means  if people can’t pay £ 400, they can’t hear. We need to fight this not just as deaf  community and supporters but as an entire disabled community.
This despicable behaviour is likely to spread to withdrawing funding of equipment and resources for other impairments  too. Please like and share our new dpac page for North Staffordshire and Cheshire East.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DPAC-North-Staffordshire-and-Cheshire-East/1568667403389619?fref=ts

if you are unable to access Facebook but would like to get involved in this area email us at mail@dpac.uk.net with your contact details which we will pass on.

 

 Posted by at 15:01
Mar 112015
 

I need to acknowledge the use of work produced by Professor Luke Clemens which was provided by Kate Whittaker, of Scott-Moncrieff to us. The full summary produced is here http://www.lukeclements.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/0-Care-Act-notes-updated-2015-02.pdf

 

There are also 2 excellent youtube videos by Professor Clemens on Continuing Health Care and assessing social care needs.

 

Luke Clements lectures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmFZ5qzvCZE  on CHC

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEwBN873dYE   assessing social care needs

 

 

Background to Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 repeals almost all of the principal adult social care statutes. The list of ‘repeals’ is extensive including the National Assistance Act 1948, as well as the Acts and regulations that govern such things as direct payments, charging for social care, assessments (ie the NHS & Community Care Act 1990) and all the Carers Acts. It also replaces FACS criteria with a list of eligible needs.

 

The implementation timetable for the Care Act 2014 has been the subject of significant criticism. The 506 page guidance and 17 sets of regulations weren’t approved until mid-October – leaving local authorities less than 5 months to make major) changes (including training their workforce) before the Act comes into force in April 2015. It is I think fair to sat that many local authority social workers and managers are unlikely to know just what the Care Act entails even once it has replaced existing social care legislation so as disabled people and carers it is probably more important than ever that we know what it says and what our rights are.

 

The Government say this is  ‘the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years’ and it also provides a range of new rights for family carers.

The equivalent Welsh legislation (Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014) is not coming into force until 2016.

 

While the bulk of the Act will come into force in April 2015, the new appeals process and the ‘cap on costs’ provisions aren’t due to come into force until April 2016. A sum of £55.5m was ‘released’ which becomes the ‘Carers and Care Act Implementation Grant.’ aimed at meeting the expected increased potential demand from carers to access their ‘new rights’.

 

Luke Clemens says that “The speed with which the final guidance has been produced has resulted in it having a number of material errors and omissions. One is a section explaining the guidance’s status at law. The draft guidance contained a statement (page 3) that ‘local authorities are required to act under the guidance, which means that they must follow it, unless they can demonstrate sound legal reasons for not doing so’. This obligation stems from section 78 of the 2014 Act – which replicates the current duty (in section 7(1) Local Authority Social Services Act 1970) and means that existing case law concerning Department of Health ‘policy guidance’ will remain relevant under the new legal regime.”

 

The regulations detail specific obligations relating to market oversight / business failure (3 sets of regulations); the assessment of need; eligibility criteria; advocacy; charging; choice of accommodation; deferred payments; personal budgets; direct payments; the NHS interface; delayed hospital discharge; ordinary residence (2 sets of regulations); portability of care packages and cross-border placements; and registers for people with visual impairments. The longest set of regulations concern charging and there are none on some key questions – notably adult safeguarding.

The guidance contains a number of ‘examples’. While these had the potential to be of considerable value, they are disappointing: generally limp and have the predominant outcome that once the person had been pointed in the right direction, there was no need provide them with any local authority support.

 

The Act does not talk of disabled, elderly or of ill people: instead it uses the word ‘adult’ – but this is generally qualified as being an adult ‘in need’ of care and support. The regulations however stipulate that this is an adult who has ‘a physical or mental impairment or illness’. The current community care legislation generally requires that the impairment be both substantial and permanent.

 

Carer

Section 10 defines a carer as someone 18 or over  who provides or intends to provide care for someone but is not contracted to provide the care or providing the care as formal ‘voluntary work’. All ‘carers’ are now eligible for an assessment. This means that many more carers will be eligible for an assessment – for example those who are providing little or no physical or practical care – but providing emotional support This change, coupled with: (a) the abolition of the requirement that carers’ ‘request’ an assessment; and (b) the new ‘duty’ to meet carers assessed needs has the potential to recast radically the legal regime for carers.

 

As with the pre-Care Act law, there is no duty to assess carers who provide their care by virtue of a contract, or as voluntary work (section 10(9)). The guidance addresses the not uncommon situation of a carer who is paid to provide care for the adult (possibly through the use of a direct payment) but is also providing unpaid care for that person. At para 6.17 it advises that in such circumstances ‘the local authority must consider whether to carry out a carer’s assessment for that part of the care they are not providing on a contractual or voluntary basis’.

 

The act also includes provisions for young carers and disabled children.

 

Local Authorities also have far greater duties to provide assessments to eligible persons even those who self-fund, they must provide transparent information to people including how their Resource Allocation System operates, they must provide access to information and to advocacy for those who need it.

 

RAS will be based on the 10 outcomes outlined below with each outcome having a maximum number of points based on how expensive that outcome is to meet. Questions asked about support levels and the need to meet these will produce points for people whereasquestions about informal support which may be in place to help meet needs will remove points but it is also stressed in the Act that any assessment of needs must ignore care provided by informal carers and that such input can only be considered if appropriate and the informal carers are willing to provide such support. (6.64)

 

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) says that the Care Act is based on a strengths based approach to improve wellbeing and independence and that it looks at what people can do rather than what they can’t do as well as what those around them can do and what the community can do to support them to put off the need for care and support.

 

Underpinning principles (section 1)

The consultation process leading to the drafting of the legislation resulted in demands that the Act be underpinned by a coherent set of guiding principles (rather like those that apply in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, s1). The Act does not have such a set of principles – instead it contains a general duty to promote the ‘well-being’ of individuals (ie adults and carers). The duty applies to local authorities and their staff when exercising ‘any function’ under Part 1 of the Act (ie sections 1-80).

 

Well-being

Well-being is so widely defined that there was a risk that it would prove to be of little practical application and is fairly meaningless. Clemens says   however the guidance goes a considerable way to dispelling this fear.

 

‘Well-being’ includes personal dignity, physical and mental health and emotional well-being; protection from abuse and neglect; control over day-to-day life; participation in work, education, training or recreation; social and economic well-being; domestic, family and personal relationships; suitability of living accommodation; and ‘the individual’s contribution to society’.

 

The emphasis on the importance of ‘control’ has been seen as a cause for concern by some commentators: in many respects the inclusion of ‘control’ can be seen as a further manifestation of the ‘responsibilization’ agenda. Despite the Law Commission’s comments, ‘choice’ does not appear as a well-being principle.

When discharging any obligation under the Act, the local authority must ‘have regard to’—

 the individual’s views, wishes, feelings and beliefs;

 the need to prevent/ delay the development of needs for care and support;

 the need to make decisions that are not based on stereotyping individuals;

 the importance of individual’s participating as fully as possible in relevant decisions (including provision to them of necessary information and support);

 the importance of achieving a ‘balance between the individual’s wellbeing and that of any friends or relatives who are involved in caring for the individual’;

 the need to protect people from abuse and neglect;

 the need to ensure that restrictions on individual rights /freedoms be kept to the minimum necessary.

 

A criticism made of the ‘well-being’ obligation and the above list in particular – concerns the failure to include an explicit reference to the right to ‘independent living’ – ie as protected by Article 19 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The guidance, however, goes a good way to addressing this omission, stating that (para 1.19):

 

The wellbeing principle is intended to cover the key components of independent living, as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (in particular, Article 19 of the Convention). Supporting people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, is a guiding principle of the Care Act.

 

Such an express statement is of considerable value – not least because the courts and Ombudsmen have shown a surprising willingness to have regard to the Convention in recent judgments / reports.

 

Well-being is defined as including being protected from ‘abuse and neglect’ (s1(2)(c)) and the guidance gives emphasis to this stating that ‘it is not possible to promote wellbeing without establishing a basic foundation where people are safe and their care and support is on a secure footing’ (para 1.26). The problem, as is noted below, is that although the eligibility criteria lists ‘being able to make use of the adult’s home safely’ as an outcome – this in itself does not (on one interpretation) trigger the safeguarding duty as the adult would also have to demonstrate an inability in relation to another ‘outcome’: being an elderly ill person unable to keep herself safe – is not without more, sufficient to instigate the safeguarding duty.

 

Bits of particular interest to us

 

Services / care and support responses (section 8)

Under the current legal regime the object of a community care / carers assessment is to determine (among other things) whether there is a need for ‘services’. The community care statutes provide exhaustive lists of services that can be provided and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 provides a generalised statement as to what a carer’s ‘service’ might be. The Care Act repeals these statutes and (in keeping with its ‘outcomes’ rhetoric) avoids referring to the word ‘service’ when describing what may be provided to meet a person’s needs. Instead, section 8(1) contains an illustrative list of what may be ‘provided’ to an adult in need or carer – namely:

  1. a) accommodation in a care home or in premises of some other type;
  2. b) care and support at home or in the community;
  3. c) counselling, advocacy and other types of social work;
  4. d) goods and facilities;
  5. e) information and advice.

The absence of such things as ‘adaptations’ ‘travel’; and ‘holidays’ (which are specifically cited in the current law) was considered problematical by the Select Committee and in response to a question it asked the Department of Health, received confirmation that the Department considered that these services did fall within the ambit of the list.The Committee expressed the hope that the subsequent guidance would ‘make clear that the list is not intended to limit the ways in which a local authority might meet any eligible needs or agreed outcomes, removing any possible ambiguity on that point’ (para 170). Unfortunately the guidance does not make this sufficiently clear.

Support such as home adaptations, equipment and transport is often vital to enable ‘adults in need’ to live independently in the community. The facilitation / provision of suitable adaptations / equipment requires explicit guidance, given that the overlap of responsibilities between housing and social services authorities will remain (with such support being capable of being delivered under both the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the Care Act 2014).  The guidance fails to reiterate and build on the current guidance on this question.

 

Section 8(2) slips out of the ‘outcomes’ mode and gives examples of the ways need may be met which include the ‘service’ word – namely:

(a) by arranging for a person other than it to provide a service;

(b) by itself providing a service;

(c) by making direct payments.

 

Local authorities will be able to charge (under section 14) for the costs that they incur in providing care and support (under section 8) to meet the ‘needs’ of individuals – ie carers as well as elderly ill and disabled people. The question arises therefore as to whether local authorities will start charging for support such as advocacy, social work and information (and indeed how ‘social work’ is to be defined). The question is all the more pressing since local authorities will be able to delegate assessments (and most of their other functions) to independent sector organisations (section 79 – see below). In answer to a specific question on this point, the Minister (Norman Lamb) stated that these provisions do ‘not give a power to local authorities to charge for carrying out a needs or carer’s assessment in any circumstances’.

 

Assessment of adults in need (section 9)

The Act, the regulations and the guidance create important and welcome obligations on local authorities in relation to the advocacy and safeguarding needs of individuals

identified during the assessment and care planning processes.

 

The duty in the Care Act to assess adults in need is closely aligned to the existing duty (under s47 NHS and Community Care Act 1990). As with the current law, the duty is triggered by the appearance of need and arises regardless of the ‘level’ of those needs or the person’s financial resources (it applies, as now, to self-funders). The assessment must have specific regard to the well-being criteria (ie section 1(2) above) and must involve the adult and any carer. It is difficult to see how this can be achieved without a face to face assessment (unless the adult agrees this is not necessary) however para 6.28 of the guidance states that:

Where appropriate, an assessment may be carried out over the phone or online. In adopting such approaches, local authorities should consider whether the proposed means of carrying out the assessment poses any challenges or risks for certain groups, particularly when assuring itself that it has fulfilled its duties around safeguarding, independent advocacy, and assessing mental capacity.

There appears to be a downgrading (or at least a welcome acceptance of reality) of the value of ‘supported self-assessments’. Rhetorically they have promoted the unrealistic notion of disabled people identifying their own needs and mapping out their support – with a social worker giving gentle guidance and the benefit of her or his wisdom. In reality they have too often been the posting of a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to the person in need and then running the ticked boxes through a Resource Allocation System (RAS): highly impersonalised and designed to reduce care costs: to ‘lower expectations’. The guidance requires individuals who are able and willing to undertake a supported self-assessment be offered one (para 6.44) but that: (a) the local authority must assure itself that it ‘is an accurate reflection of the person’s needs’ (para 6.3); and (b) that regardless of what the individual may think ‘the final decision regarding eligibility will rest with the local authority’ (para 6.53).

The guidance gives useful emphasis to the need for assessors to be ‘appropriately trained’, but also states that registered ‘social workers and occupational therapists can provide important support and may be involved in complex assessments which indicate a wide range of needs, risks and strengths that may require a coordinated response from a variety of statutory and community services’ (para 6.7). In so doing the implication is that for non-complex cases social workers may not be necessary. The general (and welcome) tenor of the guidance is, however, that assessors must be ‘appropriately trained’. Para 6.88, for example states that if an ‘assessor does not have the knowledge of a particular condition or circumstance, they must consult someone who has relevant expertise’ and at para 6.86 it requires that:

assessors undergo regular, up-to-date training on an ongoing basis. The training must be appropriate to the assessment, both the format of assessment and the condition(s) and circumstances of the person being assessed. They must also have the skills and knowledge to carry out an assessment of needs that relate to a specific condition or circumstances requiring expert insight, for example when assessing an individual who has autism, learning disabilities, mental health needs or dementia.

The guidance requires that assessments be ‘person-centred, involving the individual and any carer that the adult has, or any other person they might want involved ‘ (para 6.9) and that they must ‘establish the total extent of needs’ (para 6.10). Local authorities are also required to ‘provide in advance, and in accessible format, the list of questions to be covered in the assessment’ (para 6.38).

 

Carer support ignored

The ‘eligibility criteria’ regulations make explicit that the decision about whether an adult has eligible needs, is made on the basis that it does not take into account any support that is being provided by third parties (ie carers): ‘instead, where a person receives support from a carer, this will be taken into account during the development of the care and support plan.’ This important point is addressed in the guidance, which at chapter 6 (Assessment and eligibility) states:

 

6.15 During the assessment, local authorities must consider all of the adult’s care and support needs, regardless of any support being provided by a carer. Where the adult has a carer, information on the care that they are providing can be captured during assessment, but it must not influence the eligibility determination.

 

This approach is restated in the care and support planning section of the guidance (para 10.26) which requires that authorities ‘must identify, during the assessment process, those needs which are being met by a carer at that time, and determine whether those needs would be eligible’.

Section 10(5) requires that assessments must take into account the extent to which the carer is ‘willing, and is likely to continue to be willing’ to provide care. The guidance at para 2.48 that ‘authorities ‘should not assume that others are willing or able to take up caring roles’ echoes earlier guidance – for example the original 1990 policy guidance to the Community Care reforms61 and guidance to the Carers (Recognition & Services) Act 1995.62

 

The nature and setting of the assessment

The guidance advises that to enable individuals to prepare for their assessment, they should be provided in advance (in an accessible format) with the list of questions to be covered in the assessment (para 6.38). At the same time the authority must consider if the individual may have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the assessment process and if so consider the need for independent advocacy (para 6.23). At the conclusion of the assessment the local authority must ‘ensure that it is an accurate and complete reflection of the person’s needs’ (para 6.46) – which must presumably mean sharing a draft and getting it agreed (or details of what is not agreed) – since a copy of the assessment must then be given to the carer / adult in need (para 6.98).The duty to endeavour to reach agreement at this stage is not however explicit – unlike the requirement in para 10.83, that authorities ‘must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the person for whom the plan is being prepared’.

Individuals must be ‘at the heart’ of their assessments and in the case of an adult ‘in need’ the authority ‘must also involve any carer the person has (which may be more than one carer)’.

 

Advocacy support

The Act, regulations and guidance make specific provision for advocates to be provided where a person has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being actively involved with the planning process. Less is said concerning the needs of those who don’t have such a difficulty – but nevertheless feel the need for support from friends or advocates.

 

Eligibility criteria (section 13)

Where an assessment identifies that an individual has needs for care / support then the authority must decide if these needs are sufficient to meet the eligibility criteria. The pre-Care Act legislation contains no reference to ‘eligibility criteria’: locating them instead in guidance (commonly referred to as FACS). The Care Act places eligibility criteria in a statutory footing (section 13) with the detail being spelled out in the regulations– which contain separate criteria for adults in need and for carers. Whether this change of status – or indeed the significant changes to the criteria themselves – will result in material change in practice is difficult to predict. Research suggests that for both carers and disabled / older people, the content of national criteria is less influential than ‘social work attitudes’ and local interpretations of the national criteria.

 

Adults in need eligibility criteria

For adults in need, the Care Act criteria have many similarities to the FACS guidance: the most obvious change is the absence of ‘bands’ (the ‘critical’, ‘substantial’, ‘moderate’ ‘low’ bands in FACS).

 

Under the new eligibility scheme, adults in need must satisfy three requirements:

 

(1) their needs must be the result of a physical or mental impairment or illness;

(2) as a result they must be unable to achieve two or more specified outcomes; and

(3) as a consequence, there is (or there is likely to be) a significant impact on their well-being.

 

In this process – a key word is ‘significant’ and it is one that also appears in the carers eligibility criteria. The guidance avoids a precise definition of what ‘significant’ means – para 6.110 stating that it is to have its ‘everyday meaning – but then adding that authorities must consider whether the adult’s needs and their consequent inability to achieve the relevant outcomes will have an important, consequential effect on their daily lives, their independence and their wellbeing’ (para 6.110) – and that:

‘Needs may affect different people differently, because what is important to the individual’s wellbeing may not be the same in all cases. Circumstances which create a significant impact on the wellbeing of one individual may not have the same effect on another’ (para 6.111).

 

Inevitably it would appear to follow that, as with the FACS criteria, the eligibility determination will continue to be subjective and made on the basis of the assessor’s professional opinion. The ‘inherently subjective’ nature of this process led a number of commentators, including the LGA and ADASS, to suggest that the draft eligibility criteria (published in June 2014) placed the threshold of entitlement closer to the ‘moderate’ band in FACS than the ‘substantial’ band. The final (ie revised) criteria appear to be ‘tighter’ – most noticeably requiring that the person is ‘unable to achieve two or more specified outcomes’. However, in this context, regulation 3 defines ‘unable’ in expansive terms: a person is to be deemed ‘unable’ if he or she:

(a) is unable to achieve it without assistance;

(b) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so causes the adult significant pain, distress or anxiety;

(c) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so endangers or is likely to endanger the health or safety of the adult, or of others; or

(d) is able to achieve it without assistance but takes significantly longer than would normally be expected.

The broad definition of inability to achieve – has also led commentators to suggest that even in this final formulation, the eligibility remain more generous than under the FACS guidance.

 

Regulation 2 details ‘outcomes’ as being:

(a) managing and maintaining nutrition;

(b) maintaining personal hygiene;

(c) managing toilet needs;

(d) being appropriately clothed;

(e) being able to make use of the adult’s home safely;

(f) maintaining a habitable home environment;

(g) developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;

(h) accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering; Care

(i) making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services; and

(j) carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.

 

Para 6.107 of the guidance provides examples of how local authorities should consider each of the above outcomes – while emphasising that the guidance does not constitute an exhaustive list of examples.

 

As noted above, the regulations and guidance are unequivocal concerning the input of carers: this must be ignored during the assessment process of the adult and during the determination of eligibility. As the guidance states (para 6.119):

The eligibility determination must be made based on the adult’s needs and how these impact on their wellbeing. Authorities must only take consideration of whether the adult has a carer, or what needs may be met by a carer after the eligibility determination when a care and support plan is prepared. The determination must be based solely on the adult’s needs and if an adult does have a carer, the care they are providing will be taken into account when considering whether the needs must be met.

 

The pre-Care Act rule – that the eligibility criteria can be sidestepped for people whose needs are urgent is carried forward into the new regime (section 19(3)). The guidance advises that where ‘an individual with urgent needs approaches or is referred to the local authority [it] should provide an immediate response and meet the individuals care and support needs’ and it then provides as an example, ‘where an individual’s condition deteriorates rapidly or they have an accident, they will need a swift response to ensure their needs are met’ (para 6.26).

 

Funding panels

Many local authorities use ‘panels’ of various types (sometimes termed ‘allocation panels’, ‘funding panels’ or ‘purchasing panels’) as a means of rationing services. The legality of the way that some of these panels operate is open to question – creating as they do, an additional non-statutory hurdle for people in need and their carers. The 2014 Act makes no change to this situation and so the concerns raised by the courts and the Joint Committee on Human Rights concerning the legality of such ‘panels’ overruling social work recommendations will remain relevant. The Local Government Ombudsman has also expressed similar misgivings. In a 2005 report, for example, he held that where an assessment has been carried out, a purchasing panel (and by implication a manager) cannot override the judgment of the assessor without providing clear reasons for doing so.

Due regard should be taken to the use of approval panels in both the timeliness and bureaucracy of the planning and sign-off process. In some cases, panels may be an appropriate governance mechanism to sign-off large or unique personal budget allocations and/or plans. Where used, panels should be appropriately skilled and trained, and local authorities should refrain from creating or using panels that seek to amend planning decisions, micro-manage the planning process or are in place purely for financial reasons. …

 

Duty /power to provide care & support for adults /carers (section 18 – 20)

The duty on local authorities to meet the eligible needs of disabled, elderly and ill people is retained and widened by the Care Act. The pre-2014 legislation contains no duty to meet carers’ eligible needs (just a power)85 nor (in general) does the pre-2014 legislation create a duty to meet the needs of ‘self-funders’ (ie people whose savings are above the capital limit – currently £23,750). Both these limitations are removed by the 2014 Act. Where an individual’s needs (ie a carer or an ‘adult in need’) meet the eligibility criteria then there will be a duty to ensure their care and support needs are addressed. The only stipulation being that they are ordinarily resident in the local authority’s area (as at present) and that if their assets are above the financial limit, that they ‘ask the authority’ to meet their needs. Until April 2014 the right of self-funder’s to require the local authority to meet their care needs will only extend to non-care home settings.

Even if a self funder with eligible needs does not ask the local authority to meet their needs – the local authority will (once the ‘cap on care costs’ comes into force in 2016) be under a duty to provide them with a statement (an ‘independent personal budget’ ) detailing what the cost would be to the local authority of meeting their needs – since this notional budget will count towards the ‘cap’.

 

Care & support plans (section 25-26)

The assessment process involves identifying ‘needs’ and then determining which of these (if any) are ‘eligible needs’. This stage is then followed by the development of a care and support plan that explains how the eligible needs will be met. These stages are two sides of an equation: on one side there are the eligible needs that have to be met and on the other are the details of how this will be done. In order that the individual can determine whether their assessed needs are fully addressed in the care plan, the guidance requires that they ‘must be given a record of their needs or carer’s assessment’ (para 6.98) and also their final care plan (para 10.87).

 

Needs versus ‘outcomes’

The Act seeks to distinguish ‘needs’ from ‘outcomes’. This chimes with the views of many commentators who consider that the ‘social model’ approach requires a ‘focus on outcomes’ rather than personal ‘needs’. There is much to be said for this, but there are dangers too.

On the positive side outcomes aim to identify the person’s ‘aspirations, goals and priorities’. The theory is that if the assessment focuses on these issues it will break free from the shackles of thought processes tied to existing service models – thinking about ‘what services are available’. Once the person ‘in need’ / carer have been helped to explain what they would like happen in their lives – then they (with the support of the authority) can seek to develop a care and support plan designed to enable these things to be achieved. The theory is that this process leads to better and sometimes more imaginative solutions.

On the negative side, however, there is evidence that the emphasis on outcomes is rhetorical rather than of substance (a criticism also made of many local authority ‘personalisation’ programmes). Much of the research concerning outcomes focused assessments identifies the importance of avoiding prescriptive ‘tick box’ questionnaires and of the need for a strong human relationships with assessors who have the skills and time to enable this approach to succeed. Local authorities are however moving to greater standardisation, more prescriptive assessment forms, less skilled / trained workforces with ever higher caseloads. increasing disconnect between what service users say and related evidence, and the thinking of government and policy-makers and what they seem to be doing.

 

A further reason for caution lies in the very ambiguity as to what constitutes an ‘outcome’. Just as some disabled people have historically been told that their asserted ‘need’ is merely a ‘want’ – some are now being told that their ‘need’ is no longer relevant – it is the ‘outcome’ that counts (and the local authority then proceed to tell them what this is). Not infrequently there is a pedantic circularity to the distinction – and one that should be confronted. Outcomes arise out of needs, which stem from impairments – so, for example, the regulations (when dealing with the criteria for an adult in need’) state that because of a person’s needs, a statutory ‘outcome’ could be ‘managing toilet needs’. The guidance (para 6.107) then explains how local authorities should consider each statutory ‘outcome’ for the purposes of determining eligibility – and in relation to ‘managing toilet needs’ it states that this requires a consideration of their ‘ability to access and use a toilet and manage their toilet needs.’ It would appear to follow that a ‘need’ to get to the toilet is only a ‘need’ but a need to mange my toilet needs’ is an outcome.

It is at this stage one asks whether the well-being requirement – that the authority starts from the ‘assumption that the individual is best-placed to judge the individual’s well-being’ (section 1(3)) – extends to accepting that the individual is best placed to say what they want to be able to do (their outcome) and to do so in their own terms – including using the language of need?

 

Provided the potential for casuistry in the ‘outcomes versus needs’ analysis is avoided, there is much to welcome in having a statutory list of ‘outcomes / needs’ – particularly as the guidance (para 6.107) states that this does ‘not constitute an exhaustive list) when determining the adult’s eligibility for care and support’.

 

Care and support planning – principles

Section 25 details what must be in every care and support plan (ie for a carer or an adult ‘in need’) and this duty is analysed in the guidance (para 10.36). The requirements include:

 the needs identified by the assessment;

 whether, and to what extent, the needs meet the eligibility criteria;

 the needs that the authority is going to meet, and how it intends to do so;

 for a person needing care, for which of the desired outcomes care and support could be relevant;

 for a carer, the outcomes the carer wishes to achieve, and their wishes around providing care, work, education and recreation where support could be relevant;

 

the personal budget …;

 information and advice on what can be done to reduce the needs in question, and to prevent or delay the development of needs in the future;

 where needs are being met via a direct payment … , the needs to be met via the direct payment and the amount and frequency of the payments.

The effect of section 25 is that the current requirements for care and support plans will continue – but they now become statutory rather than requirements of Department of Health guidance. Existing case law concerning care plans will remain relevant – particularly so, given that it places great emphasis on the importance of local authorities following guidance. (which will now be the detail in the 2014 guidance). In R v Islington LBC ex p Rixon (1997) it was held that central importance of a care plan was described as: the means by which the local authority assembles the relevant information and applies it to the statutory ends, and hence affords good evidence to any inquirer of the due discharge of its statutory duties.

In R (J) v Caerphilly CBC it was held that care plans must ‘set out the operational objectives with sufficient detail – including detail of the “how, who, what and when” – to enable the care plan itself to be used as a means of checking whether or not those objectives are being met’. A 2014 Ombudsman’s report held (in similar terms) that an assessment must be more than merely a descriptive document: it must spell out with precision what the needs are, what the impact of the disability is on the carer(s) and whether the disabled person and the carers needs can be met and can continue to be met into the future. The assessment must result in a care plan that identifies the needs, what is to be done about these needs, by whom and when. If a direct payment is made, it must specify precisely what need these payments are intended to meet, why this level of payment is considered appropriate, or what outcome this will result in.

 

The most significant difference under the new regime is that every such plan for an ‘adult’ must have a ‘personal budget’ offered. (s25(1)(e) ). Since most local authorities already do this – it will probably make little practical difference.

 

The 2014 guidance requires that the person being assessed must be ‘genuinely involved and influential throughout the planning process and that: ‘it should be made clear that the plan ‘belongs’ to the person it is intended for, with the local authority role to ensure the production and sign-off of the plan to ensure that it is appropriate to meet the identified needs (para 10.2). The care and support plan ‘must take into consideration the individual’s preferences’ (para 10.21).

The duty to meet eligible needs is not discharged just because a person has another entitlement to a different service which could meet those needs, but which they are not availing themselves of. The needs remain ‘unmet’ (and so the local authority under a duty to meet them) until those needs are actually met by the relevant service bring provided or arranged.

 

Personal budgets

Section 26 states that the amount of an adult’s personal budget is ‘the cost to the local authority of meeting those of the adult’s needs which it is required or decides to meet’. The guidance states at para 11.10 that:

The personal budget must always be an amount sufficient to meet the person’s care and support needs, and must include the cost to the local authority of meeting the person’s needs which the local authority is under a duty to meet, or has exercised its power to do so. This overall cost must then be broken down into the amount the person must pay, following the financial assessment, and the remainder of the budget that the authority will pay.

It follows from the above, that a personal budget may include an amount attributable to support that the local authority funds as a ‘discretion’ (ie support that it considers is needed – but which does not meet the eligibility criteria). Since the amount that an individual pays for their care will be added (from April 2016) to their ‘Dilnot taxi meter’ – towards their ‘cap on costs’ – the guidance needs to make clear whether the charges for discretionary services are included for ‘cap on costs’ purposes. If these charges do not count – then there is an obvious temptation for local authorities to include them in the plan as a discretionary support.

The expectation is that (for non-self funders) the personal budget will change as the care and support planning process progresses. At the start of the planning process it will be an ‘indicative amount’ shared with the person, and anybody else involved, with ‘final amount of the personal budget confirmed through this process’ (para 11.7). This means there is no need for an authority to use a Resource Allocation System (RAS) to generate a figure at the commencement of the process – an authority might have (for example) a simple set of ‘bands’. Research suggests that most RAS generate incorrect figures which have serious defects – not least their complexity and the rigidity with which some local authorities then apply them. In support of this approach the guidance advises that ‘complex RAS models of allocation may not work for all client groups’ (para 11.23) and that ‘regardless of the process used, the most important principles in setting the personal budget are transparency, timeliness and sufficiency’ (para 11.24).

The guidance (para 11.7) states that ‘Everyone whose needs are met by the local authority … must receive a personal budget as part of the care and support plan.

 

Direct Payments (sections 31-33)

The new legislation provides for an almost identical ‘direct payments’ regime as at present and the detail (as with the current system) is to be found in the regulations and the guidance. The only significant change is that direct payments will be available for residential care placements. This change is expected to come into force in April 2016 and pilots in 18 local authority areas are currently underway.

 

 

The relevance of local authority financial difficulties

Para 10.27 of the guidance makes clear that the current law concerning the relevance of a local authority’s financial position remains (as first detailed in the Gloucestershire judgment) namely that although authorities can ‘take into account reasonable consideration’ of their finances, they ‘must comply’ with their legal obligations. A local authority’s finances are relevant when it decides how to meet the eligible needs of an individual ‘but not whether those needs are met’. The guidance goes on to stress that authorities ‘should not set arbitrary upper limits on the costs [they are] willing to pay to meet needs through certain routes’ – although they may: take decisions on a case-by-case basis which weigh up the total costs of different potential options for meeting needs, and include the cost as a relevant factor in deciding between suitable alternative options for meeting needs. This does not mean choosing the cheapest option; but the one which delivers the outcomes desired for the best value. (para 10.27)

 

Sign off and copies of care plans

The ‘sign off of a plan should only occur once the authority has taken ‘all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the person for whom the plan is being prepared’ and ‘any third party involved in the preparation of the plan’ and this ‘agreement should be recorded and a copy placed within the plan’ (para 10.83). If the plan is not agreed then the authority should ‘state the reasons for this and the steps which must be taken to ensure that the plan is signed-off’ (para 10.86).

The Act also requires that a copy of the care and support plan be given to the adult in need / carer (and anyone else they request) (section 25(9) and (10)) and the guidance at para 10.87 makes clear that the copy must be ‘in a format that is accessible to the person for whom the plan is intended’ and copies should also be given to any independent advocate involved. Many care and support plans are computer generated and incomprehensible to all but the initiated. The requirement that the copies be ‘in a format that is accessible’ must require that this practice ends and plain English, jargon free plans are provided to those who require them.

 

And some of the rest

Prevention (section 2)

Local authorities will be under a general duty to provide a range of preventative services that they ‘consider’ will:

(a) contribute towards preventing or delaying the development by adults in its area of needs for care and support;

(b) contribute towards preventing or delaying the development by carers in its area of needs for support;

(c) reduce the needs for care and support of adults in its area;

(d) reduce the needs for support of carers in its area.

 

Charging and preventative services

The current requirement that intermediate care and reablement must be provided without charge is carried into the new regime. While it will continue to be a time-limited service, the guidance advises that ‘where it is provided beyond six weeks, local authorities should consider continuing to provide it free of charge beyond six weeks in such circumstances’ (para 2.61).

Where a local authority decides to charge for preventative services the guidance advices that it is ‘vital to ensure affordability’ and that it balances the ‘affordability and viability … with the likely impact of charging on the uptake’ – and that this be considered individually as well as at general policy levels.

 

Integration with the NHS (section 3)

Section 3 places a duty on local authorities to promote integration with health provision where it would—

(a) promote the well-being of adults with needs & carers in its area; or

(b) contribute to the prevention of the development of needs in adults / carers; or

(c) improve the quality of care for adults / carers, provided

This will include joint working in relation to the better Care Fund.

 

Information (section 4)

Local authorities will have an enhanced duty to provide adults in need / carers with information about care and support arrangements, including:- how the care system operates; the care and support choices they have (including the choice of providers); how to access this support and how to raise safeguarding concerns. The information duty will also include how to access independent financial advice – which will be of considerable relevance given the choices ‘self-funders’ will have to make under the new regime – particularly with regard to the ‘cap on care cost’ reforms.

The guidance explains that authorities ‘must establish and maintain a service for providing people with information and advice relating to care and support’ (para 3.11); that this must be provided for a variety of different formats; that the ‘duty in the Care Act will not be met through the use of digital channels alone’ and that the mix of provision will be expected to include ‘face-to-face contact’ (para 3.29).

 

Duty to promote effective high quality providers (section 5)

The Act (fleshed out by three sets of regulations36) contains a range of provisions designed to address the ‘supply side’ problems of the social care market – ie (a) the problem of large providers collapsing (such as Southern Cross failure in 2011); and (b) the increasing belief that the quality of services is generally poor and deteriorating. These provisions include ‘market oversight’ arrangements involving the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – amongst others (ss 53 – 57 Care Act 2014) and a temporary duty on social services to intervene if a particular provider ‘fails’ (ss 48-52). In July 2014 the Public Accounts Committee was of the view that the CQC (which will monitor the top 40 – 50 providers) lacked ‘the skills to undertake this expanded level of monitoring’.

Regulations38 have now been issued to provide for eleven fundamental standards39 of safety and quality that should always be met by providers of health and social care and draft CQC guidance.

Section 5 places a duty on local authorities to promote an efficient /

Workforce issues

The social care workforce has been a direct victim of local authority pressure on providers to reduce their fees. The guidance stresses the importance of authorities ‘fostering a workforce which underpins the market’ (para 4.21) and encouraging (by for example providing funding – para 4.29) ‘training and development’. Local authorities when commissioning services must assure themselves that their fee levels do not (among other things) compromise the service provider’s ability to: (1) ‘meet the statutory obligations to pay at least minimum wages; (2) ‘provide effective training and development of staff’ (para 4.31); and (3) pay remuneration that is:

at least sufficient to comply with the national minimum wage legislation for hourly pay or equivalent salary. This will include appropriate remuneration for any time spent travelling between appointments (para 4.30).

The guidance advises that where a provider has previously been in breach of national minimum wage legislation it should in general be excluded from the tendering process (para 4.102).

 

Delegation (section 79)

Local authorities will be able to delegate all of their functions under the Act – with few exceptions (eg safeguarding (sections 42 – 47) and charging (section 14)). Section 79(6) makes it clear that ultimate responsibility in such cases will still rest with the local authority (any acts /omissions by the delegated body will be treated as done / omitted to be done by the local authority). A series of pilots have run since 2011 to explore the potential for delegation: these have been small scale and almost all have been third sector not for profit organisations. Section 79 opens up the possibility of full scale delegation of quite a different order and might be contemplated by local authorities facing a steep rise in their assessment / care planning obligations resulting from their new duties to carers and to self funders. In anticipation of these reforms all English local authorities have been given power to delegate virtually all of their adult social services powers.

covered in the assessment’ (para 6.38).

 

Review of care & support plans (aka annual harassment)

Section 27(1) of the 2014 Act places a general requirement for local authorities to keep under review care and support plans (as well as when a reasonable request by the adult in need or a carer and section 27(4) requires that if they believe that that circumstances have changed materially, then they must undertake a further needs or carer’s assessment and revise the plan accordingly. The guidance creates an expectation that the care and support plans will reviewed ‘no later than every 12 months, although a light-touch review should be considered 6-8 weeks after the plan and personal budget have been signed off’ (para 10.42 – and see also para 13.32).

The guidance requires that reviews (like assessments) must be person-centred, accessible and proportionate: must involve the ‘person needing care and also the carer where feasible’ (para 13.2) and their purpose is ‘identify if the person’s needs (or any other circumstances) have changed’ (para 13.4). Very welcome is the note in the guidance that the ‘review must not be used as a mechanism to arbitrarily reduce the level of a person’s personal budget’ (para 13.4). Reviews should not be ‘overly-complex or bureaucratic’ and should cover the specified matters – which ‘should be communicated to the person before the review process begins’ para 13.12). These include: whether the person’s needs / circumstances have changed; what parts of the plan are working / not working / need changing; have the outcomes identified in the plan been achieved and are there any new outcomes they want to meet; is the person’s personal budget adequate and is there a need to change the way it is managed / paid; are there material changes in the person’s support networks which might impact negatively or positively on the plan; have any changes occurred which could give rise to a risk of abuse or neglect; and is the person, carer, independent advocate satisfied with the plan?

 

Charging (section 14)

As noted, local authorities will be able to charge for the cost they incur in providing social care support services. Under the pre-Care Act law, there was a duty to charge for residential care services and a power to charge for non-residential care (including carers’ services). The 2014 Act repeals the previous law and section 14 gives authorities the power (but not a duty) to charge. In the short term it is unlikely that there will be material changes to local authority charging policies – although reference to the well-established Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidance (CRAG) will change as this is repealed – but it is replicated in large measure by the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations and the guidance (including Annexes B, C, D and E).

 

The guidance states (para 8.2) that a single set of principles will condition local authority approaches to charging, namely:

 ensure that people are not charged more than it is reasonably practicable for them to pay;

 be comprehensive, to reduce variation in the way people are assessed and charged;

 be clear and transparent, so people know what they will be charged;

 promote wellbeing, social inclusion, and support the vision of personalisation, independence, choice and control;

 support carers to look after their own health and wellbeing and to care effectively and safely;

 be person-focused, reflecting the variety of care and caring journeys and the variety of options available to meet their needs;

 apply the charging rules equally so those with similar needs or services are treated the same and minimise anomalies between different care settings;

 encourage and enable those who wish to stay in or take up employment, education or training or plan for the future costs of meeting their needs to do so; and

 be sustainable for local authorities in the long-term.

 

Welcome as is the requirement that ‘people are not charged more than it is reasonably practicable for them to pay’ this represents (for people receiving non-residential care support) a dilution of their legal rights. At present the prohibition is contained in the statute and so is only capable of being removed by Parliament (whereas guidance can be re-written on Ministerial whim).

One problem with the approach of applying ‘the charging rules equally so those with similar needs or services are treated the same’ is that local authorities may start charging carers for services. The guidance anticipates this problem – but in a relatively ‘limp’ section seeks to argue that charging carers is not inevitable stating (para 8.50):

Local authorities are not required to charge a carer for support. …. a local authority should consider how it wishes to express the way it values carers within its local community as partners in care, and recognise the significant contribution carers make. … Local authorities should consider carefully the likely impact of any charges on carers, particularly in terms of their willingness and ability to continue their caring responsibilities.

 

Continuity of care (portability) (sections 37-38)

The Act prescribes the way local authorities transfer responsibility for the care and support of an adult – when she or he moves from one local authority area to another. It does this by attempting to embed ‘good practice’ (ie what should happen) into legislation. The problem is that there are no sanctions if either the first or second local authority fails to act properly – and so (as now) an individual would have to make a complaint/ go to the Ombudsman if a problem occurs.

Sections 37 – 38 are replete with detailed procedural obligations – but in essence they provide that where a local authority (the 1st local authority) is providing135 care and support for an adult and another authority (the 2nd authority) is notified that the adult intends to move into their area (and it is satisfied that the intention is genuine) then it must (among other things) undertake an assessment of the adult’s needs (and those of any carers he or she may have). If the assessment(s) have not been completed by the time the adult actually moves, then the second authority must meet the needs identified by the 1st authority (until its assessment is complete).

Chapter 20 of the guidance fleshes out how the process should operate – but signally fails to deal with what will happen when a person moves and the second local authority fails to act properly – for example by failing to fund the person’s needs to the same level as the first authority until it has completed its assessment. The guidance should have cautioned against the first authority stopping the funding in such cases – but it does not.

 

Ordinary Residence (section 39 – 41)

The existing law concerning the determination of a person’s ‘ordinary residence’ continues under the new legislation – with one major change.

The case law concerning the notion of ‘ordinary residence’ will remain applicable – ie that it refers to a person’s ‘abode in a particular place … adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes … whether of short or long duration’.As with the current law there are two significant ‘deeming’ rules – and it is in relation to the second of these that the material change is made.

The first deeming rule (now found in section 39(5)) concerns adults in NHS accommodation: such people are deemed to be ordinarily resident in the area in which they were immediately before they entered the NHS accommodation / ambulance.

The second deeming rule concerns adults whose accommodation is arranged by a local authority in the area of another local authority. At present this is restricted to cases where a local authority arranges accommodation in a registered care home. The legislation extends this rule to include not only care home accommodation, but also shared lives scheme accommodation and supported living accommodation. Local authority responsibility only attaches if the care and support ‘can be met only’ in the specified accommodation and the accommodation is in England (section 39(1)).

Para 19.31 of the guidance explains that:

Need should be judged to “only be able to be met” through a specified type of accommodation

 

in the specified accommodation and the accommodation is in England (section 39(1)).

Para 19.31 of the guidance explains that:

Need should be judged to “only be able to be met” through a specified type of accommodation where the local authority has made this decision following an assessment and a care and support planning process involving the person. Decisions on how needs are to be met, made in the latter process and recorded in the care and support plan, should evidence that needs can only be met in that manner. The local authority must have assessed those needs in order to make such a decision – the “deeming” principle therefore does not apply to cases where a person arranges their own accommodation and the local authority does not meet their needs.

Responsibility will however continue even if the person moves between different specified types of accommodation in another (or more than one other) area and it will also exist where the person takes a direct payment and arranges their own care (see paras 19.32 – 19.34).

 

Safeguarding (sections 42 – 47))

The Act places on a statutory footing some of the safeguarding obligations that are at present, only located in the guidance (principally the ‘No Secrets’ guidance) – for example the duty to make enquiries / decide what action should to be taken.

Section 42 contains the duty to make enquiries if adult with care & support needs:

  • is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse of neglect; and
  • is unable to protect him/herself against the abuse / neglect.

 

The Act does not explain what is meant by ‘abuse’ – save to specify that it includes financial abuse which is broadly defined – eg including putting the adult ‘under pressure in relation to money or other property’ and/or the adult ‘having money or other property misused’.

The Act provides no new powers to protect adults from abuse – merely ‘process’ obligations (eg to have a Safeguarding Board; to undertake investigations and to require individuals to provide information etc). The Welsh Act provides a power of entry – to enable social services to gain access and to speak with a person suspected of being abused – and the Scottish Act contains (in addition) a power of removal. Not only are such powers absent from the English Act, the existing National Assistance Act 1948 section 47 power to remove, is repealed.

 

Independent advocacy (section 67)

Section 67 of the Act and the regulations place a duty on local authorities to arrange independent advocacy if the authority considers that: (1) an individual would experience ‘substantial difficulty’ in participating in (amongst other things) their assessment and / or the preparation of their care and support plan; and (2) there is no one appropriate available to support and represent the person’s wishes. As the guidance states at para 7.4:

Local authorities must arrange an independent advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessment, in the preparation of their care and support plan and in the review of their care plan, as well as in safeguarding enquiries and SARs [Safeguarding Adults Reviews] if two conditions are met. That if an independent advocate were not provided then the person would have substantial difficulty in being fully involved in these processes and second, there is no appropriate individual available to support and represent the person’s wishes who is not paid or professionally engaged in providing care or treatment to the person or their carer. The role of the independent advocate is to support and represent the person and to facilitate their involvement in the key processes and interactions with the local authority and other organisations as required for the safeguarding enquiry or SAR.

The guidance explains that a person experiences ‘substantial difficulty’ when this exists in relation to any one of four areas – namely (para by 6.33):

understanding the information provided; retaining the information; using or weighing up the information as part of the process of being involved; and communicating the person’s views, wishes or feelings. Where a person has substantial difficulty in any of these four areas, then they need assistance.

s117 Mental Health Act 1983 (section 74)

Currently ‘’after-care services’ are not defined by the 1983 Act. The Care Act inserts a new subsection (5) into the 1983 Act to limit services to those:

(a) ‘arising from or related to the mental disorder’ and

(b) reducing the risk of a deterioration of the person’s mental condition (ie that may require re-admission).

The Act confirms that ordinary residence for the purposes of s117 is determined by where a person was based immediately before they were detained and gives the Secretary of State power to resolve ordinary residence disputes. It also inserts a new ‘s117A’ that provides for regulations to introduce a limited ‘choice of accommodation’ for persons subject to s117.

 Posted by at 21:25
Mar 042015
 

Harrogate12The protest at 6pm, 3rd March outside The a Royal Hall, Harrogate was a great success for supporters of Anthony Kletzander.

The protest was at The National Autistic Society's Professional Awards evening because the NAS have continued to give support to Nua Institution, through their Autism Accreditation. Nua is the institution where Anthony is abused.

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From the protest there was an initial acceptance from the NAS to publicly support Anthony's family, to call for an independent investigation into allegations of abuse.

This significant change in position of the NAS is welcomed by Anthony's parents. Details of this joint initiative will be finalised in the next few days.

 

Harrogate9Anthony's mum was delighted with the great support in the UK and thanks all those who joined the protest and sent their messages of support. It is however, important to say that the campaign to support Anthony to get independent living will continue until it becomes a reality.

Joe Whittaker

Friend of Anthony Kletzander


See also : https://dpac.uk.net/2015/03/parents-fighting-for-their-sons-freedom-please-read-and-share-their-letter-for-anthonykletzander/  

and https://dpac.uk.net/2015/02/update-on-anthonykletzander-16th-feb/

Please Sign and Share the Petition to Free Anthony Kletzander

 Please Donate to the legal fund, or if you can’t afford to donate but want to help, please share the link and ask others to donate.

See below for a video clip and some more pictures from the Harrogate Protest for Anthony:

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 Posted by at 22:26
Mar 012015
 

Please read below, a letter from Anthony Kletzander’s Parents to Mark Lever of the National Autistic Society

Dear Mr Lever,You were made aware of the abuse of our son Anthony in Nua Healthcare in July 2014. We contacted you because NUA had Autism Accreditation and we felt confident that on receiving this information, you would immediately have the abuse investigated.

Prior to this, we had understood that you were the association representing and supporting people with autism and their families which is stated on your website. We asked you on two occasions to meet Anthony and us his parents so that you could learn more about the abuse being carried out by Nua, which is extremely difficult for Anthony as he has to endure the abuse on a daily, ongoing basis. In other words Anthony has to live this abuse. You now mention that Nua asked you to meet Anthony, you never told us this until now and we would like to know why and when Nua asked you to meet Anthony, please send us a copy of that correspondence.

If you had turned down an offer from Nua to visit Anthony, why did you not inform us of this request at that time?

Nua Healthcare had used the Autisim Accreditation on their website as a generic endorsement, until very recently.  It was not true the Autism Accreditation logo was only associated with certain centres. The letter from Noel Dunne at Nua in December 2014 again did not specify that NAS approval was related to named centres, such a statement is a distraction and is disingenuous.

We would like to read your correspondence which suggests that you have sought assurances that investigations into the allegations of abuse have been carried out? If this was done why did you never inform us of such an intervention

We were horrified and shocked, when rather than temporarily, urgently withdrawing Autism Accreditation from Nua until the abuse was investigated and Anthony rescued from the unbearable situation he is in, NAS supported Nua in carrying out an interim internal review of their accredited services in October 2014, THREE MONTHS after the abuse was reported to you. We were only made aware that this interim review had taken place when Noel Dunne, Chief Operating Officer, Nua used this information in an effort to reassure families after abuse in another care home was made public. For us, as Anthony’s parents reading about the very positive NAS review in Noel Dunne’s letter to us and other families, knowing that Anthony continues to be abused there and that you are fully aware of Anthony’s abuse in Nua came as a complete shock. We were disgusted and realised that there was no option but to protest at your award ceremony. There is no other way that you will listen and for Anthony’s sake we cannot allow you to ignore us any longer. His health and safety is at risk, and we Anthony’s parents need to protect him as best we can.

Anthony wants to return to independent living, we fully support him.

He is drugged with Antipsychotic medication, he is denied his communication, and he is forced to undertake farm labour, which he hates. NAS accreditation gives licence to this abuse.

There has been no independent investigation to the specific allegations made. NAS have given renewed accreditation without any reference to these allegations.

We consider NAS remains culpable, whilst accreditation for Nua continues.

We are asking you to suspend Autism Accreditation, until an independent investigation is complete.

Sincerely,

Mr and Mrs Kletzander

 Posted by at 14:09
Feb 212015
 
The Save the ILF Campaign was successful in all parts of the UK except England, where the Labour Party repeatedly refused to save it on and coming to power they followed through on this non-promised. The guidlines they had promised to send to Local Authorities where duly sent and had were of no help whatsoever to former ILF recipients.

The Save the ILF Campaign was successful in all parts of the UK except England, where the Labour Party repeatedly refused to save it. Then Shadow Minister for Disabled People Kate Green said “I do need to start by being clear that it’s not Labour’s position to retain the ILF”.

September 2015: The Legacy of the First 100 Days of a Labour government elected with a majority. Disabled people throughout the devolved nations of the UK are celebrating the continuing existence of their own Independent Living Funds. Yet in England those with the same support needs have little to cheer about as Labour themselves abandoned disabled people in England and continued forcing through the closure of the ILF, refusing disabled people the right to have the support they need to continue to live independently in the community.

Labour kept its pre-election promises on cuddly animals, and unfortunately kept to it's pre-election policies on disability as well
Labour kept its pre-election promises on cuddly animals, and unfortunately kept to it’s pre-election policies for disabled people  as well

But resilient as ever disabled people are cheering the fact that under Labour there are a significant number of improved rights for animals. After all we accept that not being pretty and fluffy and not enjoying being patted on the head by people passing us on the street- we were never likely to get the same sort of attention as cute little animals.Besides which, after 5 years of Condem austerity measures we’ve come to accept that the main political parties view us as stock with no human rights.

One of the first acts of the new Labour Government was to pass legislation to improve the lives of dogs and cats-they must now all be fed daily, be allowed out to go to the toilet regularly and have a daily walk. Not so for disabled people who have lost their care and support funding and who can only watch wistfully the new freedoms that pets have- imprisoned as they now are inside the walls of their homes unable to leave and take any active part in society. Many social services have introduced toileting regimes allowing disabled people to go to the toilet only at set times, or replaced human support with incontinence pads and catheters.

Fresh food has become a distant memory as more and more 3 minute short visits are all that is available to humans. Along with the wild animals which Labour is protecting by banning them from being used in circuses some of us are also being relocated to new ‘homes’. Sadly for disabled people this means we’re being removed totally from society and pushed out of sight and mind since the closure of the ILF in England.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls back when every disabled child mattered

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls back in 2006 when every disabled child mattered

Many young disabled people have now been sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in old people’s homes which provide the only residential care available for them. Meanwhile the search for suitable re-homing of our circus animals is being supported by a new independent and well-funded task force set up by Ed Balls. Equitably the re-homing of disabled people by Local Authorities is being done following a set of non-compulsory guidelines drawn up by the new minister of disabled people Dick Ensien.

When asked why he has abandoned the previous legacy of the last labour Governments Every Disabled Child Matters Campaign which he spear-headed Ed replied “ Although I find some disabled children cute I can’t stand them once they reach adulthood and besides which having had 'a hand up' while children the Labour party now no longer need to do anything more for them. They’ve already had equality of opportunity as outlined in Tony’s Third Way ideology and should just be jolly grateful for that.

Before the election, Rachel Reeves promised "Labour will be tougher then the Tories on Benefits ......" (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/12/labour-benefits-tories-labour-rachel-reeves-welfare)

Before the election, Rachel Reeves promised “Labour will be tougher then the Tories on Benefits ……” (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/12/labour-benefits-tories-labour-rachel-reeves-welfare)

Thankfully, as well, we’re delighted that the hunting ban has been confirmed to continue, and all culling of badgers has been stopped however the culling of disabled people through the new Work Capability Assessments carried out by Maximus – Same Circus, Different Clowns - continues unabated. The DWP as usual have refused to release figures of how many disabled people have died as a result of this process since the Labour government came to power. Disabled people also continue to be disproportionately sanctioned for failing to meet the conditionality in the WRAG as well as those flung onto JSA. Unqualified Job centre staff are free to decide which disabled people can be left to starve and for how long. But we are all so pleased dogs and cats now have a right to at least one meal a day. Tesco’s should also be applauded for continuing to collect food for us in their shops next to their baskets collecting cat and dog food. We do love being passive recipients of charity and being made to feel so thankful for any scraps thrown our way.

David Freud has now also returned to the Labour fold as a Labour Lord advising on benefits reform.

David Freud has now also returned to the Labour fold as a Labour Lord advising on benefit reform.

Of course David Freud has now also returned to the Labour fold as a Labour Lord advising on benefits reform. He has recommended to a Labour government bent on imposing further and harsher austerity measures that any disabled person in work should only be paid a maximum rate of £2 per hour since we are worth so much less to employers than non-disabled people. Since the alternative to this for many of us is unpaid work placements we are of course willing to accept this meagre rate if it allows us to be more employable.

 

Who 2 Vote 4 Logo

 

Feb 162015
 
Below is the written response from Ms Carol Homden, Chairperson of The National Autistic Society in relation to the question of abuse of Anthony Kletzander.
Such is the limited  “transparency and openness” at the NAS it has been necessary to communicate via an intermediary to put questions to the chairperson. It is not permissible to have direct email, contact with her, even thought she is responsible and accountable for this publicly funded National Charity.
Dear Mr Whittaker

The Chair of the NAS, Dr Carol Homden, has now considered your messages to her and has reviewed the background to your correspondence with the NAS.

The essential facts in this matter are:

. The NAS has no legal or contractual relationship with either yourself or Anthony Kletzander, nor with those who represent him;
. The NAS has no operational presence in the Republic of Ireland;
. The NAS has no influence and does not seek to have influence over government agencies in the Republic of Ireland;

Notwithstanding these facts, the NAS has used its best endeavours to facilitate an agreed way forward for the care of Anthony.

Autism Accreditation, operated by the NAS, accredits several autism services provided by Nua Healthcare in the Republic of Ireland. These services meet the standards required by the accreditation scheme and the status of each service is reviewed every three years.

There is nothing further that the NAS can do in this matter and this correspondence is therefore being brought to a close.

This indifferent piece of rhetoric from The Chair of NAS attempts to distance NAS from their active role in continuing to uncritically support an institution where Anthony Kletzander is abused.

 

NAS choose “jurisdiction” and lack of “contractual obligations” as their defence to “wash their hands of any responsibility” of the abuse of a young man with Autism.

 

Ms Homden has failed to address the central question.

 

Whilst she acknowledges continued NAS accreditation of NUA Institution – why did NAS recently undertake an intermediate review of Nua institution, outside of their stated accredited protocol, and provide additional endorsement of Nua Institution, without any reference whatever to the allegations of abuse ?

 

Rather than attempt to quell growing anger about the role of NAS, she has compounded NAS shame by hiding behind the jargon of standards.

 

Ms Homden, makes no mention of UN Human Rights or concern about the abuse for a young man with Autism, simply that Nua Institution have conformed to the appropriate standards of NAS protocols.

 

I am very sorry Ms Homden you may want to close down communication on this issue, but supporters of Anthony Kletzander will not accept NAS being an apologist for an institution, where allegations of abuse have taken place.

 

The NAS continued accreditation of Nua means you are inextricably linked to the allegation of that abuse.

 

Many of institutions and professionals took a similar view as Senior managers of the NAS, about the systematic abuse in Rotherham over many years. We now know of the dreadful ordeal for many disempowered young people.

 

We can not allow such indifference to happen again.

Joe Whittaker

Protest Co-ordinator and friend of Anthony Kletzander.
Please join the protest of 6pm on 3rd March 2015 at The Royal Hall in Harrogate against the callous indifference to abuse of Anthony Kletzander by the NAS and demand answers to serious questions. Or if you can’t get to the Harrogate protest, you can tweet to the NAS using @Autism and the hashtag #AnthoyKletzander to show support for the protest.
Please Sign and Share the Petition to Free Anthony Kletzander
Please Donate to the legal fund, or if you can’t afford to donate but want to help, please share the link and ask others to donate.
 Posted by at 22:15
Feb 112015
 
Picture: Ian Dury. Caption: Ian Dury had it right when he sang What A Waste, says Mark Harrison.

Ian Dury had it right when he sang What A
Waste, says Mark Harrison.

In the words of Ian Drury – What a waste! I am referring to the exclusion of disabled people in society and the attitudes and behaviours of Government, both local and national, towards us. As a society we need to turn our approach to disability on its head.

This Government has initiated a poisonous discourse in order to justify targeting disabled people through austerity. By the 2015 election, more than £28bn in benefits and entitlements will have been taken away from disabled people. At the same time, disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. In Austerity Britain, where the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer continue to claim “We are all in this together”, disabled people will pay 9 times more towards reducing the budget deficit than the average citizen. Those who are severely disabled will pay nineteen times more.

We are not benefit scroungers or burdens, we are not too expensive or units of costs that we as a society cannot afford, we are not brave, courageous or ‘special needs’. We are human beings like everybody else. If you cut us we bleed. You call us names and bully us, we hurt. You pity us and stick us in the charity box, we behave like charity cases. You segregate us in separate institutions and we become institutionalised. You do everything for us and wrap us in cotton wool then we become dependent. You have low expectations of our abilities and you damage our growth and development.

Disabled people don’t want this; we just want to be treated equally. We don’t want to be labelled as ‘special needs’ and charity cases. We want to live in the mainstream like everyone else. We want the barriers to us leading equal lives removed. If you label us as charity cases then what happens when you lose interest and move on to the next ‘good cause’? Labels are for tins not disabled people!

So what is to be done to address this waste? It is our responsibility – all of us – to remove these barriers. The barriers are ‘man made’ so it is our responsibility to break them down and consign them to history together. Disabled people can’t do this by ourselves we need allies. We need non-disabled people to get along side us and not accept the apartheid lives many disabled people are forced to live. We need disabled and non-disabled to be passionate about disability equality just like we are about women’s, racial and sexuality equality.

Disabled people have enormous amounts to give if afforded the opportunity and responsibility. Let’s end this waste and call time on out of date 20th Century attitudes and behaviours. Together we can consign them to the dustbin of history where they belong. Let’s get passionate together about disability equality and removing those barriers, wherever they are. Our Government has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/disabilities/

This provides a comprehensive road map for achieving disability equality – let’s implement it.

Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison is CEO of Equal Lives,
formerly known as the Norfolk Coalition of
Disabled People.

January 2015

 Posted by at 22:00
Jan 312015
 

See http://www.autismprofessionalsawards.org.uk

Supporters of Anthony Kletzander will gather at 6.0 pm outside the Royal Hall, Harrogate.

Nua Healthcare is the institution where Anthony Kletzander is incarcerated and abused.

https://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/anthonykletzander-when-managers-of-residential-institutions-call-abuse-care/

Nua sponsored the National Autistic Society Professional Autism Awards for Clinical Excellence in 2014.

Supporters of Anthony brought an end to Nua sponsorship, for the 2015 awards.

NAS/NUA relationship continues. http://www.businessandleadership.com/business/item/40507-nua-healthcare-stands-out-I

This is despite Nua Healthcare (UK) failing Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. Nua have since de registered their provision with CQC.

http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-679471140 and http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/1-631787360

NAS continue to give NUA  “Autism Accreditation”. NUA continue to abuse  Anthony Kletzander a young man with Autism.

Nua deny Anthony’s right to his communication.

Nua, deny Anthony’s right to be free from antipsychotic medication (Anthony has been subjected to emergency hospitalisation on two occasions whist in the “care” of Nua. Prior to Anthony being institutionalised he was free from any medical complications he had no history of epilepsy, now he is on several medications.

Nua, deny Anthony right to be free from forced unpaid Farm Labour

Nua, deny Anthony’s right to independent living

Noel Dunne, general manager of Nua wrote to the families of all people within Nua, he used the NAS accreditation and “stamp of approval” to reassure families that Nua is a safe place for people with Autism. This letter followed when an Irish television programme RTE, exposed abuse, with
hidden cameras, in another Irish institution, Aras Attracta,  http://youtu.be/RydAoa-7ePU

The RTE programme had a similar impact to the BBC, Panorama programme Winterbourne View in the UK 2011.

Irish Institutions for disabled people are under serious scrutiny from the mass media and general public in Ireland.

It is hypocritical of The National Autistic Society to award professionals for Autism practice, whilst they retain “an active silence”s at the abuse of Anthony Kletzander, a young man with Autism.

Anthony’s support group will be organising a peaceful protest outside the Awards ceremony at 6pm on the evening of 3rd March 2015, Royal Hall, Harrogate to inform people attending this event of the abuse of Anthony by Nua and hypocrisy of NAS.

Anthony’s mother will travel from Dublin, to take part in the protest, alongside friends and supporters. Linda Kletzander will be describing the impact the Nua abuse is having on Anthony and the whole family and her shock at the active silence of NAS

If you intend to join the protest please contact Joe Whittaker ( Whittakerjoe5@gmail.com ) to collect details or visit the facebook events page https://www.facebook.com/events/1557496471159771/

If you can’t make the protest but still want to support, you could make a donation to Anthony’s legal fund: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0tLga?utm_campaign=story-update&utm_medium=email&utm_source=01-2015

Posted on behalf of:
Joe Whittaker
Whittakerjoe5@gmail.com

 Posted by at 21:35
Jan 282015
 

While Labour profess to support fully the right to live independently for disabled people we are now in a situation following plans to close the Independent Living Fund where England is left as the only UK country which will not have it’s own form of a fund to continue to support the additional funding requirements of those who have high support needs.

For any political party to say they want disabled people to have the same rights, choices and chances as any other citizen rings hollow without a commitment to keep in place even if on a temporary basis the funding necessary for this to happen.

The Labour Party’s official response to many people who have contacted them with regard to supporting keeping the ILF open has outlined a number of points which we would like to address.

1) The “inconsistencies” in delivery which you mention were the result of unequal take up between different local authorities  and was symptomatic of the failings of local authority administered social care support. As a national model of service delivery the ILF is far more successful and cost effective than local authority administered social care. The latest ILF annual report records a user satisfaction rating of 97%. Overheads for the ILF come in at just 2 % of the budget in comparison with an average of 16% for local authorities. It is in fact a model of service delivery that should be built upon rather than shut down. We understand that provisions in the Care Act are aimed at reducing inconsistencies between local authorities, nevertheless the inconsistencies you cite as a problem of the ILF are many times worse in the current system upon which ILF users will now be solely reliant as a result of the closure.

2) You also state that ‘ we understand the Fund is already being wound down, and staff numbers are already reducing’. This maybe correct but it is equally the case that there is very little being done in terms of winding down the ILF that could not very quickly be undone, even after actual closure of the ILF. This information has been provided by ILF staff and a former strategic director at ILF and  has been shared with Labour’s shadow DWP team by PCS union and others. This means that if a Labour government were to be elected in May 2015 it will very much be Labour’s decision to go ahead with closure in June.

3) In turn that brings us onto the fact that should Labour be elected to government next May it is they who will be in power and responsible for the UK’s failure to protect disabled people’s human rights under the UNCRPD, and it is they who will be deemed responsible for the continuing grave and systematic violation of those rights when the UN investigation into the UK takes place after the election. We believe this would cause unnecessary and easily avoidable  embarrassment to a newly elected labour government with international repercussions.

Whilst we welcome Labour’s goal of trying to ensure in the longer term that those currently supported by the Independent Living Fund can realise rights to live independently and with dignity, the ‘whole person care’ through which Labour intends to deliver on this goal is at this stage only a proposal and any benefits resulting from it are a long way off. Moreover, as respected experts in the field such as Professor Pat Thane have pointed out, the current system is simply not functioning at the necessary level. Relying on the integration of health and social care as a solution to the crisis in social care is thus an irresponsible gamble to take with people’s lives.

Since the closure to new applicants in December 2010 disabled people who missed out on the ILF have suffered dramatically worse outcomes than existing ILF recipients with equivalent support needs. We have provided Kate Green with a number of case studies showing the reality of independent living for disabled people who would have been eligible for ILF but are now only receiving LA social care support. We are not just talking about disabled people no longer being able to go to work, or ever have a holiday or go to university, we are talking about people unable to leave their homes, left without access to food or water, unable to wash more than a couple of times per week.

Whilst the intention of issuing guidelines to local authorities is well meaning, it is unrealistic within the current climate to see these securing the futures of existing ILF recipients. Cash strapped local authorities are very aware of the dangers of setting precedents for providing levels and types of social care support to some individuals and not for others. An LA could easily consider itself to have more to risk by following than not following the guidelines. In order to ensure equity between all adult service users they may well feel they have no choice but to level down.

In the short term we are asking that the ILF be retained as the only way to realistically guarantee protection for existing recipients. Disabled people are aware that this is not a big ask: the ILF represents a relatively small amount of money; the ILF will not be wound down beyond easy repair before May 2015.

The alternative is that disabled people’s right to independent living will be wiped out, potentially for generations. Once a people lose choice and control over their lives, disempowerment sets in and rights that have been smashed aside over-night can only be won back over a long and hard road.

As it stands, if Labour are elected in May 2015, the final nail in the coffin of disabled people’s right to independent living as it currently exists will be hammered in under a Labour government. It does not have to be like this. The Labour Party has a golden opportunity to make a principled stand in support of disabled people and our rights to equality, inclusion and equality by supporting the continuation of ILF. Disabled people are mobilizing and campaigning across the UK, through initiatives like Operation Disabled Vote. A  principled stand by Labour on the ILF ahead of the General Election would be welcomed by the 12.2 million disabled people in the UK, our families, friends and supporters.

What you can do to help

We’re therefore asking people to email or tweet to Labour to say that England must not be the only UK country without an Independent Living Fund and that we know and have shown them the evidence that it is not too late to keep an ILF in England as well as in other UK countries. If Labour want disabled people’s votes then they must give an assurance that in the short term at least they will keep the ILF open until such time as something better can be put in place.

You can email Iain McNicoll, general secretary of the Labour Party at onenationpolitics@labour.org.uk

Ed Miliband at ed.miliband.mp@parliament.uk

And Kate Green at kate.green.2nd@parliament.uk

Or you can tweet them @IainMcnicol

@ed_miliband

@kategreenSU

Please also contact your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and let us know what replies you get.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:53
Jan 262015
 

Please share this this post widely to help us get wide coverage of #saveilf on facebook and twitter

Ed Miliband's comments on the ILF on 26th Jan still leave us none the wiser as to what Labour intend to do about the ILF

Ed Miliband’s comments on the ILF on 26th Jan still leave us none the wiser as to what Labour intend to do about the ILF


update

We’re waiting for confirmation from a VERY silent Labour  party after tweets by  2 Labour party candidates stating not
once, but in the case of Trudie McGuiness 3 times  that she heard Ed  promised to save ILF.
Meanwhile we have the transcript of what he said and we still can’t manage to decide if he said he’d save ILF or that he wouldn’t. Your guess is as good as ours but do let us know what you think?

Possibly at some time in the near future the Labour party will be able to enlighten us all.

Ed transcript:

“First of all we said to the government they should not get rid of the independent living fund in the way they are doing. What they are doing is getting rid of it and passing it down to the local authorities, passing that money down to the local authorities.

So, firstly they should not be getting rid of the Independent living fund. And we’ve said that if it does go to the local authorities that budget has got to be protected.

We’ve got to find ways of protecting that money for some of the most vulnerable disabled people, some of whom I’ve met and who are saying “this is a terrible situation what’s happening to the independent living fund”.

Secondly, we’ve got to stop the assault on disabled people in relation to the medical tests that are going on and have fair and proper medical tests when it comes to the medical system.

{audience member – inaudible] Well you are right sir. We’ve got to sort out the way that these medical tests work. And we’ve said we are going to reform what is called the work capability assessment so that it gives a proper deal to disabled people.

Last thing I’ll say to you is this. We’ve got to actually enforce the law when it comes to disabled people. Because there are lots and lots of disabled people who want to work, want to actually go out and be part of the working population and can’t because they are not getting the help to do it.”

Jan 232015
 

The exposure of physical and emotional abuse by staff against disabled people at Aras Attracta, a residential institution, was secretly filmed by RTE in the Republic of Ireland, there was a public outcry. A similar Panorama programme in the UK, over three years ago where abuse of disabled people by staff at Winterbourne View Institution was also secretly filmed.

Both were truly horrible programmes to watch and reflected very badly on residential “Care” in both UK and Ireland. I suspect they are not the only Countries where institutional abuse happens. The general public in Ireland and UK were collectively stunned and outraged at what they had witnessed on public television.

It is however, a truism for the growing number of advocates of Independent Living that ” residential settings” for disabled people is inherently flawed and do not “care” about the individuals within them. Governments around the globe, publicly encourage, well supported Independent living, which is the preference for increasing numbers of disabled people, their families and the society in which they live, as a valued approach for disabled people to make their contributions to their communities.

The letter from Nua Healthcare.

The letter below was sent to families of people resident in Nua Healthcare by The Chief Operating Manager, Mr Noel Dunne, seeking to reassure people, after that dreadful abuse was exposed on RTE , that all was wonderful and carefully monitored in Nua Healthcare Institution.

Nua Healthcare do not call their Residences, “institutions ” they prefer to use the term ” Low Density Housing” The website brochure for Nua Healthcare appears like an All Inclusive Holiday in some exotic location.

http://www.nuahealthcare.ie

It is important for all the supporters of Anthony Kletzander, that the reassurances from Noel Dunne at Nua Healthcare institution are littered with hypocrisy and untruths. Mr Dunne, rightly condemns the abuse seen by millions on TV he is however, rather economical with the truth when it comes to Anthony Kletzander, institutionalised in Nua Healthcare since December 2013.

The letter below from Noel Dunne,Chief Operations Manager for Nua Healthcare is copied below. The comments in bold italics are from Joe Whittaker friend and advocate of Anthony Kletzander.

I believe that if a person uses social media to expose injustice, the person exposing that injustice has to take responsibility for their actions. This is why I have give my home contact details to the solicitors of Nua Healthcare Institution, when they threatened me with legal action several months ago. I again invite them to do so if they believe I have written any untruths, I have made, about the treatment of Anthony Kletzander in Nua Healthcare Institution.

Date of letter 18 Dec 2014

Re: RTE Prime Time, 9th December 2014 – Aras Attracta

Dear Mr and Mrs ,

Further to a recent RTE Primetime television programme which reported on sustained abuse towards the residents of Aras Attracta, a HSE facility in Swinford, Co Mayo, I wish to outline the following facts and reassure you of our good name and reputation as an agency synonymous with quality person-centred services.

Anthony Kletzander is incarcerated in Nua Healthcare, his parents were told directly by Mr Noel Dunne, when Anthony was admitted after institutional abuse at Redwood,Starmullen, on 19th December 2012.

” if you report any issue to the press about Nua , Anthony is out of here”

( comments from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Based on my knowledge of our service and further supported by my ongoing house visits and meetings with frontline staff, it is my firm belief that Nua Healthcare continues to deliver the highest quality of service within each of our registered houses.

Anthony was admitted to emergency hospital on two occasions, from Nua Institution, following antipsychotic medication and “poor care” Both these emergency admissions, were never explained or discussed with the parents of Anthony.

The antipsychotic medication was against Anthony’s wishes, and the express wishes of his parents. Mr Noel Dunne ignored the express concerns of Anthony and his parents.

Anthony’s parents had informed Mr Dunne of the dangers for Anthony subject to certain drugs. It was deeply disturbing for the family that they were refused access to the medication given to Anthony by Nua senior Staff. Mr and Mrs Kletzander had to serve a solicitors letter, to Nua to get the list of the medicine and dosage administered to Anthony.

(from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s The friend and advocate)

Most recently, Nua Healthcare underwent an intermediate review of its autism services. This review was conducted independently through the National Autistic Society, who subsequently reported sustained good practices within our services.

The National Autistic Society (UK) accepted sponsorship from Nua Institution for The Professional Autism Awards in 2014. After, concerns in relation to Anthony Kletzander, The National Autistic Society (UK) ended the sponsorship from The National Autistic Society for the 2015 Professional Autism Awards. (Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Throughout 2014, we also facilitated inspection across the majority of our registered disability houses by HIQUA, the authority responsible for driving quality, safety and accountability in residential services for children, older people and people with disabilities in Ireland. As a matter of public record, we demonstrated that our services are delivered to the highest standards.

The inspections carried out in Nua Healthcare Institutions in UK by The Care Quality Commission, a National inspection body, Mr Noel Dunne is the named person responsible for provision. This provision failed to maintain standards in important areas.(from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Full report available on Google : Care Quality Commission UK. Search for Nua Healthcare UK.

http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-679471140

As I watched the RTE Primetime report my own immediate reaction was to feel disgust, sadness and shame. I could not believe people who had been placed in a position of trust for another’s safety and well-being could break that trust in this most appalling and disrespectful way.

Mr Noel Dunne, ‘People in Glass Houses should not throw stones’ (from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Anthony’s friends, who made a specific and a first visit from Holland, to see Anthony, were not allowed on Nua Healthcare premises. They were not allowed to see Anthony’s room at Nua. They were told only next of kin were allowed on Nua Institution premises. Such are the concerns expressed to Anthony by Mr Dunne.

(from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Although I am confident in our services and each of the staff within it, I assure you that we will not become complacent.

Anthony’s advocate and supporters will never be complacent about the abuse Anthony experiences at Nua Healthcare Institution. (From Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

We will maintain zero tolerance of abuse in any of its forms and we will never forget our responsibilities to the men, women and children who avail of our service and for whom we are most privileged to support and care for.

Mr Noel Dunne

1. Why does Nua give Anthony drugs against his wishes?

2. Why do you ignore and deny Anthony’s means of Communication?

3. Why did you force Anthony to work on Nua Farm UNPAID, which he hates?

4. Why do you refuse to support Anthony’s right to live independently?

Should you wish to discuss any concerns, please contact any member of our senior management team. Finally, should you wish to visit our services and or discuss any aspect of it, please feel free to make that request and we will certainly facilitate it.

We invite Mr Noel Dunne to publicly debate with Anthony and his supporters about residential Abuse in all its forms at Nua Healthcare Institution ? (from Joe Whittaker Anthony’s friend and advocate)

Thanks you for your continued commitment to our service and for trusting us to provide services for you family member.

Yours sincerely,

Noel Dunne (signed)

Chief Operating Officer

This article will appear on National and International blogs that support the rights of disabled people to live independently, free from Institutional care.

Joe Whittaker

friend and advocate for Anthony Kletzander.

 Posted by at 16:42
Jan 112015
 

as you may have seen Mark Harper may have deliberately misled parliament and said that disabled people’s organisations have told him his government are right to close the independent Living Fund and devolve non-ring fenced funding to Local Authorities. Following DWPs response to an FOI we have now written to those disability charities it seems Mark Harper claims have supported this decision to ask them if they did agree with the government.

The charities concerned are DRUK,  Mencap, MIND, RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Leonard Cheshire Disability and SCOPE.

Many thanks to John Pring and his Disability News Service for also working on this issue.

http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2015/01/independent-living-fund-ministers-unbelievable-failure-prove-commons-boast/

Dear CEO,

A published statement in parliament made in December last year has left Mark Harper the minister for disabled people facing accusations that he misled parliament over the level of support for the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
Mark Harper told MPs that he had “talked to disability organisations about this matter, and they agree with the
government” that the ILF should be closed and non-ring-fenced funding passed instead to local authorities.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141208/debtext/141208-0001.htm#1412082000005
Having now received a response to a Freedom of Information request about this matter the Minister for Disabled People’s Private Office has confirmed that the Minister does meet regularly with a large number of disability organisations including a regular monthly meeting with the Disability Charities Consortium – an informal coalition of seven disability charities; Action on Hearing Loss, Disability Rights UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap, Mind, RNIB and Scope – and attendance at the Fulfilling Potential Forum.

We know that those attending the Fulfilling Potential Forum have not agreed with the government’s plans to close the ILF and refusal to ring-fence the money.

We also feel it is unlikely, but not impossible, that you as one of the CEOs of the Disability Charities Consortium have agreed with this stance but before we pursue this matter further we would like you to confirm to us whether you have in meetings with Mark Harper agreed with the government’s position that the ILF should be closed and non ring-fenced funding devolved to local authorities.

We have posted this on our website and will add your responses to us as and when we receive them.

Linda Burnip

Disabled People Against Cuts

Responses

Linda
Disability Rights UK has never  agreed with government to ILF closure.
We have not agreed with government on closure or transfer.

On ring-fencing we campaigned in 2014 on the lack of ring-fencing by many local authorities, after we did a Freedom of Information request to find out what local authorities were doing – this was on national media.

See our statement and these FoI  findings at: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2014/august/most-councils-will-not-ringfence-ilf-resources

We will be doing a further Freedom of Information request shortly to sustain pressure

Best wishes

Liz

Dear Linda

I am currently chair of Disabilities Charities Consortium.

Disabilities Charities Consortium CEOs have met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October 2014. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and shared our joint policy platform (see attached document) and invited the Minister to outline his priorities up until May 2015.

There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focused on social care funding and legislative reforms. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our positioning document (attached) calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this. By the end of the next Parliament, all recipients of state-funded care must have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

With regard to Action on Hearing Loss, we have not had any conversation with the Minister for Disabled People about the Independent Living Fund.

With best wishes

Paul

Paul Breckell
Chief Executive
Action on Hearing Loss

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your recent messages to Clare Pelham with regard the Independent Living Fund.

In addition to the clarification that I know has been sent on behalf of the DCC group, I can confirm that we have had two recent meetings with Mark Harper MP, the introductory meeting between the Minister and the CEOs of the Disability Charities Consortium on 14 October, and an individual meeting on 27 November. We did not discuss the ILF at either of these meetings. In addition, over the last year we have specifically called for the ILF to be retained.

Yours,

Andy Cole 

Director of Corporate Affairs
Leonard Cheshire Disability

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your email regarding the comment that the Minister for Disabled People made in Parliament in December 2014 about the Independent Living Fund.

Scope has held two meetings with Mark Harper as the Minister for Disabled People – the first in September 2014 and the second in January 2015.  The agenda of neither of these meetings included a specific item on the Independent Living Fund.

We have always been clear that our position on ILF is as set out below.

As you know, in our response to the Government’s 2012 consultation entitled ‘The Future of the Independent Living Fund’ (available here:https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-of-the-independent-living-fund-ilf), Scope stated that ‘Whilst it may be reasonable to consider bringing the Independent Living Fund (ILF) into the mainstream care and support system at some point in the future, Scope is strongly opposed to closing the fund to existing users at this present time’ and that “the core issue of funding for all care and support services needs to be addressed before any potential consideration of closure of the ILF to existing users”.

Since then, Scope has been consistent and clear that we are very concerned about the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) because it is likely to lead to fewer disabled people being able to live independently and because those basic conditions for any movement of the fund into the mainstream care system have not been met. Our most recent position statement on the closure of the Fund can be found here: http://www.scope.org.uk/Scope-responds-lawfulness-closure-Independent-Living-Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium has met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October 2014. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and shared our joint policy platform and invited the Minister to outline his priorities up until May 2015.   There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focused on social care funding and legislative reforms. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our positioning document calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this. By the end of the next Parliament, all recipients of state-funded care must have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

I hope this answers your query in full, and please do not hesitate to contact me again if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,

Richard Hawkes

SCOPE

Thank you for your email and giving us an opportunity to respond to what the government has said.

As you’ll see from the attached response to the original ILF consultation, which we submitted in October 2012, we called, amongst other things,  for a ring-fenced budget allocation, if the ILF were to be closed. We then set out the different developments we wanted to see across Wales and Northern Ireland, were the ILF to close, to ensure a proper funding settlement for the devolved administrations. We believe that the lack of ringfencing is a very serious issue, which the government has not recognised.

In particular, I would draw your attention to the following from our response:

“Mencap urges the Government to transfer the funding from the ILF to local authorities in the form of a ring fenced specific grant. Otherwise it would be highly likely that local authorities will use the ILF funding to meet other gaps in spending. Furthermore Mencap calls upon the Government to take urgent action to address the funding crisis within adult social care. ”

You may also know that we are a member of the Care and Support Alliance, along with over 70 other organisations, campaigning together for a significant increase in funding for social care.

As a member of the Disabilities Charities Consortium, we have met once with Mark Harper, on 14 October last year- our first meeting with him after he took up the new role. It was an introductory meeting at which we discussed the DCC’s priorities in the run-up to the general election and the Minister’s priorities up until May. There was a brief discussion about independent living at the meeting, which focussed on social care funding and the Care Act. The meeting did not include any discussion of the Independent Living Fund.

The Disabilities Charities Consortium, of which Mencap is a member, does not have an agreed joint position on the ILF. Our joint policy document, which we use to guide our work together, calls for Government to reaffirm its commitment to independent living and put in place the mechanisms to deliver this so that by the end of the next Parliament, all users of state-funded care services have the option to live independently, including being supported in their own home or in a supported living setting.

I hope this is helpful, and welcome you placing responses on your website, so disabled people and their families can see the position that we and other charities have taken.

Jan Tegelles

Mencap

 

 

 

 Posted by at 18:05
Jan 112015
 

Although this case will take place in Scotland we believe that if won it would be carried over into legislation in other parts of the UK and is therefore vitally important so that the situation where people need care and support but are unable to pay for it can be ended once and for all. If you do live in any of the areas where volunteers are being sort please get in touch with us at mail@dpac.uk.net or driectly with Ian at office@ldascotland.org

 

Care charges and the legal case

Scotland Against the Care Tax

8 Jan 2015 — Dear All

As you know, over 20 councils in Scotland discriminate against people under the age of 60 by allowing them to keep less money before charging them for social care. This can mean that young people are up to £50 a week worse off.

We believe that this is illegal and we have secured the help of one of Scotland’s top Human Rights lawyers, Tony Kelly to help take this forward. Tony will seek to prepare cases under the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination on the grounds of age.

With the help of one of Scotland’s foremost advocates, Niall McCluskey who is preparing a legal opinion, we should have a really strong case.

I am looking for some volunteers to come forward to be part of the first stage of a legal aid case to take on this challenge.

The volunteers need to be under 60/65 and pay care charges in one of the listed local authorities. They can be on Employment Support Allowance or have a restricted income in some other way up to a limit of £26,000 per year perhaps through a pension. Volunteers should have less than £13,000 in savings. Volunteers may be subject to some publicity but we would like to have at least half a dozen people so the demands on any one person should not be too onerous. Guardians can do this on behalf of the person they care for.

The local authorities we could pursue this in are below. Ideally we would like to group volunteers for the test case from 1 or 2 of these local authorities but will work with whoever comes forward.

Aberdeen City Angus Clackmannanshire East Ayrshire
East Lothian East Renfrewshire Falkirk Inverclyde
Midlothian Moray Renfrewshire Scottish Borders
Shetland Islands South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire Stirling
West Dunbartonshire Argyll & Bute Dumfries & Galloway

A legal case like this not only will bring justice to thousands of people who are illegally paying more than they have to but will help to undermine the whole system of care charging which relies on these illegal payments to justify itself and will force politicians to act or risk being seen to endorse illegal acts against disabled people.

Please get in touch with me directly to talk about volunteering or encouraging anyone you know to volunteer. Please forward this message on to others who might be able to help.

All the best
Ian
office@ldascotland.org

 Posted by at 15:09
Dec 172014
 

Many thanks to all of you who signed up to our letter to Ed Miliband asking Labour to commit to keeping the ILF open –at least until something better could be found to allow disabled people to live independently in the community. In less than a week we collected 21 x A4 size pages of signatures, more people are also asking to sign up. This shows how important this issue is to us – as disabled voters.

 

Sadly we have to tell you all that in spite of one of our steering group members trying to organise handing over that letter through a supportive Labour MP Ed Miliband has turned his back on disabled people, once again, and refused to accept the letter from us.

 

At the Labour party event for International Day of Disabled People Ed was asking how he could get disabled people to vote for him. Well we have a very loud and clear message for Mr. Miliband: it is not by  refusing to engage with us when requested, and it is not by ignoring the rights that disabled people have to live independently in the community.

 

Our Christmas message to Ed is that he needs to take on board the reality of the voting power of the 12.2 million disabled people and their families in this country if Labour are serious about being elected.

 

We’d also like to ask all of you, but especially those who signed up to our letter to send your own letter or email direct to Ed from January 5th onwards.

Contact Information:

Email: ed.miliband.mp@parliament.uk

Post: House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA
Twitter: @ed_miliband

Template Letter:

I/We disabled people/ family/ friends/ supporters and allies, are asking for your help. We are asking you to pledge to keep the Independent Living Fund open to existing applicants, pending a review of Independent Living for all disabled people.
As you may know, on the 8th of December at the High Court, a ruling was given against our challenge to the closure of the ILF [1], and we were not given leave to appeal.
The closure of the ILF effectively signals the end of the right to independent living for disabled people in the UK. Whilst never perfect the ILF represents a model of support that has enabled thousands of disabled people to enjoy meaningfully lives and to contribute to society as equal citizens. 
Since the closure of the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 we have seen disabled people left with their most basic needs unmet and unable to seek employment, to volunteer or go into education or simply even to leave the house.
But we have vowed to fight on against the ILF closure,  disabled people will not be pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay.
We ask you to imagine what it will be like, for people who have been enabled  to live a full life, be with friends and family, go out, work, study and enjoy recreation, to have all that taken away, and find themselves trapped inside, all day, every day, with choices over what they do, when and how, removed.
To severely disabled people the Independent Living Fund represents the difference between having an existence, and having a life.
 
If you want our vote then keep the Independent Living Fund.
 Posted by at 23:56
Dec 102014
 

Please Help Us. Save Our Independent Living Fund

We, disabled people, family, friends, supporters and allies, are asking for your help. We are asking you to pledge to keep the Independent Living Fund open to existing applicants, pending a review of Independent Living for all disabled people.

As you may know, on the 8th of December at the High Court, a ruling was given against our challenge to the closure of the ILF [1], and we were not given leave to appeal.

The closure of the ILF effectively signals the end of the right to independent living for disabled people in the UK. Whilst never perfect the ILF represents a model of support that has enabled thousands of disabled people to enjoy meaningfully lives and to contribute to society as equal citizens. 

Since the closure of the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 we have seen disabled people left with their most basic needs unmet and unable to seek employment, to volunteer or go into education or simply even to leave the house.

But we have vowed to fight on against the ILF closure,  disabled people will not be pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay.

We ask you to imagine what it will be like, for people who have been enabled  to live a full life, be with friends and family, go out, work, study and enjoy recreation, to have all that taken away, and find themselves trapped inside, all day, every day, with choices over what they do, when and how, removed.

To severely disabled people the Independent Living Fund represents the difference between having an existence, and having a life.

Please Ed, keep our Independent Living Fund open. Keep Our Lives Open. It means the world to us.

References

[1] https://dpac.uk.net/2014/12/disabled-people-vow-to-continue-the-fight-to-save-

to sign as an organisation or individual please go to 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11ZpbvcgSdYeOciEj9NZtnHFaI-3gGzMvRKLX4RblGTs/edit

or email: mail@dpac.uk.net

deadline for all signatures is 12pm Tues 16th Jan

Background: The Government won a case in the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday 8th December, which made their decision to close the ILF – Independent Living Fund – lawful; and this closure will now go ahead on 30th June next year.
Unless, of course the families, friends, supporters and others stand in solidarity with ILF Users campaign to Save the ILF, and together apply the sort of political power which changes minds and policy. You can do that today by signing the Open Letter to Ed Miliband (full text below), asking him, that should he become Prime Minister in May’s General Election, to keep the Fund open while ordering an independent review into the benefits of a model such as the ILF.
We know that many disabled people will lose some or all of their support, isolating people in their homes – at best. For many more, being institutionalised in residential homes is once again a grim reality. To save on average just over £300 per person. Don’t let this happen. Stand in support with ILF Users in this action, and the many more on-going & to come

Dec 092014
 

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne) (Lab): What legal costs his Department has incurred in legal proceedings involving disabled people relating to the under-occupancy penalty and the closure of the independent living fund. [906481]

The Minister for Disabled People (Mr Mark Harper): The Government have robustly defended their policies in relation to the closure of the independent living fund and the removal of the spare room subsidy. The total known legal costs to date, in respect of both policies where disability formed part of the grounds of the claim, are £415,000: £236,000 for the ILF and £178,000 for the removal of the spare room subsidy.

John Healey: That is a part answer to a very direct question about the cost to the taxpayers of Government lawyers defending the indefensible—axing the ILF and introducing the hated bedroom tax. Will the Minister not recognise that many severely disabled people flourish with the fund but are now frightened of losing their independence when he shuts it down next year? He might have won the legal case this year, but he has lost the moral and policy arguments, so even at this 11th hour will he rethink the protection available to ILF users?

Mr Harper: No, I will not. I have talked to disability organisations about this matter, and they agree with the Government. More than 1 million people get social care through the mainstream social care system. The Government are not making any savings by moving the ILF to local authorities and devolved Administrations, and we are working closely with each local authority to ensure that the amount of money being transferred at the point of closure next year will be exactly what is needed and what is being spent by the ILF, meaning that disabled people will be protected.

Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South) (Lab): Some £4.3 billion has been taken out of adult social care budgets over the past four years because of the Government’s cuts. If that funding transfers across, as is planned, it will plug only a very small part of the gap. If they will not rethink this policy, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth and Dearne (John Healey) just suggested, will Ministers require that the funding be ring-fenced to ensure that 70 people in Salford and 18,000 people across the country with disabilities can look forward to keeping their independence and to this continuing support?

Mr Harper: Of course local government has had to play its part in the savings, but local authorities can make choices. My local authority in Gloucestershire has protected the value of social care because it thinks that protecting older people—[Interruption.] No, my local authority has faced cuts, like all local authorities, but it has chosen to—[Interruption.] If Opposition Members want me to answer their hon. Friend’s question, they should stop yelling. My local authority has prioritised funding for older people and people of working age. Clearly, the hon. Lady’s local authority has made different decisions. If those on her local authority want to ring-fence the money transferred from the ILF, they are absolutely free to do so, so I suggest she take that up with them.


8 Dec 2014 : Column 632

We want to thank John Healey MP for raising these questions

But other questions arise: which disability organisations did Harper speak to and why did they agree with the Government that closing ILF was a good thing for disabled people with high support needs and their employees? Did Harper speak to ILF users?

Watch this space……

Dec 082014
 

Press release from Solicitors involved

Two severely disabled men who use the Independent Living Fund (ILF) today lost their bid to overturn the Government’s decision to close the ILF in June 2015, as the High Court ruled that former Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning had not breached equality laws in making the closure decision earlier this year. The two men had been granted permission for a judicial review of the process leading to Penning’s closure decision, taken just weeks after the Court of Appeal quashed a previous, almost identical decision as being unlawful.

ILF provides vital support and funding to some 17,000 disabled people in the UK to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. To be eligible people must already receive a substantial care package from local authority social services, but ILF funding provides a top-up for those with the highest support needs. The ILF system was set up in 1988 to tackle the barriers to independent living and working faced by the most severely disabled people, which were not adequately addressed by council provision with its focus on meeting basic needs. The claimants, represented by Scott-Moncrieff & Associates and Deighton Pierce Glynn, believe that these problems with council provision remain and are getting worse under Government cuts. They fear that loss of ILF support will threaten their right to live with dignity, and they may be forced into residential care or lose their ability to participate in work and everyday activities on an equal footing with other people.

As in the earlier, successful challenge, the claimants argued that the Minister had not been given adequate information to be able to properly assess the practical effect of closure on the particular needs of ILF users and their ability to live independently, or to consider alternatives. The Court of Appeal ruled that this information about impact was essential for the Minister to comply with the Equality Act, which requires the Government to act to positively advance equality of opportunity for disabled people, including meeting needs, removing disadvantages and increasing their participation in public life.

However, handing down judgment today Mrs Justice Andrews ruled that a crucial difference between the two decision-making processes was that in the first, the Minister (then Esther McVey) was given an over-optimistic ‘Panglossian’ summary of information about how ILF users would be likely to be affected, whereas in the second the Minister was made fully aware of ‘the inevitable and considerable adverse effect’ that closure would have on disabled people. She concluded that the assumption on which Mr Penning based his decision was that ‘independent living might well be put seriously in peril for … most (or a substantial number of) ILF users’. In the judge’s view that meant that the Minister had clear, unambiguous information on which to weigh up the implications for disability equality, regardless of the exact number of people who would be likely to have to go into residential care or lose their ability to work or study.

The judge emphasised that her decision was not about the rights or wrongs of closure, just whether the Minister knew enough about the likely impact to meet the requirements of a lawful decision-making process. The decision itself was up to him. The judge also declined to rule on whether the closure decision may put the UK in breach of its international legal obligations to advance disabled people’s rights to independent living and equality of opportunity under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

However there is a really significant point arising out of the decision. Essentially the legal challenge was to the process of decision-making and specifically the question of what information the Minister had available to him about the likely impact on disabled people so as to be able to properly exercise the public sector equality duty.  What the judgment highlights is that, in the judge’s view, the Minister clearly believed that the impact of closure on disabled people and their ability to live independently will be really severe, and many or most ILF users will be at risk of losing their ability to work, study or live independently in the community as a result

 

For the purpose of the legal challenge, that meant that (in the judge’s view) the Minister had sufficient information to make a lawful decision – and that was end of story as far as the court’s role went.  But in wider terms it really begs the question of why, in that case, the Minister decided what he did:

 

          How can it have been justified if he thought the impact would be so severe?

          What is the benefit of getting rid of this tried and tested system of protection for those people who are most at risk of losing their independence? There has never been any suggestion that it will save money overall – indeed there is evidence that it may cost far more than it saves because of (a) the false economies of people losing good support then getting into crisis and being institutionalised, (b) the ILF system being such good value for money (extremely low running costs as it uses trustees) and (c) the double benefit of the ILF system which not only provides a funding top-up but (crucially) puts leverage on local authorities to put their contribution towards proper independent support packages instead of institutional care.

          How can  this decision to cause such a negative impact on such a large number of the most severely disabled people in the country be squared with the need for the Government to actively advance equality of opportunity for disabled people, including meeting needs better and increasing participation in public life rather than the other way round?

          Similarly how can it be squared with international obligations the UK has signed up to such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which stipulates that contracting states must move forwards not back in realising rights such as that under Article 19 – the right to live independently in the community with choices equal to others.

Contact: Solicitors representing the Claimants:

Deighton Pierce Glynn (Louise Whitfield)

Scott-Moncrieff & Associates (Kate Whittaker)

8 Union Street, London SE1 1SZ

Tel: 020 7407 0007

Office 7, 19 Greenwood Place, London NW5 1LB

Tel: 020 7485 5588/ 07954 289595

Notes

  1. The ILF is a body of the Department of Work and Pensions but under the management of independent trustees. Since it was created in 1988 it has helped many thousands of disabled people to live independent lives and be included in the community as full citizens. It has targeted support at the most severely disabled people in the UK who face the greatest barriers to independent living, and has also played a key role in overseeing social services provision from local authorities for this group of people, to ensure that the combined ILF/local authority support packages meet criteria of promoting independence and inclusion and avoid unnecessary escalation of costs through people being institutionalised and cut off from their communities. In 2010 the Fund was closed to new applicants because the Government had reduced the amount of money it gave to the Fund. It is now proposing that the Fund close completely on 30 June 2015, leaving users to rely solely on local authority adult care services.
  1. This is at a time when the funding for local authorities is being dramatically reduced and many authorities are cutting services for disabled people. The Health and Social Care Information Centre states that the total number of people receiving social care services in 2012-13 was 1.3m, down 9% from 2011-12 and down 25% from 2007-08 (HSCIC, Community Care Statistics, Social Services Activity: England 2012-13, Provisional Release, 2013). This is the expected result of the targeting of cuts at local authority funding which will continue until at least 2015-16, suggesting a real-terms cut of nearly 50% in social care provision by that stage.
  1. Following consultation the Scottish government has announced that from 1 July 2015 it will establish a Scottish Independent Living Fund to protect the funding of the 3000+ existing ILF users in Scotland, and will build on the existing system through a £5.5 million investment which will re-open it to new users, ensuring its long-term future: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/scottish-governments-decision-on-a-scottish-independent-living-fund. The Welsh government is currently consulting on options for the future support of ILF users, including setting up a successor body as in Scotland; the consultation is open until 23 December 2014: http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/fund/?lang=en.
  1. Further information, including briefing (June 2014) and individuals’ stories, on the campaign against the closure of ILF is available at the Inclusion London website: http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/
Dec 032014
 

Motability have introduced changes to their grant making conditions discriminate against disabled people with the highest support needs who are unable to work for a minimum of 12hours a week, carry out at least 12 hours voluntary work (which apparently can’t be internet based but has to be outside the home and doesn’t include travelling time), are not in education for at least 12 hours a week and who need specialised adaptations to transfer to drive or drive-from-wheelchair vehicles.

These changes have not been made publicly known or advertised to current customers in any way about who is eligible for a grant and the changes were made without any consultation.

We understand these changes were made from June 1st this year but customers are only being told about them when they enquire about a grant for a replacement vehicle.

The impact of these changes which affects those with the highest and most costly needs are potentially life-changing. It could well prevent people having contact with family (let alone friends) if they live in a rural area with little or no transport, it means anyone who can only travel with equipment like hoists. Oxygen cylinders and other bulky items won’t be able to go anywhere. It also ignores the fact that with other cuts to services people will not be able to ensure they have the physical support from someone else to drive them.

We have sought legal advice to see whether these changes can be challenged as discriminatory and now need to hear from anyone who is or would be affected by these changes in the near future and who would qualify for legal aid.

If you think you might be affected by these changes and are willing to consider taking legal action then please contact us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

http://linkis.com/disabilitynewsservice.com/fZhn2

 

https://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/motability-and-the-deserving-and-undeserving-charity-not-rights/

 

 

 Posted by at 18:27
Nov 182014
 

New regulations have very recently been laid before Parliament which will cut Disabled Students Allowance. At DPAC we are concerned that these cuts will seriously reduce or even prevent disabled students from taking part in higher education. We are concerned that the Regulations were laid without a public consultation and in breach of the public sector equality duty. If you are worried about the cuts to Disabled Students Allowance because you are (or will be) a university student who would apply for DSA, please get in touch with us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 Posted by at 21:42