While there always seems to be plenty of money for some from disability sadly, the trickle-down effect never seems to reach as far as disabled people themselves. We still seem to be being exploited as cash cows for others. Below tells how charities are exploiting disabled people through the evidence of a whistleblower from one of the charities.
Scandal of charities that bully people off benefits
by Dave Sewell
Charities and voluntary organisations that claim to be helping vulnerable people are instead enforcing government plans to throw them off benefits, Socialist Worker can reveal.
Over 270 voluntary organisations signed up to the government’s Work Programme, which pays contractors to bully unemployed people off benefits.
Sometimes this involves “workfare” schemes—herding unemployed workers into mandatory unpaid work at supermarkets, fast food restaurants and even NHS hospitals (see below).
An “employment advisor” at one of the charities spoke to Socialist Worker anonymously about the practice. “It’s disgusting,” they said. “We get letters from people who are really ill asking why their benefits have been taken away.
“I remember one client with severe psychosis. He didn’t know what day of the week it was—but he was about to lose his benefits because he had missed his appointments.”
The charities claim they are providing a service to help vulnerable people into jobs. But the jobs simply aren’t there.
Last week St Mungo’s became the latest charity to pull out of the Work Programme. It hadn’t made the revenue it expected. And it failed to put a single homeless person into work.
“Charities signed up naively,” the advisor told Socialist Worker. “They thought—we already work with vulnerable people, so why shouldn’t we do the same for a contract?”
In practice this has meant charities turning into factories designed to process unemployed claimants. And if claimants can’t jump through the government’s impossible hoops, their benefits can be removed.
“There is so much pressure to get results—either by getting people into work, or by getting their benefits sanctioned,” the advisor said.
Around one in ten of those that the charity recommends to be stripped of their benefits are later found to have been sanctioned wrongly, the advisor added.
Their caseload includes people who are claiming Employment Support Allowance and are not obliged to seek jobs, as they are not considered fit for work.
But the advisors are not trained to tell them this. Nor are they trained to help claimants who miss appointments for health reasons—and then find they have lost their benefits as a result.
The voluntary organisations involved in the Work Programme are subcontractors of private sector training firm Seetec. They include charities that work with disabled people, homeless people, single parents, young people and ex-offenders.
But the Work Programme is in a mess over its use of contractors. One prominent firm, A4e, is so mired in fraud allegations that it has had to be axed from the scheme.
And last week the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee called for payments to Work Programme contractors to be frozen. The advisor welcomed this move, saying, “It’s an obscene system. Let’s hope it falls apart soon.”
Originally posted at http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28575 nice pic of DPAC protesters there too blocking the road
According to DWP charities involved are set out in the following table by area: find your charity here-we’ve kindly highlighted the disability ones for you- let us know if we missed any-for full excell sheet email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Btw Disability Works UK includes SCOPE, Leonard Cheshire, Mind, MENCAP, Action for Blind People (or RNIB) Disability Works UK has a turnover value of £654.4 million and a surplus of £15.6 million Recession? What recession?
Work Programme Supply Chains
|The information contained in the table below reflects updates and changes to the Work Programme supply chains and is correct as at 30 January 2012.
It is published in the interests of transparency. It is limited to those in supply chains delivering to prime providers as part of their tier 1 and 2 chains. Definitions of what these tiers incorporate vary from prime provider to prime provider. There are additional suppliers beyond these tiers who are largely to be called on to deliver one off, unique interventions in response to a particular participants needs and circumstances.
The Department for Work and Pensions fully anticipate that supply chains will be dynamic, with scope to flex and evolve to reflect change within the labour market and participant needs.
The Department intends to update this information at regular intervals dependant on time and resources available.
In addition to the Merlin standard, a robust process is in place for the Department to approve any supply chain changes and to ensure that the service on offer is not compromised or reduced.
|Comparison between the August 2011 stock take and the January 2012 figures shows a small net increase in the overall number of organisations in the supply chains. Both the public and private sector shows slight increases, while the voluntary and community sector shows a small net decrease.
The table below illustrates these changes
|Sector||Number of organisations in the supply chain|
|Private||As at 30 January 2012 – 306 / As at 12 August 2011 – 295*|
|Public||As at 30 January 2012 – 137 / As at 12 August 2011 – 133*|
|Voluntary or Community (VCS)||As at 30 January 2012 – 412 / As at 12 August 2011 – 420*|
|Totals||As at 30 january 2012 – 855 / As at 12 August 2011 – 848*|
|*Note These figure have been amended due to organisations being incorrectly recorded in the earlier stock take, which has now been rectified. This included two strategic partners being listed as a tier 2 sub contractor when no contractual relationship was in place; one organisation being incorrectly categorised as voluntary sector when they were in fact from the private sector, and a voluntary sector organisation being recorded under two different names, thus decreasing the voluntary sector count and increasing the private sector.