Dec 312011
 

DPAC team would like to wish everybody a Happy New Year and thank you for your support. Please continue with your support in 2012.

Here is a recap of articles on disability rights issues from 2011 and we can be sure they will continue in the new year –

Miller admits PIP changeover will take £160 million away from disabled people! 

Social Model Response to loss of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 

Scapegoats, Sinners and Political Strategies: the media and disability cuts -Debbie Jolly 

Independent Living Fund letter 

AN OPEN LETTER TO ATOS HEALTHCARE 

 URGENT AND IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT A JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT 

At the end of last year we sent you this video

this year we had a very full year with leading disabled people with trade union protests (Marching for the Alternative) in March 26th in London and then later 18th Sept in Birmingham and 2nd Oct in Manchester. We ve also been to many anti Atos protests and to one against the Daily Mail. We’ve participated in many conferences not least with Rights to Work People’s Convention on 12th February.

On 29th Oct, DPAC held its own first national conference.

Here is a short video slideshow of some of the events

Happy New Year to all members and supporters!

 

Dec 302011
 

PCS Left Unity National Committee

DEFEND PENSIONS – ESCALATE ACTION TO DEFEND THE WELFARE STATE

Friends Meeting House

(opp. Euston Station) 7th January 2012 11am – 4pm

Mark Serwotka carrying DPAC banner

Mark Serwotka carrying DPAC banner

Speakers:

Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary

John McDonnell MP

Kevin Courtney DGS NUT (personal capacity)

Roger Bannister UNISON NEC (personal capacity)

Mark Campbell UCU NEC (personal capacity)

Zita Holbourne BARAC

Kevin Donnelly Unite United Left

For more details click here…

Dec 282011
 

JOIN US TO PROTEST AGAINST CUTS TO DISABLED PEOPLE’S BENEFITS AND SERVICES AND THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR NHS ON WHICH ALL OF US WHO ARE NOT MILLIONAIRE POLITICIANS RELY.

 SAY “NO” TO THE WELFARE REFORM BILL,THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR WELFARE STATE AND “NO” TO WORKFARE

What Cuts do Disabled People Face?

▼Closure of the Independent Living Fund supporting those with high support needs, proving that the government’s rhetoric of supporting disabled people is as empty as their souls

▼Movement from Incapacity Benefit to Employment Support Allowance through punitive and unfair compulsory Work Capability Assessments carried out by Atos, a private for-profit company who are declaring those who need 24-hour support and those with terminal cancer ‘fit for work’ in order to meet government targets and reduce disabled peoples’ income drastically

▼VAT increases and benefit rates linked to CPI not RPI which is likely to cost disabled people an extra £800 per annum.

▼Cuts to social care budgets, cuts to housing support, cuts to Access to Work programme (helping disabled people with any equipment they might need to compete on an equal basis with non disabled employees), constant attacks on disabled peoples’ integrity by the Tories and others suggesting we’re not really disabled but ‘just pretending’ to get meagre benefits which they’re going to abolish anyway

Where – LEAMINGTON SPA, WARWICKSHIRE

 

At CHRIS WHITE, MP’s office, 43a CLEMENS STREET, OLD TOWN,  CV31 2DP, not far from railway station.

 

When – Friday, JANUARY 20th, meet outside constituency office at 1pm.

 

www.dpac.uk.net,   mail@dpac.uk.net, http://twitter.com/Dis_PPL_Protest

Dec 232011
 

This is an important and urgent message from the Mental Health Resistance Network.

As you all know, members of the Mental Health Resistance Network have been working with a solicitor towards making a claim for a Judicial Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which is the assessment used to determine whether we will be granted Employment Support Allowance or sent back to work (if there is any work to be found!). We are just focussing on people who claim on mental health grounds.    

We are now at a critical stage in this process as we are very close to being able to make the claim for Judicial Review. However, before we can do this, it would help if we could find stories that will show the court what sort of problems the WCA causes. So we are looking for people who have been through the process and would be able to tell us about their experience. If people wish, we can present their cases anonymously when we use their evidence. Although it would be very good if people were prepared for us to give their names to the DWP so that the DWP could check their stories, it is not essential.

There are two types of experience that we are particularly interested in (in the solicitor’s words):

 (i)  Cases where a person claims ESA without producing any medical evidence and is refused benefit, but then wins on appeal when medical evidence is obtained.

(ii)  Cases where a person claims ESA without producing any medical evidence, is refused benefit, does not appeal (perhaps because they can’t face it), and then bad things happen (for example they go into work and become ill, or have a problem, or can’t get work, or whatever). Ideally, the case is recognised down the line as a problem because a CAB or law centre makes a new application with medical evidence and benefit is awarded.

In other words: 

1) you have you claimed and been turned down for ESA but were successful on appeal when you produced additional medical evidence 

 or 

2) were you turned down for ESA and did not appeal but reapplied with medical evidence, and were successful. 

 You can send your stories to: mentalhealthresistancenetwork@gmail.com

 Or you can write to the solicitor whose address is below. 

 This affects us all so please pass on everyone you know who may be able to help. One last point, we need these stories urgently so if you can help, please contact us as quickly as possible.

Ravi Low-Beer

Solicitor

Public Law Project

150 Caledonian Road

London N1 9RD

 Tel: 0845 543 5944

Fax: 0845 345 9254

 

 

Dec 222011
 
christmas tree image

 DPAC would like to thank the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) for letting us use  their card link .

We at DPAC think it sums things up perfectly-inclusive education and inclusion is a fundamental right for all disabled people, disabled children and disabled young people. Please check out and support ALLFIE through tags on the card. Please click on link

        http://jimpix.co.uk/c/allfie/ 

                                                             You can also personalise the card to send to your friends and families. 

 

Dec 202011
 
 

Disability Political Mobilisation

by eldoct

 Blog piece below orginally posted at multoo  http://wp.me/p20l4O-P
 
The history of the disability rights movement in the UK stretches back to the 1970s. Tom Shakespeare pinpoints the ‘Year Zero’ as 1975 (Shakespeare, 2006:14), with the writing of the Fundamental Principles of Disability by UPIAS – the Unionof the Physically Impaired Against Segregation.
 
The key members of UPIAS – Vic Finklestein, Paul Hunt and Paul Abberley – wrote the Fundamental Principles against a background where the societal response to impairment was to provide specialist segregated settings for disabled people – residential homes, special schools, segregated workplace settings, etc.
 
In 1983 Mike Oliver named the dominant societal disability discourse as the Individual, or Medical, Model of disability. In contrast he named the new definition the Social Model of Disability. I will explore some aspects of these definitions in a future blog.
 
For the purposes of this blog I wish to highlight three factors about this political activity –
  • The self-mobilisation of disabled people, into political groupings, started at this point. The 1980s saw the formation of groups of disabled people, from national organisations to the regional and local groups. Disabled people began campaigning for equal rights, for better access, and for a range of different things. Some of these groups were very angry, railing against the oppressive practices of non-disabled people, while others were more conciliatory, working with local authorities to deliver ‘better’ public services. The point here is that disabled people began to decide what it is that they wanted to campaign for, or against, and then to do it, without the involvement of non-disabled people;
  • The first fruits of this self-mobilisation was the creation of a new, political understanding of disability – the Social Model. This was the first time that disabled people themselves created a definition of disability. This self-definition and self-naming is an important political process, mirrored within other civil rights movements. It moves disability away from the bounds of medical discourse into the realm of political activity; and
  • In doing this, for the first time the notions of ‘disability’ and ‘impairment’ were separated. People with impairments can be disabled, or not, by the socially constructed world around them.
These three things, at least, demonstrate that we, as disabled people, can change things. TheUK disability landscape is fundamentally different now from what it was in the 1970s. Without the anger, frustration, and vocalisation of disabled people themselves it is hard to imagine things would have changed in the way that they have. Many of us now live independently in the community of our choosing, with the people we want, controlling our own support packages. Not all of us are institutionalised and segregated away from the mainstream in the same way as we were in times gone by.
But there is still a long way to go. For some people this independence is still not a choice. Some people experience profound degradation, humiliation and even torture in the place they call ‘home’ – look at Winterbourne View and other recent ‘care home’ scandals.
 
It looks like things will get a lot worse in times to come. As budgets are reduced, the squeeze on Local Authority social care provision will increase. More people may well find themselves in institutions when they would like to remain living independently. The Hardest Hit in these tough times are disabled people.
 
The battle is not over, nor is it ‘won’. Not by any means. The question is how do we win it? I believe we need a mobilisation of grass roots disability political activity. We have shown what we can do when we are in control, and we have shown that by working with government – locally, regionally and nationally – we can make significant change.
There can be a friction between Local Authority service delivery, contracting and tendering and this political campaigning. But there is space for this activity. The key here is to mobilise on a regional and national scale. To bring together the voices demanding change.
Festive Cheer One and All.
References
Shakespeare, T. (2006) Disability rights and wrongs Routledge,London,UK

For another perspective on the social model here’s a video from Disability LIB

 
Dec 202011
 

DPAC has been passed an unedited transcript from Work and Pensions Committee in which Maria Miller appears to admit that the changeover from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is set for cuts of £160 million from disabled people. It’s claimed that the department must raise the cash cuts lost in the U-turn on removal of mobility allowance for those in residential institutions. In the full transcript participants also seem to be talking as though DLA to PIP is already passed in law which it isn’t.

Q194 Sheila Gilmore: Some of my colleagues may want to ask whether or not it is just a question of people filling in the form. There is quite a lot of dispute as to whether it is fair to say that is all that goes on here. As to the financial position, a lot of people were very pleased to see the removal of mobility allowance from people in residential homes, which is something people have campaigned on from the time it was proposed. That also had a savings implication because a reduction of some £160 million was in the financial estimates. Is your Department still expecting to find additional savings from the migration from DLA to PIP that now will not be found from removing mobility allowance from people in residential care?

Maria Miller: As you would expect me to say, the Department has very clear commitments to the Treasury in terms of the spending it is able to undertake in the spending review period. The answer to that question is, very firmly, that we will have to find the funding that was associated with the mobility component for people living in residential care, but we will not find it from within the Disability Living Allowance.

Q195 Sheila Gilmore: From within PIP?

Maria Miller: Yes.

DPAC are running a campaign on DLA as already people are losing this in increasing numbers see

DLA tell DPAC your story Campaign and Social model respomse to loss of DLA

See full unedited transcript of meeting of Work and Pensions Committee at link below

Proposal to replace disability living allowance with personal independence payment – uncorrected evidence

Organisation: House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee

Source: House of Commons – Uncorrected Commons Committee Evidence

Date: 18.12.11

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published an uncorrected transcript from its evidence session on December 12 2011 on the proposal to replace disability living allowance with personal independence payment.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/uc1493-iii/uc149301.htm

Witnesses:

  • Maria Miller MP, minister for disabled people, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Dr James Bolton, deputy chief medical adviser, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Simon Dawson, deputy director of independent living and Office for Disability Issues, Department for Work and Pensions

18 December 2011

 

 

 

Dec 192011
 

Earlier this year I was asked by another disabled person “what is wrong with you anyhow?”  The person who asked this should have known better as they claim to work from a social model perspective. My obvious response to this was to ignore the question as there is nothing “wrong” with me. I have an impairment and because of the disabling barriers in society this means I am disabled.

 Now I have read that Sue Marsh (who writes for the blog ‘Diary of a benefits scrounger’) has been refused DLA in spite of having severe Crohn’s disease.

 DLA currently focuses on supporting people to live independently and to provide support for people’s mobility needs. The care component of DLA is a payment to meet the extra costs of being disabled whatever they are, extra food, extra heating, extra clothes, and if you’re an ILF user half of it goes towards the cost of your care and support package anyhow. To qualify for DLA you need to be unable to do certain specified tasks like cooking a meal, or have a need for constant supervision to help keep you safe. These descriptors are very medical model and look only at functional factors while ignoring issues such as you might be able to cook a meal if you had a fully adapted kitchen, or taps that you could actually turn on.

 Looking at the purely physical functions someone can do is also unsatisfactory. As much is made of the can you cook a meal descriptor in deciding someone’s entitlement to DLA let’s consider this a little further. One young man with Asperger’s syndrome who has lost his entitlement to the care component of DLA can physically cook a meal but needs support to do this. Another young man with Asperger’s says this functional ability test takes no account of how stressful the tasks are and how it leaves you feeling. Yet another disabled man who loses concentration frequently can theoretically cook a meal but keeps wandering off and leaving food to burn.

 For anyone with a fluctuating impairment it is impossible to get as you have to have these needs constantly for 3 months and be likely to have them for at least 6 months before you can qualify.

 As I too am disabled not just by my Crohn’s Disease but on a daily basis by the treatment I have needed for this to stay alive I have the greatest empathy for Sue.

 How people with impairments relate to society is complex and may be related to the nature of their impairment which can increase the barriers they face in daily living and leading a full and active life.  

 Using the social model approach towards defining disability as social restrictions imposed to top of people’s impairments it is necessary to make a distinction between the structures, systems, cultures, environments and attitudes that exist at the macro level of society – the level where they can institutionally exclude or marginalise people with impairments via how people with impairments are ‘taken into account’ and how they are not ‘taken into account’ – and the day-to-day social interactions which take place at the micro level of society.

 In my case for example the operations resulting in the loss of several large chunks of intestine cause me daily physical difficulties and I can no longer absorb Vitamin B12 which leaves me at risk of getting pernicious anaemia. These difficulties are exacerbated because of the lack of support available to disabled people who may be able to do some of the physical and medical model tasks to qualify for DLA some of the time but not all of the time.

 When my Crohn’s Disease flairs up I am unable to even get out of bed let alone cook. In fact the mere sight or smell of food often makes me be sick. I have to take massive doses of steroids to try to get better again which affects my immune system and means I’m more likely to get other illnesses too and this has also resulted in me having early onset Osteoporosis. I find it very hard to keep my weight at a reasonable level as often I can only eat things like ice cream and jelly for days at a time.

 I took early retirement from work because I was advised by consultants that I was more likely to remain healthy and well if I did not work and additionally this would save the NHS a lot of money. However, if work was more flexible and I was able to work when and if I could, and have the time off to rest when I needed it then I would have been able to continue to work.

 As a parent I also had the added barriers to face of having to support a disabled child who needed 24 hour support even when I was most ill. There was no help available on a short term basis and I could not afford to pay for any help myself. Many days I almost crawled around to get my son and daughter ready to go to school and then was only able to collapse back into bed. If only I had qualified for DLA then this might have been a different situation, or if social services had been able to offer some sort of short term, at home, respite support.

 However with regard to social services I have to say that until it was absolutely necessary to have any contact with them I avoided this as the Children’s services and Occupational Therapy services available where I live were so shockingly awful, which having worked for Birmingham Social Services for 10 years I feel qualified to judge. What use is an OT who says things like “disability is always so dreadful” or “I’m sure new technology is very enabling but I don’t understand it” This was not the sort of attitude towards disability that I wanted my son to grow up with. He’d already discovered at the age of nine that he was considered a fire hazard so couldn’t go to the local inaccessible cinema like his friends so it was really important to me that he understood this wasn’t his fault but the fault of the cinema for not being accessible.

see DPAC campaign on DLA

Dec 192011
 

DPAC are learning that a rising number of disabled people are losing their entitlement to DLA and are being refused DLA. This is before the coalitions promised cut of 20% of DLA cases and before the change from DLA to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). At the DPAC conference many suggested that DPAC used more personal stories in lobbying.

We are asking for your personal stories on DLA and on DLA reassessments.

DLA was originally set up to pay for the extra costs of being disabled in society of barriers for disabled people-these barriers still exist. DLA is a social model focused payment which originally recognised the extra costs of being disabled, although the test has always been based on the medical model.

The extra costs of disability come from the barriers that people face or the adaptations they might need because of their impairment or long term illness. For example  needing your own, or a form of accessible transport, extra costs of attending hospital appointments, needing aids to overcome barriers caused by the design of certain products, aids to get around, needing to spend more on shoes because of mobility, needing a special diet, needing someone to help you stay safe and so on.

Please write to your MPs with your stories and copy DPAC in to your emails

We are asking you to send:

Your personal stories, your experiences of being refused DLA and what the extra costs of disability, impairment, long term illness are for you

To find your MP see they work for you and also copy to DPAC mail@dpac.uk.net

Deadline: 12th January

MPs will be back in parliament on the 12th January and will discuss changes from DLA to PIP on 17th January

The stories that you copy to DPAC will be put together for DPAC lobbying and campaigns: on changes to DLA, on the welfare reform Bill and disability benefits overall. We will post updates on progress on the DPAC web www.dpac.uk.net

DPAC has a wide network but it is only by people spreading the word that we can grow stronger together and work to highlight what is happening to disabled people across the UK together.

 see: social model response to loss of DLA

Dec 182011
 

DWP Atos Healthcare Business

source: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosbusiness.html

Abstract

Information on how Atos Origin and Unum run their businesses and their impact on the DWP ESA and Atos Healthcare medical examinations and assessments.

 

For an excellent overview I commend: ATOS HEALTHCARE OR DISABILITY DENIAL FACTORIES: RESEARCH SUMMARY (http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2011/08/23/important-read-circulate/).

This page is published in the public domain and is uncopyrighted. Feel free to copy. See Copyleft (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/)

 

This website provides information on how Atos runs its business, extracts from the Contract between the DWP and Atos including the MEDICAL CONDITIONS that mean a face to face medical assessment is not always necessary, ASSESSMENTS AND POINTS, the breaches of Contract that occurred in my case, my unsound medical report and the correspondence showing how difficult it is to obtain justice or advice.

 

The Government is inviting the public to submit petitions. Search epetitions.direct.gov.uk for “DWP” or “Atos” or “disabled” to list relevant petitions including Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968).

Other ongoing petitions are Petition against constant vilification of sick and disabled claimants and Petition to “Sack Atos Immediately” .

The DWP occasionally consults the public http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/.

Atos Origin IT Services UK Limited (Atos Healthcare)

Atos Origin appears to have followed the approach of the discredited Unum company in the US. Unum in the US describes the fines in the US for operating “disability denial factories”. Unum in Wales describes Unum’s funding of the activities of Professor Mansel Aylward, the former Chief Medical Adviser at the DWP and head of the UnumProvident Centre, Cardiff University. Unum in the UK describes their activities in the UK including their contributions to creating the regulations that implemented the Welfare Reform Act.

In 2001 Schlumberger bought SEMA for $5bn. In 2003 Atos Origin bought Schlumberger SEMA, an IT Services company. At that time the Atos Origin had 50,000 staff and annual revenues of €5bn.

Reuters reported in February 2010 on KPMG. It mentioned that KPMG sold its original consulting practice to IT services group ATOS Origin in the wake of the Enron scandal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal). Many executives at Enron were indicted for a variety of charges and were later sentenced to prison.

Atos Origin has such a poor track record. The examples below are just a few of those that highlight the way this company is managed and operates after the DWP hired Atos Origin.

Atos Origin claim on their website in September 2010.

DWP Disability Assessments:

Atos Healthcare conducts DWP disability assessments for people claiming a range of disability benefits including Employment Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. Each year we process over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice and provide over 800,000 face-to-face medical assessments via our nationwide network of over 140 medical examination centres.

Atos Origin IT Services UK Limited are on the Goverment’s preferred supplier list. Why? If you feel strongly, please write to or email your MP to ask why Atos Origin is still able to compete for Goverment contracts. (MP email addresses: http://www.parliament.uk/mpslordsandoffices/mps_and_lords/alms.cfm)

Cancer patients threatened – December 2009

 

The Telegraph on 6 December 2009

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6743920/Cancer-patients-forced-to-undergo-cruel-interviews.html

Seriously ill cancer patients are being forced to undergo “cruel” back-to-work interviews despite the fact they should be exempt, charities warned today.

Those who are terminally ill or undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy are being threatened with benefit cuts if they do not attend the meetings, according to Macmillan Cancer Support and Citizens Advice.

The “fit for work” interviews are for people seeking the employment and support allowance (ESA), which replaced incapacity benefit and income support in October 2008.

De Beers sue Atos – April 2009

 

The Daily Mail on 13 April 2009

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1169753/Diamond-giant-De-Beers-sues-IT-firm-8-6million-row.html

Diamond company De Beers has launched an £8.6m compensation claim in the High Court following a row with software group Atos Origin.

…But as work progressed, De Beers became concerned about progress and slippages in the timetable for delivery of software….

Loss of confidential data – November 2008

 

Inquiry into loss of confidential data on 12 million website users.

The Independent on 3 November 2008 by Kim Sengupta.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/inquiry-into-loss-of-confidential-data-on-12-million-website-users-986837.html

An investigation is underway after a memory stick with user names and passwords for a government computer system was found in a pub car park, leading to the shutting down of the website as a security precaution.

With critics lambasting the latest security breach, the Prime Minister intervened in the affair to say that the Department for Work and Pensions would be taking action and the company which lost the information, Atos Origin, could face changes to its five year contract worth 46m.

The memory stick lost in the latest incident was found in the car park of the Orbital pub in Cannock, Staffordshire, where Atos Origin is based.

Patients recalled for scans – April 2007

 

900 patients to be recalled for scans

Manchester Evening News on 5 April 2007 by Amanda Crook

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1003/1003729_900_patients_to_be_recalled_for_scans.html

UP TO 900 people are to be recalled for medical scans after a series of blunders by a private company.

NHS bosses last month suspended tests being carried out by Atos Origin at centres in Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Wigan and Liverpool, after discovering technical and administrative problems.

Now regional health bosses are set to write to the 900 patients who had ultrasound tests to investigate conditions like kidney, prostate and abdominal problems at Atos centres to offer them the chance to be re-scanned at NHS hospitals or private companies.

Clinic faces second investigation – November 2006

 

Following complaints by a former GP at the privately-run NHS Walk-in Centre at Canary Wharf, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has started an investigation.

…nurses at the centre were expected to do work for which they were unqualified and were consequently putting patients at risk.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/london/content/articles/2006/11/24/walkin_clinic_feature.shtml

Errors block benefits – May 2006

 

Errors block benefits to disabled

BBC on Saturday on 20 May 2006 by Geoff Adams-Spink, BBC News website age & disability correspondent

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/4995078.stm

Almost 80,000 sick and disabled people a year are being wrongly denied benefits, according to a BBC investigation for Radio Five Live.

It has emerged that medical reports on people claiming some benefits are unreliable or inaccurate.

As a result, thousands claiming Incapacity Benefit or Disability Living Allowance have had to appeal.

The government says that it is “responding positively” when criticisms are made.

The investigation found that some handwritten medical reports were altered so that the meaning was completely changed, while in other cases a computer-based medical questionnaire produced misleading or nonsensical information.

Atos Origin doctors send their reports to civil servants who make a final decision about a person’s entitlement.

DWP hires Atos Origin – March 2005

 

DWP hires Atos Origin to provide medical assessments.

Personnel Today on 18 March 2005 by Dan Thomas

http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2005/03/18/28715/dwp-hires-atos-origin-to-provide-medical-assessments.html

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has awarded services company Atos Origin a £500m seven-year contract for the delivery of medical advice and assessment services.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has awarded services company Atos Origin a £500m seven-year contract for the delivery of medical advice and assessment services.

Under the contract, Atos Origin will manage the provision of medical advice and assessments on behalf of the DWP for benefits including Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits, and others.

In addition, services will also be provided to the Ministry of Defence Veterans Agency.

Revenue

The highlights that relate to the financial information published on the Atos Origin (http://www.atosorigin.com/) website.

2010 Quarter 1 Revenues

  • First quarter 2010 revenue: EUR 1,231 million
  • Order entries up: +17 per cent
  • Book to bill ratio: 128 per cent
  • Further reduction of net debt: down to EUR 130 million

…reported revenue of EUR 1,231 million for the first quarter of 2010 representing a decline of -5.5 per cent at same scope and exchange rates….

…Several new contracts were signed during quarter one including …Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) (http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/) in the United Kingdom for Managed Services….

…In Medical BPO, the revenue was EUR 40 million, representing 3 per cent of the Group and was up +7 per cent thanks to an increase in the number of medical assessments processed in the United Kingdom….

Revenue by Global Business Unit

In EUR Million Q1 2010 Q1 2009 proforma % organic growth
UK 211 216 -2.4%

In the United Kingdom, revenue totalled EUR 211 million down -2.4 per cent organically. In Managed Services, the revenue increased +2 per cent thanks to the growth in the Public Sector and Financial Services markets. Systems Integration was down in the Private Sector while it remained strong and growing in the Public Sector. In Consulting, revenue decreased by EUR -3 million due to lower revenue in Health while the Financial Services market started to recover. In HTTS, the revenue grew +8 per cent with the ramp-up of the contract with Capita and an increase in payment transactions. Finally, Medical BPO reported a +7 per cent growth mainly thanks to the increase of transaction volumes.

… including the acquisition of the company Shere (http://www.shere.com/) in the United Kingdom …

Forthcoming events

  • 27 May 2010 – Annual General Meeting
  • 28 July 2010 – First Half 2010 results
  • 14 October 2010 – Third quarter 2010 revenue

2009 Results

  • Operating Margin: 5.7 per cent up by more than +80 basis points
  • Group net debt reduced by EUR 165 million
  • Revenue: EUR 5,127 million down organically -3.7 per cent

Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO of Atos Origin declared: …I am proud of our clients’ trust in Atos Origin …

…Representing 3% of the Group, Medical BPO revenue was EUR 153 million, up +3.5 per cent at constant scope and exchange rates. This business is fully operated in the United Kingdom only with increasing volumes with all the major clients, particularly for occupational health services….

…The United Kingdom reported organic growth of +7.4 per cent thanks to the contribution of Managed Services;…

Operating Margin

…In the United Kingdom in all business lines with a profitability at 9.1 per cent representing an increase of +180 basis points compared to 2008;…

…In France where the profitability improved by almost +180 basis points at 3.9 per cent essentially thanks to Systems Integration which reported a margin rate at 3.0 per cent compared to 0.6 per cent in 2008;

In the Rest of the World where operating margin increased from 3.9 per cent to 6.5 per cent of revenue.

The main signatures of the fourth quarter were: in the United Kingdom, in Managed Services with Brakes in manufacturing, in finance with Capita Life & Pensions; in the public sector with Skills Development Scotland (http://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/) and with UK Government Gateway (http://www.gateway.gov.uk/) in High Tech Transactional Services (HTTS) .

…The full qualified pipeline as of 31 December 2009 was EUR 3 billion up +14 per cent compared to 2008, mainly thanks to HTTS and Medical BPO; Systems Integration showed a slight increase.

OPERATING PERFORMANCE BY SERVICE LINE

  Revenue Operating Margin Operating Margin %
In EUR Million FY 2009 FY 2008 % growth FY 2009 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2008
Medical BPO 153 148 +3.5% 19.6 12.6 12.8% 8.5%
OPERATING PERFORMANCE BY GLOBAL BUSINESS UNIT

  Revenue Operating Margin Operating Margin %
In EUR Million FY 2009 FY 2008 % growth FY 2009 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2008
UK 902 840 +7.4% 82.1 61.3 9.1% 7.3%

Academia

Governments, like companies, like to pick and choose those elements of research that best fits the short term objectives of the time. There are rigorous scientific and engineering disciplines and there are those which are less so. Academics are asking the following questions and similar.

  • Is eugenics scientifically credible even if socially unacceptable?
  • How did eugenics relate to “Survival-of-the-fittest” Social Darwinism?
  • How does “welfare-to-work” and “fit-for-work” relate to Social Darwinism?

Prior to World War 2, there was a widely held view that there was some evidence of correlation between social behaviour and the physical characteristics of individuals. It was suggested that individuals with particular features were more likely be “criminal” types and so, to protect society, should be placed in locations where their activities can be closely monitored. Politicians can influence scientific opinion.

The rational scientific world has seemed to have moved on from the primitive and barbarous view of many religions, widely held until recent times, that sickness is a punishment by a deity and as such is just if prayers or votive offerings fail to cure the sickness. Irrational delusions can influence politicians.

Welfare to Work

Here is an extract from some of the information published on the London School of Economics (LSE) (http://www.lse.ac.uk/) website. Document locations change frequently so it is best to use the search facility.

The research of Lord Richard Layard and Stephen J Nickell has strongly influenced labour market reforms in Europe.

Lord Richard Layard is emeritus professor of economics at LSE and a Labour life peer in the House of Lords. Stephen Nickell is Warden of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and was previously a professor of economics at LSE and a member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

They have produced ground-breaking work on the relationship between labour market institutions and unemployment. Their research provided a theoretical and empirical framework for the analysis of equilibrium unemployment and the impact of labour market institutions on economic performance.

The “welfare-to-work” approach now adopted by many nations draws on their finding that generous unemployment benefits need not be detrimental if they are granted only for a limited time and are accompanied by adequate instruments that require (and assist) unemployed individuals who are able to work to actively search for a new job.

Other work by Layard and Nickell provides evidence that stricter employment protection regulations do not generally increase the level of unemployment, but increase the persistence of unemployment by reducing short-term unemployment at the cost of raising long-term unemployment.

They have also shed light on the interaction between wage setting institutions and unemployment. In particular, they were able to show that higher union coverage tends to increase unemployment, but these negative effects of collective wage bargaining can be offset if unions and employers coordinate their wage bargaining activities effectively.

Individuals and the state have a duty of care to the less fortunate. Concepts such as “welfare to work” and “fit to work” may or may not be appropriate for the able but it is clear that these concepts can and do place more pressure on the unemployed dying, sick, disabled and their carers.

Social Darwinism, if it means anything, it means weeding out the less strong in society. If this is the intent of Parliament it should be clearly stated. The Welfare Reform Act is not clear in this respect. However the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act by Atos Healthcare appears to conform to the spirit and practice of Social Darwinism.

Civilisation allows man to rise above a “survival of the fittest” world. The judgements handed down at the Economists, Lawyers and Doctors Nurnberg Trials are as appropriate today as they were in 1945.

Fit For Work and Fit Notes

Even as a medical layman, there seems to be some minor medical conditions where “fit to work” assessed though a medical examination undertaken by someone without access to the patient’s medical history or without specialist knowledge might be possible. If my leg was broken and there were no complications and it was taking longer than the time allowed before an ESA form needed to be completed, then a “few simple physical tests” might be sufficient for a “fit to work” assessment.

Atos Healthcare has confirmed in writing to the Health and Safety Executive that their medical assessment comprises only a “few simple physical tests”.

In the real world, the Secretary of State does not give a breakdown of the medical conditions of those denied allowances. If she said what these medical conditions were and she put forward medical experts who agreed with her that a “few simple physical tests” was sufficient to deny allowances, then concerns would lessen. Instead we hear of dying cancer patients and people with autism denied allowances, this is a concern.

http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2008/03/17/44952/dame-carol-black-calls-for-urgent-reform-to-workplace-health.html

Dame Carol Black has called for a new approach to work-related health services, after her review found that ill health was costing the country £100bn annually.

Dame Black has been commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to advise on how to improve the health of those in work and reduce the number claiming sickness benefits.

Black questioned the current sick note system, which she said concentrated on what people cannot do instead of what they can. She recommended that doctors’ written sick notes should be replaced with an electronic “fit note”, explaining what people were able to do even if they were ill.

Business Influences

At times it seems the UK Government have been influenced more by financial considerations rather than by medical considerations.

UnumProvident in the US

My case suggests that there are similarities between the approach taken by Atos Healthcare and that of UnumProvident.

In 2007 the American Association for Justice named Unum in the top 2 of worst insurers. In 2005 the California Insurance Commissioner described Unum (formerly Unum Provident) as an outlaw company and it is a company that has operated for years in an illegal fashion. BBC Scotland on the 6 November 2007 produced a documentary on Unum. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVqCSmHnIPE

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/10429/first-unum.html

Back in 2002, a class action lawsuit charged UnumProvident (now First Unum or Unum) with operating “disability denial factories”. The company also faced thousands of lawsuits filed by individuals who were denied disability claims. Despite jury verdicts against the insurer (in January 2003, a California jury reached a US$31.7 million against UnumProvident and two years later, the California Department of Insurance fined the company US$8 million because it “misinterpreted job classifications, improperly overruled doctors’ opinions and knowingly used incorrect insurance definitions to avoid paying benefits”), Unum continues bad faith insurance practices.

Unum Group (formerly UnumProvident) holds about one quarter of the disability insurance market in the US, making it one of the largest providers of group disability insurance in the country.

In 2004 and 2005, regulators ordered Unum to re-evaluate thousands of denied claims. According to the LA Times (April 12, 2007), the company reviewed less than 10 percent of the 290,000 claims eligible for review and potentially, re-instatement of benefits.

The Unum view is published on the Unum (http://www.unum.com/) website. Document locations change frequently so it is best to use the search facility.

Unum press release: (http://www.investors.unum.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112190&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=763320&highlight=)

UnumProvident Reaches Settlement with California Department of Insurance; ‘Changing Landscape’ May Impact Cost, Availability of Disability Insurance in State

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 3, 2005–UnumProvident Corporation (NYSE: UNM) today announced that three of its insurance subsidiaries have entered into a settlement agreement with the California Department of Insurance, concluding a market conduct examination and investigation of the subsidiaries’ disability claims handling practices. As part of the settlement, UnumProvident has agreed to change certain practices and policy provisions related to its California business and consistent with California case law. The settlement also incorporates claims handling practices previously covered by the multistate agreement reached last year with 48 other states, and includes certain additional claim handling changes. Additionally, UnumProvident has agreed to pay a fine of US$8 million to the Department as part of the settlement.

Added Watjen, “Over the past two years, our company has undertaken broad changes designed to improve the quality of claims decisions and our service levels to policyholders. We made many changes during this time to improve in these areas, and added to those through the multistate settlement that was previously approved by 48 other states. Because of this, we do not believe that California’s allegations or the market conduct exam report, which is essentially a snapshot from a prior period, provide an accurate portrayal of our claim practices today.

Psychosocial and Disability Research (UnumProvident Centre) Cardiff University

UnumProvident Centre provides funding for Psychosocial and Disability Research based at Cardiff University. The Director of the Centre is Professor Mansel Aylward. He is the former Chief Medical Adviser at the DWP and was instrumental in the DWP accepting the UnumProvident concepts applied in the US and was influential in how the Welfare Reform Act should be implemented.

It is bellieved that the UnumProvident Centre has been one of the leading forces in trying to make it harder for allowances to be paid to the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. Staff from UnumProvident were important in the design of the Personal Capability Assessment and of the new, much harsher Work Capability Assessment required if an Employment and Support Allowance is to be paid.

Professor Aylward continues to be involved in research for the DWP. He has provided support for Dame Carol Black, proponent of the replacement of sick-notes with “well-notes”.

The UnumProvident Centre carries out research into “presenteeism”. “Presenteeism” is the culture of working ridiculously long hours and not taking time off when sick. Professor Aylward has been quoted that “presenteeism” costs the country ten times more than sickness absence. It seems ironic that in addition he has been quoted as saying, “The problems come from people who are ill, those who are not up to the mark, who are continuing to work.”

The allowance paid for ESA(C) is just under £90 per week. The current “National Minimum Wage”, set in October 2009, is £5.80 per hour. If a 40 hour week is worked, the weekly pay, before tax and NI, would be £232. The unemployed dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers have to live on just under £90 per week and for this amount have to attend repeated assessments and “pathways” meetings.

Professor Aylward and Cardiff University appear to be distancing themselves from Unum. Here is an image from the Cardiff University research spotlight page taken on November 2011 (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/research/spotlight/publichealth/).

Unun

UnumProvident in the UK

The key phrase is “The U.K. market is still in many respects underdeveloped…”. In the USA, individual states have a Department of Insurance to protect people from unfair business practices. Perhaps the UK needs a similar body to protect people from similar unfair business practices.

http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/UnumProvident-Corporation-Company-History.html

1990: Unum acquires National Employers Life Assurance Co. Ltd., the largest disability provider in the United Kingdom.

UnumProvident CEO Watjen Says Company Poised to Capitalize on Emerging Trends in Employee Benefits

PORTLAND, Maine (May 17, 2006) – In his comments to stockholders at the company’s annual meeting today, Thomas R. Watjen, UnumProvident Corporation (UNM) president and chief executive officer, outlined the progress the company has made over the past two years and said that, while challenges lie ahead, the future holds great promise.

Watjen added that the company is also poised to capitalize on opportunities in the United Kingdom, where UnumProvident is the largest provider of group disability insurance. “The U.K. market is still in many respects underdeveloped, with less than 10 percent of employers offering group disability coverage. As the market leader, UnumProvident is in a unique position to help educate buyers to the need for this coverage.”

Please note that The Regulations in July 2008 were created with the assistance of the following UnumProvident staff.

  • Sue Godby, College of Occupational Therapists and Unum Provident
  • Dr Peter Dewis, Disability Analyst and Customer Care Director, Unum Provident

Why would such a discredited company be involved?

Share and Stock Ownership

Private equity funds interested in the healthcare services market are likely to have significant Atos Origin and Unum holdings.

28 September 2008, Centaurus Cap Sells Half of Atos Origin Stake to PAI Partners.

Parliament

A number of Honourable MPs have asked questions in Parliament to draw attention to the abuse of the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. See DWP Atos Politics for more details on press comment and extracts from Hansard.

The National Audit Office (http://www.nao.org.uk/) should review the accounts and check the audit records and see how Atos Healthcare delivers the contracted for service at the cost levels that have been reported to Parliament.

Transformation of the Personal Capability Assessment

The relationship between the DWP, Unum and Atos Origin is very close. The Technical Working Groups were chaired by Dr. Moira Henderson, Head of DWP Health and Benefits Division.

Report of the Physical Function and Mental Health Technical Working Groups (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/tpca.pdf)

Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions – September 2006

As part of implementation of the Government’s proposals for welfare reform, the Department for Work amd Pensions’ Health, Work and Wellbeing Directorate was commissioned to develop proposals for transforming the Personal Capability Assessment(PCA) from an incapacity-based tool for determining entitlement to Incapacity Benefit, to a more positive assessment incorporating assessment of capability and of health related interventions which would contribute to overcoming health-related barriers preventing people with disabilities from engaging in work.

Annex C – working group and consultative group members

Mental Health Technical Working Group

  • Sue Godby, College of Occupational Therapists and Unum Provident
  • Dr Angela Graham, Atos Origin

Physical Function Technical Working Group

  • Dr Peter Dewis, Disability Analyst and Customer Care Director, Unum Provident
  • Dr Angela Graham, Atos Origin Medical Services

The DWP engaged Unum in September 2006 despite, as described above, in 2005 the California Insurance Commissioner described Unum (formerly Unum Provident) as an outlaw company and it is a company that has operated for years in an illegal fashion.

DWP and Atos Healthcare Mutual Appreciation

A mutual appreciation society.

Atos Healthcare wins customer delivery supplier of the year at the Department for Work and Pensions Supplier Excellence Awards London, 14 June 2010

The Atos Healthcare occupational healthcare programme was key in cutting the number of working days lost across the Department by 20% while improving employee wellbeing

London, 14 June 2010, Atos Healthcare, the number one occupational healthcare provider in the UK and a business division of Atos Origin, today announced that it won customer delivery supplier of the year at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Supplier Excellence Awards held in London last week. The award recognises the contribution that the occupational healthcare programme delivered by Atos Healthcare has made in cutting the number of working days lost across the Department by 20%.

“Many congratulations to Atos Healthcare on their success at winning DWP’s inaugural Award for Excellence in Customer Delivery,” said Colin Herring, Programme Manager for Occupational health and Attendance Management at the DWP. “The service improvements that Atos Healthcare has delivered over the past 18 months have been key to our success at reducing sickness absence and improving employee wellbeing. As a result of this shared success, we have had the confidence to promote our joint approach as best practice across Government.”

Atos Healthcare took over management of the occupational healthcare service for the Department’s 120,000 employees in 2008. Working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, Atos Healthcare has made significant improvements to processes and services. The benefits include returning employees back to work quicker, increasing employee productivity and providing more support to managers to deal with absence issues in a timely and effective manner.

The Occupational Health Service helped DWP reduce its current sick pay bill by around £13m annually and increase staff resource by the equivalent of nearly 1,000 full-time posts. Assessments can now be scheduled within 4 days and customer satisfaction has increased to 91%.

Improvements implemented by Atos Healthcare include the launch of a new web portal to make it easier, faster and more convenient to make an appointment and track cases; and new standards and an audit regime to ensure the quality of clinical advice.

“We are delighted that our occupational healthcare service has been recognised at the Department for Work and Pensions Supplier Excellence Awards,” said Gary Gear from Atos Healthcare. “The award is testament to our team of clinical and administrative experts who are committed to delivering a professional, high quality service that supports both the Department’s employees and the wider organisation. It also shows what we can achieve working in partnership with an engaged and proactive customer.”

DWP payments to Atos Origin

The DWP paid Atos Origin £80.6 million for the year March 2008 to February 2009.

Hansard Written Answer

http://services.parliament.uk/hansard/Commons/ByDate/20090714/writtenanswers/part015.html

The Department for Work and Pensions re-awarded Atos Origin IT Services Ltd., trading as Atos Healthcare, a new contract to perform medical services on behalf of the Department from 1 September 2005.

The total cost of these services from 1 March 2008 to February 2009 was 80,589,204. This figure not only covers the total number of examinations undertaken across all benefits, but also costs relating to written and verbal medical advice, fixed overheads, administrative costs, investment in new technology and other service improvements.

Using the Atos Origin 11% operating margin stated in the annual accounts for their UK business, the profit is an estimated £8.9 million.

Atos Origin Workload

Using figures given to Parliament I estimate the cost per assessment to be £135. For the work needed, if the work was undertaken as Parliament intended, this amount is far less than should be expected even if National Minimum Wage was paid to all staff involved. The Contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare specifies “qualified” medical practitioners should be used.

Hansard

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm071025/text/71025w0021.htm

In the 12 months to September 2007, Atos Healthcare undertook 528,380 personal capability assessments.

  • Income (£80.6 million) – Profit (£8.9 million) = Cost (£71.7 million)
  • Cost (£71.7 million) / 530,000 (assessments) = Cost per assessment (£135)

My case should have cost the time for a qualified medical practitioner to review my ESA information and then advise the DWP either my condition was terminal or my medical condition was not yet stable. In both cases the advice should have been to pay the allowance and defer indefinitely Work Focused Health Related assessments and Pathways to Work appointments. Atos Healthcare could have contacted the consultants whose contact details were all listed in the ESA information submitted. They did not contact my GP or my consultants.

If Atos Healthcare had carried out the above procedure and if they used a medically qualified practitioner, as they are contractually obliged to do, it would near impossible to do this work for around £135.

Of course Atos Healthcare decided on a much more profitable approach. In addition to the above they added the costs of making unnecessary appointments and a two hour interview by a medical practitioner without specialist knowledge and without access to the medical history. They added their handling charge of processing travelling expenses. Instead of charging £135 they should be able to charge the DWP at least ten times this amount. Atos Healthcare confirmed to the Health and Safety Executive that they run their operations in standard offices as they do not need specialist medical facilities. A very profitable piece of work for Atos Healthcare.

It is true that the Contract between the DWP and Atos Healthcare specifies that “redo” work will be paid for by Atos Healthcare. It seems that all complaints and appeals and other costs incurred by both Atos Healthcare and the DWP are paid for by the DWP. In my case the need for “redo” work has not yet arisen. A reasonable person might suspect that the motive for long delays in investigating and resolving complaints is to increase Atos Healthcare profits. To quote Dickens’ Bleak House, “Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on”. If Dickens were alive today perhaps the plot of Bleak House would perhaps be concerned with the business practices of Atos Healthcare.

All the complaints and appeals procedures of Atos Healthcare have to be followed first. Then those of the DWP. Then those of the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. If Gilbert and Sullivan were alive today, I am sure they would draw attention to the absurdities. Unfortunately too many people are suffering and some of these die before their time, cold and uncared for. When I swooned and near fainted on the Tube after the medical assessment by Atos Healthcare, it would have been a very vigilant Coroner to put as my cause of death: Corporate Manslaughter through the negilience of Atos Healthcare.

Atos Origin Recruitment

Here is a recruitment that appeared September 2010.

Job Description
We are looking for experienced healthcare Recruiters whose main responsibility
will be the end to end recruitment of medical professionals. You will be working
in a fast paced, team environment, delivering a volume recruitment solution whilst
working towards tight deadlines.

As a Recruiter your main responsibilities will involve:
-Using proven negotiation and sales skills to "sell" Atos Healthcare opportunities to
 prospective candidates.
-Reviewing application forms and making decisions on the suitability of a candidate
 against a defined specification
-Carrying out telephone screening/interview calls of clinicians.
-Arranging subsequent interviews with Hiring Managers
-Assisting with organising and representing the company at local, national and on
 occasion, international recruitment campaigns, events and assessment days
-Analysing recruitment activity and process, producing statistics as required
-Regularly reviewing recruitment procedures and highlighting any areas of concern
 or areas of potential improvement to the Recruitment Manager.
-Liaising with the HR Department, issuing contracts and processing offer paperwork
-Liaising with the candidate and the training department to set up new entrant
 training courses at the nationally located academies
-Maintaining effective communication with candidates and internal and
 external customers
-Preparing accurate reports for management to enable
-Travelling across the UK and NI to attend interviews, workshops and meetings

As a Recruiter your skills and qualifications will include:

-Strong healthcare recruitment experience, preferably clinical recruitment experience
-Experience of working in high volume area
-Proven and demonstrable Negotiating/Influencing/Sales Skills
-Experience of compliancy procedures within healthcare
-Strong PC literacy including the use of MS Word and Excel.
-Ability to produce statistical reports
-Experience in database management
-Ability to work in a highly pressured environment and manage workload efficiently
-Excellent organisational skills
-Target focus and proactive approach
-Professional telephone manner

What we will be looking for in you:
As a Recruiter you will be an excellent communicator who is able to deal with
people in a caring, courteous and professional manner. You will also be an
initiative-taker with the time management and organisation skills needed
to meet deadlines.

The good news is this was for a temporary position which finishes December 2012. Hopefully Atos have been told their contract is not likely to be extended. It also suggests they have a high turnover of staff. It appears even those, like in my case, who are unable to read and write English up to the standard defined in the Contract are not willing to work for Atos. Who can blame them?

Dec 172011
 

URGENT: Less than ‎48 hours to stop betrayal of the united pensions struggle and fight for our welfare state

On Thursday, 15th December, the TUC’s Public Sector Liaison Group (PSLG) met for the first time since the 30th November public sector strike which DPAC and many of our disabled supporters took part in. Some of us are personally affected by the  disgraceful public sector pensions changes which the coalition government are trying to railroad through. Others quite rightly see this as the only legitimate action trade unions can take to try to defend our welfare state and much needed public services from the Condems.

Reports from some of those attending this meeting, say  Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC, argued that all of the trade unions should sign up to the government’s latest ‘heads of agreement’ on pensions.  This would then allow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to announce before Christmas that the dispute has been settled. This was met with outrage by most of the public sector trade unions present.

Not one of the central demands of public sector workers has been met.  All public sector workers are still being told to work longer, pay more and get less.  The teaching unions NUT and NASUWT reported that they had been offered no serious concessions by the government, as did the civil servants’ union PCS, the Fire Brigades Union and representatives of workers in the NHS.

In local government the only concession is to delay the attacks on pensions until 2014, provided that local government unions promise to accept this without a fight when it comes in. Apparently Dave Prentis – General Secretary of Unison – the biggest union in health and local government –  is allegedly arguing for accepting this sell out.  Speaking as a UNISON retired member and in a personal capacity I find this disgraceful.

Now the TUC has recalled the PSLG for 3pm on Monday, 19th December to try and force through acceptance of the Government’s plans. Trade union groups, have called a lobby of this  next TUC meeting from  2 pm at Congress House.

Online petitions have been set up  http://bit.ly/uTV8cR (Socialist party petition) and http://righttowork.org.uk/2011/12/dont-give-up-the-pensions-fight-sign-this-statement/ (Right to Work petition)

Please let anyone who lives in or near London know about this lobby and the on-line petitions.

Dec 142011
 
As part of the National Month of Festive Action Against Atos we are calling for a rolling mass telephone complaint to poverty pimps Atos in the run up to Christmas.

Beginning on Monday 12th December and running up until Christmas benefit claimants, disabled people and supporters will be ringing both local and national Atos Offices to complain about their obscene treatment of sick and disabled people.

How To Get Involved

We urgently need as many towns, cities, groups and individuals to commit to a morning or afternoon shift in the upcoming days and get as many people as possible to ring Atos and complain about their involvement in the Work Capability Assessment.

To maximise the protest we will aim to have as many groups as possible calling Atos at different times in the run up to Christmas.  We’ll maintain a list here and on facebook to try and help co-ordinate times/dates and see if we can keep the phonelines buzzing daily in the run up to Christmas.  Please contact us by leaving details in the comments, on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/events/281777128534663/  or emailing us at: notowelfarecuts@yahoo.co.uk

If you aren’t part of a local group, or even if you are, support the other protests by calling Atos along with them.

Either ring your local Atos Offices, or their corporate headquarters, or why not both!  Atos’s main numbers (including a handy freephone number) are:

+44 (0)20 7830 4444 (Tel)
+44 (o)20 7830 4233 (Tel)
+44 (0)800 783 3040 (Freephone)
+44 (0)20 7830 4445 (Fax)

Atos ‘Healthcare’ who run the Work Capability Assessment have a main number at: +44 (0) 113 230 9175

Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls will be low paid receptionist/admin staff so we call on people to be be business-like and non-confrontational.  Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls which are threatening, indecent or offensive.  Keep it fluffy.  Why not sing them a carol?

Anyone who manages to get through to Atos CEO Keith Wilman will win the customary prize of a free Crisis Loan*

Some calls may be recorded for the purposes of taking the piss.

Brighton DPAC who will be phoning Atos on the mornings of Monday 12th and Monday 19th of December have produced a script/template which can be read out, or emailed/faxed to Atos.  Visit their fb event page (below) for details.

Join in online!

You can also contact Atos via email.  Their Head of PR can be reached at: caroline.crouch@atos.net and general enquiries can be sent to: ukwebenquiries@atos.ne.  Atos ‘Healthcare’ can be reached at: customer-relations@atoshealthcare.com or to ask for a job go to: jobs@sjbmedical.com

Atos have new facebook groups and pages springing up all the time.  Search for Atos on facebook to find them.  You can also tweet using the hashtags #atos, we’ll be monitoring twitter for any other hashtags Atos use.

Action planned so far

Monday 12th and Monday 19th December from 9am

Brighton DPAC:  For details visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/132910660153707/

Please organise and contact us to be added to the list!

If you are planning on braving the cold and holding a protest as part of the month of action please send details asap to: notowelfare@yahoo.co.uk or leave details in the comments.

The main facebook page for the Month of Action can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122853381158514

Come to the Triton Square Christmas Party and Picnic  outside Atos’ Headquarters on December 16th from 2pm: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/a-real-victorian-christmas-party-and-picnic-at-triton-square-friday-16th-december/

*actually we still can’t give out Crisis Loans as prizes.  The DWP are bastards like that.

Atos are the French IT firm responsible for carrying out the government’s Work Capability Assessment which has led to tens of thousands of sick and disabled people being forced into poverty after being stripped of essential benefits.  Despite the process being dubbed unfit for purpose and an increasing number of suicides due to the stressful and vicious health testing regime, this form of assessment is to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

 

Dec 142011
 

In March 2011 I wrote about the ways media portrayed disabled people at a time of punitive cuts to disabled peoples’ social and financial supports.

….a range of false accusations against disabled people and those with long term health conditions are visible in the media. Rather than offering support to disabled people, certain sections of the media prefer to label disabled people as unsustainable, unproductive or immoral members of their communities. The major accusation, however, is that disabled people are not disabled at all, but profiting from fraudulent benefit claims

Eight months on there is a clear escalation of the negative portrayal of disabled people in the UK media. These attacks are no longer confined to screaming newspaper headlines in the Daily Mail and Daily Express declaring that the majority of people on disability benefits are frauds, but a whole host of television programs setting out the Saints and Sinners, even programs with usually good credentials such as Panorama have jumped on to the band wagon of who’s responsible for ‘Broken Britain’. Since March 2011 negative and unbalanced reporting has become worse.

Social and Economic facts versus ideological messages

At the same time unemployment has increased to the highest rates ever recorded for youth and women, and the highest since 1992. On average vacancies have decreased from an average of 2/1 (2005) vacancy rate to a 6/1 (2011) with six people chasing one job according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Figures on averages hide local variations which are often much higher.

Yet, still unemployment or any need for state support is consistently identified as a personal failing regardless of personal circumstances or societal limitations: it’s this ideological message, rather than economic and statistical facts that gathers pace and shouts out loud and clear from some sectors of the media, with disabled people most often identified as the group needing to leave welfare and get jobs because they are ‘faking it’.

How the Newspapers are reporting Disability

A recent report commissioned by the organisation Inclusion London and carried out by the Strathclyde Disability Research Group and Glasgow Media Studies group at the University of Glasgow: Bad News for Disabled People: How the Newspapers are reporting Disability, found significant changes in media reporting of disabled people which show a clearly defined increase in stories and views identifying disabled people as ‘undeserving’.

The report identified changes in reporting through comparative content analysis of tabloid newspapers in 2005/6 and 2010/11and through focus groups. The researchers found that incidents of negative language regarding disabled people in print media had more than doubled over the time period, while what they termed ‘sympathetic’ stories had more or less disappeared in the tabloid press. Terms such as ‘burden’, ‘scrounger’, and ‘cheat’ were used repeatedly in 2011with a rapidly decreasing use of articles on disability discrimination. In addition stories outlining the political and economic context were rare. When the focus groups were asked to describe a typical disability story in the newspapers: disability benefit fraud was the top theme.

 The media examined were the Mirror, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and for balance the Guardian. The researchers also carried out a number of focus groups asking what each group thought the level of disability benefit fraud was, there were variations from rates of 50% to 70% of perceived disability fraud from focus groups.

The reality in terms of incapacity benefit it is just 0.03% according to the ONS the report states. The Department of Work and Pensions own figures on Disability Living Allowance are 0.05% both stats also include administrative errors within their figures. The media strategy appears to be working when focus groups state perceived incidents of fraud of up to 70% which is more in line with Daily Mail and Daily Express headlines, than any statistical realities.

The report’s timely commission by Inclusion London, a London wide Deaf and Disabled Peoples’ organisation provides more evidence for further campaigns and for those who doubted that the print media in particular were objective. In addition, there have been several examples of stories usefully backed by a quote or two from Iain Duncan Smith MP welfare and pensions’ secretary. The most stunning in the Sun newspaper in 2011 when he happily implied that disabled people were responsible for the UK deficit, the most recent quoting him as ‘enraged’ and ‘shocked’ based a story that carried false figures regarding mobility cars. He wasn’t shocked by the inaccuracies but by the figures which weren’t checked before publication, but false figures are par for the course, as are false accusations.

The Cuts, Media and ‘real life’ Implications

Sheffield Hallam University have also produced a report outlining the impact of the cuts in incapacity benefit, claiming that almost half of those now receiving incapacity benefits will lose them, not because of fraud, but because of a tightening of the qualifying criteria for the replacement of lower income benefit Employment Support Allowance. The report by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, estimates that the reforms will cut the number of disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits by nearly one million in just three years. Add to this other reforms set to take away any support from disabled people and those already carried out removing over 9 billion pounds worth of support and we see a very different story from one of fraud. We see a story of ‘cuts’ to a group that the UK public had consistently agreed to be deserving of support in national surveys such as the British Attitudes Survey.

Professor Fothergill author of the report on Incapacity Benefit changes said

The large numbers that will pushed off incapacity benefits over the next two to three years are entirely the result of changes in the benefit rules” and added that this ..’would impoverish vast numbers of households and cause untold distress to countless more. The incapacity numbers need to be brought down, but this is not the way’

He is also clear that this is not about fraud, but about ‘changes in the benefit rules’ see Jolly . He adds: “Incapacity claimants often face multiple obstacles to working again and their concentration in the weakest local economies and most disadvantaged communities means they usually have little chance of finding work.”

Yet, it is the benefit fraud stories that abound despite the 0.03% figure; people believe the figure is much higher. A rise in disability hate crime has been linked to the media strategy on the demonising of disabled people. One example was reported on 4th December, one day after the International Day of People with Disabilities. It tells of Peter Greener’s constant barrage of abuse from his neighbour.

Sometimes, it was eggs thrown at his house, stones thrown at his windows or paint thrown at his fence; more often, it was words hurled in his face: spastic, cripple, scum, scrounger. These assaults went on for months, leaving the former Nissan car-sprayer in floods of tears, feeling suicidal and on antidepressants. He was scared to leave his home in Hebburn in South Tyneside and blamed himself for the upset it caused his wife and two children. “It made our lives hell,” he said.

Like many people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Greener’s regressive condition fluctuates. One day, it affects his memory, the next his speech. Sometimes, he uses a wheelchair; at other times, he can haul himself around on crutches. But this only led to more abuse, with angry shouts he was faking his disabilities and exaggerating his problems to get benefits

This is just one story; but the climate of fear is clearly working, there are disabled people who are frightened to leave their homes because of verbal and physical abuse, and accusations of being scroungers and frauds. There are those who refuse to claim their entitlement to support in spite of previously paying years of national insurance when they were in work, because they do not want to be labelled as benefit cheats. In total 16 million pounds worth of entitlements goes unclaimed. There are also those denied entitlement to support through the tougher regimes for claiming any benefit such as the replacement for incapacity benefit through the work capability assessment, carried out by the private company Atos who are being paid 100 million pounds per year by the government. The sums do not add up, but the strategy seems to:

A further report carried out by BT showed that a third of those questioned demonstrated increasingly negative attitudes towards disabled people. Reasons cited for this ranged from disabled people being seen as a burden on society (38%), ill feeling around the perceived extra support given to disabled people (28%), and the personal worries and sensitivities which rise to the fore during a recession (79%).

European Media Strategies

The media attacks on disabled people are not just happening in the UK. In Holland up to 90% is being cut from support for disabled people, similar media demonization is taking place in the popular press identifying perceived ‘undeserving’ cases. In Sweden cuts are being made to assistance to support disabled people with tougher qualifying criteria being put in place, they too have a focus on those who defraud the system highlighting such stories while record numbers of people loose entitlement to support.

The figures for fraud are just 0.05% in Holland. Yet, the magazine Vrij Nederland, a major quality magazine in Holland reproduces outrageous comments from the Secretary of State, responsible for the drastic 90% cuts:

The State Secretary of Health, Marlies van Zanten Veldhuijzen finds it unacceptable that some thirty percent of people with a personal budget (PGB) wrongly receive it. She said in an interview this week: “It can have you on the internet looking for the name of a disease, and then think: look, I can get 2000 Euros per month. With PGB we need to sort the wheat from the chaff.

 She states that 30% receive a budget without having the right to receive it, as if it is a fact. Yet, here is no existing evidence or research confirming or even indicating this. Before receiving a PGB, as in most countries, a strict assessment is carried out. However, here we have a government minister saying that individuals can simply choose a disease at random by searching the internet to gain these funds.

Stories used by media to usher in cuts to disability support appear to converge into strategies by particular populist media to create a media panic around the extra perceived support given to disabled people for the extra costs of disability. This is proving effective , especially when there are examples of ‘undeserving’ cases being presented to shift the traditional view of disabled people as ‘tragic victims of circumstance’ –the  claim of ‘tragic victims’ has always been rejected by many in the disabled peoples’ movement –maybe this will change as the 21st century welfare reform policies and the media strategies in the UK and Europe reinvent millions of disabled people as the tragic victims of the circumstance of recession and easy targets for savings from the state budget.

The political use of media to promote demonization of disabled people is aiding the work of governments’ intent on cutting the support and the human rights of disabled people.  There are rising cases of verbal abuse against disabled people such as that endured by Peter Greener and rising cases of suicide amongst disabled people with one couple entering a suicide pact after surviving for a year by walking 10 miles to receive food parcels which they made last all week.

The Challenges

Ann McGuire Westminster Shadow minister for work and pensions wrote recently:

Disabled people say they are fed up with being labelled as scroungers in the media – and are beginning to point the finger in the direction of the Government. Yesterday at Work and Pensions questions I asked the Minister for Disabled People to assure the House, and disabled people up and down the country, that Ministers are not behind the stories knocking disabled people that seem to be emerging with alarming regularity…

 McGuire called on the minister for disabled people to quell the insidious media attacks, a challenge that was also made directly to Miller at a recent disability conference in London: McGuire said:

The Minister for Disabled People has a responsibility as the champion of disabled people inside government to challenge some of the more outrageous and outlandish comments by some of her senior colleagues and others associated with her government…And I call on her to do so.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 8(2c) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states:

‘Encouraging all organs of the media to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the purpose of the present Convention’.

This would include any change in reporting over time: it seems that there has been a change in reporting which is clearly not in line with the convention’s principles of promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms nor with promoting respect for disabled peoples’ inherent dignity. In fact the opposite seems to be occurring.

UK Responses

Inclusion London, the pan Deaf and Disabled Peoples’ organisation that commissioned the Glasgow University research into the media have led a response on the Leveson Inquiry. The response: titled ‘Open Season on Disabled People?’ supported by Disabled People against Cuts and others states:

  • The Government must issue a clear and public rebuttal every time the media release inaccurate information citing Government / Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics.
  • That the Government commit to full transparency in their dealings with the press including  keeping a publically available record of all communications between Government officials, Ministers, their aides and special advisors and the media.
  • That there needs to be an independent review of how the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) releases and provides commentary on its statistics to assess how fair and balanced this data is presented and communicated.
  • That the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) must carry out further research on the impact of media coverage on disabled people and the implications this has for disability hate crime, disabled people’s protection under The Equalities Act and the UN Convention on the rights of disabled people.

We call on the Leveson inquiry, Press Complaints Commission, and OFCOM to:

  • Carry out an independent investigation into the media reporting of disabled people. This investigation needs to include the impact this coverage is having on disabled people and the implications this biased and inaccurate reporting has for the culture, practices, ethics and standards of the press. It must also examine the opportunities disabled people should have for effective redress.

 Debbie Jolly

Debbie Jolly is on twitter: @redjolly1

___________________________________________________________________________

An edited version of this paper is published on British Politics and Policy London School of Economics,  entitled: ‘As the government moves to cut the number of disabled people on benefits, the media is increasingly portraying them as ‘undeserving fraudsters’.http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/2011/12/14/disabled-people-media-attacks/

 Acknowledgements: I would like to acknowledge the assistance and kind support of Jamie Bolling Executive Director of the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL) and Peter Lambreghts of ENIL and the Expertise Centre Independent Living

Please see and support: www.enil.eu  and http://www-en.independentliving.be/

 



 
Dec 132011
 

A contribution to the debate on campaigning by a Socialist Party member active in the disabled Peoples’ movement

Following The Hardest Hit campaign’s dozen regional marches and rallies on 22 October where more than 5,000 disabled people, family carers and supporters demonstrated against the Con-Dem’s Welfare Reform Bill, its next ‘action’ on Tuesday 13 December is to send a giant Christmas card to David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

The card has been illustrated by Gerald Scarfe, partner of Jane Asher who as president of Arthritis Care was prominent on The Hardest Hit’s London demo on 11 May.

About 20,000 signatures or messages will be included in the card, double the original target.

The card reads:

Dear David Cameron and Nick Clegg, While we don’t expect gifts this Christmas, we do want our basic rights protected and the support to enable us to live independently and with dignity.

             Please make the New Year something disabled people can look forward to by:

  • Not bringing in an arbitrary time-limit on Employment and Support Allowance for those who’ve paid into the system and still need support.
  • Making sure that those who rely on Disability Living Allowance continue to receive the financial support they need through Personal Independence Payment.

Those disabled people who have signed the card physically or online did so because they support its message, but what is noticeable is both the limited demands and ambition of the charity directors and disabled activists running this campaign.

The Welfare Reform Bill is a continuation of neoliberal policies that have been promoted by successive Tory and New Labour governments since the 1980s, only the scope of this one is much broader as Cameron, Clegg and Osborne attempt to do what Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown never dared and cut the welfare budget by £18 billion.

If passed in its present form, the bill will:

  • Introduce Universal Credit which on paper promises a simpler benefits system but will witness caps on housing benefit and other payments. 133,000 households in London will soon be unable to afford their rent, many of whom will be disabled people or carers.
  • Introduce a much stricter sanctions regime with the loss of benefits for up to 3 years, a risk particularly to people with learning disabilities or mental health needs who find it difficult to cope with the demands of looking for work at the same time as having little prospect of finding employment.
  • Replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) with the explicit aim of cutting entitlement by 20%.
  • Time limit contributions-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to one year, therefore from April 2012 people who were assessed even by the brutal Work Capability Assessment (WCA) as being unfit for work could find themselves on Jobseekers Allowance.
  • Abolish the discretionary Social Fund, Community Care grants and most crisis loans, with responsibility being placed on local authorities to provide alternative support.

Combined with the current programme to abolish incapacity benefit for 1.5 million, cuts in housing, social care and health services, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and huge increases in the cost of utility bills and essentials, the future for disabled people and their families looks bleak if the Welfare Reform Bill becomes law.

Limited Demands

The Hardest Hit campaign has for some months called upon the coalition government to: improve the WCA run by Atos Origin; abandon the plans to time-limit ESA; ensure Universal Credit recognises the additional costs of living with an impairment or disability; and make sure no disabled person loses his or her independence when PIPs are introduced.

It also confusingly combines these with a list of four things it wants to achieve: no cuts to services vital to disabled people; and the government to ensure that changes to DLA do not make disabled people worse off, that ESA works by improving the assessment process, and for the welfare system to support people with the additional costs of living with a disability.

What is striking about the two demands in the Christmas card is they are even more limited than the ambitions above.

Following an independent review by the peer Lord Low that was funded by Mencap and Leonard Cheshire Disability, the government has announced that mobility allowances will not be taken away from those disabled people living in residential care when PIPs are introduced.

But more significantly, following a second review of the WCA by Professor Malcolm Harrington, employment minister Chris Grayling has accepted its recommendations.

These include giving more discretion to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officers when making benefit decisions following the WCA ostensibly to reduce the number of successful appeals, ‘improved support’ for people pushed onto Jobseeker’s Allowance, and working with disability groups to help develop guidance for Atos Origin staff and DWP decision-makers.

It is vital the organisations involved in The Hardest Hit campaign distance themselves from any measures that support the continuation of the WCA.

The fear for activists is that the failure to even mention the limited demand of improving the WCA in their Christmas card is because The Hardest Hit campaign believes Harrington’s recommendations satisfy this.

Given that the simplistic, function-based questionnaire that makes up the WCA was introduced by New Labour as part of a policy to drive one million off incapacity benefits, and the WCA process will be used as a model for the reassessment of mobility and care benefits when PIPs are introduced from 2013, any demand short of the scrapping of the WCA would be a betrayal of both the thousands who marched on 22 October and the million plus whose income will be slashed by it.

Missed opportunity

Unfortunately, from the start the Hardest Hit campaign has failed to weld the enormous anger amongst disabled people and family carers against the Tory/Liberal coalition’s programme of benefit and public service cuts into a mass campaign to stop the Welfare Reform Bill.

The thousands who demonstrated in London on 11 May and across Britain on 22 October could and should have been organised into campaign groups in towns and cities across Britain.

The Hardest Hit campaign has been top down and focused on trying to amend the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords rather than calling for it to be thrown out.

We have even witnessed in November the widely-respected independent peer Jane Campell arguing for the term Disability Living Costs Allowance to be used instead of Personal Independence Payments, instead of using her authority to condemn the Tory/Liberal proposals outright.

Whatever name is used won’t change the fact that hundreds of thousands will lose mobility and care benefits to achieve a 20% cut.

In its publicity material for their Christmas card, The Hardest Hit campaign says: ‘The Welfare Reform Bill is now making its way through the final stages in Parliament.

The next month provides us with our last real opportunity as a sector to influence the bill and we need to make our next action BIG and LOUD.’

Whilst some further concessions may be won in the next week, unless a mass campaign is built now to stop the Welfare Reform Bill, what will be introduced from next April will have a profound impact on the lives of disabled people and their families.

If it becomes law, the one thing though that will be BIG and LOUD will be the questions asked by many disabled people and family carers as to why more was not done to oppose such an obscene piece of legislation.

The Hardest Hit campaign

Some left-wing disabled activists have refused to take part in The Hardest Hit demonstrations, primarily because of the involvement of the Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) charity.

But this position ignores the central role played by the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) in The Hardest Hit campaign, with a new generation attending their first demonstrations becoming aware of UKDPC’S existence for the first time.

The opposition to LCD’s involvement stems from its role in developing and maintaining residential homes for disabled adults over the last sixty years.

A small layer of activists in the 1970s and 80s who were influential in the development of the disabled people’s movement in Britain were themselves residents in Leonard Cheshire homes because there were no alternatives in the community for people with complex conditions at the time.

Their long struggle to live independently forged for themselves and the broader movement they influenced a very strong opposition to the segregation of disabled people in social care, education and broader society.

While there are historical roots to the opposition to LCD’s involvement, it was mistake for some disabled activists and their organisations not to participate in The Hardest Hit demonstrations for this reason.

This isolated them from a new layer of disabled people on their first demonstration that they could have influenced with leaflets and other political material.

We do though need to recognise that at a national level the directors and leading trustees of some large disability charities see public sector cuts and the privatisation of services as an opportunity to expand their business side.

However, many thousands of disabled people and family carers who are members of these charities also currently look to them and The Hardest Hit campaign as the best option to defend their benefits and services against cuts.

It is vital the disabled people’s movement builds a bold, energetic campaign against both welfare ‘reform’ and the public sector cuts.

Particularly by developing a programme that articulates the day-to-day concerns and issues facing family carers and disabled of all ages and impairments.

But it is essential that such a campaign explains the neoliberal origins of welfare reform, the privatisation of public services, and attacks on pay, pensions and conditions.

In particular, the way the capitalist class are increasing their wealth at the expense of the working class and middle layers in society, producing contradictions such as 25,700 excess deaths of older people due to cold weather in 2010/11 whilst the top 1% enjoy their rich lifestyles.

Such an approach will help disabled people and family carers to develop the confidence to challenge those in both the impairment based charities and the disability movement who prefer to compromise or openly collaborate with the Tory/Liberal coalition’s agenda rather than face up to the task of building a mass campaign against cuts to services and benefits.

The disabled people’s movement must also be wary of being used by Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and as a minimum it should demand it drops its support for welfare reform and commit itself to opposing all benefit and public sector cuts.

But the natural allies for the disabled people’s movement are the millions of public sector workers who are moving into action to defend public services and their pay and pensions.

If the full resources of the trade union movement had been mobilised in support of The Hardest Hit demonstrations on 22 October they could have been many times larger.

It is also vital for disabled activists to develop links with trade unions at all levels if a movement to stop welfare reform is to be built.

Although The Hardest Hit campaign is likely to continue in some form after the Welfare Reform Bill is passed, it is questionable whether it will be more than just publicity stunts or a vain attempt to convince the better nature of MPs of all persuasions that their support for the worst aspects of welfare reform and public sector cuts is wrong.

Disabled people’s movement

However if the Welfare Reform Bill is passed largely in its current form it is likely to lead to a serious debate about the role played by disabled people’s organisations since the government coalition came to power.

Some organisations at a local level such as Inclusion London and the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People have opposed the Con-Dem’s cuts from the start, and used their resources to both explain in detail the implications for disabled people and mobilise support for The Hardest Hit demonstrations.

The strong opposition of disabled people’s organisations at a local level certainly influenced the decision of the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council to call the meeting in January that initiated The Hardest Hit campaign.

Unfortunately, while thousands have been mobilised on The Hardest Hit demonstrations, the UKDPC made a serious mistake by allowing this campaign to develop a limited set of demands based on a strategy of amending the welfare reform bill in the House of Lords.

It also maintains a misguided confidence in the role the Human Rights Act can play in defending disabled people’s rights – when in July the retired prima ballerina Elaine McDonald lost her Supreme Court case to defend her need for overnight care arguments in support of her human rights were a very blunt weapon.

The UKDPC is faced with considerable financial pressures and has historically relied on project grants from charitable trusts and government programmes.

Increasingly this kind of funding is linked to support for neoliberal policies and practices, placing considerable pressure on the ability of disabled people’s organisations to maintain principled rights-based work.

But the UKDPC is still seen by a majority of disabled activists as the national representative organisation for the disabled people’s movement.

It is vital though that it develops a programme independent of those charities and disability organisations that are prepared to support the privatisation of public services.

While funding itself and conferences to encourage debate amongst disabled people will always be a challenge, the UKDPC can potentially play a historical role in helping to build mass opposition to the Con-Dem cuts.

But the UKDPC needs to develop stronger links with the trade union movement at all levels and look to its considerable resources for support.

RADAR/Disability Rights UK

Whilst the UKDPC has emerged from The Hardest Hit campaign with increased authority, the opposite is true of RADAR, the Royal Association for Disability Rights.

At the same time as disabled people and family carers were becoming aware of what the Con-Dem cuts would mean for them and marching in their thousands on 11 May, RADAR’s chief executive Liz Sayce was carrying out an ‘independent’ review of supported employment services.

This was commissioned by the Tory/Liberal coalition as part of George Osborne’s Autumn 2010 spending review, and Sayce had the support of a team from the DWP.

When published in June 2011, the Sayce Review disgracefully included proposals to remove government funding from residential training colleges and the closure of the Remploy factories that could lead to more than 2,500 disabled workers being thrown on the dole.

Sayce’s review “is supportive of the direction of travel towards a simplified welfare state and the introduction of a new Universal Credit” and therefore supports a key component of the welfare reform bill.

So when thousands marched on 11 May to oppose this legislation, Sayce and RADAR were already giving it their tacit support. With a friend like Liz who needs enemies?

Sayce is now the chief executive of Disability Rights UK, a recent merger of RADAR, Disability Alliance and the National Centre for Independent Living.

When minister for disabled people Maria Miller announced on 13 December 2010 the closure of the Independent Living Fund on the grounds it was “financially unsustainable” – news to its 21,000 disabled users – she said the government had “consulted informally with disability organisations”.

The fact that representatives of NCIL and Disability Alliance were among these, and met Miller on the day of her statement, doesn’t suggest they will temper RADAR/Disability Rights UK’s cosy relationship with the Con-Dem government.

Disability Rights UK will continue to support Radiate, a network of disabled ‘high-flyers’ set up by RADAR.

While Disability Rights UK will attract support from the 1% of disabled people trying to break through the ‘glass ceiling’, the 99% who are locked in the basement and don’t know what the glass ceiling looks like will develop a deep mistrust of Disability Rights UK or any other organisation for that matter that fails to fight against cuts to benefits and public services.

Disabled People Against Cuts

One positive development in the last year has been the emergence of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and campaign groups such as Black Triangle in Scotland.

While DPAC was mistaken in its decision not to participate in The Hardest Hit campaign, it has been important in the organisation of demonstrations that have successfully highlighted the impact of the brutal WCA run by Atos Origin for both New Labour and the Tory/Liberal governments.

DPAC’s first conference in October was attended by about 65 activists and demonstrates the potential this group has to organise not just dozens but hundreds of disabled people if it can successfully establish local campaigning groups across Britain.

As well as electing a steering committee and establishing a number of working groups, DPAC is developing a Charter of Rights for Disabled People.

This will articulate a broad range of demands that reflect the many issues arising from disabled people’s day-to-day experience of discrimination, exclusion and poverty.

It is vital that this Charter also sets out an explanation as to why neoliberal policies such as welfare ‘reform’, the privatisation of public services and the contraction of social care have been adopted by successive Tory and New Labour governments.

In particular, it needs to argue that the defence of services, benefits and what few rights disabled people have in the ‘age of austerity’ is inextricably linked to the success or failure of the anti-cuts movement – a struggle disabled people and family carers should play a central role in.

Finally, for socialists within both the trade union and disabled people’s movements, a key task in the next period is to link the defence of family carers and disabled people’s services, benefits and rights to the need to fight for a socialist society based on meeting social need rather than creating profit for a greedy minority.


The Socialist Party calls for:

  • No cuts in benefits, jobs and public services.
  • Mobilise now to stop the Welfare Reform Bill through a united campaign involving disabled people and carers’ organisations, trade unions and the anti-cuts movement.
  • Decent benefits, education, training or work for all, without compulsion.
  • No privatisation of services. Take back in-house all privatised services.
  • Sack Atos Origin and scrap the Work Capability Assessment.
  • A living wage and provision of respite services for all family carers.
  • Provide free health and social care services to all who need them.
  • Central government and councils to stop using children and family members as a substitute for professional social services.
  • A national campaign to save the Independent Living Fund.
  • Oppose the closure of the Remploy factories – expand them to create employment for both disabled and non-disabled people.
  • Massive investment in social housing, services and infrastructure to create jobs and meet need
  • A mass movement against all cuts and further coordinated trade union action to oppose cuts in pensions, jobs and pay if needed.
  • For a socialist society that puts the needs of the millions before the profits of the millionaires.

Source: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13319/09-12-2011/fighting-for-disabled-peoples-rights

 

 

 

Dec 132011
 

12 December 2011

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its
legislative scrutiny Report on the Welfare Reform Bill.

    Twenty-first report: Legislative Scrutiny: Welfare Reform Bill
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201012/jtselect/jtrights/233/23302.htm
  

Joint Committee on Human Rights
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/human-rights-committee/

The Report deals with a number of significant human rights issues,
including:
    The thoroughness of the Government’s human rights analysis
    Impact assessments and monitoring
    Destitution
    Discrimination
    Retrogression

The Government’s principal objective in this Bill is to support people
to move into and progress in work, while still supporting those in
greatest need.  The committee commends this objective, which is
consistent with many international human rights instruments which
recognise the right to work and the right to an adequate standard of
living, and therefore welcomes the Bill as a potentially human rights
enhancing measure. However, it has a number of concerns about its
compatibility with the requirements of human rights law.

The committee regrets the fact that the Government has not provided
Parliament with a full human rights memorandum which includes a detailed
analysis of the Bill’s compatibility with the UK’s obligations under
relevant international human rights treaties. Providing such information
to Parliament strengthens the principle of subsidiarity: laws passed
after detailed parliamentary scrutiny of their human rights
compatibility are more likely to withstand subsequent judicial scrutiny.

The committee calls on the Government to improve its capacity to conduct
equality impact assessments. It reiterates its previous recommendation
that, where the Government’s view on compatibility relies on safeguards
to be provided in secondary legislation, draft Regulations should be
published together with the Bill. It also calls upon the Government
better to monitor the post-legislative impact of the measures in the
Bill.

Although the imposition of conditionality requirements on benefits is
not precluded by human rights law, the committee believes there is a
risk that the conditionality and sanction provisions in the Bill might
in some circumstances lead to destitution, contrary to Article 3 ECHR.
The committee therefore urges the Government to give careful
consideration to this risk and carefully to monitor the impact of the
sanctions regime.

The committee is concerned that some of the proposals in the Bill may be
implemented in a way which could both lead to a discriminatory impact
and also not demonstrate a reasonable relationship of proportionality
between the means employed and the legitimate aim that is sought to be
realised. It considers that changes to welfare support designed to meet
the right to social security and the right to an adequate standard of
living should be supported by evidence and closely monitored after
implementation.

With regard to the housing benefit cap, the disproportionate impact of
current proposals on larger households is said by the Government to be
justified because it promotes fairness with similar-sized households
which are just outside entitlement to benefit – undoubtedly a legitimate
aim.  However, the committee is concerned about the possible
disproportionate impact on some disabled people.  It therefore
recommends allowing additional discretion to exempt disabled people
facing exceptional hardship from the benefit cap and from the provisions
concerning under-occupation of social housing.

The committee recognises that the availability of resources is of
central relevance to the extent of the UK’s obligations under the UN
human rights treaties.  However, the duty of progressive realisation in
UN human rights treaties entails a strong presumption against
retrogressive measures affecting the right to social security and to an
adequate standard of living.  The committee is therefore not satisfied
that the Government has demonstrated reasonable justification for the
negative impact of the introduction of Personal Independence Payments on
the right of disabled people to independent living.  The Bill should be
amended to ensure that the assessment process for PIPs takes account of
the various barriers experienced by disabled claimants.  The committee
recommends a trial period for the new assessment process and a report to
Parliament on the implementation of the new testing system.  However, it
welcomes the Government’s decision to table an amendment to the Bill to
remove the provision which allows for withdrawal of the mobility
component of PIP from residential care home residents.

The committee welcomes the Government’s avowed intention of improving
ministerial accountability for the eradication of child poverty,
although any changes proposed to the current legal framework for
accountability will require careful scrutiny.  It recommends that the
Bill be amended to require the Secretary of State to make a statement to
Parliament responding to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty
Commission’s annual report; and it calls on the Government to commit to
providing an opportunity for Parliament to debate that report and the
Minister’s statement in response.

Dr Hywel Francis MP, the Chair of the committee, said:
    "This is an important Bill and it is vital that the Government take
    on board the committee’s concerns, not least since there is still a
    lack of available detail about the substance of some of the changes
    proposed.  We welcome the Government’s recent decision to retain the
    mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance for residents
    of residential care homes as a sign that it is indeed willing to
    think carefully, in human rights terms, about exactly what it is
    proposing."

Dec 062011
 

To add your signature please email mail@dpac.uk.net or linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk

07.01.12

 Thousands of disabled people rely on funding from the Independent Living Fund to enable them to live independently with choice and control over their lives. ILF users have been left shocked and extremely anxious since it was announced in 2010 that it would be closed down by government in 2015. Already closed to new applicants since May 2010 this decision was taken with no evidence of an equality impact assessment having taken place nor any consultation carried out with current and potential beneficiaries of the fund.

 “The Independent Living Fund is a ring fenced resource, for a priority group of disabled people with high support needs that can provide a better lifestyle and outcomes for service users whose full needs would not be met by local authority funding. “

 The Local Authorities have had their resources severely reduced and therefore now only provide basic personal care. Without this extra funding ILF user’s only options will be placement in residential care or more responsibilities being placed on already over stretched family carers, that’s if the disabled person has family support.

 Either option will have huge cost implications to government as residential care costs far more than assisting a disabled person to stay in the community and family carers would have to leave employment and manage on very low Carers Allowance and other benefits.

 Since  2010 the Minister for Disabled people, Maria Miller, has assured users we would be consulted on this issue initially in 2010 then early 2011, but  as users of the ILF fund we have heard little since. Maria Miller issued a speedy statement (5th December) saying that ILF will be discussed in Spring 2012 in context of the reform of the Care and Support system- Yet, ILF is too important to be discussed as a side issue.

 Leaving severely disabled people in such anxiety over their lives is violating our human rights to be involved in decisions that may affect us and indicates a total ignorance of how important this funding is for severely disabled people to live with some quality of life. In addition, ILF users have not received any increase in funds since 2010 meaning they cannot increase pay to P.A.s

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in particular

Article 19: “Living independently and being included in the community”, states that “disabled people have a right to live in the community; with the support they need and can make choices like other people do”.

It also says they should be included in things that other people in the community do. Countries, like theUK, who agree to the rights, have to make this happen. Two of the things they must do are:

Make sure that disabled people get the help they need to live in the community, this means things like getting personal assistance

Make sure that disabled people can choose to do things in the community along with other people

Article 4 states; the general obligation on government to consult with disabled people, before not after decisions or policies are changed.

Article 17 states; we are to be treated with inherent dignity

In addition, the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) states that we have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the right to an adequate standard of living. TheUK has a duty to work progressively, to the maximum extent of its available resources, to deliver these rights even in a period of economic downturn.

The changes in the ILF priority system have obvious implications for theUK’s chances of meeting all such obligations, in terms of the resources available to do so as well as in the actual delivery of them e.g. ILF offers disabled people the flexibility to “choose to do things in the community”.

We have heard ministers state that funding disabled people is ‘unsustainable’ yet we see millions of pounds ‘found’ to fund whatever programs the government finds politically appropriate yet not severely disabled people?

We ask that the government continues to provide care and support for those with the most complex needs via the ILF.

 The Independent Living Fund must be retained and reopened to new applicants with adequate funding for this.

 It should not be restricted to only those in employment as this means those who cannot sustain paid work, but can contribute to society in others ways, will be unable to participate in their communities, families or faith activities.

 The funding must NOT be given to local authorities; it is meant to meet the needs of severely disabled people which means that there may be more in one region compared to another. Also the LA will use the funding as they wish, it will not be ring fenced, and we suspect it will not be directed appropriately for the particular disabled people it is meant to be.

 We wish to have input into the design of the consultation process and assurances that the 21,000 already in receipt of ILF will be assured of continued funding.

 We the undersigned believe this arbitrary decision to close the ILF without assessing the impact this will have on current and potential users, and without consultation, violates the Human Rights of disabled people who depend on ILF to live.

 Cases that give examples of impact of losing or not getting ILF

 A 55 year old lady has 35 hrs allocated from LA and 36 hrs from ILF per week, if she loses the ILF and the LA does not find funds to continue support she will lose the following aspects of her life; Volunteering, faith activities, visiting grandchildren, unable to get out of home, do her own shopping, no social activities, trapped. She was awarded an MBE by the Queen this year 2011 for her initiatives raising awareness of disability hate crime and helping disabled peoples organisations, all such activities will cease with no ILF funding. She feels her life will have no purpose if she loses the support ILF gives.

 B – “My Son’s care package comes to over £50,000 per year of which the ILF package makes up over £23,000. The Local Authorities “Indicative Budget” maximum level for someone living at home is £31,094 so without ILF his total care package would be slashed by almost 50% and leave it impossible for him to manage to live at home”.e slashed by almost 50% & probably leave it impossible for him to manage to live at home. e slashed by almost 50% & probably leave it impossible for him to manage to live at home.

C –  25 year old man with ILF funding has been able to live independently for 7 years and get a 2:1 in Politics and International Relations plus an MA with merit in Journalism. As part of his degree course he spent almost a year working unpaid as a senior researcher for an MP. He has also worked on a self-employed basis and is now working in the media industry, in spite of being placed in the Support group for ESA previously due to his physical limitations. Without ILF funding none of this would have been possible and he would not be contributing to the economy as he is now doing. He would never have had the chance to go to university like his peers and would no doubt instead be incarcerated and abandoned by society in a residential care home costing the taxpayer much more.

D –  “As half my care package is ILF I would first have no control over my toilet needs, this may result in me being catheterised. I am not unable to get out of bed or in bed myself, nor can I dress myself.  I need support in all personal care needs, including keeping clean etc. I would not be able to attend any meetings when various government and NGOs ask me to be part of their various consultation plans. I would have no control over what time I got up or what time I went to bed therefore I would have no social life whatsoever. When ILF finishes in 2015 I will not have any social life. This will mean I will not be able to visit friends, attend the cinema or theatre, go to my bridge club or attend a primary school to assist children to read.  I will no longer be able to use my car for shopping taking my dog to the woods etc. Having campaigned for the last 26 years this will end as I need support to do this. I regularly attend course on photography and employment issues – these will not be possible without ILF funding.”

E.  “I am 27 years old female, and I currently live in my own flat, with 24 hour PA’s who I have directly employed. I have had various levels of funding from ILF, ever since becoming an adult. It has meant that I was able to live on campus at theUniversity ofWarwick, where I completed a BA in History and an MA in Modern British History. I was then forced to move back to my family home, because I did not have the high level of support that I need, and I have only recently been able to start living independently in the community, with funding from my local authority and ILF.  This amount was not as much as would have previously been the case because a freeze was put on the amount that they, ILF, could contribute to disabled people’s care packages in April last year, before my current care package was agreed. As  a result, I was only entitled to receive the same level of funding that I had been awarded in my previous, much less expensive, care package. This meant that my local authority was put under increased pressure to fund my entire care package, and after the ILF is abolished, it seems very likely that all local authorities will find it difficult to provide care for severely disabled people living in the community. I have had to really fight against my local County Council in order to get funding for my current care package, but what scares me is that although I will always be disabled (and actually, my needs will increase in time), there is no kind of guarantee that I will receive my current care package even past my next review. ”

F.  I am a  44 year old digital artist/editor & film maker, a lot of time is spent travelling to locations for shoots, I can’t imagine how I would manage without ILF which funds a third of my care package.. to lose such vital funding will probably change my life in a way presently I do not want to think about, however, as the government is pushing this legislation through regardless, I have to consider my position. Ultimately I fear that any real & significant control in my life and how I presently choose to live my life will be significantly curtailed. I know in this present political climate, any changes will be presented to the general public in a way that suggests no “significant” change, “the disabled” are worrying needlessly etc, but the reality has to be heard. I will have to make my PA’s redundant, relying on goodwill of friends or volunteers would not be feasible. I would lose control of my life.

H. I am a 40 year old ex archaeologist, living in busyEast London, and it would be impossible to manage if I lost my ILF. This funds 50% of my care package, so the loss of ILF would mean that I would lose my independence. At the moment I live independently and use my ILF to maximise my independence, to access the community, to do voluntary work in three different places. This government has pushed legislation through in a way which challenges human rights. Without ILF I would lose my home and my independence and would be forced to rely on my aged father and sleep on his floor as his house is inaccessible.

 I. I am 39 years old and my ILF contributes roughly 25% to my 24/7 package. It is thanks to the ILF that I have been able to study at University, become involved in voluntary work and, more recently, have been able to hold down a full time job in a disability organisation, helping other people make the most of their care packages. The ILF has allowed me to contribute financially to the economy yet there are many more people who, thanks to the ILF have made contributions to society that are every bit as important, and often times more, than my one contribution. In a time where disabled people are classed as undeserving scroungers it is vital to point out these invaluable contributions and also to not that, without ring-fenced funding that affords people more than survival care we will be forced into a position were we can’t give back to society. I have already seen this in my line of work where people who would have benefited so much from funding from the ILF are just left with a couple of visits a day – literally for “feeding, watering and toileting” – of course there is no willingness by Social service to put that extra little bit in any more, as they know that the ILF won’t be there to part fund! This is a real disgrace. Personally, any negative change to my care package will have not only a severe affect on me, but also on the 6 people that I employ as Personal Assistants. The loss of the ILF really is a return to the dark ages!

 J.  Jane has Downs Syndrome.   In some ways she appears to be quite a capable lady, but has a severe learning disability and also and most importantly has severe health problems which could prove life threatening if not handled immediately and in the correct manor.

Karen has a profound mental and physical disability.   She is mostly a happy lady but with no means of communication other than her body language.

Jane and Karen’s families have come together with the help of their local learning disability team and have enabled them to live in an apartment together, for the past 4 years, with the care of personal assistants 24/7, employed directly by them using funding from the Independent Living Fund.   The ladies both live very productive and worthwhile lives together accessing activities in the community and interacting with everybody they come into contact with.

This is exactly what the Independent Living Fund was intended for and Jane and Karens lives have improved considerably.   They have a future to look forward to rather than spend the rest of their lives in a care home

Now it appears that the Independent Living Fund is going to be withdrawn at the end of the present parliament, with no promise of anything to replace it with.  How will Jane and Karen continue their lives living independently in the community?

 Signatures at 07.01.12

 ILF Users 39

Alan Robson

Alison Barrett – ILF user, Peer support Coordinator Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living

Anne Novis MBE, ILF user, Trustee UKDPC

Anne Pridmore – ILF user and director ‘Being the Boss’

Anne Whitehurst – ILF user

Andrew Hardy, ILF user

Brian Hilton, ILf user

Cath Gibson, ILF user

Elizabeth Baily – ILF user

Francesca Digiorgio – ILF User

Gabrielle Pepper – ILF user

Glynis Dawes – ILF user

Ian Burnip- ILF user

Henry Langen – ILF user

Jenny Hurst – ILF user

John Evans, OBE-ILF user

Katherine Arienello – ILF user,Comedian

Kevin Caulfield – ILF user

Laurence Clark –  ILF user, Comedian and Writer

Lianne Bayliss – ILF user

Lisa Morrison- ILF user

Liz Carr – ILF user, Comedian and broadcaster

Lucy Trengrove – ILF user

Mark Williams – ILF user and DEF Co Chair

Natalie Meadows – ILF user

Nicki Myers – ILF user

Noor Homayoun – ILF user

Peergawsan Lotun – ILF User

P.J. Banyard MA (cantab) –  ex CEO international Spinal Research trust, ILF user

Penny Pepper – ILF user

Roxanne Homayoun- ILF user

Ruth Bashall – ILF user

Sarah Morrison – ILF user

Sean Mc Govern – ILF user

Shabaaz Mohammed – ILF user

Sue Elsegood – ILF user

Terry Egan – ILF user

Terry Rothwell – ILF user

Trevor Palmer – ILF user and small business owner

 Parents of ILF users – 13

Barbara Horsewood – Mother of ILF user

Kay Raisey

Laura Scott – Mother of two ILF users

Linda Burnip- disabled mother of ILF user

Margaret Jones – Mother of ILF user

Pam Robinson – mother of ILF user

Paul Taylforth – parent of ILF user

Rebecca Trengrove

Rosemary Homayoun

Dr Saddi Chillingworth -Parent of ILF user

Tracey Hattley

Tricia Tsatsoulis

Vincent Lloyd Jones – Father of ILF user

 Disability Organisations – 55

– Access Dorset – CE, Jonathan Waddington-Jones

– AgeUK- Mary Cox

-Alliancefor Inclusive Education – CEO Tara Flood

– Atos Victims Group – Paul Smith

– After Atos ‘Counting the Disabled Back In’ – K. James/J.Knight

– Being the Boss – Sheila Blair

– Black Triangle campaign group –  John McCardale

– BreakthroughUK– Elaine Astley, Policy and Research assistant

– Broken ofBritain- Kaliya Franklin

– Carer Watch – Rosemary O’Neill

– Carmarthenshire Disabled Access group – Chairman F.R. Allen MBE

-ChesterAdult Phab Social Club – Chair Person Lynda Hesketh

– Choices and Rights Coallition – Chair Mark Baggley

-CornerstoneChurchproject – Ann Whitmore

– Different Strokes – Debbie Wilson, Chief Executive

– DisabilityCornwalland Isles of Scilly – Theo Blackmore

– Disability Equality ForumBristol

– Disability Equality LTD –  CEO, Melanie Close

– Disability Hate Crime Network – Coordinator, Stephen Brookes MBE

– Disabilty Wales – Chief Executive, Rhian Davies

– DPAC – Disabled Peoples against the Cuts

– DPAC Islington – Julia Cameron

– DPAC Lambeth, Roger Lewis

– DPAC,Brighton, Jill Goble

– DPAC,Chester-  Lynda Hesketh

– GAD (GreenwichAssociation of Disabled People) – CEO, Joanne Munn

– GreaterManchesterCoalition of Disabled People –  GMCDP, Brian Hilton

– Green Party Trade Union Group – Alan Wheatley Disability Spokesperson

– Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts – HAFCAC

– InclusionLondon- Chair, Kirsten Hearn, CEO Tracey Lizard

– InclusionScotland- Manager, Bill Scott

– Jubilee Sailing Club – CE  Alex Lochrane

– Kensington Centre for Independent Living –  CEO, Theo Harris

-KingstonCarers Network – Director, Kate Dudley

– Limbcare – Gordon McFadden, Chief Officer of Policy, CEO and Chair, Ray Edwards MBE

– IpswichMencap – Chair,  Barbara Thorn
– Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People – CEO, Mark Harrison

– NorthEdinburghFights Back

– National Centre for Independent Living, NCIL –  CEO Sue Bott

– Ouch Too online disabled peoples organisation

– Public and Commercial ServicesUnion(PCS) at the ILF – Branch Secretary, Paul Martin

– Remploy Trade Union National Convener – Les Woodward

– Shaping Our Lives network – Chair, Professor Peter Beresford OBE,BrunelUniversity

– Sisters of Frida, cooperative of disabled women – MD, Maria G Zedda

– Social Work Action NetworkLondon– Dan Morton, Rich Moth Deputy National Convenor

– The Forgotten Heroes – Trustee, Charley Downey

-United KingdomDisabled Peoples Council- UKDPC – CEO, Jaspal Dhani

– VoiceUK– CEO Kathryn Stone OBE C. Dir FLoD

-WalesCampaign for Fair Society – Chair, Paul Swann

-WalesCouncil for the Blind – Director, Phil Stevens

– West Norfolk Disability Information service

– Wheels in Motion,Birmingham- Tracy Veck

– Where’s the Benefit

Wiltshire CIL – Director, Geraldine Bentley

-YorkIndependent Living Network – Lyn Jeffries  

 European/national Disability Organisations/professionals – 6

– European Network of Independent Living (ENIL) –  Exc.Dir.Jamie Boiling

– Expertise Centre Independent Living – Peter Lambreghts

– Independent Living Slovenia – Elena Pecaric

– Kapka Panayotova CIL – Sofia,BULGARIACEO

– YHD – Association for Theory for Theory and culture of Handicapped,Slovenia– Klaudija Poropat President

-Koblenz,Germany– Local Ombudsman, Christian Bayerlein

 Academics – 5

Colin Barnes, Professor of Disability Studies, University ofLeeds

Dr Charlotte Pearson

Jenny Slater, ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity

Professor Peter Beresford OBE,BrunelUniversity

Dr Alison Wilde

 Disabled People – 186

Adam Lotun

Ahmed Bagi

Alan Holdsworth

Alan Wheatley – Disability spokesperson, Green Party Trade Union Group

Alec Middleton

Alex Lochrane – Chief Exec Jubilee Sailing Trust

Alice Wedderburn

Alison Binns – Fundraiser, Different Strokes

Andrew Hubbard

Ann Whitmore -CornerstoneChurchproject

Anne Callanan

Anne Isaac

Anne McDonald

Annie Wiltcher   

13

Barbara Hulme

Barbara Thorn – Chair person Ipswich Mencap

Beverley Rawsthorn

Beverley Smith

Bill Cox

Bill Scott – Manger InclusionScotland

Brian Hilton

Brian Phillips

Bob Williams-Findlay – former Chair of British Council of Disabled People 

9

Caroline Mace

Catherine MacArthur

Charley Downey – Trustee, The Forgotten Heroes

Chris Walsh

Christian Bayerlain – ombudsman

Cindy Albright

Coover Mistry –  member of KCIL

Craig Lundie  

 9

D.H.Kelly

Danka Gordon

Dave Stamp

DavidBridge

David Churchley

David Gillon, Disability Rights Activist and Blogger

Debbie Wilson – CE, Different Strokes

Deborah Williams

Diana Harrison

Debbie Jolly – Co-Founder DPAC and Director Thaedis

Diane Harrison

Dora Kostiuk 

Donna Kelsey

13

Eileen Gambrell – Service Manager, Different Strokes

Elysabeth McCaig-Scot

Elane Heffeman

Eleanor Firman – Composer, teacher and Music Director

Eleanor Lisney – cofounder of DPAC

Ellen Clifford – Sisters of Frida

Elena Pecaric   -YHD Slovenia

Eric Day Equality and Disability LCIL  

7

F.R. Allen MBE

Fred Williams – excluded from ILF

Frieda Van de Poll – Artist

3

Gabriel Pepper

Gail Ward

Gaynor Jenkins

Geraldine Bentley – Director, Wiltshire CIL

George Lamb

GordonAmes

Gordon McFadden – CEO, Limbcare     

7

Helen Sims

Holly Meiszner               

2

Jamie Bolling-executive director ENIL

Jan Turner – excluded from ILF

Jane Heath

Jaspal Dhani – CEO UKDPC

Jean Goodrich

Jennifer Ames

Jenny Morris – author

Jerry Johnson – Finance Manager, Different Strokes

Jill Goble – DPAC,Brighton

Jo Lewis – Fundraising Administrator, Different Strokes

Joanne Hayes

Joanna Munn – CEO, GAD (GreenwichAssociation of Disabled People)

Jodie Mickleburgh – Office Manager, Different Strokes

John Hargrave

John Kelly

John James McCardale

John McGovern

John Newman

John W Smith

John Smith – GMCDP

Jonathan Hughes –

Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Toye

Jonathan Waddington-Jones

Judith Bond

Judith McNamara –DisabilityInclusionWorker PembrokeshireCountyCouncil

Julia Cameron – DPAC Islington

Julie kennedy

June Knight

29

Kay Trujillo

Kapka Panayotova-founder/director of CIL Sofia

Karen James

Karen Pointin

Kate Robinson

Kaliya Franklin – Broken ofBritain

Kenneth Hill

Kenny Bee

Kevin James

Kev Towner

Kirsten Hearn – Chair InclusionLondon

Klaudija Poropat-President of YHD Slovenia

13

Laurence Robb – MS Research, and standup4MS.blogspot.com- excluded from ILF

Les Woodward

Lianne Figg

Linda Burnip- co founder of DPAC

Lindsay Lotun

Lisa Egan – disabled daughter of ILF user

Liz Silver

LorraineAyres – Group Development Manager, Different Strokes

LydiaJ. Roe

Lyn Jeffries -YorkIndependent Living Network

Lyn Valentine

Lynda Hesketh– excluded from ILF, Chair Person, Chester Adult Phab Social Club

11

Magg Lauppen

Maria Zedda – Vice Chiar London 2012 disabilities Communities Engagement Group

Marion Lowther –South Walesdevelopment officer, Contact the Elderly

Mark Baggley – Chair, Choices and Rights Coalition

Mark Harrison –  CEO,NorfolkCoalition of Disabled People

Mark Newman

Mark Wilson

Mathew Wheatley

Martin Williams

Martine Miel – Sisters of Frida

Mary Fox

Maureen Vogels – member Black Triangle

Melanie Banton – Executive assistant, Council of Disabled people, Warwickshire andCoventry

Melanie Close – CEO Disability Equality Ltd

Michael Bricknell

Michelle Daley – Disability Equality Trainer

Moira McCall

Moira M Smith

18

Naomi Jacobs

Nirmala.G.Jivan

Neil Fergusan

3

Paul Martin –  PCS at ILF, Branch Secretary

Pat Onions disabled person and carer

Paul Smith – Atos Action group

Paul Swann – Policy Officer Disability Wales

Pauline Latchem

Penny Goring

Peter John Farrington

Peter Lambreghts – Expertise Centre Independent Living

Peter Lockheart

Phil Lockwood

Phil Stevens – Director Wales Council for the Blind

Phillipa Willitts

12

Rachel Huskisson

Ray Edwards MBE – Chair Limbcare

Rhian Davies – Chief executive, Disability Wales

Rhys Handley

Robin Bray- Hurran

Roger Lewis – DPAC Lambeth

Rosena McKeown

Rosemary O’Neil – Carer Watch

Roxanne Faulks – DP services manager, WECIL

Rudi Vogels – member Black Triangle

11

Sarah Coleman – Volunteer coordinator GAD CIL

Sarah Ismail

Sarah Simpson

Sasha Callaghan –  PastPresidentUniversityand CollegeUnion

Sedley Bryden

Sheila Blair

Sophie Partridge

Stacy Hoare

Stephen Brookes MBE – Coordinator DHCN

Stephen Hodgekins

Steve Burge

Steve Grinter – Education Secretary ITGLWFUKoffice

Sue Bott – CEO NCIL

Sue Fortune

Sue Marsh

Svetlana Kotava – Lawyer on Human Rights

15

Tanya Doolin

Tara Flood OBE- CEO, ALFIE

Theo Blackmore – DisabilityCornwalland Isles of Scilly

Theo Harris – CEO, Kensington Centre for Independent Living

Tina Coleman – mental health activist

Tracey Lizard – CEO Inclusion London

Tracey Veck – Wheels in Motion,Birmingham

7

Vicky Ayech

Victor Oliver

Vivienne Heuerman

3

Whalley Gordon

Willow Jacky – Carer and disabled person

Winston Thomas – Carmarthenshire Disabled Access group

3

Zoubeidah Lotun

1

 Family Carers/Personal Assistants – 33

Alicia Walker – PA

Anna Fitzpatrick – PA

Billy Ward – Parent carer

D. Gilligan – Carer

D.Ridley – Carer

Gemma Novis

Henry Bruce – Carer

J. Abdu – Carer

J. McCullough – Carer

J. Robson – Carer

J. Rymell – Carer

Jacqui Armston -PA

Jane Blake – PA

Jean Milne

John R Caley

Jonathan Novis

Kate Dudley – Kingston Carers network

Laura McKenna

Linda Dickenson

Marion Beazley – PA

Michelle Allen – PA

Mike Spinney

Nicole Bilsden – PA

S. O’Neill – Carer

Simone Meiszner

Steffanie Cook – PA

Steven Preace –Carers Circle

Terrine Johnson – PA

Trev Burnip

Veronica Birley

W. Coyle – Carer

Wendy Mortimer – PA

Vin West – unpaid Carer for ILF User and member of Wales Association for Citizen Directed Support

 Other supporters – 21

Amal Jama – OBAC- Supporting the Independence of People with disability.

André Keil

D. McGee

Dan Morton – SWAN

David Robertson Support Worker (Recovery Across Mental Health)

Gordon Eagling

Jo Walker

Jon Staley – Support Worker & Trainer

K. McGee

Kathryn Stone MBE – Director VoiceUK

Keithley Wilkinson – NHS Wales

Linda Lawty – Senior Advocate People FirstCumbria

Linzi Calvert

Lyn Whiteside BSc(hons) SRN

Natalya Dell

Rich Moth – Deputy National Convenor SWAN

Rosita Wilkins

S. Buttress

Shaaba Lotun

Tansy Feltis

Tehya Lotun

 Councillors/officials -2

– Alan Hunt – Access officer, Pembrokeshire County Council

– Cllr Roger Robinson- Camden Council;Chair- Camden Council’s Disability Scrutiny Panel &former CEO-Artsline

 Wales Assembly members -3

– Keith Davies – Assembly member

– Mike Hedges – Assembly Member forSwanseaEast

– Rebecca Evans – Assembly Member for Mid and WestWales

 MPs

Dave Anderson – Labour MP for Blaydon

Jim Sheridan – Labour MP forPaisleyand Refrewshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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