Disabled people have been expressing their disquiet at the news that the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will cease to exist in 2015, and that the money will be transferred to Local Authorities. To date, out of the 153 surveyed Local Authorities and from 106 responses, only 10 Local Authorities have said they will ringfence the transferred funds to ILF recipients, which means that in all other areas, ILF recipients face a potential reduction of their care packages. How is it likely to happen?
An interesting article was published this morning by Joe Halewood (@SpeyeJoe): http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/dhp-dubious-hoodwinking-practices-or-how-ids-pulled-the-woolsack-over-the-courts-eyes/
which shows that 16% (UK average) of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) allocated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to Local Authorities to mitigate the impacts of welfare reforms, and specifically of the infamous bedroom tax have been awards unrelated to welfare reforms. See Table 5 and 6 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322455/use-of-discretionary-housing-payments-june-2014.pdf
It would be interesting to know what the money was spent on, but more to the point, DWP has twice relied on the DHP argument to win a legal case against claimants challenging the bedroom tax policy, and although DWP’s spokesperson said that the government has put in £345m to mitigate the bedroom tax, the figures shown in the Table 5 and 6 not only disprove this but also show that out of the money disbursed, 16% of the allocated funds have been used for awards totally unrelated to welfare reforms. This shows that disabled people are right to be worried about the future of the transferred ILF funds and about the willingness or unwillingness of Local Authorities to allocate these funds to disabled people who have been assessed as having the greatest needs. The ILF should be retained until assurance is given that these people will not see a reduction in their care packages.
DPAC have had an odd kind of non-relationship with DRUK. We’ve disagreed about many things. For example, DPAC is for saving ILF, DRUK’s Sue Bott suggests this is something we should probably forget about, and that ‘Whilst the ILF has benefited many disabled people, claims that it has been at the forefront of independent living are a little exaggerated’. This is not the view of ILF users. See their stories, their lives, their experiences It is amazing that anyone can believe that passing ILF to local authorities who already say that without ring-fenced funding many ILF users will lose support and/or be institutionalised is something we need to accept while we all get together to talk about ‘new visions’.
The DRUK conference dedicated to a ‘new vision’ for independent living is also a confusing affair, not only are they embracing Simon Steven’s approach ( He who accused DPAC of murdering disabled people and was dropped from Leonard Cheshire’s sponsor program because of his outright abuse to other disabled people), but one of their advertised partners for this conference are Craegmoor .
Craegmoor are part of the Priory Group owned by Avent International which is a US Equity Company- changing times you may say-and you’re right. Maybe that’s what these new visions are about: capitalising on the market, private equity companies taking public money, and disability organisations getting in on the act- maybe neo-liberalism rather than disabled peoples’ rights and equality now make up ‘new visions’ of independent living
Craegmoor ‘s target market are those labelled with autism, learning difficulties and mental health issues. They take 85% of their funds from public funds. Craegmoor’s web site boasts of its residential homes:
We provide understanding and support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems in a variety of settings based on the individual’s abilities and needs. Our nationwide residential care services support people to develop the skills they need to live as independently as possible’.
Wait, since when were residential homes part of independent living? Weren’t these the very oppressions that early activists fought to get out of, and current activists (and ILF users) are fighting to stay out of?
Their brochure goes further:
Craegmoor is part of the Priory Group of Companies. From education to hospitals, care homes and secure facilities, the Priory Group of Companies offers individually tailored, multidisciplinary treatment programmes for those with complex educational needs or requiring acute, long-term and respite mental healthcare’.
Treatment programs? Not sounding very independent living or social model. As well as residential homes, secure ‘hospitals’ and segregated schools. It all sounds very daunting.
But there’s much more on the Priory group of companies too which is even less palatable concerning cover-ups and abuse. Until July 2013 Phillip Scott was Chief Executive if the name isnt familiar, he was also the Chief Executive for Southern Cross. Itself a subject of inquiry on institutional abuse and 19 unexplained deaths Craegmor say they transform lives, but in what way?
In May 2013 there was Melling Acres, ‘where inspectors reported major concerns about the care and welfare of its seven residents – care plans were poor, with scant information about physical health needs, there were limited activities and a lack of advocacy to enable people to express concerns about their care’. In September 2012 ‘following an anonymous tip, inspectors found residents at risk of abuse in Lammas Lodge, a home for young adults. There were not enough staff and what staff there were, inspectors found, were not properly trained to meet residents’ complex needs. There were six major areas of concern, including care and welfare, medication and safeguarding. The home, which was warned it must improve or face closure, has since been given a clean bill of health by the regulators’. Both homes were registered under Parkcare Homes’ so neither Priory or Craegmoor got the fall-out despite ownership.
This was not the case in 2012 when concerned relatives hid CCTV cameras in the room of Highbank hospital in Bury Manchester to reveal abuse by staff, not so with the Bentley Court home in Wolverhampton suspended by the council for what it called ‘safeguarding issues’ in 2010, a council that stopped sending those with dementia to Bentley Court, and not so in 2012 when what was described as the ‘Priory mental hospital’ in Windes on Bennet Lane was closed due to not meeting 10 standards of Government quality and safety including: Patients not being fully protected from the risk of abuse and their privacy, dignity and independence not being respected, staff not receiving necessary training, a lack of systems to assess and monitor the quality of the service provided, care plans did not always cover patients’ needs. There were also reports of patients attempting to escape during supervised visits into Widnes town centre.
So as said definitely NOT independent living.
In 2004 the then CEO of the Priory group Chai Patel said ‘My view is, if there is ever a conflict that involves choosing between care and profit, then we should not be involved in that environment,’ Given the examples above it seems profit is the defining factor.
It didn’t take long to find this information, it didn’t take long to realise that these are not the partners who should be with any organisation claiming to support independent living, even ‘new visions’. So maybe the question that needs to be asked is what exactly do DRUK support?
There are a few clues, in a recent blog piece by DRUK (dated 16th July) mentioning a very good Guardian piece by independent living activist John Evans, an ILF user, the last paragraph says: ‘Sue Bott, Director of Policy and Development at Disability Rights UK, has written a new blog which also discusses the role of the ILF but proposes that disabled people should concentrate their campaigning towards achieving a single integrated system that assesses people’s needs and allocates assistance and support based on the outcomes people could achieve in their communities and contribute to society’.
John Evans says everything we need to know-we have a vision for independent living and we already have a model forged by international independent living activists. There is nothing wrong with that model. There is no reason to stop fighting for it, abandon it or develop ‘visions’ or hallucinations of lesser systems in which we divide disabled people by perceived contributions to society-all disabled people are of value, all deserve to be supported. It is the ILF model that needs to be built upon and expanded to all-something that promotes real independent living.
The fact that a so-called user led organisation is putting forward anything different with the spectra of institutionalisation added to the mix is a tragic condemnation of all that disability activists have ever worked and fought for. We are appalled that DRUK are willing to sacrifice disabled people’s futures in this way and sadly can only assume this is to ensure on-going funding from the government.
follow @dis_ppl_protest for more
If you want to email DRUK you can do so by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derbyshire Anti Cuts campaigners witnessed the Disgraceful move by Labour-controlled Derbyshire County Council Cabinet yesterday voting through cuts and charges to adult social care services that Derbyshire disabled people rely on.
Derbyshire Anti Cuts campaigners were at Derbyshire County Council headquarters, County Hall, Matlock yesterday June 17th 2014 supporting disabled people from Derbyshire Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC).
Their spokesman, the brilliant Gary Matthews, other disabled people and allies challenged council leader Cllr Anne Western, Cllr Andy Botham and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Clare Neill on the steps leading in to County Hall yesterday and then submitted questions in the Cabinet meeting itself raising the alarm that if these cuts and charges were voted through today, then councillors would in effect be complicit in the victimisation and persecution of Derbyshire’s disabled people and their families.
Good luck to Derbyshire DPAC in sorting out a legal challenge to this victimisation and persecution.
We say SHAME on Labour controlled Derbyshire County Council for being complicit accomplices to the Con Dem robbery of Derbyshire people’s rightful money and to the victimisation and persecution of disabled people and those with long term health issues.
Gary Matthews from DPAC handed out leaflets with the following text on to all councillors and people who attended the protest and the council meeting:
“Think before you vote!”
The report to the Derbyshire County Council Cabinet being voted on this morning is a very depressing document. We believe that the three recommendations are an attack on disabled people across Derbyshire.
Increasing the eligibility threshold for those who need support will impact seriously on the daily lives of disabled people.
We are talking about not just cuts, but life and death issues.
The report admits that there will be more accidents at home and people will no longer be safe if their care is cut.It also predicts worsening personal health for those deprived of care in the future.
The proposals on co-funding (paying for care) and on charging £5 for transport trips will drive hundreds of disabled people into poverty.
30% of disabled people already live in poverty and this will just add to it.
The report does not have a proper equality impact report and the consultation process was highly defective.
We attended a two hour meeting yesterday (June 16th 2014) with Cllr Clare Neill where we put our concerns.
We told her in straight terms what the effects on our disabled community would be.
We asked her to advise the Labour cabinet to delay these cuts for 12 months and lead a campaign against the Coalition cuts together with trade unions and disabled peoples groups.
We are fed up with hearing the Labour mantra and excuse that there is no alternative.
We have now given the Labour cabinet a clear alternative.If they ignore this, they will only have themselves to blame.
Will they act as agents to Eric Pickles and force through these cuts, or will they stand alongside disabled people and oppose all cuts.
“We believe that cuts in welfare benefits and in essential adult care services amount to nothing more than crimes against humanity”.
Where injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes necessary.
An injustice to one is an injustice to all.
They say cut back, we say FIGHT BACK
Liz Potter on behalf of Derbyshire Anti Cuts Campaign in solidarity with Derbyshire Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC).
DPAC would like to thank everyone for making last week’s (April 12 2014) National Conference such a huge success. There was a huge turnout with over 150 disabled activists from all over the UK including many new DPAC members attending, but just as important there were hundreds of members and supporters beyond the venue taking part through social media – watching the video live-stream, tweeting and sharing comments, views and sending messages of support. This was fantastic work by everyone and a truly inspiring collective effort.
Here’s a brief outline of how it went.
The day was timetabled into sections beginning with practical reports and voting on policy motions. This was followed by two workshop sessions and then a closing session for everyone to feedback on the day. Four workshops were available to choose from in each Workshop session. Detailed reports on these will follow later.
John McDonnell MP, a longstanding friend and supporter of DPAC, gave a rousing opening speech to encourage everyone and remind us of the victories achieved so far. He congratulated disabled people and DPAC for fighting back, along with our sister organisation Black Triangle and WoW Petition initiators
As he finished he mentioned his own recent health condition which he said he felt brought him closer to our movement. Ellen reacted quickly by giving him a DPAC t-shirt and declaring him a full DPAC member to instant applause and cheers.
The Finance Report showed a healthy state of affairs for the time being thanks to individual donations, t-shirt and badge sales plus grants from the Edge Fund, the Network for Social Change, Trust for London and the Andrew Wainwright Trust. More fund-raising is necessary going forward.
1. Government Honours
This proposed that any future candidates for the DPAC Steering Group could thwart the network and collective ethos of DPAC if they had received a national honour like an OBE or MBE. The ‘BE’ refers to the imperialist British Empire which is still celebrated despite what we know of the suffering and oppression this caused. The motion conversations also suggested that any media attention would be focused on those with honours and titles, rather than on the collective network ethos that DPAC ascribes to. The motion was put forward as a rejecting of this possibility and that of the honours system more generally. This was defeated.
This motion stated DPAC opposition to discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexuality, age, faith, disability, ethnicity or status. It also empowered the Steering Group to terminate the membership of anyone who supported a party which holds discriminatory policies, like UKIP. This motion passed based on an appeals process being put in place
3. Steering Group Size
This motion sought to expand the Steering Group from 8 members to 12 in order to respond to increased activity and maintain a broad, diverse and inclusive profile. This was passed.
There were 11 nominees for the Steering Group. Conference took a vote on whether to vote for accepting all 11 nominees, or vote for them one by one. Conference voted to accept all 11 nominees. The new steering group are currently reviewing co-opted places and will get back to the additional people that applied past the deadline as soon as possible
It was highlighted that the working groups are important in taking DPAC forward. The co-chair said she hoped those who did not stand for the Steering Group but were still interested in getting involved would join these as soon as possible.
Finally, a big thank you to the Conference Organising group and Workshop leaders who worked so hard to make this wonderful event a reality.
Links to videos from the day are here with thanks to Occupy for live streaming on the day to make the conference inclusive to all are here
Links to pictures can be found on DPAC flicker here
Thanks to Pete Riches, Szucs Gabriella and Rob Peters
See you on the streets!
Also find us on Facebook with a group and open page under ‘Disabled People against Cuts’
We read with interest the piece in the Independent by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green regarding Labour’s response to the Work Capability Assessment 
Labour should realise that disabled people are deeply distrustful of any Labour reform of a Work Capability Assessment system, which Labour introduced in the Welfare Act of 2007 with the stated aim of removing 1 million claimants from the benefit system .
Our position has been and will be that the Work Capability Assessment is deeply flawed in its basic concept, not just in terms of the details of its delivery, and inclusion in the workplace for disabled people cannot simply be achieved by a ‘back to work’ test.
In the Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto , we state that a priority demand from government is that:
A comprehensive and strategic plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment including: increasing quality and range of personalised support available to disabled people, strengthening disabled employees rights and tackling employer discrimination and poor practice
Other key demands include that:
Economic productivity must not be the only measure of people’s worth and value, volunteering offers as much value to society as paid employment. While we recognise that volunteering can offer additional skills, it should not be the default option for disabled people because of our exclusion from paid work
There must be policy and media recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system. They should not be penalised or demonised as they are currently.
For true inclusion in the workplace for disabled people a wider approach is necessary including but not limited to:
• Will Labour commit to the restoration of Disabled Student’s Allowance,
• Will Labour commit to the restoration of the Independent Living Fund,
• Will Labour commit to the extension of Access to Work (AtW) to include unpaid voluntary positions,
• Will Labour commit to the reversal of the reduction of people who currently receive DLA, but will not receive PIP and also lose their Motability access,
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of the requirement for councils to produce equality schemes on employment and access
• Will Labour commit to the provision of accessible transport.
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of “day one” protection from unfair dismissal in employment law
• Will Labour commit to the provision of Employment Tribunals enforcing mandatory organisation-wide measures on preventing disability discrimination
• Will Labour commit to the provision that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable equality targets for the employment of disabled people
(for further points see reference 2)
These currently are some of the barriers to inclusion in the workplace for disabled people, and they will not be fixed by simply amending the WCA. The issue must be seen within the context of the wider interconnected system of barriers in place. It must be seen in terms of what a large majority of disabled people have already identified as key problems.
In terms of inclusion we also need from Labour, a recognition that for many disabled people to be able to work there has to be a nationally transportable social care system with a guarantee that people would keep the same levels of funding wherever they needed to move to work.
We need recognition that there is an onus on government and employers to fully accept the spirit of the Equality Act 2010  with its requirement to the opening of work opportunity to disabled people. Without this, no “fit for work test” aimed at cutting disability benefits will make any impact whatsoever on the numbers of disabled people who can attain and sustain employment.
We also need from Labour a stronger recognition that there are many disabled people who cannot enter the work place and should not have to live in fear of being pressured into doing so.
There is much that the article leaves out and that leaves us with a number of serious concerns and questions.
While we are not yet prepared to endorse in any way Labour’s new approach to the Work Capability Assessment, we do see the article by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green as a helpful starting point for discussions on the future of inclusion of disabled people, who want and are able to work, in the workplace and we would welcome an opportunity to meet with them and discuss this further. We would like meet with Kate Green and Rachel Reeves to ask the following questions:
1. Will Labour commit to stop spending public money on private
contractors and return any assessments of disabled people back to GPs
with medical evidence taken into account as well as give a commitment to
look at the barriers to work for disabled people who can and want to
work (in line with the social model of disability)?
2. Will Labour commit to a time and date to talk with DPAC, My Legal,
the Mental Health Resistance Network, Black Triangle, Deaf activists,
those with learning difficulties ( with an outreach of ½ a million
disabled people) to listen to the views of the largest network of grass
roots disabled people on the WCA and ESA?
3. If Labour are committed to scrapping the WCA when will Deaf and
disabled people, and those with mental health issues have sight of the
detail of any alternative Labour is proposing?
4. If Labour accepts the harm, devastation and premature deaths that have
been an outcome of the WCA why have they chosen to suspend their
prospective parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay, Deborah
Hopkins for speaking out in public about the harm caused by the WCA.
5. Will Labour address the disproportionate harm that the WCA and
sanctions on ESA and JSA are causing to all disabled people, in
particular those with mental health issues and learning difficulties?
6. We along with many others insisted that a centralised Independent Living Fund
for Scotland be established and it has been done. They have also promised to re-open ILF to new users, with a commitment of additional funds and recognition of its importance to independent living and obligations to article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Why has the Labour
Party not promised to re-establish it south of the border?
Many of the Statements included in this response are taken from the UK Disabled Peoples’ Reclaiming our Futures Manifesto and are endorsed by a UK network of disabled people and Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations, including: ALLFIE, Inclusion London, Equal Lives, DPAC, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and the TUC Disabled Workers Committee , who between them reach several million disabled voters.
1. How Labour would reform the Work Capability Assessment http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/how-labour-would-reform-the-work-capability-assessment-9265479.html
2. The Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/UK-Disabled-People-s-Manifesto-Reclaiming-Our-Futures.pdf
3. The Green Paper: The new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work. 2006 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://dwp.gov.uk/docs/a-new-deal-for-welfare-empowering-people-to-work-full-document.pdf
4. Equality Act 2010 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
We are very much looking forward to seeing everyone who can come to our national conference on Saturday but it is also important that those of you who can’t get there in person are able to take part. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Send messages of support and your ideas for what DPAC should focus on over the next year to email@example.com or @dis_ppl_protest.These will be put up on the graffiti wall at the conference and included in the notes from the day.
- Watch the conference live on:
- Live tweet your questions and contributions to @dis_ppl_protest
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The program for the day is at DPAC Conference 2014 Saturday 12th April – Conference Programme
We’ve had a great response to bookings for the DPAC conference on Sat 12th April in London, but places are now running out. Please email: email@example.com
with your details, number of places needed and any access needs.
12th April 2014 – 11am until 5pm
London Met University, Tower Building, 166 – 220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DP
Since we started in October 2010 Disabled People Against Cuts has been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. With Atos on the run, and the bedroom tax on the ropes we are seeing the results of hard campaigning. But there is much more to do to ensure disabled people’s rights to live independently and with an adequate income.
The national conference is a chance for DPAC members to come together, to share experiences and discuss your ideas for moving forwards.
DPAC are working hard to bring to conference a surprise guest, a person who, if anyone has, has been the catalyst for the re-emergence of disability activism in the last few years, someone DPAC has enjoyed a close relationship with from visiting him at home to donating underpants to supporting his select committee appearances.
Workshops will look at: – Where Now for the Independent Living Fund campaign, – Developing a Social Model of Distress, – Winning the Argument, – Disability, Art and Protest, – Building a National Network of Disabled People’s Organisations and Direct Action practical skills among others.
Please note places are limited so priority will be given to DPAC members. For information about joining please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The venue is wheelchair accessible. BSL and a note taker will be provided. For access information go to: http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/islington-council/london-metropolitan-university-tower-building
For access queries including booking parking please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk
To book places or for more information please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk
The Government has announced that the Independent Living Fund will close on 30th June 2015 despite losing a Court of Appeal battle over this plan.
The Department for Work and Pensions originally planned to abolish the fund on 31 March 2015, but was forced to review the move after the Court of Appeal ruled that it had failed to comply with its legal duty to promote equality when making the decision.
The fund provides cash payments to top-up local authority social care support to around 18,500 severely disabled people so they can live more independently.
This fund is ESSENTIAL to disabled people up and down the country -a lifeline for many and must be re-opened to new applicants.
The fund closing after the next general election gives us a window of opportunity.
This petition is to Nick Clegg and David Cameron and it is calling on them to not close the Independent Living Fund. *As the PM does not have a public email address, this petition will send email to offices of IDS*
The fact that this fund will not end until after the next general election puts the onus on the Labour Party to either continue the fund or create an alternative fund that will be in place post-30th June 2015.
This petition calls for the Labour party to put forward their proposals for a replacement fund at the earliest possible time and have this proposal in their 2015 manifesto. We need to make them understand how important this support is to sections of the disabled community.
Sign -up, share and fill up IDS’ and other MPs inboxes so they cant ignore us at
The care system in the UK today is desperately under funded and not fit for purpose. Every day we hear of local authorities closing, withdrawing or cutting back on essential facilities and services. One of the areas causing great concerns is Community Care Assessments .
CarerWatch are working with supportive MPs, and collecting evidence of how our members, and others, may be affected.
If you have experience of a Community Care Assessment, could you please complete this survey.
Feel free to share with others.
We will also be doing a survey next on Carers’ Assessments too.
Any questions please contact email@example.com
Reposted with thanks from CarerWatch http://carerwatch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/share-your-experience-of-community-care-assessments-survey/
Next week, there is a unique and valuable opportunity for us to question and confront the NSFT Board members, management and local commissioners over the decision to close another 25 beds and the on-going cuts and chaos.
The Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign have organised a demonstration in protest against the £100+ Million in cuts planned by the County Council over the next 4 years.
On February 14th, councillors will vote on whether to approve these brutal cuts. We will send the leader of the County Council, Louise Goldsmith a valentine’s card to show that West Sussex residents need their vital services.
£79 million has already been cut since 2010 which has caused untold misery for the vulnerable by decimating public services they rely on.
Make your voice heard. Lobby your County Councillor, tell them that you oppose these cuts. Attend the Council debate which follows this protest.
We say there is no more fat to cut.
Join us on February 14th at 9.30am
County Hall, Chichester (Main Entrance)
Don’t Cut Us Out
Monday morning at County Hall against the £190m cut imposed by the Coalition Government on Norfolk. The proposed cuts to social care will devastate disabled and older people’s lives and leave many ‘prisoners in their own homes’. No return to institutionalisation! Defend our right to independent living!
Monday 17 February
Protest from 8.00am
Lobby from 9am
Assemble outside County Hall and bring your banners!