Jul 172014
 

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’[1]. 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[2] ( 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[3]), 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[4]. 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[5] 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[6] 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[7].

 

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[8], 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[9], 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[10].

 

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,’[11] 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[12], 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:  liz.sayce@disabilityrightsuk.org

 

[1] http://disabilityrightsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/we-need-new-vision-for-independent.html

[2] http://disabilityrightsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/we-need-new-vision-for-independent.html

 

[3] http://davidg-flatout.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/inclusion-forgotten-ambition-lost-i.html?spref=tw

[4] http://www.craegmoor.co.uk/library/files/Craegmoor%20Locations%20&%20Services%20Brochure(1).pdf

[5] http://www.craegmoor.co.uk/library/files/Craegmoor%20Locations%20&%20Services%20Brochure(1).pdf

[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24581693

[7] http://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/private-eye-on-failure-of-care-at-more-care-hospitals-owned-by-american-private-equity-firms/

 

[8] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2227229/Nurses-quizzed-police-abusing-patient-Priory-Hospital-concerned-family-hid-secret-camera-room.html

 

[9] http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2010/01/15/elderly-will-no-longer-be-sent-to-care-home/

 

[10] http://www.runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk/news/health/failed-priory-mental-hospital-widnes-5875608

 

[11] http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/432103/Man-Priory/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

 

[12] http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/16/independent-living-fund-closure-disabled-people-residential-care

May 252014
 

From the Independent newspaper 9th April 1995 with thanks to Steve G- A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same:

Disabled people aren’t going to take it any more: for today’s new militants, patient progress is not enough. They chain wheelchairs to buses, court arrest, scorn their gradualist brethren as “Tiny Tims” – and “piss on pity”

On a freezing morning two weeks ago, 20 or 30 disabled people met outside Parliament to protest. One man was blind, most of the others used wheelchairs. They spoke to Japanese television reporters and were photographed by teenage tourists from France and Germany. And they explained their unswerving opposition to the Government’s Disability Discrimination Bill – which was that day starting its Report Stage in the House of Commons. With the wind rushing across Westminster Bridge, the protesters made their way from Parliament Square to Downing Street, where the ambition was to present John Major with the means to provide a ramp to his residence: cement, a cement mixer, a shovel. Or rather, the ambition was to have these items photographed by the press. A demonstration organiser – a wheelchair user – kept in touch with his office and with the media by mobile telephone, but also kept up the cry: “What do we want? Civil rights! When do we want them? Now!”

Stuck into the cement mixer was a life-size, floppy model of John Major. And on its lapel was a badge that might have been taken wrongly by the shivering spectators – it might have been thought a satirical prcis of Mr Major’s position on disability. But the badge carried one of the rallying cries of the organisation that had set up this demonstration: the badge said, “Piss On Pity”.

Things are happening in the world of disability that never used to happen. There used to be charities called the Royal this and the Royal that, and there used to be Jimmy Savile, and bring-and-buys, and hard-won concessions from British Rail or Parliament – a ramp here, a statute there. Now, although the old system is still partly in place, and still bringing improvements to people’s lives, it has to seek an accommodation with a new, modern, radical politics: press stunts, mobile telephones, Piss On Pity badges, anger. (If you want to check the radicals’ progress against other liberation movements, it is useful to note that the word “crip” – like “nigger” and “queer” before it – is already being put to work by at least some of those once oppressed by it.)

But any accommodation – between the old and the new, between the organisations “for” disabled people, and those clearly “of” – has not yet been made, which leaves room for conflict. Today, inside the politics of disabled people (not – it is generally agreed – “the disabled”, not “people with disabilities”, not “the differently-abled”) there are bitter interdenominational battles, there are left and right wings, vanguards and rear-guards. Today, a conversation with a person who works at the political end of disability issues is likely to feature quick and robust abuse of a man or woman in the same business – someone is an “Uncle Tom” – or, better, a “Tiny Tim” – or “a sound bite expert” – or just “an arsehole”. Disabled politics are in something of a heightened state, and this is because the question has not yet been settled: which will work best – patience or impatience?

ALAN HOLDSWORTH, who is impatient, is a leading light – if not exactly the leader – of the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN). DAN is the most radical, visible, publicity-accruing part of Britain’s disability movement, and it was DAN that was responsible for the event at Westminster.

Holdsworth lives in a comfortable, cluttered suburban house in Wood Green, north London. Although he uses a wheelchair over longer distances and during demonstrations, he walks to open his own door: a big, muscly, long- haired, youngish man. He unclicks a leg brace after he has sat down. He will not tell me the nature of his disability – the cause of his impairment – because, he says, that would then get stuck to his name in my article: and that would be no less unsound, he says, than attaching a woman’s name to the colour of her hair. “So no comment. We’re trying to move the press off that. It would be `Alan Holdsworth, polio victim’. They’d know that before they knew anything else.”

Holdsworth speaks with the well-practised passion – turbo-charged, now and then, with hyperbole – of any other single-issue campaigner. (“What’s the difference between the treatment of disabled people in Britain, and apartheid?” he asks me. He sees none.) His slogans are “Piss On Pity”, and “We Will Ride” and “Rights Not Charity”; Jimmy Savile is a “patronising old git”. Other campaigns will follow, but DAN’s immediate stated ambition is to end the discrimination represented by inaccessible transport – DAN has a banner that reads: “To boldly go where all others have gone before”. If you ask Holdsworth what he wants, he says: “All new buses accessible by law by a certain date, all buses under 15 years old accessible by the next refit, all national coaches and buses accessible within seven years … the Tube within 15 years…” Critics have alleged that the “disabled lobby” is in an impossible hurry. But even Alan Holdsworth is not absurdly unrealistic: he is impatient to see change, but he seems more impatient to see change started; for this is he would be willing to go to prison.

And here disability politics divides. Holdsworth has no time for the old “for” organisations that have seemed willing to wait. Indeed, Holdsworth sells a T-shirt that is specifically scornful of the long-established and relatively conservative umbrella group Radar (the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation). The T-shirt reads “Rights Not Radar”. Holdsworth says: “I got a letter from Bert Massie [director of Radar], saying, `I thought we were working together, is this thing really helpful?’ I haven’t written back, it’s not a priority for me, but when I do I’ll say, `Dear Bert, it sold 40 shirts; and that means that two people can get to one of our actions. If he wants to put `Fuck Alan Holdsworth’ on a T-shirt and it gets two people to an action, I don’t mind.”

In his living-room, Holdsworth gently interrupts his young daughter’s Pingu video to play a compilation tape of news coverage of DAN actions: the demonstrations at Parliament, the chainings to buses, the giant letter delivered to Downing Street last summer – the gestures that have suddenly become a part of the British political landscape. Now and then he corrects the screen – “Victoria Scott wasn’t a `protest leader’!” – or he remembers: “That was a slick demo, that was great fun…” Holdsworth’s daughter echoes the marchers on the tape. “What do we want?” she says. “Civil rights! When do we want them? Now!” Then her concentration wanders: “What do we want?” she says, “Pingu!”

It depends a little on definitions, but it seems that the history of disabled direct action goes back no further than the late Eighties. There were demonstrations before then, but no concerted efforts to break the law – and none of today’s focused, flamboyant, therapeutic, photogenic gestures. In 1989, Holdsworth and others protested in Chesterfield against the decision to pedestrianise the town centre without making allowance for cars with disabled orange badges. In that action, disabled people parked, were given tickets, and refused to pay the fines. Either this event, or one of the actions carried out at around the same time by the Campaign for Accessible Transport (CAT) can probably be regarded as the start of disabled direct action in this country.

In 1990, Holdsworth and colleagues targeted the ITV Telethon, by then a decade old. “It was showing disabled people leading horrible lives,” he says, “very tragic – `Isn’t it a shame?’, all that – getting the public to pity us rather than feel angry, with us, for the situation we were in.” Holdsworth started ringing disabled friends, proposing some sort of demonstration, and he was taken aback by the vehemence of the response. “I thought, well, this is going to work, people are so angry about it. That was the explosion in direct action terms.” Five hundred people turned up to demonstrate at the LWT studios on the South Bank. “That was the Great Leap Forward,” says another disabled man on the demonstration, Michael Oliver. “It was a street party, but we won all the arguments.” The next Telethon, which drew 2,000 demonstrators, was the last.

The direct action movement now had momentum. DAN was officially formed, and, since then, has made its presence felt at the Christchurch by-election in 1993, at the Tate Gallery in London, at Kenneth Clarke’s surgery, at Harrods… Last spring, DAN held an action at Leeds City railway station. “The local authority had spent £40,000 on disabled people. But what they’d done is build a garden at the end of the platform, which was being opened by Jimmy Savile, who is one of the most hated figures in the movement. A hated figure. He drew at least half the people to the demo – because it was him who was opening the garden. So we all went down there, a little farty garden. We camped on it. We just covered it with wheelchair-users.”

In his office in his front room, Holdsworth laughs, and flicks a cigarette butt out of the window. His daughter comes in with a small globe and asks where we are.

DISABLED direct action – and “Piss on Pity” – are part of a broader British disability “movement” that has still not come of age. It is a movement whose history is written differently depending on what position you take in the current debate – the debate between “ofs” and “fors”; most ofs would not regard the fors as any part of their history. Michael Oliver, quoted above, is a radical, the Professor of Disability Studies at Greenwich University; he passes over the histories of the grand old “for” institutions, “the dead hand of charity”, and concentrates instead on such milestones as members of the National League of the Blind and Disabled taking their place in the Jarrow March.

But, as Oliver acknowledges, much of this history is unwritten, unclaimed. The modern disability movement is too young to have done what other liberation movements have done – restore lost heroes, find Mary Wollstonecrafts and Nat Turners. And besides its youth, the movement has a problem those other movements never had: “Not that long ago,” says one activist, “if you had spina bifida you died two hours after birth; it’s hard to get much of a reputation in two hours.”

In Oliver’s view, the modern disability movement grew out the prosperity of the Sixties, and the failure of disabled people, among other disadvantaged groups, to share in that prosperity. In the Seventies and Eighties, as feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, animal rights began to find a place in national politics, disabled people started to understand their plight in political terms. Disabled people began to “come out”: this is a metaphor used fairly commonly in the movement. Oliver’s own experience is a useful guide: son of working-class parents, he broke his neck in a holiday camp swimming-pool as a teenager; he spent a year at Stoke Mandeville. In 1972, now a wheelchair user, he started a sociology degree at the University of Kent. “I became involved in student politics and other radical left organisations. But I hadn’t become part of disability politics. I thought the Socialist revolution was going to solve everybody’s problems.”

As a postgraduate, Oliver started to consider how hopelessly flawed most thinking and writing on disability was – it was produced by able-bodied academics working on the assumption that illness and disability were the same thing. Oliver “came out” academically. It dawned on him that there was a sociology of disability to be constructed; he could study himself. Twenty years on, Oliver can take much credit for setting the academic agenda. His great contribution to disability studies has been in getting the “social model” of disability understood as a serious challenge to the medical model. That is to say: in the medical model, a man in a wheelchair cannot get where he wants to get because his body is not up to it. The social model acknowledges that the man has an “impairment”, but sees the obstacle as the cause of disablement. “The fact that I have polio,” one disabled man told me, in classic social model fashion, “is nothing to do with the fact that there are 17 steps to the Town Hall. It’s the 17 steps to the Town Hall that I see as the problem.” This does not mean – except, perhaps, in the minds of those who are stratospherically extreme – that Ben Nevis should be wheelchair-accessible, but it does aim to put the ball back in the court of those whose job it is to organise the world – and its buildings and its transport.

It was against this background – and the examples of other single-issue political movements and of America’s disability politics – that the disability movement began to take shape in Britain. Institutions were established; individuals came out.

For example: Adam Thomas is a young man – dark glasses and headscarf, a former interior designer – who has to use a wheelchair following a motorcycle accident 15 years ago. Right up until last year, he was in a state that might be called denial. “I denied that I was being segregated. I blocked the fact that I couldn’t get into certain buildings.” The turning point was the kindness of his best friend, who told Thomas that, obviously, he wouldn’t move into anything but a ground-floor flat. Thomas, while touched, was struck for the first time how other friends had not done the same. And last year, for the first time, Thomas became aware of the “movement”. As soon as he was aware of it, he became a part of it. This is now his life.

Another example: Eddy Hardy is 29, a Liverpool-born artist with a fashion- beard. He uses a wheelchair, and is now active in DAN. “I’ve had my impairment from birth. It was only about six years ago that I came to accept my identity as a disabled person. I didn’t particularly like disabled people. But one day I was watching the TV news, and it was these militant crips in the road in the USA. I thought, yeah, I can have some of that.”

A DECADE ahead of DAN’s direct action, the first real institutional sign of the disability movement’s arrival in Britain was the setting up of an umbrella organisation – the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People (BCODP) – in 1981. It was democratic, it was run by disabled people, it subscribed to the social model. It started with six affiliate members, and it is a sign of widespread individual comings out that it now has more than 100 affiliates – mostly local coalitions of disabled people. BCODP regards itself as having very little in common with, say, Radar, Mind, Mencap, RNIB, Cheshire Homes. “There is a degree of antagonism,” says Richard Wood, Executive Director of BCODP. “There is bound to be, isn’t there? Because traditional power bases are now being threatened by disabled people.”

To some in the old guard, BCODP unfairly underestimates the changes that are now taking place and that have already taken place in the traditional organisations. (The RNID has just appointed its first-ever deaf chief executive, for example, and the Spastics Society, under pressure from disabled people, has changed its name to Scope.) And more conservative disabled campaigners argue that the radical position unfairly underplays those institutions and techniques that – in a process that may now look painfully gradual – have so improved the lives of disabled people since the Sixties. “Improved by 100 per cent – improved attitudes, awareness,” says Sir Peter Large, an influential disabled man of an earlier generation, who has sat on many committees, helped draft legislation, argued with MPs. He talks of mobility allowance, attendance allowance: “These have benefited millions… BCODP have done very little in practical terms.” According to Sir Peter, the radicals are wrong to neglect the significance of, say, Alf Morris’s Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act of 1970: “He put disabled people on the map. He really started the whole move to improve things.” Piss on Pity? “I know exactly what they mean, but if you go up to an MP with that on I don’t think he’s or she’s likely to be warm to you – if they’re not already interested. But I know exactly what they mean.”

Bert Massie, who runs Radar, and is a wheelchair user, is a bte noir of the radicals. You get the impression of a man who accepted a job as a charity worker but who has found himself, suddenly, a politician. “In the past,” he says, “there was a greater acceptance of an incremental approach. People never rowed about disability.” The effect of the “fundamentalists”, he accepts, has been partly good. “I don’t know,” he says, “how Radar would have evolved if there hadn’t been fundamentalist pressure…” But he says that Radar cannot run too far ahead of its constituents. While the stereotype of a disabled person is probably a middle-aged man in a wheelchair, the most representative type, in truth, would be a elderly woman with arthritis, who might feel – along with many other of Britain’s 6.5 million disabled people – that she has little in common with, say, the members of DAN. There are disabled people, says Massie, who don’t regard themselves as disabled; there are disabled people who are Conservatives: “I’ve had people in here saying, wouldn’t it be better if you abolished social security, and had disabled people sponsored by private companies.”

Thanks to his position at the head of a fairly well-funded “for” organisation, and thanks to his support for incremental methods, and thanks to his recent claim to see some (flawed) virtue in the Government’s Disability Discrimination Bill, Massie is regarded with great hostility by many “fundamentalists”. Rachel Hurst, a radical with a sharp political sense, says, “Our voice has been shut out by the established charities. Some staff at Radar I’ve got more time for than I can say. [But] I wouldn’t mind shooting the man at the top. He is an Uncle Tom, Mr Massie… He actually doesn’t care a toss about the rights of disabled people.”

THIS, today, is the kind of observation one disability worker tends to make of another. But in this newly complex and sometimes hostile world of disabled politics, there is a miraculous and rather precarious piece of common ground – it’s a coalition called Rights Now! At Rights Now!, weapons are left at the door, and most of the important disabled organisations – both “of” and “for” – meet to promote civil rights legislation. Last year – another Great Leap Forward – the civil rights argument was won. At some point, legislation may follow.

The battle has been for legislation that, like its racial and sexual equivalents, would outlaw discrimination against disabled people (in employment, education, transport). The cost of implementing such a law has always been at the heart of resistance to it, but the Government’s figure of £17bn over five years has been widely disputed, and it has been shown how similar legislation in the USA has not, in fact, been as alarming to small businesses as was feared. The conversion of disabled people into employees and into more promiscuous consumers has had its economic benefits.

In May 1994, however, a private member’s bill, the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill, was killed messily by the Government, and the minister for disabled people, Nicholas Scott, eventually had to resign. But before his resignation in July, it became known that Scott had a daughter called Victoria Scott – young, non-disabled – who works for Radar. And, to the delight of the media, she was happy to give interviews on the subject of her father’s political shortcomings. To a great extent, it was due to this well-reported Antigone sub-plot that discrimination against disabled people became something of a hot media issue last year – the subject, for example, of a supportive Sun editorial. And because the press was now interested, demonstrations held by disabled people were widely reported. “I’d been trying get some coverage,” says one campaigner, “I was ringing the TV – the Big Breakfast, whatever – they weren’t interested. When the Vicky Scott story broke, they were ringing us.”

The penny seemed to drop. “People saw it,” says Rachel Hurst, “as a civil rights movement. Not just those poor sods can’t get on the bus.” Thanks to the failure of a bill about civil rights, the idea of disabled civil rights seemed to take hold. You could feel an earlier model of pity and passivity slipping away. MPs began to get many more letters and have disabled issues raised more frequently at surgeries. Consciousnesses were raised, not only among able-bodied people (“people with abilities” as one disabled radical has mockingly put it) but among sceptical disabled people who had remained politically “in” ; demonstrations swelled in numbers; individual (rather than institutional) membership of Rights Now! increased eight- fold in one year. And it was a mark of what had happened that articles scornful of “the disabled lobby” started to appear in national newspapers and magazines: as most campaigners would want it, sympathy – pity – had been removed from the equation.

THE FRIDAY night before last, DAN’s “Piss on Pity” mugs were selling fast in a rather overlit bar in the centre of Cardiff. After two days of a three-day series of actions in the city, DAN members had hired a room to have a drink, to contemplate the previous days’ events (an action each day, six arrests, the first ever actual charges, some fairly thorough TV coverage), and to consider the Big Action the next day, when they were hitting the bus station.

By 9pm the bar was filled with disabled people, full of solidarity and good humour and Carling Black Label. Inevitably, perhaps, DAN members are disproportionately young, articulate, mobile; although one regular protester, Sharon Mace, lies on a kind of horizontal wheelchair. (It is one of the brakes on the direct action movement that many people cannot get to actions, and once there, they cannot just sleep on someone’s floor – as they would have done, say, on a CND demonstration; the accessible hotel in a town is likely to be the most expensive.) In the bar, there was talk of “hip crips” and “crips with chips”. There were several radical- left cropped hair cuts (worn with the standard, tipped-back wool hats), there were copies of Militant on the tables (DAN’s treasurer, among others, is a Militant member). People who had never met before this week were testing new friendships by the use of exaggerated abuse, or hands left on shoulders. There was something of a chair-jam at the bar. A woman who imports the handcuffs that DAN members use to attach themselves to buses and trains was describing the problems she has with HM Customs and Excise. This is disabled politics at its most uncompromising, its most underground and – although this is not quite the point – at its grooviest.

As much as anger, the bar in Cardiff seemed full of people’s extraordinary sense of their own place at the start of a political process; people seemed light-headed not only with lager, but with the thought of making history. A DAN action – there have been about 60 – has an effect on several levels: it draws press attention to a particular, local issue; it keeps disabled civil rights on the agenda; it projects, through the media, images of disabled people looking rather less than pitiful or vulnerable; and for those on the action, it can be an experience of almost overwhelming personal empowerment. “There are disabled people,” says Eddy Hardy, “who watch us on TV and think [with disapproval]: `Oh God.’ But for every five or six of them, there’s one going, `Yes!’, thinking about it for the first time, coming out.” Once out, once on the street, “The feeling of pride and power is unbelievable. We’re told we’re weak; but today we stopped the traffic. We had an effect. It’s amazing… Today, I was lifted by the police, and everybody, all the others, were waiting for me. And cheering. And for a moment you’re a hero of the movement.” He checks himself. “But we’re all heroes. All heroes.”

In the bar in Cardiff, there was a lot of talk about pride (“We have our own culture”), a commodity which has been at the heart of other liberation movements, but you might have thought it was less accessible to disabled people. How far can you take the idea of disability pride if you would not wish your child, say, to have the same impairment as yourself? In more conservative disabled circles, people tend to say that a disabled child “would be no tragedy at all”. But in DAN, there are those who go the whole way: “If I have any kids,” says Hardy, “I hope they’re disabled. Then they’ll be militant bastards like me. If they’re crips, they’re going to learn what handcuffs are…”

The next day, shortly before he was arrested for his part in blocking Cardiff’s bus station, and inconveniencing its many passengers, Eddy Hardy joined the chant of 100 disabled people: “We’re DAN, you’re trapped, get used to it.” !

Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/spitting-on-charity-1614885.html

Where are they now?

Alan Holdsworth aka Johnny Crescendo still active in the US

Sharon Mace changed her name to Rowen Jade became chair of Equality 2025 rumoured to have helped in the DANing of Equality 2025, died in 2010

Richard Wood now an uncompromising disability consultant last we heard

Rachel Hurst founded Disability Awareness in Action and also worked to make significant changes with DPI and the UN,  retired

Mike Oliver retired, spoke at last Disability History month on independent living, writes for Disability Now 

RADAR-Now part of Disability Rights UK ( DRUK) merged with National Centre for Independent Living and Disability Alliance in 2012, thanks to NCIL promotes itself as an ‘of’ disabled people organisation. It also runs the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) and Disability Action Alliance an off shoot from the Disability Strategy

Bert Massey previously chair of the Disability Rights Committee, most recently chair of Labour’s Disability Taskforce commissioned by Liam Byrne MP. The taskforce also included Roger Berry, Neil Crowther, Agnes Fletcher, Kaliya Franklin and Ian Greaves

BCODP became UKDPC

Disability Discrimination Act replaced by the Equality Act (2010) became more diluted when the Condems removed Economic and Social impacts. Condems failed to have it removed as what they called  ‘red tape’

Mind, Mencap, RNIB, Cheshire Homes and SCOPE still going and still speaking for us

“Rights Not Charity” more relevant now than ever

Jimmy Saville- we all know what happened there

Let us know the ones we’ve missed

 

May 182014
 

Disabled people have long been oppressed by professionals saying they’re acting in our ‘best interests’ as an excuse to maintain their own interests. One of the latest is their ‘take’ on facilitated communication, used by many across the world to express their voice if they do not have speech. FC is the use of a keyboard on which the user types what they want to say see the great piece written by the brilliant Quiet Riot

FC device being used to buy ice cream

communication board in hand doing ordinary things like buying an ice cream. This does not require a “transition plan” or “a service delivery audit” Or a specialist training programme to create a team of ” Whippy Therapist”

Some claim FC is incorrect and shouldn’t be used. DPAC fundamentally disagrees and fully supports FC. But, of course keeping people voiceless is much more profitable for ‘professionals’, charities and other groups whose livelihoods and/or donations often depend on our oppression and on keeping us powerless and silent. This has been evident throughout disabled peoples’ history.

Imagine the loss of contracts, work they get to psycho – analyse us. The lesser need for speech therapists, researchers, psychologists, service providers and academics,and the drop in donations to pay top salaries to their charity directors if we develop our own challenging voices-of course its in their interests to deny any method that empowers our voice if it renders them obsolete!

All those denying our voices through which ever means we chose to express them are violating our human rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UNCRPD) which argues we have a right to use any method we chose for communication including FC and that this should be respected and accepted. But in the so called disability business (i.e those who make money from us and from maintaining our oppression) profit speaks louder than human rights.

Please see below to find out how this can happen when the vested interests of ‘professional power attempts to overturn human rights…….

The ISAAC attack on the Communication used by Increasing numbers of Disabled People.

The International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) released a “Position Statement” on facilitated communication (FC) on 23rd April 2014 to its international membership.

Along with theposition statement on FC, ISAAC finally issued the identities of the ad hoc committee, who were selected to deliver the statement. The majority of the committee had publicly condemned FC prior to joining the committee. Therefore, the condemnation of FC following their deliberations was the expected outcome.

The ISAAC ad hoc committee used flawed methodologies, collected biased data to support an unexplained hypothesis and cited highly selective references to create a spurious position statement on FC.

However, most significantly the committee refused to consult with disabled people who use FC. ISAAC had identified just one disabled person who was a member of this committee but this person did not use FC.

The remainder of the committee were Speech Therapists, Researchers, Psychologists, and Academics. There was no representation of people using the communication they were writing a “position statement” on. Such oppressive practice has no place in an organisation established supposedly to support a persons right to communication.

Rosemary Crossley (the founder of FC) alongside many disabled people using FC, had made many, well received presentations to large audiences at ISAAC events. Now following the work of the ad hoc committee FC, as a method of communication for increasing numbers of disabled people, has been dismissed as invalid.

This outcome appears to have been contrived to protect the power of professionals and academics whilst ignoring the rights of communication for disabled people using FC .

ISAAC have not established committees to create position statements on other alternative means of communication accepted within ISAAC ; Picture Exchange Communication System.(PECS), Rapid Prompt Method (RPM). This is another indication of the deliberate attempt to isolate and devalue FC by a group of professionals and academics whose status and “expertise” is seriously challenged by the authentic voice of disabled people.

Such an approach by ISAAC management requires the subjugation and acquiescence of disabled people and is an abuse of professional power.

This abuse of power and from professionals is being seriously challenged by large numbers of disabled people and their allies. Similar resistance to protect academic vested interests was used to stop the introduction of sign language and Braille and it took major struggle from Deaf and Blind people with their allies to overcome such oppressive practice.

ISAAC and it’s associated chapters state that:

The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) works to improve the lives of children and adults who use AAC. (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). ISAACs vision is that AAC will be ! recognized, valued and used throughout the world. ISAACs mission is to promote the best possible communication for people with complex communication needs.

 By dismissing a valued means of communication ISAAC management are devaluing hundreds of their members and in doing so fundamentally undermine the ISAAC  mission statement.

This position statement has given a licence to “hate speech” about FC which cannot go unchallenged. The ISAAC committee have excluded a section of their own membership because they use FC. I invite members of ISAAC to demonstrate their protest at such an abuse of power and an abuse of thousands of disabled people around the world.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing” Edmund Burke.

 Adam Barrett

BA (Hons), PGCE, MEd, FC Trainer.

 

May 042014
 

People who don’t use the spoken word have a great deal to say about communication. People who do use the spoken word have a great deal to learn about communication from people who don’t.

Quiet Riot is a group of young adults who don’t use the spoken word. Quiet Riot had their first meeting four years ago. They meet in Manchester but come from around the UK, with members in Holland and Ireland.
They are:

Paul-Thomas Allen
Judathan Allen
Raphael Allen
Danian Allen (1984-2005)
Heathar Barrett
Nadia Clark
Gareth Donnellon
Thiandi Grooff
Josh Harris
Anthony Kletzander
Maresa MacKeith
Dan Stanton
The communication used by many members of Quiet Riot is known as Facilitated Communication Training (FCT) a strategy introduced into the UK by Marion Stanton, who is currently lead UK Assessor and trainer:

,http://www.candleaac.com/staff.htm

Marion invited Rosemary Crossley, from Australia to meet with families in the UK almost fifteen years ago, who in turn introduced many of the Quiet Riot members to FCT.
http://www.annemcdonaldcentre.org.au
FCT is now used very effectively as a primary means of communication by many people around the UK. Using a key board on which to type, a trusted assistant (facilitator) supports the person to manage their body’s motor movements, which can be impaired as a result of sensory overloads/invasions as well as a wide diversity of other body motor issues.

FCT has fundamentally changed the opportunities for members of Quiet Riot:
” I am a man with no speech. I am a user of the pointing method of communication. I listen well and understand what is said… I am operating a perfectly weird body. I am wonderfully made..”

Raphael Allen
” I’m wondering if using Facilitated Communication will help to understand me better and give me some respect. I wish more people were given the chance to use facilitated communication it is great to be given a voice”

Anthony Kletzander.

“Having no voice is not great but at least I can type good things. Being in good company like kids who talk. Talking with me makes me happy.”

Heathar Barrett

http://www.heatharashley.co.uk/Home.html
“Trust your belief in your child. FC opens doors for those of us whose voices deny us use. People have to listen to our voices in the wilderness of disability. I can do things you elevate your expectation to. Look beneath the surface of appearance and see the qualities that are within”

Josh Harris.
I think FC is such a part of me that its difficult to think of it as an entity in it’s own right. I feel very lucky to have been surrounded by people who respected my communication giving me a limited experience of negativity around FC. I do however know that there are those who dismiss FC, I see this in their faces and reactions. My concerns are for those young disabled people who, for whatever reason, are affected by such situations.

Blake Williamson
Too bad I was seen as dumb of mind as well of mouth. Words offer all the possibilities of fine choices switching from a non-being to educated in the eyes of the world. The route to my intellect is now open”

Paul-Thomas Allen.
” in the end the funny woman from Australia ( Rosemary Crossley) gave direct explanations, we ran away as slow as could be. Facilitation was a map just to find out about going A.W.O.L. I was not seen as a thinker with reason until I used typing. I type to talk differently. It is very good being able to communicate.”

Judathan Allen
” I am aware that you don’t realise how I am able to type. I go to university. Perhaps one day I will have a part on T.V. And you will have the opportunity to read my fan’s praises.”

Danian Allen (1984-2005)
“To be able to express myself as full as possible, without the correct method my answers are limited ” and “To be recognised as intelligent enabling me to live an independent life in my own home ”

http://www.contactcandle.co.uk/about_dan_stanton.htm
Dan Stanton
“(FC ) allows me to communicate ,to have a voice.
Way in which it changed my life
I gave my opinion on my medical treatment
I Am Real
I am Real
Not a malfunctioning person with a confused mind
Just a normal thinking person
Who laughs, complains, shows sadness and happiness.

I am real”

Gareth Donnellon.

Funding, Quiet Riot and the ODI
Quiet Riot campaigned for three years with no funding. Members financed their own attendance at the meetings in Manchester. They were brought together by a commitment, to talk with each other in a safe place, to plan campaigns and enjoy their Right to Communication: a right for every human being. The long term aims of Quiet Riot are to change the ways in which society welcomes and values people who do not use the spoken word.

Quiet Riot has been hosted and given hospitality by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), since the first meeting. ACE North, have also provided a venue for larger gatherings, again free of charge.

In our fourth year the The Edge Fund, a creative and democratic funding body, offered funding to Quiet Riot* which is being used to enable Quiet Riot to develop a customised website where they can reach out to local and global connections giving more people an understanding of FCT and an opportunity for the many people around the world who are needlessly denied their voice.

Funding for groups, at the “cutting edge” in societies, like Quiet Riot, is an important political issue. Given that the very existence of Quiet Riot provides a powerful reflection of people who have been failed within their own society. Quiet Riot has emerged despite statutory organisations who have failed to serve their legitimate support requirements.

The name of Quiet Riot appears to be a challenge for some, which was illustrated when Quiet Riot considered making a funding application to Office for Disability Issues (ODI), a government, established body to orchestrate the voice of disabled people in the UK. Quiet Riot was invited to change the name, to one less controversial ! – perhaps F— O– might be more appropriate! We have no funding from any government agency, which allows a freedom to critically question and challenge government and it’s agents, which has to be an essential feature of any campaigning group.

Quiet Riot members now in their twenties and thirties have each had the powerful support from their families, to have their voice heard, often against significant opposition from schooling authorities. An important lesson for schooling services to learn is that labels attached to any individual cannot convey anything of value about an individual. Such labels lead teachers into a cul-de-sac about an individual, requiring a great deal of time trying to find a way out.

Meaningful appreciations of another person’s skills, contributions and qualities will emerge via a mutual and respectful relationship. Such relationships can start with mutually respectful communication. The early schooling experience for many QR members was in segregated settings and very far from respectful :

Segregated Education

“Special education is a cruel solution to educate people like me. I had the label (PMLD ) evil! I asked real people if they are aware of atrocities in school. Ask and ask again was anyone aware how awful it was doing stuff in special school. Emphasise it. The school system was a a vert (lawn) where seeds of alarm flew away. No one sussed what a serious affaire was swept away under the alters of Abraham . I was a walled prisoner in my own world dying slowly. When I returned from school each hour I sat thinking- give me a tool to communicate”

Judathan Allen.
“Special school you think is bad. It is the nondescript way they teach is dull. They only had lots of detritus to share.”

Paul-Thomas Allen.
The health service starts the process of diagnosis and categorisation of disabled people by creating labels that the schooling system uses to segregate and devalue disabled people. Authorities engage in convoluted assessments, measuring and testing the “capacity” of individuals. The disabled person is incidental to this process: it is an institutional response to legitimise prejudice and discrimination against a disabled person.

“I have no sex no gender apparently I only have this alleged affliction. reports and labels are the sum of my parts. There was never a label beyond disabled.i am just punk I am just an allocation of resources.”

Paul Thomas Allen
Institutions continue to segregate and devalue the human being as they have done for many decades.
” I have sorrow in my heart for you not learning the proper inclusion of me.”

Heathar Barrett
Segregation at school age will tend to lead to more segregation in adult life – feeding the “services” that exist for the maintenance and protection of the institution and its processes.

Labels of “deficit” are attached to the individual and reflect the approach of an institution. We need to shift these labels away from the individual to the institution. Therefore, the constant need for institutions to measure and categorise people could be described as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Some Schools, Colleges and Universities have Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) because they have failed to welcome and learn from people they continue to reject and exclude based upon the negative differences the institutions have determined and cultivated. This is particularly true of people who do not use the spoken word for their communication.
“In my pupil days at home I learned children whose bodies operated differently were not welcome really anywhere in the high schools in the myopic time we lived in. I thought then real choice was just for those talking people”

Raphael Allen
“Being alone I feel Dead”

Heathar Barrett
It is soul destroying to continually have your contributions and efforts for participation thwarted by systematic indifference, ignorance and rejection. Such an approach to people is abusive and a total denial of their human rights. There continues to be a disturbing amount of confusion around the language and practice of inclusive education. We cannot give people inclusion, people have to Feel included.
” I invite experts to ask how we feel and our opinions. Autism really offers the world a fine lesson in humanities We require understanding, respect trust and love. In return we test the worlds ability to accept differences that exist between people ”

Josh Harris.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2008/01/16/josh-harris-autism-and-the-ambition-to-become-a-rabbi/#

qr pic 1

We know inclusion is working up and down the country in schools, colleges and universities for people with the diversity of impairments. We know people are included when we change the way we offer support in response to an individual’s particular requirements and when there is a welcome of difference and different voices for people to participate and contribute to the learning environment they are an integral part of.
” I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your accommodating and satisfying subject in question. There was very much calm and confident re-assurance surrounding me when in your real lecture of thought and wisdom. For me acceptance is from within a massive heart. Please have diversity bring you good joy in real life. With very fond and great thoughts for life – To Lesley Groom University Tutor from Heathar Barrett.

Hope and acceptance are a luxury I do enjoy. I feel very immense greatness about the university of my love and life in the making of a good great free future. We are moving forward.

Heathar Barrett.

My School
By

Maresa MacKeith
“Taking The Time”
www.inclusive-solutions.com
http://www.one-for-all.org.uk/

The thought of starting was ecstatic,
I wanted to learn so much.
To me the building was magic,
With life in its crumbling husk.

The thought of being ordinary,
Filled me with a joy I can’t tell.
Still the thought of that building keeps memory,
For me of pure water: a well.
It was because I had ordinary teachers, who recognised that I had skills, that I am where I am now, doing English at university. The special education system did not do that for me; it endlessly measured my incompetence.

Maresa MacKeith

 

However, when a school refuses to change, to welcome and accept different ways of learning, it cannot be overstated just how oppressive it is to be seen as different, when your difference is devalued by the organisation that claims to be a place of learning!
“It should be perpetuated that I have no differences. I just need really cool people to understand my ways. I am in my difference the despoiler of your pattern”

Paul Thomas Allen.

“I’m really tired of being different”

Anthony Kletzander
For people who do not use the spoken word there can be a continual and exhausting struggle to have your voice heard. For many people with the label of autism who use FCT, there can be a massive amount of time and energy required to overcome or manage their bodies’ sensory changes in order to type each and every word.

ice cream
I am finding it very hard to be a free fast user of FC when I am not focused on feeling anxiety free”

Heathar Barrett-
communication board in hand doing ordinary things like buying an ice cream. This does not require a “transition plan” or “a service delivery audit” Or a specialist training programme to create a team of ” Whippy Therapist”

QR fell walking
Heathar using her communication aide on a walk across the moors.
Again no “specialist service” getting in her path.
“I am an individual with my own wants. Sometimes my neurons do screw up and it takes time to fix them.”

Paul Thomas Allen
” being autistic causes sensory problems like bright lights which makes me feel dizzy and they burn my eyes. I also have problems with loud noises. They really scare me and make me feel really nervous”

Anthony Kletzander.
“People inspire me all the time. It’s the easy things I envy like people who are pain free”

Josh Harris

The only way we can get near to understanding what is required for an individual to type whilst having to manage the permutations of sensory invasions, which could relate to all the senses and more within any given learning environment, is by being respectful and responsive to the individual. Having a mutually respectful communication is essential.
As for what we can do to encourage change in Universities, I think there is a wider issue here. If FC is not accepted as a means of communication during examinations, as it was when I did my GCSE’s and A levels, then the next generation of disabled academics are thwarted in accessing university through such academic routes. The universities are poorer places for not having a fair representation of all students in their Halls and of course where we are never seen we are never easily accepted nor understood

Blake Williamson.
Professionals have a responsibility to shift their lack of understanding or toleration of ignorance about different ways of communication and recognise that the denial of a person’s communication is not simply the denial of a learning experience but the consequences can be life threatening.

Anthony Kletzander from independent living to institutionalization

Anthony Kletzander, one of the founder members of Quiet Riot lived independently in Dublin in his own flat, with his own 24hr support. Because people, uninvited came into his life and chose to deny his FC, he was forced into an institution after he had experienced a full life living independently, with his own support staff. Within days he was given antipsychotic medication against his wishes, this resulted in emergency hospital treatment. Anthony’s voice continues to be denied at the institution.
“Tell them to stop giving me medication. I have no choice it makes my head feel strange”

“I would love to be in independent living. It is much better than residential.”

“Really trying to be accepted into society is very difficult and I am really saddened by this”

This is the clip about university. Nua Health Care in Ireland refuse to accept Anthony’s communication. They have also refused his right to independent living. Anthony was hospitalised twice from this institution over a period of three weeks. Anthony’s struggle continues made more difficult by Nua Health Care continuing to deny Anthony’s voice.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oxh98ewgf54qthq/MVI_0121.MOV

 

qr anthony typing
Anthony Kletzander. Typing with Marion Stanton just half hour after meeting with her. Nua Health Care refused her offer of support.
Fear

A poem
by
Maresa MacKeith

He watches, and you are scared.
Mute and Flalling
If he could talk he would tell.
So you silence him.

 

qr grad pic

Maresa uses facilitated communication on her graduation day at Nottingham Trent University.
People who are prepared to deny a person’s communication when they don’t offer a meaningful alternative are abusing a person’s Human Rights.

It is an abuse of the power and authority of a psychologist or therapist to * deny a person’s means of communication, then have the effrontery to accept, a large fee, to carry out an “assessment” and make judgments and recommendations about the person’s life with whom they insist they cannot communicate!

” I have spent every day since birth when people think my head is bad like my body. Top physicians from all over came to inspect the Allen family, every one of them you imagine a certified genius. They ran me through their tests prosecuting me with steal augers. Pain like real despicable pain. Played with and investigated all facts collated their only conclusion was to find I was guilty. I was dense and better as a doorstop. I inhabited my own head just watching, I had to live the isolated life. I had to wait …. It did not occur to the world I am not retarded and a vicious anger I was cultivating. In my egg I stayed. In my soft manner to wither, it was sometimes insanity”

Paul -Thomas Allen.
I am unable to pronounce what thoughts are in my mind. When I use facilitation I am able to let others know how I feel. This is undoubtedly beneficial for my peace. Past appearances of the disabled are wrong. What people pronounce does not show how clever they are. I think it is because writing allows people to say exactly what they want. People make assumptions

Damian Allen ( 1984-2005)

Quiet Riot, DPAC and challenges powers and practices
Quiet Riot is an organisation that offers a much more powerful future for the person who does not use speech but insists that their voice is heard.
There is also a growing new network of organisations of disabled people in the UK and internationally who are challenging the oppressive practices and asserting the human rights of disabled people. It is co-ordinated by Disabled People against the Cuts (DPAC) This New Democratic and transparent approach is not seeking to justify the participation of disabled people around the UK but fundamentally challenging the powers and practices that seek to prevent their contribution and participation.

Facilitated Communication has enabled members of Quiet Riot to challenge the powers and practices that seek to silence people that do not use the spoken word.

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/who-we-are/fellows/nadia-clarke.html

Nadia Clarke
Quiet Riot are engaged in subjects like: Biology, English literature, Creative Writing, Poetry, Philosophy, Jewish Religious Studies, Music, Geology, Ethics and Human Rights at Universities around the UK, Ireland and Holland. Thiandi Grooff a member of Quiet Riot and uses FC is in her final year of undergraduate study at a University in Amsterdam. She has been been engaged in a detailed qualitative study into group identity.

This study shows that a safe place for discussions is very important: the participants are welcomed, without threat by opponents who reject their way of communicating or the State, and every effort is made to overcome barriers to speaking. In this study the benefits of the collective identity for the members of the group ( Quiet Riot) were clear: a more powerful personal identity and self-esteem that led to more courage to speak up and to engage in relations and actions outside the group.”
Thiandi Grooff
FCT is used by increasing numbers of people around the world and with whom there is a growing connection via the internet. A powerful collective voice is emerging and demanding their space to be heard. It is a voice to reckoned with

Joe Whittaker April 2014

With many, many thanks to the great guys at Quiet Riot for putting this together and to Joe-DPAC fully support Quiet Riot and FCT.

This piece has been put together for the European Independent Living Day May 5th created by ENIL to celebrate independent living and to highlight the impact of cuts on independent living- we want to add that those who reject FCT also reject independent living –please add your support

For donations and support for Quiet Riot, FCT or any of the issues mentioned in this piece please contact: whittakerjoe5@gmail.com

For those fighting for inclusive education please contact the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) http://www.allfie.org.uk/

 

Apr 252014
 

Please save the independent living fund!

I got up this morning, brushed my teeth, showered, ate breakfast, got dressed, checked my e mails, went to work, had lunch with colleagues, met with friends on the way home from work, popped in on my mum to see she was alright before coming home to do a couple of hours work on my open university degree before bed. I was able to do all this because of the money from the Independent Living Fund that helps pay my Personal Assistant to support me to do the things I can’t manage to do directly because I have a condition that means my hands do not work and I get around using a wheelchair” – ILF recipient.

The money from the independent living fund helps pay for a personal assistant, and enables disabled people who need support to have a quality of life to do the same things everyone else can do. Live.

The government says “ILF recipients will be reassessed by their local authority, and will be funded by the local authority” The money given to the local authority to meet a disabled person’s support needs will not be ring fenced. The local authority can spend that money meant for disabled people and their support needs on other resources. Disabled people who need the support fear less or no support at all and then being placed into residential care, far from friends and family.

Imagine this; your local authority has cut your support needs. You would have to rely on the local pop in service from carers you do not know, to keep you clean, warm up a meal in the microwave, and convenient at the time for the carer but not a convenient time for you. If you need night care, you would then be forced to wear incontinence pads or even worse cathertised.

You would then be only able to shower once a week, have no social life, have to perhaps use a hoist and then excluded from every day activities outside, forced to give up your pet if you had one, no garden, forced into isolation, having to sack the personal assistant you relied on for many years with no redundancy for them.

Now you are thinking you do not want to go on anymore. Its how do I go on like this with little support? Due to the lack of support you are now isolated at home cut off from society and from friends and family and as the lack of support means no independence, no social life, can’t work, no quality of life, it would make anyone feel down, and even depressed. It’s awful to contemplate isn’t it?

Disabled people want rights. Rights to live independently in the community, to have our support needs met, so we can have a quality of life, and do the same things as everyone else does. Live.

Society forgets that we are human beings, people, we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours, colleagues, but society sees the impairment, not the person we happen to be. We are judged, discriminated against, and called a drain to society. Well, we are not!

People can be born with an impairment, or at some point in their lives can even be struck down with a devastating illness, hit by a car, lose your mobility need to use a wheelchair to get around, have a breakdown, could lose your job and need to claim benefits to live. The social security system was put in place to protect those who needed the support, who may be too ill to work. You need the support every day to carry out the simplest of tasks. Life is unexpected, it’s cruel and its tough, it can change in a flicker of an eye lash, and it can happen to YOU.

Life is really hard living as a disabled person every day. Trying to manage life with all the same worries as non disabled people. Money, keeping a job, family life, health issues, how to get around using public transport. It’s bloody tough.

The independent living fund gave people with severe impairments the support needed to live life as we chose, so we could work, go shopping, feel part of society, a human being. A non disabled person is not used to thinking about how they would go to the toilet, get in and out of their home, get to work but we need to plan all those things in advance and ensure we have the support to do them.” -ILF recipient.

Our demand is to keep the independent living fund open, open it up to new claimants and open up independent living to all disabled people so we can keep our independence, and with support, have a quality of life and live.

All I ask of you is for your help. Help us save the independent living fund from closing on 30th June 2015. As disabled people, we want rights to live independently as possible, having a quality of life despite what we battle with every day with our disabilities and illnesses.

Why? Because we’re worth it! We are human beings and we want to be treated as such, not the stock the government and great swathes of society think we are. We are worth it! Help us keep the independent living fund open and help us in the fight for our rights so we can have a quality of life living in society as best as we can.

by Paula Peters

Take part in the Save the ILF Campaign:




An Important Request on ILF from Mary Laver http://shar.es/BjyqK #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of the #ILF means to disabled people -Mary’s story http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund-means-to-disabled-people-mars-story-2/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of the #ILF means to disabled people – Justine’s story http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund-means-to-disabled-people-justines-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of the #ILF means to disabled people – John, Paul and Evonne’s story http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund-means-to-disabled-people-john-paul-and-evonnes-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of the #ILF means to disabled people – Roxy’s story http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund-means-to-disabled-people-oxys-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of the #ILF means to disabled people – Kathy’s story http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/what-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund-means-to-disabled-people-kathys-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of ILF means to disabled people – Richard’s story http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/03/what-the-closure-of-ilf-means-to-me-richards-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of ILF means to disabled people – Penny’s story http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/03/what-the-closure-of-ilf-means-to-me-pennys-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of ILF means to disabled people – Anthony and David’s story http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/03/what-the-closure-of-ilf-means-to-disabled-people-anthony-and-davids-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




What the Closure of ILF means to disabled people – Kevin’s story http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/03/what-the-closure-of-ilf-means-to-disabled-people-kevins-story/ #SaveILF #ILF




Second Closure of #ILF and our analysis of the equality analysis by DWP http://shar.es/Bm4hM #SaveILF #ILF




DPAC statement on government announcement on closure of the #ILF http://shar.es/BHRcl #SaveILF #ILF




How the closure of the ILF will affect lives http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/independent-living-fund/#sthash.dLgkwYIe.dpbs #SaveILF #ILF




What Local Authorities said about the Closure of ILF http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/what-local-authorities-said-about-the-closure-of-ilf/ #SaveILF #ILF




A Nasty Cut people affected by the closure of the #ILF http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/a-nasty-cut-people-affected-by-the-closure-of-the-independent-l5142/ #SaveILF #ILF




Second Closure of Independent Living Fund and our analysis of the equality analysis by DWP http://shar.es/BjygQ #SaveILF #ILF


There are many more tweets that you can use here: http://dftr.org.uk/SaveILF

The “Save The Independent Living Fund” postcard campaign is supported by GMCDP, ALLFIE, DPAC, Inclusion London and Equal Lives.

 

 

 Posted by at 16:13
Apr 212014
 

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.

DSC_1030 con

Here’s a brief outline of how it went.

Programme
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.

photo1jm tshirt

Finances
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.

Motions
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.

2. Discrimination
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.

Steering Group
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

Steering Group:
Andy Greene
Bob Ellard
Ciara Doyle
Conan Doyle
Debbie Jolly
Eleanor Firman
Ellen Clifford
Linda Burnip
Paula Peters
Roger Lewis
Sabina Lahur

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

The powerpoint on highlights of the last year can be found DPAC Report
A link to 2013 and some of the things DPAC did is here

See you on the streets!

DPAC www.dpac.uk.net
Twitter: Dis_ppl_protest
Also find us on Facebook with a group and open page under ‘Disabled People against Cuts’

contact: mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Apr 192014
 

“You have to love your own baby becos everone says they are a nusance”

 Sally age 8

I have come to recognise another truism! – If you are a parent of a disabled child. The school will give whatever support, you believe, is necessary for your child – as long as it matches with what the school is prepared to offer.If you want something different ,You! “The parent”  who is typically the mother, become “A problem” . The more articulate you are the more you are seen as “bloody awkward”.Colourful labelsgrow, the more you persist : “too pushy”, “in denial”, “neurotic”, “deranged”,”obsessed”, “too emotional”, “irrational” “naive” are a few of the polite names given to parents.

 

The rhetoric from schools and education authorities promoting partnership, between parents and professionals is common. This laudable aim, if realised,could save a great deal of pain and heartache for all concerned. The ultimate goal for most parents is for their child to feel safe welcomed and a belonging to the school. This is “gold dust” one parent said. Initially parents will “bend over backwards” to keep on the “good side of school” they are motivated by the desire to make this goal a reality for their child to experience. However, because there currently exists an unequal distribution of power and authority between parents and professionals the potential for “partnership” is only likely to happen when parents conforms to the plans of professionals.

 

After twenty five years being with parents advocating for their disabled child, I have not met a parent who had wanted conflict with the school. It is however, the professional who has the responsibility to change what they are doing to ensure the child can feel safe welcome and belongs to the school.A consequence of seeing the parent as a problem is that it is a distraction from supporting the child. There is a shift to devaluing and marginalising the parent ,which generates a struggle that can continue for weeks, months and sometimes years.

 

One mother said:

 

“They (the professionals) made me a monster. At first, I was totally compliant with everything they told me about my son. I would have balanced on my head if they wanted me to . Then I realised they lied to me and started bullying me- now professionals are having to manage the monster they created.”

 

The very act of questioning the practice of a school or an authority by a parent can result in unleashing of an assault that can leave the parent exhausted. The struggle increases if the parent challenges more than one statutory service and therefore multiple professionals. Such a position can overwhelm parents, with formal letters, procedures , phone calls ,e-mails, and now texts. The communications often contains implied threats or advice encouraging the parent to simply accept that which is being offered by professionals, even when they know this will go against what the parents believe is not in the interests of their child.

 

Does this mean that parents are always right and professionals wrong about a child’s support requirements? Such an assertion would be absurd. However, when a parent lacks confidence in the support provided by the school or when they are unable to influence the schooling experience for their child,when parents  witness their child is disrespected, denied important opportunities, with no friendships the parent is likely to be propelled into demanding change. When a parent is forced to take such an exposed yet principled position, they will be subject to scrutiny and interrogation, by a number of professionals who will hold a different position, at a case conference or annual review. Whilst such formal settings are routine for professionals for parents they can be traumatic.

If individual professionals were subjected to the same degree of scrutiny and interrogation before a panel of critical parents they would, quite rightly, be calling upon their professional associations to represent their position.

 

The professional in a protracted dispute with a parent will have access to supports throughout the process : they have time away from work, they can hand over to another colleagues, they can have someone to type letters,make phone calls, arrange meetings, they get travelling expenses, they get time off in lieu if they work beyond contracted hours, they can even move to another job whilst in the middle of a serious dispute with a family, and they receive a salary- Professionals have protection from a school or system culture, where professionals will protect each otherkeeping internal disagreements behind closed doors, allowing them to present a united front.No such accommodations are available to parents engaged in the same protracted dispute not of their initiation. When the professional decision is made it becomes bizarrely impenetrable. Parents are patronisingly encouraged to follow the ” Complaints Procedures” if they are “‘unhappy” with the decision. This would be another professional procedure that can take months, with little expectation of changing the original decision.

 

Being a parent who is knowledgeable about the education system,aware of legislation and particular policies, is not a  guarantee that your child will get the support you believe to be  appropriate for your child. Being the “Parent” you can be positioned so that your contributions are devalued if they differs from professionals ” in charge” because it is they who the system invests the authority. A mother of a disabled child, who was extremely knowledgeable and articulate about the complexities of her child’s support requirements, she was aware of different teaching methods,  how to differentiate curriculum, adapt resourcesfor particular children. This woman wasfamiliar with the range of external agencies able to enhance the support available in school. In addition she was familiar with internal workings of thelocal education authority, where her child attended school. This mother started her professional career as a teacher in the same authority, served eight years as a special educational needs co-ordinator(SENCO), followed by seven years as a deputy head teacher, finally taking on the roleof education advisor. But now she was positioned as a “parent” again she was asking for something different from that which the school was prepared to offer. She was described as being “too involved” and “too emotional” and no longer “objective” This mother was forced into a conflict with the professionals, from the authority she had served as a senior educationist.

 

How can such exhausting disputes be minimised? Professionals have to learn to listen and listen then listen again first to the child and the parent advocating for their child.

 

The professionals will have had training, they may well have many qualifications, they can have much knowledge about a particular impairment and yet know nothing about the support requirements of Heathar who may have that particular impairment. Professionals can only support Heathar effectively if they are able to develop a relationship with Heathar. The parent, advocating for their child can be a valuable introduction to Heathar.

 

If professionals ask questions, to which they don’t already assume the answer they are more likely to develop a meaningful understanding with the child and learn about the child. When  a person is genuinely listened too, good relationship happen. This is far more likely to lead to the parent having confidence in the actions of the professionals who are there to serve their child. Professional can also build on a good relationship with the parent when they don’t:

 

Tell ​a parent their child is not the only one in the school!

 

Tell a parent the school does not have the resources to support their child!

 

Tell a parent that support to their child – will result in support being removed from other children.

 

Tell a parent that you are an extremely busy person!

 

Tell a parent that you are an expert in this type of condition, when referring to their child.

 

Tell a parentthe date and time of a meeting without first checking on their availability.

 

Tell a parent to come to a meeting on their own

 

Tell a parent you have to leave their meeting early because you have an important                       appointment to attend.

 

Tell the parents of an important decision, just before you go on school holidays.

 

Give the parent a patronising smile and nod of your head, when you totally disagree with them.

 

George Bernard Shaw suggested that it was the reasonable person who adapts themselves to the world as it exists. However, it is the unreasonable person who persists in adapting the world to accommodate a different way of thinking. GBS concluded, that all progress depends upon the “unreasonable” person orthe ” bloody awkward” parent?

 

Joe Whittaker

April 2014.

 Posted by at 19:22
Apr 182014
 

We read with interest the piece in the Independent by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green regarding Labour’s response to the Work Capability Assessment [1]

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 [3].

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.

manifesto

In the Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto [4], 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 [4] 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 [2], who between them reach several million disabled voters.
References
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

 

Apr 072014
 

DPAC_coloured_Logo_2__biggerWe 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 mail@dpac.uk.net 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:

http://bambuser.com/channel/OccupyLondon and http://bambuser.com/channel/DPAC

  • Live tweet your questions and contributions to @dis_ppl_protest

  Or email: mail@dpac.uk.net

 The program for the day is at DPAC Conference 2014 Saturday 12th April – Conference Programme

Apr 052014
 

Defend Independent Living Rights

 Stop the Closure of the Independent Living Fund

 Stop Disability Cuts

 The European Network on Independent Living is calling on disabled people’s organisations across Europe to mobilise together on or near Monday 5 May 2014 through events, lobbying and protests to oppose the deep and ongoing cuts affecting disability services and benefits.

 As disabled Independent Living Fund users, close family members and allies campaigning to defend independent living rights and stop the Fund’s closure, we urge disabled people’s organisations and the broader disability movement in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to actively support this important day.

 Even small events and public activities will help to raise awareness and act as a focal point for those who want to work together to oppose cuts to services and benefits, including the proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund in fifteen months.

 It is vital that we also use this opportunity to reflect and learn from the mistakes associated with the public service reforms of a decade ago and the policies of ‘welfare reform’ and ‘personalisation’, including the use of ‘tick-box’ processes such as the Work Capability Assessment and the Resource Allocation Systems in social care to replace the individual and detailed assessment of need.

 The fear of a ‘demographic time-bomb’ associated with growing numbers of older disabled people in their eighties and nineties, creating an age imbalance in a static or falling population, has been used to justify the raising of the pension age and the way pensions are calculated, the erosion and privatisation of the ‘welfare state’, cuts to health and social care, changes to the benefits systems, and latterly ‘austerity’.

 But a growing population associated with increasing birth rates and the immigration of young adults, improved productivity and the greater fitness and activity levels of older people means the ‘demographic time-bomb’ in Britain may be a myth.

 The political climate that has undermined independent living and disability rights, and is using positive ideas such as ‘direct payments’ and ‘individualised funding’ as vehicles for shifting financial responsibility for meeting social care needs from the state to the individual needs to be challenged.

 We should no longer ignore the needs of the tens of thousands of children who are compelled by their family circumstances to be ‘young carers’ or the four hundred thousand disabled people confined to residential care or the way new concepts such as ‘prevention’, ‘reablement’ and ‘recovery’ are used to deny hundreds of thousands of disabled people the services they need.

 Those who argue disabled people have been ‘liberated’ and the welfare state is ‘broken’ are wrong, and only do so in pursuit of a very negative agenda associated with privatisation and greater inequality between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. The same people have been passive while the Independent Living Fund has been dismissed as ‘anachronistic’ and ‘paternalistic’, and the experience and wishes of the Fund’s users and their families ignored.

 The disabled people’s movement across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has a proud history of campaigning for independent living rights, but the gains of a generation ago for disabled people of working age are now under threat, as are the social opportunities pursued by many disabled people with complex conditions.

 The innovations of the ‘independent living movement’ such as the ‘personal assistance’ approach, specialised information and training, and the self-assessment of personal needs have been marginalised. While our organisations and projects have struggled financially since the millennium, tens of millions of pounds have flowed towards those who supported the development of ‘personalisation’ and its ‘evidence base’.

 But what is perhaps worst of all is many of those severely disabled people who have assumed the demanding responsibility of organising and managing their own complex personal assistance support, and do so fifty-two weeks a year without any financial rewards, are defined as being ‘economically inactive’.

 A jigsaw of social equality has been slowly constructed since the end of slavery and the emergence of the Chartists through the right to vote, women’s suffrage, universal healthcare, the legalisation of same-sex relationships, reproductive rights for women, equal pay legislation, and the outlawing of racism and homophobia.

 Limited advances in tackling disability and age discrimination are now being reversed, with the statutory right to an individual assessment of need by local councils being replaced. Local authorities are to be given the power to restrict a disabled person’s rights or freedom of action in pursuit of a legal duty to prevent or reduce a person’s need for social care services or personal assistance.

 Social equality for all will never be achieved unless the needs of disabled children and adults are acknowledged, assessed and met as of right, and those children and young people compelled into a caring role within their family because of a lack of social services support are freed from this and allowed to develop socially in the same way as their peers. But this would require an unparalleled redistribution of wealth, and the redrawing of our society’s social priorities.

 We believe disabled people of all ages should: have the right to live in the community free of the threat of segregation; be supported to stay healthy, safe and free of distress; and be freed from the harsh means-tests that are a feature of social care. Young disabled people in particular should be supported to pursue their dreams and aspirations free of the social barriers and discrimination that impeded many in the past. And because of the vital social role played by full-time family carers, they should be paid a social wage of at least fifty percent of the average wage of a skilled worker.

 Our movement has a collective responsibility to defend the gains we have made, and renew its commitment to campaign for full civil and human rights for all disabled people and their families.

 The ‘European Independent Living Day’ is an opportunity we should not waste.

 Abi Vanes, sister of ILF user

Aine Young, family of ILF user

Alma Lunt

Andy Greene, Islington Disabled People Against Cuts

Angela Mountstephens, sister and carer of an ILF user

Ann Walawalkar, parent of an ILF user

Anne Novis MBE

Anne Pridmore, ILF user and Director of ‘Being the Boss’

Anne Rae, Chair of Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

Ann Rainey, ILF user

Anne Whitehurst, ILF user

Anita Bellows

Ashleigh Myatt, personal assistant

Bill Riddall, Centre for Independent Living Northern Ireland

Brian Glaves, family carer and husband of ILF user

Brian Hilton, ILF user

Bob Ellard, member of Disabled People Against Cuts

Brenda Bayliss, mother of an ILF user

Caroline Kelly

Caroline Martin, mother of an ILF user

Cath Gibson, ILF user

Charles Rainey, brother and carer of an ILF user

Christine Pickthall, ILF user

Christine Squires, ILF user

Christine Stringer, parent of an ILF user

Clare Palmer, mother of an ILF user

Colin Griffiths, ILF user

Colm Murphy, family of an ILF user

David Vanes, brother-in-law of ILF user

Debbie Domb, ILF user

Debbie Jolly, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts and Board member of the European Network on Independent Living

Dessie Allen, brother of ILF user

Dolores Hannigan, ILF user

Ellen Clifford, Disabled People Against Cuts

Emma Dakin, ILF user

Fred Bayliss, father of ILF user

Gabriel Pepper, ILF user

Helen Brown, personal assistant

Ian Atkinson, Gateshead Access Panel

Ian Kenny, ILF user

Jacqui Armston, personal assistant

James Corker, carer of ILF user

Jan Turner, Project Manager of ‘Being the Boss’

Jean Allen, mother of ILF user

Jean Glaves, ILF user

Jenny Hurst, ILF user

Joe Whittaker

John Aspinall, ILF user

John Buckley, parent of an ILF user

John Gilliland, father of ILF user

John Kelly, ILF user

Juliet Marlow, ILF user since 1991

Kieran Coffey, ILF user

Kieran McCarthy M.L.A. Strangford (Northern Ireland)

Kieran Walawalkar, ILF user

Kristine Cope

Laura McCrum, ILF user

Lianne Bayliss, ILF user

Linda Burnip, parent of an ILF user and co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts

Lise Marron, ILF user

Mandy Dexter, personal assistant

Margaret Coffey, mother and carer of ILF user

Maria Nash, ILF user

Marie Thompson, sister of ILF user

Mark Williams, ILF user

Michael Bayliss, brother of ILF user

Michelle Allen, personal assistant

Mick Hutchins, ILF user

Neil Bayliss, brother of ILF user

Niqi Rainey, sister-in-law and carer of an ILF user

Paul Taylforth, step-father and carer of ILF user

Paula Peters, Disabled People Against Cuts

Peter Coffey, father and carer of ILF user

Peter Steele

Philomena McCrory, Centre for Independent Living Northern Ireland

Rahel Geffen – CEO Disability Action in Islington

Richard Parker, ILF user since 1991

Rob Punton, ILF user, Community Navigator Services and Disabled People Against Cuts

Robert Allen, ILF user

Ronnie Allen, brother of ILF user

Rosemary Kelly, ILF user

Rosemary O’Neill, CarerWatch

Roxanne Homayoun, ILF user

Sam Whalley

Sean O’Hare, ILF user

Sophie Partridge, ILF user

Stuart Bracking, ILF user

Sue Lovett, English Campaign for a Fair Society

Surojit Walawalkar, parent of an ILF user

Theresa Murphy, family of an ILF user

Tracey Lazard, Chief Executive of Inclusion London

Ursula Corker MBE, carer of ILF user

Valerie McCarthy, sister and carer of an ILF user

Vin West, parent and carer

Wendy Mortimer, personal assistant

 

Apr 042014
 

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:  dpacfightback@yahoo.co.uk

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 mail@dpac.uk.net

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

 

 

 

Mar 102014
 

There are many different ways to be involved in the work of DPAC. All are equally valuable. We all have a role to play in campaigning for disabled people’s rights and a fair society, in whatever way we can from taking part in protests to tweeting, from administrative tasks to writing poems, from making banners to conducting research. Every contribution is important, formal or informal. Some ways to get involved are:

 

       Joining as a member. You will receive occasional urgent action and information updates from us and have the right to vote at our general meetings.

 

       Signing up to the website for regular information

 

       updates every time something new is added to our website.

 

       Following DPAC on twitter: @Dis_Ppl_Protest and Facebook or the quieter Facebook page

       Joining or setting up a local group. Local groups need to follow the DPAC constitution. Local activity is really important for raising awareness about the impact of austerity on disabled people and leading the way in the fightback. For a list of local groups see HERE

       Or contact mail@dpac.uk.net

 

       Linking between DPAC and other campaigns and unions, for example Occupy, UK Uncut, the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation, Reclaim the Power, Fuel Poverty Action, Boycott Workfare, the People’s Assembly, local anti cuts groups, local trades councils and trade unions branches.

 

       Joining or being involved in the running of campaign sub-committees. We currently have sub-committees at different stages of development in the following areas:

o   Atos and the Work Capability Assessment

o   Independent Living Fund

o   Access to Work

o   Reclaiming the Social Model of Disability

o   Disability, Art and Protest

o   Direct action

o   Inclusive Education

o   Communications and social media

o   Research

o   Local groups

o   Working with Disabled People’s Organisations – building a national voice

At the DPAC conference workshops will be held in each of the different campaigns and there will be a chance to sign up if you are not already involved.

       Being on the Steering group. At the conference we need to elect our steering group for the next year. There is more information about this below.

Steering group

One of the roles we have to make sure we run in a way that follows our aims and principles and is accountable to DPAC members is being on the Steering Group.

Being on the Steering Group is a big time commitment and is often a difficult job because there is so much to do.

For this reason in order to stand for nomination to the Steering Group we need people who can sign up to:

·         Minimum of 5 – 10 hours commitment per week

 

·         Corresponding regularly by and checking emails to stay in touch with developments and inputting to the development of DPAC initiatives

 

·         Co-ordinating particular areas of work, involving members widely and working with allies

 

·         Being involved in at least two sub-committees

 

·         Taking responsibility for either co-ordinating or providing an active and supportive link to at least two local groups

 

·         Representing DPAC at meetings, events and conferences sometimes at short notice

 

·         Working collectively and positively within a team of people with contrasting access needs

 

·         Following DPAC principles and values at all times:

o   Social model of disability

o   Rights not Charity

o   Inclusive Education (no ifs no buts)

o   Working within the broad left

o   Equal opportunities and social justice for all regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, age, faith, employment status, resident status. No to scapegoating of any kind.

 

It is important we have a diverse steering group covering a range of impairments, equalities strands and areas of the country. We also recognise that due to fluctuating impairments people may need to step back from activity for temporary periods.

The current DPAC constitution sets the number of steering group members at 8 but the current steering group will be putting forward a motion at the conference for members to vote on enlarging the steering group to 12.

All those wanting to put themselves forward for the steering group must be full DPAC members. If you would like to put yourself forward for the DPAC Steering Group please send a 500-700 word statement to mail@dpac.uk.net

 explaining why you would like to be on the Steering Group, how you are able to meet the commitment and any existing political/group affiliations before the 31st March 2014.

This text will be put on the DPAC web site-you do not need to be able to come to the DPAC conference on the 12th of April to be considered for election to the steering group, but we’d appreciate it if you could.

 

We’d like to say a big thank you to the past DPAC steering group for all their work, and invite them to apply again if they wish to

Jan 182014
 

 

Sanity in an era of rabid capitalism?

 

Date: Friday 7 February, 2014

 

Time: 6.30 doors open for 7pm start

 

A F.E.E.L. (Friends of East End Loonies) occasional event todiscuss abuses within the psychiatric system, what a humane asylum would be like and the wide range of alternatives.

 

SPEAKERS

 

 

Denise McKenna, Mental Health Resistance Network

 

 

Towards a social model of mental distress

 

 

A Local Trade Union activist

 

 

The impact of local authority & NHS cuts on

 

mental health services

 

 

Questions/comments from the floor

 

 

Venue:Kingsley Hall, corner Powis and Bruce Roads, E3 3HJ,

 

(Nearest tube stations: Bow Church and Bromley-By-Bow)

 

 

There will be an interval with music, poetry and refreshments.No entrance fee but donations will be welcome to cover costs.

 

FEEL is a democratic anarchic group in which people are encouraged to share what they need to say and to contribute what they can. It meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 6.30 pm at the LARC centre, 62 Fieldgate St E1 1ES. For more information call:

 

David: 020 7790 0269 or Myra on 020 7780 9038 email: f.e.e.l.campaign@googlemail.com

 

 

Humane Therapy not Drug Tyranny

 

 

 

Joanna Moncrieff says in her book, The Myth of the Chemical Cure, “My thesis in this book is that the disease-centred model of drug action has been adopted, and recently widely publicised, not because the evidence for it is compelling, but because it helped promote the interests of certain powerful social groups, namely the psychiatric profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the modern state.” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 London)

 

 

 

We need a liberating movement to transform hospitals and Mental Health Units into humane asylums and to demand the full range of complementary and natural therapies including arts therapies (which a study has indicated is more effective than drug therapy) and talking therapy, and an end to pharmaco-custodial control.

 

 

 

F.E.E.L. – Friends of East End Loonies

 

Believe in empowering all people in the mental health system

 

Ending the chemical cosh

 

Supporting community mental health services

 

Encouraging more holistic therapies

 

HUMANE THERAPY – NOT DRUG TYRANNY

 

 

 

Jan 182014
 

Having become aware that there seems to be some confusion about People First groups operating in England Disabled People Against Cuts invited People First (Self Advocacy)’s Director Andrew Lee to set the record straight:

People First (Self Advocacy) is a national, user-led self-advocacy organisation, run for and by people with learning difficulties.  People First has been operating for 27 years.  The constitution says that the number of members of the company is unlimited, and can be individual members – any person with learning difficulties, 18 years or over, and group members, which will be organisations run by people with learning difficulties.  People First has a national membership of 101 self-advocacy group members and 150 individual members; the spread of members is national, covering every region.
The Charity Commission entry for People First states:
Activities
PEOPLE FIRST IS AN ORGANISATION RUN BY AND FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES TO RAISE AWARENESS OF AND CAMPAIGN FOR THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES AND TO SUPPORT SELF ADVOCACY GROUPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Where it operates
THROUGHOUT ENGLAND AND WALES

Having set the record straight, some people may say it is easy to say People First is a national organisation, but ask where is the proof?  People First’s response would be the we have a long history of working nationally with groups and individuals, and we would really like to share with you and your readership the detail, depth, quality and impact of our work, both in terms of campaigning with and on behalf of our national membership, and in supporting self-advocacy groups to build their capacity and become strong groups.
This is a summary of our current work:
1. Policy and Campaigning
We are working with a large range of organisations to make change happen for people with learning difficulties on all of the key Government changes affecting our members.  This includes local self-advocacy groups, SCIE, Inclusion London, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, DPAC, ALLFIE, The Mayor’s Office and many other national and Government organisations.  As well as this many other organisations come to People First for advice and support, For example, this week we have carried out some work on behalf of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, to make sure that people with learning difficulties can give their views to the United Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons, about the most important areas for the Government to work on; we worked with York People First and Bristol and South Gloucestershire People First, as well as our national Board of Trustees.  We work with organisations, but as well as this we make sure that we are in touch with our membership and that we are campaigning out on the streets.

2. Cuts Impact Action Now Project
We have also set up the Cuts Impact Action Now Project (CIAN).  The CIAN project, funded by Trust for London, is an evidence collection project looking at what impact both local authority and national cuts and changes are having on people with learning difficulties in Barnet.   This project is a pilot project starting in borough of Barnet.  We are working in partnership with People’s Choice at BCIL.  We are piloting a way of collecting evidence that can then be used in other London Boroughs and nationally.
The reason that we are running this project is because there are lots of national and local changes and cuts happening at the same time.  There has been no research or evidence collected about what impact all of these changes together will have on people with learning difficulties.  We are worried about what this will mean for people and we want to make sure that the voices of people with learning difficulties are heard.  We want to make sure that any cuts or changes do not have an unfair impact on people with learning difficulties.
We want to pilot a way of collecting evidence so that eventually all self-advocacy groups can use this to collect their own local evidence.  We know that cuts and changes are very different in each local authority as a result of the Localism Bill.  This is why a project like this will support local self-advocacy groups to campaign with solid evidence in their local area.  We will also support them to campaign nationally.
3. Supporting Self Advocacy Groups
Our work was very public during the years that we ran the National project and when we were part of the Disability LIB project.  During this project we capacity built 30 organisations.  These organisations were all members of People First (Self Advocacy), but they were not all called People First.  They included Speak Out groups, SHOUT groups as well as other local self-advocacy organisations that had completely different names.  To be a member of People First (Self Advocacy), a group does not need to have the ‘People First’ name.  It just needs to be a self-advocacy organisation run and led by people with learning difficulties.
Since this Big Lottery funding ended, it has been very difficult to get funding for this “second tier” work.  We therefore offer a more low key type of support, such as training, consultancy and research. During the past year we have supported 6 local self-advocacy groups with things such as Management Committee training, consultancy on the future of organisations, fundraising and support with other issues that groups have been having.
4. Advocacy Signposting and Advice
We offer a telephone service to all people with learning difficulties and their carers and supporters.  With all of the cuts to advocacy services and support services happening many people that are going through very difficult issues do not have anyone to turn to.  We offer this service so that anyone going through an issue can come to us and we will support them to get the information and support that they need to move forward.  People have come to us with issues around debt, benefits, getting support, getting advocates, problems with local authorities, hate crime and many other areas.  For this project we have been included on the SCIE Find Me Good Care website, as an organisation offering support and advice to people with learning difficulties, their carers and supporters.  We use our core funds to cover this work.

5. Easy Read
We have a long term campaign of making Easy Read more well-known and better used.  With the support of the Facilitation Fund from the Office for Disability Issues we putting together a service to make sure that there are no excuses for not using Easy Read.  This is so that anyone can have the tools they need to put something into Easy Read.  We have already put together Easy Read training and we are now using the fund to design a new and improved Easy Read Picture bank.  We also provide an Easy Read translation service for a range of Government, local authority, and voluntary sector organisations.
In Conclusion
With the change in the political climate, and funding priorities, like many charities we have had to review our position and develop new strategies and plans.  Our new BIG PICTURE approach to how we move forward is that all the work we are now doing could be described as taking a strategic approach, that is not just being out there strutting our stuff, but putting plans in place to make sure:
The work we do takes into account the need for major structural change, that means in the way systems and policies work at a local and national level, which will make a real difference to the lives of people with learning difficulties
The work we do takes into account the Localism Bill, and will put information, power and control back into the hands and voices of local people with learning difficulties
The work we do has a major impact to benefit the lives of people with learning difficulties who are often excluded from the debate and that’s why our organisation has led the Self Advocacy Movement for 27 years.

Dec 302013
 

As a grassroots campaign group DPAC wouldn’t exist without the dedication of all those who give their time to exposing what is happening: coming out on the streets, writing reports, researching, writing web content and policy critiques, heading up and being part of the growing number of local DPACs, organising events, engaging with social media and a whole set of other stuff that keeps DPAC vibrant, active and strong – its thanks to you that DPAC exists.  DPAC also want to thank the growing number of grassroots groups, individuals, academics, supporters, unions and organisations we’ve worked with in 2013.

2013 began with DPAC being awarded campaign of the year for our work in 2012 the year ends with DPAC being named as ‘people of the year’ by Owen Jones. In 2013 DPAC supported many local based protests on transport, the bedroom tax, ILF, local authority cuts and privatisation. We blocked roads protested against fuel poverty, fracking, the loss of legal aid, the bedroom tax, the closure of ILF and more. We set up Reclaiming our Futures 7 days of action joined by hundreds to celebrate the gains of the disabled peoples’ movement and to protest at the effects of imposed austerity on disabled people. DPAC launched the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto which was followed by an EDM.We also published a number of reports.

There was cause to celebrate: the Government were ruled to have made the decision to close the Independent Living Fund unlawfully. Mental Health Resistance network succeeded in winning both case and appeal by the Government on the discrimination of the WCA. DPAC were approached by the UN prior to Raquel Rolnik’s UK visit to feed-in –her findings on the bedroom tax were devastating for the Government. DPAC led a whole range of events and join events on benefit justice to join together and fight the evils that this Government have imposed. While every protest, every campaign, every new network and every exposure of this Government is a success, we received growing numbers of emails from those left without money, food, homes and suffering cuts to their support.

In 2014 we must continue to fight and take all actions we can to change and expose the devastation this Government is causing to disabled people.

You can subscribe to receive all DPAC web posts or become a DPAC member at www.dpac.net.uk join us on twitter @Dis_PPL_Protest or on Facebook

 Key highlights of DPAC actions from 2013 below….

January

DPAC were awarded campaign of the year (2012) by Lipstick Socialists. They said: The fight back by disabled people as the Con/Dem Govt stripped some of the most ‘vulnerable’ sections of the community of their benefits. Their campaign against Atos (who made the decisions) during the Paralympics was inspiring and they have led the way in the fightback against the Con/Dem Govt. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/#sthash.tEoKp2ds.dpuf

Co-op Campaign: stop the Atos Contract! Launched to publicise that Co-op were thinking of renewing a three year Atos contract for occupational health-Eventual outcome Co-op publically state they wouldn’t renew the contract with Atos.

DPAC call Vigil on Judicial Review initiated by Mental Health Resistance Network on WCA

Benefit Justice organising meeting by Tenants, DPAC unions and others held in London. We also live streamed London DPAC meeting so that everyone could access it. Annie Howard exposed Atos and DWP in relation to the data protection Act http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/dwp-and-atos-make-a-mockery-of-the-data-protection-act/ Alan Shellbrooke a Tory MP said he wanted to introduce US style cards for those on benefits. We also linked with Fuel Poverty Action for the first of the 2013 actions on Fuel Poverty. We urged everyone to have their say on the Care Bill and to mention the ILF issues and posted advice on the Bedroom Tax and Discretionary Housing Payments and how to access them ahead of this inhuman misery. Condemn Love anti-Atos song by the excellent Kevin Robbins got it’s first airing

February

Victory for Daniel Roque Hall and Winvisable as Daniel is released from prison. Annie and Bob uncovered The Atos and DWP’s Land of make Believe http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/atos-and-dwps-land-of-make-believe/

Owen Jones donates some of his prize from young writer of the year (donated by Lord Ashcroft) to DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/thank-you-owen-but-we-wont-count-on-the-money-until-lord-ashcroft-puts-it-in-our-account/

We publicised the workfare cases The judgment on cases brought by Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson mean that all but one of the Government’s workfare schemes (Mandatory Work Activity) that force unemployed people to work unpaid or lose benefits have been deemed unlawful. As we know IDS went off and rewrote the law- See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/#sthash.jZLw1k5A.dpuf

We publicised an update on the Bedroom Tax, unfortunately not rewritten by IDS or anyone else. The post by Frank proved to be an unfortunate prediction of what was to come.

On ILF we produced a template letter for MPs and our collected FoIs on what Local authorities responses were to the ILF consultation http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/what-local-authorities-said-about-the-closure-of-ilf/

Whitehall Traffic was brought to a standstill outside the Dept of Energy and Climate Change http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/whitehall-road-block-brings-traffic-to-a-standstill-outside-dept-of-energy-climate-change/

Unum were finally nailed on driving Governments’ on welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/unum-finally-nailed-through-bragging-on-driving-government-thinking/

DPAC and Inclusion London issued a statement on ILF while our National English DPOs remained silent http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/defend-independent-living-save-the-independent-living-fund/

Annie Howard exposed the myths around the support group and ESA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/11-was-never-intended-to-be-the-number-of-people-in-the-support-group-dwp-big-blunder-annie-howard/

Atos and the treatment of mental health users and survivors was further exposed through You Tube, while  Kate Belgrave asked where were the MFCs at Atos – we’re still looking… http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/harrowing-atos-assessment-and-where-are-the-mental-health-champions/

A letter from Ed Miliband was publicised after it was sent to us by a supporter http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/letter-from-ed-miliband-on-atoswca-but-is-it-enough/

DPAC joined the campaign against the privatisation at Barnet and the great Crapita takeover http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We launched a campaign against Colin Brewer who said that disabled children should be put down – he later resigned, but tried to put himself forward in a subsequent election process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We published an email from one of our supporters which asked SCOPE what it was doing to save ILF , SCOPE suggested they get in touch with  DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/scope-and-ilf/

March

We reposted the excellent Nick on ESA Process in Chaos and the Government cover-up http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/dwps-esa-process-in-chaos/

As DPAC is on the working group of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)  against European austerity and its effect on disabled people we asked you to write to your MEPs to support  a push to get this debated in the European Parliament

March 13th was the court case on ILF in which 5 ILF users took the DWP to court against the proposed closure of ILF in 2015 We stepped up the campaign to publish stories of ILF users and those that would have benefited from ILF if it hadn’t been closed to new users in 2010 by Miller without even a dodgy consultation process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/independent-living-fund/

 The Benefit Justice Summit co-organised by DPAC in London brought together unions, grassroots groups, lawyers and tenants groups

We publicised news for parents of disabled children in the private rented sector and how they could claim money back from the DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/urgent-news-for-parents-of-disabled-children-renting-in-private-sector-money-back-from-dwp/

Beth Tichbourne was fined £745 plus costs for saying that David Cameron had ‘blood on his hands’ in an outrage that we should never forget  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/bethan-tichborn-cameron-has-blood-on-his-hands5503/

We publish an update on ILF court case with video http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/ilf-court-case-update-and-implications/

 

DPAC and our sister org Black Triangle issue a joint statement on Labour and Bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/joint-statement-and-petition-by-dpac-and-black-triangle-anti-defamation-campaign-in-defence-of-disability-rights-on-the-labour-party-campaign-against-the-bedroom-tax/

DWP and Government lies on ILF closure are exposed by DPAC in previously classified papers and memos from the DWP to ministers http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/summary-of-secret-correspondence-from-the-dwp-to-mcvey-on-the-ilf-closure/

ESA appeals increase by 70% DPAC reposts Nick’s analysis http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/more-chaos-esa-appeals-up-by-70/

Disability charities consistent apathy for disabled peoples’ lives, but not for their high salaries for directors was highlighted yet again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/how-the-big-disability-charities-let-down-disabled-people-again/

DPAC supported local protests and campaigns and also protests against staff cuts on railways and transport protests

April

April was the month that the condemns brought in more of their cuts for ordinary people the hated bedroom tax, the end of council tax support, the benefit cap and more http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-nasty-party-go-on-the-offensive-against-disabled-people/

DPAC and UKUncut served eviction notices on our ‘favourite’ MPs –they had too many bedrooms –a complaint was put into You Tube who were told to remove the videos of IDS’ mansion http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/eviction-notice-for-ids-and-oh-my-what-a-big-house-you-have/ http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/ids-home-occupation-videos/

The TUC disabled workers refuse to join the Government sponsored Disability Action Alliance hosted by Disability Rights UK (DRUK) http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-disability-action-alliance-or-whatever-happened-to-the-disability-strategy/

After news that the 5 ILF users that took the DWP to court had lost the case processes began to appeal the decision and still not a word of support from the big Disability charities or the aforementioned DRUK  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/claimants-to-appeal-high-court-decision-concerning-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC learns of a man who was arrested and tried in a secret court and jailed due to Atos –DPAC launches a campaign http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/man-arrested-and-tried-in-a-secret-court-after-atos-assessment-support-needed-in-nottingham/

We also supported and co-organised a number of Benefit Justice summits across the country, supported more protests on transport and privatisation and continued to support the Barnet crisis

May

We supported CSRF in protesting at the |PCS conference and their refusal to refuse to implement benefit sanctions http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/civil-service-rank-and-file-protest-at-pcs-conference/

We joined with False Economy in the search for the elusive Mental Function Champions at Atos , Dr Greg Wood  quits Atos and turns whistle blower http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/where-are-the-mental-function-champions-at-atos-and-other-atos-type-things/

DPAC publishes info on Hardship payments and budgeting loans as we get more and more emails from people caught in the poverty and sanction traps set by the DWP –the post has been shared over 36,0000 times  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/hardship-paymentsbudgeting-loans-and-short-term-advances/

Black triangle meet with Scottish Government to discuss regulations regarding Atos and GPs http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/esa-regulations-25-and-31-campaign-black-triangle-to-meet-with-scottish-parliament-welfare-reform-committee-chief-this-thursday/

The Mental Health Resistance Network win against Government on WCA , but spectra of legal aid cuts is raised too http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/will-legal-victory-by-mhrn-against-atos-tests-be-our-last-we-need-to-act-now/

DPAC and the TUC disabled workers block Tottenham Court Road in an act of solidarity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/dpac-and-tuc-members-in-direct-action-of-solidarity/

DPAC publishes a critique of UKIP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/why-the-rise-of-ukip-is-dangerous-for-disabled-people/

DPAC’s own Ellen Clifford talks to real fare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/ellen-clifford-talks-to-real-fare-on-welfare-reform-and-protest/

June

June 1st marked a day of UK wide protests against the bedroom tax attended by DPAC

DPAC publishes stats by Nick that show the huge hike in sanctions under the Coalition  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/jsa-benefit-sanctions-sky-rocket-under-coalition/

DPAC holds a Birthday party protest for ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/press-release-independent-living-fund-birthday-protest/

The fight against the Bedroom tax continues with protests and new groups springing up and supporting each other across the country http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/updates-the-fight-against-the-bedroom-tax/

DPAC publishes Lies, Damn IDS and Statistics  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/lies-damn-ids-and-statistics/

July

DPAC releases its program for 7 days of action, campaigns and protest: Reclaiming Our Futures http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/

DPAC joins protest at Downing Street against the bedroom tax

DPAC joins Justice Alliance to protest against cuts to legal aid

DPAC joins vigil for case against bedroom tax outside the Royal Courts of Justice

DPAC posts a list of advice and legal resources as emails from people in severe hardship escalates further http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/advice-and-legal-resources/

Sisters of Frida go to Geneva to challenge the situation for disabled women at the UN http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/tag/sisters-of-frida/

We list the MPs that voted against a cumulative impact assessment http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/for-fellow-extremists-everywhere-how-your-mp-voted-on-the-cumulative-impact-assessment/

Southwark DPAC challenge local politicians http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/sdpac-challenge-local-politicians/

Government Issues ministerial statement on Atos http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/government-issues-ministerial-statement-over-atos/

Bromley/Croydon DPAC join UKUncuts Stuff the Banks http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/bromleycroydon-dpac-stuff-the-banks-update/

DPAC takes part in the anti-fracking protests at Balcombe where Caroline Lucas is arrested

August

Updates for Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of Action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/08/reclaiming-our-futures-29th-aug-4th-sept-updates/

UK Disabled peoples’ Manifesto launched http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/UK%20Disabled%20peoples%20Reclaiming%20Our%20Futures%20Manifesto

John McDonnell puts forward an Early Day motion on the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto put together by DPAC, Inclusion London, ALLFIE and Equal Lives Norfolk

Early Day Motion 483: Disabled People’s Manifesto
That this House warmly welcomes the launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto, Reclaiming our Futures, developed by disabled people and their organisations across the UK, which sets out the shared vision of disabled people for an inclusive and equal society free from economic, social and cultural barriers; and urges all political parties represented in this House to engage in a constructive dialogue with the disabled people’s organisations promoting the manifesto with the aim of achieving its objectives. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/early-day-motion-483-disabled-peoples-manifesto/#sthash.VWGXvrlo.dpuf

 

DPAC are asked by UN to assist Raquel Rolnik UN Special Rapporteur on Housing prior to her visit to the UK . The visit and her findings that the bedroom tax is regressive and unfair cause Tory ministers to say she should sort her own country out, she is a Marxist and produce other ridiculous statements in the right wing media http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/un-investigator-recommends-for-bedroom-tax-to-be-scrapped-immediately/

DPAC block the front entrance of BBC for non reporting of the true situation in the UK under welfare cuts as part of the Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of action http://www.katebelgrave.com/2013/09/disabled-people-against-cuts-block-front-entrance-of-bbc-portland-place/

DPAC host art exhibition and night of entertainment, plus a day debate on the continued relevance of the Social Model with Anne Rae, Colin Barnes and Debbie Jolly

The Brilliant Kate Belgrave writes on protests and Government Extremism, protests are held outside the DWP, the Department for Education, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Health before moving on to Parliament to host the launch of the UK Disabled People Manifesto: ‘reclaiming our Futures on the UK Freedom Drive day part of the Reclaiming Our Futures week of action

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/protests-and-government-extremism-kate-belgrave/

 

DPAC posts UK Freedom Drive film by Reel News http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/uk-freedom-drive-the-film/

 

See also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpacrof-4th-september-highlights/

 

 

September

 

DPAC works with Just Fair on Independent Living Issues ahead of a planned visit by the UN special rapporteur on disability http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-works-with-just-fair-on-independent-living-issues/

We publish George Berger from Sweden report on Atos, KPMG and the NHS http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/atos-kpmg-and-the-nhs-be-afraid-be-very-afraid/

DPAC launches a new report on the WCA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-report-work-capability-assessment/

Two of the DPAC co-founders go to Strasbourg to join the European Network on Independent Living for the 6th ENIL Freedom Drive to march to the European Parliament and tackle MEPs. Debbie Jolly is elected to serve another term on the ENIL Board and presents on behalf of DPAC on protest and what is happening in the UK under imposed austerity http://www.enil.eu/campaigns/freedom-drive/

DPAC co-organises with Wow Petition for 10,000 Cuts Memorial for those that have died through Atos and in solidarity with all suffering under Cameron’s regime of imposed austerity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10k-cuts-and-counting-video/ see also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10000-cuts-and-counting-linda-burnip/

Dr Alison Wilde discusses the Paralympic Legacy http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/paralympic-legacy-but-which-one/

DPAC supports the Ontario Coalition against Poverty who Government want to follow the lead of the UK in denying people their entitlements http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/call-out-to-support-ontario-coalition-against-poverty/

October

IDS found misleading again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/ids-found-misleading-again/

DPAC and Black Triangle consider legal action against GPs who refuse to provide evidence for disabled people and those with long term health issues http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/legal-action-has-your-gp-refused-to-provide-further-medial-evidence-for-your-dwp-appeal/

Anita Bellows write another stunning piece exposing the bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/bedroom-tax-the-policy-which-could-only-succeed-if-it-failed-anita-bellows/

DPAC organises vigil for Mental Health Resistance WCA case appeal by DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/vigil-for-wca-case-support-mental-health-resistance-network-21st-october/

DPAC joins UKUncut to protest to save Justice

DPAC join in protests against staff cuts on London Tubes http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/boriss-latest-attacks-against-accessibility-and-safety-on-london-transport/ also see http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/unions-unite-with-campaigners-on-tube-and-station-cuts/

DPAC publicises Punishing Poverty a report on Sanctions by Manchester CAB http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/sanctions-punishing-poverty-new-report-by-cab/

DPAC publishes info on mandatory reconsideration http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/some-information-on-mandatory-reconsideration-in-force-from-october-28th-2013/

UK Disability history month kicks off http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/uk-disability-history-month-launch-event/

November

ILF users win appeal, Government say they won’t fight decision –a success but we wait for the Government next moves http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/gov-will-not-appeal-court-ruling-on-closure-of-ilf/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/victory-for-independent-living-rights-in-english-appeal-court/

DPAC reposts the critique of the Henwood and Hudson report as some in the disability field still claim that ILF should close http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/why-the-henwood-and-hudson-report-failed-in-justifying-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC ask members and supporters to write to Penning on ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/write-a-message-to-penning/

Anita Bellows asks why Litchfield as ‘independent’ assessor of the WCA when he was involved in its design http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/dwp-tactics-ask-litchfield-designer-of-the-wca-to-review-it-anita-bellows/

DPAC publishes info on fuel poverty as we receive more emails from people without heating or electricity due to sanctions and welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/fuel-poverty/

Independent Living rights News is published on DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-17-november-2013/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-edition-2/

Paddy Murphy writes on the apparent idiocy of DECC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disabled-people-and-fuel-poverty-what-does-decc-know-anyway/

DPAC attends the bedroom tax lobby at Parliament http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/report-on-the-bedroom-tax-lobby-meeting-westminster-tuesday-12th-november-2013/

DPAC , Fuel Poverty Action and the London Pensioners are joined by hundreds on the streets to protest at unacceptable fuel poverty and deaths while the energy companies continue to make huge profits http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/hundreds-protest-at-big-six-energy-companies-over-fuel-poverty-deaths/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/npower-protest-against-31000-fuel-poverty-deaths-this-year/

DPAC supports ALLFIE’s campaign on no return to segregated education http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/no-return-to-segregrated-education-please-sign/

DPAC and Inclusion London hear heartbreaking testimonies from disabled people affected by the cuts. We send them to the special rapporteur on disability.

DPAC and Inclusion London hold an Emergency  lobby at Parliament on Independent living to launch the DPAC report on Independent Living http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-and-the-cumulative-impact-of-cuts-from-the-streets-to-the-commons/

Mary Laver and ILF user film on life without ILF is posted http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/an-important-request-on-ilf-from-mary-laver/

The Disability Crime Network write to the attorney General on disability hate crimes  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disability-hate-crime-network-letter-to-attorney-general/

December

Anne Novis writes on hate crime http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/a-life-less-valid-when-is-a-hate-crime-not-a-hate-crime-by-anne-novis-mbe/

Belgium vote yes on euthanasia for minors now accepted as law http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/belgium-vote-yes-on-euthanasia-for-minors/

DPAC urges members and supporters to join Boycott Workfare in online action against workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/take-online-action-against-the-workfare-conference/

We publicise Habinteg’s report on the effect of the bedroom tax on independent living  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/what-price-independent-lives-a-new-report-on-bedroom-tax/

Government lose appeal against decision that WCA discrimates against those with mental health issues.  The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) who instigated the case against the WCA celebrate another victory. MHRN a grassroots group were later joined by the charities, but without MHRN the case would not have got to the courts. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/victory-against-wca/

DPAC joins Boycott Workfare in targeting companies replacing paid work with workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/target-the-companies-replacing-paid-work-with-workfare/

DPAC support ALLFIE’s call for action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/educate-dont-segregate-allfies-call-for-action-on-the-10th-december-1pm/

We publicise Equal Lives’ video on how the cuts effect at the local level http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/our-lives-equal-lives-norfolk-and-the-cuts/

DPAC posts video by Colin Barnes on the importance of the social model by UCU http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/interview-with-colin-barnes-what-are-the-origins-of-the-social-model-of-disability-and-why-is-it-so-important-to-equal-rights-campaigners/

DPAC attends open meeting with Mike Penning http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/feedback-from-todays-meeting-with-mike-penning/

DPAC publicises the case of Anthony  Kletzander’s  treatment in Ireland at the hands of ‘professionals’ as he is denied basic rights http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/update-anthony-kletzander-needs-your-help/

Owen Jones names DPAC as one of his ‘person of the year’ choices for 2013 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/who-is-your-person-of-the-year-9018337.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 102013
 

 

From University and College Union –

UCU has produced this film as a contribution to Disability History Month (22 November to 22 December). We have aimed to make this film accessible to all members and welcome any feedback. Please use this film to commemorate Disability History and as a trade union and teaching resource to raise awareness of the importance of the social model of disability. Please send any comments to: hcarr@ucu.org.uk

Dec 092013
 

Our Lives – Equal Lives: Disabled people in Norfolk speak about how personal budgets have transformed their lives and their fears of them being taken away. 

This video forms part of Equal Lives contribution to the Norfolk County Council consultation on the cuts.  The scale of the proposed cuts to adult social care will mean the end of personalisation and will result in disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes.

Dec 022013
 

ALLFIE WILL BE VISITING THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION on the 10th DECEMBER TO DEMAND THE GOVERNMENT BANISHES THE GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION PAST BY WARNING ABOUT THE NEW GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION FUTURE !

WHERE & WHEN:
Date: 10th December @ 1 pm
Meeting place: the Café in Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster London SW1P 3BU
Contact: Simone/Tara at ALLFIE – 0207-737-6030 simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk / tara.flood@allfie.org.uk / www.allfie.org.uk

THE FACTS:
Since 2010 the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education is on the increase, despite the Government’s UNCPD Article 24 (Right to Inclusive Education) obligations to develop a fully inclusive mainstream education system. This year the Government is pushing through SEN reforms that will increase, even further, the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education – this is despite David Cameron, in 2010, promising parents of disabled children he would do all that he could to support their choice of inclusive education.
Time and time again, the Government have refused to listen to disabled people and our allies about the damaging impact the SEN reforms will have on the rights for disabled students and pupils to be included in mainstream education –
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
We must ACT NOW to tell Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) and the Coalition Government that there must be no return to segregation!!
Today we are presenting the following DEMANDS to Michael Gove and the Coalition Government:
• Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to be included in mainstream education.

• Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to receive support to participate in mainstream education in accessible buildings.

• The Local Offer of services MUST support disabled children and young peoples’ access to mainstream education.

• Local Authorities MUST continue to have a strategic duty to promote and develop the capacity of mainstream schools to deliver inclusive education practice as set out in the Inclusive Schooling Guidance.

Join ALLFIE’s “EDUCATE DON’T SEGREGATE” Campaign now!

 

View the petition

Nov 282013
 

It’s been a busy few days for DPAC gathering evidence on the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people, and on the crisis in independent living.  On the 25th we heard moving and powerful testimonies of how the Government are ruining lives through their austerity regime. Disabled people are faced with a range of cuts and so called ‘reforms’ which are contravening our basic human rights. We are faced with stark choices between eating or heating while having our dignity stripped by a range of psychological attacks at the same time as having support removed.

 Testimonies will be sent to the UN rapporteur on disability-thanks to everybody who came to London to tell their stories and to those that submitted their experiences through email. This event was originally arranged by Just Fair, however due to the rapporteur being unable to come to the UK due to illness DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run this at the last minute, so we could get these important stories out to the UN.

On the 26th the morning saw a hugely successful protest on fuel poverty organised by DPAC, Fuel Poverty Action, the Greater London Pensioners and UKUncut: ‘Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!’ against the increase in fuel poverty deaths and increasing profits and prices of the big 6. Supporting groups included No Dash for Gas, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Revolution, Young Friends of the Earth, Frack Off London, Power for the People, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Lewes Against the Cuts, SOAS Energy & Climate Change Society and Southwest Against Nuclear. There were also protests in Oxford, Lewes and Bristol.

In the afternoon of the 26th the Emergency meeting on the crisis in independent living took place at parliament hosted by DPAC and Inclusion London.  An event originally planned by Just Fair to launch their report to the UN rapporteur which DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run with a new focus on the crisis in independent living.  This was in response to the successful appeal outcome at the courts on the Independent Living Fund-and the continuing awareness of the crisis for ILF users, those trying to access local authority support and the Government’s apparent non-compliance with article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The afternoon launched DPAC’s report on the crisis in independent living and cumulative impacts of the cuts, one of many that DPAC is working on, as well as the film by Mary Laver an ILF user. The afternoon was complimented by speeches from John Evans and reflection on the past battles for independent living.  We heard from the brilliant Louise Whitfield (one of the solicitors in the ILF case) and were treated to an excellent DPAC theatre performance which brought to life the reality of impacts on disabled people and the different barriers we face.

Despite extremely short notice the event was well attended by MPs and those from the Lords. Kate Green , Hywell Williams, Katy Clarke, Anne Begg, John McDonnell, Jim Shannon, Andy Slaughter, Baroness  Campbell, Baroness Wilkins  and a host of others including Mary Laver’s MP.  Apologies were sent from Anne McGuire, Caroline Lucas, Lucy Powell, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa Pierce

Mike Penning ‘our’ new minister for disability was invited but did not respond or send apologies!

Many thanks to all that attended, supported and worked so hard towards the afternoon-especially the many DPAC members and supporters that wrote to their MPs and publicised this. Some may ask why English national formal disability organisations with much more money and resources than us aren’t putting their energies into these types of activities all the time- we don’t have any answers or understanding on that.

We will have a more detailed report on the Emergency meeting on the Crisis in Independent Living event in Parliament with film and photos soon

Download DPAC report Crisis in Disabled People’s Independent Living 

See Mary Laver’s film on ILF View the movie

kljxr

Nov 282013
 

ALLFIE NEEDS YOU!

Please sign our petition calling for

Lord Nash and the Govt to put back

the guidance on Inclusive Education

into the SEN Code Practice

The Government are threatening to turn back the clock for disabled children and young people with SEN by placing them back into special schools – BREAKING AN ELECTION PROMISE to parents who were told by David Cameron that he would do all that he could to help parents who want their children included in mainstream. Disabled people know through experience that segregated education does not work if we want to live together in society as respected adults.

The Government have removed all the guidance for Local Authorities and schools on inclusive education in their revised SEN Code of Practice which accompanies the new Children and Families Bill. The Guidance helps schools to do inclusion well.

WE KNOW INCLUSION WORKS, enabling thousands of disabled children to access a mainstream education where they can learn, make friends and feel they belong in their local communities – something which is impossible in even the best resourced special schools. Removing this guidance will waste over 20 years of painstaking development in the field of inclusion, leaving the coast clear for the rapid expansion of separate and privatised schools and colleges which is already underway. Parents will lose confidence in the ability of the mainstream to make safe and appropriate arrangements for their children and young people, and will feel they have no option but to accept segregation.

We must stop them now!

Lord Nash has responsibility for steering The Bill and the Code through the House of Lords where amendments can still be made before the final vote. ALLFIE has been trying to get a meeting with Lord Nash but he has either ignored or denied our requests – our patience has now run out! Let us take thousands of signatures to Lord Nash on the 10th December and show him that we will not accept a return to the mistakes of the past which are now threatening a whole new generation of young disabled people and those with Special Educational Needs.

PLEASE Sign the petition and say NO RETURN TO SEGREGATION!

Lord Nash, Department for Education: Government must put back all the guidance on Inclusive Education in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice so Schools and College can be better at including disabled children and young people<http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lord-nash-department-for-education-government-must-put-back-all-the-guidance-on-inclusive-education-in-the-special-educational-needs-code-of-practice-so-schools-and-college-can-be-better-at-including-disabled-children-and-young-people?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created>
Once you have signed it please forward to all of your networks.

Alliance for Inclusive Education

Nov 212013
 

Reflections on Doing Disability Research: An audience with Colin Barnes: Wednesday 4th December

At the University of Leeds: 5-7pm Western Lecture Theatre (no. 18 on the campus map) with a drinks reception from 4-5pm in the Liberty Building atrium (no. 16 on the campus map). http://www.leeds.ac.uk/site/custom_scripts/campus_map.php

As you are probably aware, Colin Barnes, founder of the Centre for Disability Studies, is due to retire at the end of this year. This presentation will provide an insight into the circumstances and influences that led to his involvement with the Disabled People’s Movement, the development of Disability Studies here at Leeds and his thoughts regarding its future.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome, but please can you let us know if you intend to come just so we have an idea of numbers. Please email M.Wilkinson@Leeds.ac.uk

This extra-special CDS event promises to be a highlight of our programme for UK Disability History Month!

See event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1429375020611446/

CB

Nov 172013
 

1. Government’s plans for the future of the Independent Living Fund

On Monday 18 November, Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams will ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith:

‘What plans he has for the future of the Independent Living Fund.’

It is unclear what the Government’s response will be, but the question will be asked at 2.30pm.

It will be live on the BBC’s Parliament channel.

2. Sad News From Norway

 We regret to report the sad news of the death of Bente Skansgard, the former President of the European Network on Independent Living and founder of ULOBA, a self-organised personal assistance cooperative with about 1000 disabled members throughout Norway. The following links to articles on the European Network on Independent Living web site provide more information about Bente’s life and work:

http://www.enil.eu/news/in-remembrance-bente-skansgard/

http://www.enil.eu/news/hall-of-fame-bente-skansgard/

The link below is to the pages on ULOBA’s web site in English which give background material on this significant organisation which so few disabled people know anything about in Britain:

http://www.uloba.no/english/Sider/About-Uloba.aspx

3. Scotland

Disability rights and anti-bedroom tax campaigner Pam Duncan has announced she is seeking nomination as Labour candidate for the forthcoming by-election in Falkirk.

More information from: http://pamduncan.com

Anyone wishing to express support for Pam can do so on Facebook at ‘Pam Duncan for Falkirk’.

4. News from the Independent Living Fund

Following the Court of Appeal’s quashing of Esther McVey’s decision last year to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF), the DWP has stopped all processes within the ILF associated with preparing the Fund for closure. This is consistent with the Government’s assertion during the legal challenge to the ILF’s closure that no irreversible decisions or actions would be taken until 2014.

The ILF has suspended the Transfer Review Programme (TRP) that began in April 2013. It has instructed local authorities to destroy all information gathered so far during reviews that have taken place of ‘Group 1’ users that they did not have contact with previously. Consent for the data shared was specific to the TRP, therefore local authorities no longer have permission to keep it.

An ILF user is in Group 1 if they first received funding from the Independent Living Fund before 1 April 1993. While many have since 1993 approached their local authority for additional support on top of their ILF funding, there are hundreds of ILF users who have never had contact with their local social services. Any files on Group 1 users, who only have contact with ILF, that have already been handed to Local Authorities must now be destroyed.

The ILF is writing to all Group 1 users this affects. The ILF will also be writing to all its users to explain what will happen next. If there are any significant developments, the ILF has a ‘News’ section on its web pages through which it issues any statements or information. This can be found at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/ilf/news/

5. DWP’s response to the Court of Appeal judgement

On 6 November, the Department for Work and Pensions issued a short statement through the ILF News page about the Appeal Court judgement which included the assertion:

“The judgement upheld the Departments position on the consultation exercise itself, accepting that it had been carried out properly and fairly. They found that more documentary evidence was required to demonstrate that the Minister for Disabled People had considered all parts of the public sector equality duty fully.”

This is not an entirely accurate representation of what the Appeal Court said.

Information about the judgement can be found on the web site of solicitors Scott-Moncrieff Associates at:

http://www.scomo.com/061113.html

6. ‘Victory For Independent Living Rights In English Appeal Court’ Statement

The statement issued by three ILF users involved in the ILF legal challenge can be found on Disabled People Against Cuts web site at:

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/victory-for-independent-living-rights-in-english-appeal-court/

It has also been published on the web sites of: Inclusion London, Disability Action In Islington, the European Network on Independent Living, We Are Spartacus, Disability Wales, The Hardest Hit Campaign, Disability Wales, Independent Living In Scotland, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland and the Sisters of Frida. The statement has also been published by a number of blogs including False Economy, and the Scottish Campaign For A Fair Society and National Shop Stewards Network.

7. Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers network ILF statement

Tanvi Vyas, Trailblazers Project Manager following the judgement said:

“We are delighted that the Government are not appealing this decision and will be reviewing it’s future based on further advice. However we would urge the Government to secure the future of the ILF as it is a lifeline for many disabled people who lead active independent lives. Many other disabled people could benefit from this, and the fact that future applications have closed is to the detriment of many disabled people who want to lead fulfilling independent lives.”

8. Responses to the Appeal Court judgement

    Disabled People Against Cuts

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/appeal-court-quash-decision-to-close-indepdent-living-fund/

    Inclusion London

http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/Independent-Living-victory-for-disabled-people

    Equality and Human Rights Commission

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2013/november/commission-welcomes-court-of-appeal-decision-overturning-the-abolition-of-the-independent-living-fun/

    Disability Rights UK

http://disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/november/our-response-ilf-court-appeal-victory

    Public and Commercial Services Union

http://www.pcs.org.uk/download.cfm?docid=F6BA54F8-8445-41F1-A44D6FDB0FCABAE0

9. Articles responding to the Appeal Court judgement

    Tourette’s Hero arguing for ‘The Right To An Active Life’ and what it means not to have the option of applying to the Independent Living Fund:

http://www.touretteshero.com/2013/11/06/the-right-to-an-active-life/#comment-615

    A very positive and supportive article by Ros Wynne-Jones in the Mirror which includes a video of ILF users outside the Royal Courts of Justice:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ros-wynne-jones-disability-fund-court-2684500

    Disability Now article featuring support for the Appeal Court victory from John Evans, one of the founders of the independent living rights movement in Britain, who said:

“I was surprised by the judgement because I was expecting the worst. We’ve had such a drastic and terrible five or six years. I’d painted a really black picture so this has made it even better for me. I’ve got nothing but admiration for those five people who put their lives and bodies on the line, who took the government to court, damaged them and won.”

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/article/independent-living-fund-campaigners-celebrate-successful-legal-challenge

    An interesting article from Simon Stevens satirical blog in the Huffington Post which uses the devices of ‘incoherence’ and ‘drivel’ to shed new light on disability matters:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/simon-stevens/independent-living-fund_b_4231378.html

    Comment from Stephen Naysmith in the The Herald:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/inside-track-court-victory-brings-little-certainty-for-disabled-people.22673410

    Kate Belgrave article and video on False Economy:

http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/great-result-disabled-people-celebrate-victory-over-government-to-save-the

    BBC TV report and article by Clive Coleman about the Appeal Court victory

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24834558

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2IxmiYhPG0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DQ2IxmiYhPG0

    An agnostic article by Rich Watts on his Arbitrary Consent blog which manages to combine welcoming the Appeal Court victory with the defence of Melanie Henwood and Bob Hudson’s appalling ‘independent review’ of the Independent Living Fund in 2006 which recommended it should close given the planned introduction of personal budgets, a key component of the ‘personalisation’ policy. Watts blog will no doubt have been welcomed by his employer, the quietly influential National Development Team for Inclusion, because if the rationale and methodology of the Henwood/Hudson report is ever scrutinised and discredited, it would throw the door open to a re-examination of ‘personalisation’ and its consequences, and the role of those who have developed and championed it:

http://arbitraryc.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/should-the-ilf-close-yes-but/

and here is DPACs scrutiny of the Henwood and Hudson report including a critique of the appalling methodology and time-scale of it.

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/why-the-henwood-and-hudson-report-failed-in-justifying-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

with thanks and acknowledgement to Independent Living Rights News

Nov 162013
 

Wednesday 20th November 3-5pm

Beech Grove House Seminar Room, University of Leeds

 

Launch event for UK Disability History Month at the University of Leeds, featuring disabled activist Anne Rae (founder member of the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation, former chair of the British Council of Disabled People, and present chair of Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People) speaking about the history and significance of the UK disabled people’s movement (title tbc).

 Hosted by Leeds University Union’s Disability Action Group and Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 All welcome!

see Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/544727545614801/

 


ar2 pic

Nov 122013
 

Add your voice to DPAC’s survey–what needs to change? What are the key issues for disabled people under this Government? We know most of them-but what about specific barriers: education, transport, building more accessible housing-are they getting worse or better?…Tell us…so it’s not just us arguing for change…

 https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WYZVQXV

Nov 092013
 

Disabled people plan more direct action in Sheffield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press enquiries:

Sheffield DPAC: Tel: 07956 856060 | Email: danpress@blueyonder.co.uk

UK Uncut: Tel: 07928 429752 | Email: sheffield.uncut@hotmail.co.uk

 Disabled people in Sheffield have announced plans for more direct action against the cuts in Sheffield.   Sheffield Disabled People Against the Cuts – Sheffield DPAC – are launching a direct action network at a public meeting taking place at the Central United Reform Church, Norfolk St, Sheffield at 6pm on 12 November.[i]  


Sheffield DPAC will bring together disabled people, carers, supporters, friends and families to fightwhich they say are threatening the lives and livelihoods of disabled people in the UK[ii]

 

The network will raise awareness about the disproportionate effect that cuts are having on disabled people, from unaffordable energy prices[iii], The Bedroom Tax[iv] and the closure of essential community lifelines such as public libraries[v] to the loss of disability benefits and the impact of the Atos Work Capability Assessment.[vi]

 

The announcement follows Sheffield DPAC’s first direct action event on 5 November, when up to 100 people attended ‘The Closing Atos Ceremony 2013’ targeting government ‘fitness for work’ contractor Atos in Sheffield.[vii] 

 

Linda Laurie, Sheffield DPAC, said:

 

“Disabled people, our friends and families mustorganise to defeat the state’s attacks on disabled people.  Sheffield DPAC is working with public sector trades union and community groups to stop these attacks.  Sheffield DPAC demands that the ConDem Government immediately withdraws all contracts from Atos without compensation and scraps the Work Capability Assessment, giving the funding back to the NHS.  We also demand the abolition of the wasteful and punitive Work Programme which pays millions to private companies; if work needs doing, people should be paid a living wages for doing it.  Unpaid work takes away work from workers and undermines wages.  Sheffield DPAC also demands an end to The Bedroom Tax and demands the reversal of public service, and other benefit cuts.  Benefit claimants did not cause the financial crisis or the public spending deficit so why should the poorest people, including disabled people, pay for it?”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:  Disability rights activists are available to talk to the media, please contact the Sheffield DPAC or UKUncut Sheffield media phone for details.  Please do not pass on contact details to external bodies or agencies.

 



[i] Sheffield DPAC Launch Meeting https://www.facebook.com/ukuncut.sheffield#!/events/421434917957473/?fref=ts

 

[ii]http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/category/media/

 

[iii]“The victims: Old, sick and in dread of winter”

 http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/personal-finance/energy-price-rises-see-winter-2359666

 

[iv]http://campaigndpac.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/what-next-on-the-bedroom-tax/

 

[v] Library closure councils ‘neglecting the vulnerable’

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/sep/27/library-closure-councils-neglect-vulnerable?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

 

[vi]http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/tag/cuts-and-effects/

 

[vii] “Protesters’ day of action”

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/protesters-day-of-action-1-6218232

 

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