Sep 102014

In less than 2 months time, a new occupational service called Health and Work Service will be introduced in the UK run by a private company, in order to ‘help employees on sick leave to return to work’. This will be done through an occupational health assessment when they reach or are expected to reach more than 4 weeks of sickness absence.

After four weeks, employees will be referred by their GP for an assessment by an occupational health professional, who will look at the all the issues preventing them from returning to work. Following this assessment, employees will receive a return to work plan containing recommendations to help them to return to work more quickly, and information on how to access appropriate interventions.

Given that the referral volumes anticipated are in the region of 350,000 to 700,000 per annum , of which between 5 per cent and 10 per cent are expected to require a face-to-face assessment, it means that the majority of employees will be assessed by telephone. This assessment will not only look at health issues in the workplace but also at non health and non work issues. So the advice given will not just be health related.

There will also apparently be tailored support for the employees through case management. The package is supposed to be agreed between the employee and the private company and failure to cooperate with the service will mean the employee will lose their sick pay.

There are many issues with this scheme which have already been debated in the House of Commons, notably the removal of the percentage threshold scheme, and others which are likely to emerge once it is implemented, but one which did not receive as much publicity as it should have is the tender winner, Health Management Ltd which is a subsidiary of the American multinational Maximus.

Maximus operates in many countries, and it shares the particular distinction with UNUM (the architect of the Welfare reform in the UK, which has close contact with 2 of the authors of a report on which this new Health and Work Service is based, namely Dame Black and Kim Burton) of ‘improper benefit denial’ (in addition to insufficiently trained contractor staff, delays in application processing, etc.). But what looks like a repeat of the Atos disaster is much more sinister. It seems that Maximus not only denies sickness benefits to people who are entitled to them, but also worker compensation and treatment. The following letter is addressed by Maximus to an US employee who made a compensation claim against her employer. Not only was her claim dismissed, but all the medication she took to manage the pain were deemed ‘not medically necessary and appropriate’, meaning she could no longer get her medication on prescription.

Will Maximus behave or be allowed to behave in the same way in the UK?

Sample IMR Determination (Upheld Denial) Letter, Page 1

Sample IMR Determination (Upheld Denial) Letter, Page 2Sample IMR Determination (Upheld Denial) Letter, Page 3Sample IMR Determination (Upheld Denial) Letter, Page 4Sample IMR Determination (Upheld Denial) Letter, Page 5

By Anita Bellows, with thanks to assistance of George Berger

 Posted by at 22:03
Jul 082014
Here is information on making complaints to IPCC
They have  guidance just read the section and you will see link.
Here is link to MPS complaints
You can make individual complaints and also organisational complaints.
Those directly affected by the restriction of medication , food and drink should individually complain.
It will take time for the complaints to be processed so I suggest people do this asap.
If you need help making a complaint they can approach MP, Citizens Advice and some DPOs may assist too.
The MPS has already launched an inquiry into policing at the Westminster demonstration
 Posted by at 18:10
Apr 092014

There is a meeting for all women who work or volunteer as campaigners or activists on the 7th of May at 6.30. The venue will be fully accessible, and there will be soft drinks and alcohol available.

Last year, the drinks were a great opportunity to meet other women working in the sector, celebrate what we’ve achieved together already and talk about some of the things we’d like to see change in the future. The drinks are for all women working in campaigns: as volunteers, interns, staff, candidates and in governance. If you used to work in campaigns but had a career break, you’d be very welcome to come along too.

For more information, email Hannah and Kajal can send you a calendar invite as well, if that’s helpful.

You can also join the event on Facebook if you’d like to – click here to learn more:

If you can’t make it to the drinks but you’d like to stay in touch with the group, there’s a Facebook group you can join here:

This would be a great opportunity to meet other women working in the campaigns sector from a wide range of organisations.

May 282013

Many disabled people feel that none of the main political parties represent us: while the Condems are inflicting an unprecedented level of attack on disabled people’s rights and entitlements, we remember that it was New Labour who introduced Atos and the Work Capability Assessment and, much as Labour now tries to distance itself from the Blair and Brown years, they won’t even commit to scrapping the bedroom tax while failing to take a stand in defence of the welfare state.  

As things become ever more desperate for disabled people pushed into poverty and destitution, with independent living under greater and greater threat, people are searching for a way to escape the onslaught. One thing that is certain in these uncertain times is that UKIP is not the answer.

UKIP have undeniably rattled and inflicted defeats on the government. They have also succeeded in capturing the imagination of substantial sections of the electorate, pulling support away from the Tories. They are however nothing but bad news for disabled people.

UKIP has clearly been linked to racist, homophobic and disabilist attitudes. In December a UKIP county council candidate was investigated for advocating compulsory abortion of foetuses with spina bifida and Down’s Syndrome. Examples of racist attitudes displayed by UKIP members are too widespread to be disregarded as anomalies. The rise of a party linked so clearly to anti-equalities and intolerance of diversity is not something disabled people can afford to celebrate even when it does weaken the Tories.  

There does appear to have been a concerted effort by UKIP to reach out to disabled people’s groups to offer support and thereby contribute to building its own base. This does not mean that UKIP supports the principles of disability equality and independent living. Its policies are reactive, opportunistic and bigoted. Its focus on immigration is divisive, having the effect of shifting all the main political parties to the right, while diverting attention from the real issues, from the dismantling of the welfare state, the privatisation of the NHS and the attack on workers’ rights. They might succeed in blocking votes for the Condems but they are also holding back the development of a wider political consciousness that would actively fight for disabled people’s rights.

After the raft of benefit changes and cuts brought in from 1st April we saw real media attention focusing on welfare and a growing awareness among members of the public not yet personally affected by the cuts about the impact on disabled people – in spite of the lies and misrepresentations from Iain Duncan Smith. The rise of UKIP and their success in the elections has distracted the focus away from government attacks on the poorest and disabled members of society. Increasingly the problems caused by austerity are being blamed on government being soft on immigration instead of holding all political parties to account for the consequences of neoliberalism. 

UKIP is never going to protect the rights of disabled people but they are going to widen divisions in society and block the kind of collective mobilisation we need to effect the fundamental social changes necessary for achieving disability equality.

May 272013

Mad Pride poster

Yes folks, Mad Pride Midsummer Madness is on Friday 7th of June 2013 – 8pm till late.

The Family of Cats collective are a very tuneful and accessible combo who play a varied set from slow moody lilting ballads to rousing jazzy, Latin, Lounge and “psychedelic funk”.

They can sing! I mean really sing – and the musicianship is what I think they would call “sophisticated”. Fronted by songsmith’s Josh and Sarah, and backed by harmonium among others, Mad Pride is pleased and proud to have them come down.

Do check them out on Reverbnation

For those who missed Bad Moth at a recent Mad Pride soiree, this unique duo are back. Stanley Bad and St Moth will be delivering their astounding blend of opera, gypsy jazz, East End music hall and Zappaesque Byzantine tunes. They will be nothing if not unpredictable. Prepare to gawp open-mouthed.

Also we welcome the Australian poet Cathy Flower, comedy stylings of Luke Gretton, Broken Biro and an acoustic set from folk songstress HeartsSong. Also added is Jazzman John Clarke!

Another feast from Tottenham Chances, the friendliest and cheapest venue in North London.

Mad Pride Event Facebook page is here:

Mad Pride gigs are now on the FIRST Friday of the month at Tottenham Chances up until November.

Hope to see you there.
madpride mark

8pm till Midnight – Friday June 7th 2013
£5/ £2 concessions
Tottenham Chances
399 Tottenham High Road
Tottenham, N17 6QN

Tottenham Chances is close to both Tottenham Hale & Seven Sisters tube a BR railway stations – a short bus ride or walk from both – opposite Tottenham Police Station
Buses 73, 76, 123, 149, 243, 259, 275, 312, 476

Poster and attached – Higher quailty pdf can be downloaded here:

Mar 122013

VIGIL to support the ONE BARNET legal challenge

Tuesday 19th March, 9.30am

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2A 2ll.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice to show solidarity and support with disabled Barnet resident Maria Nash who is challenging Barnet Council’s decision to outsource a large group of public services without properly consulting Barnet residents.

Barnet Council is effectively selling off their public services to Capita, a private company in a single contract for a minimum of 10 years, putting the quality of services at risk as profit becomes the over-riding priority. Under the proposals customer services will for example be delivered from call centres in other parts of the UK that won’t have local knowledge or connections. There are many concerns about the impact on the local economy, about risks that the promised savings will not materialise leading to further cuts to services, about the ability of the council to accurately and properly monitor services once outsourced, and about the loss of democracy the entire procedure represents.

We are already seeing the failure of the One Barnet programme as staff working with disabled people through the ‘Your Choice Barnet’ trading company are having their terms and conditions slashed because the enterprise has not delivered the profits it was forecast to. This is what happens when profit is put before people yet Barnet Council is pressing ahead with its plans.

What is happening in Barnet is important to all of us because where Barnet leads in selling off our services other local authorities will follow.

For more information about what is happening in Barnet go to:

For information about the vigil please contact:                            07534-407703

Jul 202012

What are you currently working on?

I work at the Alliance for Inclusive Education which is a Disabled People’s Organisation that campaigns for all disabled learners to have access to mainstream education, no ifs, and no buts. Our current campaign is to fight the government’s continued attacks on inclusive education, as if disabled people ever had the right to inclusive education in the first place. Disabled learners are the only group of people who can be lawfully discriminated against when accessing mainstream education despite the government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 24 which states that disabled people should not be “excluded from general education system and receive the support required.      Moreover we mustn’t forget that in terms of accessing 16+ education there is not a squeak on segregated education.

We are campaigning vigorously against the Government’s plans to remove the bias towards inclusive education through increasing segregated and education provision in both schools and colleges that is being proposed in the Government’s proposals for young disabled people in their draft Children and Families Bill.

We have been fighting against the outright attacks on disabled people’s right to mainstream education through the government’s academies programme and their attempts to weaken the special educational needs legal framework.    Additionally we have been campaigning against the Government’s attack on local authority’s role in providing coordinated specialist SEN services that are available free of charge for all state funded schools.   Such services may include behaviour support, educational psychologists, occupational psychologists, dyslexia therapists which can make a real difference in supporting mainstream schools capacity to support inclusive education practise for a whole range of disabled kids.

ALLFIE were successful in ensuring academies complied with the SEN framework and generally required to be have an intake of pupils of all abilities.    This doesn’t get away from the covert discrimination that disabled people and parents face in accessing mainstream education through admission procedures.

Please see ALLFIE’s website for on-going campaigning activity:


What do you see as the biggest threat to disabled people at the moment?  The Government’s

Disregard for the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, European Human Rights Convention, Human Rights and Equality Acts duties in their responsibility for promoting inclusion of disabled people in mainstream

Constant attack on anyone relying on the state for any kind of support, welfare benefits, housing, social and health care and so on.     Individualism, capitalism, competitiveness and productivity are the driving force of Government policy.   They are wrecking any kind of collective responsibility for supporting each other in times of need.

Plans linking duties to being entitled to state funded support – i.e. requirement to be looking for work whilst having a social housing tenancy or being in receipt of employment and support allowance.

Then we have disabled people being seen as scroungers when accessing benefits when time and time again it has been shown there is little evidence of fraud.

State’s responsibilities and Public sector’s duties being privatised by commissioning such services to the private sector such as profit making organisations, ‘social enterprises’ and charities.  This will undermine the integrity and democratic accountability for decisions that will have a huge impact upon disabled peoples’ lives.   ATOS is an example where the Work Capability Assessment should be under the direct supervision of the Department for Work and Pensions as opposed to a private company that is only interested in meeting the Government’s targets of getting disabled people off benefits so they get their contract renewed.   Simarily, private companies are involved in determining whether job seekers are doing enough to find work and if not they can contribute to the decision of withdrawing job seeker’s benefits.

Market determines what services will or will not be made available for disabled people.   Just because disabled people need services does not mean that the market will deliver – as it depends on whether a profit can be made by the provider.

The idea of objectivity and assessments without recognising the whole move towards carrying out individual assessments is based on a universal application of ideas.    There is an assumption in the work capability assessment that an ability to read, write, use a computer, lift objects and so on at home is an indicator of a disabled person’s ability to do paid work.     An ability to concentrate in a work setting is assumed if a disabled person has the ability to watch Eastenders.

The Big Society Bank where we are going to have the elite deciding who will be deserving poor or ‘needy’ and who will be providing those services.   As the bank will be providing loans instead of grants, only companies that can pay back the money will be considered – Disabled peoples organisations are unlikely to get any assistance.

Another major threat is the bio-psycho-social model replacing the good old social model of disability in terms of understanding the barriers that disabled people face.

What can disabled people do in the face of all these threats?

I think disabled people need to get together and think through what needs to happen in order for things to change. Reconceptualising how we understand disabling barriers in today’s society in order to challenge our most pressing threats, for example the bio-psycho-social model.

We need to work together in developing an ideal world that promotes inclusion, both in theory and in practise.

In terms of campaigns we need to link to wider anti-capitalist campaigns because we are affected differently but equally. Capitalism is there to divide us, it is about squeezing out the resources from the many (disabled people, women, Black and Minority Ethnic groups, the working poor and so on) for the benefit of an elite. We need to stand firm to this continuing threat to our freedoms.


What is the best action you have ever taken part in?

Anti-discrimination, Apprenticeships and the Jodie and Mary’s Equal  Right to Life campaigns.

Throwing stink bombs into a Leonard Cheshire Ballroom which stopped a charity ball and throwing false shit and sitting on a very doggy toilet outside the Department of Health against cuts to social care campaign.


Is there any message you would like to give DPAC members?

Kick some butt!

Sep 092011

CoolTan Arts is delighted to announce the very talented Arthur Smith as the Largactyl Shuffle Sponsored Walk patron 2011 – The internationally renowned comedian, playwright, author and broadcaster will join us on 15 October to walk, promote World Mental Health Day and raise money for CoolTan Arts.

Want to meet him? – then walk with us to help raise money and promote World Mental Health Day. Sign up now here!

He says: “Supporting CoolTan’s Sponsored Walk and Promoting World Mental Health Day this year, is something I am pleased to do especially as I have had friends and family who have suffered clinical depression.

Read more:

 Posted by at 16:49
May 262011

 A Gathering of Nuts in May -benefits gig poster

MAD PRIDE and the Mental Health Resistance presents
Here We Go….A Gathering of Nuts in May

SATURDAY 28th May 2011
ADMISSION £5 / £2 concessions

THE GROSVENOR I7 Sidney Road, Stockwell SW9 OTP

THE GROSVENOR is close by to Stockwell tube station and Brixton Tube and BR stations. A number of buses stop close by including night buses.


THIS SATURDAY, in South London in Mad Pride’s Summer Season is upon us. This time with one of Mad Pride’s favourite combos – the deliciously arch and highly tuneful all-woman GERTRUDE. This is a fundraiser for the Mental Health Resistance Network.

From this month, disabled people and mental health survivors in the UK are seeing Welfare Benefits under wholesale attack. 11,000 people a week will be migrated possibly onto ESA or maybe onto Jobseeker’s Allowance. And that may mean for tens of thousands the loss of Disability Premium for which Incapacity was a qualifying benefit. With the loss of Incapacity, ESA , Disability Premium, and perhaps DLA later along with cuts to Housing Benefit and Mortgage Income Support, many people may see a cut of over 60% of their income. And yet we are still determined to celebrate who we are, to enjoy ourselves and to gorge on music, mayhem and madness. Plus it is for the cause!

We have to continue to protest, demonstrate and continue to get the message across to politicians that the Work Capability Assessments are not suitable for assessing our ability to hold down a job. But we can also take time off to come along to festive gigs like this.

For discussion and organization see
Email to the email list (or join this list)

May 222011
The We Are Activists project is now up and running in Liverpool as part of the Look11 Photography Festival.
The project website is:
DPAC co founder, Linda Burnip,  is featured in this project.
linda burnip

Linda Burnip photo taken by @Tony Bryne

6-7 pm Tu 24 May 2011 (Official time in Look 11 brochure but likely to run longer)
1 Jalons Bridewell
Campbell Square Off Duke Street

L1 5FB

0151 707 8003
The official launch of the project takes place in The Bridewell, in Liverpool next Tuesday. Everyone is very welcome. There will be some live activist related music and there would also be an option to do a presentation.
More info is available at
Apr 262011

From Rowenna Davis (

….we will be holding a day devoted to the changes in mental health services. I have posted the line up below, and we’d love you to participate.
If you’re getting this email, it’s because you are known to have some experience of mental health services, either as a patient, a practioner, carer or campaigner. We want to give you the space to have your voice heard.
You can get involved either by commenting on the site during one of our live Q&As, or by emailing your thoughts directly to me or my colleague We would be happy to publish your experiences of NHS mental services and your hopes and fears about the reforms on our blog. We can keep your comments completely anonymous if you would prefer.
This is the live blog mentioned –  NHS reform live blog – mental health special

Apr 032011

The Museum of London is collecting placards and flags used by protesters from 26th March. Protesters are being asked to bring more memorabilia for the museum’s collection on 2nd April.

Organiser Guy Atkins said the idea was to give demonstrators the chance to influence how history remembers them.

The Museum of London’s chief curator, Dr Cathy Ross, said there would eventually be an exhibition showcasing the collection.

“The signs are quite individual, not just standard slogans,” she said.

“We think it was good that the people on the march decide what we collect.”

News source at

It was suggested to us that disabled people should also add their placards to the collection – so those of you who still hung on to their placards please try to get it to the Museum. You might want to ring up beforehand if they are still collecting.

Museum of London

150 London Wall
London EC2Y 5HN

tel: 020 7001 9844
fax: 020 7600 1058

DPAC Placards at Hyde Park

DPAC Placards at Hyde Park

Mar 272011

Go to the Disabled People make History blog for more details…

On Saturday 26th March, yesterday, there was the biggest rally organised against the stringent cuts from the Coalition government. Disabled people are the hardest hit by these cuts and despite many barriers, disabled people have participated in the march. They came on trains and coaches from all over the country – from Scotland and Wales as well.

DPAC negotiated and campaigned the TUC to provide access so that disabled people are also included in the march and they have responded by providing access as can be seen on the Access and Disability page of the main March for the Alternative website. For disabled people who really couldn’t make it – we have an online map to show the disabled people who wanted their virtual protest registered. There are many stories there.

The day after the event it is already very obvious that we have very little media attention and for many disabled people this is the first time they have been on such a march. As disabled people, they went through considerable effort to get there with many barriers not faced by non disabled people. We shall make sure that our struggles are recorded and not lost. We can see that the media are only full of the violence as seen on our televison screens and echoed in all the newspapers. It is important that these stories are collated so that they are part of our history.

Here are

Kirsten Hearn’s account

Stephen Sumpter’s account

Supporters from DPAC, Black Triangle, Disability History Month and London Austistic Rights Movement, Newham Coalition of Disabled People

Mar 232011

DPAC supporters  will be meeting with activists from London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP) and other allies at Savoy Street near Charing Cross at 11am to join the TUC march.

Some others  will be meeting slightly earlier at 2 neighbouring accessible cafes: Caffe Amici , 7B Kingsway, London WC2B 6YA and the Costa next door. The Costa opens at 9am. Many thanks to Jan Pollock for finding and suggesting them.

Mar 072011
Government funding to pay for many disabled people’s support is being cut. For many disabled people this means having less choice and control over their support, and receiving less hours of support. For people working as support workers this means job losses, reductions in pay, and other changes to working conditions. But these cuts, along with the benefit changes, are just the most recent change to the way disabled people are supported by the state. As we oppose harmful government cuts let’s also take this opportunity to think about what we want support work to be like, to defend what we like about support as it is offered now, and make changes where we think it is needed.

This is a call-out for stories and reflections on support work. If you have experience of support- whether as someone who has received support, someone who has worked to support someone, either paid or unpaid, as a friend or family member of someone who has received support, or as any combination of these- and would like to contribute to a blog about support work please contact: .

To respond to this call out please go to the Support Conversation Website.

Mar 012011

Message from our close ally, Black Triangle

The Black Triangle campaign has been set up to help defend ALL disabled people from the constant media and government portrayal of disabled people as “scroungers” and thieves for claiming benefits that they are not entitled to. This despite the fact that benefit fraud for those claiming Disability Living Allowance one of the main benefits that can keep disabled people independent and in work is currently only 1%. The wide spread lie that a huge amount of those currently claiming health related benefits are frauds, combined with the pretty badly discredited assessment criteria that see the majority of claimants fail despite having high levels of care and support needs cannot be anything other than an attempt to put disability rights back to a time where most people with disabilities were kept hidden away from society.

Despite having the legal right enshrined by European law and United Nation convention, individuals with disabilities will have no access to homes, jobs public transport, family life, or dignity. Why will all these be lost, because they need resources, and this Con-Dem government seem to be saying that the British people “can’t pay won’t pay”. Blaming the economic crises on the disabled by constantly saying how high  the welfare bill is, or how much extra services like “Access to Work” or “The Independent Living fund” cost so they are closed down to save money, is basically untrue and at odds with the much trumpeted “fairness” agenda the government constantly talk about.

The Black Triangle campaign is a small group of local activists who have already been active in direct action protests. We held protest actions, taken part in public forums, joined with the TUC, and STUC in joint action. We have organised FREE accessible transport to the STUC “Better way campaign” rally in Perth this coming Saturday. We will also be working with the organisers of the huge national rally in London on the 26th of March to provide FREE accessible transport.

All we need is people to use this transport, we need anyone who wants to go, even if all you want to do is show that you think disabled people deserve respect, then please come. Use the transport and show the government that you are a human being and deserve to be given the courtesy of being treated like one.

Go to the page that the Link below leads to and register, or go to Face Book and search for BLACK TRIANGLE. Or email me your interest in attending and I will pass your details on. Take the time to look at the main Black Triangle pages and see if any of the messages or posts give you a sense of what the campaign is all about. If you can please just register with the page, we are only asking for your support not your money.

Lastly please will you all have a careful think about all the people that you know. Work, family, neighbours, friends whatever, who ever, please think if this information could be of interest or use to anyone else. Let them know and give them the opportunity to make up their own minds if they wish to be involved or not.

—George Lamb

black triangle logo

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