Mar 272013
 

An important recent post on Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC) website reveals how the big disability charities once again let down the very people they claim to support by being indifferent at best to the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

As the name suggests, the fund is designed to support the most severely disabled people in living independent lives.  In a chilling sign of what was to come, less than two months after this Government weren’t elected it was closed to new applications.  Funding is now being devolved to local councils, who will have no legal duty to maintain the support offered under the scheme.  All ILF claims are planned to end by 2015.

The closure of the fund has met fierce opposition from grassroots campaigners such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.  Documents recently revealed in a high court appeal against the fund’s closure reveal it has been met by little more than apathy from the major disability organisations.

The documents show that the DWP recognise “that upon reassessment by LA’s (Local Authorities) most users are likely to see some reduction in the current funding levels, and there are a group of users with low care needs that may not be eligible for local authority support under current needs thresholds in most LA’s.’”

Despite this – according to the DWP at least – Mencap (highest paid earner £190,000 pa*), The MS Society, and Scope (highest paid earner £140,000) all supported the closure of the scheme, although Scope’s support was weak and they showed ‘concern’.  RNIB (highest paid earner £140,000) disagreed with the closure of the fund, but this disagreement was summed up as ‘weak concern’ by the DWP.  Only Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland are mentioned as strongly disagreeing with the closure.

Charities will no doubt argue with the DWP’s assessment of their indifference to disabled people’s lives, however for once it seems the department may be telling the truth (stop laughing).  The documents point out:  “none of the largest national disability organisations requested ministerial meetings and many did not submit responses to the consultation. While we have had an increasing number of letters from MPs on users’ behalf, the proposal to close the fund has received almost no attention in the mainstream media.”

DPAC themselves have requested several meetings with ministers over the closure of the fund.  All requests were ignored.

With thanks to the excellent Johnny Void see more brilliance at: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/author/johnnyvoid/

Follow  on twitter @johnnyvoid

 

May 272012
 

While there always seems to be plenty of money for some from disability sadly, the trickle-down effect never seems to reach as far as disabled people themselves. We still seem to be being exploited as cash cows for others. Below tells how charities are exploiting disabled people through the evidence of a whistleblower from one of the charities.

 Scandal of charities that bully people off benefits

by Dave Sewell

Charities and voluntary organisations that claim to be helping vulnerable people are instead enforcing government plans to throw them off benefits, Socialist Worker can reveal.

Over 270 voluntary organisations signed up to the government’s Work Programme, which pays contractors to bully unemployed people off benefits.

Sometimes this involves “workfare” schemes—herding unemployed workers into mandatory unpaid work at supermarkets, fast food restaurants and even NHS hospitals (see below).

An “employment advisor” at one of the charities spoke to Socialist Worker anonymously about the practice. “It’s disgusting,” they said. “We get letters from people who are really ill asking why their benefits have been taken away.

“I remember one client with severe psychosis. He didn’t know what day of the week it was—but he was about to lose his benefits because he had missed his appointments.”

The charities claim they are providing a service to help vulnerable people into jobs. But the jobs simply aren’t there.

Last week St Mungo’s became the latest charity to pull out of the Work Programme. It hadn’t made the revenue it expected. And it failed to put a single homeless person into work.

“Charities signed up naively,” the advisor told Socialist Worker. “They thought—we already work with vulnerable people, so why shouldn’t we do the same for a contract?”

Factories

In practice this has meant charities turning into factories designed to process unemployed claimants. And if claimants can’t jump through the government’s impossible hoops, their benefits can be removed.

“There is so much pressure to get results—either by getting people into work, or by getting their benefits sanctioned,” the advisor said.

Around one in ten of those that the charity recommends to be stripped of their benefits are later found to have been sanctioned wrongly, the advisor added.

Their caseload includes people who are claiming Employment Support Allowance and are not obliged to seek jobs, as they are not considered fit for work.

But the advisors are not trained to tell them this. Nor are they trained to help claimants who miss appointments for health reasons—and then find they have lost their benefits as a result.

The voluntary organisations involved in the Work Programme are subcontractors of private sector training firm Seetec. They include charities that work with disabled people, homeless people, single parents, young people and ex-offenders.

But the Work Programme is in a mess over its use of contractors. One prominent firm, A4e, is so mired in fraud allegations that it has had to be axed from the scheme.

And last week the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee called for payments to Work Programme contractors to be frozen. The advisor welcomed this move, saying, “It’s an obscene system. Let’s hope it falls apart soon.”

Originally posted at http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28575 nice pic of DPAC protesters there too blocking the road

 see also: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/shame-of-the-third-sector-how-charities-got-it-wrong-on-workfare/

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/workfare-isnt-working-so-grayling-plans-more-workfare-this-time-its-for-charity/

 According to DWP charities involved are set out in the following table by area: find your charity here-we’ve kindly highlighted the disability ones for you- let us know if we missed any-for full excell sheet email us at mail@dpac.net.uk

 Btw Disability Works UK includes SCOPE, Leonard Cheshire, Mind, MENCAP, Action for Blind People (or RNIB) Disability Works UK has a turnover value of £654.4 million and a surplus of £15.6 million Recession? What recession?

Work Programme Supply Chains

 
The information contained in the table below reflects updates and changes to the Work Programme supply chains and is correct as at 30 January 2012.
It is published in the interests of transparency. It is limited to those in supply chains delivering to prime providers as part of their tier 1 and 2 chains. Definitions of what these tiers incorporate vary from prime provider to prime provider. There are additional suppliers beyond these tiers who are largely to be called on to deliver one off, unique interventions in response to a particular participants needs and circumstances.
The Department for Work and Pensions fully anticipate that supply chains will be dynamic, with scope to flex and evolve to reflect change within the labour market and participant needs.
The Department intends to update this information at regular intervals dependant on time and resources available.
In addition to the Merlin standard, a robust process is in place for the Department to approve any supply chain changes and to ensure that the service on offer is not compromised or reduced.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
Comparison between the August 2011 stock take and the January 2012 figures shows a small net increase in the overall number of organisations in the supply chains. Both the public and private sector shows slight increases, while the voluntary and community sector shows a small net decrease.
The table below illustrates these changes
 
 
 
 
   
Sector Number of organisations in the supply chain    
Private As at 30 January 2012 – 306 / As at 12 August 2011 – 295*  
Public As at 30 January 2012 – 137 / As at 12 August 2011 – 133*  
Voluntary or Community (VCS) As at 30 January 2012 – 412 / As at 12 August 2011 – 420*  
Totals As at 30 january 2012 – 855 / As at 12 August 2011 – 848*  
   
*Note  These figure have been amended due to organisations being incorrectly recorded in the earlier stock take, which has now been rectified. This included two strategic partners being listed as a tier 2 sub contractor when no contractual relationship was in place; one organisation being incorrectly categorised as voluntary sector when they were in fact from the private sector, and a voluntary sector organisation being recorded under two different names, thus decreasing the voluntary sector count and increasing the private sector.

East of England              
Papworth Trust              
Action for Blind People              
Royal Mencap Society               
East Midlands              
Disability Works (UK)              
Disability Alliance              
Action for Blind People               
Royal Mencap Society              
West London              
Acton for Blind People              
Hammersmith & Fulham MIND              
MENCAP              
Disability Works UK              
East London              
Disability Works UK              
Mencap              
North East              
Action for Blind People              
North West – Merseyside, Halton, Cumbria and Lancashire              
Disability Works UK              
Eden Mencap              
Action for Blind People              
Royal Mencap Society              
North West – Greater Manchester, Cheshire & Warrington              
Disability Information Bureau              
Action for Blind People              
Leonard Cheshire Disability              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
Scotland              
Action for Blind People              
Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)              
Scottish Mental Health Co-operative              
South East – Thames Valley and Hampshire and Isle of Wight              
Disability Works UK              
MENCAP              
South East – Surrey, Sussex and Kent              
Disability Works              
Action for Blind People              
Disability Works UK              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
South West – Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset              
NIL              
South West – Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and West of England              
Shaw Trust               
Swindon Mind              
Action for Blind People              
Wales              
Action for Blind People ( RNIB )              
West Midlands – Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country              
Action for Blind People              
Disability Works UK              
Birmingham Disability Consortium              
West Midlands – Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the Marches              
Mencap               
Shaw Trust              
West Yorkshire              
Action for Blind People              
South Yorkshire              
Disability Works UK              
Disability Works UK              
North East Yorkshire and the Humber              
Leonard Cheshire Disability              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
The Mind Consortium              
               
 
 
 
 
   
Apr 022012
 

Boris claimed he was too busy to turn up at a London mayoral ‘hustlings’ organised by user-led organisations Inclusion London and Transport for all (TfA) to listen to disabled people.

However, Boris can find the time to go to another ‘hustlings’ event organised by the big disability charities including RNIB, Leonard Cheshire Disability and MENCAP. The charities have not invited user-led disabled peoples’ organisations to attend. The big charities continue to speak FOR disabled people with no mandate to do so and continue to exclude disabled people from talks with local and national governments as always.

DPAC asks: How much longer will user-led organisations and disabled people continue to be silenced by the multi-million pound charities?  How much longer will people support the big disability charities without realising that they are acting in their own interests? Already Disability Works UK (a consortium of charities  claiming a turn over value of £654.4 million) run workfare for disabled people, risking sanctions and loss of benefit for the very people the charities claim to ‘help’.  They claim they dont do sanctions but this is because they pass on the names of people to DWP so that they can do them.

Boris may be too busy to notice or simply not care- disabled people of London should care and make sure that his arrogance towards disabled peoples’ issues and the real problems we face translates into a ‘no vote’ for Boris in May.

Click on link to read the story of the snub by John Pring:

http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2012/03/anger-over-boris-snub-for-user-led-question-time/

 

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