Preventable harm and the Work Capability Assessment


Introduced in 2008, the work capability assessment (WCA) is used by the UK government to limit access to the long-term sickness and disability benefit, known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The scope of the assessment was increased in 2010.

Extensive evidence suggesting that the WCA is a dangerous and fatally flawed assessment model for disabled and chronically sick people continues to be disregarded by successive governments. This article identifies the influence of American corporate funders with UK welfare reform policies since 1992.

I argue that these influences have shaped the WCA in ways which cause preventable harm in the lives of chronically sick and disabled people, who are dependent upon the ESA for their financial survival. Further, I argue that the ESA assessment process was adopted to encourage the general public to purchase income protection insurance which intentionally undermines the UK welfare state.

Introduction

Successive calls for welfare reform in the UK are not as progressive as they might appear to the outside world. From the point of view of chronically sick and disabled people themselves, the problems started thirty-five years ago under the Thatcher government when privatisation, a consumer model of care and individualism were introduced, arguably to the detriment of disabled people.

 

Source: Preventable harm and the Work Capability Assessment

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Call for media action after news agency’s shorthand ‘discrimination’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


A disabled journalist is calling for action to address widespread discrimination in the media industry after a news agency told him he had not been interviewed for a job because he did not have a qualification in shorthand.

Declan McSweeney has tried several times to apply for posts with Mercury Press in Liverpool – and with other news organisations – and has been told on each occasion that he was not suitable for the role.

But on the last occasion the agency admitted that the experienced journalist would not be considered because he did not have a recognised shorthand qualification.

McSweeney, who has cerebral palsy, has previously worked as a journalist in Ireland and London for more than 20 years, and has his own system of shorthand that he has used successfully throughout his career.

But he was told that this would not be acceptable for the Mercury position.

A senior executive for the agency, which is owned by Birmingham-based Caters News Agency, told him in an email: “To follow up your comment about it not being mandatory to be qualified in shorthand.

 

Source: Call for media action after news agency’s shorthand ‘discrimination’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

Autistic teen’s legal fight over ‘physical abuse’ school exclusion | DisabledGo News and Blog


A legal case being heard this week highlights how disabled children who can be physically aggressive because of their impairment are currently being failed by equality laws, say inclusive education campaigners.

The upper tribunal this week heard the appeal brought by the parents of a 13-year-old disabled boy, known as L, who was excluded from school because of behaviour linked to his autism.

The way that Equality Act regulations are currently interpreted means children like L who are defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” are often not treated as “disabled” and are therefore not protected by the Equality Act.

The lack of protection under the Equality Act means schools do not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances is proportionate or explain how they have made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour can be prevented or reduced.

Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve a child with special educational needs.

Two years ago, a report by a House of Lords committee on the impact of the Equality Act on disabled people said the regulations had “unintentionally, discouraged schools from paying sufficient attention to their duties” under the act.

 

Source: Autistic teen’s legal fight over ‘physical abuse’ school exclusion | DisabledGo News and Blog

| Human Rights Watch


Plus: UN should act in South Sudan; East African Bishops should support education for pregnant teens; free Khayrullo Mirsaidov; children with disabilities will be able to attend school in Serbia; victory for labor rights in Thailand; and one year without Liu Xiaobo.

Get the Daily Brief by email.

 

Source: | Human Rights Watch

Project offers new bridge between chronic illness community and disability movement | DisabledGo News and Blog


A disabled researcher has suggested a way to bring the hundreds of thousands of people with chronic illness under the umbrella of the disabled people’s movement.

Catherine Hale, who has lived with a diagnosis of ME for nearly 30 years, hopes that her new discussion paper will build bridges between the disabled people’s movement and the chronic illness community.

She is keen for her paper to “stimulate reaction and debate” from members of the movement, disability studies academics and policy-makers.

Hale suggests in the paper that people with chronic illness can be viewed as having a “stamina impairment” which restricts their activities – despite any treatment regimes they undergo – and that such people could make up the second-largest impairment group of disabled people in the UK.

She says that people with such impairments can and do experience socially-constructed disabling barriers, such as their marginalisation by society, the lack of medical understanding of their conditions, and the discrimination they face from those who doubt their ill-health.

She hopes that this will provide a way to explain their oppression through the social model of disability and bring them under the umbrella of the disabled people’s movement.

The publication of the discussion paper by The Centre for Welfare Reform is the latest stage of the three-year Chronic Illness Inclusion Project, which is receiving £40,000 lottery funding through the pioneering user-led DRILL (Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning) programme.

The project’s aim is to explore the experience of chronic illness within the social model of disability, co-produce an agenda for social, political and cultural change, and “forge a collective voice” for the online chronic illness community under the umbrella of the wider disability movement.

 

Source: Project offers new bridge between chronic illness community and disability movement | DisabledGo News and Blog

Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog


Legal advice commissioned by the equality and human rights watchdog has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

 

Source: Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog

Trump court battle imperils Senate Dems, House GOP | TheHill


The debate over the Supreme Court is raising the issue of abortion and reproductive rights to a level of prominence that hasn’t been seen in years, creating an unpredictable and dangerous environment for incumbents in the midterm elections.

Democrats say the prospect that the Senate will confirm a nominee who could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion will bring an army of Democrats to the polls — to the detriment of Republicans, particularly in the House.

“Our biggest ally here is their own rhetoric because they’re not trying to finesse this in anyway. They’re clear about their agenda,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

“There’s no question it mobilizes more our side,” Lake added. “There are a lot more millennial women than born-again Christians who need to be mobilized.”

Republicans are just as confident that the issue will mobilize their own grass roots, which backed President Trump in 2016 partly because of his promises on Supreme Court nominees.

“If you look at the way Trump won in 2016, a big part of that was energizing the evangelical base that didn’t turn out in 2008 and 2012,” said a Senate Republican pollster.

“The groups that turn out at the lowest numbers are noncollege educated white males and evangelicals. A Supreme Court nomination fight is like injecting fuel into the enthusiasm level of that base,” the pollster said.

It’s possible that both sides could be right, with the battle helping Republicans keep their Senate majority but potentially hurting them in the fight over the House.

 

Source: Trump court battle imperils Senate Dems, House GOP | TheHill

Universal credit row: DWP official has ‘full confidence’ in NAO


Not only in fighting over Brexit but also on Welfare benefits and the NAO report.

How is it that McVey got the outcomes of the report so wrong, as she would have been brief by the relevant Civil Servants before speaking, received a copy of the report and a summary.

Is it she

can not read

she can read but not understand what was written

she can not understand the spoken word

she was mis-briefed
and perhaps many more.

If she is anyone of the above, should she still be there.

Govt Newspeak

Permanent secretary says DWP has good relationship with National Audit Office despite watchdog’s critical reportuni-cred-protest

The top government official overseeing universal credit has told MPs he has full confidence in the National Audit Office (NAO), the public spending watchdog that recently published a savagely critical report into the welfare benefit.

Since it was published in June, current and former ministers have sought to undermine the report, which concluded that universal credit failed to deliver mooted savings and employment benefits, and left many claimants in hardship.

The permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, Peter Schofield, was asked by the public accounts committee chair, Meg Hillier, at an inquiry hearing into universal credit on Monday whether he had “full confidence” in the NAO report.

Schofield was initially evasive, saying it was a “strange question to ask me”. But pressed by Hillier, Schofield admitted: “Of course I have confidence in…

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Care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care | Care Industry News


Responding to a report by Age UK on a rise in unmet care needs and the costs to the NHS of delayed discharges due to a lack of social care, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“People’s unmet care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care unless the sector receives a long-term fundingsettlement, like the NHS, and further funding is made available for council’s public health and prevention services.

“To prevent crises in the NHS, government needs to plug the £3.5 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 and reverse the £600 million in reductions to councils’ public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20.

 

Source: Care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care | Care Industry News

I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice | Penny Pepper | Opinion | The Guardian


remember the dawning of my green consciousness: the sudden, painful realisation that products were tested on animals. This was in the early 1970s. I was about 10 years old. A teacher told me that baby powder was put into the eyes of cats and dogs to make sure it was safe. She also said that the plastic container would pollute the Earth.

A few years later, as punk sensibility captured my naturally rebellious heart, I immersed myself in the ecological fight. I joined Greenpeace. I wrote letters – even to the pope on his visit to Britain – arguing against the clubbing of baby seals in Canada. This passion has never left me.

Throw into the mix that I’ve been disabled since the age of 14, however, and environmentalism can start to get tricky. Over the years, I’ve had to learn that being green does not always sit comfortably with my access needs.

 

Source: I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice | Penny Pepper | Opinion | The Guardian