Is DWP Failing To Send Out PIP Review Forms?


This is unbelievable, well it should be, but this is the DWP, a Government department dealing with welfare benefits and therefore it is believable.

For the system to not have the ability to record not only when benefits need to be reviewed, but also the need to have a system of issuing review forms, for this can not be expected to be the responsibility of benefit claimants.

Many of these claimants will have many disabilities and may not have the capacity to remember, for this should be the responsibility of the DWP.

Again, it is a major problem with the benefits system, which needs to be righted without delay.

Same Difference

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.

Fears of another DWP mess are growing as Benefits and Work members tell us that they have not received a PIP review form or a further extension of their PIP award.

The claimants are all within six months of the end of their PIP award and would normally expect to have received an AR1 review form.

One member, posting on the forum, told us that their PIP was due to end in January but they had not received a review form.

On the moderator’s advice they contacted the DWP and were told that if they had not done so their PIP would have stopped in January, as there was nothing on the system to say a review form should be sent out.

Another member in the same position also rang the DWP. Within a week they had received a review form which needed…

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As A Disabled Woman I Had To Battle To Get Married


People may have some form of disability, but why should this be a barrier in life, for is life not just what you make it to be.

People talk about ‘normal’ but what is ‘normal’ is this just a perception for what could be ‘normal’ for one may not be ‘normal’ for another.

Being with another, be it marriage or not, is creating a relationship to which both parties belong and relate to.

The two persons are the important factors in the relationship and others or Society should not be imposing any barriers to that relationship, provided both are consenting partners, they are of legal age and have the capacity to consent.

Same Difference

Sometimes he’d even forget that I only had one arm. He was an able-bodied person, a complete man – he could get any girl.

But he was with me. It had been a year since we started living together under one roof without getting married.

The decision to stay together while unmarried was not an easy one.

It started after I created my profile on a matrimonial site to alleviate my mother’s concern about my marriage.

I had turned 26 and my mother thought it was time.

My left arm had got cut off in an accident when I was a child, so I understood her anxiety about my marriage.

One day, I got a request on the matrimonial site. The man was an engineer by profession. He was Bengali too, just like me, though from a different city.

But I was unable to decide anything. So I wrote back…

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Five key steps to assessing capacity | Community Care


The process of assessing a person’s mental capacity is often misunderstood by social care practitioners as they seek to apply the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and the lessons from case law. But help is at hand with the launch of a set of resources which aims to support practitioners improve their …

Source: Five key steps to assessing capacity | Community Care

Workers and Shirkers: Jesus, okay, Iain Duncan Smith Wept.


Is this true remorse or just ‘crocodile tears’.

The vast majority on benefits are there because they have no ability to work and never will have, this is not by choice, but due to their disability and or health deterioration. Due to increasing survival rates, due to considerable medical advances many persons who would not have survived years ago are now doing so, but the Government processes and the media attention are not taking this into consideration and are thereby, by their actions, demonising people on benefits and a good proportion of the public are believing this. Both the Government and some of the media are guilty of malicious propaganda.

 

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Bringing the discussion into the here and now … Workers Or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits.

Ipswich Unemployed Action is in two minds about watching this documentary tonight: Workers and Shirkers.

Thursday 7 April. 8.00pm-9.00pm. BBC TWO

Ian Hislop’s entertaining and provocative look at Victorian attitudes to the poor sheds a sharp light on today: controversial benefits cuts, anxieties about scroungers, sensational newspaper reports, arguments about who does and doesn’t deserve welfare – it’s all there!

Ian explores the views of five colourful individuals whose Victorian attitudes remain incredibly resonant. Pioneer of the workhouse Edwin Chadwick feared that hand-outs would lead to scrounging and sought to make sure that workers were always better-off than the unemployed. That sounds fair – but was his solution simply too unkind?

James Greenwood, Britain’s first undercover reporter, made poverty a cause célèbre – but is that kind of journalism voyeuristic?

Helen Bosanquet, an early social worker, believed that poverty was caused by ‘bad character’ – that some people simply more deserving…

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Court of Appeal ruling means streamlined deprivation of liberty process is fatally flawed


Original post from Community Care

‘………….By Ben Troke

Clarity on the law in relation to deprivation of liberty cannot come soon enough in the light of another landmark case, explains Ben Troke of law firm Browne Jacobson

The High Court. Photo: Andy Drysdale/Rex Features
The High Court. Photo: Andy Drysdale/Rex Features

This morning, the Court of Appeal handed down a landmark judgment on the ‘Re X’ process for authorising deprivations of liberty in the community.

Cheshire West

This is the latest chapter in a story that started last March when, in the Cheshire West judgement, the Supreme Court clarified the definition of a deprivation of liberty as a person being “under continuous supervision and control and not free to leave” the place they were in, regardless of whether this arrangement would be appropriate or ‘normal’ for a person with those particular needs.

This made it obvious that there were tens or hundreds of thousands of people who are deprived of their liberty by the arrangements made by the state for their health and social care who lack capacity to consent to this. Their right to liberty and security under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights rights would be breached unless a due legal process were in place to review and authorise this. Without this, people deprived of liberty unlawfully would have a right to compensation.

Colossal increase in cases

The result was a colossal increase in applications to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols) system, which exists to allow authorisation of a deprivation of liberty in a care home or hospital setting only. But arguably the greater challenge concerned cases in other settings, for example for people with dementia or learning disability in their own homes or supported living who have very intensive care packages likely to amount to being under continuous supervision and control and not being free to leave.

For those cases, outside the scope of Dols, the deprivation of liberty can only be lawfully reviewed and authorised by the Court of Protection. Following Cheshire West, no one knew how many applications to court will have to be made to authorise or review such placements, but it would certainly be tens of thousands.

The onus would on the public body responsible for the situation to bring the case to court – usually the local authority or CCG which commissions the care package that may amount to a deprivation of liberty.

In the light of Cheshire West, the court processes previously in place for handling these cases, geared and resourced to deal with a couple of hundred such cases a year, needed serious rethinking.

Re X

This is what Court of Protection president Sir James Munby was trying to achieve in proceedings, which came to be known as ‘Re X’, in which he pulled together a sample of relevant cases, and convened a hearing in June 2014. At this, many individual parties, as well as representatives from government, local government, the Law Society and other interested parties, addressed him on the kind of process that should be implemented.

In August and October 2014 Sir James Munby published judgments in which he set out his thinking on some of the key procedural and practical issues. He asserted, for example, that it was permissible for a process to review a deprivation of liberty without P (the person deprived) being a party to proceedings, and that while such cases must be reviewed by a judge, rather than a court official, this could be done on the papers, without a hearing, where there was no substantive dispute.

Reflecting these judgments, a new practice direction and Court of Protection form (COPDOL10) were published in November 2014, establishing the ‘Re X’ process along these lines, and a raft of judges around the country have been trained up, ready to deal with the expected flood of cases.  There’s also been an amendment to the Court of Protection Rules, due into force on 1 July 2015, which requires the court to consider whether P’s participation can be secured and interests protected in another way, without being a party to proceedings.

The appeal

Two of the individuals in the Re X cases went to the Court of Appeal arguing, among other things, that a process determining their deprivation of liberty without them being a party was not fair and breached their human rights. Others joined the appeal on related issues for a hearing in February 2015.

Each of the individual appellants had in fact been made a party to the proceedings to review their deprivation of liberty, and so had arguably no standing to say that they were adversely affected by the Re X approach. That said, when the court did hear argument about the issue of party status, there was a lot of doubt that the process could be fair if P was not to be joined as a party.

The judgment published this morning includes a fully reasoned contribution from each of the three judges, led by Lady Justice Black. The headlines are that:-

  1. Though sympathetic with the challenges facing Sir James Munby, all three judges were critical of the unorthodox approach taken to deal with the issues (for example, in paragraphs 58, 127 and 146 of the judgement).
  2. However, they concluded that the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to overturn the ‘Re X’ process, which should instead be properly challenged by judicial review against the practice direction (paragraph 50).
  3. Crucially, they all said that if they actually did have the jurisdiction to decide this, they would have said that P should be a party to any deprivation of liberty proceedings.

Why P should be a party

On the last point, Lady Justice Black said: “…it is not appropriate in my view for P’s participation in proceedings to turn in any way upon whether he wishes to participate, or indeed on whether he expresses an objection to the form of care that is being provided or proposed. There is too high a risk of slips ups in such a scheme.  Article 5 requires greater protection from arbitrariness.

“I do not go so far as to say that no scheme in relation to deprivation of liberty would comply with Article 5 unless it provided for deprivation of liberty proceedings in which P was formally a party … [but] given the tools presently available in our domestic procedural law, I see no alternative to that being so in every case.” (paragraphs 103-104)

Lady Justice Gloster said that Sir James Munby’s conclusion that P need not be a party “is not consistent with fundamental principles of domestic law and does not provide the degree of protection required by the Convention or the Strasbourg jurisprudence (paragraph 127). Lord Justice Moore-Bick said essentially the same thing at paragraph 171.

A fatally flawed process

Strictly, the views on the substantive issue of P’s party status is just non-binding as the court had already decided that it didn’t have jurisdiction to decide these issues in this appeal. But there’s no doubt that this leaves the current Re X process in confusion, if not fatally flawed.

There is already grave concern at the relative small take up of the Re X process, with only 200 or so applications made to date nationwide, and this reversal for attempts to streamline the process may not help encourage more engagement.

If P must be a party to any proceedings, with a litigation friend, and all the issues of access to representation and funding which that involves, this will inevitably be a lot less streamlined than Sir James Munby may have hoped, with consequences for delay, costs and the resources and time needed generally to get the huge number of cases through the process.

Law Commission review

Unfortunately, the ‘cavalry’ – the Law Commission proposals for reform of the whole system – is still some distance away. Though its consultation is due out in a few weeks on 7 July 2015, draft legislation is expected to be two years behind that in Summer 2017, and will take some time to implement, even if adopted.  Though there may now be even more pressure to accelerate that timescale, with a debate in Parliament scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, it is hard to see any new system being in place sooner than 2018.

In the meantime, and despite the best attempts of some judges to pare back the impact of Cheshire West by finding ways to disapply it in community settings, we have the ongoing problem of widespread unlawful deprivation of liberty, potentially incurring significant liabilities and, for the community settings in particular where Dols cannot be used, the well intentioned attempt to produce a ‘streamlined’ route through the Court of Protection now in some confusion.

Worst of all words

We await any formal response from the Court of Protection or the Ministry of Justice with interest, but this is not just of academic interest. At the frontline we risk being left with the worst of all worlds – with individuals identified as having rights without the practical means for these to be readily implemented, and already stretched public bodies with obligations that cannot practically be met. The cavalry cannot arrive soon enough!

Ben Troke is a partner at the law firm Browne Jacobson and head of its health and social care advisory team. This article was originally published in Browne Jacobson’s health law bulletin. 

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Disability Access to Transport


8 tips for wheelchair users on trains by Alan Benson

Disabled traveller and access problems
Disabled travellers facing access problems on tube. Nearly 80% of tube stations are still not accessible,

Some useful tips, but should you have to make this effort, surely a transport system should be there for everybody, so why should some persons have to put more into, to receive the same.

Wheelchair access, but in a train carriage for goods
Wheelchair access, but in a train carriage for goods

Should not the onus be on the operator of the transport facility and all their staff should have the knowledge and ability to see all passengers are catered for to an equal standard.

But is it down to money for sufficient resources, attitudes of some employees and an over encompassing mission statement from the employing transport operators.

Some persons say you should advise the operator before embarking on a journey, but why should you, this is a restriction on the use of any transport. Surely in this day and age a person in a wheelchair should be able to access all transport as do others. Yes, ramps will be required or some other form of access, but they should be readily available  and booking ahead should not be a requirement. This restricts for ‘on the spur of the moment’ decisions.

Here to the right is the Tube, but no access as there is no ramp. While to the left there is a ramp, but would you wish to travel in a carriage for goods. Transport facilities for persons using wheelchairs have improved as many trains now have access to ramps, more and more buses now are low-floor vehicles for ease access.

ruth about UK public transport. Disabled access on UK public transport. Lift off ... Laura is helped up on to a Tube train by Sun man Graham. Lee Thompson
Truth about UK public transport. Disabled access on UK public transport. Lift off … Laura is helped up on to a Tube train by Sun man Graham. Lee Thompson

However, as can be seen above there appears to be a ramp, but is the ramp suitable, without assistance access would be impossible.

But there has been legislation, creating Government Policy ‘Making transport more accessible for all‘* which for buses and coaches is stated as

‘The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) cover all new buses and coaches brought into service since 31 December 2000, which carry more than 22 passengers and are used to provide a local or scheduled service:

Access has been considerably improved on most forms of transport over the years, while this may have been due to the legislation introduced under ‘Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), there have also been inovations made to the various forms of transport. Modern buses are now  low-floor vehicles.

While access has been improved, capacity has not. Yes, we now have low-floor buses, but how many persons with wheelchairs can they take, mostly only one. The space which has been allocated normally has folding seats and there are notices to advise other passengers to vacate these seats if someone in a wheelchair requires that space. But that space is also available for persons with a pushchair or pram. Also if more than one person in a wheelchair wishes to travel at the sametime, there is no room for the other wheelchairs, even if the bus has other vacant seating for non-wheelchair passengers. Is this not discriminatory?

 

* Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.