Ex-high court judge rules risk of ‘embarrassing’ MPs no reason to withhold information
They were revealed by a Freedom of Information request which the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority tried to block.
The Telegraph reported last night the watchdog feared the “chilling effect” it could have on its relationship with politicians and claimed it could reduce public confidence in the regulatory system.
But it was over-ruled by a former High Court judge who said the risk of “embarrassing” MPs was no reason to keep the information secret.
It mirrors the initial reluctance of parliamentary authorities to release information on MPs’ expenses 10 years ago, when the scandal was uncovered only when it was leaked to the same newspaper.
The release of the credit card data showed MPs are regularly having their credit cards suspended for failing to provide receipts in a timely fashion or claiming for disallowed items, with 377 MPs sanctioned since 2015.
CLAIRE PERRY, THE ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER WHO ATTENDS CABINET, ADMITTED WRONGLY USING HER PARLIAMENTARY CREDIT CARD TO PAY FOR HER AMAZON PRIME SUBSCRIPTION.
Since the 2015 election, 377 MPs have all had their credit cards suspended, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act
Source: Parliamentary watchdog tried to hush news that hundreds of MPs had credit cards suspended | Nye Bevan News
The government has repeatedly ignored concerns raised by its own accessible transport advisers about the “toxic” impact on disabled people of running trains without a member of customer service staff on board, official documents have revealed.
The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) has been warning the Department for Transport (DfT) of its concerns for more than two years, according to letters, minutes of meetings and responses to public consultations.
DPTAC’s warnings have only emerged because of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the rail users’ campaign group The Association of British Commuters.
DPTAC – most of whose members are disabled people – first wrote to a senior DfT civil servant in April 2016 to warn of the “toxic combination of driver-only operated (DOO) trains and unstaffed stations”.
It warned then that such a combination, if there were no customer service staff on the train, was unlawful under the Equality Act.
But DPTAC has continued to raise the issue with the government, with further warnings issued in a response to a consultation in February this year; in its response to the government’s draft transport accessibility action plan; and even – two months ago – in a face-to-face meeting with transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani.
Ghani dismissed those concerns in the meeting.
Source: Government repeatedly ignores its own advisers on ‘toxic’ train access | DisabledGo News and Blog
Scores of healthcare professionals may have been able to continue carrying out disability benefit assessments despite being the subject of multiple complaints about their behaviour, competence and honesty, confidential new documents have revealed.
The official reports, prepared by outsourcing giants Capita and Atos for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), show that up to 180 personal independence payment (PIP) assessors were the subject of at least four complaints each in three-month periods in 2016.
The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that 161 assessors working for Atos had more than three complaints made against them in a three-month period.
And 19 Capita assessors were also subjected to at least four complaints in a three-month period in 2016.
Neither Atos nor Capita, nor DWP, will say what action was taken against these assessors and whether they are still carrying out face-to-face assessments of disabled PIP claimants.
The revelations provide fresh evidence of failings by the two private sector outsourcing giants in delivering PIP assessments across England, Wales and Scotland.
Disability News Service (DNS) has been investigating claims of widespread dishonesty by PIP assessors for more than a year, and has now heard from about 300 claimants who say their assessment reports contained clear lies.
The new reports include details of the “management information”
Source: The PIP Files: Data shows multiple complaints made against scores of Atos assessors | DisabledGo News and Blog
The practice of gov’t agencies suing, although highly ridiculed and uncommon, has been going on for years according to Columbia Journalism Review.
Source: The U.S. Government Is Suing People For Requesting Public Records
Mental health services in England risk being overwhelmed by a combination of rising demand and staff shortages, a survey of NHS trusts suggests. The poll by NHS Providers, which represents trusts, found seven in 10 mental health leaders expected demand to increase this year. But fewer than one in three was confident they had enough staff to deliver services. Ministers said extra money being invested would help improve care. It comes as an investigation by BBC Radio 5 live Daily found the growing demand for mental health support was being felt in the ambulance service too. Responses obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed there was a growing number of ambulance call-outs to people suffering from suspected mental health problems. In 2015-16, there were nearly 279,000 call-outs, up from 240,000 the previous year, according to the 13 out of 14 UK services that responded. Louise Rubin, of the charity Mind, said part of the rise was likely to be down to an increasing trend for
Source: Mental health care ‘risks being over-run’ | DisabledGo News and Blog
Freedom of Information Act guru Ryan Shapiro’s “Operation 45” aims to make President Trump transparent, accountable
Source: “FOIA superhero” launches campaign to make Donald Trump’s administration transparent – Salon.com