Is this the beginning of the benefits revolution?

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FEATURES — BY TFNADMIN ON 18/07/2013 4:03 PM 

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As the full extent of benefits cuts kick in, ROBERT ARMOUR discovers a surge of grassroots activists determined to fight back across Scotland with direct action

CAN direct action change government policy on welfare cuts? Blane McPherson believes so. Last week he protested alongside 15 others outside a Dundee Jobcentre after a disabled person, Martha Phelly, had her benefits sanctioned because, according to Jobcentre Plus staff, she refused to take work.

It means she goes without cash and housing benefit, leaving her in a very vulnerable situation. Despite walking with a stick due to rheumatoid arthritis, the 52 year old wants to work. She just doesn’t want to be forced into jobs she knows she can’t keep.

“Why should she?”

says McPherson.

“They want her to take a job she’s knows she’ll struggle with. She finds standing upright for long periods difficult but they want her to apply for any job they feel she’s qualified to do ignoring her obvious disability. It just makes no sense.”

As a result of the protest Jobcentre staff have promised to review her case but in the meantime she’s still being sanctioned. That means no money whatsoever and clients who are sanctioned also can’t apply for crisis loans. With her rent not being paid, it also means she’ll enter into an interminable cycle of  arrears which she won’t be able to escape from if and when her benefits are reinstated.

It was the direct action taken by her supporters that led the Jobcentre to announce a review of the case. But this case is just one of many. Since the latest phase of benefits cuts have been instigated, these kinds of protests have been happening up and down the country in support of individuals left with little to nothing to live on. 

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Backed by local groups, communities are taking direct action against the changes in a way not seen since the Poll Tax protests in the 80s.  Protests are regularly taking place in all of Scotland’s cities with action fomented locally at the grass-roots level.

The Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) was another group mounting a Jobcentre protest last week. Over a dozen supporters assembled outside the Leith branch of JobCentre Plus after it was alleged the management were instigating sanctions targets.

It has long been suspected targets exist but it is something the Department and Work and Pension vigorously deny. Nonetheless, it didn’t deter about 40 protesters standing outside the Jobcentre from leafleting passers by.

Ethel MacDonal, one of the organisers, said the demonstrations were are a response to need rather than any ideological or political motivation. Desperation is forcing direct action she said.

“People are really suffering because of sanctions.  Right now we are opposing sanctions imposed on a disabled claimant who is having to live on £26.05 per week because he was too ill to go to an appointment with the Ingeus workfare provider.  What’s more, most claimants who are sanctioned have their money stopped completely, for anything from one month to three months.”

Her view, like many, is that the majority suffer because of the greed of a minority, bankers, for example, who presided over a chaotic profit-driven system that ultimately failed. Now it’s the most vulnerable that are being made to pay.

“It’s time for action to assert that people’s needs must be the priority, not money. We can’t rely on any of the political parties so we organise at the grass-roots, through people power.”

p8_FETURE_bedroom taxEdinburgh-based disability rights group Black Triangle said there was similar feeling between the injustice of the Poll Tax and the current cuts.

The group was created with the backing of doctors and GPs in response to the growing number of both physically and mentally ill people who were coming to their surgeries because they couldn’t cope with the way the government was targeting them.

The movement has shown that people from all classes and all professions are united in opposition to the cuts.

“It is not about vested interests, rather it is about social justice,”

he said.

“People from all walks of life, from all social backgrounds can relate to the injustices being perpetrated against those who need our help,”

said a spokesperson.

“Instead of getting help they are being vilified. As a doctor I see the effects and I’m telling the government that it is not working. People who are vulnerable are being stigmatised and abused further. They need support, not condemnation by an uncaring regime.”

The sanctions regime, however, is just the thin edge of the wedge. The bedroom tax has ignited the nation’s ire like nothing before and groups across the country are springing up to oppose it.

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Even in rural areas, as far north as Banff to Galloway in the south, local communities are meeting to develop ways to oppose the tax.

The Scottish Socialist Party has been organising many of the meetings but disabled people’s  organisations and welfare rights groups have also been setting up local meetings to oppose the tax.

Many local councils and housing associations now won’t evict if individuals accrue arrears through the tax. Those with an extra bedroom are losing on average £11 a week from their benefits but for campaigners the non-eviction policy is not enough.

Bob McKinnon, an organiser from the Scottish Socialist Part in Perth says people are still being downsized by councils and housing associations where they can’t pay the tax.

“Tenants are being told they won’t be evicted but at the same time moved to smaller homes,” he said.

“So basically they are saying we won’t evict you but only if you move house. It might be in a less preferable area and people might just not want to move. So while housing bodies have been quick to respond with the no eviction PR, there’s another story behind the headlines.”

McKinnon believes many concessions have been won through community protests and the government will only keep trying to see what it can push through. However if local groups rise up, they’ll back down.

“I think the analogy with the Poll Tax demos is accurate,”

he says.

“The demographic might be a bit different as the bedroom tax and the welfare cuts only affect those on benefits, but the wider public is reacting with outrage to policies they thought had disappeared with Margaret Thatcher.

“We expect opposition to grow. The more people learn of the injustices the more pressure will build. Some think these policies are here to stay. I don’t think so, certainly not in Scotland anyway.”

Leith JobCentre the focus of sanctions demonstrations
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Susan Archibald of The Archibald Foundation and Black Triangle Supporter

PROTESTERS outside Leith JobCentre last week said sanctions effectively removing benefits from claimants for not adhering to strict rules is a tactic being employed by JobCentre managers to meet quotas.

The police were guarding the JobCentre from hours before the demo and when protesters arrived police numbers grew to double figures. Some demonstrators entered the JobCentre but were stopped by police in the foyer and frogmarched out. 

The policeman in charge declared the Public Order Act was in force and under its provisions ordered people to leave the approach ramp to the JobCentre.  Despite this demonstrators crowded round the door, guarded by a row of police. A cacophony of whistles, spoons beating on pots and chants of “We will not be sanctioned!” and “We won’t be your 30%” informed staff inside the building of the presence of protesters.

The Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty says sanctions are being widely used to get the claimant count down instead of supporting them into work.JobCentre advisors are increasingly pushing claimants into jobs they neither want or are suitable to fill, according to the campaigners. Since many have just come off disability or incapacity benefit, many haven’t worked for years and find the transition into work impossible without support.

One demonstrator told how she herself had been sanctioned and was surviving on meagre hardship payments. Others claimed that staff at Leith JobCentre were trying to bully and threaten them into signing up to the Universal Jobmatch government job search account and give permission for their jobsearch to be electronically monitored.

The rumour that the manager had told staff that 30% of claimants were not meeting the conditions for receiving Job Seekers Allowance each week – and therefore should be sanctioned – is widely quoted and gives backing to claims of bullying.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson however said: “DWP policy is very clear – we do not set sanction targets.

“It’s only right that people should do everything they can to find work if they want to claim Jobseekers Allowance. We make it clear to people at the start of their claim what the rules are and that they risk losing their benefits if they don’t play by them. Sanctions are only used as a last resort and people who are in genuine need can apply for hardship payments. If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim they can appeal.”

BLACK TRIANGLE NOTE

In case of any doubt, while we do enjoy widespread support from grassrooots members of the BMA who fully back our campaign in solidarity, Black Triangle is first and foremost a disabled people’s organisation set up and run by and for disabled folk, their families and carers.

Our lobbying efforts with regard to BMA’s leadership is currently running at full throttle. Dr. Stephen Carty is our campaign member and Medical Adviser. More on our progress in future posts. Hopefully soon!

Needless to say, we will never relent until the entire profession joins with us in the fight to protect all sick and/or disabled people from the evil of the government’s so-called ‘reforms’ that are killing disabled people!

THIRD FORCE NEWS

Comments
  • Christina Klein-Bissett July 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    you are doing a great job black triangle. can never thank you enough.

    • JEFFREY July 31, 2013 at 1:00 am

      carry on BT,from jeff lph.
      keep up the good work and shame this condem bunch of pigs

  • Mary Jackson July 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    you are the voice for disabled people and thier carers, and this government must be made to listen, Keep up the good work

  • cck July 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Good luck please keep up the pressure, I wish I could help and join in, but am too unwell and life is very hard for me to just do the basics each day. For me and all of those of us who have no voice and who the government are trying to kill off and leave destitute, I thank you for giving us a voice xx

  • Ian Davies July 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I don’t need incentives to work I need help, in the meantime I’ve created work for others. My patent granted invention The Plugster® has been given to 1000’s in the UK & it’s made in the UK. With help I have lots of ideas for products that could create work in the UK, just this week I’ve submitted another application that I hope leads to another made in the UK product.

    What I’ve done is without help from the DWP & with little support, with help & support I could do more but the DWP & Government can’t think outside the box.

  • Sean July 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Being in the USA I wish we had an organization like yours. I have a disabled wife and no one not even the local government will help because I am employed. We have 6 children total but with 4 failed back surgeries and infection after infection our world has been flipped upside down. I want to thank you for letting me be heard and I hope that change will come for you. Out family has even tried crowd funding for help but people don’t seem to care anymore not even family. http://www.gofundme.com/2zx3ho. That is our site you will see how much people care. I have had it up for a month and a half. Again thank you for letting me speak. Keep fighting the fight.

    • JJ July 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Many thanks, Sean and sending solidarity to you and your loved ones across the waves

  • Catherine Boyle July 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    We the people of this country would like to thamk you for what you are doing for us we cant manage ourselves as i have discoid lupus and athiritis all over my spine knees and hands it isnt right what this government are doing even although it is a human right for us to get welfare in the uk
    articale 25 of the universal declarationof human rightsof which the ukis a signatory everyone has the right to a standard of living adequatefor the healthand well_being of himself and his family including food,clothing ,housing and medical care ,old age or other lack of livelihood circomstances beyond his control
    please keep up the good work

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 22, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Bradford Telegraph & Argus – Monday 22nd July 2013

    Disability assessments branded ‘unfair’ by Council

    A spokesman for ATOS Healthcare said neither the policy behind the assessments, nor the appeals process, were matters the company was responsible for.

    She said: “Appeals are against the Department for Work and Pensions and are managed by the Ministry for Justice and Atos Healthcare has absolutely no part in this process so couldn’t change or influence the timescales for these in any way.”

    http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/localbrad/10562267.Disability_assessments_branded____unfair____by_Council/?ref=nt

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 22, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Independent – Mon 22nd July 2013

    Crackdown on disability benefits costs taxpayer £66m in appeals costs

    The Government’s crackdown on disability benefit payments has cost the taxpayer more than £66m in appeals, it emerged on Sunday.

    Figures released to the Labour Party showed that the cost of tribunals hearing employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals trebled from £21m in 2009/10 to £66m in 2012/13.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/crackdownon-disability-benefits-costs-taxpayer-66m-in-appeals-costs-8724779.html

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      That is over £1 million a week.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 22, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Bbc News 18th July 2013

    GPs in south east Wales told not to help benefit appeals

    GPs in south east Wales have been told to stop writing letters for patients appealing against decisions to stop benefit payments because it is an “abuse of resources”.

    Patients have been asking doctors for evidence that they are not fit for work.

    But Bro Taf local medical committee, representing GPs, says writing letters stops doctors seeing ill patients.

    Disability Wales has described the decision as “almost callous”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-23353623

  • Rich July 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Hello folks. I just wanted to say I had my giro sanctioned before and it stopped my housing benefit automatically, but I put in for a hardship payment (got nothing for 2 weeks then 80 odd quid the second 2 weeks) and immediately went to my local rent office with a recent bank statement, which showed I was skint. To my surprise they continued paying my HB and council tax reduction. Maybe your friend could try that. It won’t put food on the table but at least she won’t have the imminent threat of being chucked out onto the street. These sanctions are a bloody disgrace, especially against the disabled. I wish you well in your campaign.

  • Serenity July 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

    A new trick to juggle figures so the present housing crisis won’t look as serious as it is, the removal from the list of band D applicants and in some boroughs C also, some people have lingered on D and C for over 20yrs just to be removed overnight, to make it look better for councils. It’s criminal that they can just abandon people at will like this.
    http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/5877/Apply-for-housing

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Independent Mon 22nd July 2013

    Atos to lose monopoly after ‘flawed and unacceptable’ disability benefit assessments

    More than 40 per cent of the reports carried out on disability benefit claimants by the back-to-work assessor Atos are flawed and unacceptable, according to an audit commissioned by the Government.

    Following months of complaints about allegedly unfair and slapdash decisions made by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions audited around 400 of the company’s written reports into disability claimants, grading them A to C. Of these, 41 per cent came back with a C, meaning they were unacceptable and did not meet the required standard.

    The lowest grade does not necessarily mean the decision was wrong, but that a serious error or omission occurred, such as no evidence to justify the recommendations, or inconsistencies in the evidence provided.

    The findings mean the company will be stripped of its monopoly on deciding whether people with disabilities are fit to work. The DWP said the poor quality of the company’s written reports were “contractually unacceptable” and announced on Monday it would be inviting other companies to bid for fresh regional contracts by summer 2014 to help reduce waiting times. Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “This is a direct consequence of three years of appalling contract management by Iain Duncan Smith.”

    full story
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/atos-to-lose-monopoly-after-flawed-and-unacceptable-disability-benefit-assessments-8727115.html

  • Trevor July 24, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Grassroots’ activism is probably all claimants are left with to defend themselves against this escalating neoliberal onslaught which is causing untold misery to millions. We can’t expect any assistance from bogus “socialist” outfits like Labour, only more persecution, therefore self-defence is the only option left.

    So, well done, and congratulations to all those in the above article for making a brave stand against injustice. (What an antidote to all the Royal Baby crap we’ve had to endure over the last few days.)

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Heraldscotland Tue 23rd July 2013

    Atos: PM orders end 
to company’s monopoly of benefits health tests

    David Cameron has ordered an end 
to the monopoly enjoyed by the company operating the controversial fitness-to-work tests amid fears too many of its assessments were flawed.

    Atos, which carries out the tests on behalf of the UK Government, has also been told to improve the quality of its findings after a damning inquiry found an unacceptable fall in standards.

    But the changes did not go far enough for some campaigners who last night urged the Coalition Government to scrap the tests and replace them with a new assessment that was “fit for purpose”. They also called for Atos to be fined for each evaluation it gets wrong.

    Charities have repeatedly warned that the process – which judges applications for Incapacity Benefit and sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – was flawed, citing 40% of appeals were successful.

    New figures show the appeals process cost the taxpayer more than £66 million.

    full story: –
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/cameron-orders-end-to-health-test-companys-monopoly.21681812

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Passing a tainted and biased, “not fit for purpose”, ESA examination criteria over to a new face will only get a differing smile……..

    The outcome will always be the same………….

    ……….if everyone in the country, stood together, and refused an examination, the system would grind to a halt.

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 25, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Yes that is where I stand – refuse a examination – Also I still have not filled out the ESA default form & still getting the same money. I will have nothing to do with Atos.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Independent Fri 26th July 2013

    200,000 victims of Equitable Life collapse may miss out on compensation after Atos slips up again

    Under-fire contractor and Treasury criticised by MPs for running ‘arbitrary’ scheme

    More than 200,000 people who lost money in the collapse of Equitable Life may miss out on compensation because of failings in the Government’s reimbursement scheme – which is administered by the outsourcing company Atos.

    That is the conclusion of a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Westminster spending watchdog.

    After a decade-long battle by Equitable savers, the Treasury announced after the Coalition Government took office that it would compensate up to 1.5 million policyholders who lost money from the collapse. The Chancellor, George Osborne, capped total payments at £1.5bn.

    But the Treasury now estimates that it may not be able to trace around 20 per cent of policyholders by the time the scheme winds up in March next year. The PAC accused the Treasury of adopting an “arbitrary” target to close the scheme.

    full story –
    http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/200000-victims-of-equitable-life-collapse-may-miss-out-on-compensation-after-atos-slips-up-again-8732807.html

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Gov.uk

    Press release 8th July 2013

    Help for people on sickness benefits to address barriers to work

    People on sickness benefits will have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to address barriers to work in a 2 year pilot.

    People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits – in a 2 year pilot scheme announced today.

    Around 3,000 people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who have been assessed as being able to work in the future will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals as a condition of receiving their benefit. The meetings will focus on helping claimants to move closer to being able to get a job.

    The proposed pilot scheme will compare the help given by doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists to 2 other pilot schemes which will offer enhanced support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to see which is best at helping people off sickness benefits and into work.

    Employment Minister Mark Hoban said:


    We need to ensure that people who are able to work get the encouragement they need to get a job, while those who are too sick to work get real support.

    Many people on sickness benefits want to work, so it’s vitally important that we give them the right help to move into a job if they are able. The help we give people at the moment tends to focus on work-related skills, but doesn’t necessarily address health problems. But by giving people regular support from doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists we can do more to help people manage or improve their conditions.”

    People in the work related activity group for ESA already have ‘work-focussed interviews’ with Jobcentre Plus as a condition of receiving their benefit. In the pilot area this would be replaced by meetings with healthcare professionals. The length and frequency of the meetings would be flexible, depending on the individual’s needs.

    The regular discussions will focus claimants on how they can improve their view of their readiness for work by taking steps to manage their health issues. They will not replace a person’s GP, but can promote health support and help a claimant to reengage with their GP if they are struggling to adapt to their condition.

    More information

    There will be three separate pilot schemes:
    •health care professional-led – mandatory engagement with health care professionals
    •Jobcentre Plus – enhanced Jobcentre Plus support
    •Work Programme – enhanced support designed by Work Programme provider

    The pilots will begin in November and will run until August 2016. They will involve people on ESA in the work related activity group who are expected to be able to return to work in 18 months or over.

    The health care professional-led pilot uses funding from the European Social Fund.

    gov.uk –
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/help-for-people-on-sickness-benefits-to-address-barriers-to-work

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Where`s The Benefit blogspot 24th July 2013

      Get Better… Or Else?

      Disabled people have precious few illusions left about how the DWP views us, but a new pilot programme is going to take that relationship into even more disturbing territory. Starting in November, 3000 disabled people in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance will be forced, under threat of sanction, to attend medical interviews “to address barriers to work”, or as DWP minister Mark Hoban put it in the press release “to address health problems”. This is at best ethically dubious, forcing someone into a medical process without their consent and which is not with their own specialists, nor even necessarily with someone competent with their specific disability. The only other example of a compelled medical relationship* is for people sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and even they are at least guaranteed that the medical staff involved are mental health professionals and/or their own doctors, while the DWP merely state the meetings will be with “doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists”.

      Many of us who have dealt with corporate Occupational Health professionals will have encountered the situation where the opinion of the OH professional is at odds with that of our own specialists – in my case the OH professional actively tried to undermine a report by my own consultant and I had to exhaust the company grievance procedure before my then employers would back down and accept the opinion of the consultant who was actually treating me. Yet someone facing workplace OH processes does at least have resort to grievance procedures and the threat of an Employment Tribunal, with the right to withhold consent for the referral, or to withhold consent for a report they disagree with to be forwarded to their managers. Not stated in the DWP press release is whether the medical staff used will be feeding reports back to DWP, what data protection will be in place around that, and whether the disabled person will have the same medical protection in respect of having the right to view and potentially deny consent for release of the report as is currently the case for a workplace OH assessment.

      Worryingly, the DWP press release leaves unstated what will happen if the appointment results in the patient being told to undertake treatment they disagree with, or which is even at odds with the appropriate treatment for their disability, worries that are doubled by the current hair-triggered sanction regime which DWP targets at disabled people. Many disabled people have related experiences with Atos-conducted WCAs in which the Atos ‘Health Care Professionals’ have proven to be utterly clueless on the specifics of the disability they are meant to be assessing, assuming they have even heard of it in the first place, and similar staff are now to be charged with “address(ing) barriers to work”. There are a host of disabilities in which standard treatments for apparently similar disabilities may be contra-indicated, yet actively advocated by medical staff who don’t specialise in that specific disability. If a patient, many of whom are experts in their own disability, finds a DWP OH professional pushing them towards a treatment they know their own consultants would not advocate, then what potential is there for them to say ‘no’ without triggering sanctions? Equally worryingly, the confrontational nature of DWP’s relationship with disabled people (and claimants in general) may mean that the patient is too intimidated by the potential threat of sanctions to even think of objecting, which effectively removes any potential for the medically required ‘informed consent’.

      full article:-
      http://wheresthebenefit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/get-better-or-else.html

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    The time has come to say, “fuck off you bunch of miscreants”.
    People power is a wonderful thing if utilised properly…..

    An overwhelming ” no to everything they throw at us” would put the cat amongst the pigeons.

    Why should a twisted few, who are being rewarded by the insurance industry, cause so much pain and suffering to those who are already in need of care and support.
    Its put up or shut up time, the ball is in our court, remember that!
    The tail is wagging the dog.

    The same bastards who are proposing these changes have ulterior motives…..

    Big payouts from the sources who are pulling their strings….

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    BILL GUNNYEON , the so called Chief Medical Officer of the DWP, and a bunch of his twisted cronies who regularly attend insurance based seminars, are the instigators of all this shit directed against the poor and disabled.

    The “ANGEL OF DEATH”, GUNNYEON, has links to UNUM, Aylward, and a whole host of cesspit characters and organisations that are paving the way for private medical insurance to land on our shores………….

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    ………….LYNTON CROSBY IS TO HEALTH WHAT GUNNYEON IS TO THE DISABLED……….

    These are the gatekeepers of the big multinationals.

    Your life, your health, your wellbeing, mean nothing to these guys. They are there for one reason only, to fulfill the wishes of their paymasters………..

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Chief Medical Officer of the DWP – Don`t make me laugh, he has no medical qualifications. Look out CMO the DWP`s Data Protection Officer has got the sack for fruad. The ESA bogus default maybe form is fruad.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    They say money oils the wheels of industry and the crooked MP’s are holding the oilcan………

    Lobbying behind the scenes, is the gravy train for each and every minister who purports to represent us.

    Non reporting of conflicts of interest and hidden payments have become the new “norm”.

    Corruption is the driving force behind the government benches. They are all on the take, whether it be small or large.

    Each and every proposal they vote upon, carries someones, behind the scenes, influence………

    Never even try to wonder why some law is passed. The interests of the electorate come secondary when powerful businesses cross the palm with silver.

    The bigger the business, the bigger the influence. Blackmail, coercionist practices, backhanders are but a few of the ways that direct our parliamentarians,

    …………………the cesspool overfloweth!

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    What happens when someone [Corporate politics] gets over confedent – They make mistakes. They can`t fool the voters, they can`t fool the corporate international companies. But the voters have the last say. So it is to brainwash the voters into believing everything is going to plan covering up the hundreds of millions of pounds wasted on the cover up. Now that involves the corporate companies, which means the corporate companies with use the voters [tax payers] as cash cows. In the end these politians think that corporate shares are more important than being an MP & in government. So the brainwashing continues. How can 10 millions people be wrong & politians with shares in corporate companies think they are right. Double Standards. Living a lie means you have to continues the lies [untruths] at much expense what ever it takes to continue the cover up of untruths to become lies.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    IDS you are a failed leader & a failed leader for Work & Pensions.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Atos shares have fallen badly for the first quarter or 2013. No money to be made IDS only spending more & more on a cover up.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Failure means losing the Election, So yet more tax payers money thrown at the problem of why the atos shares are falling.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Yes, absolutely true, atos shares are dipping and the reason why is plainly evident, FAILURE!

    Our twisted ministers saw a way of making a fortune by denying benefits to disabled by employing freeloading goons to write biased bogus medical reports.

    Ask yourself how many disabled have been found a lasting, proper job?

    The answer is obvious, hardly any. Yet rather than admit they made a “grand fuck up”, they carry on regardless instigating more threats, more worry and the appeals list becomes longer and longer….

    The real cost of tribunals and paper work will never be known. Its like the cost of the olympics, a pie in the sky figure, clutched from out of the air to cover their inbred incompetence!

    You can carry on chasing rainbows or admit that you were wrong in the first instance. This government prefer to carry on whilst using millions, maybe billions of taxpayers money to find the holy grail.

    Sadly, the search will bear no fruit, it was doomed from its inception. Kicking the weakest in society will come back to haunt the governments that allow this. The mark of a caring society is how it looks after its weakest………

    Wear your iron cross with pride Mr Smith, you deserve it for all the deaths that bear the signature of your policies, you can smile at the judges as they sentence you to hang.

    Nuremberg remembers fools like you!

  • jay July 26, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Hoban – “But by giving people regular support from doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists we can do more to help people manage or improve their conditions.”

    What the hell do these numpties think sick and disabled people already see their NHS consultants and Doctors for?

    Clueless idiots who have no idea what it is like to suffer from illness and disability.

    Do Atos and the next lot of corporate scum sucking on the taxpayers teat think they know better than experienced NHS consultants and Doctor’s?

  • Humanity2012 July 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    People are All Too Easily taken in by Regime Propaganda about
    ” Dole Scroungers ” without having the Intellectual Capacity to
    Realize that Welfare Benefits are There to Protect against
    Hunger and Total Destitute

    ” Arbeit Macht Frei ” ” Work Makes You Free ” is a Nazi Concept
    as Destructive of Decency and Morality as Eugenics and
    Euthanasia

    • JEFFREY August 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THAT 100 PERCENT
      JEFF ..

  • PAULA July 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    DELIGHTED TO HEAR TERESA MAY HAS BEEN REWARDED FOR WHAT SHE DID TO THE SICK AND DISSABLED, THAT OLD SAYING WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!

    • JEFFREY July 31, 2013 at 1:43 am

      what happened to lady may i never new anything went down with her ??? jeff

  • Nigel simmons July 29, 2013 at 11:23 am

    News from the Isle of Man
    ATOS didn’t tender for contract
    Published online at 29/07/2013 08:15:00
    Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw
    ATOS will not be the company assessing Island residents on their fitness to work.
    That’s been confirmed by Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw.
    The firm has been dogged by controversy in the UK.
    Most recently, its Work Capability Assessments were deemed unacceptably poor, following a UK government review.
    ATOS was used for a six month trial period in the Isle of Man.
    But Mr Robertshaw says it hasn’t tendered for the contract:

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

    bbc Tues 30th July 2013

    Housing benefit challenge dismissed by High Court

    Disabled families have lost a court challenge to social housing benefit cuts for residents with spare bedrooms in England, Wales and Scotland.

    Ten families brought a judicial review over the lower payments for people in homes deemed too large.

    But the High Court has ruled that the change, which was introduced in April, did not breach their human rights.

    The government is “incredibly pleased” by the decision, the BBC understands, although the families plan to appeal.

    Richard Stein, of law firm Leigh Day which is representing some of the families, said his clients were “bitterly disappointed with today’s decision, but they are not defeated”.

    He added: “We, along with the other lawyers acting on behalf of adults with disabilities, will appeal this judgment and we remain confident that the discrimination which was recognised by the court and which has been perpetrated against our clients by this legislation is not justified and is unlawful.”

    ‘Benchmark’

    BBC chief political correspondent Norman Smith said the decision was a “huge relief” for the government.

    A statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “We are pleased to learn that the court has found in our favour and agreed that we have fulfilled our equality duties to disabled people.

    “Reform of housing benefit in the social sector is essential, so the taxpayer does not pay for people’s extra bedrooms.”

    The government said it had already provided £150m to councils to make discretionary payments to vulnerable people hit by the changes, but also announced that it would bolster this fund by £35m.

    Our correspondent said sources had told him that the extra funding was not prompted by the court action.

    This was a “benchmark policy” for ministers, both in terms of cutting spending and changing “attitudes towards housing benefit”, he added.

    The families, all disabled or the parents of disabled children, had challenged the changes during a three-day hearing in May.

    Their lawyers argued the benefit cut violated the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

    But a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said at the time that the move would bring back fairness to the housing benefit system and pointed out there were “two million households on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million tenants… living in overcrowded homes”.

    About 660,000 working-age social housing households judged to have too many bedrooms have lost an average of £14 per week since their benefit was cut at the beginning of April.

    The DWP estimated that 420,000 disabled people would be among those affected.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23503095

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      “Their lawyers argued the benefit cut violated the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.”

      So it now goes to the European Court of Human Rights for breaking Human Rights & the Equality Act 2010.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

    We might have lost the latest battle about discriminating against disabled people and bedroom tax, but the battle will carry on regardless as we take the fight to them…….
    It must have given IDS a nosebleed because they have had to bang another thirty odd million into the social housing fund.

    The onslaught against us is directed by the same toffs in power who rub shoulders with the judiciary on a daily basis.

    Eton chums, cast out bums, who see themselves too posh to kowtow to the injured plebs.
    The real truth about ATOS is just starting to surface. Also the true extent of lobbying and the influence of multinationals.

    Money rules ok……..
    But one good fist saves a thousand words………….

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    “Their lawyers argued the benefit cut violated the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.”

    So it now goes to the European Court of Human Rights for breaking Human Rights & the Equaility Act 2010.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Had the case gone before the European courts it would have resulted in a kick in the bollocks for the government, and they know this……

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      The video above – Tues 30th July 2013 – Today.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    WHAT AN “EVIL, DETESTABLE, NASTY, HORRIBLE PIECE OF SHIT, ESTHER MCVEY REALLY IS……

    “WE ARE DOING ALL WE CAN TO HELP DISABLED PEOPLE”

    WORDS FAIL ME, SHE SHOULD BE IN BROADMOOR WITH THE LIKES OF BRADY, WITH HER OTHER VILE COMRADES IN ADJOINING CELLS………

    • DonnyGiveAtos July 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you more Geoff, the stupid cow even has the gall to say “people get better”, if she had even half a brain she would understand that they also get worse or don’t improve at all.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Esther McVey savage attack on Citizens Advice Bureau – Published 11 July 2013

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      Esther McVey can`t speak the Queens English.Not one sentence makes any sense.

      • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

        Sorry, i had to turn it off after about a minute. Apparently the disabled are much better off, have seen much improvements and the kids with disabilities are getting better exam results….

        What the evil witch forgot to say is; WE ARE GETTING EVICTED DUE TO BEDROOM TAXES, HAVING OUR BENEFITS SLASHED AND BEING FORCED TO UNDERGO BIASED ATOS TESTS WHILST LIVING IN POVERTY WHILST AWAITING DELIBERATELY PROTRACTED APPEALS PROCESSES WHICH IN TURN, IS TAKING LIVES AND DRIVING PEOPLE TO FOOD KITCHENS…………….

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

    It seems IDS is Esther McVeys pimp. He acts like a failed eaton villige idiot. If was is said is written down it will be not worth the paper it`s written on. Forget about any grammer. You need earplugs to shut out the bad english & grammer that sicks out like a rubbish shoot. IDS love pimping so don`t pimp his ride. Mark Hoban is IDS`s bitch that is Ester McVey`s bodygaurd.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 10:37 am

    The cover ups are coming in thick & fast, meaning IDS the pimp is rushing about making rash changes rushing through polices at great expense to cover up the mistakes. But that is just living a lie & you have to continue the lies at great expense just to win the election iin 2015. £185 million to cover up the failed Bedroom tax appeal that was lost in the High Courts yesterday. The point is when did the govenment give the disabled so much power that the disabled are bankurpting the uk for the next 20 years. Legacy – The Disabled have power to do anything as sports heros, even superheros to bankurpt the uk for decades. The policy used for all govenment policies is a “Contradiction Policy” which in itself is a contradiction. Fraud is not a contradiction it is fraud. A contradiction is setting ones self up for guilt. Welfare Reforms what a contradiction in terms.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Anti Bedroom Tax Protest outside Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing St, London on 30th March 2013.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    The government have us believe that the flagship “Universal Credit” is on time and will soon be online.
    This is absolute bullshit……..
    Read this column from JOHNNY VOID:

    Far from being ‘digital by default’ the latest information on the new Universal Credit benefit system suggests that “most interactions will be face to face, by telephone or by post.”

    The DWP have released a new document outlining the Claimant Journey (PDF) for those claiming Universal Credit in the pathfinder areas – the handful of Jobcentres scheduled to trial the new benefit. The Claimant Journey suggests that except for the initial application form, which will be filled in online, Universal Credit will be a telephone based benefit.

    After filling in the online form, which will have to be done in one session and won’t work with certain browsers, claimants will then be required to wait for a phone call and a text from the DWP. It doesn’t seem to have even occurred to Iain Duncan Smith that many claimants don’t have mobile phones.

    Those who the DWP manages to make contact with will then be invited in for an interview at which they will be required to provide details of identification, and other documents as evidence of their circumstances. At this interview they will be forced to sign a Claimant Commitment, which will explain the ‘conditionality’ which will be imposed on them whilst they are in receipt of the benefit. This ‘conditionality’ will mean enforced 35 hour a week job search, no matter where a claimant lives or how many jobs are available locally.

    Claimants will then have to wait for the DWP to write to them before knowing for sure whether a claim has been successful.

    It is the process on reporting changes in circumstances which reveal just how far Universal Credit has moved from the ‘digital by default’ model promised by ministers. It appears that changes in circumstances will be expected to be reported by telephone in most cases. The documents also warns that those in work, whose employers are not using the new Real Time Information system to report wage and tax details , will have to report income details to the DWP on a monthly basis. The same will apply to anyone who derives some income from self-employment. There is no information provided so far on how exactly claimants are supposed to do this, but it looks likely this will also be a telephone system.

    Anyone who has ever tried to telephone the DWP only to spend an hour on hold if you are lucky enough to get through will know what a disaster this is going to be. And just to make it worse, the DWP are using an 0845 number which could cost up to 40p a minute to call from mobile phones.

    So claimants will need a computer with internet access to make the initial claim, a mobile phone to accept texts from the DWP and a landline to ensure that they aren’t paying astronomical costs to report earnings, or lack of them, every month.

    How the DWP will know that they are actually speaking to the claimant is not explained. It seems that sinister early plans for voice prints and other shadowy identification procedures have been abandoned. Which means you’ll be able to ring up and get someone’s benefits stopped just for the shits and giggles.

    In reality this is no joke. It is exactly the kind of shit that vindictive or abusive ex-partners are likely to pull. And this is just one of a thousand things that the DWP haven’t thought of as they charge ahead with bungled and unfit for purpose welfare reforms.

    • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Not Fit For Purpose – If you don`t sign or get involved they can`t do nothing. They can only do something if you comply = Signing your life away in their hands. You are not a name you are a numbered cash cow.

      • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        It`s not my fault I am computer illiterate or have a mobile phone. So dthat means I am exempt from the whole process. Treat me like a fool you will get treated like a fool by me with common sense. I am not the DWP`s slave worker.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    If it is not in writing to a letter sent to me it is Not Fit For Purpose. The letter they send [or not] is the evidance. So until the DWP put it in writing it`s not worth the paper its written on because they have not written it on paper. Rules are their to be broken because they are not rules they are Not Fit For Purpose with makes it defaulted.

  • Stepping Razor Sound Plate July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Even more rushed through forms that are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

  • Diane July 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Does everyone on this site know that a disgraced nurse as been told that she can only work with ATOS? This was the ruling by the NMC please see this site and read for yourself AND PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD THAT THE NMC DON’T CARE ABOUT THE SICK AND DISABLED

    http://www.nmc-uk.org/Documents/FTPOutcomes/COP2013/COP%20%20O%27Donohoe%20ICIO%20Review_35751_%2020130704.pdf

    Page 1 of 1
    Conditions of Practice
    4 July 2013
    Name of registrant: Mrs Ingrid O’Donohoe
    NMC Pin: 92Y1112E
    Part(s) of the register: Registered Nurse – Sub Part 1
    Adult Nursing – 09/10/1995
    Interim Order to be reviewed: Interim conditions of practice order
    Outcome of Review: Order confirmed
    Decision on interim order
    The panel decided to continue the current interim conditions of practice order.
    The panel carefully considered all the information before it and heard submissions by
    Ms Whyment on behalf of the NMC. The panel accepted the advice of the legal
    assessor and took account of the guidance issued to panels by the NMC when
    considering interim orders and the appropriate test as set out at Article 31 of The
    Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001. It may only make an interim order if it is satisfied
    that it is necessary for the protection of the public, is otherwise in the public interest or is
    in Mrs O’Donohoe’s own interest. The panel was mindful that its role was to undertake a
    risk assessment based on the information before it, and not to determine the facts of the
    case.
    This case was referred to the NMC on 26 March 2012 by ATOS Healthcare. This is the
    fourth effective review of an interim conditions of practice order imposed on 17 April
    2012. The allegations relate to Mrs O’Donohoe’s behaviour at Chelmsford Medical
    Examination Centre on 19, 20 and 21 March 2012. It is alleged that Mrs O’Donohoe’s
    behaviour was inappropriate when she was checking someone’s identity, and that she
    asked inappropriate questions of a claimant at the examination centre. It is further
    alleged that Mrs O’Donohoe became agitated and stressed and began shouting and
    Page 2 of 2
    swearing when carrying out another assessment. The police were called to this final
    incident and Mrs O’Donohoe was allowed to leave the building.
    It is alleged that this conduct was caused by a return of serious health issues.
    Ms Whyment drew the panel’s attention to the on table documents sent in by Mrs
    O’Donohoe’s representatives. This included:
     A letter from Mrs O’Donohoe’s General Practitioner dated 20 June 2013.
     “Final Report” from Occupational Health dated 26 June 2013.
     A letter from Mrs O’Donohoe’s Line Manager dated 3 July 2013.
    Ms Whyment accepted that Mrs O’Donohoe has fully complied with all of the conditions.
    Therefore as there is no new information to undermine the current interim conditions of
    practice order, it appears to be effective, workable and adequately address the
    concerns raised in this case. Ms Whyment therefore invited the panel to continue the
    current interim conditions of practice order on the grounds of public interest, and it being
    otherwise in the wider public interest. Ms Whyment also asked that it remains in Mrs
    O’Donohoe’s own interests.
    This panel was not bound by the decisions of the previous panel on 5 April 2013.
    However, the panel heard no new information that undermines the continuing necessity
    of an order.
    In all the circumstances the panel has concluded, on the basis of the information before
    it, that there remains a risk of harm and repetition and the need for an interim order to
    remain. The panel noted the letter from Mrs O’Donohoe’s Occupational Health Advisor
    dated 26 June 2013 contained in the on-table document. This states that ‘Ms Donohoe’s
    health is stable at present and she will require ongoing treatment, support and follow up.
    Due to the nature of the condition, I am concluding that the symptoms may ‘flare up’ in
    the future, but I am unable to predict the frequency or severity of episodes.’ Accordingly
    the panel concluded that due to the seriousness of the allegations in this matter an
    order remained appropriate and proportionate on the grounds of public protection and
    the panel also concluded an order is otherwise in the public interest to protect the
    Page 3 of 3
    reputation of the professions and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct.
    The panel also determined that an order was necessary in Mrs O’Donohoe’s own
    interests.
    The panel next considered whether an interim conditions of practice order remains the
    appropriate and proportionate response in this case. The panel recognised Mrs
    O’Donohoe’s compliance with the conditions and was of the view that they effectively
    addressed the concerns raised in this case. The panel noted that both parties were
    content with the conditions imposed and it saw no reason to depart from them.
    The panel considered whether the current conditions of practice order would provide the
    necessary level of protection and concluded that there having been no material change
    in the circumstances of the case an interim conditions of practice order remains the
    appropriate, necessary and proportionate response in this matter. The panel was of the
    view that the public would remain suitably protected by the continuation of the following
    conditions;
    1. You shall only work as a registered nurse for Atos Healthcare;
    2. You shall use your best endeavours to provide a report to the NMC from your line
    manager, prior to the next review of this order, which comments on your conduct and
    performance as a registered nurse;
    3. You shall use your best endeavours to provide a report to the NMC from
    Occupational Health or your GP prior to the next review of this order which comments
    on your engagement and compliance with any management of your ongoing health care
    needs;
    4. You shall inform any employer or potential employer whether for paid or unpaid
    nursing work of the conditions imposed in this order.
    This order will run for the period remaining on the original order
    At any review the panel may revoke the order or any condition of it, it may confirm the
    order, or vary any condition of it, or it may replace the order with an interim suspension
    order. In certain circumstances, it may be possible for the order to be reviewed by a
    Page 4 of 4
    panel at an administrative meeting. Mrs O’Donohoe’s case officer will write to her about
    this in due course.
    Mrs O’Donohoe should notify the NMC immediately of any material change of
    circumstances that may affect the interim order.
    At any time, Mrs O’Donohoe or the NMC may ask for the order to be reviewed by a
    panel if any relevant new information becomes available.
    This decision will be confirmed to Mrs O’Donohoe in writing.
    A panel of the Investigating Committee has still to deal with the allegation that has been
    made against Mrs O’Donohoe. The NMC will keep Mrs O’Donohoe informed of
    developments in relation to that issue.
    That concludes this determination.

  • Humanity2012 August 1, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Better Revolutionary than Slavery and Oppression Collaborator

    Protest is Needed in England as Well

    Reverse the Welfare Wrecking it is Rich MPS who are the
    Real Scroungers

    The Thick General Public Need to be made Aware of this

  • Mark Duckhouse August 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    What can I do? I don’t know where to turn? I get sanctioned 4-5 times a year, I am dyslexic and I have problems with my back, also I have a broken disk to the lumber of the spine, a curvature of the spine, a broken collar bone, and also suffering with arthritis. Doctors have x-rays of my conditions and the job center can get hold of that information need it be necessary. It makes it very difficult for me to walk about looking for work with the disabilities i have got, and still the job center sanction me. Also when the job center sanctions me, i have no money there for I’m deeply depressed because i cant eat which then I’ve got no energy to walk about looking for work, which they still expect me to do. I am an independent person who lives on my own, I do everything the job center asks of me and still I’m sanctioned.
    i got told to go for a forklift driving job that i wasn’t capable of doing, but still doing as the job center asks of me, i asked about the job and it had already gone so yet another time this year, I’m sanctioned again.
    I am 43 but a 18 year old has written this due to my dyslexia.

  • Mark Duckhouse August 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    What can I do? I don’t know where to turn? I get sanctioned 4-5 times a year, I am dyslexic and I have problems with my back, also I have a broken disk to the lumber of the spine, a curvature of the spine, a broken collar bone, and also suffering with arthritis. Doctors have x-rays of my conditions and the job center can get hold of that information need it be necessary. It makes it very difficult for me to walk about looking for work with the disabilities i have got, and still the job center sanction me. Also when the job center sanctions me, i have no money there for I’m deeply depressed because i cant eat which then I’ve got no energy to walk about looking for work, which they still expect me to do. I am an independent person who lives on my own, I do everything the job center asks of me and still I’m sanctioned.
    i got told to go for a forklift driving job that i wasn’t capable of doing, but still doing as the job center asks of me, i asked about the job and it had already gone so yet another time this year, I’m sanctioned again.
    I am 43 but a 18 year old has written this due to my dyslexia.

  • Meredith Ong August 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Dear Meredith Ong,

    Freedom of Information request

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 01 August 2013

    You asked for:

    How many people, who were disabled and were found fit to work after undergoing an ESA
    examination, have now found a permanent full time job?

    Please exclude part time working, short contracts and work placement.

    We can confirm that the Department does hold some information falling within the description
    specified in your request. However this information is not held centrally and to provide a
    response would require us link together data from different sources. We therefore estimate that
    the cost of retrieving and extracting this information would exceed the appropriate limit of £600.

    The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for central Government it is set at
    £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in
    determining whether the Department holds the information, and locating, retrieving and
    extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the
    Department is not obliged to comply with this part of your request.”

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    ATOS physiotherapists cannot give opinions on mental health assessments – official.
    Posted on July 26, 2013 by admin

    atos-final

    The case involved a claimant, with mental health problems, who suffered from depression and bouts of uncontrollable rage. An Upper Tribunal Judge held that the opinion of a physiotherapist Healthcare Professional (HCP) was only useful for recording what the claimant said and did during the medical/assessment. Any other was useless as evidence because of their lack of expertise of mental health conditions.

    The ruling affects all ESA appeals where the severity and effects of a disabled person’s mental health is at issue and expertise in this field is required to give an adequate opinion. It may also affect claimants with a wide range of physical health conditions.

    TAKEN FROM ATOS VICTIMS GROUP WEBSITE

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    ATOS physiotherapists cannot give opinions on mental health assessments – official.
    Posted in appeal, ATOS, DWP, Mental Health, tribunal, Work Capability Assessment by argotina1
    An important law decision raises questions about the use of health professionals on Atos Work Capability Assessments where they have no expertise on the claimant’s health condition

    The case involved a claimant, with mental health problems, who suffered from depression and bouts of uncontrollable rage. An Upper Tribunal Judge held that the opinion of a physiotherapist Healthcare Professional (HCP) was only useful for recording what the claimant said and did during the medical/assessment. Any other was useless as evidence because of their lack of expertise of mental health conditions.

    The ruling affects all ESA appeals where the severity and effects of a disabled person’s mental health is at issue and expertise in this field is required to give an adequate opinion. It may also affect claimants with a wide range of physical health conditions.

    In addition, there is no logical reason why the Upper Tribunals’ conclusion should not apply to appeals relating to the points findings of a disputed Personal Independence Payment (PIP) medical report by Atos or Capita.

    Anyone considering an ESA appeal, who disputes the health professionals’ evidence, may wish to consider challenging the HCP expert status in relation to their disability.

    26th July 2013. You can view a full summary and a link to the decision at http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/benefits-information/law-pages/case-law-summaries/latest-posted-decision-summaries

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Judge Mark continues:

    “I can only express my surprise that in a case where the only issue was the mental health of the claimant and its effect in relation to the mental health descriptors, the report was prepared by a physiotherapist following a 15 minute interview. It is plainly important that questions of mental health should be assessed by a disability analyst with appropriate mental health qualifications if their opinion is to be of any evidential value. Even then tribunals should beware of placing too much weight on such reports, based as they are on a very short interview with a claimant and without access to medical records.

  • Meredith Ong August 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Dear Ms Ong

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 29 July 2013. In that
    request, you asked:

    “How many times have HCP’s sought expert advice when dealing with persons with
    mental health issues.
    BILL GUNNYEON has quoted that expert advice is available although
    “costeffectiveness” was mentioned also…..”

    Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) are not required to hold specialist qualifications, but as part
    of their induction, all HCPs receive training in mental health issues, and are required to
    consider evidence based protocols on mental health conditions. In addition, all healthcare
    professionals are required to engage in a programme of continuing medical education which
    includes modules on mental health issues.

    With respect to how many HCPs have specifically sought advice on dealing with people with
    mental health issues; we estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed
    the appropriate limit of £600. This is because it would involve an extensive trawl of paper and
    computer records as the information you have requested is not routinely gathered. The
    appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for central Government it is set at £600.
    This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in determining
    whether the Department holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the
    information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Department is not obliged
    to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    above.
    Yours sincerely,

    Business Management Team
    Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)
    [email address]

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Just had a letter from the DWP;

    Dear Mr Reynolds,
    About your Disability Living Allowance,

    We asked you to fill in a questionnaire that we sent to you on the 06/06/2013. We needed the information to decide if we are paying the right amount of DLA.
    Because you have not sent back the questionnaire we are not sure if we are paying you the right amount of DLA.
    We have decided that from the 24/07/2013 we will stop paying your DLA.
    You cannot appeal against this decision.
    If you want us to look again at the amount of benefit we can pay you, you must send us the information we have asked you for by 29/08/2013 we may stop your benefit.

    Please note, my circumstances have never changed but they are harrassing me to fill in a questionnaire so that they can say, they believe they have.
    In doing this they can then send me for an early PIP ATOS examination where my benefits will be reduced even further.
    Esther Mcvey said in parliament that existing DLA holders will not face PIP tests till october 2015. They are trying to circumvent the statement by sending out questionnaires.

    Observe the two dates they have given to me;
    from the 24/07/2013, they will stop paying me, yet i have until the 29/08/2013 to send them the information or they may stop it…………..

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    TAKEN FROM THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER:

    Britain is now the most unequal country in the Western world, an authoritative new United Nations report reveals. The gap between rich and poor is as great as in Nigeria.

    Detailed statistics in the Human Development Report published last week also demonstrate that inequality has grown sharply during Conservative rule and that the poor in Britain now have to live on much the same incomes as their equivalents in Hungary and Korea.

    While growing inequality might once have been a cause for congratulation – Margaret Thatcher called on us to “glory” in it – the consensus among experts in such bodies as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the rich nations’ club, and even the World Bank is now moving against.

    Lady Thatcher, like Ronald Reagan, believed that if the rich got richer, everybody would benefit. Now many economists believe that inequality hinders growth. In an unpublished paper Michael Bruno, chief economist of the World Bank, says: “Reducing inequality not only benefits the poor immediately but will benefit all through higher growth.”

    The United Nations Development Programme, which published the Human Development Report, said last week: “The United Kingdom, unfortunately, has an exceptionally high degree of inequality.”

    The report shows that the poorest 40 per cent of Britons share a lower proportion of the national wealth – 14.6 per cent – than in any other Western country. This is only marginally better than in Russia, the only industrialised nation, east or west, to have a worse record. Measurements of the gap between rich and poor tell a similar story. The richest fifth of Britons enjoy, on average, incomes 10 times as high as the poorest fifth. Britain ties for the worst performance by this yardstick among Western nations with Australia. That country was run for more than a decade by a Labor government which has heavily influenced the policies of Tony Blair.

    The gap in Britain and Australia is exactly the same as in Nigeria, much worse than in Jamaica, Ghana or the Ivory Coast and twice as bad as in Sri Lanka or Ethiopia.

    The British poor are much better off in absolute terms than the poor in most Third World countries, but they are worse off than those in other Western nations. The poorest fifth of Britons have an average per capita income 32 per cent lower than their equivalents in the US and 44 per cent lower than in the Netherlands.

    Comparison with earlier Human Development Reports shows that inequality is growing fast in Britain. The 1991 report ranks Britain around the middle of industrialised countries both for the share of national income that went to the poorest two fifths of the population (17.3 per cent) and for the gap between the richest and the poorest fifth (6.8 times).

    Mr Bruno’s paper identifies Britain as one of only a handful of countries where inequality is increasingly rapidly. The Human Development Report also highlighted the world’s billionaires – observing that the 358 people with assets of more than $1bn were worth more than the combined annual income of 45 per cent of the world’s people.

    But last week’s issue of Forbes Magazine showed that the figures were out of date. There are now 447 billionaires. According to calculations by an American think-tank, their combined wealth is now worth more than the annual incomes of at least half the world’s population.
    Reply

  • Mark Duckhous August 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Can you please help me? im dyslexic, got a curviture of the spine, a slipped disk to the lumber of the spine, back problems, and aurthirities. due to this the job centre keep sanctioning me because, i havent got the energy to look for work due to not eating for a month, because i have no money and they still expect me to look for work with the disabilities i have got. ive been without money for round about a month now and im slowly wasting away. i do not have a mental haelth issue, its all down to not being able to read.

  • Humanity2012 August 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    It All Bloody Stinks

    The System and System Collaborators I Mean

  • Humanity2012 August 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    A Jellyfish has More Backbone in it than this Nation of Zombies

    I am Sick of People Living in a Trance of Blindness by which
    I Mean People ( General Public ) being Oblivious Ostriches

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    It might seem a strange thing to say, but do people out there realise that more people have died due to the coalitions welfare reforms than service personnel killed in AFGHANISTAN since 2001.

    What is even more amazing, is the number is treble that of our troops.

    Yet the government are comfortable hiding the fact as they manipulate the media barons who sit comfortably in their pockets………………………..

    Hiding the truth may be easy, but those implicated will live to regret the error of their ways as the horror of the cover up surfaces.

  • Geoff Reynolds August 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    What a fortunate stroke of luck for the ex Prime Minister, Defence Chiefs, Senior Cabinet Ministers, Heads of State, Diplomats etc etc etc……..
    The Bribery investigation regarding “BRITISH AEROSPACE”, has taken a dramatic turn!

    The Serious Fraud Office has admitted to sending 32,000 pages of information, 81 audio cassettes and various computer files to the wrong recipients.
    As a matter of course, 3% of the information has gone walkabout, but fear not, a complaint has gone to the Information Commissioner…………

    The company had been fined £250 million a few years back but i bet my bottom dollar, the 3% of lost files exonerates the people in power………….

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 10, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Whilst discredited ATOS Health Care Professionals,(please stop laughing), were finding victims, suffering with anything from cancer to brain hemorrhages and missing limbs to mental health, fit for work, they hid a nasty secret…………..

    The vile,twisted, heinous bunch of thieves were having a huge jolly up on the very money they stole from the likes of you and me.

    While suicides increased to an unprecedented level, food banks opened everywhere and pestilence, hunger and homelessness reached epidemic levels, IAIN DUNCAN SHIT AND HIS MERRY MEN, SHARED £44 MILLION……..

    Enough to pay for 5000 disabled persons ESA for a whole year!!!

    Whoever deserved a bonus for theft and incompetence?
    Every thing the much hated DWP ever does, is a grand fuck-up.

    One reason for stealing your money, hits you right between the eyes, the inability of a poor, homeless or disabled to fight back……….

    Surely the people of this once great land, and the people abroad who log on to this site, can recognise the “scumbag doctrines” of the coalition governments bully boys.

    What surprises me even more is the staff of the DWP who treat people as dross and go home as though nothing is happening.
    Instead of hiding and protesting that you are only following orders, you should be shouting from the treetops!!
    “Wake up for Christs sake”, you are carrying out their orders!

    Strangely i am not shocked by what is happening. I could spot it in its infancy.

    What pisses me off more than anything is the mantra they introduced, “we are all in it together”. Surely you never believed this?

    ” NOW’S THE TIME TO TURN ROUND AND SAY FUCK OFF, ENOUGHS ENOUGH, STICK YOUR EXAMINATIONS UP YOUR ARSE, WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK”.

    Do it collectively and they aint’ a leg to stand on, lay down and they will carry on pissing on you from a great height!

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS August 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Just sitting in a friends house watching tv programmes he had recorded. He has no tv license, cannot afford it, anyway who believes the drivel we are fed anyway?

    James Martin, the celebrity cook was on with his cordon bleu, michellin starred chefs, who pander to the “old etonian snouts”.

    The question of the day was the usual,”What is your food heaven and what is your food hell?”

    Seems such a disgusting thing to ask really, with so many not be able to afford the comfort of a real nutritious meal………..

    Nobody ever comes in with a slice of toast, a weetabix with water or a cupasoup.
    The stainless double hob and inbuilt facilities are a million miles from the reality of having no gas or electricity, shoplifting to get by………..

  • Annos August 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    “Mums ‘selling sex to feed their children as benefit cuts hit Hull’s poorest’”

    http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Mums-selling-sex-feed-children-benefit-cuts-hit/story-19650230-detail/story.html

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