The United Nations view on economic & social rights in the UK

18 experts’ opinion…..

In June 2016 the UK hosted a visit by international experts on economic, social & cultural rights in the UK.  Their conclusions packed some punches – citing concerns on:

  • the austerity based social security agenda
  • the inadequacy of the national living wage
  • the negative effects of the Trade Union Act
  • the housing crisis
  • the rise of homelessness
  • regressive taxation
  • failure to crack down on tax avoidance
  • the rising use of foodbanks.

This is us folks, this is the UK in 2016.

The Campaign for a Fair Society is working across sectors to raise these issues and raise standards for the millions of people in the UK who are being affected.

Let us have your stories and your views on how to kick these issues into the public arena and make positive change.

The link to the UN report can be found on our fb page.

We’re back….

Our site is now back up after being hacked.

We’re currently working on updating the Campaign’s manifesto – it’s nearly ready, and very relevant, with all the cuts to social care & welfare ‘reform’. There’s a lot of rhetoric about ‘fairness’ but we are continuing to see unprecedented attacks on the incomes & lives of people who have a disability. Our facebook & twitter feeds are active and you can join the conversation there for now.

In the meantime, best wishes to all our supporters & those who really do believe in a fair society.

The very serious state of social care

The King’s Fund’s verdict on the Coalition Government’s Record on Social Care

There are now 25% less people receiving publicly funded social care since 2009.

Local authority spending on social care for older people has fallen by 17% in real terms, whilst the number of people aged 85 and over has risen by almost 9%.

The Government has failed to protect adult social care from unprecedented cuts in spending. Social care needs to be right up on the agenda when thinking about spending decisions and what type of society we want to live in. Social care is funded differently to the NHS – who will stand up for social care?

For more info please visit http://bit.ly/1b7ToJM

Social care in the spotlight – people tell their stories

Radio 5 covers the Crisis in Care

A hard hitting report on the impact of cuts to social care tells us how it really is. The programme gives us people’s stories, how elderly and disabled people who used to be eligible for funded support to wash, dress, eat and have some dignity in their lives are being locked out of a system which is increasingly being withdrawn, restricted and in melt down.

The President of the Association of Directors of Social Services confirms the system is broken. Please ask your M.P. and local councillors to listen to the programme, this is an issue which deserves a serious hearing.

To listen visit www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/5linvestigates

Call to action on Winterbourne – 3,000 people & rising

 The Campaign for a Fair Society believes that “human rights are for everyone, including the most disabled members of our community, and those rights include the same right to liberty as everyone else” (Hale 2014).  The placement and serial detention of people with learning disabilities and/or autism in institutions for long-term care far from their homes is a systemic breach of human rights and a national scandal.

The current census highlights that there are more people in this fundamentally abusive system now than there were 12 months ago; 60% of those in the system have been there for a year or longer; 56% have experienced self-harm, an accident, physical assault, hands-on restraint or been kept in isolation; 64% have been subject to chemical restraint.  This is inhumane detention masquerading as treatment and a flagrant breach of Article 5 of the EU Convention on Human Rights, the right to liberty.

There is no lack of policy guidance on the urgency and appropriateness of supporting people with complex needs and challenging behaviour in ordinary, community based settings (Mansell 1993, 2007). Previous government policy on learning disability, ” Valuing People” (2001) and ” Valuing People Now” (2009), also firmly supported the conclusions of the Mansell reports. This policy context underlines the extent of the failure to act and points clearly to the need for a new approach.

The gradual and voluntary approach to reform espoused in Transforming Care and the Concordat has proved an inappropriate and ineffectual response to the plight of people with disabilities highlighted by Winterbourne View.  The Campaign for a Fair Society therefore calls for a new and radical strategy to eradicate once and for all the breaches of human rights perpetuated by the current system.

 Political leadership

We call for political leadership to:

  • use its resources, legislative and executive powers to end the detention and placement of people with learning disabilities in out-of-area in-patient settings
  • secure a programme of re-provision which builds capacity and skills in the local provider sector to meet the challenge of wholesale re-settlement of current in-patients in their local communities
  • secure the provision of alternative local community living solutions including local short term assessment and treatment for adults, children and young people with learning disabilities and mental health issues/or autism when needed
  • coordinate the input of government departments and related groups, including families, which have an interest in the continuing support of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, challenging behaviour and mental health needs
  • work collaboratively with people and organisations who are committed to real and lasting transformational change to pursue a radical solution to end this scandal.

NHS England, Local Authorities and the CCGs

We call for NHS Engand, Local Authorities and CCGs:

  • to use their powers to deliver and commission services which are equipped to include people with learning disabilities in local mental health services as a matter of reasonable adjustments under equalities legislation
  • to provide less restrictive ‘behaviour support’ and respite services close to people’s homes
  • to ensure that decisions about care include families
  • to ensure that assessment and treatment has regard to people’s human rights to liberty under the EU Convention on Human Rights, Article 5 and complies with the requirement for the ‘least restrictive option’ under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Health and Wellbeing Boards

We call for Health and Wellbeing Boards to:

  • ensure, as local policy leaders and strategic decision makers, that integrated health and social care funding is effectively used to support local people in local communities and not spent on out-of-area placements which fail adults and children with learning disabilities and/or autism and traumatise both them and their families
  • ensure that de-commissioning out-of-area placements is combined with a strategy of building local provider capacity for community solutions and funding local assessment and treatment interventions, as well as funding critical respite services.

Care Quality Commission

We call for the CQC to:

  • ensure that their regulation is more robust on ensuring that the ‘least restrictive option’ for assessment and treatment is pursued in each individual case
  • ensure that provider outcomes demonstrate effective short-term intervention and resettlement at or close to home
  • de-register providers who serially detain people with learning disabilities and/or autism rather than successfully assess and treat them towards resettlement on the grounds of ineffective and poor quality service.

Commissioners, providers and the CQC

We call for all commissioners, providers and the CQC to:

  • ensure that families are included in all decisions about care for adults as well as children with learning disabilities and/or autism and to recognise that the involvement of families is integral to their loved ones being able to live safe and fulfilling lives in the community
  • ensure that assessment, treatment, care and support is commissioned and delivered in line with the Driving Up Quality Code
  • ensure that their staff have a good understanding of the relevant legal frameworks and that legal safeguards are understood, in place and regularly and openly reviewed for every individual in the system, including:
    • That the ‘least restrictive option’ for assessment, treatment and care is pursued in each case and at all times
    • That people are only ever detained or deprived of their liberty, including being subject to solitary confinement, with the correct legal safeguards under the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
    • That people’s rights to independent advocacy under the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act are respected.
Summary
The Campaign for a Fair Society calls for a radical strategy to end, once and for all, the scandalous detention and placement of over 3000 people with learning disabilities and/or autism in institutions for long term care away from their homes. In the wake of Winterbourne View, voluntary and gradual reform of the assessment and treatment system has been an abject failure and there are more people in this fundamentally abusive system now than there were a year ago. The campaign calls on political leadership, and all those with a role to play in planning, commissioning, providing and regulating care, to ensure that assessment and treatment is provided close to home. De-commissioning of out-of-area placements should be combined with a strategy of building local provider capacity for community solutions and strengthening local support. Respect for people’s human rights to liberty under the EU Convention on Human Rights, Article 5 should be paramount and all decisions about care must comply with the requirement for the ‘least restrictive option’ under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Decisions about care must involve families and/or advocates. Providers who serially detain people with learning disabilities and/or autism rather than successfully assess and treat them towards resettlement should be de-registered. Campaign for a Fair Society believes that “…human rights are for everyone, including the most disabled members of our community, and those rights include the same right to liberty as everyone else” (Hale 2014).  People should only ever be detained or deprived of their liberty unavoidably and temporarily under the correct legal safeguards with the outcome of living a safe and fulfilling life in the community always in view. Anything less is inhumane and intolerable in a fair society. 

 This is an important issue which requires a concerted, committed approach.  We would welcome your comments.

Assessing the Assessors – lived experience of Work Capability Assessments

884 people tell us what it’s like to go through the WCA

“As you read this 4 disabled people every day lose their lives after having their benefits removed under the WCA process”. A hard hitting report by Rick Burgess, Simon Duffy, Nick Dilworth, Jane Bence, Wayne Blackburn & Mark Thomas highlights a culture of contempt as hundreds of people share their experiences of the WCA.  The report suggests the flaws in the WCA are systemic and a fundamental rethink is needed.

For further details please visit www.bit.ly/assessWCA

Counting the Cuts – who is being targeted?

They said it couldnt be done – a cumulative impact assessment of the government’s austerity measures.

David Cameron is on record saying we should judge a society by how it treats the most vulnerable.  ‘Counting the Cuts’ gives an up to date picture on the impact of the government’s cuts to public spending.  The report challenges the myths and misrepresentations which have been encouraged and is released in advance of a key debate in the House of Commons, on 27th February 2014.  http://bit.ly/counting-cuts  For more info please contact us at the Campaign: suel@aldingbournetrust.co.uk.

From the Spartacus Team – The devastating impact of “fit for work” tests – and the cynical politics at their heart

Two revealing new reports draw attention to the ongoing impact of “fit for work” assessments, giving more evidence of the misery and hardship experienced by some sick and disabled people and providing further clues as to the underlying cause. Continue reading From the Spartacus Team – The devastating impact of “fit for work” tests – and the cynical politics at their heart

More #stupid stuff – food bank Britain & sanctions

Employment Minister Esther McVey on cuts to benefits only used against those who were “wilfully rejecting support for no good reason”…..

The Express spoke to a number of people which revealed unfair sanctions, here are some examples:-

  • a blind woman whose benefits were removed because she did not apply for a cleaning job.
  • a father with terminal cancer punished after he missed signing as he was at a hospital appointment.
  • a woman refused benefits as she forgot to “sign on” on the day of her brother’s funeral.
  • a  33 year old man with severe dyslexia who had his benefits removed because he could not fill in his claim correctly.

There are many more real people’s lives highlighted in the Express on 17th November. Welcome to UK 2013.