Archive for January, 2013

Mental health patients are being ‘detained in all but name’

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

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From the archives

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Categories: Histroy, Immigration

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

the void

jobcentre-formThe PCS Union has revealed that around 40% of DWP staff who will be working on Universal Credit will be on the benefit themselves.

The huge re-orgainsation of both in and out of work benefits begins next April and will see Working Tax Credits, Local Housing Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance, all brought under control of Jobcentres.

Of concern to the PCS is that the new system will extend conditionality of ‘work related activity’ to part time workers who are in receipt of some benefits.  All claimants earning less than the minimum wage for a 35 hour week will be forced to demonstrate that they are constantly looking for ‘more, or better paid’ work.  Failure to comply could lead to workfare or in-work benefits being stopped.

Some part time workers at Jobcentres are likely to fall into this group, meaning that Jobcentre staff could be responsible for sending…

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January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

the void

hensher2hensher1The above two tweets are what happens when someone writes a less than flattering review of one of Philip Hensher’s shit books.

This is the same Philip Hensher who whinged in The Independent yesterday that: “I have a belief that nobody should be forced to endure being called a “cunt” or subjected to threats of physical violence as a condition of their work.”

Hensher has been widely condemned after writing a sub-Daily Mail rant about people on sickness or disability benefits – which got very close to libeling people who had taken part in a survey by campaign group After Atos by implying some of them were fraudulent claimants.

This led some people to challenge Hensher on twitter, sometimes using strong language, to which he replied in kind.  Guardian journalist Zoe Williams also questioned Hensher’s piece.  He responded by describing her as ‘an awful person’ to her colleague Deborah…

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January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

How do you know when a Tory is telling a lie? They are talking….


You Couldn’t Make It Up

…and if you feel inclined to inform him of nature of his erroneous statements you can contact him:

Minister of State,

Department for Work and Pensions

Tel: 01329 233573

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA



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January 30, 2013 Leave a comment


In this guest post, Harald Schmidt from the University of Pennsylvania takes apart the media furore about a proposal  (at least as reported) to cut payments to unhealthy benefit claimants if they didn’t go to the gym – using the insights gained from his previous work on the ethics of incentives in health & social policy.

Pain on a treadmillHealth incentives are of increasing interest to policy makers. Yet, they are highly controversial. For many, they are outright irritating. Unhelpfully ambiguous policy proposals do little to move towards a more nuanced discussion. The recent controversy around a section in a Report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and Westminster Council is a case in point, and allows several lessons to be learned. 

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January 30, 2013 Leave a comment


By Tony Collins

Mark Thompson is a senior lecturer in information systems at Cambridge Judge Business School, ICT futures advisor to the Cabinet Office and strategy director at consultancy Methods.

Last month he said in a Guardian comment that central government departments are “increasingly being held hostage by a handful of huge, often overseas, suppliers of customised all-or-nothing IT systems”.

Some senior officials are happy to be held captive.

“Unfortunately, hostage and hostage taker have become closely aligned in Stockholm-syndrome fashion.

“Many people in the public sector now design, procure, manage and evaluate these IT systems and ignore the exploitative nature of the relationship,” said Thompson.

The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages bond with their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.

This month the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued  a pre-tender notice for Oracle ERP systems. Worth between £250m and £750m, the framework will be…

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