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Mental Health Foundation: Participation Request

April 12, 2013 Leave a comment
Would you be interested in taking part in a qualitative study exploring experience of the ending of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)?

Peter from the University of Lancaster is conducting qualitative research as part of his clinical psychology training. The study has NHS ethics approval. He is meeting with people and asking individuals who have received CAT about their experience of the ending of therapy-things like: how it felt, what was important about it, what helped or didn’t help. he hopes this research will help us to understand more about how therapy works and how it is experienced.

So, if you : have had CAT over the last two years and had a recognised (not abrupt or unplanned) ending, for any problem or diagnosis, and would like to meet with him for an informal discussion about your experience of CAT ending, he would be really glad to hear from you. he will travel to meet you, either at a neutral place near you or your own home.

If it is of interest you can contact him:

Text/phone: 07852516812 or E:mail P.Lydon@lancaster.ac.uk

Thank you

Public Interest Lawyers Limited: Court of Appeal Rules that the Government’s “Back to Work” Regulations are Unlawful and Must Be Quashed

February 12, 2013 1 comment

Court of Appeal Rules that the Government’s “Back to Work” Regulations are Unlawful and Must Be Quashed

 

12/02/2013
 

In a unanimous decision, three judges from the Court of Appeal have today ruled that the Regulations[1] under which most of the Government’s “Back to Work” schemes have been created are unlawful and must be quashed. The ruling is a huge setback for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) whose flagship reforms have been beset with problems since their inception.

The effect of the judgment is that all those people who have been sanctioned by having their jobseeker’s allowance withdrawn for non-compliance with the Back to Work Schemes affected will be entitled to reclaim their benefits. And until new regulations are enacted with proper Parliamentary approval nobody can be compelled to participate on the schemes.

The Government initially indicated that it would seek a stay of the order quashing the Regulations “because of the ramifications of the decision.” The Government’s Counsel[2] submitted that the effect of the decision would be immediate: “the original requirement imposed on claimants such as Mr Wilson that they participate in a programme would be unlawful and they could not be required to participate further.” People would be free to leave placements if they did not wish to continue with them, and all sanctions currently imposed would have to be immediately brought to an end.

However, after objections from the Claimants, the Government today abandoned their request for a stay of the quashing order which means that the judgment takes immediate effect.

The case was brought by our clients Cait Reilly, who was made to stack shelves in Poundland for two weeks, and Jamie Wilson, who was stripped of his Jobseeker’s allowance for 6 months after refusing to participate in a scheme[3] which required him to work 30 hours a week for six months for free.

In a carefully reasoned judgment the Court found that the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, has acted beyond the powers given to him by Parliament[4] by failing to provide, any detail about the various “Back to Work” schemes in the Regulations. The Government had bypassed Parliament by introducing the Back to Work schemes administratively under an “umbrella” scheme knwons as the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme, claiming the need for “flexibility’. The Court of Appeal held that this was contrary to what Parliament had required. Stanley Burnton LJ stated:

“any scheme must be such as has been authorised by Parliament. There is a constitutional issue involved. The loss of jobseekers’ allowance may result in considerable personal hardship, and it is not surprising that Parliament should have been careful in making provision for the circumstances in which the sanction may be imposed. There are well known legislative formulae for conferring complete flexibility of decision on a Minister.” (at [75])

The result is that over the past two years the Government has unlawfully required tens of thousands of unemployed people to work without pay and unlawfully stripped thousands more of their subsistence benefits.

The case has revealed the chaos and confusion at the heart of the DWP who have set up a web of schemes and sanctions so complex that their own jobcentre advisers are failing to implement them correctly. It has shown that the basic requirements of fairness dictated by Parliament, such as providing people with a clear explanation of what they are being asked to do, why they are being asked to do it and what the consequences are if they fail to do it, have not been complied with by the DWP.

What Next?

Tessa Gregory, solicitor, Public Interest Lawyers states:

Today’s judgment sends Iain Duncan Smith back to the drawing board to make fresh Regulations which are fair and comply with the Court’s ruling. Until that time nobody can be lawfully forced to participate in schemes affected such as the Work Programme and the Community Action Programme. All of those who have been stripped of their benefits have a right to claim the money back that has been unlawfully taken away from them from the DWP.

The case has revealed that the Department of Work and Pensions was going behind Parliament’s back and failing to obtain Parliamentary approval for the various mandatory work schemes that it was introducing. It also reveals a lack of transparency and fairness in the implementation of these schemes. The Claimants had no information about what could be required of them under the back to work schemes. The Court of Appeal has affirmed the basic constitutional principle that everyone has a right to know and understand why sanctions are being the threatened and imposed against them

 

Jamie Wilson

I am really pleased that the Court has found in our favour. I refused to participate in the Community Action Programme (CAP) because I objected to being made to clean furniture for 30 hours a week for 6 months when I knew it wouldn’t help me find employment. I was given next to no information about the programme, I was told simply that I had to do whatever the DWP’s private contractor instructed me to do and that if I didn’t I may lose my benefits. Being without jobseeker’s allowance was very difficult for me but I don’t regret taking a stand as the CAP is a poorly thought out and poorly implemented scheme which even according to the DWP’s own statistics is not helping anyone get people back to work.

I am now participating in the Work Programme but it doesn’t involve me working for free, I have to meet an advisor every 3 to 4 weeks who helps me look for work. I will continue to attend these sessions with my adviser regardless of whether or not I am required to attend because I want to find a job and the sessions are very helpful.

 

Cait Reilly

I am delighted with today’s judgment. I brought this case because I knew it was wrong when I was prevented from doing my voluntary work in a museum and forced to work in Poundland for free for two weeks as part of a scheme known as the sector based work academy. Those two weeks were a complete waste of my time as the experience did not help me get a job, I wasn’t given any training and I was left with no time to do my voluntary work or search for other jobs. The only beneficiary was Poundland, a multi-million pound company. Later I found out that I should never have been told the placement was compulsory.

I don’t think I am above working in shops like Poundland,  I now work part time at the in a supermarket, it’s just that I expect to get paid for working. I hope the Government will now take this opportunity to rethink its strategy and do something which actually builds on young unemployed peoples’ skills and tackles the causes of long-term unemployment. I agree we need to get people back to work but the best way of doing that is by helping them, not punishing them. The Government ought to understand that if they created schemes which actually helped people get back into work then they wouldn’t need to force people to attend.


[1] Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise) Regulations 2011

[2] Paul Nicholls QC

[3] Community Action Programme

[4] under the Welfare Reform Act 2009 which amended the Jobseeker’s Allowance Act1995
See Also:
Sky News
ITV
Politics.co.uk

Mental Health Foundation: Today is World Mental Health Day

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Depression: A Global Crisis.

Around 350 million people globally are already affected by depression and the World Health Organisation estimate it will be the single biggest burden of disease in the world by 2030.

Today, the World Federation for Mental Health is promoting the message that:
  • Depression is a treatable illness and recovery is possible and achievable
  • Depression is not a sign of weakness – it’s a mental health disorder that prevents people from having a normal life
  • It’s the most predominant and costly mental health challenge for people of working-age
  • All countries should be aiming to develop resilience to depression
  • More research into mental health is needed to increase the understanding of mental disorders and develop more effective responses.
The Mental Health Foundation fully supports this campaign and much of our work is helping to achieve and share the same messages. All year round we have the key facts and figures on mental health including depression. We talk with people on social media to increase knowledge and understanding of mental health and how to reduce the associated stigma.

We’ve developed some really useful resources for today including advice on how to manage your mental health and our Chief Executive Andrew McCulloch has written a blog about the future of Mental Health.

We’re also being joined by The Samaritans and Black Dog Tribe in supporting Rethink Your Mind, a national creative project that challenges everyone to produce poems, artwork and photography around the theme of mental health. The entries will be showcased on the Rethink Your Mind website.

Thousands of people all across the UK are marking today by holding a Tea & Talk event – getting together with friends for a chat and and raising money for mental health. However you decide to mark World Mental Health Day we hope you help us to spread the message and join in to help everyone live mentally healthier lives and reduce the stigma around mental health problems.

To join the debate and find out more facts, stories and tips, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Announcement from Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights

October 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Bindmans human rights lawyers are looking for anyone who is disabled in any way who has had their benefits refused or removed and exhausted the appeals process. They are inviting you to put in a claim with them, using legal aid. Please email merryc@talktalk.net if you would like to be involved.
Categories: Announcement Tags: , ,

Disability campaigner standing for parliament in protest against cuts

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/9917762.Disability_campaigner_standing_for_parliament_in_protest_against_cuts/

 

A disability campaigner will try to give the major political parties a bloody nose by standing in a parliamentary byelection.

Adam Lotun, from Tolworth, will stand in the Corby and East Northamptonshire seat on November 15.

The independent candidate is director of a disability workplace company but is also a spokesman for Disabled People Against Cuts.

The father-of-two is also a former Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, safer neighbourhood ward panel chairman and member of the Kingston community police partnership.

He said: “I am standing on a number of issues, although my specialism is disability.

“I am standing because disabled people have had enough. This is no idle flash in the pan – this is serious.”

As a wheelchair user Mr Lotun said his biggest challenge will be campaigning and door knocking but he said so far the support has been extremely generous.

He said: “I never thought I would be in this position. I have done a lot of sort of political work around Kingston and online as well but I never thought I would stand as a candidate for Parliament.

“It is just fantastic the amount of support that I am being given. It’s just gone mad.”

The election is being reported as a significant test of Government policy at the polls and will see Mr Lotun go head to head with Conservative candidate Christine Emmett, Labour’s Andy Sawford and Jill Hope for the Liberal Democrats.

The election was called after Louise Mensch stood down as Conservative MP for the Northamptonshire constituency in August.

Mrs Mensch, who is moving to New York to be with her three children and husband – who is manager of rock band Metallica – won the marginal seat in 2010 with a 1,951-vote majority.

Corby has nearly always been a marginal seat.

The seat was Conservative in the 1980s and 1990s but swung to Labour in 1997, before shifting back to the Tories.

Mind Engagement Coaches

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Can you help Mind improve its engagement of people with mental health problems?

Mind is improving the way we engage people to have a voice in our work. To ensure this, all our staff have received engagement training, and have
developed engagement plans for each of our projects.

Mind is looking for people with personal experience of mental health
problems and experience of leading or advising engagement work to act as
engagement coaches. This is to empower staff with confidence and the
skills to find innovative ways to engage people.

There is a payment of £230 for each full day worked.

All relevant expenses will be reimbursed. Whilst most of the work will take
place from home by email or by phone, engagement coaches will attend an
induction in London and will come together as a team on a quarterly basis.

How to apply
The consultant role description and application form should be returned to engagement@mind.org.uk.

The closing date for all applications is 14th September 2012, by noon.

Please sign and support efforts towards ending Mental Health discrimination

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=32&ea.campaign.id=16146&ea.tracking.id=facebook

 

police officer, but not a juror. An employee, but not a director. A voter, but not an MP. The law currently says that it’s ok to discriminate against people affected by mental illness. That’s one in four of the population being denied opportunities to contribute to these areas of society.

We don’t think this is right. We believe that changing this law will send a clear message that mental health stigma in our society is wrong and won’t be tolerated.

This is our chance to end mental health discrimination in the law!

In just over two weeks’ time MPs will have the opportunity to vote to change outdated legislation that says someone with mental illness can’t serve on a jury, can’t be a company director or an MP.

MentalHealthDiscrimination_email.png

Gavin Barwell MP is taking forward the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill on 14 September. We need at least 100 MP votes in support of the Bill for it to be passed. We need you to ask your MP to support the Bill – the more people who do this, the more likely that the Bill will be passed!

Take a look at our video and find out from fellow campaigners why they will be contacting their MP today.

Make history now and ask your MP to vote to support the Bill

Melanie Dupin, Senior Activism Officer

Communications Blockade – ATOS

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment
Hermann St.John
Glasgow Against-Atos
Please share for Tuesday. Important and easy action against some very disgusting people.

Communications Blockade – ATOS

Thursday 30th August

Block Atos’s communications by email and fax to cost them money. It’s the only thing they care about. Contact the Head Office, the CEO and the office nearest to you. Free faxes can be sent from this website:
http://www.freepopfax.com/

Suggested Email/Fax:

Subject: Atos – Stop Making Profits From The Sick And Disabled

Dear Sir/Madam,
Your sister company Atos Healthcare makes profits by carrying out Work Capability Assessments for the the DWP on the sick and disabled. Studies have shown these assessments to be highly inaccurate. Over 70% of Atos decisions declaring sick and disabled people as ‘fit for work’ are overturned on appeal, with the help of an advice centre, which the public have to pay for. Both Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC’s Panorama programmes shown recently exposed the brutal reality of Work Capability Assessments. It has been shown that Atos set targets of passing only 12 to 13% as unfit for work. The process is driven by cost cutting not objective medical opinion. The Government with the help of Atos are cutting benefits to reduce the public debt caused by bankers gambling on the financial markets. The most vulnerable in society are being made to pay for the greed of bankers and the inevitable booms and busts of capitalist economics.

Please pass this message on to your bosses: Stop making profits from the sick and disabled.

UK Head Office:
ukwebenquiries@atos.net
020 7830 4445 (Fax)

CEO:
thierry.breton@atos.net

Local Offices:

Andover:
Fax 01264 835556

Birmingham:
Fax 0121 6275300

Bristol:
Fax 01454 284567

Cambridge:
Fax 01223 583300

Crewe:
Fax 0161 6018889

Dundee:
Fax 01384 448499

Leeds:
Fax 0113 3906137

Linwood:
Fax 01418 480660

Liverpool:
Fax 0151 4782777

Livingston:
Fax 01506 410645

Nottingham:
Fax 0115 943 1013

Runcorn:
Fax 01928 571646

Wilmslow:
Fax 01625 884445

Other actions and events:

http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/08/latest-information-on-atos-games-week/
Truly Free Internet Faxing
www.freepopfax.com
Truly Free Internet faxing. Send a fax all over the world for free, in just few clics. The 40 main destination countries are served. The service is provided by Popfax.com global leader of internet faxing

NSUN promoting service user involvement

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

http://www.nsun.org.uk/news/service-user-involvement-promotion/

 

NSUN promoting service user involvement

 

August 22nd 2012

Recession, benefit cuts and service reductions are badly affecting people with mental health conditions. But amongst the gloom there is also growing recognition that when we have control over our own lives, services and budgets and are given the chance to help each other better outcomes often result with improved recoveries and saved money.

Independent, service-user-led charity NSUN network for mental health promotes this kind of involvement to support better mental health. Nationally NSUN has done this by gaining positions on influential bodies including the DH (Department of Health) ministerial advisory group, the joint commissioning panel and the DH voluntary sector strategic partnership. We use this access to sign up agencies to meaningful service user involvement standards with a specific charter for involving black and minority ethnic people and another for those in forensic services. In June NSUN started DH funded work to establish national involvement standards, evaluation and monitoring and develop regional pilots.

With the new NHS and social care bodies created by the Health and Social Care Act being launched in April we are busy seeking to ensure that mental service users are listened to properly. So far this year we have sent evidence of the benefit of involving service users in commissioning to hundreds of local government councillors who will be involved in the new strategy setting Health and Wellbeing Boards. We have also sent that evidence to senior GPs who will be responsible for commissioning local health services and to scores of MPs. In support of this effort we have published articles on the Guardian website and in the specialist councillor and GP press.

Our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with commissioners and NSUN has a great story to tell those commissioners based on real experience. In Hackney the lead commissioner calls us ‘the go to organisation’ for co-production after we worked in partnership with local groups to build a mental health ‘people’s network’ to influence and eventually lead commissioning of services. The GP mental health lead for the area’s clinical commissioning group has endorsed this approach for the future as she has seen the potential impact on the quality of future services.

Another important new set of bodies created by the reforms will be the HealthWatch groups that will take over from LINks (Local Involvement Networks) in providing a voice and scrutiny for patients and service users. This October NSUN will launch Mental HealthWatch which aims to recruit service users in every part of England to share intelligence and information and ensure that mental health is well represented across the country.

NSUN is about peer support, self-management and making a positive difference. We hope Solution readers will join us for free at http://www.nsun.org.uk and together mental health can be better even in tough times.

This first appeared in The Solution Magazine.

Gold winning former Paralympian joins Disabled activists to target Atos

August 23, 2012 1 comment

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/press-release-former-paralympian-joins-activists-to-target-atos

 

Press enquiries:

UK Uncut: Tel: 07415063231 | Email: ukuncut@gmail.com | DPAC: Tel: 07508 983 610 | Email: maildpac.uk.net

Former gold-medal winning Paralympian to join UK Uncut [1] and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) [2] at ‘The Closing Atos Ceremony’.

The two groups have vowed to shut down Atos’ HQ at Triton Square in Central London during the Paralympic Games; promising direct action, creative protest and ‘plenty of surprises’. The action will be taking place on Friday 31st August at 12:45pm.

Tara Flood, a gold-winning former Paralympian [3] has come out in support of the campaign against Atos, saying:

“It is a shocking irony that Atos is a main sponsor of London 2012 whilst destroying disabled people’s lives on behalf of the government.”

‘The Closing Atos Ceremony’ is the culmination of a week of protests organised by disabled activists targeting Paralympic sponsor Atos. The week of action, dubbed the ‘Atos Games’, will also include protests at Atos centres around the country [4], and disabled activists will be delivering a coffin full of messages to Atos from people affected by their much criticised Work Capability Assessments (WCA).

Atos have come under fierce scrutiny for their handling of the Department of Work and Pensions £100 million a year contract, assessing whether claimants for incapacity benefits are ‘fit for work’. Last year 1,100 claimants died while under compulsory work-related activity for benefit [5]; and a number of those found ‘fit for work’ and left without income have committed or attempted suicide [6]. A recent episode of Dispatches [7] revealed Atos staff being pressured into unfairly declaring people ‘fit for work’ in order to fulfil targets.

The British Medical Association [8], disabled groups, and MPs [9] have all demanded the work capability assessments end with immediate effect. The High Court also recently granted permission for two disabled people to bring a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, challenging the operation of the WCA [10].

Paddy Murphy, a spokesperson from DPAC said:

‘By sponsoring the Paralympics, ATOS is trying to give the impression of supporting disabled people. Don’t be fooled. They receive hundreds of millions of pounds while many disabled people are being forced to live in abject poverty because of their decisions. This is just another opportunity for them to ‘cash-in’. But we aren’t going to let them off the hook. We will make sure everyone knows what they are about.

We are challenging Atos in the courts, in parliament, online, on the streets and now at the Paralympics. The work capability assessment must end now.’

Lisa Cunningham, a UK Uncut activist said:

‘People directly affected by Atos assessments are making their anger and fear heard through an act of creative and disruptive civil disobedience. UK Uncut will be joining them to demand an end to Atos’ inhumane tests. The Government’s cuts are killing the economy, and in the case of the cuts to welfare enforced by Atos, they are killing people.

We’re not against the Paralympics. We are against the hypocrisy of Atos’ involvement, when they may soon be removing disability benefits from the people winning medals for Britain.’

ENDS

———————————————————————————————————

Notes to editors:

Disabled people who have undergone Atos’ WCA are available to talk to the media, please contact the UK Uncut media phone for details.

Please contact UK Uncut or DPAC for more details about other events and actions during the week.

[1] UK Uncut is a grassroots anti-cuts direct action network, well-known for targeting corporate tax avoidance: ukuncut.org.uk

[2] DPAC is a volunteer campaign network of and for disabled people campaigning for equality and human rights for all disabled people: dpac.uk.net/about

[3] After representing GB at three Paralympic Games, Tara retired from competitive swimming in 1992 when she achieved a World Record in 50m Breaststroke at the Barcelona Games – a record that still stands. Tara will be available to speak to media at the event on Friday, and at another on Monday 28 August, please contact DPAC for details.

[4] http://ukuncut.org.uk/actions

[5] http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html

[6] http://poultonblog.dailymail.co.uk/2012/03/people-are-choosing-suicide-to-escape-poverty-is-this-the-states-final-solution.html

[7] http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/britain-on-the-sick-reporter-feature

[8] http://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2012/june/scrap-work-capability-assessment-doctors-demand

[9] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/295

[10] http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/07/26/judicial-review-of-work-capability-assessment-granted/

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