What is the point of the Royal National Institute for the Blind if it can’t speak up for blind people who are mistreated by the government?
That is the meaning of the clauses in contracts drawn up between the Department for Work and Pensions and charities that have agreed to help deliver the new Work and Health programme.
This Site has mentioned this project before – and not in a positive manner, so it is unsurprising that the Tories are trying to gag those who are most likely to witness the harm their policies do.
And of course the Gagging Act – that is, the Transparency of Lobbying, Third Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act – already ensured that charities must not speak out against the Conservatives during election periods.
With charities increasingly reliant on government funding, the latest incentive for them to do as they’re told like good little sheep is unlikely to face more than token claims that it won’t make any difference (as demonstrated in the Disability News Service article quoted below).
This means the most effective protesters against government mistreatment of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities are now becoming willing accomplices to the grave and systematic violations of those people’s rights – as defined by the United Nations.
It’s all part of the Conservative hate programme against people with disabilities, people without homes, and – as we’ve seen over the last few days – people from other countries who have made their homes in the UK.
A recent claim that Tory policies were reminiscent of Nazi Germany was condemned by many. But with whom would you compare them?
Disability charities that sign up to help deliver the government’s new Work and Health Programme must promise to “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, official documents suggest.
The charities, and other organisations, must also promise never to do anything that harms the public’s confidence in McVey (pictured) or her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Disability charities like RNIB, the Royal Association for Deaf People and Turning Point have agreed to act as key providers of services under the Work and Health Programme – which focuses on supporting disabled people and other disadvantaged groups into work – and so appear to be caught by the clause in the contract.
At least one of them – RNIB – has also signed contracts with one of the five main WHP contractors that contain a similar clause, which explicitly states that the charity must not “attract adverse publicity” to DWP and McVey.
The £398 million, seven-year Work and Health Programme is replacing the Work Programme and the specialist Work Choice disability employment scheme across England and Wales, with contractors paid mostly by results.
All the disability charities that have so far been contacted by Disability News Service (DNS) insist that the clause – which DWP says it has been using in such contracts since 2015 – will have no impact on their willingness to criticise DWP and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey or campaign on disability employment or benefits issues.
But the existence of the clause, and the first details to emerge of some of the charities that have agreed to work for DWP – which has been repeatedly attacked by disabled activists and academics for harassing and persecuting disabled people, and relying on a discriminatory benefit sanctions regime to try to force them into work – will raise questions about their ability and willingness to do so.
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