Proof that Citizens Advice signed a ‘gagging’ contract in exchange for £51m of Tory government money

How can you trust Citizens Advice help on Universal Credit when you know the organisation has agreed not to say anything about it that harms the Conservative government’s reputation?

You can’t.

The ‘gagging’ contract that Citizens Advice signed in return for £51 million of government funding does stipulate that it is only banned from anything that brings the government “unfairly” into disrepute – but who defines those terms?

It seems clear that this was an attempt to guarantee the silence of the largest organisation dealing with the mountain of problems created by the fundamentally-flawed Universal Credit disaster.

If someone dies as a result of this nightmare of a policy, and Citizens Advice knows about it, may we expect that organisation to do its public duty and blow the whistle?

Or will it cover up the facts, for fear of upsetting the Tories – and perhaps losing some of that fat funding formula?

Never mind the Tory government’s reputation. Before putting pen to paper, the bosses of Citizens Advice should have thought of their own.

Two charities that will receive £51 million in government funding to provide advice and support to claimants of universal credit (UC) signed gagging clauses that prevent them bringing the Department for Work and Pensions “unfairly” into “disrepute”.

Both Citizens Advice (CA) and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) signed grant agreements with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – worth a total of £51 million – that include the same clause.

By signing the documents, it means they cannot take “any actions which unfairly bring or are likely to unfairly bring [DWP’s] name or reputation and/or [DWP] into disrepute”.

Copies of the agreements signed last year by CA and CAS have been obtained from DWP by social welfare activist Frank Zola using the Freedom of Information Act.

He told Disability News Service (DNS) that the grant “does little more than help some people claim universal credit and not address its inherent flaws, it just helps impose UC misery on its service users, through this £51,000,000 bribe.

“Citizens Advice provides help to large numbers of those punished by universal credit, such as disabled people and families who have ended up losing thousands of pounds by claiming UC, vast rises in debt, rent arrears, evictions, survival crime, five week delays in first payments and the horror of its inbuilt benefit sanctions and excessive conditionality.

“Against this background, does Citizens Advice campaign and advocate for universal credit to be stopped and abolished?

“No, it decides to act as a mere duplicitous adjunct of the DWP and even agrees to a grant gagging clause that prevents them from being critical of the DWP.”

Source: Citizens Advice signed gagging clause in return for share of £51m from DWP – Disability News Service

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No Comments

  1. xpressanny August 16, 2019 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    To be fair I don’t blame CAB for trying to get some funding from Gov. who have been starved off funding. The Govt is undermining democracy by gagging them. This has to stop. This govt is utterly disgusting.

  2. trev August 16, 2019 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    That’s outrageous. Are we living in a Dictatorship? It shouldn’t be allowed.

  3. Mark Allinson August 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Hi everyone I’ve been fighting the DWP for over 4 years now and I will never use the CAB or citizens advice bureau again iam still fighting the DWP after I was found fit for work what was full of lies from start to finish I noticed that it said on the UC50 form I claimed that I had certain medical history problems but when I went to the assessment it claimed that I had other medical conditions I made this claim months before the CAB signed the £51 million pound bribe money with certain conditions (1) was not to go against the DWP. (2) not to say anything bad against the DWP when I had noticed it in the results what I scored zero points they had used someone else’s medical records against my own when I went to court I defended myself because I did not know if citizens advice bureau would turn up at court or not but they never anyway I brought it up and said judge are you saying it’s ok for the DWP to use someone else’s medical records against my own now the other person was suppose to be a doctor I don’t think he was because he gave me the impression he never had a clue about my MRI results and what it ment because I kept being asked questions about it I was made to stand up in court even when I was suffering with severe chronic pain in my spine because of my spine injury and not once did they tell me to sit down the court said I could go into a work group I may not be fit for work now but I would be in the future I said how can I work when I’ve limited body movement I struggle to walk i use a walking stick and I struggle to bend every movement of my body iam in pain my MRI scan results show I’ve got annular tears and I’ve got annular bulge ( what is my spine out of position and causing all my pain) and my disks now have Degenerative disk disease specially at L4-L5 and L5-S1 because I had to fight and beg doctors for a MRI scan for over 4 years after they refused to send me for one I only got my MRI because I had a ECG and that specialist seen I was struggling and he booked me in for a MRI behind my doctors back and said they can’t refuse you now and if they try they still won’t get to cancel this MRI scan Back to the court case a few weeks before the court case I went back to the citizens advice bureau in Workington to get a copy of the UC50 form as my evidence of my medical history because they filled it in for me only to be told that they don’t have a copy of it on the computer even when I signed a form allowing them to keep a copy they said if looks if it’s been deleted or it was never scanned so my medical history as the only proof I’ve got against the DWP has vanished and when I look at the form it makes me out to be lying about my medical history Ive still got the proof what they said that I’ve suppose to have said on the form these are the medical conditions when I filled out the UC50 form I saved them before they realised the mistake and got copies on my phone and on paper so if anyone wants to see them I will gladly show the proof by email not only is the DWP sending people into early graves and using foodbanks or going homeless the citizens advice bureau are doing the same for a share of £51 million pounds I refuse to go in the job center iam now seeing a specialist at Newcastle rvi the specialist at Newcastle says iam not fit for work Aswel as my own doctor who says iam not fit for work but the DWP still say there is nothing wrong with me I don’t know how long I will have to wait for my next court date but this time I’ve got someone to help me in court who knows the benefits system inside and out

  4. Tony Dean August 16, 2019 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Gagging orders do not apply to criminal offences

  5. hugosmum70 August 17, 2019 at 2:35 am - Reply

    course we are…(living in a all but name)……. unemployed workers and law centres have practically all closed down. i read the govt had done that or had a hand in it…now im wondering if they too had been offered a bribe as above and declined it? i know the one i usd to work at as a volunteer adviser would never have taken such a bribe. at least not those i worked with. (and that closed down a few years after i left from lack of funding.) Luton Law centre is still going strong though. i am pleased to see.(Just found their webpage… much better alternative than a CAB anyday……… better trained and have more clout…… CAB training was not specialised. they knew a little about a lot of issues and frequently had to look up what they need to know to help a my day anyway.whereas Law centres and unemployed workers centres if any have survived, did regular courses on new benefits as and when they were due to come in to use, specialised in several subjects/ issues. we had a disability adviser, a urdu/punjabi speaking adviser and several general ones dealing with things like the aftermath of divorces/death (as in R&Rs of the aftermaths of those things). was a good place to work too and i learnt so much back then. i doubt that will have changed much. if it has it must be because they had the money other centres were denied.

  6. Jeffrey Davies August 17, 2019 at 8:03 am - Reply

    When cab was sacking it’s advisors way back straight after they had a bung of three million off dwp here in Wales so it showed then they were typical of all that get government monies they can be got at by dwp

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