Tag Archives: Equality Act

UK’s legal shame: Did court break law by trying to keep disabled people out of hearing?

According to the Equality Act 2010, a person discriminates against a person with a disability if they treat such a person unfavourably because of something arising as a consequence of that person’s disability.

So the Court of Appeal breached the Act by trying to keep disabled people out of a hearing over whether Oxfordshire County Council broke the law relating to another disabled person. Right?

What a fiasco.

There were chaotic scenes on Thursday 17 August as Oxfordshire County Council, the borough in which David Cameron’s former constituency sits, appeared in a central London court. It was there to defend itself in a case which is a legal first. And the case the Tory-run authority had to answer? That its austerity-driven cuts to vital services may have broken the law.

The Court of Appeal was hearing the case of Luke Davey. In November, a judge granted the 40-year-old from Oxfordshire a judicial review against the council, following a 42% cut to the amount he received to pay for his care and support. This is because Davey has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is registered blind, and requires assistance with all of his intimate personal care needs.

But Davey’s case is a legal first, because his lawyers are using the Care Act 2014 to argue that the council has broken the law. Specifically, that Oxfordshire County Council has breached its obligations under the “wellbeing” principle of the act.

Disabled people’s organisation Inclusion London and campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are supporting Davey’s case. The groups had organised representatives to support Davey before and during the hearing. And in another legal first, Inclusion London was granted an intervention in the case by the judge: the first time an organisation led by disabled people has been given this privilege.

But there were angry scenes when disabled campaigners, their solicitors and the media tried to enter the court building. Security at first told them they could not go in, as there were “not enough staff on duty” to cope, and they were not willing to open the disabled entrance.

After the intervention of a reporter and several wheelchair users, the court’s security opened up the supposedly ‘accessible’ entrance to the court. But the entrance was barely accessible, and one disabled campaigner was nearly knocked to the ground by a passing cyclist.

Source: Chaos in court as David Cameron’s former Tory council is accused of breaking the law [VIDEO] | The Canary


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Southern Rail announces it plans to break accessibility law for people with disabilities

A Southern train [Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images].


It’s nice of them to let us know in advance!

The announcement that assistance for people with disabilities on Southern trains may not be available at all stations means the firm is in breach of the Equality Act 2010, part 12, chapter 3, which states:

The Secretary of State may make regulations … for securing that it is possible for disabled persons— (a)to get on to and off regulated rail vehicles in safety and without unreasonable difficulty; (b)to do so while in wheelchairs; (c)to travel in such vehicles in safety and reasonable comfort; (d)to do so while in wheelchairs.

Will we see a prosecution or is it now permissible to openly discriminate against people with disabilities again?

Southern rail users with disabilities face delayed journeys or the prospect of no longer being able to board some trains after the company said there was no “cast-iron guarantee” that assistance would be available at all stations.

Southern has admitted it may have to book taxis for disabled travellers who cannot complete their journey because the only member of staff on the train is the driver.

Previously there were 33 stations across the Southern rail network where passengers in need of assistance to get on or off the train could turn up and be guaranteed help.

Source: No guarantee of help for disabled passengers, says Southern | Business | The Guardian

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PIP assessors are lying on their reports

Atos: Welcome to Hell

This is a modified version of an original post, which Vox Political put up in good faith after seeing the message elsewhere, requesting permission to do so, and receiving no objections.

The original message referred to assessments for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) carried out by Atos, and contained warnings that made it too important to be allowed to disappear beneath more ‘current’ material, as is the way on social media sites.

It warned that – unless they are watched very closely – PIP assessors are not recording the correct information during interviews with claimants.

Examples were provided of misleading statements being typed up before the claimant had answered the relevant question, and of clues to other problems being ignored by the assessor, who had to be asked to insert them into the report.

It also warned that these are not isolated incidents.

The author of the original message has now asked Vox Political to remove that content, for reasons that may be deduced fairly easily, considering its nature.

However the article has clearly struck a nerve with the public, as the high number of comments telling a similar story demonstrates. This is why it is remaining here, in an altered form, and you are encouraged to report your own experiences of the assessment procedure.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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DWP: Denial With Prejudice?

dwp-logo

Despite being beleaguered with defeat in the courts, the threat of further legal action for a different reason, and criticism that a flagship project is likely to fall flat on its arse, the DWP denial machine steams onward.

The fact that it continues to do this flies in the face of logic – but then, this blog has consistently argued that logic has nothing to do with DWP decisions. How can it? This is the government department with Iain Duncan Smith at the helm.

We all know that the Department of Welfare Persecution lost a court case last week, when High Court judges found that the regulations covering assessment of the mentally ill for Employment and Support Allowance break the Equality Act.

Yesterday it was reported – in Inside Housing, because none of the mainstream media would dream of reporting anything that criticises our alleged government – that no fewer than four families have launched a judicial review against the government’s benefit cap on grounds that it is “discriminatory and unreasonable”

They will argue that Mr… Smith did not take into account the impact of the policy on women, children, the disabled, racial and religious minorities, and carers when formulating the policy. Two of the families are expected to immediately fall into rent arrears and face eviction and street homelessness, because their rent exceeds the level of the cap – £500 a week.

And two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners and now risk losing their homes.

The DWP says the benefit cap sets “a fair limit” on what people can get from the state, which is not more than “£500 a week, the average household income”.

The average household income, once state benefits to which they are entitled is taken into account, is currently £605 per week.

On the same day that this new legal challenge was reported, the government itself revealed that it considers the Department of the Wastefully imPracticable’s flagship Universal Credit scheme to be in serious difficulty.

The Major Projects Authority has given it “amber-red” status, which denotes a project in danger of failing – and it wasn’t alone. Also in danger were the department’s fraud and error programme and its plan to introduce the new Personal Independence Payment, which is intended to replace Disability Living Allowance.

The DWP has argued that the rating is out of date, reflecting where the project was eight months ago – but this is clearly nonsense. Eight months ago, the government was telling us that Universal Credit was on track. Now it is saying this is no longer the case.

Also, any fool can say that the evidence is out of date because all statistics used in such reports are from a point in the past. That doesn’t mean they are inaccurate.

In the United States they have – or had – in their justice system a convention known as the “three-strikes law”. This was a statute enacted by state governments which demanded harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses.

Since we in the UK seem to be adopting more and more American policies (their rubbish health system springs immediately to mind), perhaps we should adopt this system. Iain Duncan Smith has already lost in the courts on workfare and on the work capability assessment.

If he loses on the benefit cap, that will be the third strike against him and he should be ejected from government (if this has not already happened by then) along with all the silly so-called ministers who support him.

With new minds at the top of the DWP, its possible that Universal Credit would then be halted and we could see a return to something approximating sanity.

I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.