Tag Archives: Winterbourne View

Remember Winterbourne View? It seems care workers are starting to abuse patients again

Smiling: Craig Dann.

Remember this when a government minister tells you “lessons have been learned” after a failure in a duty of care: It only takes about six years to forget them again.

Remember the physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour at the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol?

Lessons were learned after that – and the head of the Care Quality Commission resigned – but it seems abuse is rearing its ugly head at care homes once again.

The following is from the Liverpool Echo – click on the link below for further details of Craig Dann’s abusive behaviour.

I wonder if he was as shocked at the Winterbourne View revelations as the rest of us? Did he ever think he would become an abuser himself?

A smiling care worker was jailed today after grabbing an elderly dementia sufferer by the throat.

Craig Dann also pinned the frightened resident against a door in a spate of aggressive incidents that saw him cruelly mistreat numerous people.

The 36-year-old was described as “unsuited to care work” when he repeatedly lost his temper with vulnerable residents, in front of other staff members.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Dann… had been working at The Old Vicarage residential home in Burtonwood, on a wing which accommodates dementia sufferers.

Dann… was convicted of five offences of ill treatment and one of common assault and jailed for eight months.

He has also been banned from working with such vulnerable adults.

Source: Smiling care worker grabbed elderly dementia sufferer by the throat and pinned him against door – Liverpool Echo

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Is a mandated ‘WorkFAREhouse’ the Tories’ answer to the ‘bedroom tax’ court case?

Work camp: But is this a Nazi camp of the 1930s/40s, or a prediction of a British residential workfare scheme for the disabled in the 2010s?

Work camp: But is this a Nazi camp of the 1930s/40s, or a prediction of a British residential workfare scheme for the disabled in the 2010s?

Residential Workfare for the disabled. If that sentence hasn’t already set off at least three separate alarms in your head, then you haven’t been paying attention. What follows is a warning: Stay alert. Ask questions. Do not allow what this article predicts.

Workfare, for all those who still need enlightening after three years of this particular Tory-led nightmare, is a government-sponsored way of keeping unemployment high while pretending to be doing something about it. The idea is to send unemployed people to work for a period of several weeks – often for a large employer that is perfectly capable of taking on staff at a reasonable wage – and remove them from the unemployment figures for that time, even though they continue to be paid only in benefits. When the time period is served, the jobseeker returns to the dole queue and another is taken on, under the same terms. The employer pays nothing but reaps profit from the work that is carried out. The jobseeker gains nothing at all.

The disabled are, of course, the most persecuted sector of modern British society – far more vilified than hardened criminals or terrorists. Since the Coalition came into office by the back door in 2010, it has been government policy to close down employers taking on disabled people (Remploy factories), to spread propaganda against them, claiming they are scroungers or skivers, and the vast majority of disability benefit claims are fraudulent (this is true of only 0.4 per cent of such claims – a tiny minority). The bedroom tax, enforced nationally in April, has proven itself to be a means of driving disabled people out of homes that have been specially adapted to accommodate their needs. The Work Programme, which was extended to disabled people last December, has proven totally unsuited to the task of getting them into work, yet the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance continues to sign 70 per cent of claimants off the benefit as ‘fit for work’ (whether they are or not), and a further 17 or 18 per cent into a ‘work-related activity’ group where they must try to make themselves employable within 365 days.

The word ‘residential’ – applied to any sector of society at all, never mind whether they’re disabled or not – rightly sends shivers through the hearts of anyone in this country of good conscience. The terrible regime at the Winterbourne View home in Bristol is still recent, and nobody wants to see those crimes repeated – on anyone.

However, put these three words together and that seems the most likely consequence.

So why bother?

Here’s some pure speculation for you: The government knew that the bedroom tax was going to put the squeeze on the disabled, and it knew that disabled people would complain (although there was no way of knowing whether it would win a court case on the issue, as happened this week). It had already devised a solution and called it residential training for the disabled.

This is already running. It provides worthless Work Programme-style training to participants while filling their heads with the silly nonsense that the Skwawkbox blog showed up to such great effect earlier this year, encouraging them to ‘think new thoughts’.

The residential aspect means that participants currently get to stay in their own rooms, in relative comfort – but this could change, and very soon.

You see, this scheme is intended as a pilot study, and the plan has always been to expand this form of training, opening it up to the market, for private-sector parasites to run for profit after competing with each other to put in the lowest bid for the franchise.

Bye bye, individual rooms. Bye bye, dignity. Hello, communal dormitories. Hello… well, eventually it’ll just be hell.

And you can be sure mandation will follow, meaning anyone refusing to attend will lose benefit.

Gradually, disabled people will disappear from our communities, ending up in these residential ‘Workfarehouses’.

How long will it take before we start hearing stories about abuses taking place against people living in these places?

How long did it take before the stories came out of Winterbourne View?

Come to that, how long did it take before the world found out about places like Auschwitz or Dachau or Belsen?

I know what you’re thinking:

“It couldn’t happen here.”

Think again.

(The first Vox Political book, Strong Words and Hard Times, is available now in paperback or as an eBook, including a large ‘footnotes’ section in which you can actually connect to internet links containing supporting evidence – if you’re reading on a device that supports this kind of activity.)

Grayling’s work placement gravy train rolls on – YOU get nothing

What do you do with a policy that has caused misery for thousands, has harmed the job market, removed jobseekers from work experience that would have led to a decent job and forced them to stack supermarket shelves instead, and actually had a judicial review held against it?

If you’re Chris Grayling, you roll it out in 16 London boroughs – all notable for being sites of the summer riots in 2011.

According to the Evening Standard, Mr Grayling plans to force young unemployed Londoners aged 18-24 to work in charities or care homes for 30 hours a week, while spending another 10 hours a week searching for a proper job, for a 13-week period. The policy will be applied to everybody who has spent less than six months in employment since leaving education; if they don’t agree to it, they’ll lose their £56-per-week Jobseekers’ Allowance.

He denied it was “slave labour” – the common nickname for the Work Placement scheme – instead claiming it would help young Londoners improve their career prospects.

I wonder what it will do for the prospects of people living in care homes who’ll have these inexperienced youngsters put in charge of them. It’ll probably make Winterbourne View care home look civilised – and through no fault of the youngsters being forced to do the work.

Mr Grayling also said it was reasonable for youngsters to be asked to give something to the community before the community gives anything back.

This might be a valid argument, but let’s ask one vital question: Who really gains from these work placement schemes?

The youngsters don’t – all they get is £56 per week and the loss of time that could be spent in voluntary work that will lead to a proper job.

The economy won’t – the jobs these young people will be doing should have proper wages, contracts and conditions of employment attached. This would pump money into the national economy and might actually help get Britain working properly again, but instead we’re seeing a silly publicity stunt from the government.

And the taxpayer won’t benefit either – because the government is using our tax money to fund the scheme. We’re paying for these youngsters to work for organisations that should be offering proper employment to people instead. And if you think all we’re paying is £56 per week, per jobseeker, think again!

If this system is anything like Welfare to Work (and I think it is), then each jobseeker will be sent to a placement by a provider – a private company employed by the government to shoehorn them into a placement. These are the people who will benefit from this scheme. It’s another backhander for Grayling’s fat-cat business buddies.

According to a commenter on my Facebook page (the ‘like’ button is at the top left of this page) “The WTW provider gets a £600 attachment fee. They also get paid fees for “providing support” i.e. bulllying her into doing what THEY want. Later they get an “outcome fee” for making her stay in the minimum wage job of their choice. If she finds something with no help from them, they still pocket the dosh. If she finds training other than their useless ‘courses’ she gets rewarded with a sanction (benefits withheld indefinitely) to ensure compliance.”

Is the reasoning behind this starting to make sense now?

The comment continues: “The job centre sent me to work (unpaid, natch) as a learning support asst with pre-ESOL classes. Six months later the college offered to fund my teacher training. Jobcentre promptly ordered me onto Work Programme. I now belong to Maximus [this will be the WTW provider] for two years. They told me to dump teaching plans and do contract cleaning. I dumped Maximus instead. Now I’ve been sanctioned. The Prime Minister goes on about literacy (which I also intend to teach) but is willing to keep throwing money into the WP to use the unemployed as a commodity. Maximus get to keep the attachment fee, by the way.

“The reason given [for the sanction] was ‘you had opportunities’ meaning the useless, unaccredited courses at À4E. I found a part-time job to help while training and the college want to pay my fares. The jobcentre seems to be under pressure to send people on WP. The Govt line is that the WP is for the ‘feckless workshy’ and the press seems to be colluding in this.”

That last comment is particularly telling, as there’s no mention of any of this in the Standard’s article.