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SENDPO's Disability Manifesto

There are more than 12 million Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions in the UK – a very sizeable part of the electorate in 2015.

We believe it is essential for Disabled People’s voices to be heard in the debates around the 2015 General Election – not only because they represent a large number of votes but, more importantly, because they are deeply affected by so many of the key issues at the heart of political debate.

Disabled People have a valuable contribution to make, not only to the democratic process, but also to the UK’s social and economic well-being. Yet, far too often our voice is marginalised or ignored altogether. This is thoroughly undemocratic – and is simply not acceptable.

The ‘Disability Manifesto’ has been produced by the South East Network of Disabled People’s Organisations (SENDPO) – a coalition of over 30 Organisations run and controlled by Disabled People from across the Region. It sets out what we – as Disabled People, citizens and voters – believe to be the key issues in the 2015 General Election and what commitments we would like to see from our Political Parties.

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Report: Work Capability Assessment is failing

The Work Capability Assessment, which assesses claimants’ eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance, is seen to be failing according to a new report published by Demos, a leading cross-party think tank.

According to the report, the current Work Capability Assessment does not effectively assess claimants’ capability to work, using a points based system without considering whether there are jobs that the claimant could realistically do.

The report suggests that there are different ways capability to work might be assessed and examines the possibility of replacing the Work Capability Assessment with a “real-world assessment” that considers whether a person could get and keep work given their individual impairments.

The report suggests a system that treats people as individuals would be fairer for all, and could provide the information that people need to find suitable work and suggestions for real world adaptions.

Research into Local Authority Support for People Who Employ Personal Assistants

Completed by Skills for Care, in partnership with Learn to Care and supported by ADASS, this research collates information received from 100 local authorities in England and information provided by a number of user-led organisations (ULOs).

This research highlights the support available to individual employers and PAs in England and identifies the importance of partnership work between local authorities, ULOs, health and other support organisations.

Extra Costs for Disabled People

The Extra Costs Commission, aided by Scope, is investigating the extra costs that disabled people face just for accessing the same opportunities to live, learn and work that non-disabled people have and on March 5 published their interim report. One of the key findings was that three quarters of disabled people and their families have felt badly treated because of their disability when using services. Evidence shows that disabled people tend not to return to businesses that have let them down. The Commission stated: “We believe it is time disabled consumers had a stronger, more effective voice. We want your views on how that could best be achieved.” The Extra Costs Commission is a year-long, independent project which is aided by Scope and aims to promote a better understanding of why disabled people face extra costs that exist within society. In June final recommendations will be developed for businesses, government and disabled people on how to drive these costs down. The report is designed to act as a consultation exercise and the commission would be interested to hear your thoughts on the interim report and extra costs you face. You can respond to this call for evidence until 15 April by emailing: ExtraCostsCommission@scope.org.uk You can also read the interim report here: http://bit.ly/1ETPjnA

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Violence and abuse of personal assistants

Skills for Care has undertaken work to review recent research, key policy and guidance of relevance to PAs concerned with abuse and violence; and to investigate whether or not workplace violence is an issue for personal assistants; and if it is, what are the main issues facing this group. After reviewing the literature, relevant legislation and guidance, an on-line survey of local authority workforce leads, members of the PA Framework Steering Group, PA agencies and PAs was conducted, followed by interviews with a cross-section of PAs and other stakeholders. The report can be viewed http://bit.ly/18KxOts

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Relocation, Portability and Social Care Practice - moving to a new local authority with your social care package.

A report detailing the key findings of the research carried out by the University of Hull between 2012 and 2014 exploring the experiences of people who have received social care and moved to a new local authority and a report providing information based on the research can be viewed on http://www2.hull.ac.uk/fass/carehull/portability-of-social-care.aspx

Or can be found in PDF format below

TLAP launches new guide to help councils

A new Guide recently published will help councils meet the April 2015 deadline to improve the information about support services available in their local communities - a requirement under the new Care Act.

Information, Advice & Brokerage: Shaping the Future, Gearing Up & Seeing the Benefits shows councils how to improve the way people find out about care services and get the best in place to meet their needs.

The Guide has been developed with six local authorities to highlight the common challenges each has faced, what they have done in practice to overcome them and the early benefits people in their areas are seeing.

The Guide has been split into three parts: Shaping the Future which looks at the exact Care Act requirements and some of the strategies needed to meet those changes; Gearing up for change which sets out what has been tried and learned across England; and Seeing the Benefits which looks at how to measure success.

Creating Connections: Our Impact

"Creating Connections: Our Impact" is a report by Independent Lives, one of SENDPO's members, into their work over the past four years.

Findings From Hampshire Cuts Campaign

This is a summary report of the findings of a piece of research carried out by Spectrum Centre for Independent Living (SCIL), one of SENDPO's members, into the impact of cuts to welfare benefits and care support experienced by disabled people.  The introduction says:

"We know that cuts to benefits and care and support are having a detrimental impact on the lives of Disabled People and other groups affected. But, public awareness of the scale of the problem and what it really means for people’s day-to-day lives is fairly low. There is also an added problem that what media debate there is has often been distorted by an unhelpful and misleading presentation of deserving vs undeserving benefit claims. Too often this portrays Disabled People as ‘scroungers’ – which is both completely inaccurate and grossly unfair.

We want to raise awareness of the real impact of the cuts in Hampshire and Southampton and try to influence a more realistic tone to the political and media debates.

Most importantly, they want to engage with local politicians to help them understand the impact on people in their local communities and inform their deliberations about the future direction of austerity measures - both at Westminster and in local Government.

We hope to influence decision making over the future of welfare reform in ways that will reduce the negative impact on Disabled People."

Confident Commissioning: Building Relationships Between Local Authorities and Disabled People's User-Led Organisations (Full Version)

‘Confident Commissioning’ is a resource which explores how south-east local authorities are successfully removing obstacles associated with the commissioning process.  It also shows how commissioners are working with local DPULOs to co-design and co-produce high quality, peer-led services which empower disabled people and support local authorities to deliver their corporate objectives. 

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