Monday, 26 March 2012

A New Case And Year In Review

It's been over a year since I opened The Files and it's probably time to do some spring cleaning. First of all, I'm planning on merging most existing case files into Case #1 because I've started even confusing myself. Everything I have pretty much covered in them is in regards to public policy on welfare in Britain; the stakeholders, the decision-makers and debate facilitators and participants. I had considered that stuff relating to the welfare to work industry should have it's own case file, however- the companies involved have on repeated occasions shown themselves to be VERY litigious.

I do not have the resources or connections to protect myself from this, as such anything I can really say about them would be things already in public circulation elsewhere.They will be included in Case #1 rather than be placed in Case #6 which is being deleted.

Other issues will be moved round. My complaint to the BBC regarding The Future State Of Welfare With John Humphrys and soul-crushing rebuttal of the programme will be the new Case #3, so I might actually be able to finally close a case. In all I will now have three clearly defined case files now until more stuff comes along, I just need to actually go through all my posts re-tagging and re-naming them into case files #1 and #3.

Which brings us to Case #2, a case I've had open personally but not written anything. Case file #2 is in regard to Autism. Where Case #1 is about public policy on welfare and Case #3 is BBC policy on factual rigour- #2 is public policy on the place of Autistics in Britain. I've had a lot to grumble about since the Autism Act was passed in 2009. It puts an obligation on all local authorities in England to count how many Autistics use their services, to have an Autism policy and to advertise services that will specially benefit Autistics. My problem is that local and national government have avoided responsibility by lumping Autism in with generalist disability provision. Before the Autism Act, the problem was buck-passing between mental health services and learning disability services. Autism is neither of these, so it's always been unclear who is responsible for Autistics. The solution many agencies have come up with is utterly inadequate; they have to work together but just treat Autistic service users as mentally ill or learning disabled depending on the situation, in order to secure some service. This is a stop-gap at best.

But what's kicked me out of my aimless torpor on this issue was an infuriating piece of news I received a week ago: of all the local authorities and agencies in England- North Yorkshire is the only place where absolutely none of them have done what the law now requires them to. I'd like to say that as bad as local authorities around the country have been, at least what they have done is better than nothing. I can't go that far. But what I see here is that the indifference of North Yorkshire County Council, borough councils and parishes(but mainly NYCC themselves, who are in charge of the largest authority in England outside London) means that they have a chance to get it right because they haven't already set themselves down the same path as everyone else.

So, rather than just moaning about how crap local governments in England have responded- I have a goal I can actively pursue with my own local authority. It might even get me out the house.

Case File #2 is now open.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mason - not sure if this is of any use to you.

    Unum published a guide outlining the ESA entitlement changes, for their advisors's eyes only, which contains the following quotes:

    “even the higher level of benefits will fall significantly short of what most clients need in order to meet their usual household bills”

    And:

    "a significant shortfall continues to exist between state benefit levels and usual levels of household spending, offering a significant opportunity for advice"

    It's a flash file, there are no page numbers, but they're on the penultimate page and the one preceding:

    http://www.unum.co.uk/Flash_File_Library/ESA_group.swf

    The document which contains the sales pitch is here:

    http://www.ourstockonline.co.uk/unum/Images/UP1638.pdf

    And there is a document by the American Association for Justice which documents the practices of Unum (amonst others):

    http://www.justice.org/docs/TenWorstInsuranceCompanies.pdf

    A brief piece containing sources re. its lobbying efforts:

    http://whoslobbying.com/uk/unum

    And a very lengthy article which discusses its * cough * proximity to David Freud, amongst other issues:

    http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/04/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-debbie-jolly/

    I hope you're well. Robots, banana-sharks and all.

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