Ministers have refused to say if they implemented

first_imgMinisters have refused to say if they implemented 10 measures – recommended by their own civil servants – that would have made it less likely that “vulnerable” benefit claimants would lose their lives.The 10 recommendations were taken from some of the 49 heavily-redacted, secret “peer reviews” that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) finally published this week after losing a 21-month legal battle with Disability News Service (DNS).Although key parts of the peer reviews are missing DNS has found 10 key recommendations for national action to improve the way the department treats vulnerable benefit claimants, many of whom will have mental health conditions or learning difficulties. Many of the 49 reviews relate to the process of applying for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA)*, through the much-criticised work capability assessment (WCA) process.And many of the reviews – 40 of which refer to suicides – relate to the ongoing process to reassess long-term claimants of incapacity benefit (IB) through the WCA.The question of whether the recommendations were acted on could provide crucial evidence for calls – led by the Scottish-based grassroots group Black Triangle, and backed by many other disabled activists – for former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to face a criminal investigation for misconduct in public office following his refusal to address a coroner’s concerns about the safety of the WCA.They want to hold Duncan Smith and his former employment minister Chris Grayling to account for their failure to improve the safety of the WCA, even though they were warned that it risked causing further deaths.Last November, government-funded research concluded that the programme to reassess people claiming IB using the WCA could have caused 590 suicides in just three years.Any evidence that ministers ignored peer review recommendations for national action to improve the safety of vulnerable claimants will add weight to the calls for a criminal investigation.One of the 10 “vulnerability” recommendations in the peer reviews is for DWP to carry out a review of “the ESA process to aid identification of Vulnerable Customers”.Another calls for a review of “DWP’s ongoing Duty of Care in relation to the identification and support of claimants required to participate in the [incapacity benefit reassessment process], who as a result of a [REDACTED} may be vulnerable and have different support needs”.It also calls for this duty of care to be “brought to the attention of all colleagues including those from Atos who are involved in the [incapacity benefit reassessment process], and that their responsibilities for the identification and support of claimants with a [REDACTED] are written into role descriptors and included as specific process steps.”A third peer review calls for DWP to carry out “a re-launch to staff of the importance of identifying vulnerable claimants and taking their needs in to account throughout the whole process via updated bulletins, Comms discussions and any other practical means”.Another peer review recommends that “the guidance for handling vulnerable customers is reviewed and that staff are reminded of the correct process”.Each of the peer reviews that led to these recommendations had investigated the circumstances that led to the death of a benefit claimant.The peer reviews stretch from February 2012 to August 2014, and many of them appear to show that ministers, through their senior civil servants, were warned repeatedly that their policies and procedures were risking the lives of benefit claimants, and that action needed to be taken.But when approached this week about the recommendations, the DWP press office first tried to claim – wrongly – that the recommendations made in the 49 peer reviews related only to calls for action to improve procedures in the local area where the death occurred.When the press officer was challenged on this claim, she admitted that many of the recommendations included in the peer reviews – including the 10 highlighted by DNS – had been for national improvements.But she claimed that it was impossible to say whether the 10 recommendations were implemented, or ignored, by ministers.She said the department provided “extensive guidance to all staff to help them best support vulnerable claimants, and this has since been reviewed”.She added: “National recommendations were fed into the relevant ‘Customer Journey’.“These are considered by colleagues across the department along with other suggestions for change.“I’m sure you can appreciate, our ways of working have changed over the years as a result of our learnings from many sources – including peer reviews and independent reviews etc – and therefore it is not possible to link these changes to specific Peer Review recommendations.”*Freedom of information responses secured by journalist and campaigner Natalie Leal have revealed that, at the time of death, 22 of the 49 claimants were receiving ESA, as well as 18 of the 40 claimants who took their own lives, although DWP has not been able to say in many of the other cases which benefits the person was claiming.last_img read more

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The Liberal Democrats have pledged that they would

first_imgThe Liberal Democrats have pledged that they would incorporate the UN disability convention into UK law.Although the policy – which would give disabled people in the UK a wave of new rights in law – was not part of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto, Disability News Service (DNS) has been told that it would be part of any programme of government.The party’s disabled president, Baroness [Sal] Brinton, told DNS that the Liberal Democrats in government would give disabled people in the UK the right to take legal action to enforce all of the articles contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Labour has made a similar pledge.This would give disabled people legally-enforceable rights to independent living (article 19), to accessibility (article nine), to an adequate standard of living and social protection (article 28), and across many other areas.She said such a move could help cases such as a Deaf child she knew of who had previously had an expert, level six British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter at school and was now having to cope with a level one or two interpreter.Baroness Brinton (pictured, left, before the hustings) said: “That’s a breach of their rights. It’s like asking someone with GCSE French to translate at a police interview for somebody. It just will not do.”She was speaking after a disability hustings event in Westminster organised by the Disability Charities Consortium, the Disability Benefits Consortium and the Care and Support Alliance.She told the event that the UN convention “has to be the UK’s starting point”.She said the party regretted the government’s removal of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s disability commissioner – revealed by DNS last month – and its disability committee, and would want them reinstated.She also confirmed another DNS story, that a Liberal Democrat government would scrap all benefit sanctions, a position which outflanks Labour, which has only promised to scrap the current “punitive sanctions regime”.Baroness Brinton also criticised the Conservative decision to close the Access to Elected Office Fund, which helped disabled people with their extra costs in seeking election as councillors and MPs, and which has particularly hit Deaf people who use BSL interpreters.She said: “I have a close friend who has been unable to stand this time because he has not been able to get support from that fund.“We would reinstate that, because it is not good enough just talking about people with disabilities having employment opportunities if we don’t have people with disabilities in the House of Commons.“The House of Commons is not representative of the country as a whole.”She told the event: “A range of cuts have particularly hit disabled people the hardest and we would turn around those cuts and invest back in services for disabled people because as a party we believe in the individual’s right to perform the best they can in society and we feel the current cuts have taken that right away from people with disabilities.”She added: “One of the major problems we have in this country for those of us with disabilities is getting around, it’s finding housing, it’s being able to walk through our town centres easily, access shops, retail… the government has a very clear role in helping to reduce those barriers, by legislation if necessary.”But she said the government had chosen not to follow the recommendations of the House of Lords Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, of which she was a member, which had made a series of recommendations in this area.last_img read more

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WHY do we do it Are we too nice What you may

first_imgWHY do we do it? Are we too nice? What you may ask am I talking about? It seems that whichever side we play against we have to give them a sizeable lead before we switch on and start playing ourselves?In almost a mirror image of last night’s Reserves game the U19’s handed their hosts a 16 point start in the first quarter. And again it was down to poor ball security and tackling, writes Graham Henthorne.But had Elliott Jenkins’ inside pass to Kev Brown been slightly higher the full back would have evened up the scores in the first ten minutes and all could have been different.As it was the pass was too low, Brown dropped it, the chance was lost and the home side went down the other end and increased their lead.The second quarter was a much more even affair with the Saints defence cancelling out the Hull attack and restricting their yardage.The trouble is that with a ball control of 30% you’ve little chance of doing anything constructive and to be truthful it was a testament to their defensive quality that they were still behind by the same score at the break.The second half started better with the Saints actually holding onto the ball and putting the home side under pressure.Brown could and maybe should have opened their account 10 minutes in as he cut back off his left foot only to knock on over the line under the ministrations of three defenders. Had he dove low straight away he may have evaded their cover.The match turned on an incident just before the hour mark which resulted in Saints scrum half Jenkin’s being stretchered from the fieldHe had just made an arcing 40 metre break through the middle of the Hull line when, in looking for his support, he started to slip but was then hit with the full force of the full back’s shoulder in a shoulder charge. The game was held up for 25 minutes whilst he was taken care of and on resumption the full back was rightly sent off.As is so often the case when a serious injury has occurred the Saints were galvanised and with Josh Eaves operating in Jenkin’s position continued the set which finished with Eaves jinking over on the last.Callum Hazzard showed his versatility banging over the goal with aplomb.The Saints continued to press and were rewarded with 10 to go. A very good five tackles had seen them go 50 metres and when, on the last, Eaves put in a viciously bouncing grubber from left to right to the posts, Matty Lees was on hand to grasp the ball as it fell over the line. Hazzard’s second meant a four point margin with time enough to go.The home side were still a threat, however, and it took a great try saving tackle from Nash 30 metres out when he not only stopped the man by hanging on to his shorts for grim death, but in the process of divesting him of said shorts he forced the knock on.The game should have been won from the scrum as the Saints drove down field but an error from Matty Lees cost field position and time ran out for the Saints in the end.This was a young side which travelled to Hull and for large parts of the game were the better team but the start killed them.The usual suspects of Lees, Eaves and Jorge Lewtas gave their all but Callum Hazzard showed a little of what has been missing with his enforced lay off.Unfortunately there will have to be yet another half back pairing found for Friday night’s curtain raiser when the team will be hoping to play for the full 80 and maybe score first for a change.Match Summary: City of Hull:Tries: Tom Jubb (6), Tom Burke (15), Josh Atkinson (21).Goals: Owen Harrison 2 from 3.Saints:Tries: Josh Eaves (59), Matty Lees (71).Goals: Callum Hazzard 2 from 2.Half Time: 16-0Full Time: 16-12Teams:City of Hull:1. Lochlan Fitzgerald; 2. Sam Brown, 3. Cameron Scott, 4. Kieran Buchanon, 5. Josh Atkinson; 7. Harry Hutchinson, 6. Harrison Morrow; 8. Jack Brown, 9. Tom Jubb, 10. Osh Jarvis, 11. Max Riseham, 12. Owen Harrison, **. Zeus Silk (C). Subs: 14. Jack Bartlett, **. Tom Burke, 16. Rob Branton, 18. Jordan Webster.Saints:1. Kevin Brown; 2. Tom Nisbett, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Sean Croston, 5. Luke Ward; 6. Elliott Jenkins, 7. Ryan Horne; 8. Matty Lees, 9. Josh Eaves, 19. Alex Eckley, 11. Chris Follin, 12. Mike Weldon (C), 13. Callum Hazzard. Subs: 14. Paul Nash, 15. Ben Sims, 16. Evan Bullen, 17. Jorge Lewtas.last_img read more

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We knew it was always going to be a tough game

first_img“We knew it was always going to be a tough game,” he said. “No matter how much homework you do Cas are still a dangerous side to face. The boys needed to continuously make the right decisions in defence and they did that, and we came away with the win.“Our attitude in defence has been great the whole time I have been here. The difference is Cas ask the most questions and you have to be on it for 80 minutes. We did that.“I think we are getting better each week and we need to. It was a great win but we are still chasing the teams above us. We will continue that on but I am happy with the performance tonight.”Holbrook also praised the workrate of two try man of the match James Roby.“He isn’t just tough, he creates things, is fit and is a great guy who loves playing rugby league,” he continued. “You can see that in his play – they are the type of players you need when you have a tough assignment like tonight. You rely on them and he was fantastic.”Danny Richardson left the field in the first half with concussion but should be available for next week’s game against Hull.last_img read more

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Club First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgThere is also some early squad news involving James Roby and Lachlan Coote in the interview below….Saints head into Saturday’s Semi-Final at the University of Bolton Stadium knowing a win over Championship side Halifax will mean a first Wembley appearance for 11 years.And at a joint media event at Saturday’s venue, Holbrook believes this is the start of an exciting run of fixtures and believes it will be a proud moment if we can get the victory.“It is coming at a great time of the year. We have put ourselves in a really good position in the Super League table and now there is six games to go and now we get a little bit of added excitement of throwing in a Challenge Cup semi knowing that if we are good enough to win we get to Wembley in another three weeks time.“We have done all the hard yards to date and we have got the exciting games in front and I want us to really look forward to this. The club hasn’t been to Wembley for 11 years and given the great history of our club in the Challenge Cup and the fact our fans haven’t had the chance to go to Wembley for a long time [it means] everything is at stake on Saturday and we know that so it will be a real proud moment if we can get the win against Halifax and get there.”Saints lost out last time we were in Bolton after Catalans Dragons progressed to the Challenge Cup final and Holbrook believes Saturday’s clash is a great chance to put last year’s defeat behind us once and for all.“Everyone knows this time last year we got beat in the Semi Final and whenever you lose something or don’t do something great, you want to have another crack at it and we have had to wait 12 months and it’s exciting it is finally rolling around again, he continued.“After the Quarter Final win you have got to wait 8 or 9 weeks before the Semi which is hard, but the boys have handled it well and it has finally rolled around and we are looking forward to it.”Holbrook is well aware of Halifax’s dangers, but admits it is more important Saints concentrate on ourselves.“We have been looking at them really closely and I will [continue to] over the next couple of days. We have got to be well prepared for them and know their threats. But at the end of the day, it’s about us. We have got to come here Saturday, knowing what is at stake and we know we want to get to Wembley and that is all the motivation we need. We have got to play well on Saturday and we will all be doing our best.”On the injury front, Holbrook admits his senior players, including captain James Roby, will likely return. The only player unlikely to feature is full back Lachlan Coote who is still recovering from a knee injury he picked up in the win over Wigan.“We are looking all good. Obviously it was a tough game, physically as we expected in London. Cootie [Lachlan Coote] is unlikely to play, but everyone else should be OK.“I have a couple of ideas [to fill in at full back if Coote doesn’t play]. Jonny Lomax is equally as good at full back or stand off and young Jack Welsby is an exciting young player and Matty Costello has played heaps at full back so we have got a few options to consider there and we will work that out over the next couple of days.“It will be great to have Robes back. Obviously we wanted him to play against Wigan, but he didn’t get through training great and he was still a bit sore last week so to get him 100% for our biggest game of the season here on Saturday is the main thing and he should be right to go.”Tickets for our Coral Challenge Cup Semi Final against Halifax on Saturday (KO 4:30pm) at the University of Bolton Stadium and are still on sale online here.  We are also now offering ‘What If’ forms for 2019 Members who have an exclusive opportunity to pre-book their tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final IF we beat Halifax.last_img read more

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153 ducks seized from New Hanover County home

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County woman faces several animal cruelty charges after law enforcement seized 153 ducks and 3 cats from her property.Lt. Jerry Brewer says it took a while for investigators to get a search warrant for Cynthia Huber’s property on Watermill Way because she would not cooperate.- Advertisement – Brewer says they got the search warrant and checked on the ducks on December 20, which were kept on Huber’s fenced-in property.The ducks were either disabled or injured. Brewer says a lot of them came from the Northchase area.Brewer says they called in a bird rescue group to help seize the ducks.Related Article: Castle Hayne dog boarding facility suddenly shut downHuber also faces a federal charge from a Wildlife Resources Officer, because one duck was illegal to have.The three cats were taken to New Hanover County Animal Control.Huber is charged with 9 counts of cruelty to animals, dog/cat/ferret/vaccination requirement, and misuse of 911.Brewer says this is not the first time they have removed animals from Huber’s home.Brewer says the health department is also involved because of the amount of animal waste in the small pond on the property.last_img read more

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Pender County Schools to also close May 16 for teacher rally

first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County Schools is the third school district in our area to announce they will close on May 16.Pender County Schools says teachers have submitted 174 absence requests for Wednesday.- Advertisement – PCS says this information was presented to the Board of Education for consideration of calendar adjustment. A majority directed Pender County Schools to close. This day now becomes an workday for staff.Brunswick County Schools and New Hanover County Schools have already announced they will close on Wednesday.Thousands of educators across the state will convene in Raleigh to attend a rally at the General Assembly to address teacher pay, among other education issues.last_img

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Pet Pals Meet Gracie

first_img Shelter staff describes her as a lily. She is peaceful, gentle and laid back. Gracie would like to live in a quiet and calm house. She is already spayed and up to date on her shots.To meet Gracie, head to New Hanover County Animal Services. County residents can adopt for $70. Adoption hours are Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to Noon. To see more pets available for adoption, click here. NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — If you’re looking to open your heart and home to a four-legged friend, check out this week’s Pet Pal!Meet Gracie. She is a 12-year-old domestic shorthair gray tabby cat. Her former owner died and now Gracie is looking for a new, loving home.- Advertisement – last_img

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Debono eyes Stellinis Parliamentary seat – Delia

first_imgJean Pierre Debono is eyeing the Parliamentary seat vacated Tuesday by David Stellini. The Leader of the Partit Nazzjonalista Adrian Delia said that Debono already expressed his wish to be co-opted to Parliament instead of the former Gozitan MP.While being interviewed on the TVM discussion programme Dissett, Delia said that he welcomed the enthusiasm of Debono. Delia added that he told Debono that if he is co-opted to Parliament he has to resign from his post as Chief Political Advisor as it is not in the interest of the PN that an MP holds that position.Debono was elected to Parliament for the first time in the general elections of 2017. However he resigned his seat so that Delia could be co-opted to Parliament as Leader of the Opposition.Read: Kevin Cutajar or Jean Pierre Debono ?According to Stellini’s resignation letter he quit his seat as politics is no longer benefitting the country.Read: Stellini’s resignation letter; “Politics is no longer benefiting the country”WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

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Orange partners Renault for LTE research in car industry

first_imgAdvertisement Orange has partnered with car manufacturer Renault to research the opportunities presented by long term evolution (LTE) technologies in the automotive industry, with a view to developing “hyper-connected” vehicles.The companies said the partnership aimed to create a testing opportunity for new LTE-based technologies applicable to real life, such as applications of technology including virtual offices, cloud gaming and video conferencing.According to the partners, the vehicles of “tomorrow” will be “hyper-connected”, and will allow motorists to access their digital activities – both personal and professional – whenever they want, when driving circumstances permit, prompting the need for further in-depth research into the possibilities. – Advertisement – Orange is providing 4G connectivity at the Renault testing centre as part of the partnership.“We are delighted to provide Renault with the unrivalled performance of our 4G network and thereby contribute to the development of new Web-mobility uses and services for vehicles of the future,” said Nathalie Leboucher, head of the smart cities programme at Orange.“Connected cars with communications services make travelling more efficient, and this is a major development priority in Orange’s strategy.”Renault has already embarked on the development of smart cars, with the Renault R-Link providing drivers with an integrated and connected touchscreen tablet, prompting the company to look forward to further research and progress in the area.“This partnership is an example of an effective working relationship between two very different worlds. We were able to benefit ahead of time from a high-speed LTE network and from Orange’s expertise, with an opportunity to take advantage of the network for our prototype of the connected vehicle of the future,” said Remi Bastien, head of engineering innovation at Renault.last_img read more

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