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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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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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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