The Hampshire PEP are pleased to announce that their Conference this year will be held on the 20th of March in Winchester, featuring a wide range of speakers, including Michelle Daley, Bob Rhodes, Shahana Ramsden and Sarah Carr.
We hope to be able to show people that personalisation is not just about social care, but is also affecting the way people get support in education and employment. There will be plenty of interactive workshops throughout the day, as well as an opportunity to question our expert speakers and the Director of Hampshire Adult Services, Gill Duncan.
We are sure it will be an informative day as well as being a lot of fun. It is also a great way to meet other people and network and we hope it will encourage more people to get involved in User Led Organisations in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.
For more information, please download our joining pack with all the details of how you can be part of this exciting event.
This was obviously a momentous day for all the staff members and allies of SCIL. For the past 28 years, SCIL has provided high quality services to Disabled People and their allies. We hope that with this modern new branding, we will be able to attract even more Disabled People to our cause and help to promote the concept of Independent Living to the wider community.
It has been a long journey to decide on how to rebrand, however, we feel that the SPECTRUM logo reflects the diversity of our members and our aspirations for a bright new colourful future.
At an exciting ceremony at Winchester, Ian Loynes, SPECTRUM’s Chief Executive, formally announced the change at just before 11am on the 30th of January 2013.
Ian greeted the audience with a dynamic and wide-ranging presentation on the history of Disabled People through the years, as well as how SCIL has developed over the 28 years that it has been in existence. Ian emphasised that this was not the end of SCIL, it was just the beginning of a brand-new era of modernising the way that people think about Disabled People.
Over the next few months, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living will be sharing a lot more of their exciting plans as to how they hope to go forward over the coming years.
The Hampshire ULO Project has already begun work at developing more user-led organisations across Hampshire. This work will lead to even more Disabled People getting involved in campaigning for equality and human rights.
At the National level, Disabled People are going through a difficult time of change so we feel that the time is right for user-led organisations to unite together to ensure that all people are treated equally and their human-rights are protected.
We hope you will join us in the bright new future that we have planned for SPECTRUM and raise a toast to our success.
SCIL is bitterly disappointed that the government has announced its intention to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in April 2015. The government plans to transfer ILF funding to local authorities.
SCIL as well as many other User Lead Organisations, have campaigned over the past two years for the ILF to continue. The ILF provides vital funding to many Disabled People with high support needs to enable them to live independently. SCIL is concerned that by transferring the funding directly to local authorities, it will put an impossible burden on a care and support system that is already struggling and in need of major reform.
Disabled People have raised many significant concerns with the government but to no avail. Despite the government proclaiming that the transition will run smoothly, many Disabled People will now face two more years of anxiety and stress while they wait to understand the full repercussions of this short-sited decision. SCIL will attempt to ensure that ILF users in Southampton are kept fully informed during the transition process.
Robert Droy, SCIL Independent Living Team Leader sits on the ILF user advisory group and will continue to fight for ILF users’ right to live independently, despite the changes. You can read the government response to the ILF conversation here.
SCIL has welcomed the announcement by the Law Commission that they have been asked by Government to consider whether two existing groups of offences dealing with hate crime should be extended.
At present various crimes (such as assault or criminal damage) are prosecuted as aggravated offences with higher sentences if the offender demonstrates hostility or is motivated by racial or religious hostility at the time of the offence. The Law Commission is to examine whether the same approach should apply if the offender shows hostility or is motivated on grounds of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The criminal law also provides protection against those who publish material that is intended to stir up hatred against people on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation. The Commission is to examine whether those offences should also apply to people who act in order to stir up hatred on the grounds of disability or gender identity.
A crime is recorded as a hate crime if the victim or anyone else believes it to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic. The criminal justice agencies monitor hate crimes related to five main characteristics – disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation – but not all the existing legislation that protects victims from such crimes covers all five.
The Public Order Act 1986 makes it an offence intentionally to stir up hatred on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation, and the Crime and Disorder Act 1988 creates racially and religiously aggravated offences.
The Commission’s review will ask whether these two pieces of legislation should be reformed to extend protection to all five groups and, if so, how it should be changed.
SCIL believes that legislation should be reformed to extend protection to all five groups and will be making representations to the Law Commission to this effect.
The Commission aims to report to Government in spring 2014.
This post is written by Gerry Zarb, SCIL’s Policy and Information Officer.
Do turkeys vote for Christmas? Even if we made our polling stations more poultry friendly I doubt that they would. I have always suspected this to be an urban (or should that be rural) myth. Amazingly though there are disabled people who’d vote for cuts to disability benefits and even for cuts to social care. In his blog for Community Care On-line Simon Stevens Blog, ‘Anti-cuts groups risk undermining social model of disability’ – Adult Care Blog claims that cuts are not only acceptable and necessary but that it is in fact disabled people’s ‘responsibility’ to accept them.
To be clear, this claim goes much further than simply saying we need to accept (however reluctantly) that we don’t have enough money in the kitty to maintain to maintain previous levels of public spending. Rather, Stevens is claiming that the social model of disability itself demands acceptance of cuts as quid pro quo for greater rights granted to disabled people and the responsibilities that came with them: “The government is now asking disabled people to honour this as greater accessibility and inclusion means there is a lesser need for compensation payments like DLA or its prospective replacement, personal independence payment, for some disabled people.”
But wait, he doesn’t even stop there because, according to Simon, by baulking at the idea of giving up benefits and support that they need, disabled people are reverting back “to a medical model concept of disability, where people with impairments are victims who are portrayed as unemployable and naturally inferior”.
This really is a novel idea and I suppose he scores points for ‘imaginative thinking’ at least. But, frankly, it is nonsense – and dangerous nonsense at that!
Simon Steven’s argument is that the welfare state was originally developed on the premise that there would always be a proportion of the population who were unable to make any active contribution to society, but that society has now changed to the point “where everyone can make some sort of meaningful contribution”.
Similarly, in the case of social care budgets, he argues that “financial cuts do not necessarily mean reductions in outcomes” because there are ‘technological’ solutions to meeting people’s support needs that didn’t exist in the past. He asks, for example: “Should someone have a shopping call when they are able to do online shopping?”
Even the briefest examination of the unemployment data – especially for disabled people aged over 50 – shows just how wide of the mark this is. According to the latest official statistics from the Labour Force Survey, the number of unemployed disabled people went up between September 2010 and September 2012, from 392,000 to 434,000. That is an increase of nearly 15 per cent. Yes, that’s going to make it a while lot easier to find a job isn’t it?!
And, telecare in place of shopping visits? Are there even any councils left that still class shopping as an eligible need? If there are, you could probably count them on the fingers of one hand.
As the latest ‘State of Health Care and Adult Social Care’ report from the Care Quality Commission confirms, local authorities are tightening their eligibility criteria, meaning that less people get any support even though they still need it. “For 2012/13, 83% of councils have set their threshold for eligibility for state-funded care at ‘substantial’. This compares with 78% in 2011/12 and 70% in 2008/09”.
So, no, the real disservice to the social model is to suggest that disabled people are somehow inflicting dependency on themselves. No one is arguing that we have a problem with public finances. But the negative impact this has on disabled people surely makes it more important than ever to try to defend our rights to participation and inclusion. People who are left poor through having no income, or isolated through having no support, are being excluded, pure and simple.
Individual employers (people who directly employ their care or support staff) are now able to apply for grant funding directly from Skills for Care to support the full costs of training and development for themselves and their personal assistants.
What will be funded?
Skills for Care will fund any training, development or qualifications that demonstrate value for money and meet the needs of the individual employer and their personal assistants.
When can I apply for the funding?
You can apply for funding now. Grant funding will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis between now and 31 March 2013. Make sure you apply early so you don’t miss out.
One of the aims of Personalisation within the social care field was to make decision making more transparent and to allow users and carers to understand the process better. It was hoped that by each local authority adopting a resource allocation system (RAS), users would be able to find out what their ‘indicative budget’ was likely to be. By being upfront about how much ‘indicative budget’ a user was likely to receive for their social care needs, it would help the user with support to draw up a support plan that fitted the budget.
All well and good you may think, however trying to design a resource allocation system that is ‘fit for purpose’ seems to have foiled most local authorities. While most local authorities may claim to be using a resource allocation system, they are also using a system of ‘moderation’ to change the indicative budget after going through the RAS to ensure its accuracy.
This process of moderation is done by either the care manager / social worker or by a panel. Which then begs the question about what are we actually achieving in using a RAS.
I am not claiming that coming up with an indicative budget is easy but if we are going to treat people as individuals which their own personal hopes, fears, desires, and needs, it feels counter intuitive that feeding a few dozen scores into a computer system is ever going to come out with a realistic answer that works for everyone.
I was prompted to write this article after reading The Small Places blog which discussed the state of RAS across the country. I was particularly disturbed that 2 local authorities refused to give details of their RAS but for 2 different reasons.
The first local authority, Croydon, was worried that the information could be used by people to manipulate the system. But surely we want a transparent system that everyone can understand and buy into. If users can’t work out how the RAS has come up with the indicative budget, the social care system will lack the much needed credibility it requires.
The second local authority, Hackney, used a private organisation to develop the RAS and therefore the information was seen as commercially sensitive. As a service user myself, I find this reason even more disturbing. If the RAS has been developed with taxpayers’ money, we have a right to understand how it works. Why should the aim of transparency be thwarted by the private interests of a commercial company?
Overall, whilst I agree with the concept of Personalisation, I am worried that a lot of time, effort and money has been spent on developing RAS systems across the country which aren’t really improving things for service users and more importantly, not making the system any easier to understand.