Baroness Jane Campbell and Sian Vasey Discuss SPECTRUM CIL’s Disability Manifesto 2017

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living was delighted to welcome Baroness Jane Campbell, a cross bench peer in the House of Lords and Sian Vasey, a Disabled film maker, to Southampton to discuss all things Independent Living related with our Chief Executive, Ian Loynes. They covered a wide range of topics from employment to welfare reform, not forgetting Brexit of course. You can watch highlights of their conversation below.

All of them agreed that none of the political parties were yet offering a comprehensive disability strategy that would enable Disabled People to enjoy true equality within society.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page.





SPECTRUM Staff Vacancy – Human Resources & Performance Manager

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living CIC are recruiting a Human Resources & Performance Manager

37.5hrs/wk (negotiable), Salary scale: £30,178 – £32,778

SPECTRUM is: a highly respected, progressive and innovative user-led organisation. As a result of a strategic review, we need to recruit an experienced HR & Performance Manager to lead the development of our HR and performance management functions, line management of Team Leaders and ensure our policies and procedures model good practice and employment law.

Working within our Senior Management Team: you will develop and implement policy and practice on all HR & performance management functions, including recruitment, personnel development and safeguarding. You will have a key strategic role in implementing SPECTRUM’s ambitious new Strategic Action Plan.

The right candidate will have: human resources and performance management experience, and have Chartered Membership of CIPD or equivalent experience; Excellent management, interpersonal and organisational skills; You will be self motivated and have a pragmatic approach to problem solving. You will understand and champion equality & diversity in the workforce, and have a good understanding of the aims and values of our organisation and a commitment to the empowerment of Disabled People.

We offer: a flexible package, including 25-28 days annual leave + bank holidays (pro-rata) and a contributory pension scheme. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of Disabled People and the success of SPECTRUM.

SPECTRUM is committed to equality and diversity. We particularly welcome applications from Disabled People.

For a job application pack and more information, click here

Job Vacancy – Receptionist and Conference Administrator 

IMG_0020Unity 12 CIC is owned and managed by SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living which is an organisation run by and for Disabled People. The building provides office space and conference and room hire facilities to the community.

Unity 12 wish to recruit a Conference Administrator and Receptionist Administrator
Receptionist Administrator & Conference Administrator
20 Hrs/week: £16,829 Pro rata

We need an enthusiastic person to carry out conference coordination, reception and general office duties.
Excellent communication and IT skills are essential.
A training and induction package will enable you to develop your skills.
Unity 12 is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity. We particularly welcome applications from people who are members of minority groups. This post is a job share.
For an application pack, or an informal chat, please contact Cicily Hunt at:

Unity 12, 9-19 Rose Road, Southampton, SO14 6TE
Telephone: 023 8020 2629
Fax: 023 8020 2648
Minicom: 023 8020 2649

Closing date for applications: Monday 16th November 2015 at 9am.
Interview date: Monday 23rd November (times to be confirmed)

Personal Assistants Require Support and Recognition – But They’re Not Heroes or Saints

This blog post was written by Robert Droy and is his personal point of view

I get used to reading articles that are patronising to Disabled People. Unfortunately it’s just a price we have to pay if we want to read a newspaper or surf the internet. However an article in today’s Guardian was different in that I found it rather patronising about personal assistants or as the Guardian calls them ‘care workers’ .

Let me be clear this is in no way meant to be a personal attack on the author. Many of the points the author made regarding staff receiving adequate wages and the commitment that many staff put into their work, I wholly agree with. However phrases like ‘noble’ and ‘incredible’ and ‘devoted her whole life to….’ were quite jarring to me. It sounds like the member of staff was very good at her job and was committed, but she was just a member of staff. She wasn’t a hero or a saint. She shouldn’t have devoted her life to the job. My Personal Assistants are great at their job but they haven’t devoted their life to supporting me and neither should they. They should however have their work recognised and rewarded appropriately.

This brings me on to another quote from the article – ‘Caring is often a thankless task’ . Well, so is mending the photocopier, so is emptying other people’s bins, so is dealing with a drunk person after closing time. Many of us have jobs that are thankless but should we expect gratitude just for doing our job? I feel this is where the author got confused between caring and care work. People who are paid to support Disabled People (personal assistants / ‘care workers’ ) are distinct from carers who are normally friends or family who are providing unpaid care to the Disabled Person. Both these groups are vital in the modern social care system but they have different needs and support to undertake their responsibilities.

And after all this, we must never forget the wishes and preferences of the Disabled Person. How do they feel if their staff are held up as heroes and saints? Many Disabled People, including myself, may feel the staff are lucky to have a job at all. And that’s not because we’re ungrateful or don’t feel hard working staff should be recognised. It’s because we hear from our staff, how they enjoy their job, how they do feel recognised, or at the very least, how it’s better than working in McDonald’s.

Getting Businesses to be Disability Confident

Disability Confident is the name of the government’s new initiative to encourage organisations both large and small to recruit more Disabled People launched at a conference on the 19th July. s300_disability-confident-960 If the conference is anything to go by, the government is keen to get their message across.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People was largely relegated to a compere’s role, as David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith, and Vince Cable were rolled out one at time to deliver the big policy announcements and demonstrate the government were serious about this issue.

To help support employers overcome barriers and become Disability confident, the Government will:

  • roll out a new £500,000 2-year government campaign targeting employers’ and workforce attitudes to hiring Disabled People
  • support the roll out of business-led commitments to hire more Disabled People
  • support Disabled People and media organisations increase media representation and portrayal of Disabled People in mainstream programmes
  • provide opportunities, through changes announced this week to Access to Work, for employers to engage Disabled People on work experience, traineeship and supported internships
  • provide streamlined advice and support for employers on hiring and keeping Disabled People in work through our guidance on employing Disabled People and people with health conditions

The new service for employers will focus on supporting them to become more confident about hiring Disabled People.

These announcements were slightly blunted throughout the day as none of the speakers would address how the welfare reforms fitted into this bright new world of Disability Employment. Access to Work was quite rightly praised by virtually every speaker, although other programmes seemed less clear as to how they would deliver real outcomes.

The conference was very much targeted at businesses so most Disabled People had to just watch it on the live internet stream and the comments via Twitter were predictably scathing about this. Maybe the government has forgotten the ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ motto already.

To be fair, there were some very impressive Disabled Entrepreneurs and Business People who spoke very powerfully about their experiences and views. Unfortunately this always seemed to be followed by a non Disabled Speaker calling them ‘inspirational’ which became quite tiresome quite quickly. The key role that Disabled People’s User Led Organisations could play in supporting businesses and Disabled workers was also not covered.

These kind of conferences always feel a bit like they’re preaching to the converted but hopefully this 2 year campaign will assist in increasing the number of Disabled People in employment so that it will become less ‘inspiring’  and more just part of everyday life.

SPECTRUM is here

On the 30th of January 2013, Southampton Centre for Independent Living officially re-launched itself as SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living.


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.

Funding for Training Personal Assistants and Employers

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.

How can I apply?

More information and the application form is available on their website:


If you have any questions about this funding, call 0113 241 1275 or email: