New Approach response to DWP select committee’s report on WCA enquiry

Sorry ive been away so long but heres an interesting responce to the recent ESA and WCA report from the Select committee which can be found at… … Dxxx

New Approach

Nick Dilworth:

Whilst the DWP select committee’s report in to the Work Capability Assessment is welcomed in so far as it touches upon many of its inherent failures, we do not feel that at this point in time that enough has been done to address the very serious concerns of thousands of claimants who continue to live in fear of this harrowing form of assessment.

We welcome the way the committee has got to grips with their factual understanding of the process and their investigative approach in to the DWP’s production of statistics surrounding the assessment process. In many respects the report provides the evidence upon which it has now become all too clear that the earlier assessment results were premature, yet these were readily promoted with considerable vigour by the media in a disturbing attempt to vilify thousands of claimants as fakers, scroungers and fraudsters.

The damage cause…

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One Woman Goes To Conference

One Woman Goes To Conference Large Plain Print

My Pre Conference to do list…

Minus 3 days and counting…


Tights I so need to buy tights, I’m thinking ones with stars on but that might be a bit out there for the conference, but considering I will be in an electric power chair, with killer heels I’m likely to stand out anyway so tights with stars on it is.

Off to London to record a podcast about disability & food poverty

Read a few more policy documents, I say read I will dutifully print them out and skim read them and hope some of it goes in my head.

Look at pile of clothes I was so going to iron – wish my PA were not on holiday this week and sweet talk my long suffering husband into doing it for me…

Oh and don’t forget to pick up prescription for meds or it wont be pretty


If I did forget to pick up meds, don’t forget today or it really won’t be pretty

Print off lots of postcards; social care origami fortune teller things, and snakes and ladders game

Rehearse in my head the stats and killer questions:

There are 5.2 Million working age disabled people in the UK

46% are in work

1 in 4 people will suffer mental ill health in their lifetime

50% of the population by the time they are 65 would be classed as disabled*

*thanks to my fellow campaigner Emma for that gem of a stat

Oh and why do most care homes only ever have single beds in them?



Hope to god I didn’t forget to pick up my prescription

Charge Maude the wheelchair

Pack charger or there will be no conference

Pack stuff hope it’s ironed, if not if will stick out even more and can explain to people its hard being disabled – but at least I’m dressed

Try and make the bag containing meds, heat pack, neck pillow, blanket, freeze gel, deep heat, pain killer gel, ear plugs, cushion and all the other paraphernalia isn’t bigger than my clothes and shoes bag… no chance but one can hope…

Dam forgot the bath mat, and it might be one step too far to take the bath board

I can’t wait to see what the, can’t take bigger than a handbag rules are when I get there, does a wheelchair bag count… I do hope so

Pack the netbook, policy stuff, stats promo stuff, tag, fringe book and all manner of conference things…

Clothes for packing

Clothes for packing

Then think about getting to Manchester and hope this time I don’t

A. End up resembling a luggage area like the Sheffield Trip

B. End up getting left on the train like the London trip

And they say we live in an accessible world – If I can get one thing across to anyone I talk to it’s. How easy do you think going away for a weekend is?

I hoped to get this up sooner… such is  a spoonie life.

Here’s a link to my blog post of what I’m up to at conference…

Resources Im taking that you can print out and use yourself are here:

Did You Know That Fortune teller template

Did You Know That
Fortune teller templateIt Could Be You! Fortune Teller Template

It Could Be You! Fortune Teller Template
Game of life board game template

Game of life board game template

I also had some lovely graphics donated that I hope to give out during meetings that show some of the difficulties they are called Disability Dilemmas…

Disability Dilemmas template 1

Disability Dilemmas template 1

Disability Dilemmas Template 2

Disability Dilemmas Template 2

Disability Dilemmas template 3

Disability Dilemmas template 3

Social Care Links:

One Woman Went To Work! #BADD13

Large Plain Text Version One woman Went to Work BADD13

This is a belated Blogging Against Disablism Day, blog post…

Getting to work is something many take for granted; it can be a bind, and if you rely on public transport it will have all manner of annoyances; Will the bus be on time?  Will I get a seat?

If your disabled the daily commute often comes with many other considerations, this blog  is about one woman’s commute to work – using photographs to illustrate the kind of barriers she faces that an able bodied commuter might not even have to think about.

We have a Pinterest account, and this blog launches our “Barriers to Life “ Project – send us photos of the physical barriers you face in daily life – whether its going to work, socializing or getting to appointments.  We want to use this to illustrate the physical barriers people have to living – and how we could work with Planners, Landscape Architects and Local Authorities in creating an urban landscape that we can all enjoy.

Email your pictures to

My Day at Work

  My drive    gate to bus stop

View from my front door to my gate (exactly 20 meters)…  From my gate to the bus stop; I’m lucky I have one right outside my gate (approx 50 meters, from my door)

My bus to work     internal view of my bus to work

This is one of the buses i have to get, some are accessible this one is not…

Bust stop nearest work    Looking back up to the bus stop

View from the bus stop nearest to work…  I work in the building on the right, but the entrance is right at the bottom of that row of cars on the right…

The second pic is a view back up the road to the bus stop where I got off, up by the catholic church building you can just see in the distance.

End of road looking up at my work   Main entrance stairs

View from that corner up towards the college entrance…  View of the Main entrance…  Hmmm…

Looking for the disabled entrance  Back entrance to the College

View past the main entrance to the disabled entrance; if you look really hard there is a person standing high up the hill, on the right way past the salt bucket, he’s at the disabled entrance…  Next view the disabled and back entrance to the college (back entrance… dont go there) notice you can just make out some blue metal work on the right, that’s the entrance to the engineering workshops, keep it in mind it will be important later…

Down the hill to the disabled entrance    Disabled Entrance

Through the gate and down the hill is the disabled entrance…

Through the doors    Main entrance from inside

Through the doors, heavy and not power assisted double doors…  Leads us to…  The main entrance…  Phew…

round the corner    Double doors

Round the corner through two more heavy doors…

my class room

To my class room door, on the right… thank god the canteen is straight through those double doors…  I need a cup of tea!!!

All is well… until I need to go up to the computer rooms or use the photocopier; that is upstairs on the first floor…

Then I have to…

Back to the main entrance     Main entrance lobby

Come back through the doors, cross the lobby by the entrance and…


Go up two fights of stairs… I have to make sure I can manage this by giving myself enough time to take it really slowly, because there is no lift!

A wheelchair user would have to…

Main entrance lobbyDisabled Entrance

Come out of the disabled entrance…

Up the hill to the disabled entranceBack entrance to the College

Come back up the hill to those two blue pieces of metal outside the engineering workshop I told you to remember earlier… This is the disabled entrance to the first floor…  Through the engineering workshop…

Engineering room    =Up stairs corridor

A view through the engineering workshop door to the road out side you have to come through here to access the first floor…  And yeah a ramp down the steps that leads to the media room…

Up Stairs Corridor     Fire Door

The ramp leads to the media room and others and eventually to the fire door and the fire exit for the first floor…

Fire Exit    View through the fire exit door

Shame there’s two steps to negotiate…

So that’s work… But how do I get home?

Looking back up to the bus stop    View down the hill

Back outside and to the corner where I started, where I cross the road and to my nearest bus stop which is right at the bottom of this hill…

Bottom of the Hill    Town

Looking back up the hill to the college…  From here I just have to cross the moor.…  our town centre…

View across the street    Looking for the bus stop home

I need to cross the three roads to get across to those shops over there…  At last just down by that Taxi pulling out is my bus stop…

If I had the energy to get to it…  I get a taxi home from the college…  My trip to work, around work and home makes a mockery of the 50 meter rule let a lone the 20meter rule… being able to walk such short distances has little or nothing to do with the reality of working when you dont have a car and some times even if you do… I can only manage this trip once a week as it utterly exhausts me and it takes days for me to recover.  I do it because I love my job and the people that I teach… It cost so much in taxi fares there is little to no financial incentive to do it. This is what I use some of My DLA for and I dont get Mobility Allowance.

The point here is, this is not an example of bad accessibility, this is an example of acceptable accessibility…  But acceptable to who…  and if an able bodied person had to put up with that kind of access, going outside in all weathers to be able to get to class, we would have heard a lot more about, Accessibility.

 Link:  Access to Work

Guest Blog Post by Enhance the UK

Large Plain Text Guest Blog Post By Enhance the UK

We would like to welcome Zoe as our first guest blogger; she very eloquently describes a situation faced by thousands of disabled people as Social Care budgets come under pressure across the UK. Her story isn’t an isolated case; it may resonate across the UK. The tricky balancing act between financial considerations and a duty to promote and facilitate independence is becoming ever more precarious. Enhance the UK is an organisation that we feel we have a lot in common with if you would like to know more please visit their site.

So the ‘cuts’ seem to be having a particularly negative impact on the lives of disabled people. I was faced with the magnitude of this potential impact about 18 months ago when my live-in care was nearly taken away from me within the space of one swift phone call.

I was told that the manager, after reading my review that the social worker had written up, had said ‘well lots of people in the community have arthritis that doesn’t have live-in care so why is this girl getting it?’. I obviously retorted that they aren’t as bad as me; wheelchair bound and virtually every joint in my body working to about 20% of its capacity. I tried to explain over the phone my limitations and how far I could reach etc…To which the response was ‘but you said you play Table Tennis, so if your arms are so bad how come you can still do this?’ I was horrified by the ignorance shown and welcomed them to come and watch me play and see that I won’t suddenly be stretching right over the table and running rings around it! In the year of the greatest Paralympics being held in our home town, to then have the fact that I try to still play sport be used against me, was astonishing!

Wondering how on earth I was going to cope without live-in care, I was told I could have daily care where I would have a ‘breakfast call’ to get me up in the morning, probably a ‘lunch-time’ call, and then a ‘tea time’ call to give me dinner and put me to bed. Now I know what this means.. A call no later than 8 or say good bye to any social life..and I currently lead a very active one, meeting friends most evenings and going to bed fairly late. Another alternative gently suggested to me would be to live in a ‘care home’……. My freedom, choice and independence was seemingly teetering on the edge of a cliff.

Then the biggest bomb-shell of all.. ‘How will I toilet through the day if my carer only comes at set times?’ I said. ‘Have you ever considered using nappies?’ Er, NO!!!!!!! because I am fully continent and 32 years old so, no, the thought of gratuitously wetting myself hadn’t really occurred to me funnily enough.. By this time in the phone call, liquid WAS gratuitously being released from my body, but from my tear ducts. I was distraught – could my ‘relatively normal’ life just be taken away from me like this? I felt so vulnerable and powerless I cannot tell you. Also very frightened.

Being disabled, we don’t have the freedom of choices that our able-bodied friends do..such as which houses we can rent/buy, where we can go on holiday, access to buildings, hotels, transport, pathways, toilets etc. Every day we have to plan and be aware where we can go – its hard to be spontaneous .. Fortunately, we live in a country that does (usually) support us, alleviating some of the major stress of living with a disability by having people to help and care for us. With the threat of this being taken away, I now felt like a ‘Nobody’ and utterly helpless with my life being in the hands of some grey-suit that would never actually meet ME and respect the life I have carved out for myself which has taken a lot of adjusting to, mentally and physically.

There has been so much progress with disability awareness and giving disabled people their independence back, with suitable housing, access to work and schemes such as Motability to enable us to drive again that it seems so backwards taking this all away from us and potentially institutionalising us in care homes (such an archaic attitude of ‘keep them away from society’!!) or leave us house bound in our own homes. I cannot get in my car on my own, I cannot wheel myself long distances to get further than my own driveway, I cannot reach into cupboards to make a snack or a meal and cannot pick up things I have dropped. So with their plan of action I would have to have been housebound, waiting for the thrice daily visit from a RUSHED carer, just staring at a TV, unable to plan meeting my friends or going to my hobbies in the evenings… oh and just sitting there wetting my pants. Sounds ideal doesn’t it?

Fortunately, as I have a brain and the support of friends and family, I was able to write a 4000 word document explaining exactly why I need 24 hour care. My social worker, once properly recognising my situation, was very supportive in presenting my case to the Appeals Panel where they also agreed I should keep my care. I feel for the people that would just accept what had been given to them and not have the wherewithal to defend themselves. Where would they be now?

Zoe Lloyd

Thanks Zoe, the last paragraph sums it up brilliantly, because Zoe understands the system, could make her case she manged to change the decision. Many people either dont know, or lack the confidence to do this. We want to focus on providing some basic step-by-step guides to what your rights are and what you should reasonably be able to expect.

Whats your experience of Social Care?

Please share any tips or ideas you have that could help others

Things I wish someone had told me about Social Care…

Where do you start looking?

Where do you start looking?

Everyone needs a few pointers, especially when the world of Social Care is new to you. Where do you start looking & what does the terminology mean?

This is our first project:  Tips on navigating the Adult Social Care Maze

With your help and expertise we want to write:

  •  Top Tips list
  • Social Care Beginners guide
  • How – to guide for getting best out of services
  • What to do if you hit a brick wall

Are there things you wish you’d known at the beginning that could have made the experience less stressful and more fruitful

Can you help us create a guide that’s informed by experience & isn’t easily available in official guides, but would make the whole process simpler or more rewarding?


Please think about whether you have experience of applying for social care, tell us about the things you discovered while going through the process. What would have made a difference had you known about them from day one?

This could be anything from finding out where your local services are, or how to apply, through to support for Carers or how to change your package once it’s set up…

Nothing is insignificant you’d be surprised how small things might help ease someone else’s experience.

Ways you can get involved:

Send us a message using the comments form below.
Emails us at
Tweet us at @DMattersUK
Post a comment under this blog
Post on our Facebook page Disability Matters UK

Please share this blog and our Facebook page, then more people will see us and they might be the one that has that one useful tip that helps us all.

Come and join in lets see if together we can make our collective experience make the system work for us…