Independent Living – Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.

Hello Hannah
Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.
12.12.18 Contents:
Systemic problems with social care
PIP appeals online
Funeral market probe
Chronic illness – energy impairment
UC – just another statistic
Latest Updates – BaKare Beds; next time…
1. Systemic problems with social care

“It’s no longer just one-off mistakes; we’re seeing problems with systems, policies and the way procedures are being applied…”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman offers this commentary on the ever-increasing number of complaints the service is seeing about adult social care.

The annual review shows that care assessments and planning, and how care is paid for, are the areas which generate most problems. Two thirds of the payment-related complaints investigated are upheld.

Read more here

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2. PIP appeals online

Following a successful trial, which generated high levels of user satisfaction, people who are appealing a PIP decision can now do so online.

More than 2,600 applications have been received by the service so far. The number of appeals rejected because of errors in paperwork completed by appellants fell by 45%.

Feedback from users is that the system is very straightforward to use. Of course, digital technology is not by any means universally accessible, so work will have to be done to make online appeals the best route for as many people as possible.

More information here

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3. Funeral market probe

A few businesses have a uniquely powerful position, because their customers are invariably in no state to shop around, or even challenge whatever services are proposed.

Funeral directors are perhaps the best example of this, and the Competition and Markets Authority is concerned that steep price rises represent exploitation of bereaved people.

They are consulting about a full market investigation, and would like to hear from people with poor experiences – before 4th January.

More info here

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4. Chronic illness – energy impairment

I wrote earlier in the year about the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project, and the way in which people with long-term conditions have been marginalised not only from the population in general, but also the disabled people’s movement.

The project is working on a manifesto to change policies and perceptions around energy-limiting chronic illness – and “energy-limiting” is the term they have selected to convey what people with chronic illness want policy makers and society in general to understand and take account of.

Read more here

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5. UC – just another statistic

There has been a lot of media coverage for the blatant unfairness of Universal Credit.

Problems are various and the situation is complicated, but one constant is the absolute grinding poverty it inflicts on so many. Maybe one individual story can illuminate the situation more vividly than a plethora of statistics.

Matthew Harris – former carer, injured at work on a zero hours contract – is the sort of person the government lauds. Consistently trying to get back up on his feet, and developing a promising business idea, which was ultimately yet another victim of local authority budget cuts. UC has brought him to bankruptcy – except he’s too poor to go bankrupt…

Read his story here

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6. Latest Updates – BaKare Beds; next time…

Long-term Independent Living site subscriber, BaKare Beds has a fresh new showcase page highlighting some of their range of care beds and cots, including the elegant Bello Sonno split double, which enables partners with differing care needs to share a bed. Their dementia low bed, also featured, has been designed in collaboration with clinical therapists and dementia specialists, to ensure safety and minimise the risk of falling.

Visit their showcase page here

Next week’s newsletter will be the last of the year. I will be looking at the latest review of Disabled Facilities Grants, and back at some highlights and lowlights of 2018…

Don’t forget that you can apply to join the Independent Living Facebook group, if you would like to spend more time discussing these themes with other interested people.

There are various ways you can get in touch with us: email me; visit our Facebook page and leave a message there; or if it’s short and sweet, Tweet!

Previous newsletters are archived here.

If you are reading a copy of the Independent Living newsletter that has been passed on to you by a colleague or friend, why not sign up for your own free subscription – it’s quick and easy, and won’t lead to your inbox being bombarded with other stuff!

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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

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t: +44 (0) 208 133 0628
Skype: francesleckie

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