Disability Rights UK E-Newsletter 10th February 2020

Our free newsletter keeps you up to date with the work we do, the work of our members and news from the sector.

If you’re a member organisation and wish to submit an article for consideration, email members@disabilityrightsuk.org.


Upcoming Training Courses



DR UK is running a number of training courses in the next few months. They are:

Disability Confidence Training - 11th February 2020

Disability and Carer’s Benefits Course - 26th February 2020

Into Apprenticeships and Training: Why employing disabled young people will benefit employers - 27th February 2020

Preparing for a Court Tribunal Course - 23rd April 2020

Click on the links to find out more, including how to register. If you have any questions, please contact training@disabilityrightsuk.org.


News Roundup



39 mental health deaths from unnatural causes – CQC report

Thirty-nine people with mental health conditions have died of unnatural causes in the past year according to the new CQC report: Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2018/19.

DRUK CEO Kamran Mallick says: “It is deeply disturbing that this number of people can die from unnatural causes while under Community Treatment Orders or in specialist facilities. We know that the mental health system in this country is in crisis. We know there is nowhere near enough service provision, both in the community, and in specialist facilities. This report, highlighting a shocking amount of denial of basic human rights for those with mental health conditions, should be a wake up call to Government to boost these critical services, now.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/39-mental-health-deaths-unnatural-causes-cqc-report

‘Highly likely’ DWP could have investigated over 69 suicide cases – NAO

In a shocking briefing published last week, the National Audit Office (NAO) says that it is highly unlikely that the 69 cases the Department has investigated represents the number of cases it could have investigated in the past six years.

The NAO undertook an investigation last year after the former MP Frank Field – then the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee – reported that the DWP had refused to answer his requests for information on the numbers of suicide-related deaths, saying it would be too expensive to gather the information.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“Just last week, we highlighted that a disabled man, Errol Graham starved to death after the DWP wrongly stopped his out-of-work benefits, leaving him without any income.

“This new NAO briefing shows yet again that the DWP is failing in its safeguarding responsibilities towards vulnerable disabled people.

“As a minimum it should make public its safeguarding policy. And immediately halt all benefit sanctions against disabled people – as recommended by the all-party Work and Pensions Committee in 2018.

“The Government needs urgently to commit to a radical reform of the disability benefits system so that it is one that supports disabled people and does not impoverish them and remove their independence.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/highly-unlikely-69-suicide-cases-dwp-has-investigated-past-six-years-represents

Nearly half of everyone in poverty is either a disabled person or lives with a disabled person

Four million people with disabilities in the UK are living in poverty. In total, seven million people in poverty are either a disabled person or live with a disabled person – nearly half of everyone in poverty, according to a new Joseph Rowntree (JRF) research report.

In 2017/18, 31% of the 13 million people with disabilities in the UK lived in poverty – around 4 million people. By contrast, the poverty rate among the non-disabled population was 20% in 2017/18.  This gap in poverty rates has persisted over time.

An additional three million non-disabled people in poverty live in a household where someone is disabled, meaning that, overall, nearly half of the 14 million people in poverty are affected by disability.

Poverty is especially high among families where there is an adult who is disabled, at nearly 33%. If there is also a disabled child, the poverty rate is 40% – more than twice the rate where there is no disability.

Disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to face barriers to paid work. In 2017/18, 50% of working-age disabled people were not working compared with 18% of non-disabled people.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: “The findings of the JRF research are both shocking but unsurprising. The social security system should provide a financial safety net for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions. Yet, since 2008, changes to welfare benefits have led to this safety net collapsing, causing people to feel abandoned by a cruel and unfair system. Financial security for most disabled people has all but vanished and many of us have been left living in poverty and isolation as a result.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/nearly-half-everyone-poverty-either-disabled-person-or-lives-disabled-person

DWP announces regional workshop events

The DWP is holding three new regional workshop events “to hear directly from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities” on social security reform. The events will be held on 13 February in Whitehaven, on 14 February in Pontypridd, and on 2 March in Wisbech. More information and booking details here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/dwp-announces-regional-workshop-events

DR UK joins BT in new football initiative

DR UK is collaborating with BT in the development of Project Swift - a new format of disability football for those of us who can’t play with our bodies, but could potentially play with our minds. The aim is to introduce new technology concepts into the game, helping those currently excluded from competitive sport to play, with the ultimate ambition of enabling the very best to potentially play one day for their country. More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/dr-uk-joins-bt-new-football-initiative

DIAMOND project seeks women’s railway experiences

The DIAMOND project is looking to gather users’ experiences of using metro and urban railway public services in relation to fair access with a particular focus on the barriers and facilitators faced by women. The data collected will be used to develop a framework which will then be used to transform public transport into a more inclusive and fair system without discrimination. You can find out about the whole project here: https://diamond-project.eu/ and find the survey here: https://diamond828718.typeform.com/to/jfMnpn

Occupational therapy report

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has just published a new report on  the impacts of occupational therapy, along with a raft of stories about the difference occupational therapy can make to people’s lives. Read the stories here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/small-change-big-impact and the report here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/promoting-occupational-therapy/occupational-therapy-improving-lives-saving-money.


Disability Rights Handbook – Special Offer



DR UK is pleased to announce we are selling all remaining copies of our 2019/20 Handbook at the special reduced price of £17.00 (list price £35.00).

Keeping up with the benefit rules is crucial! Universal Credit has now been rolled out across the UK.

The 2019/20 edition includes:
· Benefits for people living with health conditions, injury or disability and for carers, children and young people
· How the system works, how to claim and how to challenge a decision
· Support for people in education or work, not in work, looking for work or in retirement
· Getting and paying for care and support services

Visit the Disability Rights UK shop to buy your copy now – while stocks last.

Proceeds will help us research future versions and continue to produce our free public factsheets.


Get Involved!


Universal Credit: is it working?

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has announced an inquiry to examine whether universal credit is meeting its original objectives, whether the policy assumptions reflected in its design are appropriate for different groups of claimants, and the extent to which universal credit meets the needs of claimants in today’s labour market and changing world of work.

The National Association of Welfare Rights Advisors (NAWRA) is keen to hear your views so that it can submit a response to the Committee. It is particularly looking at case studies that can demonstrate where things aren’t working or where claimants have lost out. Or, of course, where they are working and claimants are winning.

The inquiry details can be viewed here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/economic-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2019/universal-credit-inquiry-call-evidence/

NAWRA needs to receive responses by 12 February 2020. Its survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8HQSFZC

Please support our runners in the London Marathon 2020

Ciaran Galvin and Evan Odell are running the London Marathon this year for Disability Rights UK. Ciaran says: “If like me, when you see the word ‘disability’, you think physically disabled, then you are only seeing part of the picture in terms of the work that Disability Rights UK does. Disability in this context has a far broader definition, including grave illness, such as cancer, and mental health.

“My mum worked in the care sector for most of her life until she was diagnosed with cancer, and was a champion for equality and fairness. This is my attempt to support a charity that may be less well-known, but shares these same values and supports many cancer charities and sufferers to ensure they receive fair treatment, can participate equally, and live as normal a life as possible, as my own mum was able to do for three years after being diagnosed.”

Ciaran’s Just Giving page can be found here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ciaran-Galvin and Evan’s Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evan-odell-london-marathon

The London Marathon will take place on Sunday 26 April 2020.

Ofsted Parent View research wants to hear from you

Ofsted is keen to understand the views of parents and carers within England on how it can develop and update its Ofsted Parent View survey. Currently, parents and carers can complete the Ofsted Parent View online survey, both during and outside of inspection periods, in order to provide feedback on a child’s school.

It wants to ensure that it gives disabled parents and carers, including those with health conditions or learning disabilities, an equal opportunity to express their views. Ofsted is looking for disabled people to take part in its research. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, more details are available here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/OftsedParentViewResearch

DEFRA seeks diverse National Park Secretary of State members

DEFRA is looking for new Secretary of State members for seven National Park Authorities and one Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Conservation Board. There are 19 vacancies across Dartmoor, Exmoor, New Forest, Northumberland, Peak District, South Downs, Yorkshire Dales and the Cotswolds.

Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity said: “I am looking for a diverse group of passionate and committed individuals. As a Secretary of State appointed member, you will have the opportunity to help conserve and enhance our most treasured landscapes now and for future generations.” The closing date for applications is midday on 6 March 2020. More on  the skills required here: https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/national-park-authorities-and-area-of-outstanding-natural-beauty-conservation-boards-secretary-of-state-members/  

Housing survey – Wales

Disability Wales wants to hear from people living in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen about their experiences of applying for accessible social housing. Applicants must currently be on a waiting list or housing must have been allocated between 2014 and 2019.

A survey is being undertaken on behalf of Tai Pawb and Gwent Regional Partnership Board and can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9D2GD9Y. Other formats are available from miranda.evans@disabilitywales.org. Miranda is also on 029 20887325. Responses are needed by 12 February 2020.



Disability Rights UK

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Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Stratford, LondonE20 3BS
United Kingdom

0330 995 0400


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