Forum talks to UoB students about impact of Brexit on Disabled people

EU flag with star missing

Recently, The Forum was asked to deliver a session on the potential impact of Brexit (especially a ‘no deal’ one) on Disabled people to University of Bristol students undertaking a masters degree in Disability Studies.  Students were shocked to realise just how many problems Disabled people may face, and amazed that it hasn’t been mentioned in any of the news coverage. 

Some of these potential impacts could affect everyone but would create much more of a difficulty for Disabled people, they include:

  • Shortage of some medicines – medicines which, if you are on them long term, you you need to stop taking gradually;
  • Additional costs of import tax on already expensive disability-related equipment,
  • A shortage of future Personal Assistants and care support workers that is likely to result if the free movement of European workers stops.

If you would like to find out more about how Disabled people could be affected in the case of a Brexit No Deal, Disability Rights UK have some great resources on their website.

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We are hiring!

The Forum are looking for a new Administration and Communication Worker. This is a permanent (subject to funding) part time role.

We are looking for a motivated self-starter with excellent administration skills and experience, to undertake all of the Forum’s necessary day-to-day administration and communications work.  As we are a very small charity, you will be the Forum’s only Admin and Comms worker.

The ideal candidate will be a hard-working, organised professional with good time management, lots of initiative, the ability to recognise when to use this initiative and when to check before acting, the ability to regularly work alone as well as part of a team, and the ability to work well under pressure.  They will also have excellent written communication and public-facing communication skills, in English.

An understanding of equalities issues and a commitment to inclusive ways of working are also essential. 

Occasional evening/weekend working is required.

13.5 hours per week over 3 days (some flexibility as to which hours/ days)

Bristol Disability Equality Forum welcomes applications from all equalities communities but, given the nature of the organisation, especially Disabled people.  We also encourage applications from BAME Disabled people, who are under-represented within the Forum.

We only accept applications made using the application form provided.  CVs alone will not be accepted. We encourage people to apply even if they feel they don’t meet all of the desirable criteria as the essential criteria is what is most important.

If you need any of the application pack documents in a different format, please contact bristoldef@gmail.com and let us know what format you require.

Closing date: to arrive before 10am on 8th May 2019

Interviews: Monday 13th or Tuesday 14th May 2019 (between 11am and 4pm).  Please indicate your availability in the covering email when returning your application form.

All applications to be submitted via email to: bristoldef@gmail.com. You can find the necessary paperwork at the end of this advert.

NB Due to its part-time nature, this post is not open to job-share.

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The Forum are looking for new Trustees!

Forum Trustees sat round a table at a meeting

We are looking for new Trustees to join the Forum!

The Forum is a Bristol based Disabled People’s Organisation. Our vision is for a society where Disabled people are respected and valued, where they have Independence, Choice and Control of their own lives, and where they are fully included in their communities and the country as a whole. To achieve this we are active in most aspects of Disabled people’s lives where they face barriers to being an active and valued member of their communities, the workplace and the wider environment.

This is an exciting time to become a Trustee as we are moving into a new phase with lots of opportunity to re-think what we do and develop new work. While we welcome applications from all people who identify as Disabled, we are particularly keen to recruit people with an interest or experience in one (or more) of the following: 

  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • HR
  • Book-keeping
  • Recruiting Forum members
  • Campaigning

Our Trustees currently meet  every 4 – 6 weeks at St Pauls Learning Centre in Bristol however additional time may be required for attendance at other events and other specific work/projects.

If you are interested in becoming a Forum Trustee we would love to hear from you! Please contact Rachael by email bristoldef@gmail.com or call the office on 0117 914 0528

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Disability News Service news 11 April 2019

Airline forced to apologise after charging woman for carer’s seat reservation

An airline has been forced to apologise to a disabled woman after it charged her extra to reserve a seat next to her for her carer, and then refused to refund the charge.

Helen Jenkins had informed Flybe when she was booking her return flights from Birmingham to the Isle of Man online last week that she would require assistance.

She and her husband are planning to celebrate her birthday in September with a four-day visit to the island – which they have been told has an excellent, accessible public transport system – before she has a major operation that is likely to rule out flying for another six months.

Read the full article here.

Autistic authors’ guide maps out route to quality care

A new guide – written solely by autistic people – aims to show care providers, commissioners and inspectors how to provide “quality care” for other autistic people.

An Independent Guide to Quality Care for Autistic People has been written by members of the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT) and has a “heavy emphasis” on developing choice and control for service-users.

The guide says: “The more autonomy a person has, the less support services need to rely on external authorities such as good practice guides, instead looking to the person themselves as the primary source of information, instruction and guidance.”

Read the full article here.

Disabled activists’ bid to find northern DPOs could ‘combat London bias’

A new disabled people’s organisation (DPO) is hoping to bring together DPOs from across the north of England to provide a strong, collective, regional voice on issues affecting disabled people.

Leeds Disabled People’s Organisation (LDPO) was formed in January last year and has no funding, but it wants to hear from other DPOs across the region*.

It is hoping to map the location of all the DPOs across the north of England so they can work together and provide a powerful new voice, potentially setting up a new regional coalition.

Read the full article here.

DWP ‘victimised’ disabled staff member who claimed discrimination, tribunal finds

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) managers “victimised” a disabled member of staff after she claimed that she had faced workplace discrimination, an employment tribunal has ruled.

It is just the latest case to raise concerns that DWP is institutionally disablist, both in its treatment of disabled benefit claimants and of its own staff.

Last November, DWP admitted failing to keep track of how many complaints of disability discrimination were made by its own staff, while in February Civil Service figures revealed that the proportion of DWP staff who said they had been victims of disability discrimination at work in the previous 12 months had risen by about 50 per cent in just four years.

Read the full article here.

Tomlinson becomes latest ‘shoddy, shameless’ disability minister

Disabled activists have responded with resignation after the government appointed another “shoddy, shameless” minister for disabled people.

The new minister, Justin Tomlinson, previously held the post between May 2015 and July 2016, before he was sacked in a government reshuffle.

Now he has been appointed again, this time to replace Brexit casualty Sarah Newton, and becomes the eighth minister for disabled people – or the seventh if you only count him once – since 2010.

Read the full article here.

Justice for Jodey Whiting: Mum brands DWP’s petition response ‘a joke’

The furious mother of a disabled woman who took her own life after repeated safeguarding failings by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has branded DWP’s response to a parliamentary petition set up in her daughter’s name “a joke”.

Joy Dove said this week that DWP’s safeguarding failures had killed her daughter.

She spoke out after DWP responded to the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, which was set up in her daughter’s name.

Read the full article here.

Council accused of ‘settling scores’ after cutting funding from DPO that criticised it

A council has been accused of being “vindictive” and trying to “silence” a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) by withdrawing funding for its advice service, just months after the DPO published a critical report about social care provision in the borough.

Labour-run Merton council, in south-west London, has been accused of discriminating against disabled people by withdrawing funding from the only advice service in the borough that provides welfare rights experts who will visit disabled people in their own homes.

The council’s equality impact assessment of the decision to withdraw funding from Merton Centre for Independent Living (MCIL)* concluded that it provided “high quality casework support” and was “serving a small number of vulnerable disabled people very well”.

Read the full article here.

DWP ‘hypocrite’ ministers refuse to be held to same safety standards as social media

Ministers have been branded “hypocrites” for rejecting the idea that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should be held responsible for benefit-related deaths, despite their government calling for social media managers to be held criminally responsible for safeguarding failures.

Home secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) said this week that the government was acting to hold the social media industry accountable for its failures because “we know, in our hearts, we know that protecting the vulnerable is our shared responsibility”.

But evidence has also mounted over recent years of links between the failings of DWP ministers and senior civil servants and the deaths of disabled people, particularly in relation to the flawed work capability assessment (WCA) process.

Read the full article here.

Whistle-blower withdraws offer to help police reopen probe into autistic abuse scandal

A whistle-blower who has vital evidence of serious abuse at a care home for autistic adults has retracted her offer to talk to police about what she witnessed, which could have led to them reopening their failed investigation.

Disability News Service (DNS) found out this week that Avon and Somerset police had failed to interview her, even though her whistleblowing played a key part in helping to expose the abuse scandal at Mendip House, which was run by the National Autistic Society (NAS).

The whistle-blower, Hannah*, had talked in depth to DNS this week about what she witnessed at Mendip House in Brent Knoll, Somerset, and revealed that she had never been interviewed by Avon and Somerset police.

Read the full article here.

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Pavement parking inquiry launched by Transport Committee

Car parked on pavement

The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry to explore the problems of pavement parking in England and consider the possible solutions.

‘Pavement parking’ is when one or more wheels of a vehicle are on the footpath. As well as creating obstacles for people wanting to use footpaths, Councils face additional costs to repair damage to surfaces which are not designed to take the weight of motor vehicles.

Thoughtless pavement parking can cause problems for Disabled people. Wheelchair users get blocked in, unable to go around parked cars and visually impaired people often collide with the vehicle as they might not see the obstruction until it’s too late.

Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Committee, said: “This is an area where some people’s actions cause real difficulties for others. Parking on pavements risks the safety of all groups of people from the littlest to the oldest, with differing needs.”

Lack of progress in tackling pavement parking has led many groups to campaign on the issue (you can find information about RNIB’s campaign, ‘Who put that there!’ here) and although it is regularly raised with MPs by their constituents, the Government has not taken any action on this issue in recent years.

Has pavement parking caused issues in your local area? The committee is calling for written evidence on the impact of pavement parking; you can find out more about the inquiry and how to respond here.

The closing date to submit written evidence is 14 May 2019

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