The recent report produced by Strathclyde Business School in conjunction with the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland raised some very interesting issues around how the Voluntary Sector is adapting to the introduction of Self Directed Support (SDS).
The report, ‘Public sector austerity, personalisation and the implications for the voluntary sector workforce’, does highlight the positive approach that the voluntary sector is taking to the implementation of SDS, stating that "voluntary organisations were enthusiastic about the values and goals of personalisation and felt it fitted with their overall organisational mission and values."
My name is Eve, I am a pupil at Trinity High School but this week I came to Enable Scotland to do my work experience. The reason I asked Enable Scotland if I could do my work experience there was because although I did know a small bit about all of the amazing things they do, I wanted to know more. I was really nervous about meeting everyone and nervous in case I was rubbish at everything they asked me to do but as soon as I got there they were all really friendly and made me feel so welcome and part of the Enable Scotland family. During my time at Enable I have worked with the marketing team, the fundraising team and the legal team all of which I have loved working with, I have been allowed to sit in on various meetings which I really enjoyed as I was able to learn even more about all the events that Enable Scotland have coming up to raise money for their charity. I really liked seeing how all the different departments contribute to the running of Enable Scotland and it was great to get to know all of the different members of staff and learn about what they do. I also learned about other charities that Enable Scotland work with and all of the campaigns that they work on together. I am so glad that I was allowed to do my work experience in Enable Scotland because it is such an inspirational charity that everyone should get involved in and support. After my week here I have decided that I would like to do some voluntary work at Enable Scotland when I am a bit older because I have watched all the hard work that goes into making everything they do possible and a couple of the people I have been working with have said to me that yes they may have really busy days at work and yes they may get a little bit stressed out at times but it is all worth it when they go home at night and get a feeling of satisfaction that during their busy day they might have just made someone’s life a lot better and that’s when they realise that it is all worth it. During my time at Enable Scotland I have realised that the people that work here aren’t just workers, they are more like a wee family. I am really grateful to everyone at Enable Scotland for making my time here really enjoyable! I wish I could stay here instead of going back to school!
We welcome the suspension of Geoffrey Clark, UKIP candidate for Kent, after he suggested that mothers carrying foetuses with Spina Bifida or Down’s syndrome should have compulsory abortions to avoid the children being a burden to the state. We are pleased to see that his disgusting manifesto has been taken down from the internet.
Individuals with learning disabilities make many valued contributions to their families and to their local communities and lead active lives as sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, students, work colleagues, and community activists. They deserve our full support to play an equal part in the life of their family, community and country.
Sadly, Mr Clark’s remarks are symptomatic of the view that disabled people take from society and give nothing back in return. Nothing could be further from the truth. But other people’s attitudes are a barrier to people with learning disabilities being seen as equal citizens with the same rights to lead day-to-day lives and to experience the same opportunities as everyone else.
We must resist any notion that children and adults with learning disabilities cannot play a full part in society.
We know that they can and do .
Last week, ENABLE Scotland responded strongly to the Scottish Government’s consultation report on “The Same As You?” calling for more to be done to challenge public opinions to learning disability.
The call coincides with increasing evidence of the level of bullying and harassment experienced by people who have learning disabilities across the country. Nine out of ten experience bullying and abusive behaviour within their communities and 96% of children who have learning disabilities say that they have been bullied. In February of this year, disability charities including Mencap and Scope reported that cuts to benefits were “fuelling disability abuse”.
ENABLE Scotland has expressed disappointment that there has never been funding for a national public education programme in relation to learning disability. We think that letting people know about the challenges faced by people who have learning disabilities across Scotland is the best way to change public attitudes. In recent years, public campaigns have been successful in raising the profile of issues such as mental health and race, religion, faith and belief.
People who have learning disabilities are among the most marginalised in Scottish society. In the year 2000, the Same As You? made a number of recommendations to improve services and support for them and their parents and carers. Some improvements have been made – such as better nursing and a greater level of choice and control over support – but ENABLE Scotland believes much more work is still required to tackle the level of discrimination suffered on a day to day basis by people who have learning disabilities.
Click here to check out our response to the Same As You? consultation report 2000-12.
The Hardest Hit coalition invites you to an event to help disabled Scots get ready for a week of action on the welfare reforms imposed by the UK Government.
Welfare Reform – Who’s Hardest Hit? is open to disabled people, carers and families who will be affected by the reforms, with workshops explaining the changes and what the reforms will mean for you- as well as practical tips on how to lobby your politicians about the changes.
The event is open to anyone who is concerned about the impact of reforms including cuts to Disability Living Allowance, changes to Housing Benefits and the introduction of the Universal Credit and how they may be affected. The event will include workshops providing information about what the reforms actually mean and practical tips on how to lobby local MPs about the changes.
There will also be personal advice surgeries running throughout the day. These will be delivered by welfare reform experts who will be able to offer practical benefits advice.
Yesterday, ENABLE Scotland submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Integration of Adult Health and Social Care. The proposals will involve:
• The creation of 32 new Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) to replace Community Health Partnerships. These will be the joint responsibility of NHS and local authorities
• Integration of budgets by the NHS and local authorities to bring an end to “cost shunting”
• Investment in more community based provision and less residential care
Like many third sector organisations, ENABLE Scotland welcomed the principals of merging the two services. During consultation on this issue, many of our members told us that they have experienced a disjointed service from health and social care services.
They told us that poor communication between such critical parts of their lives can cause problems that lead to significant distress, such as delayed discharge from hospital. They know how it feels to be stuck in hospital for longer because of a lack of forward planning.
The proposals, however, do not go far enough to ensure improved outcomes across learning disability services.
ENABLE Scotland has called for greater clarity around how the proposals will affect groups other than older people. We also believe that there needs to be a stronger voice for people who have learning disabilities and their parents and carers in the running of the new HSCPs.
Click here to read our response.
Click here to read more of ENABLE Scotland’s consultation responses.
• There are 26,036 adults who have learning disabilities known to local authorities across Scotland
• Just 3.9% of people who have learning disabilities are known to be in open employment
• 542 adults who have learning disabilities aged 50-64 who live with a parent carer
• 1,892 adults were identified as having advocates
• 2,337 adults were identified as using Local Area Co-ordination services
Commenting on the statistics, Peter Scott, Chief Executive of ENABLE Scotland said “These statistics which offer a valuable insight into the lives of adults who have learning disabilities across Scotland.
We are particularly concerned by the number of people who have learning disabilities aged between 50 and 64 who live with a parent carer. Many lifelong carers tell us they want ‘peace of mind’, in particular, knowing what will happen to their son and daughter when they are no longer able to care. We hope to see further progress made in helping to support these families to plan for the future.
We also remain very concerned about the low numbers of people who have a learning disability who are in open employment. According to the statistics, just 3.9% of people who have learning disabilities in Scotland are known to be in open employment. Many people who have a learning disability want to work but there are many barriers preventing them from doing so.
Work is not just about earning your own money, it also offers many opportunities to improve your skills and make friendships that are important to everyone. ENABLE Scotland believes that it is time for politicians, professionals and employers to work harder to increase the number of people who have learning disabilities in employment.”
Last night’s Panorama and Dispatches investigations into the operation of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) were long overdue.
The programmes highlighted the assessment process Employment and Support Allowance which judges whether people are too ill or too disabled to work. But as acknowledged in last night’s Panorama by the Government’s independent assessor of the system, Professor Harrington, the system is “still not working”.
Having sat through so many programmes highlighting fraud and “scrounging”, I was beginning to get a sore throat from shouting that these were exceptions to the rule. According to a new report by Scope, many disabled people are experiencing worsening public attitudes as a result.
But, last night, finally, we had two programmes willing to challenge the Government on the shocking record of the Work Capability Assessment. Firstly, Dispatches went under cover with the independent contractor carrying out the WCA. Panorama followed this with an investigation into the WCA and how it has affected the lives of disabled people.
The most terrifying part of it, for me, was the claim from Minister for the Department of Work and Pensions during Panorama that the Government is providing “tough love”.
Let's just remind ourselves of some facts about the WCA - 39% of appeals against "fit for work" decisions are upheld, two thirds of which come from people who were originally judged to have 0 points by the assessment. That sounds pretty tough - but where's the love?
At ENABLE Scotland we believe that people who have learning disabilities have lots to offer the labour market, but they are not getting the opportunity. “Tough love” won’t work – people need sustained investment in supported employment programmes and support throughout their lives to understand the value of work and improve their aspirations.
“Tough love” or a system out of control? What do you think? Let us know your views below.
What can you do to help?
1 - Sign Pat’s Petition calling for the Government to stop and review benefit cuts
2 - Let us know if you have received any information you did not understand about benefit tests or changes from the Department of Work and Pensions
3 - Write to your MP – tell them your concerns and ask them to attend a Parliamentary debate on the Work Capability Assessment on Tuesday 4 September
4 - Look out for more Hardest Hit events later this year and get involved!
The Scottish Government is looking for people who have learning disabilities, parents and carers to help them develop a plan for the future.
As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the Scottish Government has just produced a new report - called "the Same As You?" consultation report - about improvements in the lives of people who have learning disabilities since the year 2000.
To help them act on the report’s findings, the Scottish Government wants to hear from people who have learning disabilities, parents and carers who would be interested in giving their views. Fourteen people will then be asked to help produce Scotland's new Learning Disability Strategy through a User and Carer group.
Are you interested? The last day to sign up has now been extended to Friday 10 August 2012!
Click here to find out more about how to get involved.
Click here for a nomination form.
Independent living has been truly life changing. It finally granted so many people who have learning disabilities greater access to their communities – where 30 years ago this would have seemed unthinkable.
But, a new report confirms that for many people their new found independence has come at a price – bullying and harassment in Scotland's streets, schools and workplaces.
The report, released by researchers Lemos and Crane to coincide with Learning Disability Week, confirms that verbal, physical and financial abuse are rife against people who have learning disabilities.
Like many, I was disgusted when Ricky Gervais persistently chose to use the word “mong” on Twitter last year. It was, he claimed, now an everyday word, which was no longer offensive because it had been reclaimed by disabled people.
But what Ricky does not understand is that many people who have learning disabilities have felt the pain of having had that word repeatedly used against them year after year after year.
One family I met recently said that this was the way it started for them. Repeated verbal abuse. Then damage to their property. They were eventually forced to move from their home. What did they do to merit this reaction? They had a daughter with Down’s Syndrome.
Changing attitudes isn’t easy but we must tackle bullying head on. That’s why we’ve received funding from the Scottish Government to launch a new campaign called “Open your mind, not your mouth”. We’ll be visiting schools across Scotland and speaking to pupils about how words can be hurtful and asking them to sign a pledge promising to understand its effects and to help in educating others.
What can you do to help?
1 - Sign our anti-bullying charter at: http://www.openyourmindenable.com/
2 - Click here to watch a video of one of our anti-bullying ambassadors Peter McMahon
3 - Become a member of ENABLE Scotland and help us to beat bullying and harrassment