DWP officials pocket £44 million in performance bonuses despite universal credit debacle

Figures also show DWP ministers spent £35million defending cruel decisions to deny sick and disabled people vital benefits.

Civil servants working for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been handed over £40 million in performance-related bonuses, despite serious problems with the rollout of universal credit and a startling increase in the number of successful disability benefit appeals.

Figures released earlier this week show DWP staff were awarded £44 million in “good performance” bonuses in the last year, while thousands of new universal credit claimants were forced to a wait a minimum six weeks for their first payment and left at risk of becoming homeless because of rent arrears.

According to the figures, 240 senior DWP officials pocketed a total £760,000 in bonuses, while a further 88,300 junior staff were each handed an extra £1,750 in their pay packets.

A Cabinet Office spokesman defended the handouts, claiming bonuses are needed to “attract, retain and motivate highly-skilled individuals”.

Meanwhile, the data also reveals that DWP ministers spent a shocking £35 million of taxpayers cash defending cruel decisions to deny sick and disabled people Personal Independence Payments (PIP), despite separate figures showing 68% of appeals rule in favour of claimants – exposing chronic failures in the PIP assessment process…

• Full story here: DWP officials pocket £44 million in ‘performance’ bonuses despite universal credit debacle

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Fit-To-Work Benefits Test ‘Unfit For Purpose’

More than 150,000 people have raised serious concerns about fit-for-work tests administered by a private healthcare company on behalf of the Government.

Figures obtained exclusively by Sky News show the charity Citizens Advice has been inundated by huge numbers of complaints about assessments carried out by Atos.

Atos Kills. More than 150,000 people have raised serious concerns about fit-for-work tests administered by a private healthcare company on behalf of the Government.

It warns that genuinely disabled and seriously ill people are being stripped of benefits following inadequate tests.

Meanwhile, doctors are warning that the service is “unfit for purpose”.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, warned: “Atos is failing to do its job properly, failing to give taxpayers value for money and worst of all, failing thousands of sick and disabled people who bear the brunt of wrong assessments.”

It comes as a woman widowed just last week tells Sky News about how the decision that her husband was fit for work was not even overturned while he was dying from a rare and aggressive cancer.

Lyn Coupe’s case was raised in Parliament this week by her local MP Dennis Skinner.

The 81-year-old Labour politician famed for his passionate performances in Parliament implored David Cameron to “abolish this cruel heartless monster called Atos, get rid of it”.

The Prime Minister admitted that every MP had heard similar stories in their own constituencies.

Mrs Coupe, from Calow near Chesterfield, said she felt compelled to speak out even while organising her husband David’s funeral.

He was assessed as able to work late last year despite ulcerated legs, back pain that left him in agony, diabetes and heart problems.

Mrs Coupe said the couple were forced to sacrifice food and heating to deal with the cut in benefits.

“We didn’t have any heating on in the winter like other people would have had. We sat with coats on or blankets. I would go to bed at about 8am in the evening to try to get warm.”

Food was also sacrificed, and the couple never went out.

The Coupes tried to launch an appeal but were told they would have to wait at least 10 months because of a backlog of cases.

Once Mr Coupe was diagnosed with terminal cancer that would kill him within months, his wife contacted Atos again but still the appeal was not brought forward.

Continue reading…

Via Sky News

e-petition – Stop Unfair Re-assessments For Disabled People

Petition text reads…

Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

“Stop the unfair and cruel re-assessments via ATOS for disabled people currently on Incapacity Benefit. ESA is a flawed benefit, and puts terrible pressure and stress on vulnerable people, putting people who cannot work on lesser benefits and applying sanctions. Let disabled people decide for themselves if they can work, they and their carers know best.”

• Click HERE to Sign

Stop the unfair and cruel re-assessments via ATOS for disabled people currently on Incapacity Benefit.

source:
Black Triangle Campaign – Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights

DWP ‘try to ban’ PCS posters about number of callers who threaten suicide because of cuts to disability benefits

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Managers in government call centres have been taking down union posters that expose the brutal way workers are told to treat people on benefits.

Bosses in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said the notices were offensive and an incitement to take industrial action.

The PCS posters were on union notice boards and highlight the real experiences of workers in DWP call centres – including one who was told off for wishing an unemployed person “good luck”.

They also refer to the number of callers who threaten suicide because of cuts to disability benefits.

Industrial action is not mentioned anywhere on the posters.

The PCS poster campaign is a response to what the union says is an insensitive management propaganda campaign aimed at people who take time off sick.

Fran Heathcote, president of the PCS DWP group, said. “This is as an attack on the union’s independence.

“The posters are no different in content to those we’ve used before and we can see no justification for them being banned.”

Separately, PCS is to hold a consultative ballot among some of its members in government call centres in a campaign over working conditions.

The ballot will commence on 25th June, with the result expected in mid-July.

Officials say their campaign has lead to ‘some improvements’, but that these are not enough.

source: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/06/18/dwp-try-to-ban-pcs-posters-about-number-of-callers-who-threaten-suicide-because-of-cuts-to-disability-benefits/

SOPA 101: What Is It? Those For and Against Censorship

Someone on Diaspora asked me, “Who is in support of SOPA? Who benefits if it passes?”. Read on…

How Would SOPA Work?:

How Would SOPA Work?

Those for Censorship:

Which tech companies back SOPA? Microsoft, Apple, and 27 others.
“The following list is every single member of the Business Software Alliance. Each of them is complicit in supporting SOPA unless they publicly distance themselves from the BSA on the issue. As the companies are, presumably, dues paying members of the BSA, they are financially supporting the enaction of SOPA. Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, AVEVA, AVG, Bentley Systems, CA Cadence Design Systems, CNC Software – Mastercam, Compuware, Corel, Dassault Systèmes, SolidWorks Corporation, Dell, Intel, Intuit, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Minitab, Progress Software, PTC, Quark, Quest, Rosetta Stone, Siemens PLM Software, Inc., Sybase, Symantec, TechSmith, The MathWorks

Those Against Censorship:

Internet giants place full-page anti-SOPA ad in NYT
“Congress may not want to hear from opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act at today’s hearing, but that hasn’t stopped a broad coalition of (often fierce) competitors representing the Internet’s giants from placing an ad in today’s NYT, signed by Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Zynga, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL.”
Internet giants place full-page anti-SOPA ad in NYT

Other supporters against SOPA include: Wikimedia Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch.

It may appear at first glance this is an American issue, but the consequences of this law, if passed, shall affect everyone worldwide. America already effectively ‘controls’ the internet via the California based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its Domain Name System (DNS). If this law were to pass you might as well wave hello to Nineteen Eighty-Four.

“History is written by the winners – don’t be a footnote.”
Gary Walsh

Source Links:
How would SOPA work?
SOPA (wikipedia entry)
Which tech companies back SOPA? Microsoft, Apple, and 27 others.
Internet giants place full-page anti-SOPA ad in NYT
americancensorship.org

Reporters Without Borders
Electronic Frontier Foundation
American Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Watch
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
Domain Name System (DNS)
Diaspora