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Friday, 29 July 2016

Disability impact assessments and 'think tank' reports by the clueless

This blog post started off as a comment in relation to Kate Belgrave's excellent coverage of jobcentre practices regarding how to treat claimants who have learning difficulties.(1)

When I was into reading and challenging government ‘green papers’ on, say, welfare reform with Green Party comrades around 2008/09, there was a standard heading, ‘disability impact assessment’. (A ‘green paper’ is a government discussion or consultation document toward putting in new legislation.) Perhaps the reason I forgot about the ‘disability impact assessment’ is that it was generally recorded as ‘Not Applicable’!
And now one of those wonderful ‘think tanks’ that work with governments toward privatising government services has a new report out called, The future of public services: digital jobcentres.(2) I find the introductory blurb so unbelievable that maybe that is why I did not even refer to it when I blogged about it last night. The introductory blurb reads:
“Today’s report, The future of public services: digital jobcentres, sets out the opportunity to transform public employment services in the UK. This paper is the fourth in a series, conducted in partnership with Accenture, which looks at the role technology will play in the future delivery of public services.
“Jobcentre Plus – the UK’s public employment service – won plaudits for its performance over the financial crisis….”
Plaudits from whom, I wonder? Then of course the blurb goes on to talking about financial pressures on the UK economy post-Brexit vote and with Universal Credit’s ‘introduction of in-work services [sic]' bringing about a ‘need to do things differently’. (I’ve heard it all before with ‘austerity’, haven’t you?)
But anyway, it struck me that with online tools, I could do a word search in the pdf document of that report The future of public services: digital jobcentres, in search of the term ‘disability impact assessment’.(3)
Lo and behold, as I typed into the ‘Find’ bar within that document window and reached the letter ‘s’ of the word ‘disability’, the background of that ‘Find’ bar turned a pinkish colour indicating that the word ‘disability’ did not occur in that document.
Anyhow, my blog post announcing the existence of that wonderful new think tank report started from the Boycott Workfare Welfare Action Gathering recognition that online signing would lead to greater isolation for benefit claimants and reduced opportunities of solidarity between jobcentre clients and self-help groups such as the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group (KUWG), Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, etc.
My own initial blog response to the Reform report Digital jobcentres to heighten isolation and reduce solidarity? focuses much more on who are the ‘movers and shakers’ advising government on how to privatise everything?(4)
Yet the matter of ‘disability impact assessments’ or the lack of reminds me of something I said at the KUWG’s first burnout workshop this last Tuesday.(5) I observed that while I do get burnt out occasionally, as an integral member of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group I am far less burnt out on ESA Support Group status than I ever would be on Jsa conditionality and the like, where those who told me what to do would not have a clue who I was and had been institutionalised into sanctions targeting, not caring. 
When I was a jobseeker on far less money than I receive as an ESA Support Group person, and stressed out wondering how I would get through the week with woefully inadequate income, basically all I had to live on was the hope that all the effort I put in would be rewarded one day with a job that would allow me to at least 'break even'; but then I discovered that everything I volunteered at in teaching other slower learners in learning basic skills was wound down through lack of funding.

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses

  1. http://www.katebelgrave.com/?s=learning+difficulties&submit=Search
  2. http://www.reform.uk/publication/the-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres/
  3. http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres.pdf
  4. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/digital-jobcentres-to-heighten-isolation-and-reduce-solidarity.html
  5. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/kuwg-burnout-workshops-1-and-2-tues-26-july-and-2-aug-1pm-to-5pm.html

1 comment:

  1. I felt very strongly tempted while writing the above, to swear, but resisted the temptation on the basis that my swearing would detract from what I was saying.