Disability Rights UK E-Newsletter 03 July 2020



Reintroduction of work conditionality and sanctions
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has announced conditionality and benefit sanctions will be reintroduced this week as jobcentres in England start to reopen after lockdown, saying it was ‘essential’ claimant rules are reinstated.
Face-to-face meetings in jobcentres were suspended in March, in addition to suspending ‘claimant conditionality’ – a set of rules that require people to agree to carry out job search activities as a condition of claiming benefits.
DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said “The decision to reintroduce conditionality and sanctions is appalling and one that DR UK strongly condemns. Quite simply, it must be reversed. It is a decision that has not been made without warning and with no consultation with any DWP stakeholder groups, let alone DPOs and other disability organisations.
There has been no research that finds that the conditionality and sanctions regime helps disabled people. Instead there is evidence that the DWP’s sanctions system has discriminated against disabled people for a decade. The Work and Pensions Committee of MPs concluded two years ago that not only is there no evidence that the DWP’s benefit conditionality sanctions system works but that ‘worse, it is harmful and counterproductive’.”
Read our reasons for strongly opposing this decision.
People who are currently shielding can no longer get SSP on that basis from 1 August 2020
The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has announced that people who are currently ‘shielding’ due to being clinically extremely vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will not be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) on that basis from 1 August 2020.
Mr. Tomlinson said that for those shielding, they will continue to remain eligible for SSP if they are unable to work and:
are required to self-isolate because they, or someone in their household, has symptoms of COVID-19; or
because they have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
Read the full article on our website.
Work and Pensions Secretary told to urgently increase the financial support paid to unpaid carers
Carers UK and ninety two other charities, including DR UK, have today written a joint letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey calling for the urgent extra financial support to unpaid carers to ensure “they are supported during the coronavirus crisis and beyond”.
A copy of the letter has been sent to the Chancellor.
More than 6.5 million people in the UK provide unpaid care to disabled, and older people in our society. The support they provide is worth £132 billion a year is – equivalent to the annual cost of the NHS.
Read more and the letter in full on our website.
Video hearings to be made available for Social Security and Child Support Tribunals
The Justice Minister Chris Philip MP has announced that arrangements are being made to make video hearings available across all Social Security and Child Support Tribunal regions.
In response DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said:
“It’s understandable that face-to-face appeal hearings are not currently possible due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news that video hearings are now to be possible for those appealing against social security decisions is very welcome.
But the informed choice as to whether an appeal is heard on paper, by telephone or by video must be that of the disabled person and not overridden by the tribunals service. Some people who experience severe social anxiety may prefer a telephone hearing. For many others, who say have a learning disability or a mental health issue or need the advice and support of a representative, telephone hearings can never be just or fair.
It is wrong for the tribunals service to dictate that in practice PIP video hearings are unavailable. Most PIP appeals are upheld due to the claimant’s own verbal evidence. It is discriminatory to deny someone the ability to effectively answer questions and present their case.”
Read the full article on our website.
50% of people in poverty live in a family where someone is disabled
The Social Metrics Commission has published its annual report on poverty in the UK. Among other things it shows that half of all people in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled person. Of these, 4 million are themselves disabled and another 3.2 million live in a family that includes someone else who is disabled.
Read the full report.
Mind’s five tests for the Government to ensure better mental health
The mental health charity Mind has researched some of the knock-on effects of the pandemic and has produced a report proposing five tests which it says the government must meet. These are designed to protect and improve the country’s mental health after coronavirus.
Many people are experiencing problems for the first time and those who were already struggling are finding things even harder. Mind argues that those in power can make the right choices to rebuild services and support to help make sure the society that comes after the pandemic is kinder, fairer and safer.
Mind’s five tests for putting mental health at the heart of the ‘new normal’ are:
1. Invest in community services
2. Protect those most at risk
3. Reform the Mental Health Act
4. Provide a financial safety net
5. Support children and young people
Join Mind’s campaign or find out more.
Changes to the law on EHCP needs assessments and plans due to COVID-19
On 1 May some aspects of the law on education, health and care (EHC) assessments and plans changed temporarily to give local authorities, health commissioning bodies and education bodies more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by COVID-19.
The government has now issued non-statutory guidance with a summary of these legislative changes. It also sets out the key implications for all those who play a part in the processes relating to EHC needs assessments and plans. The target audience for this guidance is:
families and parent carer forums
SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS)
local authorities and social care services
health commissioning bodies
early years providers, schools, colleges and other education settings
others who contribute advice and information to EHC needs assessments, such as educational psychologists and other health care professionals
mediation advisers
Download the guidance here, which also confirms which key elements of the processes over EHC needs assessments and plans are unchanged.
Relaxation of planning rules could lead to a shortage of accessible homes
Proposals from housing developers to relax planning rules would exacerbate the UK’s existing shortage of homes that are safe and suitable for older and disabled people, leading housing, ageing and disability charities warn.
By 2030, there will be just one new accessible home built for every 15 people over the age of 65, despite the fact that the UK is undergoing a massive demographic age shift. Looser planning rules would make this shortage more acute, the organisations say. The Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is calling on housing developers to build more homes suitable for all ages, with research showing that most people want to remain in their homes as they get older.
Disability Rights UK is part of the HoME coalition which sent an open letter to Housing Minister Christopher Pincher. The HoME coalition says that the coronavirus crisis has shone a light on the importance of people having homes that are suitable for their needs, with many having spent lock down stuck in houses that are inaccessible and therefore hazardous to their health and wellbeing.
Access to Work video guide
If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from the Access to Work scheme.
DR UK has collaborated with Diversity and Ability and Evenbreak to create a video guide to the Access to Work application process.
Watch the video.

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3 rd July 2020 Weekly News and Keeping Well Tips from Inclusion North

Inclusion North will give you the Government’s big messages
People can go on European holidays from the 6th July.
The government are setting up some rules about travel to
some other countries. This will be called an “air bridge”.
This means you might not have to self isolate for 14 days
when you get back from those countries.
The list of countries might change as it is for countries with
low levels of Coronavirus.
Local Lockdowns
The government have said that if the number of people who
test positive for Coronavirus goes up a lot in an area of the
country there will be local lockdowns.
This is happening in Leicester. For people who live there
•Schools will close for 2 weeks
Nonessential shops will close for 2 weeks
•Hairdressers, pubs, and restaurants will not open on the
•Rules for people who are shielding will not relax on the
•People should stay at home and only travel if it is essential

Keeping well tip

Do something new like baking a cake, or writing a story

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The Grab and Go guide

The Grab and Go guide has been designed in partnership with people with learning disabilities, families and nurses.
It gives the information that doctors and nurses will need if you go to hospital because of COVID-19 and, for example, are struggling to breathe.
It is not a replacement for the everyday, detailed hospital passport. You should update your hospital passport and take that to hospital along with the Grab and Go guide if you need to be admitted.
If you haven’t got a hospital passport you can download your local passport by searching on the internet for (hospital name) hospital passport or choose one you like from here:



COVID-19 Grab and Go guide Guidance notes


Grab and Go Passport Form


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Coping with heat and COVID 19


Beat the Heat:
Coping with heat and COVID 19
Heatwave Plan for England
The Heatwave Plan for England remains unchanged for summer 2020. Additional actions may be needed due to COVID-19 and specific resources are available below.

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25 th June 2020 Daily News and Keeping Well Tips


Inclusion North will give you the big messages here.

Big messages today:

There were 154 confirmed deaths from Coronavirus
reported on Wednesday.
A total of 43,081 people have now died from
Coronavirus in the UK.
Yesterday Boris Johnson said there will no longer be
daily news briefings.
There will be news briefings when things are changing
and if there is any news that we need to hear about.
We have thought about what to do to keep you
We will produce weekly news on a Thursday that we
will send to you on a Friday.

Think about 5 good things that have happened this
could be things like learning something new.


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Disability Rights UK are working with Sense to find out how disabled people have been staying active during the coronavirus outbreak


Disability Rights UK are working with Sense to find out how disabled people have been staying active during the coronavirus outbreak, what is helping to keep active, and if there is anything more that could support people to keep active during this time. We will then be creating resources that reflect the views and experiences that have been shared through this survey, which will be useful for helping people to get and stay active during crises.

Here is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZBD3TDD

Here is the link to the easy read version: http://www.getyourselfactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Staying-active-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak-Easy-Read.pdf

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24 th June 2020 Daily News and Keeping Well Tips

Here is the daily news and tips for staying well from Inclusion North


other people
We should still try to keep a distance of two
metres away from other people, but when we can’t we must stay at least 1 metre away from other people.
If you are somewhere that you cannot be 2 metres away from other people there should be things in place like
plastic screens, seating where people are not facing each other, or people should wear a face mask.
This is important to help to stop the virus spreading.

Visiting friends and relatives
You can now have 2 households inside the home or in
the garden. This can be more than 6 people but they
have to belong to the same 2 households.
•You still have to social distance in and outside of the
house and you can stay overnight.

It does not have to be the same 2 households all the
time, you can go to visit different households.

This could be visiting one house one weekend and then
visiting a different house the next weekend.

Places that are reopening on the 4th July
•Hotels, Campsites and Caravan Parks
•Pubs, bars and restaurants this is for service at the table only and you will have to leave contact details like name, address and telephone number.
•Hair Salons and barbers
•Libraries, community centres and bingo halls
•Cinemas, museums and galleries
•Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks, arcades,
outdoor skating rinks and model villages
•Indoor zoos, aquariums, farms, safari parks and
wildlife centres

The places that will stay closed are
•Nightclubs and casinos
•Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
•Indoor soft play areas
•Spas and beauty salons
•Nail bars, tattoo and piercing places
•Indoor fitness studios, gyms and sports facilities
•Swimming pools and water parks
•Conference centres and exhibition halls and theatres

Keeping well tip
Think about planning a visit to a friends house if you can.



The video version can be seen here


Information about the Keeping People Connected projects in the North east, Yorkshire and Humber is here


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Offer of testing for PA’s displaying coronavirus symptoms

Offer of testing for PA’s displaying coronavirus symptoms

Personal Care Assistants showing coronavirus-like symptoms or in self-isolation as a member of their household is showing coronavirus symptoms are eligible to be tested.

Direct Payment recipients can now offer their PA’s a test if they meet the criteria (either they or one or more of their family household members has coronavirus-like symptoms). The Government has used the term personal care assistant so there is no confusion about other types of personal assistant as they are not currently priority Health and Social Care sector staff.

For more information please contact office@choicesandrights.org.uk or call 01482878778




Information direct from Government:




One of the most challenging things about coronavirus is the uncertainty: not knowing who has the infection or when it’s safe to return to normal life. Good quality testing can help provide us with greater certainty. It’s a big part of how we’re going to defeat this disease. As part of the Government’s five-pillar strategy for coronavirus testing, we are testing people who have coronavirus-like symptoms to see if they currently have the virus. Our aim is that anyone who needs such a test will be able to have one. But that will take time to achieve. While we are building up our testing capacity at pace, we have offered testing to different groups in a phased approach.

Who can get tested?

Our top priority for testing is patients in hospital, to inform their clinical diagnosis, followed by NHS and social care workers having to self-isolate because either they, or a member of their household, have symptoms. We now have the capacity to give every person in these categories a test who needs one. As a next step, we now have the capacity to start to test other frontline workers in England who are having to self-isolate because either they, or a member of their household, have symptoms. Like with NHS and social care workers, we want to find out if these people have the virus – and, if they don’t, they might be able to return to their work that is so important

for our country. The devolved authorities operate their own eligibility criteria.

Eligible workers list We are already working with central government departments, national agencies and local resilience forums to get additional frontline workers in their areas tested, including police officers, fire and rescue service employees, and those running the justice system. The full list of eligible workers in England now includes: • All NHS and social care staff, including hospital, community and primary care, and relevant staff providing ancillary support to frontline NHS services (e.g. accommodation, catering) and voluntary workers; • Police, fire and rescue services; • Local authority staff, including those working with vulnerable children and adults, with victims of domestic abuse, and with the homeless and rough sleepers; • Defence, prisons and probation, and judiciary staff; • Front-line benefits workers.

In addition, government departments, national agencies and local resilience forums have discretion to refer other frontline workers in their area for testing as determined by local need and available capacity. This includes frontline workers in the private sector, with a focus on staff delivering key medical, energy, utility, transport and food supplies. Wherever we have the capacity, we will test these workers. More detailed information on the types of workers who may now be eligible for testing in England can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirusget-tested

Booking a test Anyone who thinks they are eligible and would like to be tested should speak to their employer. The relevant employers in England will be provided with information on how to make an appointment either via their local resilience forum (where the local region chooses to organise testing in this way), via their national government department/agency, or direct from the Department of Health and Social Care. Any employer that has any queries should contact their local resilience forum, national government department/agency, or the Department of Health and Social Care on opshub@dhsc.gov.uk The devolved authorities operate their own eligibility criteria. We are developing an online booking system that will enable all eligible frontline workers to register for a test directly. We will publish further details on this as soon as the development has been completed.

How the testing process works

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the subject themselves (self-administered) or by someone else for them (assisted). In order to test large numbers of patients, NHS, social care, and other frontline workers, we have set up a range of options from scratch. This has been an enormous challenge. But the public and private sectors have come together to meet it.

Testing routes • For patients and NHS workers, testing can be done within an NHS facility such as a hospital; • We are establishing a network of up to 50 drive-through regional testing sites by the end of April. You can view an animation that explains the process online here;


• We are developing mobile testing units, which could be based at a regional testing site and travel to take tests to where they are needed the most; • We are bolstering the NHS’ capabilities by providing test kits directly to ‘satellite’ centres at places like hospitals that have a particularly urgent or significant requirement; and • We are developing a home test kit that can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves, and their family, as required without leaving the house.

Collection and results Across all these methods, we have a fantastic network of couriers who collect the completed samples and deliver them safely to one of our laboratories. The swab samples are analysed at our labs, and the result is communicated back to the individual. We aim to get everyone their test result back within 48 hours of when their swab is taken. And when they have their result, the individual will have a better understanding of their condition and can discuss with their employer whether they can return to work – helping our country to beat coronavirus.



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Many people with a learning disability and/or autism will become increasingly vulnerable during the current Covid-19 crisis. In response to this, the new “Keeping People with a Learning Disability and/or Autism Connected” project is being launched with a focus on people who already lead independent lives but do not routinely access services or support. It is co-ordinated by Inclusion North, Humber Transforming Care, and Choices & Rights Disability Coalition.
Choices & Rights will offer support with any practical issues, and continue to support them to access help and gain whatever information, advice, and resources are needed. They will receive calls from specialist staff, who will support them with understanding information relating to Coronavirus, talk through their worries and offer some reassurance. If a person is in crisis we are able to refer to the appropriate service with their consent.
Text: 077 155 62 448
Phone: 077 155 62 448 (4pm – 8pm)
C&R office: (01482) 878778
If the person consents and would prefer to be contacted by us, please email us their details. They will be given options for their preferred method of communication at initial contact. Follow up contact can be made if needed. Even if you are not sure if a person has Autism, ADHD or a Learning disability, but it’s clear they are feeling isolated and in need of help, please encourage them to use this new, free service.


Tell Us About Your Care

The COVID-19 crisis has affected all of us – not just our physical health, but our mental health and our access to services too. We would like you to pass this email or link to your colleagues and those you represent. The regulator for the NHS, pharmacies, and care services in England is The Care Quality Commission (CQC). They have asked that disabled people and their families share with them their experiences through their Tell Us About Your Care campaign. This will enable the CQC to use the evidence they receive to help shape future policy with disabled people and their different needs front and centre.Tell Us About Your Care is a chance for those NHS services to be recognised for their good works, and also to help improve the service where it is not so successful.




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