GMLC submission to Work & Pensions Committee: PIP & ESA trust deficit fails claimants and the public purse – the full report | Strategic Litigation and the Fight for Our Rights | We support this event: Manchester Renters Forum | In brief | Dates for your diary
GMLC submission to Work & Pensions Committee: PIP & ESA trust deficit fails claimants and the public purse
In November 2017 Greater Manchester Law Centre submitted a contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, after they put out a call for evidence on the medical assessments for disability benefits PIP and ESA carried out by private contractors Capita, Atos and Maximus.
Our submission was part of the evidence of the full report, which was published on 14th February. The report shows how flawed the process is for too many. The Committee offers a number of recommendations, but the question is why the implementation of welfare policies is, in many cases, so cruel and inefficient in the first place.
We concentrated our submission on the question “Is the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?”, collecting evidence from our claimants and advice workers as well as other Greater Manchester individuals and organisation. We received responses in writing from six advisers and one organisation and met with five individuals for an afternoon discussion, with four case workers from other agencies.
We thank everyone for their contribution and especially Tom Griffiths, one of our members and chair of the Manchester Mental Health Charter Alliance, for his initiative. Tom said: “It appears that there is some progress being made as a result of persistent submissions from concerned organisations, individuals and legal networks. However there is still a long way to go to bring justice and integrity to the heart of the assessment process. …”
In the full report the Committee says public contract failures have led to a loss of trust that risks undermining the operation of major disability benefits. They also expressed how impressed they were by the 4000+ of contributions – a record number for a select committee inquiry – and the important role they have played in forming their recommendations to Government. They decided to publish a separate report highlighting them.
Please read the full article on our website: https://www.gmlaw.org.uk/2018/02/14/work-pensions-committee-pip-esa-report/. The article features also download links to the two reports.
Strategic Litigation and the Fight for Our Rights
Strategic litigation can make significant changes in legislation, policy or procedure. This is achieved by taking carefully-selected cases to court. These cases involve groups of individuals suffering human rights violations or injustices in the welfare system. The objective of this process is to bring attention to deficiencies in the law and instigate change not only for the individuals involved but for everybody facing the same issue…
The closing paragraph starts with “Every day, many of us face breaches of rights so often taken for granted.”, which shows how relevant this topic is. Read the full article: https://www.gmlaw.org.uk/2018/02/15/strategic-litigation/
Robert Povall is a Campaign Volunteer with GMLC and the author of this article. He is currently studying a GDL at the University of Law and is passionate about making a difference. He wants to become a Barrister, specialising in immigration, civil liberties and human rights.
The image shows Rebekah Carrier at the GMLC AGM 2017, talking about strategic litigation.
Would you like to write an article for GMLC? Please see in “In Brief” our article about the Editorial and Research Group. Get in touch email@example.com.
We support the Manchester Renters Forum
The meeting takes place on 1st March, 6.30-9pm at the Mechanics Institute, with Greater Manchester Housing Action, Shelter, the Tenants Union UK, ACORN Tenants Union, Unite Community Membership and the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
This is to give private renters a voice to speak to power in a climate of untenable conditions, instability and lack of affordability in our housing options. Register with Eventbrite.
Justice First Fellows London conference
Earlier this month Ngaryan (right), GMLC supervising solicitor, and Siobhan Taylor-Ward (left), our Justice First Fellowship trainee, headed down to London to meet with other Justice First Fellows, funded by The Legal Education Foundation. They introduced themselves and GMLC’s projects and heard talks on planning projects using the The Theory of Change and on using new technology to try to ensure access to justice in a changing world. They heard the other JFFs tell their inspirational stories. The time at the conference made them feel as though they were part of not just a training scheme but also of a supportive, innovative and inspirational movement for change. Siobhan says: “I am very excited for the next (almost) two years and though I know there will be a lot of hard work to do I am sure it will be interesting, challenging and most definitely worth it.”
Goodbye to two LASP students
A big thank you and goodbye to Barbara Green and Amina Naqqash. They successfully completed 30 weeks with our Legal Advocacy Support Project (LASP) with Manchester Law School of Manchester Metropolitan University. Both Barbara and Amina won appeals for our clients. Thanks for your lovely cards & sweets! All the best for the future!
Read more about LASP:
Campaign Volunteer meeting: Editorial and Research Group
We had a great meeting on 9th February, brain-storming various topics and paired up to write articles on the topic of access to justice. Articles are getting recognition far and wide and are published in other journals and magazines.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be part of this group.
Ceilidh in Chorlton – Thank you to The Beech Band and all you generous people
Young and old were dancing the night away to the music of the The Beech Band. Tickets and raffle sales and some very generous donations amounted to £390. All our legal advice services are free and we are very grateful for this kind of community support.
Silent March – Solidarity with Grenfell
The fight for justice for every single man, woman and child who died in the Grenfell Tower and their families and the survivors spread across the nation. A silent march took place in London and in Manchester on 14th February.
Many of our volunteers and staff joined Greater Manchester residents, representatives of the Manchester Fire Bridget Union, NW Unison, North West TUC, Greater Manchester Housing and other social justice campaigns as well as Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham. The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, and Grenfell Estate residents spoke about the need of a thorough enquiry and fundamental changes for social housing.
Kevin Allsop, GMLC management committee, who organised the event for trades union association GMATUC, said: ‘We wanted to show our support to the people of Grenfell and hope that other cities will then pick up the baton and do something similar on the anniversary of the fire, on 14 June.’
Dates for your diary
- 01/03/2018 – Manchester Renters Forum
- 20/04/2018 – With Lord Bach: Legal Aid and the Future of Free Access to Justice
- 20/05/2018 – GMLC Fundraising: Greater Manchester Run
4 things you can do to help Greater Manchester Law Centre
- You can donate and/or set up a standing order to help fund our key legal services
- Get involved by either volunteering, becoming a member, a supporter, or if you are an organisation, you can affiliate with us. Go to the Get involved tab on the home page.
- For those of you on Twitter, #whyweneedGMLawCentre or #FreeAccesstoJustice and tell us why GMLC is so important.
- Ask for a letter of support from your local councillor/MP/community organisation/trade union branch and send it in to us.