WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Capita climbdown should herald more sympathetic approach to benefit claimants, says Unite
The climbdown by Capita, which tried to reverse the ‘reputational damage’ it claimed to have suffered after a benefits’ claimant died, should herald a new and more sympathetic way for assessing benefits, Unite, the union, said yesterday (Thursday 8 August).
Benefit assessment company Capita has withdrawn its legal challenge, after a campaign by Unite supporting Susan Kemlo, the mother of Victoria Smith, a Unite community member. Victoria died months after her personal independence payments (PIPs) were stopped following a Capita assessment.
Mrs Kemlo was subsequently awarded £10,410 after legal action against Capita for maladministration – it was this judgment that Capita was trying to overturn until its climbdown today. The money will now be paid to Mrs Kemlo.
In support of Mrs Kemlo, Unite community branch secretary for Stoke and North Staffordshire, Duncan Walker amassed 800 pages of evidence relating to Victoria’s case. Ms Smith from Market Drayton, Shropshire, who had agoraphobia and fibromyalgia, died, aged 33, in July last year.
Unite head of community Liane Groves said: “Despite the tragic circumstances of Victoria Smith’s case, we hope that Capita and other companies contracted to assess benefit claimants, on behalf of the government, will now adopt a new and more sympathetic approach to assessing claimants.
“Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated incident. Unite Community has an 80 per cent success rate in helping claimants with their PIP appeals. All too often the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the private profit-driven companies that carry out work capability assessments choose to ignore expert medical evidence.
“I would like to pay tribute to Susan Kemlo for the courage and tenacity she has shown in pursuing justice in her daughter’s case – this is a massive victory. We must all now work harder to ensure that what happened to Victoria is never repeated.
“This is the message that Unite is strongly giving to Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd, as making a claim for benefits is stressful at the best of times and even worse if you are suffering from life-threatening conditions.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Unite community branch secretary Duncan Walker who gathered 800 pages of evidence relating to our community member Victoria – it was a painstaking and diligent task carried out with dedication and great attention to detail.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Unicef UK responds to UK losing its ‘measles-free’ status20/08/2019 10:40:00
Following a marked increase in measles cases in 2019, the World Health Organisation has confirmed that the UK has lost its ‘measles free’ status. Unicef UK responds below.
Councils save more than £100 million through LGA sector-led improvement20/08/2019 09:40:00
The Local Government Association’s sector-led improvement (SLI) offer has helped councils save more than £100 million over the past year
FRC publishes draft response to proposed amendments to IFRS 1719/08/2019 11:05:00
The FRC recently published a staff draft of its response to the IASB’s Exposure Draft ED/2019/4 Amendments to IFRS 17 (ED).
Shortfall in education opportunities deepens despair of refugee Rohingya youth: UNICEF19/08/2019 09:15:00
Frustration and despair are overwhelming young Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh, UNICEF has said. The UN children’s agency has issued a new report calling for urgent investment in education and skills development opportunities in and around the vast camps where most of the refugees live.
LGA responds to NHS Health Checks review16/08/2019 16:15:00
Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, responded to the launch of an evidence based review into NHS Health Checks by the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock
Welsh NHS Confederation welcome Plaid Cymru report into mental health services16/08/2019 15:15:00
Nesta Lloyd-Jones, Interim Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation responded to the Plaid Cymru report on mental health services in Wales
LGA responds to latest drug-related deaths figures16/08/2019 14:15:00
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to Office for National Statistics data about the number of deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2018
CIPD - New task force launched to set out the skills workers need for the future15/08/2019 14:20:00
For the first time, leading organisations from the education and employment sectors have come together to agree a universal framework for essential skills
NHS Confederation - Largest public petition of its kind calls on Prime Minister to end the crisis in care15/08/2019 12:25:00
More than 150,000 members of the public and more than 50 health leaders are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take action now to address the escalating crisis in care.