The No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country committed to Ohio State this evening and with his pledge, a five-star wide receiver (or two or three) could be following him to Columbus. Tate Martell, a four-star quarterback in the 2017 class out of Las Vegas, announced his commitment to Ohio State on Twitter. The 5-foot-10, 203-pound prospect out of Bishop Gorman (Nevada) is very close with Tyjon Lindsey, a five-star wide receiver in the same class. They played together at Bishop Gorman before Lindsey moved back to California this winter. Lindsey congratulated Martell on Twitter regarding his commitment. Martell responded, “You are next!” OMM I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS COMING..CONGRATS TATE MAN NO MATTER WHAT WE’RE ALWAYS BROTHERS, TOGETHER OR NOT. Love u https://t.co/fs6kw8Z08x— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 13, 2016Thanks bro! You are next! https://t.co/GtChALHEPf— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 13, 2016There has long been speculation that Martell and Lindsey will end up playing for the same school. Ohio State has now obviously added half of the potential package deal and the Buckeyes are believed to be the favorite to land the other half. Lindsey, a speedy 5-foot-8 wideout out of California, is currently crystal-balled to Ohio State. 247Sports.He recently did this at Rivals’ 5-Star Challenge. HOUSE CALL . #RivalsChallenge WR MVP @RivalsCamp pic.twitter.com/g3cStTWmMg— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 12, 2016Martell will surely be recruiting Lindsey to Columbus, but the Corona, Calif. product won’t be the only five-star wide receiver the quarterback tries to push to the Buckeyes. Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors says five-star wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Donovan Peoples-Jones will also be a “priority” for Martell. Martell (@TheTateMartell) will three five-star WRs his priority: Trevon Grimes, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tyjon Lindsey.— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) June 13, 2016Peoples-Jones (No. 6), Grimes (No. 28) and Lindsey (No. 30) are all ranked in the top 30 of 247Sports’ Composite Rankings for 2017.Ohio State’s 2017 class is the No. 1 class in the country. MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitale
APTN National NewsThe Government of Canada has released ten principles it says will help in achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a “renewed, nation to nation, government to government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”The principles were posted on the department of Justice website Friday.“Section 35 contains a full box of rights, and holds the promise that Indigenous nations will become partners in Confederation on the basis of a fair and just reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.”The website post also seems to affirm Canada’s commitment to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a stand many thought Canada was backing away from after Justice Minister’s speech to the Assembly of First Nations in July 2016.“Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,” said Wilson-Raybould in the speech.In the statement Friday that was released along with the list, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Chair of the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies, said the principles will guide the government in all its work and laws.“The Principles will guide the review of laws, policies and operational practices and form a foundation for transforming how the federal government partners with and supports Indigenous peoples and governments.”The list of principles suggest the government is working towards implementing UNDRIP through a review of its current laws.Here are the ten principles:1. The Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.This opening Principle affirms the priority of recognition in renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships. As set out by the courts, an Indigenous nation or rights-holding group is a group of Indigenous people sharing critical features such as language, customs, traditions, and historical experience at key moments in time like first contact, assertion of Crown sovereignty, or effective control. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples estimated that there are between 60 and 80 historical nations in Canada. The Government of Canada’s recognition of the ongoing presence and inherent rights of Indigenous peoples as a defining feature of Canada is grounded in the promise of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, in addition to reflecting articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration.The promise mandates the reconciliation of the prior existence of Indigenous peoples and the assertion of Crown sovereignty, as well as the fulfilment of historic treaty relationships. This principle reflects the UN Declaration’s call to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. This includes the rights that derive from their political, economic, and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, laws, and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources. Canada’s constitutional and legal order recognizes the reality that Indigenous peoples’ ancestors owned and governed the lands which now constitute Canada prior to the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty. All of Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples are based on recognition of this fact and supported by the recognition of Indigenous title and rights, as well as the negotiation and implementation of pre-Confederation, historic, and modern treaties.It is the mutual responsibility of all governments to shift their relationships and arrangements with Indigenous peoples so that they are based on recognition and respect for the right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government for Indigenous nations. For the federal government, this responsibility includes changes in the operating practices and processes of the federal government. For Indigenous peoples, this responsibility includes how they define and govern themselves as nations and governments and the parameters of their relationships with other orders of government.2. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation is a fundamental purpose of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.Reconciliation is an ongoing process through which Indigenous peoples and the Crown work cooperatively to establish and maintain a mutually respectful framework for living together, with a view to fostering strong, healthy, and sustainable Indigenous nations within a strong Canada. As we build a new future, reconciliation requires recognition of rights and that we all acknowledge the wrongs of the past, know our true history, and work together to implement Indigenous rights.This transformative process involves reconciling the pre-existence of Indigenous peoples and their rights and the assertion of sovereignty of the Crown, including inherent rights, title, and jurisdiction. Reconciliation, based on recognition, will require hard work, changes in perspectives and actions, and compromise and good faith, by all.Reconciliation frames the Crown’s actions in relation to Aboriginal and treaty rights and informs the Crown’s broader relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Government of Canada’s approach to reconciliation is guided by the UN Declaration, the TRCs Calls to Action, constitutional values, and collaboration with Indigenous peoples as well as provincial and territorial governments.3. The Government of Canada recognizes that the honour of the Crown guides the conduct of the Crown in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples.The Government of Canada recognizes that it must uphold the honour of the Crown, which requires the federal government and its departments, agencies, and officials to act with honour, integrity, good faith, and fairness in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples. The honour of the Crown gives rise to different legal duties in different circumstances, including fiduciary obligations and diligence. The overarching aim is to ensure that Indigenous peoples are treated with respect and as full partners in Confederation.4. The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous self-government is part of Canada’s evolving system of cooperative federalism and distinct orders of government.This Principle affirms the inherent right of self-government as an existing Aboriginal right within section 35. Recognition of the inherent jurisdiction and legal orders of Indigenous nations is therefore the starting point of discussions aimed at interactions between federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous jurisdictions and laws.As informed by the UN Declaration, Indigenous peoples have a unique connection to and constitutionally protected interest in their lands, including decision-making, governance, jurisdiction, legal traditions, and fiscal relations associated with those lands.Nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships, including treaty relationships, therefore include: (a) developing mechanisms and designing processes which recognize that Indigenous peoples are foundational to Canada’s constitutional framework; (b) involving Indigenous peoples in the effective decision-making and governance of our shared home; (c) putting in place effective mechanisms to support the transition away from colonial systems of administration and governance, including, where it currently applies, governance and administration under the Indian Act; and (d) ensuring, based on recognition of rights, the space for the operation of Indigenous jurisdictions and laws.5. The Government of Canada recognizes that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.This Principle recognizes that Indigenous peoples have diverse interests and aspirations and that reconciliation can be achieved in different ways with different nations, groups, and communities.This principle honours historic treaties as frameworks for living together, including the modern expression of these relationships. In accordance with the Royal Proclamation of 1763, many Indigenous nations and the Crown historically relied on treaties for mutual recognition and respect to frame their relationships. Across much of Canada, the treaty relationship between the Indigenous nations and Crown is a foundation for ongoing cooperation and partnership with Indigenous peoples.The Government of Canada recognizes the role that treaty-making has played in building Canada and the contemporary importance of treaties, both historic and those negotiated after 1973, as foundations for ongoing efforts at reconciliation. The spirit and intent of both Indigenous and Crown parties to treaties, as reflected in oral and written histories, must inform constructive partnerships, based on the recognition of rights, that support full and timely treaty implementation.In accordance with section 35, all Indigenous peoples in Canada should have the choice and opportunity to enter into treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements with the Crown as acts of reconciliation that form the foundation for ongoing relations. The Government of Canada prefers no one mechanism of reconciliation to another. It is prepared to enter into innovative and flexible arrangements with Indigenous peoples that will ensure that the relationship accords with the aspirations, needs, and circumstances of the Indigenous-Crown relationship. The Government also acknowledges that the existence of Indigenous rights is not dependent on an agreement and, where agreements are formed, they should be based on the recognition and implementation of rights and not their extinguishment, modification, or surrender.Accordingly, this Principle recognizes and affirms the importance that Indigenous peoples determine and develop their own priorities and strategies for organization and advancement. The Government of Canada recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, including the right to freely pursue their economic, political, social, and cultural development.6. The Government of Canada recognizes that meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples aims to secure their free, prior, and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources.This Principle acknowledges the Government of Canada’s commitment to new nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships that builds on and goes beyond the legal duty to consult. In delivering on this commitment, the Government recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making in matters that affect their rights through their own representative institutions and the need to consult and cooperate in good faith with the aim of securing their free, prior, and informed consent.The Supreme Court of Canada has clarified that the standard to secure consent of Indigenous peoples is strongest in the case of Aboriginal title lands. The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that Aboriginal title gives the holder the right to use, control, and manage the land and the right to the economic benefits of the land and its resources. The Indigenous nation, as proper title holder, decides how to use and manage its lands for both traditional activities and modern purposes, subject to the limit that the land cannot be developed in a way that would deprive future generations of the benefit of the land.The importance of free, prior, and informed consent, as identified in the UN Declaration, extends beyond title lands. To this end, the Government of Canada will look for opportunities to build processes and approaches aimed at securing consent, as well as creative and innovative mechanisms that will help build deeper collaboration, consensus, and new ways of working together. It will ensure that Indigenous peoples and their governments have a role in public decision-making as part of Canada’s constitutional framework and ensure that Indigenous rights, interests, and aspirations are recognized in decision-making.7. The Government of Canada recognizes that respecting and implementing rights is essential and that any infringement of section 35 rights must by law meet a high threshold of justification which includes Indigenous perspectives and satisfies the Crown’s fiduciary obligations.This Principle reaffirms the central importance of working in partnership to recognize and implement rights and, as such, that any infringement of Aboriginal or treaty rights requires justification in accordance with the highest standards established by the Canadian courts and must be attained in a manner consistent with the honour of the Crown and the objective of reconciliation.This requirement flows from Canada’s constitutional arrangements. Meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples is therefore mandated whenever the Government may seek to infringe a section 35 right.8. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with Indigenous nations, that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.The Government of Canada recognizes that the rights, interests, perspectives, and governance role of Indigenous peoples are central to securing a new fiscal relationship. It also recognizes the importance of strong Indigenous governments in achieving political, social, economic, and cultural development and improved quality of life.This Principle recognizes that a renewed economic and fiscal relationship must ensure that Indigenous nations have the fiscal capacity, as well as access to land and resources, in order to govern effectively and to provide programs and services to those for whom they are responsible.The renewed fiscal relationship will also enable Indigenous peoples to have fair and ongoing access to their lands, territories, and resources to support their traditional economies and to share in the wealth generated from those lands and resources as part of the broader Canadian economy.A fairer fiscal relationship with Indigenous nations can be achieved through a number of mechanisms such as new tax arrangements, new approaches to calculating fiscal transfers, and the negotiation of resource revenue sharing agreements.9. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships.This Principle recognizes that reconciliation processes, including processes for negotiation and implementation of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, will need to be innovative and flexible and build over time in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships. These relationships are to be guided by the recognition and implementation of rights.Treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements should be capable of evolution over time. Moreover, they should provide predictability for the future as to how provisions may be changed or implemented and in what circumstances. Canada is open to flexibility, innovation, and diversity in the nature, form, and content of agreements and arrangements.The Government of Canada also recognizes that it has an active role and responsibility in ensuring the cultural survival of Indigenous peoples as well as in protecting Aboriginal and treaty rights.The Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with Indigenous peoples on changes to federal laws, regulations, and policies to realize the unfulfilled constitutional promise of s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.10. The Government of Canada recognizes that a distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of the First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented.The Government of Canada recognizes First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit as the Indigenous peoples of Canada, consisting of distinct, rights-bearing communities with their own histories, including with the Crown. The work of forming renewed relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership must reflect the unique interests, priorities and circumstances of each People.
New York: Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. The transactions, some of which involved Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, current and former bank employees told The New York Times on Sunday. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes. But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government. The nature of the transactions was not clear, but some of them involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious, according to the employees. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 days The red flags raised by employees did not necessarily mean the transactions were improper. Banks sometimes opt not to file suspicious activity reports if they conclude their employees’ concerns are unwarranted. But the former employees said the decision not to report the Trump and Kushner transactions reflected the Deutsche Bank’s generally lax approach to money laundering laws. They said it was part of a pattern of the bank’s executives rejecting valid reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients. “You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist who reviewed some of the transactions, told The New York Times. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.” McFadden said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank’s practices. Since then, she has filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators about the bank’s anti-money-laundering enforcement. In response to the development, Kerrie McHugh, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman, said on Sunday the company had intensified its efforts to combat financial crime. An effective anti-money laundering programme, she said, “requires sophisticated transaction screening technology as well as a trained group of individuals who can analyze the alerts generated by that technology both thoroughly and efficiently”. Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for the Trump family’s many business interests, said: “We have no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank.” She said the Trump Organization currently has “no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank”. Karen Zabarsky, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, said: “Any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false…” This report comes after Trump and his family sued Deutsche Bank in April, seeking to block it from complying with the congressional subpoenas to reveal his tax returns. The President’s lawyers described the subpoenas as politically motivated.
CAIRO – A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood vowed that the movement would keep up protests after Egypt’s military-installed government designated it a “terrorist” group on Wednesday.“The protests will continue, certainly,” Ibrahim Munir, a member of the group’s top guidance council who is in exile in London, told AFP, adding the government’s decision was “illegitimate.”
Samsung is set to introduce new smart TV services at CES this week, in a bid to offer personalised content to viewers based on their preferences.The services, named Sports and Music, will be offered through Samsung’s Smart Hub platform.The Smart TV Sports service will provide customised sports information – including fixture and score information for a user’s favourite team – from a single navigation page.The Samsung ‘Music’ service will allow smart TV customers to search for and identify songs from TV programs and will recommend new music to users.The service will be available starting in France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the US, offering content from eight music app partners – including Spotify, Napster and Deezer.At the same time, Samsung is expanding its TV Plus service, which offers IP-based channels through a new smart electronic program guide. Samsung first launched TV Plus in South East Asia, it is now also available in the US, and is due to launch in Europe in April 2017.Samsung said it will partner with Fandango and Rakuten to provide premium transactional video-on-demand content in the US and Europe respectively, and with Funke to offer ad-supported VOD content in Germany.“At Samsung, one of our top priorities is ensuring that we are closely in tune with what consumers want and need from their smart devices and electronics,” said Won Jin Lee, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics’ visual display business.“With that in mind, we continue to innovate our Smart TV offering in order to provide the content experiences that our customers have come to know and expect from Samsung.”
Sony has announced two new 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) series of televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.The new flagship XBR-A1E Bravia OLED and XBR-X930E/X940E series TVs are designed to deliver wider brightness range, higher contrast and better picture quality.Both lines of TV will be powered by Sony’s 4K HDR processor, X1 Extreme, and will be available with screen sizes ranging from 55 inches to 77 inches.“Sony continues to make consumer choice a priority especially for those seeking the very best viewing experience, and we are proud to introduce our new XBR-A1E Bravia OLED series,” said Mike Fasulo, president and COO of Sony Electronics.“Sony delivers incredible innovation and excitement to customers with all of our premium 4K HDR TVs through a powerful mix of technology and our exclusive image processing.”Pricing and launch date for the new TVs are yet to be revealed.
By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Ensley NicholsToday the Tuscaloosa Joint Apperentice Training Center hosted a joint workshop between local businesses and skilled labor instructors designed to train the future workforce.This event provided continuing education to welding instructors and students statewide.“Welding is involved in everything you build, and all building trades,” says McAbee President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Nichols. “It’s a wonderful career opportunity where you can make a lot of money, and guess what, not have any debt.”This career path doesn’t require a four year college degree. In fact, right out of high school you can begin training, and be paid during apprenticeship programs.High school students from around the state of Alabama, explored the latest welding equipment, learned new welding safety, technique, and saw demonstrations.Many students said they’ve already decided on welding as their career path.“It’s really fun and you can make money to support your family,” says Austin Lollar, a high student at Sipsey Valley High School.“It’s making things with metal. It’s not easy, but it’s fun. When you get done, it’s going to stand up for what you put it through,” says Aaron Lishman, a high school student at Brookwood High School.
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A disabled solicitor has accused his governing body of forcing him to abandon disabled clients without legal representation, after it withdrew permission for his new law centre to take on legal aid cases.The Law Society of Scotland (LSS), the professional body for Scottish solicitors, had granted permission to Legal Spark law centre to take on legal aid cases in November.Following that decision, Legal Spark took on cases from disabled people who had been unable to secure legal representation for their discrimination cases.Among them was a disabled student who had to quit their university course because they were not given adequate support, and another disabled client who had previously been unable to secure legal representation because they lived in an isolated part of the Highlands.But LSS has now decided that it made a mistake and has withdrawn permission for Legal Spark to carry out legal aid work.The founder of Legal Spark, disabled solicitor Daniel Donaldson (pictured) – who set up the law centre to help disabled people and other clients excluded from the legal system – said the LSS decision would deprive disabled people of access to justice.He had been hoping to take legal aid cases for disabled people who have experienced discrimination, cuts to their social care provision and other issues.He said: “My clients will just be dropped. The Law Society of Scotland have left me no alternative.“The situation as it has turned out is stopping disabled people availing themselves of their legal rights.”Legal Spark has contacted 134 lawyers, a list provided by LSS, who take on civil legal aid cases and specialise in discrimination law, and none of them have been able to take on Legal Spark’s clients.Donaldson – who qualified as a solicitor six years ago – spent a year discussing Legal Spark with LSS, which originally branded his plans “refreshing” and “innovative”.Now he says the organisation is discriminating against his disabled clients.He said: “It’s deeply disappointing. Instead of working with Legal Spark to find constructive solutions, they have discriminated against and ignored our clients by refusing to listen to them.“They have cancelled meetings, refused to go to mediation and each time a politician contacts them on our behalf, the Law Society avoid the issue.”He said LSS told him it made the decision because Legal Spark didn’t meet its precise interpretation of regulations, “despite us spending over a year in conversation and being actively encouraged by Law Society staff”.He added: “The Law Society gave us their blessing, then took it away.“The timing could not be worse, as our clients were achieving success in pursuing their claims of discrimination.“This is direct disability discrimination – there is nowhere else for our disabled clients to go.”He is encouraging people to sign an online petition and write letters of complaint to LSS.A Law Society Scotland spokeswoman said her organisation had made “a mistake” in originally granting Legal Spark permission to carry out civil legal aid work, before realising that it was “not entitled to provide this type of advice under the society’s civil legal assistance quality assurance scheme”.She said: “The committee made a final decision on 16 June that a waiver could not be granted for public protection reasons and as the compliance certificate for Legal Spark had been issued in error, it could no longer provide advice funded by legal aid. “The committee agreed that given the circumstances, Legal Spark could continue working with its legal aid clients until 30 June, to allow sufficient time to make alternative arrangements for clients.”She said law centres have to be “underpinned by a solicitor practice unit [which she said Legal Spark was not] in order to be able to be on the civil legal aid quality assurance scheme register and provide legal aid funded advice”.She added: “While it is rare for something to go wrong, clients have to be able to seek redress and as it currently stands, Legal Spark is not in a position to meet those requirements.”By noon today (28 July), the Law Society Scotland had failed to explain why it has refused to enter into mediation, although it claims that it was “still in communication with Legal Spark”.Donaldson continues to dispute LSS’s position and claims that under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980, Legal Spark should be allowed to take on civil legal aid cases.He said: “The LSS have a legal requirement to promote access to justice. They have ignored this entirely. Where’s the justice for our disabled clients?”
An influential committee of MPs is to examine claims of widespread dishonesty by healthcare professionals who carry out face-to-face assessments of disability benefit claimants.Last week, Disability News Service (DNS) published the results of a two-month investigation that suggested a serious, institutional problem that spreads across the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the two private sector contractors – Atos and Capita – that assess eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP) on its behalf.DNS included evidence from more than 20 disabled people who had contacted DNS over the last year or had commented on previous DNS news stories to claim that their assessors – usually qualified nurses – lied repeatedly in reports they produced for DWP.Since publication, DNS has collected more than 20 further reports – some through comments on last week’s stories, and others with detailed evidence shared with DNS – from disabled people who say their assessment reports were dishonest and deeply misleading.As a result of that evidence, the chair of the Commons work and pensions select committee, the Labour MP Frank Field (pictured), said today (Thursday): “The committee has been presented with some concerning reports about the operation of the PIP assessment process.“I’m looking at those reports, and the issues they raise, very carefully. It will then be for the committee to decide how it wants to respond.”The team reviewing PIP on behalf of DWP has also confirmed that it will accept evidence collected during the DNS investigation. Paul Gray’s second review of PIP is due to be published in April.DWP has continued to show no interest in the results of the investigation and to insist that there is no dishonesty at all among its benefits assessors.Meanwhile, a former Atos assessor has told DNS why she believes there are so many examples of dishonest assessment reports.The former nurse worked for Atos for about six months in 2014 and 2015 before she left because she was not meeting her target of eight paper-based assessments a day.Although she left before the period covered by the latest reports – which focus on the last 12 months – she said she believes the pressure on her former colleagues to reach their targets for completing reports left them little time to research the conditions they are assessing.She said: “I know staff would make assumptions rather than facts… to get the reports done quickly and hope it didn’t get audited.“Some were like me very conscientious and others banged them out for the financial incentive, with little compassion or research on conditions.”She added: “The lack of knowledge on conditions, drugs and side-effects is shocking, but in reality assessors cannot know about every possible condition but have no time… to look them up and research the condition and effects.”She particularly highlighted the lack of knowledge about mental health conditions, which she said meant assessors were often “totally subjective rather than objective with no time to look up the condition or read up the effects of the prescribed medication and side effects”. She also blamed “target-driven management” and assessors “making assumptions rather than using facts”, while the risk of losing their jobs if they failed to achieve targets for the number of assessments they carried out meant assessors were “not always reading all of the evidence”.And, she said, many assessors often wanted to finish their reports quickly “so they could be paid overtime”.Atos has again refused to comment this week, while a DWP spokeswoman said of the former assessor’s claims: “We can’t respond on Atos’s behalf. I suggest you refer that question to them.”In another development, one PIP claimant has provided evidence which may explain why so few complaints about assessors are upheld by DWP’s “independent” complaints body, the Independent Case Examiner (ICE), which is staffed by DWP civil servants.He has shown DNS an email from a member of the DWP customer services team which makes it clear that he is not allowed to lodge complaints about his PIP assessor with ICE because his concerns were “regarding the decision making process so are not considered as a complaint and as such would not be signposted to ICE as a result”.A DWP press officer responded to a question about the email just before this week’s DNS deadline to say that she could not comment because “we have not been given any details about the email or claimant you’re referring to”.By the time she replied, it was too late to secure permission from the PIP claimant to share his email with the DWP press office.Last week, DWP said: “Assessment providers have their own complaints processes in place, and if claimants are not satisfied with providers’ response they will be signposted to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE). “Over 1.9 million PIP claims have been decided since April 2013 to September 2016 and in this time only a tiny fraction of complaints regarding providers’ service standards have been upheld by ICE.”
A disabled student has told Labour’s annual party conference that she has been forced to resort to crowdfunding to obtain a wheelchair that is suitable for her needs, because of “chronic” government under-funding.Rebecca Boot (pictured) told the party’s annual conference in Brighton that because she had a cheap powerchair that was not suitable for her impairment, it caused her pain and regular dislocations of her joints.She said her powerchair cost about £2,500 and was one of the cheapest available, but because it has “no suspension and poor shock absorbancy” she spends much of her time in bed “recovering from the pain” it causes.The chair she needs costs four times as much, but she does not believe she will be able to secure it through the “under-funded and over-stretched” NHS wheelchair service.She told the conference: “Not having the right chair costs me sleep, it costs me study time, and it costs me time with my family and my friends, while I lie in bed recovering from the pain that my wheelchair has caused.“The Tories’ chronic under-funding of NHS wheelchair services is costing me my freedom and it’s costing the local authority in personal care funding.”She added: “Having the wrong wheelchair means I am living a life of social exclusion and isolation and unfulfilled potential.”Boot said she had been forced to make the decision to crowdfund the money for a new powerchair, which she believed was “not acceptable”.And she said this was “just one example” of how the Conservative government had failed disabled people, as reported last month by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities.She told Disability News Service afterwards that she was “getting desperate for a wheelchair that doesn’t cause me too much pain”.She said she was unable to spend more than a few hours at a time in her wheelchair because she starts to develop muscle cramps.Boot, who is just beginning her second year at Aston University, said: “It doesn’t cause problems in terms of going to lectures because they are a maximum of two hours but it means I have to go back to my room and lie down afterwards.“It means I am missing out on the social stuff surrounding university life.”She told the conference: “Wheelchairs are vehicles of freedom. My wheelchair enables me to be here with you today, to go to university and to socialise with my friends.“My wheelchair means I can choose what I do with my life and when. But I, like many others, have the wrong wheelchair.”She added: “A safe wheelchair that works properly should be a right, not a privilege.”
The mother of a woman who killed herself after being wrongly found “fit for work” has pledged to continue her campaign for justice, and for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to admit it was to blame for her daughter’s death.The case of mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting, from Stockton, was highlighted this week after a disabled activist mentioned her name as he heckled work and pensions Esther McVey while she gave evidence (listen from 52 minutes) to the Scottish parliament’s social security committee (see separate story).The activist, David*, told McVey: “What about Jodey Whiting, mother of nine, who committed suicide after her ESA was stopped?“It was stopped because she missed an appointment.”It is the latest in a string of distressing and tragic deaths that have been linked over the last eight years to the government’s social security reforms, and particularly to employment and support allowance, the out-of-work disability benefit, and its eligibility test, the work capability assessment (WCA).Jodey Whiting’s mother, Joy Dove, who herself receives ESA as a result of a number of health conditions, has been campaigning for justice for her daughter – including through a petition on the 38 Degrees website – and for an admission of blame from DWP.Her daughter (pictured with her children) took her own life last year after being told she had been found fit for work.She had missed a WCA appointment on 16 January 2017 because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst. It later emerged that the letter telling her about the appointment had been waiting for her at home, unopened.DWP refused to back down, even after she wrote back explaining that she had been in hospital and had had pneumonia and had been receiving treatment for the cyst. She also had a number of other health conditions.But despite the evidence she provided, DWP refused to give her another appointment to attend a WCA and confirmed that she had been found fit for work and would lose her ESA.She was told she would receive her last fortnight’s ESA payment on 17 February.She visited Citizens Advice, and an advisor wrote to DWP on 15 February 2017 to ask for another WCA appointment, but she took her own life six days later, just four days after her final ESA payment.Her mother is also angry with DWP because the department sent a letter to her daughter about her claim after it had been told she had taken her own life, and continued to call Jodey’s phone and leave voicemail messages for her for more than two months.Her complaints will be investigated by the Independent Case Examiner.Her mother told Disability News Service (DNS) last night (Wednesday) that she was determined to secure justice for her daughter.She said she remembered her crying as she told her she had lost her ESA, and asking her: “What am I going to do, mum?”“I said, ‘Don’t worry, we will sort it out,’ but she never replied. I think it just wore her down.”She said she was delighted that David had raised her daughter’s case so publicly during McVey’s evidence session on Monday.He had told her in advance of his plan to confront McVey, and when she later heard the recording of him mentioning her daughter’s name in the committee hearing, she said: “I just felt great.”It is moments like that that motivated her to continue with her campaign, she said.“I am so grateful to him. I am really pleased he did it.”She told DNS she would continue with her campaign for justice.She said: “I have kept strong for my daughter, but I am heartbroken, I always will be.”If she had had the chance to confront McVey, she said, “I would have broken down and said, ‘Look, you had no right [to treat my daughter like this].’“It’s all wrong. It has got to stop. They can’t keep doing this to people.”A DWP spokeswoman said: “We have apologised to the family for attempting to contact Ms Whiting after her death.“The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) is an independent office holder.“As such, the DWP cannot comment on the work or decisions taken by the ICE.“We will carefully consider the findings of the ICE.“Suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to anyone’s benefit claim.”*He has asked for his full name not to be used