The Department for Work and Pensions DWP has bee

Month: July 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions DWP has bee

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been criticised by the information commissioner over the way it dealt with a request to reveal the identities of seven foreign governments that asked for advice on disability reform.After facing a probe by the commissioner into its refusal to release the information, DWP is now claiming that the written information it refused to release never existed.Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying since last October, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to secure details of which ministers for disabled people from other countries had been asking their UK counterpart for advice on issues such as social security reform.Penny Mordaunt (pictured), at the time the minister for disabled people, told MPs last October that she frequently received requests for advice from her “opposite numbers around the world” about “how to set up welfare systems and improve accessibility, employment and representation”.She claimed she was “keen to promote what we are doing” because her government’s work on disability was “a catalyst for change elsewhere in the world”.And she insisted that her government had “shown what can be done to facilitate disabled access, both physical and service-based, and how that can be achieved in co-operation with business and the third sector”.Mordaunt had been attempting to defend her government’s record on disability rights, weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had said its policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.Following her remarks to MPs, DNS submitted a freedom of information request, asking which countries had asked for such advice.DWP’s freedom of information team replied that there were seven countries that had approached Mordaunt, but it refused to identify them, claiming that there was “a very strong public interest in maintaining good relations between the United Kingdom Government and overseas governments”.It argued that “given all circumstances of the request, the public interest in not releasing the information outweighs the public interest for disclosure”.DNS asked DWP to reconsider its answer and to release the written requests for advice from the foreign governments, as well as Mordaunt’s replies.When DWP refused to change its decision, following an internal review, DNS appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office.The information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has now completed her investigation and has said that she is “most concerned” about the way DWP dealt with the DNS request.But she also concluded that – on the balance of probabilities – DWP never possessed any recorded information about the foreign governments that had requested information from Mordaunt.DWP had told Denham that there had been “some confusion” around the original request from DNS, mainly because some of its staff “appear not to have made the critical distinction between recorded information and what people knew, recollected or had been told by others”.Denham said that she “questioned how the Minister was able to make a statement in Parliament without recorded information being held by DWP” but was told that Mordaunt had relied on “a briefing, some of which was written”.DWP told the commissioner that meetings were often held “on an informal basis and sometimes in the margins of other meetings and in this case that may explain the lack of recorded information” and therefore “formal invites or requests for meetings/information may never have existed”.Denham told DNS that it was “now apparent that DWP has erred in its handling of your request” and she said she was “most concerned by DWP’s handling of this request for a variety of reasons… especially given that DWP is a public authority well versed in handling FOIA requests”.In a letter to DNS, DWP’s central freedom of information team apologised “for any confusion that we may have caused you”.DWP told DNS that it was now “reviewing processes” to ensure that “everyone involved in handling FOI requests recognise the requirement to meet statutory duties under FOIA”.It added: “We accept that we may have given the impression that more information was held, which was not the case.”It insisted that “although administrative errors were made, your request was answered in good faith and in accordance with our duties under the Freedom of Information Act 2000”.It is not the first time DWP has been criticised by the information commissioner.In March 2017, Denham questioned why the government had failed to keep track of whether it had implemented 10 recommendations on improving the safety of “vulnerable” disabled people that had been made in its own secret reports into benefit-related deaths.Denham said then that DWP’s failure to keep track of its actions on “such sensitive cases” was “highly unusual”, after the department told her it had no idea whether it implemented the 10 recommendations.last_img read more

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Displaced Tenants Pick Up Checks But Many Have Nowhere To Go

first_img Tags: David Campos • displacement • Fires • housing • meda • tenants Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Like many of the other SRO tenants, Walley and her husband have been put up by the Human Services Agency in different SRO’s around the city for the past month. Only three families have been housed permanently in affordable units in the Mission District through the Mission Housing Development Corporation, according to its executive director, Sam Moss.  The others continued to shuffle between hotels and SROs.“The heartbreaking thing about a fire is that there’s really nothing we can do to put you in the same position as you were in before,” Mission District Supervisor David Campos told the tenants.The $140,000 was raised over the month following the June 18 fire that damaged six buildings, including a low-income Single Occupancy Hotel. The fire displaced 39 households. The money was raised at events hosted by local bars and businesses, community contributions, and funds pulled from MEDA’s Mission Tenants Fire Fund.Community activist and former Mission supervisorial candidate Edwin Lindo set up a crowdfunding page within hours of the fire starting, and that campaign alone raise some $51,000 from 859 donors, and a separate fundraiser was organized by Google employees that raised over $60,000.Gabriel Medina, policy manager at MEDA, said that “100 percent of the funds” were going to the tenants, but that the amount each household received was calculated by a base amount per unit plus a base amount per person.“We didn’t want to punish people for overcrowding,” said Medina, meaning that tenants were doubling up in single person units illegally. “We know that people who overcrowd are usually more likely to be economically vulnerable. Additional funds were allocated for seniors, children, single parents, and tenants who lived in units that had to be demolished after the fire, meaning that they lost their right to return. Medina added that Friday’s disbursement was only the first round of checks and amounted to 60 percent of the money raised. Tenants could expect to receive the rest sometime in September, he said.Kimberley Walley, displaced by fire, worries about what’s next for her. Photo by Laura WaxmannWalley said through tears that while she was grateful for the  $2,000, but it failed to solve her long term problem of finding a place to live.  She said that she and her partner were kicked out from one of the SRO’s in the Tenderloin where the city had placed them because they “have too much stuff.” Walley, who was homeless for 13 years before moving into the Graywood five years ago, said she has been suffering from depression. “I don’t want to be here anymore, I’m tired of being moved around,” she said. Most recently, she said, they have been staying at an SRO in the Mission, but the  hotel was infested with bed bugs.  As proof, she offered cell phone pictures that showed red welts and rashes on her arms and face. “We literally have nowhere to go after this,” the woman said, adding that she had turned down a bed in a shelter because she was unable to bring her belongings with her.Stephanie Williams, another tenant displaced from the Graywood who has also experienced homelessness in the past, shared a similar experience. She is currently housed at a Mission SRO.“I don’t want to stay there,” said Williams. “I want to go back home. I would rather stay outside until then.” Marline Molina, a caseworker with the Salvation Army confirmed that some of the tenants were offered housing but declined it for reasons such as location or the condition of the building.“If you start declining, it’s going to get more difficult,” said Molina. “You can’t have them in the hotels that long, because in San Francisco, they are very expensive.”But many of the tenants said they had no choice but to decline their offers, because the conditions at the hotels were “poor.”“They haven’t seen the places in which they are putting us,” said Cristel Gutierrez, also displaced from the Graywood along with her partner.  Gutierrez said that she was offered an SRO room on 8th and Howard streets, but declined because the room was “disgusting.”“They wanted us to pay the same rent as at our old place, but the room was much smaller and dirty,” she said. “When I refused the place, they told me that my case is closed.”Ben Amyes, the city’s emergency services, confirmed in a phone interview that the process of housing the SRO tenants has been especially difficult.“For the apartment dwellers, I was able to come up with apartment solutions that worked relatively quickly,” said Amyes, adding that “the Graywood is a completely different story.”“A lot of the SROs have been master leased by the city to get homeless folks off the streets,” said Amyes. “Now I have this displaced SRO population and I’m having a heck of time identifying another block for them.” After hearing the tenants’ complaints, Campos said that more city resources are needed.“Right now the city has one person who helps these families when there is a fire, and that person is supposed to do everything including finding them housing,” said Campos. “That is just an impossible job.” 0%center_img Community efforts raised $140,000 to help 67 individuals displaced by a five-alarm fire at 29th and Mission streets last month get back on their feet. The Mission Economic Development Agency dispersed some of that money Friday night at the Salvation Army Community Center at 1156 Valencia St near 23rd street. Most of those picking up their checks are still without permanent housing and expressed serious concerns about the city’s efforts to relocate them.“We have nowhere to go but the streets tonight,” said Kimberly Walley, a tenant displaced from the Graywood Hotel, the fire damaged SRO at 3308 Mission St.last_img read more

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SAINTS Girls under 12s are celebrating after winni

first_imgSAINTS Girls under 12s are celebrating after winning their North West Region group.They topped the table ahead of the likes of Widnes, Warrington, Chorley Panthers and Leigh and will now be look forward to taking art in the Champion of Champions Festival on the July 2 at Castleford Panthers.Saints Service Area Co-Ordinator, Steve Leonard, praised the girls and the people involved at Thatto Heath where they are based: “I would like to go on record and thank you all for the hard work that has been done at the Thatto Heath Club since the day we first muted the idea some twelve months ago.“I knew from the first session that the blend was right and the people who had come forward were not only the right people but very committed people who were there for the duration. This is only the start of the bigger picture and can only see the girls section growing to have an open age section as well as good numbers throughout the age groups.“I am really confident that we can not only rival our counterparts in the RU game but surpass their achievements by making Girls and Women’s Rugby League the prime sport for women and girls in the St Helens Service Area.“The achievements to date are a true reflection of the dedication and hard work being put into the games and training sessions by the players. To have come top of the tree in the U12s section and to have players already on the player pathway is tremendous reward for their hard work. I look forward with anticipation to where the next twelve months will take us. Congratulations and well done from all at Saints.”Any girls wishing to play under 12s, 14s or 16s Saints Girls and in their famous red vee or just to get fit, enjoy training for rugby league and make new friends, then just come along on a Wednesday evening or Saturday morning to Thatto Heath Crusaders, Close St., Thatto Heath and ask for Geoff Alford.You can also e-mail info@thattoheathcrusaders.orglast_img read more

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SAINTS face fierce local rivals Warrington Wolves

first_imgSAINTS face fierce local rivals Warrington Wolves on Friday at Langtree Park in Round 17 of the First Utility Super League.As with all our home games this year, we have a host of entertainment both on and off the field to bring you the ultimate matchday experience, ideal for all the family.Game Schedule: Turnstiles open at 6:30pm. Live Entertainment – We have two live performances from Tenor Tom Loughlin (son of Saints Legend Paul Loughlin) and young local artist Sam Flaherty.Club Face Painters – These will be operating in the Typhoo and the Hattons Solicitors Family Stands, as well as the Totally Wicked North Stand from 6.30pm … come along and get your face painted in Saints colours for free!Bouncy Castles – these are located in both the North Stand and South East concourse.Kiosk Food – We have a great range of hotdogs, other great food and pies for you to enjoy. The latter have just been rated the best in Super League by Rugby AM. Members can get our special Pie & Pint Offer on all home kiosks for just £5 (please note the offer cover pints of Fosters or Saints Gold only).Boots – Your favourite furry mascot Boots will be in attendance in all the concourse areas from 6:30pm onwards – so look out for him and say hello!Players – We will have two members of the first-team squad down in the concourses to meet fans and sign autographs. They will be in the South West concourse area at around 7:00pm, North Stand (7:10pm) and the South East (7:20pm). The Saints Angel Cheerleaders – Will be performing pre-game.Half time – ODs Jewellrey & Watch Boutique Crossbar Challenge The match is sponsored by Arthur J Gallagher with Kingstone Press Cider as our match ball sponsor and Warrington Audi as our programme sponsor.Team NewsKeiron Cunningham has named his 19-man squad for the match. You can find out more hereTicketsTickets for the game are available from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052. Price details are here.There will be cash turnstiles on the Hattons Solicitors West, Totally Wicked North and McLoughlin and Harvey East Stands.If you require a Solarking South Stand ticket then you need to head to the Ticket Office.Saints SuperstoreThe Saints Superstore is open from 9am until kick-off and then again for a short period post-match. The thirteenth edition of our fantastic match programme ‘Strength in Numbers’ will be on sale.It features an exclusive interview with Adam Swift and a look back at recent events at Langtree Park.There’s also the latest news and views from around the club, our Academy and community teams. Today’s programme is available on the concourse as well as in the Saints Superstore and is sponsored by Warrington AudiTravelIf you haven’t planned your trip to Langtree Park, then take a look at our Travel Section for the best ways of getting to the stadium.Matchday Car Parking details are here.OD’s Crossbar ChallengeThe half time crossbar game returns with participants having the chance to win £100 in ODs vouchers.If you want to take part email the club at keepmeupdated@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

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The club beat off significant interest from other

first_imgThe club beat off significant interest from other Super League clubs to secure the 21-year-old for the next three years.“I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” he said. “I’ve moved over here and I am living in a house with some of the other younger players.“It’s been tough but I can’t wait to get playing, I want to take my opportunities when Justin gives them to me and then work my way into the team. I can’t wait to get out there.”Bentley is a back rower who played for Oulton Raiders before progressing through Bradford Bulls’ Academy ranks.Last season he was named the Championship’s Young Player of the Year as well as gaining the Bulls’ Young Player and Players’ Player of the Year awards.He continued: “When I met Mike Rush, Justin Holbrook and the staff here I knew this was where I wanted to be.“As I player I like to get early ball from the half back and use my feet to get line breaks. I also like to work hard in defence and do my job.“I have settled in great and it is everything I thought it was going to be.”James is working hard for the new campaign, as are the rest of the boys, and Memberships for the 2018 Betfred Super League campaign are on sale now.And as well as guaranteeing your ‘spec’ for the new season you’ll receive a whole host of other benefits AND be entered into our Ultimate Fan draw.Be #saintsandproud – click here to find out more.last_img read more

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Saints Community Development Foundation apologies

first_imgSaints Community Development Foundation apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.last_img

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WPD investigating Sunday night double shooting

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Two people are injured and Wilmington police are investigating after they say the two were shot.Police responded to 414 Bladen Street just before 7:00 P.M. Sunday night according to a police spokesperson. It was not made clear to WWAY if they responded to a shooting and/or found the victims at this residence.- Advertisement – There was a active crime scene along the street for hours. The spokesperson with WPD confirmed with WWAY that the two victims were being treated at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.The extent of their injuries was not known the last time police released information. We are waiting for more updates and are following this latest shooting closely.last_img read more

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Pet Pals 2yearold black cat needs a loving home

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — This week’s Pet Pal is a sweet and fluffy cat who needs a home and a name.He’s a 2-year-old domestic shorthair with a soft black coat and a small white spot on his chest. He was found running as a stray and his owner never came to pick him up.- Advertisement – Shelter staff says this guy is extremely affectionate and is looking for someone to snuggle with. He craves human interaction and would love to be a lap cat!If you think he could be the perfect addition to your home, head to New Hanover County Animal Services to meet him.County residents can adopt for just $70.Related Article: Cooper: Don’t let this storm catch you with your guard downAdoption services are available between noon and 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday or Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.To see other animals available for adoption, click here.last_img read more

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Warrant Hampstead man exposed himself to child at grocery store

first_img According to the warrant, in 2015, Garner allegedly exposed himself at a Charlotte grocery store in front of a four-year-old.WWAY also learned that Garner previously worked in our area as a clown entertainer but investigators say none of the alleged victims came into contact with him through that business.He remains in the Pender County Jail with 37 child sexual assault felonies.Related Article: Jury selection to begin in Pender County death penalty caseHe’s being held on $4.65 million bond. Haywood Elwood Garner (Photo: Pender County Sheriff’s Office) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County man now faces more than three dozen child sex crime charges. The latest one comes from Charlotte.Charlotte Mecklenburg police issued a warrant Thursday for the arrest of 70-year-old Haywood Elwood Garner for felony indecent exposure.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Florence who Wilmington Waffle House cooks on

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It may be getting bad out there, but one place is not backing down.Waffle House in downtown Wilmington is buzzing with customers trying to get one last meal in before the hurricane.- Advertisement – The restaurant was packed with people Thursday afternoon, and servers have been brought in to work from locations all over the southeast.One server tells us she is one of just three employees who actually works at this location.She says Waffle House never closes, and this time is no different.Related Article: Bladen County clears up rumors over dam failure, offers damage survey“It is mass chaos,” Desiree Trimble said. “We’re the only place that’s open. All the gas stations are closed. Everything. And Waffle House never shuts down. never. And we’re open. And we’re gonna be open.”Trimble says her manager has spent thousands of dollars to bring in employees from other locations. She says they plan to stay open tomorrow, too, with or without power.last_img read more

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