in Access to Work

Campaign highlights from 2014

If this campaign was not running, then AtW would surely be in a worse mess for Deaf people right now and probably be on the way out in the name of cuts. Keep it up Stop Changes! Let’s not see everything we fought for over 30 years destroyed. Reblogged from the excellent campaign site:

The #stopchanges2atw group have been extremely busy over the past year. A lot has happened and there is a lot of work which we are enormously proud of. We thought we’d share a few of the key moments of the campaign and also what’s happened with AtW to remind you how far we’ve come.


Tom Watson, described by Limping Chicken as a “Labour Big Beast”, shows support for our campaign. We were very grateful for Tom’s support which got attention for our campaign and also, more importantly, raised awareness about the issue and what was happening within AtW.

We we’re delighted that Jenny Sealey joined the campaign and became our spokesperson. Jenny is hugely respected, and has experienced cuts not only to her own support, but has seen other people’s budgets cut too. Having witnessed the impact these changes were having across the community, Jenny was therefore the perfect person to represent the campaign.

We were extremely pleased to have the support of Teresa Pearce, a member of the Work & Pension Select Committee. Teresa has worked tirelessly on the issue of Access to Work and we can’t thank her enough for everything she has done.

A milestone which we were very pleased to reach. We are continuing with the petition and are about to reach the 7,000 mark!

We released a series of campaign videos to raise awareness for our campaign. There were nine videos, showing how different people were being affected.

On 12th May the WPSC announced they would be launching an inquiry into AtW. We began supporting as many people as possible to make submissions and along with others, raised the issue of access to the committee clerk, enabling submissions in BSL. This was the first time that an inquiry had been made BSL accessible in this way which in itself was a significant moment.

On 14th May the then Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning, announced the suspension of the 30 hour rule and a review into AtW. This review was to last three months, however, it is still ongoing and we are not expecting to see anything until the new year.

Alongside our work, DeafAtW have been guiding people through the Obudsman process. We see this as an alternative route to challenge what is happening with AtW. This is an important piece of work which we have been supporting wherever possible.

We have been working with Leigh Day, the human rights law firm, over Access to Work for some time & have now had two successful outcomes. The first case we tried to take was settled, and the individual named had their AtW support fully reinstated. In the second case, we asked that the AtW guidance be published as we believed to not have this in the public domain was unlawful. This has now been acted on. We are very grateful to Leigh Day for all their work and support. In Particular we would like to thank Ugo Hayter and Richard Stein. We now have a fighting fund of £3,000 and are in a strong position to be able to make legal challenges where deemed necessary. We are continuing to communicate with Leigh Day and will look at any next steps needed in the new year.

The inquiry receives a record number of submissions (over 300) and holds a series of four evidence sessions. The report is published before Christmas and is welcomed by the campaign, including all the issues we have raised.


Our supporters:

Teresa Pearce MP, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Inclusion London, DeafAtW, Graeae Theatre Company, NUBSLI.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people/organisations:

The Limping Chicken.
Ian W Gouldstone.