Monday, 23 January 2012

A Positive Agenda for Disability and Employment

Boy am I angry and pissed off.

I decided to go to the Seminar at the TUC today on "A Positive Agenda for Disability and Employment" which I heard about on Twitter yesterday. Before I vent I MUST say that Bendygirl was one of the speakers and she was FAB.

VVVV Impressed with my leadership.

So "Why, are you pissed off" I hear you say. It is all down to expectation management.

From the Title of the Seminar I was expecting the following:

1. Either the presentation of a Project Action Plan or how one was going to be prepared.
2. An explanation of the present situation facing the disabled trying to get into work.
3. The perception of the Disabled in the work place and what can be done to improve that.
4. Here's what we need to do to make things better.

I thought my expectations were reasonable.

Here's what we got:

1. A brief recap of Disability legislation from 1990 onwards.
2. The view that the successes achieved by the Disability lobby in the 90's were now being used against us by the establishment.
3. What has been happening with the Welfare Reform Bill.
4. BendyGirl speaking about the positive affirmative action take by the Spartacus Report Team and how they took on the establishment and made them take notice which was VVVVV Good.
5. A new title for the seminar: "A Positive Agenda for Disability and Employment (A seminar on the Governments Cuts and Reforms)" To me this new title contains 2 mutually exclusive topics.

Here's what we didn't get:

There was no agenda spoken about.

There was no hint of a compelling plan for the future.
There was no hint of the future. (Here's what we have done; isn't it good; but unfortunately some of it is being used against us now; disabled people are more likely to be out of work)
Whilst the barriers to entry to the workplace for the disabled were mentioned there was nothing mooted about how to minimise these.
The DwP's Positive About Disability ("2 Ticks") Scheme was not mentioned. (In my experience it is a ripe target to embarrass the DWP)
The work of The Shaw trust and others was not mentioned.

Also, you would think that if you were organising a seminar AND disabled people were prepared to travel long distances to present at it AND if you were the TUC and wanted to give the impression of best practice and being prepared YOU would make sure that the meeting room and the IT support were fit for purpose. They weren't and we lost 20 minutes of time that wasn't made up at the end AND we had to do the speakers out of order which is never good.

I had a wasted afternoon and spent more money than I donated to the Spartacus Report cause.

Two key messages were:

Unemployment amongst disabled people tends to increase more during a recession.
Management have a tendency to try to counsel out disabled people in times of hardship.


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