Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Livability's Response - Sorry but no cigar

I have just received a response from the Chair of Livability relating to my complaint about their failure to operate the "Positive About Disability" Scheme properly.

There are several factual errors in this response but please consider: -

a) I had been promised this response by Friday 3rd February. When I phoned the office I was given the run around by the staff there and I did get frustrated by them. The incident when they found my manner to be aggressive and abusive was when I asked them: -
"Is it because I am disabled that you don't think it necessary to honour your commitments to me. Don't I count?" 
b) Prior to the submission date I had discussed my application in depth with "Marks Sattin" who verbally confirmed I did meet the minimum job criteria.
c) The first time I was interviewed by Livability was for a connected but very similar (same job description) position last year. Whilst discussing today whether I met the minimum job requirements then, their Director of HR, Ann Strach, initially told me that they did not believe I met the minimum job requirements. Bear in mind that this was after her recruiting agency, Perrett Laver had failed to understand the way the "2 ticks" scheme should work and by their own admission made a mistake in not progressing me to interview.  She then corrected this to stating that I "scraped in". Livability had organised a special interview for me after the main interviews had taken place on a different day.  How am I supposed to have a fair chance at a job if the interviewing panel are prejudiced against me from the start?
d) The DWP who administer the positive About Disability Scheme are currently considering their position and will respond to me during the middle of next week.

The Patron of Livability is HRH The Princess Royal. I would like to approach her and point out my treatment at the hands of somebody that really should know better but Livability cannot get in touch with her. Can anybody suggest how I can bring this to her attention?

7th February 2011


Dear Mr Jones,

I write further to my letter of 25th January and your subsequent telephone calls to Livability’s offices on Friday 3rd February.

I am sorry that we did not respond to you by the end of last week due to the workload of officers and I acknowledge that you are angry and frustrated about this situation.  However I do need to make you aware that several employees found your manner aggressive and threatening. This undoubtedly made it more difficult for them to respond to your concerns in the way they would have liked.

I was waiting for officers to send me the outcome of the meeting with the Disability Symbol Advisor before replying.

Marks Sattin had been briefed by Livability on the requirements of the two ticks scheme as part of the assignment and the advert specifically mentioned the guaranteed interview scheme.  When you first contacted Livability about your application this time, they were unaware of your application and that is why you were referred back to Marks Sattin.  Marks Sattin have confirmed that they did not consider that you met the essential criteria for the role.  Further feedback on this is available. 

However, the Disability Advisor made the following points at the meeting:

  • When using agencies, Livability needed to ensure there was a robust process in place to ensure that the essential criteria of the job description/person specification were fully accessible
  • An invitation for a covering letter from disabled applicants  who believe they meet the essential  criteria and  want to apply for a guaranteed interview, should  be added to the guidance to agencies. 

We are fully committed to both the spirit and letter of the scheme and we are sorry that the process did not work as it should have on this occasion. 

I do appreciate your bringing this matter to my attention and giving us the opportunity to review our procedures for working with recruitment agencies. As a result I will be ensuring that the above recommendations are implemented with immediate effect.

Yours sincerely

Paula Kerr

This is Livability's Mission Statement:
Livability is about creating choices for disabled people rather than making choices for them. We believe that everyone should have the freedom to live their lives and use their abilities. With the emphasis on choice, independence and control, we offer residential care services, supported living, lifestyle choices projects and accessible holiday accommodation, plus a school and further education colleges. We work with thousands of disabled people and their families each year, throughout the UK.

We run two colleges and an education centre. These cater for young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties, with residential facilities available on-site.

We are a specialist provider of residential and nursing care for people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties.Our services are renowned for their high quality of care. They promote independence, choice, control, opportunity and respect.

As well as offering flexible care services that enable disabled people to live independently, we offer holiday accommodation though hotel-style care in Llandudno and Minehead and self catering accommodation throughout the UK from Ambleside to Selsey Bill.

We also provide community organisations with the resources, advice and confidence to impact their neighbourhoods. The community mission team equips Christian groups and individuals to work for change in their communities.

Not once does it refer to helping the disabled that are able to, secure employment. 

Makes you think?

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