Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officers who attend benefit appeal tribunals are being asked by their bosses how many high-level awards to disabled people they have been able to prevent.DWP has finally released information that shows that the presenting officers (POs) it sends to personal independence payment (PIP) appeals must report back to their bosses afterwards on whether they persuaded the tribunal not to grant an enhanced PIP award.The same applies for those sent to employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals, with POs having to tell their managers whether they persuaded the tribunal not to award the claimant eligibility for the ESA support group.The information that POs have to provide to their managers after an ESA tribunal includes: “PO impact – Was SG award averted?” and for those attending PIP tribunals: “PO impact – was enhanced PIP award averted?”The Collins dictionary definition of “avert” is “to turn away or aside” or “to ward off”, as in “to avert danger”, while Oxford Dictionaries, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, defines avert as “turn away” or “prevent or ward off (an undesirable occurrence)”.The information came in response to a Disability News Service (DNS) freedom of information (foi) request that was submitted last September.Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, yesterday (Wednesday) described DWP’s admission as “truly appalling”.DNS has been in contact with a DWP civil servant working on the PIP “frontline” – who is also a former PIP case manager – who has warned that POs are being given the “target” of stopping enhanced PIP payments.It was this civil servant who first told DNS last September that every PO had to tell their manager if they had prevented an enhanced PIP award when they returned from a tribunal appeal.This has finally been confirmed this week by the foi response, which lists about 40 pieces of information that POs need to pass to their manager on their return from an appeal, including whether new evidence was produced, if the PO agreed with the tribunal’s decision, and whether they managed to “avert” a higher level award.The DWP civil servant said: “That is not fair justice, nor the correct outcome.“If the fair justice and correct outcome is any combination of Nil, Standard, Enhanced [the three levels of PIP eligibility], then the system should be working towards that.“However, with Government trying to subvert justice by restricting enhanced payments, then it is something I must try and highlight and fight.”He said this attempt to restrict enhanced payments was placing an “immoral pressure” on POs.De Cordova said: “The idea that the ‘impact’ of DWP staff is being assessed on whether they managed to get ESA support group or enhanced PIP awards ‘averted’ is truly appalling.“Presenting officers are supposed to be there to provide fair and balanced evidence of a claimant’s needs.“In May last year, freedom of information requests revealed that the DWP was setting targets to reject 80 per cent of social security appeals at mandatory reconsideration.“They clearly haven’t changed their approach.”She added: “The whole system is broken: from assessments where, for example, only eight per cent of claimants think assessors understood their mental health, through to appeals where judges are overturning over 67 per cent of initial ESA and PIP decisions.“Labour will scrap the current PIP and ESA assessments, bringing an end to the Conservatives’ failed, privatised assessment system.“Instead of enforcing a culture of distrust and cost-cutting, we will work with disabled people to ensure that they have personalised, holistic support to live full and independent lives.”It is the latest in a series of damning revelations about PIP, which continued earlier this month with three DNS reports based on data released to campaigner John Slater by DWP, again under the Freedom of Information Act.That data revealed “devastating” proof of the “shocking” performance of DWP contractors Capita and Atos in delivering PIP assessments during 2016.Over the last year, DNS has also heard from about 300 PIP claimants who have described their experiences of dishonest PIP assessors from Capita and Atos.Slater said: “Surely the only concern for POs or any civil servant within the DWP is that a claimant gets the social security benefits they are entitled to, paid at the appropriate rate for their specific circumstances.“People’s behaviour changes to meet the targets/measures that they believe they are being monitored against.“If POs specifically have to report about enhanced PIP or ESA support group being awarded, then any reasonable person must conclude that the DWP sees it as their job to stop that happening.“The obvious risk is the POs will do things that break the rules/law to achieve their targets.”Information published by DWP states that the role of a PO is both to present the department’s case, but also to “draw the [first tier tribunal’s] attention to new points in the appellant’s favour”.The minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, said last November that DWP was “recruiting, training and deploying” about 150 POs to attend PIP and ESA tribunals “in order to present the Secretary of State’s case and support the First tier Tribunal in arriving at the right decision”.Instead of providing balanced information that is fair to the claimant, the department’s freedom of information response appears to show that POs are being told to prevent as many enhanced awards as they can for PIP and ESA.A DWP spokeswoman declined to say whether Newton was aware that her department appeared to be breaching both the spirit and the letter of the law on ESA and PIP; what action Newton would take; and how she responded to the comments from one of her own civil servants.But in a statement, she said: “The role of the presenting officer (PO) is to present at first tier tribunal (FtT) hearings and support the FtT in making the right decision.“At the tribunal the PO is able to set out why the department has reached the decision it has based on the evidence supplied to date.“Frequently more evidence is supplied on the day of the tribunal, and by having a PO in attendance the department is able to consider this new evidence alongside the tribunal and, if appropriate, change the original decision.“A PO is not there to prevent an award being changed, but to ensure that the award is correct.“For example, judges have recently commented on the improved appeal responses, which are more personalised and better focused on areas such as mobilising descriptors.“We have improved our feedback processes and in many cases our POs have actively supported people to increase their awards when further evidence is presented at Tribunal. This includes applying new descriptors in favour of the claimant.“At a recent tribunal, a PO was able to point out that case law had changed in the favour of the claimant, and this resulted in the judge and PO jointly agreeing on an increased award.“This demonstrates our commitment to law and instructions whilst understanding the complex needs of some of our customers.“In addition to making sure the right entitlement of benefit is awarded, the PO is also able to provide valuable feedback on why a decision may have changed.“This is fed back to decision makers and forms part of any improvements we can make to our processes.”DNS has now submitted a fresh freedom of information request to ask DWP whether the number of enhanced and support group awards that POs prevent affects any bonuses they receive.
Month: July 2019
SAINTS travel to Salford this Thursday looking to continue their good start to the Super League season.Nathan Brown’s men have won both their games so far to sit top of the table with a number of clubs who are also two from two.And they face one of those 100 ‘per centers’ this week.“We’re two from two and have beaten Warrington who will be top four and Hull who have been historically in the next tier,” Brown said. “They are two sides that will win more than they lose and are contenders.“We’ve done what we wanted to but I’d like to think we are going to improve a fair bit, especially on the first half last Friday.”Jordan Turner should be fit to play after he suffered a head knock in the win over Hull FC on Friday.Mose Masoe is very close too – but this game could come a couple of weeks too early.“Mose has come out of rehab this week and is fit, but it’s now a case of when he is physically in the right shape,” Brown continued. “He’s working hard in rehab but he’s probably not quite right to play at the moment.“We will be guided by the training staff but of course the sooner he gets playing the better.”Saints take on a significantly new look Salford this Thursday and Brown reckons they’ve been good value so far.“Salford have done what they’ve needed to do,” Brown said. “They were good in the first half against Wakefield and then held on, and had a convincing win at London.“I think what’s happened there has been great for the game. This game in particular in the past could have been seen as a standard St Helens win I suppose. It’s a good rugby league story which is good for the game and the competition.“Look at Wigan against the Roosters, they did well, but if they played more games against sides spending the cap then the comp would be better and they probably would have been more prepared. There’s certainly no negative to Salford.”Saints will also line-up against two former members of this parish.“Yeah, it will be good to see Tony Puletua and Francis Meli,” Brown continued. “They have no points to prove to us though. They were more than welcome to stay at the club but their budget is what it is and we have younger players coming through.“Franny and TP served the club well and Franny in particular has left a legacy with Josh Jones, Mark Percival, Tommy Makinson and Adam Swift.”Tickets remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
ON the scoreboard maybe it was tied 14-14 but in chances created the Saints were by far the better team and consequently the more disappointed with the end result, writes Graham Henthorne.Especially as having fallen 10-4 behind at the start of the second period, the Saints showed no little character to come back and take the lead again.The Saints were the first on the scoresheet with Tom Nisbett showing great presence of mind to not give up on a ball which had ricocheted up in the air from Jake Wingfield’s hard pass. Far from turning his back he calmly caught the ball then dropped to the floor to score.Great defence from Christian Kellett and Brandon Scully saved holding the Wire player up and away from the line saved a try as did a fine tackle from Kelvin Ojeaburu to put his opposite number in touch.In fact after a dodgy first carry where he was driven backwards, as the night wore on the contributions from this powerful winger became more and more telling. Be it defensively, shepherding defenders into touch, or with ball in hand terrifying defenders into giving away penalties to stop him.The home side drew level with the softest of dummy half darts over the line, the first of two in the game to the substitute hooker.As the half drew to a close Nisbett was denied a second dropping Luke Ward’s pass after a sweeping cross field move.Ian Lomax and his coaching staff asked the side to believe in themselves which translated into a good first set followed by a great kick and chase from Jack Welsby, who along with Brandon O’Neill and Josh Simm forced the full back in goal to get a repeat set. Unfortunately three tackles in O’Neill knocked on trying to creep over from the play the ball.Minutes later and the Saints were behind to the second soft try from dummy half but the team didn’t collapse as in previous matches rather they dug deep and again put the home side under increasing pressure in their own half.Ryan Horne was sopped short and Joe Sharratt just failed to take Welsby’s crash ball at the line.The home side were reduced to 12 after a fourth shoulder charge from a home player.The Saints capitalised on the numerical advantage as first Horne and Matty Foster were held short and then Kellett had a try disallowed when adamant he was over the line.The Saints were continuing to have joy down the right hand side. Sean Croston jumped down the short side but his pass went behind the unlucky Nisbett.But minutes later Welsby saw his path left blocked so quickly ducked back right, beat seven or eight on a mazy run straightening at the last to commit the winger before putting Josh Simm on a 20 metre run to the line.Simm just missed the touchline conversion leaving the Saints still two behind.But minutes later that man Simm earned the Saints a penalty when he was dragged into touch after the tackle as complete and three tackles later Ryan Horne gave the Wire a touch of their own medicine diving over from close range.The Saints jumped for joy like they’d won the game but with four minutes left there was ample time for a sting in the tail. And that’s exactly what they got as with seconds left a chip over from the Wire found the winger who despite being suspiciously offside was allowed to catch the ball and beat the despairing efforts of Jamie Little to score in the corner.Justifiably the conversion was missed as it would have been a bitter pill to swallow to lose in such a fashion after showing great character in coming from behind.There is much to build on for next year in this and the previous display. The core of the side are still available and will be the better for the exposure they have gained this year.Match Summary:Warrington:Tries: Alex Oldroyd (21 & 43), Liam Jones (69).Goals: Riley Dean (1 from 2), Taylor Brown (0 from 1).St Helens:Tries: Tom Nisbett (8), Josh Simm (60), Ryan Horne (64).Goals: Ryan Horne (1 from 1), Jack Welsby (0 from 1), Josh Simm (0 from 1).Half Time: 4-4Full Time: 14-14Teams:Warrington:1. Brad Holroyd; 2. Liam Jones, 3. Liam Brinksman, 4. Matthew Drake, 5. Andrew Bulman; 6. Fynn Stanley, 7. Riley Dean; 8. Jacob Chamberlain, 9. Patrick Anglin, 10. Matt Heritage, 11. Taylor Brown, 12. Cole Oakley, 13. Jack Wright. Subs: 15. Tyler Lancaster, 16. Alex Oldroyd, 17. Brechan Stephenson, 18. James Machin, 20. Jordan Brown, 21. Jack Wilson, 22. Dec Leonard.Saints:1. Jamie Little; 5. Kelvin Ojeaburu, 4. Sean Croston, 3. Luke Ward (C), 2. Tom Nisbett; 6. Ryan Horne, 7. Jack Welsby; 8. Christian Kellett, 9. Jake Wingfield, 10. Sam Royle, 11. Brandon Scully, 12. Joe Sharratt, 13. Matty Foster. Subs: 14. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Ben Sims, 16. Zac Critchley, 17. Matthew Ashcroft, 18. Kye Siyani, 19. Josh Waterworth, 20. Josh Simm.
Tuttle had apparently smashed windows at several homes in the 1800 blocks of Princess and Chestnut streets, and attempted to break into a church in the area, Dandron said. Tuttle did not take anything from the houses, according to police and the autopsy. His car was found unoccupied and running at the intersection of 15th and Market streets.At the time police found him downtown, Tuttle told them “he needed help and was poisoned,” the autopsy from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner states.Click here to read more.Related Article: ‘Boy Meets World’ actor William Daniels scares off intruder William Tyler Tuttle (Photo: Shatterproof.org) WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — A Wilmington man who died after breaking into homes downtown gravely injured himself on broken glass while intoxicated, an autopsy confirmed.William Tyler Tuttle, 29, died May 25 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit. Police found Tuttle at about 3 a.m. that morning attempting to break into a house on Princess Street, Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron said at the time.- Advertisement –
00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated is helping students in New Hanover county get ready for school by filling book bags.You can help as well by joining them Sunday for the 2nd annual Z-Pack It Up school supply round-up.- Advertisement – Bring anything school related including back packs to Coastal Kicks in Wilmington on Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.. Sorority members will pack the bags and get them to needy kids.They are focusing on younger students, but all supplies are welcome and will be distributed.Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was founded January 16, 1920, at Howard University, Washington, D.C. Since its inception, Zeta has continued its steady climb into the national spotlight with programs designed to demonstrate concern for the human condition both nationally and internationally. Zeta chapters and auxiliaries have given countless hours of voluntary service to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities, and promote legislation for social and civic change. The Sorority’s international programs such as Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) through Mind, Body and Spirit serve to empower people from all walks of life.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Break out your shagging shoes and shimmy on over to the Battleship North Carolina for a fundraiser to help the Brigade Boys & Girls Club.The non-profit is holding its first ever Battleship Bash on Saturday, October 20th from 7-10 p.m. on the USS North Carolina. Tickets are $50 if purchased online, $60 the day of and include cocktails, local craft beer, hors d’ oeuvres and music by swing and shag band, The Imitations. The event is 50s, post-war/baby boom themed and aims to raise $20k for Brigade Boys & Girls Club.- Advertisement – Battleship Bash is organized by Brigade’s CORPs which stands for Club of Rising Professionals. CORPs is a young professional’s networking organization centered around volunteering with Club members, and raising funds/awareness for Brigade Boys & Girls Club.Although planned and organized by young professionals, the event hopes to draw people of all ages to attend by featuring Carolina Shag dancing and beach music-an homage to coastal culture.For information about Sponsorship opportunities, or to purchase tickets, click here.Related Article: SummerFest at the Battleship promotes fun and healthy lifestyleAbout Boys & Girls Club:Brigade Boys & Girls Club has been in the “youth development business” in our community for over 120 years; it was founded by Colonel Walker Taylor in 1896.Today Brigade serves 2,700 boys and girls across New Hanover, Pender and Onslow County. A proud affiliate of the nationally renowned Boys & Girls Club of America, Brigade has been able to expand its reach without forgetting its roots: the children it serves, and the community they call home. Their mission is to inspire and, through character development, enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Florence, the one-time Category 4 storm, made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, and caused significant wind and flood damage.The storm is blamed for the death of at least 50 people with 39 of those in North Carolina.Clemson coach Brad Brownell has also been an assistant and head coach UNC Wilmington. He hopes the game can be a “small part of the healing process” for people in Wilmington.Related Article: New Hanover County suspends curfew, continues relief effortsTickets are $20 and can be purchase starting Monday, Oct. 8 at the UNCW Athletics Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum. The first 1,000 UNCW students will be admitted free with a valid One Card. The Tigers will play a benefit game at UNC Wilmington on Oct. 27. (Photo: UNCW Sports) CLEMSON, S.C. (AP/WWAY) — Clemson’s men’s basketball team is heading to one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Florence to raise money for those impacted by the storm.The Tigers will play a benefit game at UNC Wilmington on Oct. 27. Proceeds from the event will go to Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington and UNC Wilmington’s Campus Emergency Fund for Student Hurricane Relief.- Advertisement –
Cold-stunned sea turtles rehab at North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Photo: WWAY) FORT FISHER, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher has been rehabilitating several cold-stunned sea turtles for more than a month and we checked in on their progress Tuesday.On November 7, the aquarium announced they were caring for five endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that were injured in New England.- Advertisement – Cold-stunning can happen when water temperatures quickly drop below 50 degrees.Three of those turtles have gotten well enough to release, but three remain at the aquarium.Those three will be seen by a veterinarian Wednesday and could be released at any time.Related Article: Sea turtle nesting season begins along Cape Fear coastThey will not be tracked after their release in the Gulf.
LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Business is booming in Brunswick county from new apartments to new restaurants and exciting news for Leland residents: Chick-fil-A is coming to town!The town of Leland plans to finish this project by 2020. Mayor Brenda Bozeman says the new center will also include a Starbucks. Bozeman says construction will begin once roadwork design has been approved.- Advertisement – It will be located just off Highway 17 between the Aldi and the Ocean Gate Plaza which includes the Dunkin Donuts, Hibachi Bistro and Bridgewater Wines.
Offshore drilling (Photo: Divulgacao Petrobras / CC BY 3.0 BR) MANTEO, NC (AP) — Mayors from along the North Carolina coast are discussing the costs of offshore oil drilling if something goes wrong.About a dozen mayors from Duck to Topsail Beach are meeting Wednesday in Manteo to discuss their worries about offshore oil and gas exploration. Opponents say that one future oil spill could destroy the state’s $4 billion fishing business and badly dent the state’s $20 billion tourism industry.- Advertisement – The Trump administration is pushing to expand drilling off the U.S. coast, although court challenges and opposition from many coastal states have slowed those efforts. The administration this month moved to give oil and gas companies more flexibility in meeting safety requirements imposed after the deadly 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.