Ester Macvey and DWP have included gaging clauses in their new contracts with charities effectively stopping them saying anything adverse about their services, not least the deaths reported due to bad treatment of claimants. Would AOHL care to comment if you have signed the gaging clause?
Action on Hearing Loss is a successful campaigning charity and we’ve never had any difficulty in terms of anyone stipulating what we can and cannot say or do in terms of our policy positions and activities. As the largest charity in the UK working for those with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss, we are committed to representing our beneficiaries and supporters in the most effective way possible to stakeholders across society – including all government departments. We consider it a vital part of our role to hold those in power to account on behalf of the 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. For example, when a cap was introduced by the DWP on Access to Work funding – something that would disproportionately affect British Sign Language users - Action on Hearing Loss not only vocally opposed this measure, but worked effectively with other stakeholders and the DWP to have the cap significantly raised.
Ashleigh on Behalf of the Info Line
But has AOHL signed a no criticism clause? We still feel you are too close to the corridors of power to remain forefront in attacking state policies towards the deaf and Hard of hearing, We want to see cooperation withdrawn by AOHL from the systems that assault our disablement. 1,000s have lost support and financial aid, and many have the fact they can't hear called into question daily. We tend to look at the UK's largest hearing loss charity to be prominent in snapping at the heels of politicians and the state who are attacking us daily with no comeback. I'd like to see AOHL drop the 'support' angle and become a champion of our rights instead. I do think ear wax and hearing aid batteries are an irrelevance in the scheme of things. As it stands it is a self-perpetuating reliance in operation and trivialising the real cause of the issue. Our support is a legal right, it doesn't need charity to underpin it, we want charities more proactive in putting our case. training professionals in advance, and utilising legal power to fight back. If AOHL can't or won't do it, we are lost because as individuals we cannot succeed. The AtW area was/is a shambles whereby it costs 3 times a paid wage to actually do part-time work and it appears the main claimants are just a few lucky people in the arts areas. A new way of empowering deaf and HoH to work is needed. As AOHL said itself employers and co-staff alike treat us like village idiots. We are under assault from many directions and it needs the UK's largest charity to stand up and say enough is enough. It's NOT enough to add your name to someone's petition etc, you have to lead. Anyone can sign a petition and anyone can say we empathise, but that alone does not mean anything actually happens. It's the lazy way to avoid standing up to be counted.