The furious mother of a disabled woman who took her own life after repeated safeguarding failings by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has branded DWP’s response to a parliamentary petition set up in her daughter’s name “a joke”.Joy Dove saidthis week that DWP’s safeguarding failures had killed her daughter.She spokeout after DWP responded to the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, which was set up in her daughter’sname.DWP said inits response that it would not hold an independent inquiry into the deaths ofdisabled people linked to the failings of ministers and civil servants, asdemanded by the petition.More than26,000 people have now signed the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, whichthis week won further support, from the grassroots disabled women’sorganisation WinVisible and film director Ken Loach.The petitioncalls for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to DWP failings, and forevidence of criminal misconduct by civil servants or government ministers to bepassed to the police.It alsocalls for MPs to recognise that DWP is institutionally disablist and not fitfor purpose, and for DWP to “urgently change its policies and administration ofsocial security benefits to make the safety of all claimants a priority”.Because thepetition passed 10,000 signatures, the government was forced to respond.But itsresponse, published this week, ignored key parts of the petition’sdemands.DWP said ithad “no plans” to hold an independent inquiry, and that the Independent CaseExaminer (ICE) – who found DWP failed five times to follow its own safeguardingrules in the weeks leading up to Whiting’s suicide in February 2017 – “did notfind any evidence of misconduct by Civil Servants or Ministers”.DWPapologised for its failings in her case and said: “Unfortunately, in thisinstance the expected standard of customer service was not achieved.”But the responseignored the petition’s reference to the manyother deaths thathave been closely linked to the actions of ministers and civil servants.DWP claimedthat the safeguarding of claimants was already a priority, that it was “committedto safeguarding vulnerable claimants” and that its staff were “trained to identifysigns of vulnerability which may include offering extra help with people’sbenefits should they need it”.But onlylast week, Disability News Service (DNS) reported how DWP had admitted destroying a damaging internal report aboutits failure to ensure the safety of benefit claimants in jobcentres, preventingit being released under freedom of information laws.DWP alsofailed in its response to comment on the petition’s call for MPs to accept thatDWP is institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose.This week,DNS reports (see separate story) howan employment tribunal found DWP managers had “victimised” a disabled member ofstaff after she claimed that she had faced workplace discrimination.And inFebruary, Civil Servicefigures revealed that the proportion of DWP staff who said they hadbeen victims of disability discrimination at work in the previous 12 months hadrisen by about 50 per cent in just four years.Joy Dove, Jodey Whiting’s mother, said the DWP response to the petitionwas “a joke”, and that her message to DWP was: “You have put everything in yourresponse to the petition that you did not do to safeguard Jodey.“You killed my daughter by not safeguarding her.”She added: “They should have practised what they are trying to preachnow. They are responsible for Jodey’s death.”She said she was appalled that the DWP response suggested that the£10,000 ICE ordered DWP to pay the family as a “consolatory payment” was“compensation” for her daughter’s death.Dove said that £9,000 was given to Jodey’s nine children, while the other£1,000 was used to pay off some of the debts she had built up in paying for herdaughter’s funeral.She said: “It’s not about money. I will carry on. They can’t say it’s settled.I signed nothing. I want justice.”She is hoping to take legal action against DWP, and she told DNS shewanted to see an inquiry into deaths linked to DWP’s actions, and then criminalprosecutions. Meanwhile, Loach,whose film I, Daniel Blake has become a cultural rallying point for manydisabled activists appalled at the deaths and years of harm caused to benefitclaimants by government social security reforms, spoke this week to Dove toexpress his support for her battle for justice.That battleis shared by seven other families who have lost relatives because of thefailings of DWP ministers and senior civil servants and have backed thepetition.Dove saidLoach had spoken to her for nearly an hour and was “lovely”.He latersent a letter to her, saying that he and his colleagues were “aware of thecountless other stories like yours where DWP has shown brutality that has leddirectly to innocent people suffering, and even death, as with Jodey”.WinVisible, which supports and campaigns fordisabled women, this week added its backing for the petition.ClaireGlasman, from WinVisible, said her organisation was supporting the petition becausethe way Whiting had had her benefits “cut off” and had not been believed abouther illness was “horrific”.She said: “Thiscallousness is now standard. Every day we work with women with visible andinvisible disabilities, distressed and suicidal because they are forced to gothrough the brutal benefit test system. “We helpthem to win benefits on paper evidence, using the info on WinVisible’sblog. “We can’tbear it that disabled mothers who deserve benefits and support services, arepenalised as fit for work by reason of caring for children. “In benefitcuts, disabled single mother families are doubly hit by the hostility againstsingle mothers and against disabled people, losing up to £11,000 a year.” WinVisible isadding its support for the petition to that of four other grassroots groups: Black Triangle, Disabled People Against Cuts, Mental Health Resistance Network and WOWcampaign, as well as DNS.To sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, click on this link. If you sign the petition, please note that you will need to confirm your signature by clicking on an email you will be sent automatically by the House of Commons petitions committeePicture: Jodey Whiting
COOL handed Luke Walsh slotted over a drop goal in the final minute to seal a dramatic 17-16 win over Huddersfield Giants.The scrum half landed a one-pointer with precision to put Saints in the next round after Danny Brough’s effort was adjudged to have gone wide seconds earlier.In a real titanic tussle Nathan Brown’s side saved probably their worst performance of the season for their biggest game.They surrendered an 8-0 lead to go in 10-8 down at half time.Tries from Adam Swift and Tommy Makinson gave them the advantage but the Giants forced their way back into it.Shaun Lunt’s try may have been fortuitous but Joe Wardle’s wasn’t and it gave Huddersfield a lead they probably didn’t expect.The hooker added his second in the second half before Brett Ferres was sent off for a shocking spear tackle on Jonny Lomax.A man up, Makinson got over in the corner immediately and then Walsh kicked a penalty.In the final few minutes, Saints charged down three drop goal attempts before Brough’s went wide – and Walsh did the rest.It left at least half of the John Smith’s crowd celebrating the win; and the other showing their dismay with the officials.Brown admitted Saints’ performance was probably disrupted by the number of players returning from injury.Luke Walsh, Kyle Amor, Jordan Turner, Alex Walmsley and Willie Manu all came into the line-up for the crucial tie.Joe Greenwood and Anthony Walker rewarded for their performances in the win over Leeds with spots on the bench.Huddersfield on the other hand fielded virtually a full strength side – bringing Joe Wardle back in at centre.There were signs of nerves from the kick off as Giants put it out on the full and then Alex Walmsley knocked on with the try line only inches away.On eight minutes Saints had another crack at Huddersfield’s line – thanks to Luke Walsh’s 40:20.And it paid off, Walsh and Hohaia combining for Adam Swift to put down in the corner.Saints extended the lead after 15 minutes. Walsh was again involved, getting the ball wide to Makinson who kicked inside.It went through hands, James Roby picked it up, drew the defence and Makinson was in.Two minutes later Danny Brough kicked a great 40:20 and the video referee had to rule on a ‘burrow over’ try.It was chalked off for a knock on though.Kyle Amor left the pitch in the 20th minute with a leg injury and then the Giants forced a drop out.But they knocked on as Saints right hand side piled on the pressure.On 26 minutes Huddersfield got back into the match.Saints were caught napping at dummy half after a break on the right hand side and Shaun Lunt went over.It wasn’t clear on the screen if he had scored, but the video referee gave him benefit of the doubt.Hohaia’s kicking game forced a repeat set, which came to nothing, and then the Giants continued their domination of the second quarter.Joe Wardle collected a kick to the corner and then Danny Brough kicked them in front.To be fair they’d had chances before that and on the balance deserved to go in 10-8 to the good.Saints needed a strong start to the second half so therefore could have done without losing the ball on their second set and giving a penalty away in front of the sticks.The Giants opted to run it but Saints held out.Luke Walsh’s high ball almost saw Manu put his side back in front on 52 minutes – but it was disallowed for offside.Five minutes later Huddersfield turned the screw.A penalty gave them field position then a break in the centre of the field was taken to the house by Lunt for his second.Brough taking the advantage to eight points.Saints looked devoid of ideas in attack but they got back into it when Makinson nabbed his second of the game in the corner.Yet before that vital score Brett Ferres was sent off for a shocking spear tackle on Jonny Lomax.Jordan Turner forced a drop out with eight minutes to go and then Walsh kicked a penalty to level it up.From the restart the Giants won a drop out and pounded Saints line.But the defence was too strong – charging down three Brough drop goal attempts before he got one away clean.It went high, but it was ruled wide much to the dismay of the Huddersfield fans and players.Lady luck was smiling on Saints and seconds later Walsh landed a peach to seal the win.Match Summary:Giants: Tries: Lunt (2), WardleGoals: Brough (2 from 3)Saints: Tries: Swift, Makinson (2)Goals: Walsh (2 from 4)Drop: WalshPenalties: Giants: 5Saints: 10HT: 8-10FT: 17-16REF: Phil BenthamATT: 5566Teams:Giants: 1. Scott Grix; 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 5. Aaron Murphy, 4. Joe Wardle, 19. Jodie Broughton; 6. Danny Brough, 7. Luke Robinson; 8. Eorl Crabtree, 9. Shaun Lunt, 10. Craig Kopczak, 11. Brett Ferres, 12. Jason Chan, 14. Michael Lawrence.Subs: 13. Chris Bailey, 16. David Faiumu, 18. Kyle Wood, 20. Antonio Kaufusi.Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh; 16. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 18. Alex Walmsley, 13. Willie Manu, 15. Mark Flanagan, 11. Sia Soliola.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 17. Paul Wellens, 23. Joe Greenwood, 25. Anthony Walker.
A HAT-TRICK from Great Britain hooker Aaron Smith put paid to the Tigers 36-20 in what is now a customary see-saw game with the visitors from the Jungle.As was the case two weeks ago and last season for that matter the Saints never seem to be able to get more than one score ahead and this was the case today.In fact it was the visitors who took the lead scoring a long range try. They took advantage of the compressed Saints defensive line going around the right wing of Lewis Galbraith and then returning to that side after full back Ricky Bailey had halted the initial break.The Saints responded with some fierce defence forcing the error in the Tigers own half. From the scrum some superb training ground execution of a play saw centres Matty Fleming and Jake Spedding commit their opposite numbers before Fleming’s around the man pass put Galbraith in just enough space for the winger to score.Again good line running five minutes later gave the Saints the lead for the first time. Lewis Charnock and Olly Davies both ran the perfect line allowing the stand-off to put his second row in to a big hole for the score.Back came the Tigers punishing the Saints as they were penalised for a high tackle. The stand-off, the Tigers best player, stepped through a static Saints defence to reach out for the equalising try.Then came the first of hat-trick hero Smith’s tries giving the Saints the lead at the break. The Tigers knocked on from the kick off and the Saints piled on the pressure from the scrum with Spedding, Fozard and Charnock all held inches short. From the last play the ball Smith spotted his chance darting over from dummy half.The call for the second half was no silly mistakes and piggy backing penalties both of which were present in the lead up the Tigers score five minutes into the second period. The impressive full back took full advantage jinking his way under the posts to draw level again.Minutes later the Saints retook the lead as Jake Spedding got reward for some great recent displays reacting quickest to pounce on a loose ball over the line.Then came a turning point as Fozard made a break from his own 30 but as he got free passé inside to the supporting Morgan Knowles but the ball was just forward. Had he held on there was a try begging.But the Tigers needed no second invitation as from the scrum the right centre handed off some weak tackling to level matters again in the corner.The Saints didn’t let the setback kill them, however, as the young pack started to exert pressure and take control.Dave Hewitt’s show and go near the line ended with him held short but a quick play the ball and overhead pass from Olly Davies to Ricky Bailey put the full back in from close range.This time the Saints pressed home the advantage in the last ten minutes with Smith’s last two tries.Ross McCauley found himself inches short of the line but from the play the ball Smith darted over. From the restart McCauley burst free finding Charnock in support but his pass to put Hewitt away for the try went marginally forward.The Tigers were still plugging away and two dangerous situations were diffused firstly by a great high bomb catch from Dave Eccleston and secondly a big hit from Smith and Liam Cooper forcing the knock on. The latter gave possession to the Saints and four tackles later Smith dummied his way over for his third.On an extremely hot day the Saints young pack set about their business in a controlled and efficient way led by new prop Matty Fozard and ably backed up by McCauley, Olly Davies, Morgan Knowles and off the bench by Chris Worrall.As the Saints travel over Billinge lump next Saturday the same steely concentration will be required if they are to come away with the points.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Ricky Bailey, Lewis Galbraith, Jake Spedding, Aaron Smith 3, Olly Davies.Goals: Lewis Charnock 4.Castleford:Tries: Ash Robson, Liam Blockley, Connor Hughes, Jordan Howden.Goals: Jordan Howden 2.Half Time: 16-10Full Time: 36-20Teams:Saints:1. Ricky Bailey; 5. Lewis Galbraith, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 2. David Eccleston; 6. Lewis Charnock, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Phil Atherton, 9. Aaron Smith, 15. Matty Fozard, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Olly Davies, 13. Morgan Knowles. Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 18. Dan Abram. 16. Chris Worrall, 17. Ross McCauley,Castleford:1. Ash Robson; 2. James Brown, 3. Liam Blockley, 4. Brad Hey, 5. Connor Hughes; 6. Jordan Howden, 7. Tom Holmes; 8. Connor Wick, 9. Brandon Moore, 10. Will Maher, 11. Brad Foster, 12. Brad Day, 13. Scott Ellerington. Subs: 14. Brandon Westerman, 15. Naz Currie-Clark, 16. Danny Sowerby, 17. Matty Burman.
The game kicks off at 2.30pm at Ovenden Park and he has named a strong squad for the trip.It is:Aaron Smith, Brad Billsborough, Calvin Wellington, Chris Follin, Dave Eccleston, Jack Ashworth, Jake Spedding, Jonah Cunningham, Jordan Olmez, Jorge Lewtas, Josh Eaves, Kevin Brown, Liam Cooper, Matty Costello, Matty Lees, Mike Weldon, Ricky Bailey, Rob Fairclough, Tommy Lee.Admission is priced £5 Adults and £2 Juniors.There is no charge for parking.
Steve Leonard the Foundations Director stated:“ This is a massive statement from the club and also shows our 100% backing of the RFL’s Safeguarding team and the Listening Club initiative”“ We are making everyone aware that they have a voice within our club. We will listen to what they say and act upon anything that we believe can improve what we do to ensure everyone’s experience of St Helens RFC is as positive as it can be”“We run mental health programmes in our schools where we promote the need for people to speak out and tell someone. So it is very important that we have in place ourselves a clear avenue for our young players to speak out and feel unrestricted in doing so”“Our Club Chaplain Paul Johnson runs the programme alongside Player Welfare officer Neil Kilshaw and going off last season’s successes they have done a wonderful job. We have committed again to running the programme in the 2019 season and will be promoting the initiative to all our Community Clubs in the area to take part. We for sure have found it invaluable and can proudly say we are a club that listens.”