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Comments and Blogs



White stick or samurai sword?

White stick or samurai sword? What the Tasering of a blind man highlights A pattern of limited police understanding of disabled people raises bigger questions about disability stereotypes.

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Disabled people face a tidal wave of prejudice and discrimination

The Paralympic Games must not divert our eyes from the increasing oppression of disabled people.

Comment by Peter Beresford Click Here to read

The 'overclass' is the real threat to society

The rich elite shares many of the characteristics associated with the notional underclass and is tied-in with some of the most damaging developments in our society

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It's not just children who need social workers

Social workers have a duty to concentrate on children's needs – but parents would also benefit from having their own separate social work advocate, writes Peter Beresford

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Are personal budgets really the way ahead for social care?

Two key figures in social care have expressed doubt about the government's reliance on personal budgets as the way forward, writes Peter Beresford

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Harassing people on benefits degrades us all

The repugnant moral rhetoric about benefit claimants echoes Victorian prejudices about the 'undeserving poor', writes Peter Beresford

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What every social work student should know

Social work teacher Peter Beresford has five top tips for this year's intake.

Click here to find out

For 'service user inclusion' read 'service user protest'

For more than 20 years now, user involvement has been the mantra in social work and social care. Since the Children Act and the NHS and Community Care Act, we've grown accustomed to a whole new rhetoric of "consumer engagement", "public, patient involvement" and "customer voice".

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There's a deafening silence of service users in the social care funding consultation

Could it be that their views don't chime with the government's preferred way forward, says Peter Beresford

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‘Inclusion’ not ‘division’ is what social work is about

My name is June Sadd and I am a freelance practice educator but not a qualified social worker. I have worked with students for the last 16 years on-site and off-site.

I believe that students learn best from the experience and expertise of both qualified social worker practice educators and non social work qualified practice educators rather than  from qualified social workers alone. I think the mix that this brings is important.

Click Here to read more

European mental health: Big problem and insights for new solutions

A fearsome new story has hit the headlines. 'More than a third of the population of Europe suffer from some kind of mental health problem each year'. That's estimated to be 164 million people. It's been put down to changing social patterns and the inadequacy of treatment. It's led to calls for more research and more mental health funding.But as a major international conference in Berlin highlighted last week, more of the same is likely to be as unhelpful as what we already have and equally unlikely to have any fundamental impact in improving people's lives and social wellbeing.

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The riots and other community conflicts

Last week's Clapham Junction riots weren't the first time that Battersea made national news this year. On April 29th there was a massive widely reported Royal Wedding street party in Battersea High Street. Both occasions, however, say something about the fractured nature of the local community and broader society, as well as the part that politics have played in the process.

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User-led service providers need more support from the Government if its commitment to ‘independent living’ for disabled people is to be achieved

Many ‘vulnerable groups’ will be especially hard hit by public service budget cuts, none more so than disabled people. So an inquiry by the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights into the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living is timely.

Click here to read the blog

From 'no such thing as society' to 'big society'. Spot the difference

As the government unveils its blueprint for public services reform, Peter Beresford compares David Cameron's approach with Margaret Thatcher's

Click Here to read his blog

The Commission on Funding of Care and Support has presented its findings to the Government in its report Fairer Care Funding, published on 4th July 2011.

To read the report in various formats Click Here

To read two comments from the chair of Shaping Our Lives follow the links below:

Does the Dilnot report go far enough?

The biggest question mark over the commission is how seriously the government will take it, says Peter Beresford

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Question marks surround Dilnot commission proposals

Much has happened in social care since the Dilnot commission on its future funding, which reports today, was established. We have had the scandals of Southern Cross and Winterbourne View Hospital, damning Equalities and Human Rights Commission findings on domiciliary care and a major government U-turn on NHS reform. The visibility of social care and attitudes and circumstances surrounding it have all changed dramatically. There's a renewed sense of urgency to the feeling that something serious must be done.

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Find out what's going on ...advertise your service users newsletters can find it all on the SOLNET notice board.

Click Here to read the notice board

The Government is PHASING OUT the following benefits:

Incapacity Benefit - Income Support - Severe Disablement Allowance

What happens if you receive one of these benefits?

There will be a RE-ASSESSMENT. The re-assessment is about you giving information to the DWP who will make a decision on your capacity to work and therefore which benefits you are entitled to.

COIN (Community Options
Involvment Network) and Mental Health Resistance Network).
have produced an important guide to the changes.

CLICK HERE to read the guide

Royal Weddings and Riots

The media have been desperately puffing William and Kate's wedding but many people seem too worried about their own immediate insecurity to show much real interest. We have seen people's jobs and lives arbitrarily undermined with the application of the most draconian cuts in public spending, while bankers and other aspiring members of the  super rich are encouraged to grow richer and widen inequalities.

Click here to read more

NHS reforms could tackle the racial inequalities in mental health services

This week's final Count Me In census is the last report to record the inpatient experience of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in the NHS and the private sector, and on community treatment orders.

CLICK HERE to read more

Disabled people and service users will be heard.

It seems that the only way that disabled people can prove they are human to this government is to have a job. No matter that the job market currently discriminates and excludes. No matter that not everyone can contribute through paid work even though they can contribute in other ways. No matter that jobs are being lost and unemployment is rising each day.

Click here to read more on the Community Care blog by Peter Beresford

date added 18/1/11

Our newsletter

Shaping Our Lives newsletter ISSUE 18 Winter 2010



'Tis the season to be giving...' And cutting away unnecessary safety nets

Why wait for winter to feel the chill, when you can shut the poor out in the cold all year round, asks Peter Beresford

Click here to read more on the Guardian blog by Peter Beresford

date added 14/12/10

Dispatches from the Frontline

So now we know. The ideologically driven cuts announced by the millionaire Chancellor George Osborne on the 20 October represent the biggest cuts in public spending since the Second World War.

From Cradle to Grave - the cuts affect us all

Click here to read more from the Newsletter of the Social Work Action Network

date added 2/11/2010





SOLNET - have a look at the networking website of Shaping Our Lives at


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