Crippen and the continuing story of how the EHRC loses even more credibility

You may recall me having suggested that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) wasn’t fit for purpose and that they had lost all credibility with disabled people by rubber stamping any government disability related issue.

Well, they’ve sunk further down in our estimation having failed to consult its own board members and disabled advisers before deciding to delay and enquiry into the government’s work capability assessment and its links with the deaths of benefit claimants.

The decision by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was taken only by the senior staff members on its executive group, with no attempt to consult the watchdog’s chair, its other commissioners or its disability advisory committee (DAC). The only member of the EHRC board involved in the decision was its chief executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, papers released to Disability News Service (DNS) under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.

The EHRC papers confirm that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) inquiry has now been “deprioritised” and that the commission accepts that this decision could have a “detrimental impact on stakeholder relationships”.

One of the EHRC papers released to DNS reveals that among the principles the commission used to prioritise its work through the pandemic was whether it was “critical to our international standing or reputation”.

The papers also reveal that the postponed inquiry was to look specifically at “DWP work capability assessments decision making”, a focus of attention for disabled activists over the last decade and right at the centre of links between DWP’s actions and the avoidable deaths of benefit claimants.

You can read more about this in Disability News Service in an article written by disabled journalist and Editor John Pring.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

Rebecca Hilsenrath is sat at her desk with a name plate identifying her a being the Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  In a wastepaper bin alongside her desk is a piece of paper with the words ‘WCA deaths of claimants’ crossed out on it. She is holding a mobile phone into which she is saying: “Yes Minister, I think the term we can best use to describe what has happened to the DWP death enquiry is that it’s been deprioritised!”

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