Charities told: you must obey Esther McVey

Esther mcvey iain duncan smith crop  wide

Astonishing clause instructs charities not to attack McVey or the DWP

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20th April 2018 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

Charities have been warned they must respect the “standing and reputation” of a Tory minister – or else.

Groups working to deliver the Westminster government’s new Work and Health Programme have been told they must not be critical of work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.

A clause in the contract for delivering the programme stipulates signed-up charities must “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” to McVey and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Turning Point, the RNIB, the Royal Association for Deaf People, and the Shaw Trust are among charities that have agreed to act as providers of services under the programme – which focuses on supporting disabled people and other disadvantaged groups into work in England and Wales. It does not operate in Scotland.

The existence of the extraordinary clause was revealed through a freedom of information request by campaigning website the Disability News Service. You can read its report on it in full here.

DNS says the clause states that the contractor “shall pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of DWP and ensure it does nothing to bring it “into disrepute, damages the reputation of the Contracting Body or harms the confidence of the public in the Contracting Body”.

The contract defines the “Contracting Body” as the work and pensions secretary – foodbank fan Esther McVey, who was this week heckled in the Scottish Parliament as she made a defence of Universal Credit and the hated rape clause.

All the disability charities contacted by DNS insist that the clause – which DWP has been using since 2015 – will have no impact on their willingness to criticise McVey or the department.

Shaw Trust said the “publicity, media and official enquiries” clause had been present “in previous DWP contracts” and “does not and has not impinged on our independence as a charity”.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “The department did not introduce this clause specifically for the Work and Health Programme contract.

“It has been used in DWP employment category contracts since 2015.

“The contract is the framework which governs the relationship with DWP and its contractors so that both parties understand how to interact with each other.

“The clause is intended to protect the best interests of both the department and the stakeholders we work with, and it does not stop individuals working for any of our contractors from acting as whistle-blowers under the provisions of the Public Interest “Disclosure Act 1998, nor does it prevent contractors from raising any concerns directly with the department.”

27th April 2018 by RealFreedom

Why did SCVO sign a contract with the DWP in 2006 containing the exact same clause? If you are a proper journalist perhaps you could investigate and do a story on that?