Saturday, October 20, 2018

Has Newham Council's Active Newham blocked another of Declan's long-term volunteer applications despite the involvement of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman? The Ombudsman's Case ID is 18011204.

This is a splendid posting which in its moderate and modest tone should encourage many others to join you!!
-Don Collins, President of ISAF, an NGO dedicated to helping women

Our Church and State website has no less than 40 Nobel Prize winners on it; for details, see this blog's sidebar under "Church and State" (updated today).

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms formulates what is the core of free speech. "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression." In an important interpretation of this article, the European Court of Human Rights in Handyside v. UK (1976) indicated that this "freedom of expression" should be construed as follows. It "is applicable not only to 'information' or 'ideas' that are favourably received, or regarded as inoffensive, or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population." Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no "democratic society" (see Cliteur, 2010).

"UPDATE 20 October (10.36am): Active Newham manages, among other things, Newham Council's volunteering programmes. Declan is currently waiting for Active Newham to acknowledge receipt of an application he made last Wednesday to volunteer on Saturday mornings at our local athletics club. His subsequent phone calls (2) to Active Newham yielded no results. Declan taught PE in one of Ireland's top schools (Glenstal Abbey) and recently acquired a UK Athletics coaching licence. He is also Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) cleared to work with children and adults."

From My Pick:

19 October 2018: Newham Council: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman tells Declan to write to the CEO of the Council a third time and then wait 12 weeks to get back to them if the Council keeps ignoring his complaint of unfair treatment (WITH UPDATE 20/10/2018)

Re: Newham Council (Active Newham)

Paragraph 37 of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

37. St. Mungo's has not been the only stumbling block for the Applicant and his wife during the last two-year period of their tenancy. They are convinced that if they did not have the status of clients of the Mayor of London's Rough Sleepers Initiative programme and housing association accommodation, they would have long been given notice to vacate. These are some examples (by no means exhaustive) that shed light on the high levels of persecution and opposition they have experienced during this period of their tenancy:

(i) After receiving a newsletter from Active Newham that sought volunteer befrienders for older or isolated residents in the community, the Applicant applied on 3 June 2016 to become a volunteer befriender. On 20 July 2016, following the intervention of his local councillor, he met with three senior officials from Newham Council. It is a matter of written record that he was told at this meeting that he would be informed of the date of the next befriending training session, however this has never happened. The Applicant has made several complaints of discrimination against Newham Council on the matter. All have fallen on deaf ears, even though he has recommendations for care work, one of which is written by a retired American physician, then based in London, who received his MD from Harvard Medical School (see Annex 18, p. 46).

(ii) Newham Council has twice suspended the Applicant's Housing Benefit following false notifications from the Department for Work and Pensions that he and his wife had vacated. The first notification, in October 2016, triggered a full-blown investigation by Newham Benefits Service. The Applicant produced a paginated bundle of 57 pages and additional documents and was interrogated for over an hour and a half by a senior council tax and benefits officer before the benefit was de-suspended. The second notification took effect the week before the Applicant's court hearing against St. Mungo's on 20 February 2017, and the benefit was only de-suspended the day after the hearing. The Applicant hasn't even been able to secure his and his wife's address from misconduct by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff, despite several high-level complaints related in part to an unauthorised update to their address by HMRC on 11 July 2017.

(iii) Facebook has waged a concerted campaign against the Applicant and his wife's Church and State website, which escalated in March 2018 with four blocks against the site for a total of 29 out of 31 days (see para. 40 below). There have also been 1,180 blocks on access to Church and State since 26 July 2016 due to internal error notifications that render the site inaccessible for generally one or two minutes (see para. 39 below) – a leading web hosting company, SiteGround, is paid $1,000 per year to host the site and manage the server. And the Applicant and his wife's home internet access – for which the Applicant pays Britain's leading telecommunications company, British Telecom, £850 per year – has been cut 184 times since 26 May 2017 (see para. 41 below). Despite all of this, in November 2017 the Church and State website topped more than 3 million hits over the previous eleven months.