Peer fails in early bid to improve Right to Control


The disabled peer and activist Baroness [Jane] Campbell has failed in two initial attempts to strengthen a crucial part of the government’s welfare reform bill.
Lady Campbell had put down two amendments relating to the bill’s Right to Control, which will give disabled people in England control over several different funding sources they receive from the state.
Lady Campbell, who chairs the government’s Right to Control working group, wanted the bill to make it clear that community care services were one of the different funding streams that would be included in a personal budget, which the disabled person would then be able to use as they wished.
She told fellow peers that the bill includes “a dazzling array” of funding streams in areas such as further and higher education, employment, and enabling independent living, but excluded “one of the most significant”.
She added: “If the right to control is to be effective in freeing disabled people from dependency and bureaucracy, it must be clear from the start that this fundamental, important public support service is included.”
And she said disabled people who looked at the bill saw “a gigantic hole at its heart”.
The amendment was supported by several other peers, including her fellow disabled peer, Baroness Wilkins, and had previously been backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and RADAR.
But Lord McKenzie, the work and pensions minister, said existing legislation already allowed community care services to be taken as direct payments, although he said the government would evaluate how well this linked in with Right to Control in the pilot projects.
Lady Campbell withdrew her amendment, but said she would “probably” return to it during the bill’s report stage.
Her second amendment would have given disabled people the “clear and automatic right” to be told the level of resources they were entitled to under Right to Control; to be “equal partners” in assessment and support planning; and have “real control” over how resources were used.
Although Lord McKenzie said he could not back the amendment, he said the government would continue to discuss ways to improve the wording of that part of the bill.
Lady Campbell withdrew her amendment but said she would return to the issue at the bill’s report stage.
The bill later completed its committee stage in the Lords, and now passes to the report stage, for which a date has yet to be set.
A consultation on Right to Control ends on 30 September. For more information, visit or call 020 7449 5093.
3 July 2009