Pfft! · @bendyleopard

3rd Feb 2015 from TwitLonger

Off the top of my head some quick problems with this data sharing

A) Couples, families, living arrangements where there is financial abuse (this kind of abuse often comes along with other forms of abuse, abuse is rarely confined to just one 'type')
Often when couples claim benefits despite it being a joint claim the money goes to one partner- their bank account, post office account etc. This can mean that the other partner has no access to money & no info about income or outgoings. Who will assure that people are kept safe when this potential bombshell of info hits a home? "We owe water rates? But you told me you'd paid that!"..."You get DLA? You never told me!"..."Well if we get X amount why can't I have pocket money?"...In nice cuddly IDS world maybe this doesn't happen. In the real world this happens more than you'd know. This is potentially dangerous.

B) What guidelines are in place re mental health? There is a huge stigma surrounding mental illness. HAs may say that this idea is good - identify tenants with MH probs & make sure they are supported into a payment schedule/system that works for them. Not much use when dealing with any officialdom sends people into a spiral of anxiety though is it? What about the awful stigma surrounding things like schizophrenia, or personality disorders? Does someone who just deals with rent payments really need to know you have PTSD and why? Sometimes people don't even disclose this stuff to family or friends and now some stranger at your Landlord's office knows *everything*?

C) Vulnerability. The most vulnerable person is the person you don't know about. The person most in danger is the one *not* on your radar. Earlier people told me they'd declared themselves vulnerable in order to access support. That's a brave thing to do and I hope it means they can get the help they need. But does the DWP honestly think someone in a violent (for eg) relationship will just pipe up (in front of their partner?) "Oh by the way I'm dead vulnerable me, any chance of a bit of extra help please, it's just I get beaten, cheers!"
I know there are already systems in place to identify vulnerable people across many agencies, but let's face it, they make mistakes and it costs money. Money the gov prefers to stuff in their pals pockets. Situations where there are changes in income, housing, gov agency involvement are the most dangerous. They can turn into a flashpoint when suddenly there's extra pressure or interference. What safeguards are in place? Who at the HA has responsibility for this? Who's been trained to deal with potentially explosive situations? Who's been trained in what signs to look out for? Who picks up the pieces when it all goes pear shaped?

There's loads more, this is just waffle off the top of my head while I drink a coffee. Obviously I'm no writer (or researcher) but this needs picking apart. Hope someone with better skills than me can pull it all together so we can see where we're at.

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