We live in a world where Sainsbury’s will share CCTV footage of your shopping trip with social security decision makers and mobile phone usage and spending patterns are routinely monitored by the Home Office. The growing use of digital technologies within the social security system in Northern Ireland have been advanced with little or no oversight or scrutiny by the body politic, by oversight bodies or by the media. PPR is pleased therefore that the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Professor Philip Alston decided to call for evidence on the impact on human rights of the introduction of digital technologies into social protection systems. Our submission covers the use of digital technologies to investigate 'fraud and error', the reliance of government on private companies to design, build and operate digital technologies in social security, lessons from the operation of the immigration system and the differential impacts of these technologies on rural communities and on people living in poverty. It makes a series of recommendations including the development of a set of Guiding Principles by the UN and the banning of private companies from social security assessments.
We are Right to Work; Right to Welfare - a group of sick, disabled, and unemployed people campaigning for simple, but potentially life changing, changes in how public money is spent, jobs are created and social security is administered. In October 2018 we launched our report ‘Conscious Cruelty: Social Security, the Economy and Human Rights’. We have been outside social security offices and assessment centres for years – listening to people tell their stories – people who rely on tiny amounts of social security money to survive. They are the long term unemployed, they are the sick, the disabled, the carers and the distraught youth forced on to meaningless schemes like a hamster on a wheel with little prospect of change for the better. This is the story of how the decision makers in our society respond when people reach out and ask for help.
PPR's evidence on the state of economic and social rights to the UN Rapporteur Philip Alston in advance of his office's investigation into extreme poverty in the UK.