• Right to Work : Right to Welfare
  • Right to Work : Right to Welfare
  • Sanctions Halloween Action
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. The lack of transparency around these developments goes hand in hand with a lack of accountability, with the general public, civil society organisations as well as elected representatives on the whole being largely unaware of the increasing reach of digital technology within the social security system. Yet, as also noted, these developments are having profound impacts on people’s enjoyment not only of their civil and political rights but also their economic and social rights. The use of covert surveillance by the state during the conflict in Northern Ireland, the full extent of which still remains largely unknown, was and continues to be hugely controversial. Entire civilian populations were deemed as ‘suspect communities’ and de facto criminalised. State agents committed serious crimes, including killings of civilians with impunity. Collusion with paramilitaries by state agents was widespread . The legacy of this within those working class communities most impacted, including lack of trust and confidence in the state apparatus, continues into the present day. Human rights activists are now witnessing evidence of wholesale mission creep, starting with the state’s counter-insurgency project, through its immigration system and into its social protection system. PPR welcomed the decision by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty to investigate the impact of the introduction of digital technologies into social protection systems on human rights. In our submission to the Special Rapporteur we cover the following issues - Investigation of fraud and error -Private sector involvement in designing, building and operating digital technology in the social security system - Lessons from the operation of the immigration system -Impacts on young people, people living in poverty, women and rural communities
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.