Commission on Social Security UK

Led by Experts by Experience





Latest News!!!!

Many thanks to all of you who submitted evidence and thoughts as part of our CALL FOR SOLUTIONS. With help from our Secretariat the Commissioners will be collating and analysing the 800+ submissions made through various forms including this website, seminars and legislative theatre. WATCH THIS SPACE! The next phase will be to decide on the common trends and thoughts that came from the Call for Solutions.

Who are WE?

The social security (welfare benefits) system is failing.

But there is little agreement on how the system can be improved.

The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience is a project set up to find out how the government could make the welfare benefits system better.

The The Co-chairs of the Commission are

Ellen Clifford, from Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts;

Nick Phillips, from London Unemployed Strategies.

COMMISSIONER . Video with audio.

The Commissioners are in charge of the work done by the secretariat who support the project. These are: Michael Orton (Secretary – University of Warwick), Kate Summers (Research Analyst – London School of Economics), Austin Taylor-Laybourn (Observer – Trust for London), Rosa Morris (Independent Researcher on Disability Benefits.


Poems for the Commission – from the Survivors’ Poetry Workshop at Disability Action in Islington on Saturday 6 July 2019. Plus ‘Written Evidence’ by Debbie McNamara, which was written for the launch of the White Paper project at Trust for London offices.

DELIBERATE by Rona Topaz

Anyone would think this was deliberate

A policy of organised eugenics

A Social Darwinist mentality

A cleansing – economically aesthetic

Such as sanctions for an attendance at a funeral

Three months of zero pounds and zero pence

Collusion from the BMA and charities

Few politicians come to our defence

How many of us knowingly condoning

The systematic killing of the poor?

Official deaths : 130,000

But as one might suspect, it’s probably more?

And what might be its ultimate achievement?

Are such decisions borne from greed or hate?

It certainly has not saved any money

To brutally suppress the welfare state!

A different system – no conditionality

For people who are vulnerable or disabled,

A nurturing empowering plan of action,

A system free of stigmatising labels,

A decent type of payment one can live on,

With help for some job seekers right beside,

And nurturing for end of life included,

Right now they ask : ‘why have you not yet died?’

Yes, anyone would know this was deliberate,

The cruelty and inhumanity,

There’s a myriad of changes to consider,

To change the Darwinist mentality.

Sad Reflectionby Dave Russell

I count myself so lucky :

Around me is a morass of

crumbling structures,

Rotting fabrics.

I think of all those I know,


Faced with blank walls of non-communication,

Vacant ignorance, walls of hostility

Forced to desperation,


To sink ever deeper

Into the ditches of

stranglehold interest

All those who suffer less must offer bridges,

May the islands of safety expand

To embrace us all.

Haiku by Andrew Rea

Dignity system

Rescuing those less able

Rewarding hard work

Footnotes –

System should maintain the dignity of all.

Applies to anyone, on all forms of benefit in need.

But those who work must be rewarded for their efforts, especially including those trying to get back into some degree of work. So system should allow you to be better off the more you work and not create a poverty trap.


I’m pulling my damn hair out here

We’re worlds apart

You just don’t speaka my language!

Yet it’s your court and jester

Look mate, I was living on a commune

When my trauma took place

Before that I was on the dole

at 18, A levels and everything

The ‘acute psychogenic psychosis’ box I was put in

meant a hospital bed in Letterkenny

and ‘sleeping treatment’

Where do I say that on your bally form?

My medical records say ‘schizophrenia’

‘manic depressive psychosis’

‘schizo-affective disorder’

That all meant every drug from A – Z

Where do I fill in about the side effects?

Reduced motivation

Apathy, passivity, weight gain, constant craving

Plus the post-traumatic propensity to freak out under stress

That no tablets will settle?

Rachel says : ‘If they’re sending all the loonies out to work

Let ‘em join the British Army

Surely the nutters are cannon fodder?’

I say : YES! I am Tank Girl!

Laura Croft, Tombraider

Train me to be a deadly assassin

And next time I’m paranoid

It’ll be YOU I’m after

Mr Atos Man

Looking so clever on your side of the desk

No talking required

Thankyou – yes to job-focused training

Down the shooting gallery

I’ll put in 40 hours a week

No sweat

Fair’s fair

If I’m going to freak out in a job

Let it be in the British Army

I’ll be proud to wear my uniform

To the nuthouse

And shine my boots

With my own spit and government sponsored polish.

Get in Touch

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Send Us a Message

Join the Conversation


  1. I have no idea HOW, but change must come to a system that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be unfit for purpose. A society is judged by its treatment of the most vulnerable and we therefore stand condemned. The government is attempting to sweep the UN’s condemnation under the rug. We must do better. No one should be reduced to despair and suicide by the system supposed to be rendering aid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a Housing Officer working with many vulnerable people. 1. Sometimes people get their benefits stopped with no warning, this may be because they have not provided requested information such as wage slips for PT work (recent example) even though deadline was not clearly explained to them or put in writing. This is unacceptable leaving people with no money and all the added stress that this entails. Contact should be made with client first or ask them if they have a support worker or someone that you could contact. 2. I was told that no document proofs could be emailed so my tenant had to physically go to the DWP office just for scanning documents when I could have done this for him and sent them to you. Travelling is not easy for some people and requires expense for bus fares. 3. make it easier to claim. There are still many vulnerable people that cannot use computers or access websites for various reasons. Make an appointment system so these people can book and appointment to come in and make their claim (claim to be taken from date of phone call)

    Liked by 1 person

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