[access-uk] Access to support

   Hi all.

I'll try and not make this too lengthy a message but I really need help from you guys!

On 28 January I was interviewed by a Scottish Local Authority for the post of Community Care Social Worker. Some on the list wished me all the best.

The same day, I was offered the post and subsequently, received a contract within a few days for the post of Community Care Social Worker.

My problems started when my prospective line manager turned out to be more interested in me undertaking a different job than that interviewed for and that contracted to do.

Since January, I have had numerous meetings with Access to work, an agency who will provide support for my Personal Assistant, and meetings with my new employer..

Unfortunately, Access to work could not commence application until I had a start date from my new employer, and unfortunately, my new employer could not provide a start date until my Disclosure Scotland had come through. In addition, my Guide Dog, Nairn, became lame during this time. However, although these things take time, I do feel that my employer has been kicking the ball into the long grass, so to speak and that they are no longer interested in employing me for the job I am contracted to do.

Since January, I have had three start dates and all have been rolled back for reasons such as you cannot start without your guide dog, you cannot start without your personal assistance and you cannot start because your I.to equipment has not yet been set up.

Some may recall that my Health and Safety Assessment recommended that I be located on the ground floor as a blind person may place able bodied people at risk, in the stairwell, during a fire emergency. As a consequence, the Whole Community Care Team was move from the first to the ground floor.

My prospective line manager had suggested that rather than undertake the job I was interviewed for, the job I was offered and the job I was contracted to undertake, that I undertake a Duty Social Workers post. As I was only awarded 24 hours a week funding for my Personal Assistant, I felt that I could not possibly undertake this job without a full-time Personal Assistant.

I declined the offer a month or so ago and subsequently fell out with my line manager. Since then, I've been fighting my corner. The discrimination I am experiencing is killing me and I don't have the knowledge or skill to hold them back. This is really getting me down folks.

On Wednesday of this week, I became very upset and walked out during a meeting. I was so thrust that knowone understood my needs and no one was interested in my views.

I telephoned Access to Work this morning who advised that they were only concerned with assessing my needs and any difficulties I was having with my new employer was nothing to do with them.

I telephoned my employer and spoke to the Area manager who advised that I presented as very aggressive during my interview and that caused him concern as I would be expected to work with service users.

I explained that I walked out because I was very upset adding that I was trying to be assertive not aggressive but I was indeed very upset. And that I was attempting to challenge negative attitudes regarding blind peoples capacity to hold down a job.

I now feel that I cannot possibly work with a line manager who has actively discriminated against me for four months and I suspect that the letter which is coming to me is withdrawing my offer of a job. However, I do have a contract. of employment.

My wife is a nurse and on low income and I am on Income Support. I really need help but cannot assess legal Aid as a consequence of my wife's income. and I really feel that I need to hammer through to this authority that they cannot treat disabled people like this. I'd like to sue the Local Authority through the DDA but don't have the funds or the knowledge to do this. I'm considering writing to Action for Blind People to see if they could help but I thought I'd sound the list out first.

I have had 13 interviews over the last four years for a job and I'm a qualified social worker. I only happen to be blind. All of the interviews, apart from my ;last one in January, proved negative. The newspapers say that Local Authorities are crying out for qualified social workers so why am I not working. I firmly believe that it is because I am a blind person. DO YOU KNOW OF ANY SOCIAL WORKER WHO HAS HAD 13 INTERVIEWS AND IS STILL UNEMPLOYED.. I bet you don't.

My question at last folks, is what do I do now?

I'm really losing it folks and feeling very depressed, alone and unsupported.

Any advice would be very appreciated as I'm at my wits end.

Andy.





















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