Web Site Pulled

Manchester City Council have had a disability website pulled. A local campaign group have been engaged in a campaign to stop unannounced visits to the mentally ill in Manchester for nearly two years. Last year, after council stubbornness, we were forced to launch a website to disseminate publicity about the immoral visits - a practice NOT recommended by the government itself. Indeed, government best-practice guidance in the form of the Verification Framework (VF) explicitly states that local authorities should pre-notify home visits. Manchester City Council is one of the few local authorities that refuse to sign the VF.

Please support us by complaining to Manchester City Council directly. We believe it is the city solicitor, Susan Orrell who initiated the demand to AOL (the host server) to close down the site, which they subsequently did. Please write a complaint e-mail to her at Susan Orrell, City Solicitor (s.orrell@notes.manchester.gov.uk). Please also cc it to Council Leader Leese (r.leese@notes.manchester.gov.uk), Council Deputy Leader Pagel, Lead Member on Disability Issues (cllr.m.pagel@notes.manchester.gov.uk), Chief Executive Howard Bernstein (h.bernstein@notes.manchester.gov.uk), Corporate Director Richard Paver (r.paver@notes.manchester.gov.uk) and John Rosenbloom, Housing Benefit "Audit" Teamleader (j.rosenbloom@notes.manchester.gov.uk). Also, please cc it to AOL (UKBillA@aol.com) so that they are made aware that dropping sites that in no way breaches the law is scandalously and tantamount to political censorship and contravenes free speech, civil liberties and human rights. And, if you do not mind, cc to our campaign (mcrcouncil@aol.com) so that we know what response and impact we have collectively had.

Please note that we have been able to temporarily host the website on another server but how long will it be before they come for us there as well?! The new address is http://www.leftdirect.co.uk/mcrcouncil

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© Networking Newsletter (June/July 2002)