Monthly Archives: May 2013

All work and no play is damaging UK family life

ADVO Group interviews Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind


Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They help individuals to understand their condition and the choices available to them – through their Infoline, their Legal Advice Service and their award-winning publications and website, certified by the Information Standard. Their network of more than 160 local Minds offer specialised support and care based on local need. Paul Farmer is the Chief Executive of Mind, responsible for leading the strategic and operational direction of the charity. He joined in May 2006 having previously worked for nine years as the Director of Public Affairs at Rethink where he was responsible for the Rethink National Advice Service, campaigns and communications, fundraising and marketing, events, research and user and carer involvement departments. Prior to this, Paul worked as Communications Manager for the Samaritans. Paul has co-authored acclaimed publications on reducing stigma and discrimination and is also a trustee for the Directory of Social Change, a campaigning voluntary organisation that provides the sector with training and publications. Between 2001 and 2006, Paul was Chairman of the Mental Health Alliance, which brings together all the major mental health charities and voluntary organisations to campaign for a better Mental Health Act. Paul was named in the Guardian’s ‘The influence 100’ as one of the top agenda setters for his outstanding work in the mental health field and has been shortlisted for this year’s Third Sector Awards in the ‘Most Admired Charity Chief Executive of the Year’ category. In the latest in ADVO Group’s exclusive interview series we caught up with Paul to discuss mental health in the workplace through the charity’s ongoing ‘Taking Care of Business’ campaign, tips for dealing with stress and much more.

Disability benefit assessments 'unfair', says ex-worker

Disability benefit assessments ‘unfair’, says ex-worker

 The fit to work tests were introduced in 2010 and have proved controversialA doctor who worked for the private company which assesses people for disability benefits says its methods are “unfair”.

Greg Wood, a former Royal Navy doctor, resigned from Atos earlier this month, after working as an assessor for two-and-a-half years.

He told the BBC the system was “skewed against the claimant”.

But Atos Healthcare says it submits “clinically justified reports” and completely rejects Dr Wood’s claims.

Atos, which has been criticised in the past by disability campaigners and MPs, carries out work capability assessments (WCAs) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Web guru warns of digital divide

Web guru warns of digital divide


By Simon O’Hare

Internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox has issued a stark warning about the dangers of a ‘two-tier society’ based on web access in her first speech at the House of Lords.

There are 16 million people who lack basic digital skills and seven million who have never been online, said Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, who became a peer in March.

“I see usage of and access to the internet as a basic right that all citizens should be able to enjoy,” she said.

The founder and UK Digital Champion said there needs to be a focus on developing skills and internet infrastructure to ensure sections of society are not left behind.