14 August 2007
Sarah Roy was dismissed from her job as a welfare rights worker after posting information about the transfer of management of her team to the housing benefit section of Nottingham City Council.
Rightsnet, the site for welfare rights workers, removed the thread following threats of legal action from Nottingham City Council. Benefits and Work received similar threats but chose to publish anyway.
On the day following the our story, the Nottingham Evening post ran a full page spread on the issue. On the following Monday the paper ran a further story examining the fact that whilst Rightsnet and Benefits and Work had been threatened with legal action, the Evening Post, which has its own legal team, received no such threats.
Following the press coverage, Sarah Roy also posted an update on the situation on Rightsnet. However, this was once again removed by staff there, this time on the grounds that it was not the purpose of the site to discuss individual employment issues. A new thread has now begun dealing with more general issues of impartiality of welfare rights services.
You can read the Rightsnet thread here.
Following publication of our newsletter, Benefits and Work received a further communication from Nottingham City Council's Litigation division formally requesting a free copy of our article. Given that we charge individual claimants and voluntary sector organisations for access to the site, Benefits and Work decided not to respond to the request for a freebie from an agency seemingly intent on silencing us. We are awaiting further communications from the City council.