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A new home for Ouch! at BBC News

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Giles Wilson Giles Wilson | 12:42 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The team which has for a number of years produced the BBC's disability affairs website Ouch! has this week become part of BBC News. This follows changes to BBC Learning, which has until now been its home department.

Ouch! website screengrab


Much of the Ouch! site will continue, including its blog and its talkshow podcast, and our intention is for the team's coverage of disability issues to reach a much wider audience through stories and features appearing on the BBC News site. Ouch's Damon Rose has explained here, however, why its messageboard will be closing.

BBC News already has a strong track record of covering disability issues, including the 'Access All Areas' coverage last year, and regular news stories on the site. We hope to continue to bring diverse disability stories and context to a broader audience while also maintaining a conversation with the disability community.

Over the coming weeks I will return here to highlight some of the new features the BBC News audience will be reading, thanks to our new colleagues.

Giles Wilson is the features editor of the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    What is the new web address?

  • Comment number 2.












  • Comment number 3.

    'Over the coming weeks I will return here to highlight ...

    On current form, can't... but probably will have to.. wait.

  • Comment number 4.

    Giles do you mean;
    "bring diverse disability stories and context to a broader audience while also maintaining a conversation with the disability community", albeit a one sided conversation, we can talk as much as we like - but you will be limited to responses of 400 Key Strokes!

    Mustn't allow the great unwashed to join in - might end up as an "off message" debate.

  • Comment number 5.


    I do not care if you ignore my or any other comment(s) or any other criticism of the changes you are currently making to make commenting on the the beeb so much more difficult.


    Please, please listen to the concerns that are being raised in reply to Damon Roses piece.

    Words like 'not feeling safe' on another social networking site, source of information, anonymity, help from other posters, makes it sound like the message-board is useful if not essential part of its (OUCH's) users life.

    Some things in life are not any better for being changed.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    BBC turning the thumb screws on some of the most vulnerable in society. To delete the ouch message board is wrong, very wrong. It is a safe haven, a friend, and vital understanding in a world of anti-disability sharks.
    Shame on the BBC

  • Comment number 8.

    As the BBC are subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act changes of this nature must follow a consultation process with the disability community and the publication of an Impact Assessment, neither of which appear to have taken place. If they have taken place, please provide a link to the Impact Assessment and details of the consultation process, together with an explanation as to how the consultation was conducted without anyone on the Ouch Messageboards being infomed. If the consultation process has not taken place, then I trust the proposed closure of the Ouch Messageboards will be immediately halted given it would be illegal to proceed with it under the circumstances.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    @8: You appear to be ignoring the fact that for the past year or more the BBC has been closing many of it's message boards, and the closure of the Ouch message boards merely fits in with this policy. I wouldn't be surprised if this act has no relevance to changes being made.

  • Comment number 11.

    Keith, the Ouch! board is *not* like other BBC boards. Many of its users, due to their particular disability, *cannot* use Facebook or Twitter, never mind the fact that neither could host the type of discussions that we see on the message board. Ouch! is felt to be a safe place to post as it is hosted by the BBC. No other websites can imitate it.

    I ask whoever made the final decision on the closure to really think about what they are doing and see the people behind the user-numbers. Ouch! is a lifeline for many who cannot get out of their homes to socialise - the support network and sense of community can never be replicated elsewhere. Please re-consider.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am absolutely horrified. I'm only getting out of the house once or twice a week and OUCH! is basically my social life. I don't meet many able-bodied people socially, let alone other people with disabilities and OUCH! is my community. Being hosted by the BBC and moderated means it's kept as a 'safe' space online where I can engaged with people from a variety of backgrounds and health issues. I can't be the only one this is true for - surely it's continuance can be argued purely as part of the BBC's public service obligations? The columnists and podcast are great but that's providing content AT people with disabilities, whereas the message board is participatory WITH people with disabilities. Surely it must be a cheaper alternative to professional content as well?

    For me the message board **IS** OUCH!, the rest of the content is a secondary bonus. It's not "moving" to News, it's being eviscerated.

  • Comment number 13.

    BBC You have truly hurt a lot of people who have found safety in the Ouch boards.
    I shall truly resent paying my licence fee this year, you still want that I assume?

    Hope you never have to find the support of other disabled people via the net as soon there will be no place for us to meet up.

  • Comment number 14.

    I have found trying to get in touch with the BBC Ouch department regarding national charity Disabled Motoring UK's Alps Challenge (you can follow it here if you're interested - and I have found it all but impossible, so I for one hope this move makes the department more accessible.

  • Comment number 15.


    At least the BBC can't be accused of selectively destroying the generic discussion hub for the disabled of the UK and of the world disabled community. . . .

    They have been totally even-handed,
    and destroyed the discussion hubs for EVERYBODY !!!


  • Comment number 16.

    The Blog announcement of the closure states:

    You regularly tell us that our current service doesn't always deliver the kind of interaction and relationships you want and, indeed, the BBC realises there are now many more effective ways to involve its audience.

    Does anyone have any details of reports made to the BBC or consultation or research by the BBC that can allow the BBC to make this claim?

  • Comment number 17.

    I believe that this quote from Scapegoat: Why Were Failing Disabled People Katharine Quarmby, needs to be considered by the BBC.

    "Page 200

    These five physical locations for violence - public transport, the streets, neighbourhood crime, crimes inside the home and institutions - are joined by an emerging virtual one: harassment and bullying on the Internet.

    When I was drawing up recommendations for 'getting away with murder', I talked to police officers and politicians about whether the law on incitement - particularly relating to inciting hatred using the Internet - should be broadened to include crimes against disabled people. At this time I was unable to find evidence that the Internet is being used routinely to mock, taunt, bully or harassed disabled children and adults or to incite others to similar acts or to physical violence.

    This isn't true any more. Three years on, there is increasing evidence that the Internet (and, to a lesser extent, television) is being used as a very modern freakshow where disabled people can be mocked, as well as being a place where disabled children are being bullied and disabled people harassed with virtual impunity. As in the past, when disabled men and women were exploited for the amusement of society, they are now being used as the unwilling stars of virtual reality shows, then transmitted to millions without any regulation. Disabled people who themselves use chat rooms, Facebook and other social networks are often targeted for the amusement of others.

    In November 2010 I came across a website, based in the US, on which anonymous users were encouraged to add to a so-called quote "torture thread" about disabled people. The Webmaster asked for "stories are you maltreated, bullied or tortured your retarded friends, classmates, children". Contributors came back with the counts of theft, assaults, putting faeces in milk for a schoolmate and throwing rocks at disabled people. Some contributors boasted of serially raping other classmates with learning difficulties. The police are now investigating this site, as well of another, which had encouraged attacks on deaf people.

    Scapegoat: Why Were Failing Disabled People Katharine Quarmby, Potrobello Books 2011"

    Ouch message boards have for some time been a haven and safe place fro disabled people to avoid the abuse and harassment that Politicians, Academics, Police and society in general have refused to acknowledge existing.

    The BBC have conspicuously failed to cover such matters by Programming, Investigative Journalism or Via programming that allows audience participation such as radio call in shows.

    There has been no consultation by the BBC concerning the views expressed that Ouch Message Board users would prefer to use Social networking sites, micro blogging sites such as twitter, and blogging in general - especially concerning the security risks and the risk of Harassment, Abuse, Hate Crime and being the Object of incitement to such illegal activities.

    The BBC's decision is out of step with the reality of disabled people, and would indicate that in failing to Consult Disabled People on this matter the BBC have made a gross error.

  • Comment number 18.

    The EHRC have published "a note for decision makers" on Public Sector Equality Duties and financial decisions - a note for decision makers:

    Concerning the closure of the Ouch Message Boards:

    Is the purpose of the policy change/decision clearly set out?

    The BBC Need to provide evidence of this.

    Have those affected by the policy/decision been involved?

    The BBC Need to provide substantive evidence to support any claim that people affected have been aware of the policy/decision and been allowed and where necessary empowered to express their opinions - upto and including challenging assumptions, presumptions and institutional bias and error.

    Have potential positive and negative impacts been identified?

    The BBC need to prove that they have rationally considered impact, both negative and positive, and where necessary show that such assessments have been free from assumptions, presumptions and institutional bias and error.

    Are there plans to alleviate any negative impact?

    It would appear that the references to Twitter, Social networking sites and Blogging have been assessed as the BBC's preferred option for "Alleviation Of Negative Impact". The BBC will have to show that using such alternate services does alleviate negative impact and that also there is no Negative impact to service users in changing to these services.

    Are there plans to monitor the actual impact of the proposal?

    The BBC will have to show that they have such a Monitoring process in place and that any monitoring tool or procedure is fit for purpose.

    What happens if you don’t EIA relevant decisions properly?

    The BBC will have to have this as part of a standard risk assessment, and consider negative impact to the BBC should they failed to meed EIA obligations.

  • Comment number 19.

    The OuchMB closure announcement states:

    "The messageboard will close on Wednesday 6 July. That gives us almost a month to help you find each other again. In the final week, we will see how this process has gone and help out if need be."

    This is highly discriminatory, and indicates that due to lack of consultation and understanding the BBC have made a most serious error.

    It is not just a matter of locating people via other Social Media. For some it will entail replacement of hardware, software and lengthy and costly actions to provide that same access.

    The announcement shows that the BBC have failed to make themselves aware of the impact of the intended action upon OuchMB users.

    The announcement also fails to consider the House Rules of OuchMB which prohibit individuals from publishing personal information, including hyper-links to social media sites that identify them or other ouch members.

    The announcement has clearly been written from the position of ignorance as to how OuchMB members use the service and are prohibited from specific activity as members.

    The BBC Guidance on what is seen as a suitable site for members to link to makes most interesting reading.

    The recommendations that Twitter be used and indicating that OuchMB members link to a personal twitter account would cause multiple breaches of these guidelines, including "Linking risks breaching defamation and/ or contempt of court".

    As Twitter members can be made unwitting parties to the dissemination of information linked to "Super Injunctions" exactly how do the BBC see the "month to help you find each other again" being of any value.

    References to social networking sites being used to continue communication also fall foul of multiple house rules including:

    *Page contains pornography and sexually explicit content
    *Page contains text & images likely to offend most people
    *Links to hate sites (on grounds of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation)
    *Links to depictions of gratuitous violence
    *Page condones or encourages unlawful acts
    *Linking breaches copyright law or encourages others to do so (eg:
    peer-to-peer music sites, illegal downloads of software and games, etc)
    *Linking risks breaching defamation and/ or contempt of court
    *Page describes how to hack or cause other technical disruption to online
    *Page describes how to conduct an unlawful act (e.g. bomb-making, fraud etc)
    *Links to sites requiring registration before any content can be viewed
    *Links to solely for-profit products and services (no editorial content)

    The BBC should consider their own reporting of One household name Social networking site as to security, it's use to carry out harassment and hate crime, illegal content and the incitement to criminal acts.

    How are OuchMB members supposed to link to that web venue ad not fall foul of the OuchMB house rules?

    Due to the way that specific Social media sites operate there is no Guarantee that any person placing a link to such a site will not cause the rules to be broken.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    I would also like to bring to your attention the following BBC news story 9 June 2011 Last updated at 11:41

    "Windsor woman warns over Facebook amputee fetishists

    A Windsor campaigner has warned of the dangers of social networking after being targeted by men who are attracted to amputee women.

    Charlotte Fielder, who was born missing a hand, has been awarded an MBE for her work helping people who are "limb deficient" with the charity Reach.

    After signing up to Facebook, she found her profile image had been copied and posted on a pornographic website.

    Her image was subjected to obscene comments by men attracted to amputees.

    The image used was one of Mrs Fielder fully-clothed.

    She said many women amputees she knew had been contacted by so-called "devotees".

    Mrs Fielder, 47, said she joined Facebook in 2008 and used it to keep in touch with people she helps.

    When speaking to a female athlete from the British Paralympic Team she discovered her image had been used for pornographic purposes. "

    Please explain how this reconciles with the claim:

    "You regularly tell us that our current service doesn't always deliver the kind of interaction and relationships you want..."

    I for one prefer cyber venues such as Ouch Message Boards where you are not subject to such misuse of Image and opened up to voyeurism, ridicule and predation, sexual or otherwise.

    Again I would refer you to my earlier post quoting the work of Katharine Quaramby and the ongoing research and evidence concerning uses of the internet that abuse disabled people and contribute to the negative stereotypes and attitudes that fuel abuse.

  • Comment number 22.

    BBC, this is the worst decision you have ever made.
    BBC OUCH alone is worth the licence fee,To Many it is a home, to many it is a safety net.and to myself it is a medium that says i am not alone.
    Disabled people are a minority, a vunerable minority, a misunderstood and embattled minority, and yes you The Auntie BBC, the one we grew up to love,The embodyment of fairness, is throwing the Disabled to the corporate wolves to be followed by a thumbs down.
    Have you any idea what will happen to disabled people if they post on Facebook?...You dont have a clue do you.

  • Comment number 23.

    You are not closing a messageboard, you're turning off a life support machine for those of us who use the OUCH boards. It is unlike anything else the BBC does - we talk about issues that matter to us, and we support each other in literal times of crisis - we laugh AND cry TOGETHER. The government declared war on Disabled people last year, and you're aiding and abetting them by endeavouring to silence our community's most effective mouthpiece and advice source art a time when we most need it. This is not integration, it's marginalisation. Being equal does not mean being the same. Using Facebook will not be the same. It will simply render us open to attack from the less savoury and most ignorant elements of society. We can talk openly, safely and honestly on Ouch - and in an environment where we understand each other.

  • Comment number 24.

    Further to the statement made by Damon Rose "You regularly tell us that our current service doesn't always deliver the kind of interaction and relationships you want... " I wish to bring the following to the attention of the BBC.

    I refer to the Ouch Opinion Article published 28th July 2009 - Dr Tom Shakespeare BA, MPhil and PhD in social sciences.

    The article is titled " Not just a pretty Facebook ".

    It outlines his personal experience of using facebook as a social networking site, and the content he saw concerning hos won disability: achondroplasia.

    "I've always known, and research my team conducted has proven, that people with restricted growth commonly experience staring, name calling and prejudice. But a quick scan of some of the groups on Facebook shows both how common, and how idiotic, this discrimination can be.

    There are more than 500 of these groups which include the word "dwarf" in their title, and a similar number called something like "midget". This includes, but is not limited to, groups like: "I kick midgets", "Dwarfs are for life not just pantomime", "Give blind people dwarfs instead of dogs" and, particularly close to home for me, "Let's ban dwarfs from South Shields beach in summer months". "

    "Clearly, nastiness like this has always happened, and many disabled people have heard the same or worse in their own lives. But Facebook and similar social networking sites provide a forum which bored idiots can fill with prejudice and filth. Perhaps some people are happy just to look the other way or ignore it, but it feels distressing to know this stuff is out there, and it encourages negative attitudes and quite possibly harassment and physical violence against disabled people. "

    "Above all, the existence of these attitudes and these groups makes me suspicious of people who ask to be my friend on Facebook. Most of the strangers who get in touch are no doubt Ouch! readers or people who know my academic work. But perhaps some of the people I approve are just voyeurs, eager to laugh at my picture and point me out to their mates when they return home drunk from the pub. I'd rather run that risk than reject everyone I don't know, but I put strangers on "limited access" settings as a precaution.

    Although the world has improved for disabled people in many ways, this dimension of Facebook is a sad reminder that old attitudes die hard. "

    It is with interest that the concerns expressed some 2 years ago have been again reported by the BBC in the news story "Windsor woman warns over Facebook amputee fetishists"

    Many disabled people have and do receive abuse of the types identified via social networking sites on a daily basis. Such abuse is intrusive, distressing and damaging. It prevents equal usage of such cyber venues in equality with others.

    The use of the internet to commit hate crime and disabalist motivated abuse has been under researched for some time. The reasons for this are many but the main issue is that Disabalist Hate Crime is not seen as a criminal act in it's self.

    The government sponsored web portal to report hate crime, " True Vision" says the following:

    "Illegal Hate Content
    Inciting Hatred

    In England and Wales it can be an offence to stir up hatred on the grounds of:

    Sexual Orientation.

    (There is no similar offence relating to disability or transgender)"

    If the content reported by Dr Shakespeare had been based upon Race, Religion or Sexuality it would have been criminal in nature. Because of inequality in Law disabled people can and often subjected to such activity in Social Networking, and no matter how offensive it is no offence has been committed.

    BBC Ouch is a primary location for people to avoid the conduct that the BBC has itself reported.

    The BBC May think that aberrant and abusive conduct based upon a person's disability is only an issue in Cyber Space. Some have believed that due to "Privilege" they are socially exempt from responsibility.

    I refer the BBC to the BBC News Coverage of the treatment of Paul Maynard MP, on the floor of The House Of Commons -

    "Trevor Phillips 'sickened' by Commons 'mockery' of MP

    Equalities chief Trevor Phillips has told the BBC he felt "physically sick" at reports that a Conservative MP with cerebral palsy was mocked by other MPs.

    Paul Maynard told the Times Labour MPs had pulled faces at him in the Commons, saying he felt they were "taking the mick out of my disability".".

    Some saw the incident as just the "Rough And Tumble" of politics and parliament. If grown men and women of supposed national standing see it appropriate to conduct themselves in this way, one has to wonder why they have not seen it appropriate to legislate against it, and even make it binding upon both the crown and parliament.

    I am glad to report that there have been no such similar incidents on the BBC Ouch message boards, though there has been strong legal and political debate, discussion of hate crime and all with the avoidance of the excesses and abuses that have been identified on Social Networking sites - and even in public office.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Explained why its messageboard is closing".

    Rubbish, just simply gave a specious excuse or pretext. We all know the reason, same as for the trivialisation of the HYS site etc.

    The BBC realises those with disabilities can have as penetrating analyses, and persuasive arguments as anyone else, and therefore any platform upon which these can be put forward in full is to be withdrawn.

  • Comment number 26.

    A shameful, discriminatory and unlawful decision that will cut disabled people off from support when they need it the most.

  • Comment number 27.

    There is yet further comment on this mater from Damon Rose.

    "Some of you have asked how we came to the conclusion to close the message board, and as I mentioned before, the BBC's plan to close a range of message boards shaped the new format of Ouch! now that it's moving to BBC News. We did consider the impact on users before making the final decision, though these types of editorial decisions are not subject to the public sector equality duty. "

    That is most interesting - as move of BBC Ouch from BBC Education to BBC News would require consultation and relevant Equality Impact Assessments.

    Also there is the BBC Public Value Test (PVT) which is required under the BBC Charter.

    "Purpose of the Public Value Test

    1.1. The Public Value Test (“PVT”) is a key component of the BBC’s system of
    governance which took effect with the Charter and Agreement on 1 January 2007.1
    The PVT must be applied before a decision is taken to make any significant change to
    the BBC's UK Public Services."

    Mr Rose has indicated that the decision to close the BBC Ouch Message Boards is an editorial decision.

    The claims that BBC News already cover disability issues fully is not true.

    If it was correct they may have noted and mentioned the last New Years Honours List in which persons were honoured for their contributions to the field of Disability Hate Crime.

    The BBC News may even have covered such matters as the publication of such interesting reports as "Disability hate crime: Getting Away With Murder" published jointly by SCOPE and UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) - August 2008.

    It makes most interesting reading and has been widely discussed by BBC On Line service users, but has not been mentioned in any blogs, articles or other output from BBC News.

    Interestingly it was news to disabled people and reported via the Ouch Message Boards

    It is odd how Disability related news on a national level hits the headlines on Ouch - and yet the editors of BBC News did not think it worth a mention.

    The BBC have shown for a long time that they are very interested in reporting events involving disabled people, particularly murders, assaults and institutional abuse. It is noted that when disabled people are making news for other reasons the subject seems to be edited out and not covered.

    The recent coverage of the "Steven Neary" case and Hillingdon Council at the high court even failed to mention a subject close to the hearts of many disabled and elderly people.

    That is the powers used under mental capacity legislation that can remove your human rights and have you detained. Deprivation Of Liberty Orders, can be imposed without due process of law being followed and cause Human Rights Abuse.

    When the BBC News publish a story on-line there are normally links to past coverage of the story, so that the relevant history can be seen. However with this report there are none.

    The BBC Have covered it before 04 Aug 2010, 28 Feb 2011, & 01 Mar 2011.

    These should have been listed as related content - and yet the only link in that section was to HM Courts Service.

    Is it that computer servers / system programming of the BBC News website just didn't know how to pull these archived BBC news stories out to link then to the latest News Coverage?

    Or was an editorial decision made that it was not worth doing as it was only a story that would be covered in passing and only likely to be of interest to Disabled people, their families, carers and legal advocates?

    There are grave concerns as to the claims that The BBC News "..has a strong track record of covering disability issues,..", given that basic every day news coverage about Disability issues is not even published in Equality on the BBC News website - or in a manner that correlates with how none disability related news stories are published.

    Such failures are "Institutional" and relate to policies, practices, procedures and managerial and even editorial attitudes. Until such Institutional attitudes are changed it is not appropriate for anyone to claim that equality exists and that output is in fact in line with editorial guidelines or represents a "Strong Track Record".

  • Comment number 28.

    Giles is says on Ouch "This messageboard is the beating heart of the Ouch community where you talk to us and each other." So with your decision you have deceided to cut the heart out of the community and yet you expect Ouch to continue. You are utter fools, even the most able bodied person in the UK cannot function without a heart yet you expect the disabled community to do so - how? what special powers do we have that means we can function without a heart. Admit it you don't want to host free discussion about the constant problems that affect the disabled community in the UK, especially with the governments continued assault on the same community. As for "Go to Facebook" as someone fleeing violence and persecution I cannot safely advertise my presence via facebook. Do you want my persecutor to track me down? By cutting off the help & support I get via ouch thats what you are advocating.
    As I said foolish decisions made by fools who have no idea of the difficulties we face.

  • Comment number 29.

    The messageboards are places where we, the disabled, are in control of what we discuss. Anyone can add a topic - if others want to join in they can. It is the personal decision of the disabled person.

    A blog is where someone else decides the content. Disabled people will no longer be in control of their own discussions if all there is is a blog. How do you think that makes us feel, to have something so important taken away suddenly?

    We range from learning disabled to post-graduate level in qualifications. Our disabilities cover all manner of things, common to extremely rare. All of us have experience of life that is harder than others as we have to negotiate with our disability as well as the other obstacles that everyone faces.

    Being in control over ones life is an essential part of living in a wealthy, western country. That is what democracy is supposed to bring. Not having some control is a bringer of great stress - research shows that people die younger if they lack control over everyday matters.

    Yes, we discuss the news, but we also discuss bowel habits and the side effects of common medication, and other such items of common interest to disabled people. Will your blogs bring up such topics for open discussion?

    It has already been shown that blogs on Ouch do not work. Please tell us how yours will be different? And what else are you offering to encourage us to move to your area of responsibility? Have you taken any marketing advice on how to motivate us to want change, advertise change and persuade us that the move is a good thing? Change after extensive consultation is difficult. Sudden change without forewarning always leads to hostility.

    If you would like advice on how to manage change in large organisations please get back to me.

    Thank you for reading this.

  • Comment number 30.

    Giles Wilson (Message to the BBC Executive),

    You have played fast and loose with our BBC with impunity and seeming immunity.

    The kissing has to stop.

    We are a worldwide community with access to Prime Ministers and Presidents through the likes of Avaaz, and through direct approaches to you, the Chief Executive, through our Members of Parliament.

    Either you engage with us or you will engage with the leaders of the land.

    Your choice.

    And please do not consider this to be idle guidance,
    larger causes than the BBC have fallen under the weight of action of the above agencies;
    and whilst the maintenence of the BBC is important to the UK,
    the maintenence of its current staffing is, at present, held by a thread.

    Take advice - do the right thing and do it now.

  • Comment number 31.

    I assume this blog is also going to go down the new BBC miserable 400 char grill route. After all dumb is what it is all about now. 400 char you must be kidding.

  • Comment number 32.

    Add your comment.

    Another instance of a delusional bbc imagining it is the master, and not the public service servant of their masters who pay for it.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    It seems that Disabled People and Ouch Message Board Members have been leading the news.

    The closure of The Ouch Message Boards has even made it onto the BBC, even if it was a BBC Phone In on BBC Radio Kent.

    The question was posed "Have You been Abused Because You're Disabled, And Is This Sort Of Abuse Getting Worse, And Why?

    The reports made from all over the country were very interesting - and the reasons why also made clear.

    The Topics being discussed, but not making it on to the BBC News;

    1 in 3 diabetics afraid to go public - discrimination the issue - report published today 13 June 2011 by diabetes UK. It does not just cover diabetes, a disability, but uncovers how discrimination makes people afraid and how it adversely affects their health. Any interest to the BBC News - there are only 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. Any Comment?

    Today - BBC News report on International Aide - "Countries pledge $4.3bn in funding for child vaccines" and yet on the links to that news story the BBC fail to mention that the The World Health Organisation published a report last week identifying The World's Largest Minority - The Disabled - 1 Billion In total.

    Failures in health care and international aide also contribute to that figure, Preventable diseases cause disability. Maybe there is no-one in the BBC News Room who sees the link or the issue?

    The BBC News have so many opportunities to ensure that Disability Issues are reported and even meet the BBC charter obligations, yet it does not happen!

    BBC Ouch Members make sure that these issues and news stories do get an airing - even if it is just to other Ouch members who then take the news to other disabled people.

    The BBC News is reported to have Track Record for reporting disability related news.

    It seems that they have a Track Record and that is for the number of false starts - which in track records get you disqualified!

    When it comes to Disability it seems that the issue is always in the outside lane and never part of the big picture.

  • Comment number 35.


    I have to say I am disappointed with the changes being made on the disability site and echo the sentiments in the posts above about the necessity to maintain the messageboard facility. While I am not disabled myself I did do some work within the disabled community in the NE England and I can testify that the features provided by the original Ouch! really were both helpful and insightful for that community. It is exactly for this reason that the BBC gets compared as best practice in contrast to the treatment of, for example, disability in Africa. Changing a formula that works for your audience is not a smart move - the BBC news blogging features do NOT lend themselves well to having an online conversation and community - restricting users to 400 words, limited views of the thread makes for one way interaction.

    After all the recent BBC accessibility updates announced by Steve Herrmann in April, I really thought BBC were leading the way once more, but this change does alter things significantly. The value in online interaction comes from having easy access to a variety of opinions for everybody - these changes are taking a firm step backward.


  • Comment number 36.

    Personnally, i'd be glab to get the news adress too
    It just simply deserve the right reward for this masterwork

  • Comment number 37.

    Shame on you BBC, you know full well how important OUCH! is to a great many disabled people, many who are housebound and isolated.

    Withdrawal of the OUCH! messageboard, especially at a time when the disabled community is under attack by sections of the media, is a total disgrace.

  • Comment number 38.

    I really do not believe that the BBC is going to remove the Ouch message boards- the safest place I know for disabled people to talk on the topics which really matter.
    It was with the help of the other members I learnt HOW to be disabled after my accident. I knew that it was safe because the board is moderated and run by a reputable company. I DO NOT TRUST most sites and you cannot post anonymously on facebook, I don't want all my friends to know that some part of me isn't working as normal, it will only make them concerned and I don't need that pity.
    Please, plese, plese, please, please don't close the boards :(

  • Comment number 39.

    Facebook and Twitter are NOT suitable for discussions on disability and are not safe for disabled users.

    The closure of the ouch messageboard is a disgrace and will send many disabled people into isolation in addition to the exclusions they already face.

  • Comment number 40.


    I guess by now you realise that not only have you taken your general 'readership' and slapped them firmly in the face,

    but you have also taken the disabled community of Great Britain and kicked them hard in the crutch - not just as a one-off boot to the genitals, but giving them a constant booting in the gutter.

    What ON EARTH do you think you have been doing?
    Certainly NOT improving things for your readerships.

    Please come clean with your publics and tell the REAL reasons,
    because NOBODY in their right minds would do what you have been doing out of choice.

    Geoff Ward

  • Comment number 41.

    So, where on the BBC News site do you want to put the Ouch content? Health, Education... ah no a section called Facebook. I am not on Facebook, and do not plan to be on Facebook.

  • Comment number 42.

    Can we please have a daily updating of the results from the world transplant games currently being held in Gothenburg. This seems to be an ignored part of the beeb's disability sports coverage yet there are many Brits taking part. Why is there no journalist coverage at this event?

  • Comment number 43.

    the beebs disability is not giving the full story on this goverments attack on disibility.they my opinion in league with the rightwing media to put an adverse spin on claimiants, remember the claimiants pay a liecense fee too,the have a right to be represented by the beeb.tell the public all the facts, especially on the attitude of the privateers like ATOS. ps. have a word with crammy....

  • Comment number 44.

    A few chips on the shoulders here. The problem is nothing to do with the BBC it's the morons who have a go at the BBC doing anything that someone else could produce elsewhere. And if that is the case why does the BBC spend public money, having an unfair advantage etc All that rubbish. And they've had to give into those idiots.
    It's meant the end of the messageboards all over the BBC over the last few years, if anything Ouch is probably one of the last.

  • Comment number 45.

    I was rather struck by the comments concerning another news story about a dog!

    'We based our article on sources we have used in the past... We failed to make the right checks.'

    One has to wonder, if an apology is issued for getting it wrong over a dog, how long will it take to get the same in relation to disabled people using the BBC's services.

    So where is the equality impact assessment, the public value test and the supposed evidence from users of the BBC ouch messageboard service that says closure is required?

  • Comment number 46.

    the current wave of justified critisism across all the recent blogs about the bbc online arrogance and deception will hopefully reach someone outwith the bbc who will take on the issues raised by posters rather than ignore and censor as is the current bbc behavior..this giles wilson guy has nearly 700 mostly critical posts over his last 2 blogs and has not responded to any...very poor show giles my man very poor show indeed.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ Lokis

    It should be noted that the BBC has been criticised recently by some outwith the BBC for complaint handling!

    "BBC complaints process 'too complex', Lords says

    The BBC's complaints process is "convoluted" and "overly complicated", a group of peers has said.

    The Lords communications committee said it was hard for viewers, listeners and web users to know whom to contact. and proposed a complaints "one-stop shop".

    Part of the problem was that the roles of the BBC Trust and watchdog Ofcom overlapped, the report added.

    The BBC Trust said new chairman Lord Patten was looking at the issues as part of his review of BBC governance."

    It is odd - but it is the same Criticism that was levelled against The NHS in the early 1990's - and which resulted in a Statutory Complaints Procedure being introduced.

    I do recall quite a high level of BBC news coverage of the matter at the time - and how Doctors, Hospital managers and Health Authority managers all objected. There was an issue of culture that had to be addressed, and as many are aware that culture is still being addressed some 20 years on.

    What a pity that the BBC have not learned from others mistakes, especially when they have made so much news capitol from those mistakes and coverage.

    As they say "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.".

    I wonder how Sir Gerry Robinson would do if he was given the challenge of bringing some institutional changes to the BBC! Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS? - BBC 2006 -

    Would make an interesting program "Gerry will Fix It!"

    "The Lords committee said the BBC had a "singular role in the life of the country and... provides an extraordinary public benefit", but there were a number of areas in which it could be improved."

    Oh and Sir Gerry has the advantage of a Track Record in the field - he did used to be the Chairman of Granada.

  • Comment number 48.

    Many are still wondering at your lack of comment in response to the concerns raised from your original post - and other Blog entries by other BBC Employees?

    It appears that Mr Damon Rose, a BBC employee, has broken cover and made comment.

    His comments - very poorly received - over on the Ouch Message Boards.

    When can the readers here expect responses and equality of Patronage?

    There does seem to be a confusion in language across the BBC. Is Ouch a community - just a message board - or is it just a subject and issue that the BBC don't have any clear thinking about and so can't provide a clear or rational answer?

    You may also wish to have a look at the BBC's own internal Pro Forma "Equality Impact Assessment" documentation which has some interesting entries pre-filled!

    Further questions:

    As a result of this assessment and available evidence collected is it important that the BBC Trust commission further specific research on this issue or carry out monitoring/data collection? (These should be recorded in the action plan table)


    A Bit Presumptuous of the BBC - deciding that the answer is NO in advance of any facts!

    The BBC's Response to a number of questions is awaited - including a Valid Response to Public FOI Requests made via "What Do They Know".

    Requests made on 09 June are still unanswered, but as anyone who is familiar with Equality Impact Assessments knows - they don't come under an FOI request. The Document has to be produced upon request from the owner.

    In that case the BBC FOI Response should have taken only five working days - or by 16 June.... but a response is still awaited!

    Why have the BBC taken so long to not respond Promptly and supply the address and name of the BBC Officer who can provide that document?

    Maybe the FOI team at BBC White City need to be re-assessed, as they don't seem to be up to the job!

    Giz A Job! It looks like the BBC Needs all the help it can get!

  • Comment number 49.

    I see that the BBC have belatedly responded to the Request for Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs).

    Request made 09 June Via the web service at

    The response reads as follows:

    "The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ Part VI of Schedule 1 to the Act provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required to supply "

    I have studied the Disability Equality Act 2005 and The Equality Act 2010 in depth and there is no right for the BBC to claim that the EIA is exempted or even covered by the Freedom Of Information Act!

    I have even discussed the matter with both the Information Commissioner's Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    The response should have cited section 21 - which deals with Information that is either Publicly Available or which has to be provided under another enactment of parliament - in this case the Disability Discrimination Act 2005//Equality Act 2010.

    "(b)information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than by making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment."

    Notice of the source in the public domain - or the contact details of the person who should be requested to provide the document under another enactment would be the correct response - and Promptly within 5 working days!

    So the BBC seem to either be deliberately wasting time and deliberately acting to frustrate the rights of Disabled People - else someone just don't know what they are doing!

    Could the BBC please supply the correct contact address for the Employee responsible for the supply of the Equality Impact Assessments and Relevant Evidence!

    Attempts to obtain this information by other routes has resulted in obstruction and refusal!

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear Giles

    With Reference to Post 27 ( above) .At 19:45 10th Jun 2011,

    There are some very odd things happening over at BBC Ouch Message Boards.

    It seems that many posts, and from long ago, are being removed. The reasons being provided are most odd!

    One post of long standing warning Ouch Message Board members to no give out personal identifiable information is pulled and the BBC Ouch Moderation team, and the reason given:

    "We reserve the right to fail comments which...

    Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others
    Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
    Contain swear words or other language likely to offend"

    Posts which relate directly to the entry at 27 above are also pulled and explained as:

    "We reserve the right to fail comments which...

    Break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes breach of
    copyright, defamation and contempt of court."

    There seems to be gross inconsistency in the moderation across BBC Services - and in particular since The Ouch Message Boards came under the control of BBC News.

    There is also grave concern that as the BBC are now suddenly recording that individuals have been involved in activities such as "likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable Contain swear words or other language likely to offend" - there are implications as to how this is recorded and used by the BBC.

    The implications arise under the Data Protection Act.

    No doubt the BBC will claim that they are Data Protection Exempt - claiming that Special Purposes apply.

    However, as the BBC are creating false data records there is an issue to address - as the special purposes do not apply to that.

    Could you please advise who is the officer of the BBC who is responsible for dealing with such issues.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Could you please advise who is the officer of the BBC who is responsible for dealing with such issues.'

    The way things are going, that too probably falls under '"likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable Contain swear words or other language likely to offend"

    'Disrupt' is about as catch-all as it can get anyway, and listing the others afterwards is telling. Basically, 'we can do what we like if we don't like what you say for any reason, and for good measure we'll allude to all sorts of other heavy stuff it 'could' be so folk don't ask any more questions.

    Got to love media monopolies that have no curbs, even public choice fiscal ones.


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