bigleyma is thinking…

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It is claimed on the internets that Cardiff University’s Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research has been funded by Unum Provident. This is significant (and disturbing) as Unum is a U.S insurance company which was described by a judge as running  ‘disability denial factories’ that deprived thousands of policy holders of their legitimate payouts. Unum were forced to reassess up to 250,000 cases, as much as 42% of which had the decisions reversed, it is alleged.

Found guilty and fined $15 million dollars in 2004, and agreed to a ‘plan of corrective action’:

I searched Cardiff Uni’s website using the phrase ‘Unum Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research and links appeared to the Centre but were no longer valid. I then omitted the ‘Unum’ part and found working links to the Centre’s index. The director of the Centre is Professor Mansel Aylward. I have sent him the following email:

Dear Professor Aylward,
I have recently become aware that The Centre which you head at Cardiff appears to have changed its name and now omits the ‘UNUM’ which initially preceded it. This came to my attention as I searched the university website finding only broken links to the previous title.

Can you confirm that the title of the Centre will continue in its present form hereafter. Was there any specific reason that the ‘UNUM’ is now absent. Also can you confirm that UNUM provided the funding for the setting up of the Centre in the first instance?

With thanks

I will report on his response, or lack thereof.

Professor Aylward, as Chief Medical Advisor to the DWP from 1996 to 2005, played a key role in developing tests, based on ‘capabilities’ that could be said to be precursors to the WCA. Also that he ‘led the Corporate Medical Group on the UK Government’s Welfare Reform framework. He is described as having published widely in various areas of health and has an abiding interest in such matters as “health, work and social issues relevant to morbidity, mortality, work inactivity and social exclusion”. So plenty to cover under his own category, which I plan to start soon.

Everything is a network of links these days. And I intend to see how things fit together between the various personnel, institutions, theories and ideologies so that a complete picture can be formed. I might even draw that picture (no kidding 🙂


The response from Professor Aylward:

 The research centre was launched in 2004 after Unum Ltd agreed to provide funding for 5 years for 2 research fellows and a research secretary.  Following that initial grant provided by Unum, the research centre successfully won bids for research projects funded by a number of organisations, including the Welsh Government, WEFO, Smile-on Ltd and Royal Mail.  Additional researchers were working on these projects alongside the original Unum project.  When the funding from Unum ceased in June 2009 the additional research continued to be undertaken at the research centre and further successful bids were made for research projects.  Therefore the name ‘Unum’ was dropped when the funding ceased in June 2009.  The centre continues to carry out research as the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research as part of the School of Medicine at Cardiff University.

Kind regards


I think what is needed now is to look at what form the research undertaken by the research fellows took during that period 2004 to 2009. As UNUM are in the business of making profits there must be some way that they perceived the focus of the research would benefit them.

While they were busy funding Cardiff Uni at this time, since 2003 UNUM had been under investigation in the U.S for their bad practices in denying people legitimate payouts, and in 2005 were found guilty of pursuing more than 25 business practices that violated California law and fined £8 million dollars. Was no-one at Cardiff aware of this fact? Is it not seemly to investigate a company before you accept funding from them?


Written by bigleyma

July 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Cardiff University

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