Government’s Disability Strategy Risks Becoming a ‘Car Crash’, Says Conservative Colleague | Disability


The launch of the government’s long-awaited disability strategy risks becoming a car accident if ministers do not do more to listen to the views of people with disabilities before releasing it, a Conservative colleague said.

Lord Shinkwin warned the PM that the release of a report categorically rejected by people with disabilities would significantly undermine his upgrading program, after activists bitterly complained that the consultation process that informed him was gravely flawed .

“It gives me no pleasure to say that if the strategy is launched next week, the government will consider another car crash that will pass the launch of the recent Commission on Ethnicity and Racial Disparities report off as a triumph of the public relations, ”he said.

Shinkwin, chairman of the Center for Social Justice’s Disability Committee, said if he didn’t think Tory Disability Minister Justin Tomlinson should lose his job, he thought he should cede more control on developing the strategy to people. with disabilities.

The government had promised to publish the disability strategy aimed at removing barriers to participation in daily life. But there have been long delays in its release.

However, it was the consultation process that preceded it that angered many activists, who argue it was flawed, saying its format did not allow them to properly describe the barriers that exist.

They also said that insufficient weight was given to the opinions of people with disabilities. Sarah Gayton, from the UK’s National Federation of the Blind, called this “shocking” and said it indicated the “government’s contempt” for people with disabilities.

She added that people had complained that simple elements of the consultation, such as the ability to upload a video for those who communicate using sign language, were not working.

“Producing a strategy for people with disabilities without proper commitment is unacceptable,” said Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disabled People’s Rights in the UK.

Mallick said the government was told by the disability rights committee to more easily engage with people with disabilities after a review four years ago. “The next review is coming and we haven’t made any progress. “

He added: “Time and time again, people with disabilities and our organizations have asked and asked the government to fund a structured independent engagement. “

Doug Paulley, one of four people who managed to persuade a High Court judge to allow them to challenge the legality of the process earlier this month, said: “The consultation was ridiculous, unnecessary, ill-conceived and insulting. He was in no way suited to his purpose. Basing the national disability strategy on that would be very problematic, or using it to inform that strategy in any way.

He added, “I’m glad the judge obviously thinks there are enough issues with the consultation to make it subject to judicial review. But I am sad that it is necessary; that the government has failed to meaningfully interact with people with disabilities and their organizations.

On July 13, the High Court granted leave to seek judicial review of the consultation process, agreeing that there was a defensible argument against its legality and that hearing it would be in the public interest.

And some activists have called on Tomlinson to leave. “I have little faith in Justin Tomlinson or his approach and his impact on the rights of people with disabilities in general,” said Paulley. “Do I think this judicial review should make him leave?” It would be wonderful, but I doubt it.

Gayton agreed, saying Tomlinson “has to step down, go and let in someone who will stand up for the rights of people with disabilities.”

A government spokesperson said: “This has been the biggest disability policy listening exercise in recent history and it means that the strategy is a practical response to the issues people with disabilities face in their lives. everyday life.

“Placing the voice of persons with disabilities at the center of government policy is an integral part of the strategy and the Minister is passionate about learning from this experience and its guidance. This strategy is a concerted and comprehensive effort to bring about lasting change. “

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