The long awaited ‘10-year strategy’ from the government has been released. They called it a ‘once in a lifetime strategy’. We’ve been waiting for this – all DPOs in the UK have been waiting for this.
Equal Lives’ have been increasingly concerned by the way the government has been engaging with DPOs (disabled people’s organisations.) They set up a DPO forum last year to consult with DPOs and it collapsed after its 4th meeting. It was not conducted in a strategic way.
Before that the government didn’t meaningfully consult with DPOs or DPULOs. (disabled people’s user led organisations (like Equal Lives!)).
We’ve been so hopeful of the strategy because of what it could mean for disabled people. What it could mean for DPOs all over the Country.
And yet, when met with the strategy we realise…
It’s not a strategy. It’s a list.
The government has given us a list of empty promises with no plan of how they intend to deliver the contents. They use hollow language such as ‘improve local delivery’ – what does that mean? How will they improve? What is considered local delivery? What will change? What will stay the same?
There is no substance.
There are no DPOs mentioned in the report because all DPOs we know of, refused to have their name against it. Who else did they consult with? (Netflix?) How do they know this is what disabled people need?
This is a glorified ‘to do’ list – and the biggest issue of all…it doesn’t address the stigma and inequalities faced by disabled people every single day.
What do we need? We’d hoped for real evidencable consultation with DPOs and disabled people. We need the strategy to address social care and the benefit system, two of the largest issues for disabled people and yet neither were present.
At the launch, the government gave a poor answer about how they would ensure DPOs were involved in the development of the policy – they didn’t even mention DPOs in their answer.
The government need to re address this work – and the inequalities faced by disabled people, for a true, inclusive strategy. Ben Reed - CEO Equal Lives To read the strategy, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-national-disability-strategy-launches