DISABLED PEOPLE'S DIRECT ACTION NETWORK
RESPONSE TO THE PROPOSED GOVERNMENT DISABILITY BILL
WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF DAN'S CAMPAIGN?
The essence of DANs Free our People Campaign is to provide all disabled people, regardless of impairment, the choice and the resources to live in the community.
We are hoping that the government acts in a positive way to create the structures and systems required so that everyone has that choice.
Disabled people have been locked away and segregated in institutions too long and it is time for this practice to stop.
We want to cut the link between services and housing, services and education. At the moment if you want the services you must live here or be educated there. We want full inclusion for disabled people in this society.
DAN's campaign could be correctly portrayed as a campaign for those on the sharp end of the discrimination that we call disability.
It would be appropriate given the Governments claims in advancing the rights of disabled people to call this campaign NO DISABLED PERSON LEFT BEHIND.
THE GOVERNMENTS APPROACH AS OPPOSED TO DAN'S APPROACH
1. The Social Model
DAN would like to see the government adopt a Social Model approach, which focused on removing the physical and systematic barriers to disabled peoples inclusion.
The new legislation fails to take this approach building on the medical/individual model approach taken by the Tories under the DDA in 1995.
Under this approach (medical model) the reforms the government are proposing are piecemeal and not joined up.
There is no evidence of strategy or cross government thinking or a change in the way that the government is committed to tackle the long-term problems.
As the government is well aware DAN campaigned from 1993 to 1995 to get rid of the Tories who could never understand our radical thinking. It has taken this government 5 years to come up with a hotch potch of measures contained in this Bill.
We in DAN were prepared to work with this government to develop policy but this government has deliberately ignored DAN as a group it wants to deal with.
We have learned that the major charities, which run the institutions that we want to close, have been closely advising the government on the new legislation.
Talking to people who you feel comfortable with is not the way to create a learning government or radical policy.
We call on the government to arrange urgent meetings with DAN to discuss our agenda before the scrutiny process ends.
3. 7 action steps to independent Living
A social model approach would adopt the 7 action steps to independent living as a template for developing policy.
This has not been done.
Below we go over these steps to see what the government could have done and what they are proposing. Birmingham City Council has demonstrated that a political body (i.e. the Council) can adopt the Social Model and begin to plan and review services around the 7 action steps.
WHAT DAN AND DISABLED PEOPLE WERE LOOKING FOR
The Seven steps to Independent Living devised by Ken and Maggie Davies in the 1970's remain a useful template for looking at the services required to get people and keep people out of institutions.
Below is a description of each step what the government could do to strengthen policy and practice in this area and a commentary on what it is proposing.
Disabled people need information at the right time in accessible formats about services, processes and procedures that promote independent living so they can make good decisions about their lives.
The best information disabled people receive is still within the voluntary sector. The experience of disabled people is that there are too many places to go for different bits of the Jigsaw.
The government could have announced a duty on Local Authorities and Health care trusts to work together to create one stop shops led by disabled people in the voluntary sector where all the information they need is contained in one place with a dedicated phone line. The government could have recognized and supported the tremendous work disabled people are doing in the voluntary sector.
2. Peer Support and Advocacy
Often when the information is confusing disabled people find it helpful to talk to and learn from other disabled people. Disabled people may feel more comfortable or really need an advocate to work with them when making choices about independent living.
When the system is failing them they may need an advocacy group to campaign to challenge and change the system.
DAN's demand in this area is to call on the government to create Independent Living Centres throughout the country and to place a duty on Local Authorities to develop, fund and support these vital pieces of the jigsaw.
IL Centres are controlled and run by disabled people who are in the best position to be peer counsellors and effective advocates.
DAN also calls on the government to recognize and support through funding BCODP and the National Centre for Independent Living as the principal organizations it would work with in developing and implementing this policy.
The government has done little and understands even less the principles of peer support and advocacy. Let's face it if they had we would actually be implementing the DDA 1995 by now!
Furthermore BCODP and NCIL continue to struggle for the level of funding they need to achieve their mission.
Instead DAN understands that 96p in every pound the government gives to the voluntary sector goes to organizations not controlled by disabled people. These organizations are impairment specific and not based on the Social Model.
In return for this funding these organizations including those running the institutions we are against act as nodding dogs to the governments new proposals.
We understand that the government tries to consult fully with these unaccountable organizations both on the record and behind closed doors down in WC1.
Until the government accepts the principals of self-help, self-empowerment, self-representation and accountability it is hardly likely to deliver what the people want.
Disabled people need affordable accessible and safe housing which is not linked to the services they need around personal assistance.
The chronic lack of this kind of housing in this country means inevitably disabled people and elderly people will be segregated from their families and forced into institutions. The main cause of impairment is age and we are all living longer.
Improvements in our health care will as a consequence create more people who survive trauma and become disabled people.
In 2020 the baby boomers will reach 65 and the number of people with impairments requiring housing will go through the proverbial roof. All of us in this country are heading for a major crisis in housing, pensions and health care.
DAN has called on the government to legislate so that all new housing is built to lifetime homes standards. Whilst we welcome the effect the government has had on the public sector this needs extending to the private sector. Now may already be too late.
The new legislation does little if anything to accomplish this and certainly couldn't be seen as a long-term strategy to avert this crisis.
Encouraging private landlords to make a few adaptations just won't cut it. We call on the government to urgently engage in across the board talks with all concerned including disabled people and to publish long term sustainable plans to avert this crisis that disabled people are already at the sharp end of.
4. Aids and Adaptations.
Some disabled people need aids and adaptations to live independently or to reduce the time that they need personal support.
DAN has called for duty on Local Authorities and Health Care trusts to reduce the waiting time and to simplify and de professionalise the assessment process.
Disabled people should not be means tested for equipment, which they use to get out of bed or into a house, or means that they can cook dinner without relying on someone else.
DAN wants these basic needs addressed free of charge so that we can seek employment.
There is nothing in the government's new legislation that tackles this.
5. Personal Assistance
Even with the other steps in place some disabled people need personal assistance to live independently. This could be assistance with household tasks, money management, support in emotional crisis or help with childcare.
DAN supported the introduction of Direct payments which means that disabled people can hire direct and fire their own assistants however there has been little funding to promote and market this service.
DAN believes that with the creation of Independent living centres pro rata throughout the country, this excellent idea and others could be developed.
DAN also calls for a review of more traditional services and their appropriateness in the 21st century.
We also call for a de linking of this aspect of independent living to either housing for example in sheltered housing, supported living or residential care so that those disabled people in those situations may have some choice and control of who undresses them, what time they go to bed etc.
We call for a targeted and rapid expansion to these schemes to be led by this government.
We call for a marked increase in the rate of pay for those Personal assistants working within the current direct payments schemes.
Finally we call for every disabled person currently living in residential care to be offered the opportunity and the resources to return to the community.
The new Bill does not address these concerns in any way whatsoever.
DAN campaigned throughout the 90's for accessible Public transport and we welcome the improvements so far and that are proposed in the new Bill.
However we feel that the timescales for trains to be accessible is too long. We also note that there are no plans to make the tube accessible in regards to stations in this Bill.
DAN also wants the government to extend their taxi policy to private hire companies to make all new private hire vehicles accessible by law. This could be easily and cheaply done and would offer greater choice for disabled people in all areas.
DAN would also want to review Ring and Ride/ Dial a ride services with a view to comparing them with an alternative taxi card option, which may well, be cheaper and more convenient for disabled people and government alike.
7. Access to the environment.
Disabled people need to have access to the environment; both the built environment and accessible information so they can achieve full participation and equality.
The DDA of 95 and the new proposals that this government is bringing seem to address this, except that without giving the legislation real teeth little is going to change and certainly not at he pace that disabled people want.
Less than 30% of Local Authority buildings are accessible despite the DDA law being on the statute book for 8 years.
The key problem is that individual disabled people have to bring and prove the charge against well-organized and well-briefed opposition.
DAN has called for legislation so that disabled people can bring class action suits against those that are still breaking the law. This would then act as a substantial deterrent to non-compliance and maybe increase the pace of change.
Sadly this proposed Bill doesn't change the situation in the slightest.
They, the government are making laws without policemen.
We are confident that Tony's cronies in the charity system will find it within themselves to welcome this Bill not for what it contains but for what it doesn't. Their institutions are safe and their remains a place to put us away from the community.
We also understand that whilst these issues remain unresolved government initiatives around employment are doomed to fail.
Unless our care packages are transferable from one district to another, unless there is housing available, unless we can have responsive services, employment remains the dream of a small few.
The almost total invisibility of disabled people's issues being addressed in this Bill deeply dismays DAN who did at one time have high expectations for this government.
Their absence means that disabled people will remain in institutions suffering abuse of their human rights on a daily basis.
The disabled people's movement has been ignored and bypassed by the nodding dogs of the charity system who have been a problem for disabled people for many years.
DAN will be in London in March to bring these messages to Government. We will soon know if the Government is scared to talk to real people.
We await your response.
DAN - DISABLED PEOPLE'S DIRECT ACTION NETWOR.....
Re: Joining in with this D.A.N. action on the draft Disability Bill from your computer/home.
If anyone has more ideas what we can do from home please post them up on danmail. Contacting Press and sending information/press releases also a great help. if your organisation has a response to the Bill maybe you can share it here for more pointers.
Why out of a five week close scrutiny period allocated to this proposed Bill will just one and a half days will be spent hearing from organisations 'of' disabled people?...
On the first day of action.. (Monday 8th March 2004)
Email your comments about the draft disability Bill to the scrutiny committee at [log in to unmask] . The D.A.N. response to the draft Disability Discrimination Bill is below this message, you can use it for ideas or paste it below your message if you want to, but should also send a message of your own. You can also write to them and send evidence by writing or sending a BSL video or audio tape to: Clerk of the Committee on the Draft Disability Discrimination Bill, The Scrutiny Unit Committee Office, House of Commons, Room G10, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.
On the second day of action (Tuesday)...
Email the prime Minster from this website about the Bill:
Instructions of what to do are on the WebPages. it is hard to tell from this page how accessible it is, but you fill in your email address on the form so maybe danners can help each other out by sending a mate a message and asking them to post it for you if the access is crap. you have to select from the drop down menu a topic, looks like we come under 'other'...
Wednesday - talk to your MP and see if she or he can help.
Email from here www.faxyourmp.com but do not send a copied message from below as all our email may be stopped.
You can find out more Government information about the Bill at this WebPages:
and at the DRC's website, looks like promotion not consultation! www.drc-gb.org/campaigns/ddbill.asp
House of Lords info about the scrutiny committee (includes evidence from the DRC):
GLAD's response to the draft Bill is here, published online no less, thanks!:
DAN's response as previously posted:
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