Introduction - the consultation and who responded
This report presents the analysis from the Scottish Government Consultation on its Draft Delivery Plan 2016-2020 on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ( UNCRPD). The consultation, which was open between 8 September 2015 and 18 January 2016, was available in various formats. Funding was provided to Disabled People's Organisations ( DPOs) to support engagement with disabled people across Scotland as part of the consultation and the Independent Living in Scotland ( ILiS) project produced a resources pack to support this process.
There were 91 responses to the consultation. Of these, two-thirds (61) were received from groups/organisations and one third (30) were received from individuals. The largest category of respondent was third sector/equality groups who submitted 38 of the responses (42%). Eighty-nine respondents gave permission for their responses to be published.
Recurring themes emerging from the consultation
Certain themes kept emerging in relation to a number of questions, and key gaps in the delivery plan were also identified. These are summarised in Chapter 2 of the report, and are listed below.
The following recurring themes emerged:
- generally supportive of the delivery plan and its aims, but wanted it to go further
- inclusive communication
- some commitments are too vague
- widen the plan out to cover all disabled people
- geographical inequalities
- not all barriers are physical, attitudes and stigma often described as the biggest barrier
- cross cutting nature of the commitments
- person-centred services
- disability and equality training for staff across a range of services
- disabled people are not a homogeneous group, issues of intersectionality
- human rights
- model of disability used
- implementation of the delivery plan
- monitoring and evaluation
- dissatisfaction with the current situation for disabled people
Key gaps were identified in the following areas:
- mental health
- children and young people, and the early years
- social care
- the right to a personal and social and family life, and the need to take steps to reduce social isolation and promote social inclusion.
- civic and political life
- civil justice
The Four outcomes
Section 2 of the delivery plan sets out four outcomes the Scottish Government and its partners are working towards.
These outcomes relate to equal and inclusive access to:
1. the physical and cultural environment, transport and suitable, affordable housing
2. healthcare provision and support for independent living, with control over the best use of resources, including support for disabled children
3. to education, paid employment and an appropriate income and support whether in or out of work
4. the justice system without fear of being unfairly judged or punished, and with protection of personal and private rights
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents agreed that together these four outcomes cover the key areas of life the Scottish Government and its partners must focus on to achieve the rights of disabled people.
Amongst those who agreed, disagreed, or neither agreed nor disagreed, key gaps were identified, primarily around the lack of focus on mental health, children, or social care. For some consultees these gaps meant that they could not endorse the four outcomes.
Outcome 1 - Equal and inclusive access to the physical and cultural environment, transport and suitable, affordable housing
Sixteen commitments were included under outcome 1. Consultees were asked if they felt that these commitments would help the Scottish Government make progress towards outcome 1. Over three quarters (77%) agreed that they would.
Commitments under Outcome 1 included transport; housing; tourism; culture; sport; and an awareness raising campaign highlighting the barriers that disabled people face. Commitment 1 (transport accessibility) and commitment 16 (One Scotland awareness raising campaign) received the most comments.
Links were made between the different commitments and accessing other rights. Transport was recognised as important for accessing other services, and adequate housing was seen as a prerequisite for accessing other rights.
A lot of the comments received under Outcome 1 indicated that consultees were generally supportive of these commitments. Recurring themes mentioned included engagement, inclusive communication, and comments about the practicalities of implementing the commitments.
Access issues were mentioned in relation to transport, housing, sport and culture and tourism. The role of attitudinal barriers, among service providers and members of the public, were emphasised, in addition to physical barriers. In relation to accessible design it was stated that access was about more than wheelchair access and that it should also cater for other unseen disabilities.
The need for training around disability and equality was mentioned for a range of service providers, such as those who plan and design buildings, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and people working in sport, culture and tourism.
The limited nature of commitments was noted. In relation to an award for accessible design ( commitment 3), for example, it was commented that an award alone would not be sufficient to improve accessibility, whilst funding for a para-sport facility in Inverclyde as part of improving disability inclusion in sport ( commitment 13) was criticised for not benefiting disabled people from outwith the central belt.
Suggestions were also offered around various commitments, such as what guides might include ( commitments 7 and 8), what the One Scotland awareness raising campaign could include ( commitment 16) and how virtual access to historic sites could be explored ( commitment 12).
Outcome 2 - Equal and inclusive access to healthcare provision and support for independent living, with control over the best use of resources and support for disabled children
Nineteen commitments were included under Outcome 2. Consultees were asked if they agreed or disagreed that these commitments would help the Scottish Government make progress towards Outcome 2. Nearly three-quarters (73%) agreed that they would.
A recurring theme was a desire for the commitments to be widened out to include others beyond the scope of the commitment. For example, Commitments 17 and 18 (health inequalities data collection and advocacy) explicitly refer to people with learning disabilities. It was suggested that that they should apply to all disabled people.
Commitment 26 relates to carrying out Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments on all policies relating to children, but it was argued that this should be extended to embrace policies not specifically aimed at children but which will affect children.
There were also calls for commitment 30 (Child Internet Safety stakeholder) to be expanded to include vulnerable adults, and for the scope of mental health legislation being reviewed in commitments 31 and 32 to be expanded.
Finally, it was suggested that commitment 35 (learning and development framework for foster carers) should be widened out to include all parents and kinship carers of disabled children.
Other recurring themes included comments relating to implementation, engagement and inclusive communication, and there were calls for more detail and clarity around some of the commitments ( 18, 27, 28, 30 and 32).
Questions were asked about why this outcome was the only one to specifically mention children, with the suggestion that either children are included specifically in the titles of all the outcomes, or a separate fifth outcome about children is included.
Outcome 3 - Equal and inclusive access to education, paid employment and an appropriate income whether in or out of work
Thirteen commitments were included under Outcome 3. Consultees were asked if they agreed or disagreed that these commitments would help the Scottish Government make progress towards outcome 3. Seventy-one per cent agreed that they would.
Recurring themes emerging under the Outcome 3 commitments related to the implementation of the commitments and the need to engage with disabled people.
The importance of supporting post school transitions to help young people access work or further education was emphasised, and there was a call for person-centred services in connection with commitments 43 and 44 (Disability Employment Services in Scotland and support to help disabled people into work).
When commenting on commitment 46 (Disability Benefits Advocacy Support) and commitment 48 (establishing a social security system that treats people with dignity and respect), consultees reflected on their dissatisfaction with the current benefits system administered by the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP). They spoke of the negative impact of cuts to welfare and benefits and dissatisfaction with, and stress caused by Personal Independence Payments ( PIP) and Employment Support Allowance ( ESA) assessment procedures. There were calls for the Scottish Government to continue to mitigate against Westminster cuts to welfare spending.
Consultees provided numerous suggestions for how a future Scottish social security system could improve on the current system. Most suggestions were made by one consultee. Those which were suggested by more than one consultee were: the need to overhaul assessments (3); have a system that does not dis-incentivise finding work (3); and better co-ordination between benefits, social care, work and education (2).
Outcome 4 - Equal and inclusive access to the justice system without fear of being unfairly judged or punished, and with protection of personal and private rights
There were six commitments included under Outcome 4. Consultees were asked if they agreed or disagreed that these commitments would help the Scottish Government make progress towards Outcome 4. Eighty per cent agreed that they would.
Commitment 50 (encouraging the reporting of hate crime against disabled people) received the most comments. There was a belief that education and awareness-raising around hate crime, what it is, its impacts, and how to report it, was required. It was believed that disabled people, the general public, children and professionals who deal with hate crime, could all benefit from education and awareness-raising. It was also believed that disabled people needed more support to report hate crime.
The need for engagement and inclusive communication were recurring themes.
There was also a belief that some of the commitments should be expanded. In relation to commitment 51 (accessible information), for example, consultees suggested that the kind of information made available in accessible formats should be widened and for the range of formats to be increased.
Similarly, with commitment 52 (accessibility of sites and services) consultees wanted this to be widened out to go beyond wheelchair access and consider a wider range of potential barriers.
Commitment 54 refers to violence against disabled women and girls, but some consultees pointed out that disabled men and boys may also face violence, and that violence against any disabled person needs to be addressed.
The three cross-cutting themes
The delivery plan outlines three cross-cutting themes, which it identifies as ways of working, which will underpin all that is done to deliver each of the outcomes. The themes identified are:
- disabled people are empowered to participate fully
- communication is accessible and inclusive of all
- raising awareness - barriers facing disabled people are known, understood and addressed.
Consultees were asked if they agreed or disagreed that these were the most important themes that the Scottish Government needed to build in to the way it works across all activity to achieve the rights of disabled people. Three quarters (75%) agreed that they were.
Whilst most consultees were broadly supportive of these themes, there were suggestions for themes which should have been included, or given more focus. In particular, it was felt that human rights should have been more central to the delivery plan, and also that the rights of the child should have been given more prominence.
Other themes suggested were: free social care at point of delivery, in order to strengthen disabled people's empowerment and participation; combatting social isolation and promoting social inclusion; supporting people to lead independent healthy lives; intersectionality; and violence
Next steps and any further comments
Consultees were asked for any comments they had about next steps. The most common theme related to the content, layout and structure of the plan and consultation. It was felt that both the plan and consultation could have been easier to read and more user friendly.
The implementation and evaluation of the plan was also commented on. Evaluating progress against the commitments was seen as very important.
Again, the importance of engaging with disabled people was highlighted. Some consultees mentioned the commitments that they would like to see added to the delivery plan. These included: specific commitments around mental health; and health and social care integration.
On the whole consultees were generally supportive of the disability delivery plan and its aims, outcomes and themes. They did, however, want it to go further, and also noted a number of key omissions. In particular, the lack of focus on mental health, on children and young people and on social care was seen as especially problematic. It was also stated that there should be a stronger focus on human rights within the delivery plan.