Publication - Progress report

Fairer Scotland for disabled people: progress report

Published: 22 Mar 2021

This report for A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People sets out the progress made on the 93 actions in the original report.

Fairer Scotland for disabled people: progress report
Views from participants at the Disability Summit

Views from participants at the Disability Summit

In December 2020, Scottish Government held a virtual Disability Summit. Discussion sessions were held and participants were asked:

1. How has life changed for disabled people in these areas over the last four years? 

2. What is the most important work for the Scottish Government in next five years?

Below we have included a short summary of information gathered at the event. Comments are grouped under the five ambitions set out in the Action Plan.

These views gathered directly from disabled people will be used to inform work to promote disability equality in the next Parliament. We will use this to inform both what the priority areas for work are, as well as informing us what specific issues are occurring for disabled people and how we can better take forward work in the future. We will continue to engage directly with disabled people and DPOs in the next Parliament as we agree future work. 

We recognise that effective solutions to the problems and barriers faced by disabled people must be drawn from the lived experience of disabled people. We are committed to working with disabled people to develop policies and the approaches required to solve problems and dismantle barriers. 

1. How has life changed for disabled people in these areas over the last 4 years? 

Support services that meet disabled people's needs 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic some support packages for disabled people have been reduced or cut by some local authorities. There was a consensus that policy on social care is positive and shows ambition but there is a clear difference between the policy and local implementation. In addition, it was highlighted that there is often inconsistency geographically for people regarding access to services.

Where support is provided remotely, i.e. over the phone or online, it needs to be made accessible for all; other issues should be considered such as access to broadband or an appropriate device in order to navigate information which contributes to digital exclusion. 

Decent incomes and fairer working lives

We heard about the challenges that people have faced in 2020, however in more than one group there was a recognition that this crisis has provided a chance for change and that more people are open to doing things differently. For example, employment practices have changed; participants highlighted that due to the pandemic, businesses have allowed employees to work from home, making employment more accessible for some; how we conduct events such as conferences has changed, and in some cases how we access culture has changed. We need to ensure this is capitalised on.

There were concerns that people are losing jobs, and a recognition that there needs to be more focus on support for disabled young people, including transitions into employment. This applies more widely to disabled people in work.

It was suggested that organisations with lived experience of disability who can offer person-centred support to get disabled people into employment should be supported.


Participants highlighted that still not enough buildings are accessible, in particular due to the restrictions on listed buildings. Ensuring all buildings are accessible should be addressed at the planning stage with disabled people consulted during development.

Access to public transport was recognised as having improved with more buses and taxis being accessible, although there is still a lack of dropped kerbs on pavements for access. 

Non-accessible homes are being offered to homeless/vulnerable disabled people with homeless organisations being unable support people as they don't have enough resources or information. 

Access to BSL interpreters hasn't always been easy in the past.

Protected Rights 

Disabled people should be more included in policy development. Information should be readily available in a range of accessible versions such as Easy Read.

The current pandemic has highlighted that many disabled people are digitally excluded. As technology became a key part of communication we need to ensure people are not left behind without access to information.

Active Participation

Stigma and general attitudes towards learning difficulties and other disabilities have improved in recent years although issues around increasing hate crimes in the current situation remained. 

2. What is the most important work for the Scottish Government in next five years?

a) There was consensus was there should be a focus on action rather than a focus on concerns and issues. 

b) People with lived experience must be listened to and where possible work should be co-produced.

c) Disabled people should be included in every aspect of life and not on a voluntary basis. 

d) Disabled people should be able to work or study from home where possible going forward. This would enable more disabled people to join the workforce. 

e) There should be a focus on digital inclusion going forward in order to combat loneliness and ensure disabled people are getting the same information. 

f) For people developing a disability later in life, information on support systems and packages should be more clear and readily available in order to support their transitions.

g) Social care and health support needs to recognise people as individuals.  Access should be consistent across Scotland and bureaucracy should be reduced.

We will use these views to direct our work as it is progressed in the next Parliament.