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
Ambition 5: Active participation

Ambition 5: Active participation

The Access to Elected Office Fund (Scotland) supported 39 disabled candidates to stand for election to local councils in 2017. 15 candidates were elected across Scotland, representing a range of disabilities, political parties and were gender balanced. We have maintained the fund for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections. 

In 2017 the Scottish Government and COSLA announced that at least 1% of local government budgets would be decided through participatory budgeting (PB) by the end of 2021 and agreed a Framework for the operation of the agreement. The Scottish Government worked with Glasgow Disability Alliance to explore how best disabled people can play a full part in PB processes and how PB can be used to encourage participation in public life, advance equality of opportunity and support accessible and inclusive processes. A National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group was established in 2020 to help guide this work. 

The level of investment for Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) has been maintained throughout this parliamentary session, and funding has been extended until September 2021, and in some cases the level of Scottish Government investment increased. This funding has enabled DPOs to have to the capacity to work with Government to enable us to better understand the views and needs of disabled people across many areas of life. 

We have worked with a number of DPOs, disability organisations and wider public and third sector bodies to support their COVID-19 work by producing accessible versions of public health information, such as BSL, Easy Read, Braille, XXL Print and Moon, as well as producing information in a range of community languages and supporting helplines. We have also provided funding for IT and training to help disabled people who have not been connected to the internet keep up to date with public health messages and to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

The Scottish Government's first national strategy to tackle social isolation and loneliness and build stronger social connections, A Connected Scotland, was published on 18 December 2018. The strategy considered four main priorities which prioritised community cohesion and empowerment, tackling stigma, encouraging kindness and creating the opportunities and infrastructure that allow people to build connections. As part of our cross government approach, our commitment to tackling social isolation and loneliness has only increased as we have seen how all our lives have changed over the course of 2020.

With Inclusion Scotland we have trialled a project that provided mentored public body board experience for a group of disabled people, as part of our work to develop the pipeline of talented people for public appointments. For 2019 (last published figures available), 12% of people appointed were disabled compared to 7% in 2018 and 13% of applications were from disabled people in 2019 compared to 9% in 2018. We will shortly be starting a project to involve disabled people and people from a minority ethnic background in the infrastructure of the public appointments process.