A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: summary

Summary version of the document A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Our Delivery Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


This Delivery Plan is part of our programme for a fairer Scotland.

It has been shaped by the experiences of disabled people and the insights of disabled people and the organisations that represent them. It has been informed by the evidence and consultation on the draft disability delivery plan and by the Fairer Scotland conversations. It is built around five longer-term ambitions and a set of over 90 actions. This summary includes the main actions.

The Delivery Plan is based on the social model of disability. Unlike the medical model, where an individual is understood to be disabled by their impairment, the social model views disability as the relationship between the individual and society. In other words, it sees the barriers created by society, such as negative attitudes towards disabled people, and inaccessible buildings, transport and communication, as the cause of disadvantage and exclusion, rather than the impairment itself. The aim, then, is to remove the barriers that isolate, exclude and so disable the individual.

It is rooted firmly in the UNCRPD and in the aim of the independent living movement, which is that all disabled people are able and supported to live their lives with freedom, choice, control and dignity, participating equally alongside other citizens in their families, communities, workplaces and wider society.

The Scottish Government also has a number of associated strategies related to specific populations. The Disability Delivery Plan sets the overall direction of travel for the Scottish Government over the lifetime of this Parliament.

The ambitions we all have for a future fairer Scotland need us to work together - public, private and third sectors with disabled people and the organisations that represent them and communities.

By using positive and empowering words we can change the way people see disability. Negative language carries many messages; it categorises, labels and stereotypes. If we are to achieve our aim of full equality and human rights for disabled people in Scotland, then we must take account of all disabled people, including disabled children and young people and older people. We also have to understand how other characteristics such as age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being a Gypsy Traveller can impact on a disabled person's experiences and use this understanding to shape our actions. We must be aware of the particular issues affecting disabled people living in rural or island communities.

Opinions about identifying as 'disabled' can also vary between individuals or groups. For example, most deaf people who use British Sign Language identify themselves as a linguistic or cultural minority rather than as disabled people. However, they are covered under the provisions of equality legislation and the UNCRPD and so are included in the actions set out in this plan.

This Plan will drive transformational change to improve the lives of Deaf and disabled people in Scotland. Throughout the lifetime of this Plan, we will measure our progress in ways that ensure we are truly accountable to Scotland's disabled people.

Info Graphic

Source: Census 2011


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