The Independent Living Movement in Scotland
As part of the wider equality agenda, the Independent Living Movement in Scotland has grown over recent decades.
The Scottish movement began in the 1980s when small local groups of primarily physically or sensory impaired people began joining forces, campaigning for a greater say over the services and support needed to live their lives more fully.
Today many of these groups now serve as important user-led support organisations providing services to, and campaigning on behalf of, disabled people.
For example, the Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living provides specialist advice on self-directed support, payroll services, training and employment. The Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living also offers support finding suitable housing. These are just two of the many user-led organisations working to help disabled people take more control over their own lives.
Other Disabled People's Organisations don't provide services but advocate for the rights of disabled people, highlight disabled people's needs and priorities, and to help ensure that the voice of disabled people is included in policy development and service delivery. These are run by disabled people for disabled people and provide a voice for disabled people, channelling their collective power into action for change.
Together, this network of Disabled People's Organisations, individual disabled people and other organisations who work for disability equality is known as the disabled people's Independent Living Movement (ILM) in Scotland.
In 2007, the Disability Rights Commission in Scotland launched a detailed report on what it considered was needed to progress independent living, and the Scottish Government responded by setting up a strategic advisory group, which has continues to play an important role.
Following on from that, the UK Government ratified the UNCRPD on 8 June 2009 on behalf of all administrations, including Scotland within the UK.
This Scottish Government took a combined approach to promoting independent living for disabled people and to realising disabled people's human rights through the UNCRPD. Crucially, this included providing funding to make it easier for Disabled People's Organisations to actively participate in the development and delivery of a cohesive programme of work, using the UNCRPD as a framework.
With basic human rights at its core, Independent Living Partnership Board co-produced a set of aims, which are integral to our delivery plan. These are:
- Changing negative attitudes and breaking down cultural and physical barriers to independent living.
- Making sure that the practices and principles of independent living are included in policy decisions and service provision.
- Giving disabled people the support to participate as full and equal citizens, including access to inclusive communication.
The best way of achieving these aims is to work in co-production with disabled people and their organisations, to identify solutions which better meet their needs. We are committed to working in co-production as we finalise and implement the delivery plan.
Email: Catherine Hewit