Back in July 2023, the government asked the UK disabled community for feedback on their plans to make the UK ‘The most accessible place in the world for disabled people’. Living with a son who is a permanent powered wheelchair user, I felt this this was an ambitious statement to make but one that, if came to fruition, would change the world for my son and others living with a disability.
SMA UK collected the views an experiences from the SMA community and, along with many other disability focused organisations, submitted our response which you can see here. On the 5th February 2024, after considering all the submissions, the final action plan was published.
Proposals in the consultation
The Disability Action Plan 2023 to 2024: consultation document described:
- work already underway or completed across government over the last 12 months
- planned work in each government department in the next 18 months and beyond
The consultation then asked for views on 12 proposed areas for action led or co-ordinated by the Disability Unit (DU), part of the Cabinet Office. DU was set up to work across government to break down the barriers faced by disabled people in the UK.
Proposals in the consultation document were grouped into 4 broad categories:
- improving disability inclusion in existing government policies
- new actions focused on the specific needs of disabled people
- improving cross-government collaboration
- strengthening the evidence base
Finally, the consultation asked 2 more questions. The first was about people’s views on the plan as a whole. The second asked what else the government could do to make a positive difference to the lives of disabled people.
Main themes in people’s feedback
The following 7 themes ran through many people’s responses to the consultation. We have amended our proposals in line with these themes wherever possible:
- policies should be informed by disabled people’s experiences
- clear, measurable actions are needed, with clear accountability
- consideration of disabled people’s financial circumstances and the cost of living • sufficient funding for specific actions
- ensure the inclusion of all disabled people
- improved and accessible communications about government services and resources
- equality of opportunity for disabled and non-disabled people
Areas of action
This chapter sets out 32 actions, across 14 different areas. The government will take these forward with disabled people, their organisations, and other government departments and public service providers.
The consultation findings have helped us to shape these actions. We have revised or removed some of the proposals in the consultation, and added several new proposals.
As a result, the government is committed to working with disabled people, their organisations and other partners in the coming year to:
- Support disabled people who want to be elected to public office
- Include disabled people’s needs in emergency and resilience planning
- Include disabled people’s needs in climate-related policies
- Improve information and outcomes for families in which someone is disabled
- Make playgrounds more accessible
- Help businesses understand the needs of and deliver improvements for disabled people
- Explore if the UK could host the Special Olympics World Summer Games
- Support people who have guide and assistance dogs
- Help the government measure how effective its policies and services are for disabled people
- Research issues facing disabled people in the future
- Make government publications and communications more accessible
- Improve understanding of the cost of living for disabled people
- Promote better understanding of the UNCRPD across government
- Monitor and report progress of the Disability Action Plan
To see if the points you made have been considered by the government, you can read the consultation considerations in an easy read format here , or a more detailed report on the findings here. The final action plan is now available, which you can read about here.
If you would like to share your thoughts, or have any comments then do email me, email@example.com.