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Publication - Report

Consultation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): analysis of responses

Published: 18 Nov 2016
Part of:
Communities and third sector, Equality and rights
ISBN:
9781786525642

Presents a summary of the analysis from the consultation on our Draft Delivery Plan for 2016 to 2020 on the UNCRPD.

220 page PDF

1.3MB

220 page PDF

1.3MB

Contents
Consultation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): analysis of responses
6. Outcome 3 - Equal and inclusive access to education, paid employment and an appropriate income whether in or out of work

220 page PDF

1.3MB

6. Outcome 3 - Equal and inclusive access to education, paid employment and an appropriate income whether in or out of work

Thirteen commitments were included under Outcome 3. Consultees were asked if they agreed or disagreed that these commitments would help the Scottish Government make progress towards Outcome 3.

Q9: Do you agree or disagree that the commitments (36-48) described at Section 2.3 will help the Scottish Government make progress towards outcome 3?

Sixty-six consultees responded to this question. The majority of those who responded agreed that these outcomes would help the Scottish Government to make progress towards outcome 3. Seventy-one per cent of those who responded agreed, 8% disagreed and 21% said that they neither agreed nor disagreed.

Q10: If you would like to make specific comments on any of the commitments intended to contribute to achieving outcome 3, please do so here. If not please skip to next question.

Question 10 asked consultees if they had any specific comments on any of the thirteen commitments included under outcome 3. Table 43, below, shows the number of comments received for each of the individual commitments. Commitment 42 on the establishment of a fair work convention received the fewest comments (12), whilst commitments 36 and 39 around additional support for learning and investment in supporting young people who face barriers to employment received the most comments (27 and 25).

Table 43: Number of comments for each of the outcome 3 commitments

Commitment (Outcome 1) No. of comments received
36. Continued commitment to implement additional support for learning 27
37. Anti-Bullying -respectme and review and refresh of the 'National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland's Children and Young' 23
38. Overarching commitment from Fair Work Directorate 20
39. Investment in Developing the Young Workforce and further investment to support young people with barriers to employment including disability 25
40. Supported Employment Model 14
41. Supported Businesses 13
42. Establishment of a Fair Work Convention 12
43. Disability Employment Services in Scotland 20
44. Ensuring flexible and integrated support is put in place to support individuals with particular needs, including disabled people into work 21
45. Abolish fees for employment tribunals and consultation re barriers that disabled people face when raising a claim at an Employment Tribunal 18
46. Disability Benefits Advocacy Support 15
47. Future reform of local taxation will take into account the particular needs expressed by disabled people 13
48. Establishment of a social security system that treats people with dignity and respect during their time applying for, being assessed and receiving disability benefits. 21

Additional Support for Learning

Commitment 36. Continued commitment to implement additional support for learning

36. Continued commitment to implement additional support for learning - the Scottish Government will continue to look at the barriers to successful implementation through our work with stakeholders on the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning. We have introduced an Education Bill to the Scottish Parliament to extend rights to all children aged 12 and over with additional support needs, including those with a disability. Children will be able to directly influence the additional support that is provided for them. (ongoing and reviewed annually through reporting to Parliament)

A number of consultees were generally supportive of this commitment, however others raised concerns. Criticisms included capacity testing children and the age at which children can realise their rights. A number of comments were made about implementing additional support for learning, and some specific needs to take into account were mentioned.

Table 44: themes identified under commitment 36

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 15
Implementing additional support for learning ( ASL) 21
Specific needs mentioned 8
Post-school transitions and Further Education 6
Dissatisfaction with current additional support for learning ( ASL) provision in schools 4
Engagement 2
Critical comments 10
Other 5

Implementing additional support for learning ( ASL)

A number of comments related to the implementation of additional support for learning ( ASL), including: the need for implementation to be adequately funded; consistency across Scotland; training for those who provide ASL; workforce planning; taking a progressive approach; and monitoring implementation.

"We welcome the commitment to continue to implement additional support for learning. However we recognise that this support must be well funded and delivered consistently across Scotland in order that all disabled people can participate equally in, and benefit from, Scotland's education system… We have long been concerned that 58% of disabled people in Scotland have no formal qualifications compared to only 24% of their non-disabled counterparts. This is something which could be improved through the consistent provision of well-resourced learning support for disabled children and young people."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

A number of consultees mentioned their support for inclusive as opposed to segregated schools. It was believed that this not only benefitted disabled children, but also benefitted other children in the class, and would help to lead to a more inclusive society which sees disabled people as part of the community.

"Disabled children must be supported to attend the schools they choose. It is disappointing that any child must face social exclusion when they "really wanted to go to the same high school as [their] friends but [were] told [they] couldn't because it wasn't suitable"…As the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has noted recently, disabled children: 'have greater overall gains in academic outcomes in inclusive environments than their peers with similar disabilities in segregated classrooms. Furthermore, when teachers are educated to include children with disabilities the level and standard of learning for children both with and without disabilities increases.' Inclusive education should be quality education that promotes inclusive societies".

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

However, one consultee provided a more cautionary example around the presumption to mainstream children in education.

"One respondent felt that the presumption of mainstreaming has changed the provision of specialist education provision. Frequently children with additional needs are within a mainstream classroom with the only peers being their paid classroom assistant. This has implications for children's wellbeing and sense of self-worth."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Specific needs mentioned

Some consultees mentioned specific needs that should be taken into account within additional support for learning. These included the needs of D/deaf BSL users, children with complex needs, speech language and communication needs, "hidden" disabilities, such as mental ill health, as well as the needs of young people who are looked after, or who are carers.

Lower attainment statistics for D/deaf pupils achieving Highers and Advanced Highers than their peers were quoted, and it was suggested that D/deaf pupils weren't getting the support they needed.

"Many young people in Scotland who are Deaf and use British Sign Language have not had the right support to reach their full potential at primary and secondary school as many teachers of deaf children are not as well-qualified as they should be in order to communicate effectively with students whose first language is BSL."

Third sector / equality organisation - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland

Post-school transitions and Further Education

There was a belief that additional support for learning should not stop when a young person leaves school. The necessity for additional support for learning to be continued on to support post-school transitions and be provided in Further Education and helping young people into work was emphasised. Negative experiences of the transition process were provided. It was also suggested that courses teaching life skills for independent living might be helpful in preparing young disabled people for life after school.

"We recognise that additional support for learning should not only support disabled children and young people to receive quality education - preferably within our mainstream system - but it should also support them through transitions between education settings, and from education into work. 'Special' schools often provide courses on life skills for independent living. We cannot comment on the outcomes of those, but our consultations suggest that this is an important consideration, as long as it is in addition to appropriate formal education, rather than replacing it. Further we suggest that work on good practice in transitions, such as that produced by ARC Scotland is taken on board when considering additional support requirements."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Dissatisfaction with current additional support for learning ( ASL) provision in schools

Some consultees highlighted their dissatisfaction with current additional support for learning provision in schools.

"I welcome the Scottish Government's continued commitment to effective implementation of additional support for learning, but this must be sufficiently funded to ensure effective implementation. I have received many letters from parents on cuts to funding and how this has affected ASL support."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

Engagement

Engagement with disabled children and young people and their families and relevant stakeholders was highlighted as important.

"It is crucial that children and their families have a real opportunity to influence how their support is provided, and this is not merely a box-ticking exercise."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

Critical comments

A number of consultees were critical of this commitment. Key concerns raised included: concerns that the Education Scotland Bill creates barriers to children and young people accessing additional rights; a capacity test for children should not be introduced; and children should not have to wait until the age of 12 to access rights. It was also commented that Education Authorities should ensure that children are supported to understand their rights, rather than prevent them from accessing those rights. A concern was raised about whether schools would honestly report if they had unmet ASL needs. A more general criticism was that there were insufficient commitments for education and training included in the draft delivery plan.

Complaints were made that the Education Bill reverses the presumption of capacity by placing the onus on the young person to prove that they have legal capacity and can exercise their rights, when in other circumstances a twelve year old is presumed to have capacity.

"The schedule to the Education (Scotland) Bill which seeks to extend rights to children aged 12-15 years in relation to the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. Whilst I welcome the policy intention, my view is that the way in which the Scottish Government is seeking to extend these rights is deeply flawed. Rather than freely extending rights to children, the Bill places a number of barriers that may prevent them from doing so. In order to exercise their rights, a child must successfully negotiate two assessments; 1.) a 'capacity assessment', carried out by the Local Education Authority or an Additional Support Needs Tribunal and then 2.) an 'adverse effect on well-being' assessment. The Government sees these as being necessary to safeguard the well-being of a child. I believe that they are unnecessary. Rather than empowering children, they ensure that the balance of power remains in the hands of adults."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

"Inclusion Scotland considers that rather than placing a duty on Education Authorities or Tribunals to assess whether a child has capacity, the duty should be on Education Authorities or Tribunals to enable a child to understand the process and risks in exercising their rights. This includes ensuring that the child has the support they need to ensure their understanding."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Other

Other comments included concerns raised about the attainment gap between children with additional support needs and those without, which was seen as an indication that additional support for learning was not adequately meeting the needs of young people with additional support needs. It was commented that low attainment can have a negative impact on future job prospects, and it was also suggested that disabled young people should be taught independent skills for living. A local authority provided an example of how, through Curriculum for Excellence, they ensured that all young people were fully included in learning.

"We are concerned that disabled children are not receiving adequate additional support to receive a quality education on par with their non-disabled peers. As it stands, 8.4% of children with additional support needs ( ASN) leave school with no qualifications at Standard Grade or beyond, compared to 1% of children with no ASN. Our consultations, which included people with ASN, highlighted that factors such as large class sizes and geographical variation in the capacity of mainstream schools to support children with ASN are impacting on the quality of education they receive."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Supporting the learning of disabled children and young people is a vital starting point for disabled people's participation in the job market. Lower educational attainment impacts on disabled people's job opportunities. We note that the employment rate for disabled people has fallen to 40.8% despite the employment rate for working age people rising overall to 74.4%. Disabled people are being left behind in this upward climb."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Strategy and Performance

Commitment 37. Anti-Bullying -respectme and review and refresh of the 'National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland's Children and Young'

37. Anti-bullying - the Scottish Government will continue to support Scotland's national anti-bullying service respectme and develop strategic anti-bullying work through the review and refresh of the National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland's Children and Young. A priority for this service will be an inclusive approach to anti-bullying which includes prejudice-based bullying and takes consideration of the protected characteristics, including disability. (ongoing)

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment. A number reflected on the experience of bullying for disabled young people, pointing out that they were at greater risk of bullying than other young people. A number of comments were made around the implementation of this commitment and suggestions for alternative approaches to tackling bullying were also put forward. Table 45, below, shows the key themes.

Table 45: themes identified under commitment 37

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 12
The experience of bullying for young people with disabilities 11
Implementation 9
Other approaches suggested to tackle bullying 8
Critical comments 1
Other 2

Generally supportive

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment to anti-bullying, which takes consideration of the protected characteristics, including disability into account.

"Agree that this is a key issue for many disabled people and connects to the social stigma that continues to be attached to disability. Bullying was highlighted as their top challenge at school by attendees at the Deaf learners Conference which was held in partnership between NDCS and Education Scotland in February 2015."

Third sector / equality organisation - National Deaf Children's Society

"We endorse the Scottish Government's commitment to its national anti-bullying service and its strategic anti-bullying work. We are pleased that this importantly accounts for protected characteristics such as disability."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

The experience of bullying for young people with disabilities

The experience of bullying amongst disabled young people was discussed and it was observed that they are at greater risk of being bullied than other young people. The specific experiences of D/deaf young people, young people with learning disabilities and young people with communication support needs were highlighted by consultees. One individual commented that whilst a school's anti-bullying strategies might look good on paper, they were not always effective in practice.

"We note that disabled children are twice at risk of long-term bullying in schools compared to non-disabled children; and we believe that procedures for identifying and addressing disability related bullying are currently insufficient. We hope that Scottish Government will make specific efforts to address this issue."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

It was also pointed out that disabled young people are not a homogenous group and might experience bullying as a result of having more than one protected characteristic, for example being disabled and gay, and that such intersectionality was often overlooked. Links between stigma and bullying, and bullying and hate crime were also commented upon. It was commented that wider approaches to tackling stigma would be helpful, and that tackling bullying could be preventative against future hate crime.

"More widely, bullying is connected to the social stigma that is attached to disabled people and permeates all aspects of their lives. Stigma and discrimination continues to exist which has an impact on life outcomes for disabled children and young people. This stigma is a fundamental barrier in promoting their equal access. Whether consciously acknowledged or not, stigma shapes how disabled people are viewed needs to be challenged boldly. Changing public attitudes and perceptions towards people with disabilities and ensuring communities are inclusive and supportive is key. A nationally led public campaign to help stamp out the stigma which causes bullying, hate crime and other negative attitudes would be helpful commitment to make progress towards a fairer society for all in Scotland. The See Me campaign has been highly successful in achieving change. A campaign of similar dimensions to support changing attitudes is vital to ensuring we build the capacity of communities."

Third sector / equality organisation - National Deaf Children's Society

Implementation

A number of comments were made about implementing this commitment, including: the importance of providing for speech language and communication needs; engaging with stakeholders; monitoring plans and polices; learning from resources used in other areas; the need to inform and train teachers around this anti-bullying approach; including mental health issues in the campaign; and promoting greater awareness of respectme.

"The teaching workforce needs to be fully informed and educated about this approach. Consideration that in fact the teachers approach may be disrespectful and detrimental to the child should also be taken into account. Support and supervision for teaching staff is crucial in order to ensure that this is implemented."

Academic or Research Institute - PAMIS

Other approaches suggested to tackle bullying

It was commented that better procedures for monitoring and tackling disability-related bullying were needed. Other approaches to tackling bullying were also suggested including: disability equality training for all children as part of Curriculum for Excellence; employing more support staff; school accessibility plans should take into account bullying and discrimination; locally funded campaigns; developing tools to address bullying; and promoting inclusion and diversity in schools.

"As part of its strategic anti-bullying work we encourage Scottish Government to commit to the provision of disability equality training as part of the Curriculum for Excellence… Disability Equality training should not be restricted to agencies working with children, but should be a core part of every child's education. This

would help to challenge prejudice-based behaviours early on; and promote a better understanding of difference amongst our next generation of active citizens."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"In terms of bullying of disabled children at school one respondent saw that 'more support staff in school can be the difference between children having someone to turn to at break and lunch at school or bullying going unreported.'"

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Critical comments

One consultee who was critical of this commitment, stated:

"This statement misses the point that you need to identify different types of bullying e.g. from teachers, pupils, other children's parents etc. and have strategies to develop a community that appreciates the contributions and capabilities of disabled children."

Individual

Other

Amongst the other comments, one local authority provided information about the Respectful Relationships Policy that they have in place.

"This has at its heart an inclusive approach to anti-bullying which includes prejudice-based bullying and takes consideration of the protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010."

Local government - East Ayrshire Council

Youth and Adult Employability and Skills Development

Commitment 38. Overarching commitment from Fair Work Directorate

38. Overarching commitment from Fair Work Directorate - the Scottish Government's aim is that disabled people, including young disabled people, get the opportunities and support they need to progress towards, enter and keep employment suitable to their needs and skills through the following projects:

Consultees who commented were generally supportive of this commitment. Comments were made about its implementation, and it was seen as important that adequate support was provided. Table 46, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 46: themes identified under commitment 38

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 14
Support 5
Implementation 5
Equality Duties 4
Engagement 2
Other 8

Generally supportive

Consultees who commented were generally supportive of this commitment.

"We welcome measures to support disabled people get the opportunities they need to progress towards, enter and keep employment suitable to their needs and skills. In line with Article 27 that states disabled people have the right to access the labour market on an equal basis with others and is open and inclusive, the Scottish Government should deliver a comprehensive commitment on how this will be realised. This should include the promotion of meaningful employment that ensures a worker receives a fair pay, and where possible is not low-skilled and parochial work."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Support

It was stated that providing disabled people with adequate support to look for and engage with work was important. It was also felt that it was necessary to co-ordinate this support to avoid duplication of effort.

"We are in agreement with this and believe this has links to re focused planning on how support is provided for individuals with disabilities in a more asset based way. We believe that the effective co-ordination of these cross cutting activities will be essential to avoid duplication or even conflict of effort and activity. We think it is important to find the correct balance in this work - focusing on assets and the contribution that disabled people make to the work place and education as well as on the barriers they face."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

Implementation

A number of comments were made relating to the implementation of this commitment including: the necessity of inclusive communication; promoting schemes widely in schools and to disabled people; monitoring progress; and ensuring that schemes are designed to be inclusive from the start.

"We suggest that more outreach into schools is required to increase awareness of the opportunities and support."

Third sector / equality organisation - Thistle Foundation

"We must ensure initiatives like the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme are designed to ensure inclusion from the outset."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

Equality Duties

The role of employers in relation to Equality Duties was mentioned. It was thought that employers required more education around Equality Duties, and that more should be done to monitor compliance with Equality Duties.

"We need to educate employers to achieve a better understanding of how The Equality Act, 2010 promotes positive action to improve participation of protected groups in society, including disability."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

"Disabled people also told us that the greatest barrier to their employment were the discriminatory attitudes of employers. They believed that Scottish Government needed to do more to challenge such attitudes to ensure that equality policies and the public sector duty were not just paid lip-service but were acted on. They suggested that regulatory bodies such as Audit Scotland, the Schools Inspectorate, Care Commission etc. should be given a role in verifying that other public bodies were complying with their equality and diversity policies."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Engagement

The necessity of engaging with disabled people, disabled people's groups and third sector groups with relevant expertise was highlighted.

"However disabled people told us that disabled people themselves needed to be involved in the policy formulation process of the Fair Work Directorate. This is because only we have the lived experience and knowledge necessary to identify and overcome barriers to disabled people's employment. Disabled people suggested that DPOs were well placed to represent them and that the process had to be an on-going one rather than a one-off so that progress could be monitored."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Other

A wide range of other comments were received including: the commitment was a "bit vague"; the focus should be on all disabled people; a request for quotas to be introduced around the number of disabled staff in the public sector; that fair pay and conditions are required; taking an assets based approach; the role of volunteering; that disabled people should not be required to do unpaid work in order to access benefits; and the need to consider those whose disability means they can't work and how their needs can be met through education and purposeful activity.

"People with [profound and multiple learning disabilities] PMLD will not access employment but will lose skills if they are no longer enabled to access life-long education. Consideration of on-going access to education and the development of purposeful and meaningful activities is required as this group are not having their aspirations met."

Academic or Research Institute - PAMIS

Commitment 39. Investment in Developing the Young Workforce and further investment to support young people with barriers to employment including disability

39. Developing the Young Workforce - the Scottish Government will invest a further £16.6 million this year to deliver our commitments to Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy. The focus is to reduce inequality and to further improve learning options for young people including young disabled people to prepare for work.

We are also investing a further £16.3 million to support young people with barriers to employment including disability for:

Third Sector employers to create up to 1000 job training opportunities in 2015-16, as part of the next phase of Community Jobs Scotland, including providing support for up to 18 months for young disabled people.

Small employers to recruit over 2000 young people with barriers, including young disabled people, to employment and to support employers to recruit Modern Apprentices through Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive.

Third Sector organisations to provide specialist in-work support for young people (including young disabled people) aged 16-29 who face barriers to sustaining employment.

We will increase the take-up of Modern Apprenticeships by young disabled people and young people from BME backgrounds, and to significantly reduce gender segregation within Modern Apprenticeship frameworks.

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment. There was criticism leveled at modern apprenticeships in relation to the very low level of participation by disabled people, and it was stated that this should be addressed. The need for support for disabled people and employers was discussed, and it was stated that certain groups of disabled young people might require more attention in order to enable them to enter the workplace. Table 47, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 47: themes identified under commitment 39

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 8
Specific focus on certain groups 7
Support for disabled people and employers 7
Modern apprenticeships and disabled young people 7
Implementation 6
Need to address wider issues around transition from education 4
Engagement 3
Enhance role of volunteering leading to paid work 3
Critical comments 1
Other 10

Specific focus on certain groups

Some consultees mentioned specific groups that they believed required more attention. This included suggestions for more investment to support those who are furthest from the labour market, focusing on those with learning disabilities and upon D/eaf people. In particular, it was noted that current qualification requirements to become an apprentice exclude many of people with learning disabilities who may have the necessary skills to be a good apprentice but are unable to meet the required qualifications.

"Increased support for young people with a disability who are not ready for college or employment when they leave school would be beneficial - e.g. intensive support for 6 - 12 months on leaving school focused on helping them prepare and develop the necessary skills."

Local government - Perth and Kinross Council

"However, we believe more can be done to improve participation by people with a learning disability and would like to see a further commitment to ensure this group are specifically considered in the plan. While disabled people are only half as likely to be in work as non-disabled people, the rate of people with learning disabilities in a full time job is only 12%. Currently applicants normally need to have a minimum of three qualifications at National 4/ SCQF Level 4 to apply for a Modern Apprenticeship. This immediately excludes people who have lower literacy and numeracy skills as a result of a learning disability."

Third sector / equality organisation - Lead Scotland

"Serious consideration should be given to the Modern Apprenticeship scheme. One of the barriers faced by many adults with [Downs Syndrome] Ds is the lack of flexibility of employment schemes like [Modern Apprenticeships] MAs; at present this scheme excludes a significant amount of people due to eligibility/assessment criteria which do not reflect the variety of skills of all young adults in Scotland. Many people with Ds would make great modern apprentices if given a chance… MAs offer great opportunities to a lot of young people to access work and the Scottish Government needs to ensure that young people with learning disabilities are not being left out."

Third sector / equality organisation - Downs Syndrome Scotland

Support for disabled people and employers

Support for young people and employers was emphasised. It was believed that young people would require practical support, information and guidance, but it was also believed that there was a need to support young people's aspirations by providing reasonable adjustments and tackling employer's attitudes. It was also suggested that a support worker could work with a young person and employer.

"Young disabled people we talked to expressed diverse aspirations to become - chefs, hairdressers, bus-drivers, media workers, conservationists/forestry workers, actors, dancers, beauty therapists and care workers. Many had been thwarted in their ambitions by being told, by careers advisors, and employers, that they were not suitable for these careers because of their impairments. Yet, as the young disabled people pointed out, they felt that they could have taken on these roles if suitable training and reasonable adjustments (such as being allowed to work part-time) had been put in place… These experiences had led young disabled people to have low expectations about getting into paid employment. These low expectations were often reinforced by unpaid/voluntary work becoming their main source of employment."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"This would be a good opportunity for young people especially young disabled however who will provide the support? For young people with ASD and learning disabilities it would be important to have some support worker or a trained supporter to whom the employers can work with and have someone to liaise with if there are any difficulties within the workplace."

Individual

Modern apprenticeships and disabled young people

There was criticism of the modern apprenticeship scheme. The very low uptake of modern apprenticeships amongst disabled people (quoted as being around 0.2 - 0.3% by consultees) was a source of concern. The new Skills Development Scotland Action Plan on Equality was mentioned and it was hoped that this would improve the number of disabled young people undertaking a modern apprenticeship. It was thought that ambitious targets should be set for the number of disabled young people undertaking modern apprenticeships and that there was a need to monitor investment to see if it actually benefited disabled people.

"We want the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) to set ambitious participation targets for more young people who are Deaf or have hearing loss to take up Modern Apprenticeship opportunities - and make sure that appropriate specialist support via third sector partners is provided."

Third sector / equality organisation - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland

"Young disabled people's experience of the Modern Apprenticeship scheme was not good. Those we talked to thought that the range of opportunities offered to them was narrow and that in some cases they were discriminated against. For example one young disabled person asked about a Hairdressing apprenticeship and was told - 'They're not really for disabled people'."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Road show participants felt that most money would go to creating apprenticeships. Given the poor record of including disabled young people in the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme it was felt that this investment should be closely monitored to ensure that it benefits disabled young people."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

There were calls for people with learning disabilities to be given access to modern apprenticeships, noting the importance of personal competencies over academic qualifications, and suggestions for the provision of modern apprenticeships which require lower levels of qualifications.

"While we appreciate Training Providers set these minimum entry levels to meet the demands of Scottish employers in consultation with the Scottish Skills Council's, sectors such as healthcare, retail, hospitality and catering will always have entry level vacancies that place higher value on personal competencies rather than literacy and numeracy skills. Skills Development Scotland could contract specialist Training Providers who have expertise of working with this cohort [young people with learning disabilities], to develop a Modern Apprenticeship at a lower level designed to meet the needs of these businesses. While young adults with learning disabilities do not make up a large proportion of the general Scottish population, there are still thousands of 16-24 years olds within this group not in education, employment or training ( LDSS Report 2014). Therefore, if the government wants to ensure all young people have fair access to a variety of jobs, regardless of the barriers they face, as per the aims laid out in Developing the Young Workforce, then further commitment is required to effectively support people with learning disabilities into a Modern Apprenticeship."

Third sector / equality organisation - Lead Scotland

Implementation

Some comments were made around the implementation of this commitment, including the need for inclusive communication, widely promoting the commitment, especially to those about to leave school, and the need for more clarity around funding and support for young people.

"Developing the Young Workforce" could helpfully consider committing to invest in enhancing the [speech language and communication] SLC abilities of young unemployed people - and supporting employers to implement a inclusive communication standard in order to enable access to work for so many young people."

Academic or Research Institute - Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

"We suggest that more outreach is required into schools to increase disabled children and young people's awareness of opportunities and support."

Third sector / equality organisation - Thistle Foundation

Need to address wider issues around transition from education

The wider issue of transition from school to work and from child to adult services was raised, and it was stated that young people required additional support at this point in order to help make these transitions successfully.

"The difficulties around transition to adulthood for disabled young people is continually raised as being a serious issue. It is essential that we address social, systemic and structural difficulties which are often faced by disabled young people at this time of their lives."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

"There is a need for resources to be committed to support transitions and career management skills and preparation for disabled people in relation to CVs, interviews, work experience and work placements while at college."

Academic or Research Institute - College Development Network

Engagement

The importance of engaging with disabled people and their organisations was emphasised.

"However as with all such Action Plans we believe that disabled people and their representative organizations need to be involved from the outset, and throughout, in identifying barriers to participation, formulating strategies to overcome them and monitoring their implementation."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Enhance role of volunteering leading to paid work

Some consultees commented that disabled people can volunteer for a long period of time, without this leading to paid employment, and that this can lead to low aspirations and expectations in disabled people as they lose hope of moving on to paid employment. It was thought that more needed to be done to enhance the role of volunteering as a stepping stone to paid work.

"I have also heard numerous accounts of young people volunteering for a considerable length of time, without this leading to paid employment. This needs to be addressed and initiatives which promote access to employment of disabled young people supported and enhanced."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

"These low expectations were often reinforced by unpaid/voluntary work becoming their main source of employment. Some disabled people had been volunteering for lengthy periods (one for over 20 years). Although when they started they felt that volunteering gave them a sense of making a contribution and allowed them to acquire work-skills they resented that they could never seem to translate their volunteering experience into paid work."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Critical comments

A concern was raised that young disabled people might be over-looked as they were not the specific focus of this commitment.

Other

A range of other comments were received including: the need to support disabled children and young people from the early years onwards; a desire to see disabled work placements created across the public sector; a reminder that disabled young people are not a homogeneous group and that intersectionality between other equality strands should be considered; employers should better understand their equality duties; travel needs can be a barrier, especially in rural areas; monitoring and safe guarding the future of Access to Work; and wanting the abolition of zero hours contracts. One local authority provided an example of what they plan to do in the area of youth employment.

"Disabled people wanted to see Government departments and the NHS not only "talking the talk" but "walking the walk" and themselves developing a programme of work placements in the civil service, health settings and other public agencies for young disabled people."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

" LGBT and refugee disabled people experienced different layers of discrimination which doubly disadvantaged them and they felt that these intersectional issues also needed to be addressed."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Commitment 40. Supported Employment Model

40. Supported Employment Model - the Scottish Government will continue to support and promote this model for disabled people to learn on the job with support from colleagues and a job coach. We have developed a Personal Development Award and are working with partners including local authorities to promote using this to increase the quality of the workforce and delivery of supported employment.

This commitment received relatively few comments, but the majority of those who did comment were supportive of it. A number of comments related to the implementation of the commitment. Table 48, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 48: themes identified under commitment 40

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 10
Implementation 10
Engagement 1
Critical comments 3
Other 2

Implementation

A number of comments were made around the implementation of this commitment. It was suggested that a range of models were needed and that the supported employment model should not dominate. There were comments on the need for consistency across Scotland, with claims that supported employment provision was a "post code lottery". It was thought that the supported employment model should be flexible, person-centred, and should support those already in work as well as those seeking work, and that there was scope to extend such schemes to the private sector. The importance of inclusive communication and the need to promote and advertise schemes widely were also highlighted. The importance of the role of job coach was commented on.

"Some disabled people we talked to were supportive of the Supported Employment Model as a means of obtaining training, employment and work experience. However they pointed out that the provision of Supported Employment was at best patchy and at worst a post-code lottery meaning that to access it might mean travelling considerable distances."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Leonard Cheshire Disability knows from our experience of supporting disabled people into work that effective employment support should be person centred and designed to help overcome an individual's specific disability related barriers. For this reason we support the Scottish Government's aim to promote the supported employment model. However, we believe there is scope to make further progress in this area, particularly in organisations outside of the public sector. We would welcome increased engagement with private sector employers to show how they can apply the supported employment model to their business."

Third sector / equality organisation - Leonard Cheshire Disability

Engagement

The importance of engaging with disabled people was commented on.

"We welcome the commitment to support and promote the model of supported employment but feel that one model in this regard should not dominate. We need a range of models to support disabled people in the workplace that are flexible in regards to changing needs. In practice, this requires disabled people being regularly consulted by their employer and involved with co-producing 'reasonable adjustments' that are regularly reviewed."

Third sector / equality organisation - Capability Scotland

Critical comments

The following concerns were raised: the system could be bureaucratic and place additional stress on disabled people, and risked positive discrimination occurring.

Other

Other comments received included: the importance of challenging attitudes towards and expectations of disabled people's abilities to work; and an example of what a local authority is currently doing around supported employment.

"A task force examining the [supported employment model] SEM concluded that disabled people are "held back by low expectations of their ability to gain full-time employment". Addressing this should be a priority for the Scottish Government."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Commitment 41. Supported Businesses

41. Supported Businesses - these are businesses where at least 30% of the staff are disabled. Around 20 of these businesses in Scotland employ 600 people. We will support the development and sustainability of supported businesses particularly procurement and business support.

There were relatively few comments related to this commitment, and opinion was divided as to whether or not supported businesses were a good idea. Some thought that supported businesses segregated and had the potential to stigmatise disabled people. The Scottish Government's commitment to supported businesses was also questioned following recent closures of supported businesses. Table 49, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 49: themes identified under commitment 41

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Critical comments 8
Generally supportive 7
Implementation 7
Other 1

Critical comments

The following issues were raised: supported businesses were segregating and potentially stigmatising; it was better to have "reasonable adjustments" in wider employment; work provided by supported businesses does not provide a meaningful occupation for disabled people.

"Some disabled people though are opposed the Supported Employment Model. They felt that disabled people should be integrated into the general workforce thus developing awareness and acceptance of impairments amongst the general population. They pointed out that, in contrast, the Remploy model separated and segregated disabled people from the non-disabled population."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Questions were raised about how committed the Scottish Government was to supported businesses, following the closure of such businesses as Remploy, the Engine Shed and Blind Craft. It was also thought that better business planning was required to support such businesses to survive.

"Regardless of their support for, or opposition to, supported employment disabled people were united in their condemnation of the closure of a number of supported businesses due to a lack, or withdrawal, of support from local and central Government ( e.g. Remploy, Blindcraft, the Engine Shed, etc.)"

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Generally supportive

Consultees who were supportive of the commitment recognised the benefits that supported employment could provide for disabled people.

"Over 90% of respondents supported this commitment. One respondent felt that supported businesses 'are wonderful for providing meaning and self-worth to disabled young people. They are also an excellent rung onto the employment ladder for some to develop skills that cannot be learnt in the classroom'."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Implementation

A number of comments related to the implementation of this commitment including suggestions that supported businesses should receive government subsidies and benefit from getting public service contracts. Comments were also made around: the potential for other businesses to learn from supported businesses; the need for employers to receive support and training around employing disabled people; the importance of technology; considering whether legislation is required relating to supported businesses; and considering job opportunities for highly qualified disabled people. It was also mentioned that being in "good" work can have benefits for disabled people's wider wellbeing, and that this link should be promoted more to employers.

"Participants at one engagement event were keen that organizations who drew more than 30% of their workforce from disabled people should receive a government subsidy. Their personal experience of Supported Employers was that they were more supportive of disabled people's needs and more prepared to make reasonable adjustments."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Employment of disabled people could be more closely linked to community benefit clauses, where businesses that can prove they are supportive of a diverse workforce, benefit from public sector contracts. Unemployment is linked to social exclusion, lower productivity and reduced tax revenues; whereas people's health and wellbeing is improved by 'good work', and people moving into work are less likely to use health and social care services. These links need to be more clearly explained and promoted to businesses in Scotland."

Third sector / equality organisation - Capability Scotland

Other

One comment stated what a local authority was doing in relation to supported businesses.

Commitment 42. Establishment of a Fair Work Convention

42. Establishment of a Fair Work Convention - this is an independent body supported by the Scottish Government which provides advice on how workplaces can be made fairer and more productive. It will provide a practical plan for promoting a new type of dialogue between employers, employees and trade unions, public bodies and the Scottish Government. (ongoing until 2020)

Not many consultees commented on this commitment but those who did were generally supportive. Table 50 , below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 50: themes identified under commitment 42

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 7
Implementation 3
Engagement 3
Critical comments 4
Other 1

Implementation

A small number of comments were received around the implementation of this commitment. They included: the necessity of inclusive communication; the need for co-ordination of cross-cutting action; and the importance of up-to-date guidance and advice for employers.

"Respondents agreed that businesses would benefit from guidance about creating a fairer and productive workforce and felt up-to-date advice on equalities legislation would benefit employers: 'Equality is a continually evolving practice. It feeds on information and the status quo of aspects of society. For businesses to be able to manage changes easily and trust that guidance is accurate is very important.'"

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Engagement

The necessity of engagement with relevant stakeholders, including disabled people, was emphasised. It was commented that the third sector should be explicitly mentioned in the commitment and be engaged as a partner.

"We welcome the aims and objectives of the Fair Work Convention to ensure that workplaces are fairer and more productive. It is important that this process includes all relevant stakeholders, in particular taking into account the lived in experiences of disabled people who may have encountered barriers or discrimination within the labour market."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Critical comments

The following issues were raised: not believing that the commitment would contribute to more disabled people being employed; the belief that it lacks disabled people's representation; and the opinion that the commitment was a vague.

"Disabled people's comments about the Fair Work Convention were similar to those on the Fair Work Directorate. They were unsure about how this would contribute to more disabled people being employed when it had, as far as they were aware, no disabled members and no remit to increase the number of disabled people in employment. Inclusion Scotland would echo these doubts. All of the aims of the Fair Work Convention seem laudable but few of them seem to relate directly to disabled people (though disabled people being over-represented in entry level jobs would benefit from action which increased the proportion of low paid workers receiving the living wage)."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Commitment 43. Disability Employment Services in Scotland

43. Disability Employment Services in Scotland - the Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament will have all powers over support for unemployed people currently contracted by the Department of Work and Pensions at a UK level. Contracts for specialist employment services for disabled people end on 31 March 2017 and if new powers to deliver these services transfer to the Scottish Parliament on time, new employment services will need to be in place by 1 April 2017.

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment and emphasised that the service should be person-centred and outcomes focused. A number of comments were made about how such a service should be implemented. Some dissatisfaction with current services was also expressed. Table 51, below, highlights the key themes identified.

Table 51: themes identified under commitment 43

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 11
Ethos of the service - should be "person-centred" 6
Implementation 11
Engage with and fund third sector to provide support 2
Dissatisfaction with current service 2

Ethos of the service - should be "person-centred"

There was general support for the establishment of a disability employment service in Scotland. It was stated, however, that in order for the service to be successful and meet the needs of disabled people, it needed to be person-centred and flexible, offer choice and control to the disabled person and realise the range of barriers faced by different groups of disabled people. The importance of having compassion towards the disabled person was also highlighted by one consultee. Another consultee spoke of the need for joined up employment services, as young people often lost access to careers advice and support when they left school.

"Support needs to be focused on the person, be portable across different jobs or contracts, and offer choice and control in how it is used to achieve agreed outcomes… This requires investment in disability employment support that disabled people can control if they wish ( e.g. Access to Work, peer support and mentoring, support to gain and maintain employment) and a commitment to providing outcome-focused person-centred support which makes a measurable difference to disabled people's lives."

Third sector / equality organisation - Capability Scotland

"However the devolution of Disability Employment Services to Scotland must ensure that programmes offer both flexibility and compassion to those participating. The devolution of powers provides the Scottish Government the opportunity to oversee a programme that offers meaningful employment for disabled people and does not force individuals into work where it may not be suitable. Moreover, employment services must be tailored in order to be most effective at supporting people with different types of disabilities and needs."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Implementation

A number of comments were made about how this commitment should be implemented. It was stated that investment and reform of the current system was needed. The necessity for inclusive communication, including adequate support for D/deaf BSL users, was also highlighted. It was also suggested that a local element was required, and that disability awareness training should be provided for people working in job centres.

"Poor disability awareness has been reported to me by young people on a number of occasions, particularly with relation to Job Centre staff… This points to a crucial need for disability awareness training."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

Engage with and fund third sector to provide support

It was suggested that the Scottish Government should engage with and fund third sector organisations with expertise in providing employment support for disabled people, in order to provide specialist support to help disabled people into work.

"To ensure that all people who are Deaf or have hearing loss across Scotland can be supported into training and employment, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland believes the Scottish Government needs to provide sustainable funding to third-sector partners who have a successful track record of specialist employability support. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is a member of the Open Doors Scotland employability support consortium which, since 2014, has supported more than 350 people in Scotland aged 16-24 and who have a disability in to work."

Third sector / equality organisation - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland

Dissatisfaction with current service

Some consultees highlighted their dissatisfaction with current Disability Employment Services.

"Young disabled people were generally disparaging of the Disability Employment services that are currently on offer. They were particularly negative about Job Centre Plus advisors. For example: "Job Centre staff should listen to disabled people more to understand what it's like - they act like I'm just lazy but they don't give me the help I need"… Until now the Work Programme has failed disabled people. The job outcome rate for disabled people on the Work Programme is only 5%, approximately one-fifth of the success rate for all referrals (24.7%)."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Commitment 44. Ensuring flexible and integrated support is put in place to support individuals with particular needs, including disabled people into work

44. Scottish Government Ministers are committed to ensuring flexible and integrated support is put in place to support individuals with particular needs, including disabled people into work as part of our ambitions for greater social justice and economic growth along with tackling inequality. A consultation will be launched in July 2017. (2017 onwards)

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment, and again stressed the need for support to be personalised. Table 52, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 52: themes identified under commitment 44

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 9
Implementation 7
Person-centred support 4
Employers 5
Barriers 4
Critical comments 1
Other 7

Implementation

A number of comments were made about how this commitment should be implemented. It was noted that support would need to be adequately resourced and that that supporting disabled people into sustainable work would lead to savings over the longer term. There were calls for more joined up working between agencies such as health and social care to support disabled people into work, by providing, for example, medical and social care support at times that fit in with a person's work pattern. Some consultees were supportive of more paid work experience opportunities, such as internships, which they believed could be helpful in getting disabled people into work, The importance of engaging with disabled people and their families was highlighted. One consultee felt that the employment and education restrictions associated with receiving Carers Allowance needed to be re-examined, in order to support more people with caring responsibilities entering the workforce.

"This should be person-centred and funding arrangements should reflect the greater savings that can be made by helping people into employment."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

"Action on Hearing Loss Scotland would like to see improved integration and communication across employment, health, care and other local support services. Employment support for people with a disability is not currently well integrated with other sources of support. Greater join up across different local agencies could improve a personalised approach and ensure a more seamless transition in to work."

Third sector / equality organisation - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland

Person-centred support

It was emphasised that support should be person-centred.

Employers

There were a number of comments around the role of employers in facilitating disabled people to enter into and sustain work. On the whole comments related to the recruitment process, noting the need for reasonable adjustments during recruitment and assessment processes and calling for greater transparency and feedback on how recruitment decisions are made. In addition it was suggested that more should be done to make employers aware of their duties under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

"Currently all employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for employees who are living with HIV. This can be to attend medical appointments or flexible working times, for example. However from inquiries we receive at HIV Scotland, we are aware of breaches and inconsistencies in the implementation of this legal requirement. We would like to see more action aimed at employers to make them aware of their duties and legal responsibilities under existing anti-discrimination legislation."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Barriers

There was some discussion around the need for disabled people, employers and a Disability Employment Service to identify and overcome the barriers that disabled people face when trying to enter or remain in the workplace. There was also a comment that discussions about barriers needed to be balanced by discussion about assets as well with a focus on the contribution that disabled people can make.

"We think it is important to find the correct balance in this work - focusing on assets and the contribution that disabled people make to the work place and education as well as on the barriers they face. Without their contribution the achievements of Scotland will be less."

Representative body for professionals - Social Work Scotland Ltd

Critical comments

One consultee was critical of the commitment because it does not mention existing local authority responsibilities to support people with mental health problems and learning disabilities to find and maintain employment. They did not believe that this responsibility was being effectively implemented or monitored.

"We are disappointed that the commitments make no mention of the existing responsibility of local authorities to support people with mental health problems and learning disabilities to find and maintain employment, as set out in s26 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. We are not confident that this duty is being effectively implemented or monitored, and this needs to be a priority. When the MWC recently visited people subject community based compulsory treatment orders, none were in full time employment, and only a tiny number had part time employment."

Public Body - Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

Other

It was commented that it was important to consider support for purposeful and meaningful activity for those for whom work is not an option due to their disability.

"Accessing work is important but people also have to have access to purposeful and meaningful activity - this may include volunteering which provides a valuable contribution to the economy, to society and to the communities in which people live."

Academic or Research Institute - PAMIS

Employment Tribunals

Commitment 45. Abolish fees for employment tribunals and consultation re barriers that disabled people face when raising a claim at an Employment Tribunal

45. We will abolish fees for employment tribunals and will consult with disabled people and their organisations to identify the particular barriers that disabled people face when raising a claim at an Employment Tribunal. (2016)

Commitment 45 received relatively few comments, but most were generally supportive. Table 53, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 53: themes identified under commitment 45

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 11
Implementation 9
Barriers 2
Need for employers to comply with Equalities Duties 2
Critical comments 1

Generally supportive

Consultees were generally supportive of this commitment, as it was believed that the high cost of tribunal fees acted as a barrier.

"Disabled people we engaged with welcomed this proposal wholeheartedly, as tribunal fees create a financial barrier to justice."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Members were strongly supportive of this commitment given that Disability Discrimination applications are currently subject to the highest fees (that is the full £1200) because of their legal complexity and the likely length of hearings".

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Implementation

Consultees focused on the need for inclusive communication, providing more support for disabled people and access to reasonably priced legal help. One consultee also commented on introducing a process to identify less meritorious applications. Consultees were supportive of the proposal to consult with disabled people and DPOs about the barriers disabled people face when raising a claim at an employment tribunal. It was also stated that consultation with disabled people and DPOs should happen first.

Barriers

It was suggested that further research around barriers to accessing Employment Tribunals was required. It was also noted that concerns around confidentiality could be a barrier to raising a case, as people may chose not to pursue a claim if it meant publically declaring their disability status.

"Any consultation on barriers that disabled people face when raising a claim should consider how confidentiality can be safeguarded as people living with HIV have highlighted this as a barrier to taking a case (they do not want to take a case if it means publicly disclosing their HIV status)."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Need for employers to comply with Equalities Duties

It was stated that employers should comply with Equalities Duties.

Critical comments

It was mentioned that the commitment would help only a small number of people and did nothing to address the situation of those who were not in employment.

Social Justice and Regeneration

Commitment 46. Disability Benefits Advocacy Support

46. Disability Benefits Advocacy Support - the Scottish Government will provide funding to the Health and Social Care Alliance (The ALLIANCE) for a co-production advocacy project in four pilot areas. It will focus on disabled people and those with health conditions who are being assessed for welfare benefits including Employment Support Allowance ( ESA) and Personal Independence Payment ( PIP). (2016)

Commitment 46 received relatively few comments, and they were universally supportive .There were also calls for advocacy services to be expanded. Table 54, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 54: themes identified under commitment 46

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 14
Expand advocacy services 6
Impact of cuts to welfare and benefits and dissatisfaction with, and stress caused by PIP and ESA assessment procedures 6
Implementation 3
Other 1

Generally supportive

Consultees were universally supportive of this commitment.

"This was deemed essential by respondents given the disproportionate impact on disabled people of the UK Government's cuts to social security and the fear experienced by disabled people undergoing reassessment for disability benefits that their awards will be reduced. Help was considered essential for disabled people claiming PIP and attending Work Capability Assessments with one respondent commenting that 'life can be difficult enough without having to jump through hoops and processes designed to trick and trip you up. Advocacy is very important in this area given the number of cases that are won on appeal.'"

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"This commitment has the potential to improve understanding of the impact of changes in welfare benefits on those with a disability or health conditions and provide a basis for mitigating action."

Local government - Stirling Council

Expand advocacy services

Consultees noted that this commitment was a pilot. There were calls for it to be extended nationwide. There was also an expectation that the Scottish Government would evaluate the pilot scheme and consider a national roll-out based on the results of the evaluation. One consultee called for a "one-stop shop" for advice and advocacy.

"There was a strong feeling that this should be a national service rather than a piloted initiative."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"Alzheimer Scotland has previously made the case for 'one-stop shop' services which provide information, support and advice for people, including people with dementia and their carers, which provides welfare rights advice and provides support to complete claims for benefits, housing, services etc. through a single advisor."

Third sector / equality organisation - Alzheimer Scotland

Impact of cuts to welfare and benefits and dissatisfaction with, and stress caused by PIP and ESA assessment procedures

One reason why this commitment was supported was because consultees acknowledged the negative impact that cuts to welfare and benefits, and the fear of cuts to benefits, can have on disabled people.

"Nearly all disabled people felt that receipt of benefits helped them to look for work. Conversely they felt less able to cope and under stress when their benefits were cut or taken away - making them less able physically and mentally to carry out job-search. Disabled LGBT people told us how they were put under huge stress by having their benefits taken away and then only after a prolonged struggle finally having them reinstated."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

In addition consultees spoke of dissatisfaction with and the stress caused by Personal Independence Payment ( PIP) and Employment Support Allowance ( ESA) assessments.

"Peer advocacy workers also told us that the disabled people they supported had been terribly affected by the stress of the assessment process for ESA and PIP, mandatory reconsiderations and sanctions. The stress that the DWP were subjecting disabled people to was not helpful in that they were being pushed towards work when they were not yet ready for it."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

Implementation

Consultees were concerned with the need for inclusive communication, including for D/deaf BSL users, and the necessity of consulting with and informing disabled people about any potential changes to the welfare system.

"Communication support needs are often "invisible" and the impacts on access to work are often poorly misunderstood. People with communication support needs are potentially particularly vulnerable to inaccurate assessments of their ability to work. Given this and the evidence that people with SLC needs are more likely to have difficulty accessing information required in order to utilise services; experience negative communication within public services and be unemployed, or employed at an inappropriately low level the Disability Benefits Advocacy Support could helpfully to implement an inclusive communication standard both in the pilots and encouraging benefits assessors to do the same (if they don't already)."

Academic or Research Institute - Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

"Under Article 28 there is a requirement for States to "promote the realisation" of the right to social protection for disabled people. In order for the Scottish Government to meet this requirement, it must ensure that all disabled people are informed and consulted well ahead of the introduction of any new welfare system in Scotland."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Other

One consultee stated that the wording of the commitment was potentially misleading and needed elaborating.

Reform of Local Taxation

Commitment 47. Future reform of local taxation will take into account the particular needs expressed by disabled people

47. Future reform of local taxation will take into account the particular needs expressed by disabled people.

Commitment 47 received relatively few comments, some of which were supportive, whilst others were critical. Those who were critical included those who felt the commitment was too vague and there was also uncertainty about how disabled people's views were going to be taken on board. Table 55, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 55: themes identified under commitment 47

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 10
Critical comments 7
Other 2

Critical comments

Whilst there was some support for this commitment, comments received were often mixed, with consultees saying that they supported it in principle but thought that the commitment was too vague, or were unsure how disabled people's views would be taken on board, or they doubted that it would actually be implemented in the current financial climate. There were also some suggestions that local authorities should be able to control and re-band council tax to fund local services.

"Whilst over 70% of online respondents support this commitment in principle, most who gave a written comment were very unclear as to what this commitment would actually mean for disabled people in practice."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"Supported in principle, but given the recent study on funding of Local Government and the Council Tax freeze, implementation of this objective appears particularly uncertain."

Individual

Other

Other comments expressed a concern about local authorities being given control over budgets, and that the views of families and carers should also be taken into account.

Social Security Policy and Delivery

Commitment 48. Establishment of a social security system that treats people with dignity and respect during their time applying for, being assessed and receiving disability benefits

48. Social Security for Disabled People - the Scotland Bill will transfer powers over social security benefits for disabled people including those with long-term health conditions and their carers. This will cover a series of benefits currently delivered by the UK Government through Disability Living Allowance ( DLA), Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance, Carer's Allowance, the Industrial Injuries Scheme, Severe Disability Allowance and the Motability Scheme. The Scottish Government is committed to establishing a social security system that treats people with dignity and respect during their time applying for, being assessed and receiving disability benefits. We will have an engagement and participation programme with disabled people and organisations that will be affected by the new social security powers. We will co-produce policy and delivery options. (2016-17)

Most consultees who commented were in favour of the establishment of a social security system that treats people with dignity and respect. Concerns were raised over UK Government cuts to welfare and the need for the Scottish Government to mitigate these. Dissatisfaction with the current system administered by the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP) was also expressed. There were many suggestions about how a future system could be improved. Table 56, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 56: themes identified under commitment 48

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Generally supportive 16
Suggestions for improving a future system 20
Dissatisfaction with current system administered by DWP 7
Concerns about UK Government cuts and the needs for the Scottish Government to mitigate these cuts 5
Critical comments 2
Other 1

Generally supportive

Most consultees were generally supportive of this commitment.

"96% of online respondents support this commitment. Respondents were clear that disabled people need improved social security benefits if they are to have any chance of being fully included in Scottish society."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"Leonard Cheshire is supportive of a human rights based approach to social security. We have previously expressed concerns about cuts to ESA, the work capability assessment and how unsuitable the work programme is for many disabled people. We hope that the Scottish Government can develop a system of social security which reflects the needs and barriers disabled people face in society."

Third sector / equality organisation - Leonard Cheshire Disability

Suggestions for improving a future system

A wide range of suggestions were offered as to how a future system could be improved based on consultees' experiences of the current social security system. Suggestions proposed by more than one consultee were: the need to overhaul assessments (3); introducing a system that does not dis-incentivise finding work (3); and better co-ordination between benefits, social care, work and education (2). Below is a list of suggestions which were only proposed once:

  • overhaul assessments
  • have a system that does not dis-incentivise finding work
  • better co-ordination between benefits, social care, work and education
  • engagement of disabled people and co-production
  • inclusive communication
  • ring fence funding for disability benefits
  • improve structure and process of PIP
  • reflect the needs and barriers of disabled people
  • dignity and respect needs to apply to outcomes as well as process
  • mechanisms for evaluation and improvement in consultation with disabled people
  • provide adequate information to disabled people and DPOs about any changes
  • consider added benefit for volunteering
  • training of staff
  • do not devolve further to LAs
  • reflect the five key principles of SCOWR's manifesto for change

There was a call to overhaul assessment processes which were often felt to be stressful, unnecessary and unfair. Disabled people should be supported through the assessment process, which should be fair and transparent. The assessment process should take into account the fluctuating nature of certain conditions, and people with long-term or degenerative conditions should not be forced to go through repeated reassessments. Medical or supporting evidence should, if possible, be provided by a professional who knows the individual.

"Furthermore, where the Scottish Government has responsibility for social security, the assessment process should be overhauled to ensure claimants are treated with compassion and dignity. Assessments should be wholly transparent, with individuals given the necessary support throughout the process. Moreover, assessments should take into account the fluctuating nature of conditions such as HIV."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

There were calls for a system which did not dis-incentivise working, and there were concerns that the current system did this, with disabled refugees expressing concern that taking up work could jeopardise their status. There were also concerns raised that people were put off attempting to work in case they were seen as "fully fit" for work, which was a particular concern for those with fluctuating conditions, who feared losing support, that they would then require if their condition were to deteriorate again.

"We suggest the lack of flexibility in the benefits system actively discourages disabled young people and adults to explore paid employment due to fear of being perceived to be completely 'fit for work', and for some people, knowing their condition/s will fluctuate and affect their ability to work. Some people fear that reductions in support because of 'success' in working may happen should their condition deteriorate in future. It is reasonable for people to have a 'safety net' in this context which encourages employability without fear of losing support."

Third sector / equality organisation - Thistle Foundation

Engaging with disabled people and co-producing the new system with them was highlighted as being important.

"It is, however, of critical importance that the delivery model for devolved disability benefits is produced in close collaboration with disabled people in part to ensure that the important distinction between social security and social care is not lost."

Third sector / equality organisation - Independent Living Fund Scotland

It was commented that dignity and respect needs to apply to outcomes as well as process.

"The principles of dignity and respect are important ones - this must not just apply to the process of applying, but to the outcomes for the person - i.e. that they can live their life with dignity and respect."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

Mechanisms for evaluation and improvement, in consultation with disabled people, were seen as playing an important role in any new system.

"These outcomes should be formally reviewed with disabled people, with clear timescales which will allow for rapid adjustment and improvement if it is found that there are flaws in any benefits managed by the SG. The benefits will need to be overseen by a structure which is not defensive in response to any criticisms, and which is agile enough to constantly improve."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

It was considered important to provide adequate information to disabled people and DPOs about any changes to the welfare system.

"Our report Welfare Reform: In Scotland highlighted that people living with HIV and in receipt of social security benefits faced challenges in accessing information on changes. Furthermore service providers expressed concern that the speed of the reforms are not allowing services time to understand them and adjust. The Scottish Government should take action to ensure that disabled people, and the organisations that support them, are equipped with the information/resources they need to navigate the welfare system and respond to reforms."

Third sector / equality organisation - HIV Scotland & NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Dissatisfaction with current system administered by DWP

Consultees expressed dissatisfaction with the current system administered by DWP. Consultees stated that they were not currently treated with dignity and respect, and concerns were expressed about assessment processes and fears of being forced into work that they did not feel capable of doing.

"Disabled people were supportive of there being fewer assessments in any future Scottish social security system as they thought that many assessments were stressful, unnecessary and unfair."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"Road show and online respondents felt that the current benefits system is devoid of respect and dignity: 'it treats everyone like they are lying and cheating. It is full of fear and often ignores advice of professionals working with the disabled person. The professional opinions of those working with a disabled person and supporting their condition should be respected.'"

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Concerns about UK Government cuts and the needs for the Scottish Government to mitigate these cuts

Linked with dissatisfaction with the current system were concerns about the UK Government's cuts to welfare spending, and the need for the Scottish Government to act to mitigate these cuts. It was acknowledged that the Scottish Government had mitigated these negative impacts, but it was believed that this should continue and that there was scope for more to be done. In particular it was noted that disabled children and young people, and children and young people who live with disabled family members are being disproportionately affected by welfare cuts.

"Many of the people we support and their families have concerns about the cumulative impact of welfare benefit cuts, care charges and increasingly high eligibility criteria which must be met to get any support. The welfare changes being made at a UK level will still affect disabled people in Scotland and it will be important that the powers to be held by the SG mitigate the negative effects as much as possible."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

"In the UK Children's Commissioners' report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, we (the Commissioners) highlighted the fact that disabled children and young people and those living with a disabled family member have been and continue to be disproportionately affected by Welfare Reform/ Government spending decisions made since 2010. This has resulted in a regression of disabled children's rights. The Scottish Government have helped to mitigate against these measures, but more can be done."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

Critical comments

A question was raised about how a new Scottish social security system would work in practice, and a lack of faith in the benefits system was expressed, with people being sceptical that changes would positively affect them.

"On the whole, people consulted were concerned they could be forced into work that they couldn't sustain, and although they agreed with the commitments regarding benefits, many were sceptical that welfare changes would really benefit them. This reflects a lack of trust in the benefits system as a whole."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

Q11: Are there any additional commitments and/or ways that you would strengthen the outcome 3 commitments that you have not already mentioned in your answers above?

Forty-six consultees responded to this question. Where a comment clearly fitted with a specific commitment, it was themed as part of the response to that commitment, rather than as part of question 11.

Comments at question 11 could be broadly divided into three main categories: comments on the delivery plan document and the commitments it contained; comments on the themes raised by the commitments; and critical comments on the Outcome 3 commitments. Table 57, below, shows the themes identified.

Some consultees noted their support for the commitments, although there were also comments that the commitments could go further or be more explicit. Additional commitments were suggested. Comments were also made relating to the broader themes raised by the commitments, particularly around employment. Criticisms, relating to education, were made of the commitments.

Table 57: themes identified for question 11

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Comments on the Delivery Plan Document 21
Supportive of these commitments 6
Commitments to add / focus more on 11
Other 4
Comments on themes raised by the commitments 24
Employment 19
Education 2
Other comments relating to themes raised by the commitments 3
Critical comments 3

Comments on the Delivery Plan Document

Supportive of these commitments

Some consultees noted their support for the commitments contained in Outcome 3, although it was also commented that the commitments could go further, or be more explicit.

"East Ayrshire Council fully supports the key objectives of this outcome; equal opportunity within education and paid employment, greater awareness of disabling barriers and appropriate benefits to meet additional living costs for those with a disability of impairment."

Local government - East Ayrshire Council

"As discussed above, Leonard Cheshire Disability is supportive of the principle of many of the commitments put forward in this plan. However, as outlined in our comments we believe that there are opportunities to further strengthen aspects of this plan in order to fully realise the aspirations of outcome 3. We look forward to the Scottish Government putting forward an ambitious plan for the future delivery of social security and employability programmes, which encompass the social model of disability and focus on overcoming an individual's specific disability related barriers to work."

Third sector / equality organisation - Leonard Cheshire Disability

Commitments to add / focus more on

Eleven comments related to commitments that consultees believed should be added to, or given more focus, within Outcome 3. Most of these related to employment (6), and education (5).

It was suggested that commitments relating to employment should be expanded to improve employment opportunities for disabled people across all workforces, rather than just those in supported employment, supported businesses, or the health and social care sector. It was also suggested that it was necessary to include more actions relating to the effects of low pay and poverty, including a commitment to address the pay gap experienced by disabled people and a commitment about training employers on mental health issues.

"At present commitments focus largely on supported employment, while commitments 22-24 (Integration of Health and Social Care) set out further opportunities for employment of disabled people within the sectors of Health and Social Care. A number of our members commented on the lack of commitments for employment of disabled people in other sectors."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"We would like the commitment to have more actions related to the effects of low income and poverty and how these matters can be addressed. The action plan could benefit from detailing how the Independent Living Fund could contribute to its aims and how this can be monitored and reviewed."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

"None of the commitments above appears to address the issue of the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled people. In its recent report Is Britain Fairer? The State of Equality and Human Rights 2015, the Equality and Human Rights Commission points out that 'in 2013 disabled people in England were paid 90 pence per hour less, and in Scotland up to £1.20 per hour less, than non-disabled people' (p.41). Down's Syndrome Scotland therefore believes that the delivery plan must include a commitment to address the pay gap issue and ensure that disabled people are not being discriminated against."

Third sector / equality organisation - Downs Syndrome Scotland

"It is suggested that the Delivery Plan should include a commitment to providing training to public, private sector and third sector employers on mental health issues and corresponding duties to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees… Employers must be aware of their duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable accommodations for employees experiencing mental illness."

Academic or Research Institute - Centre for Mental Health and Incapacity Law, Rights and Policy - Edinburgh Napier University

Additional commitments were suggested in relation to education, including: closing the disability attainment gap; improving careers advice; adult education; inclusive communication (including the communication needs of those with learning disabilities); and the need to improve education for D/deaf BSL users, with particular concerns being raised about the proficiency of BSL amongst those who teach D/deaf pupils.

"We know that disabled people are more likely to have poorer educational outcomes at all stages of education, but particularly during their school years. Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of a commitment that seeks to address the disability attainment gap."

Third sector / equality organisation - Equality Human Rights Commission and Scottish Human Rights Commission

"A commitment should be added on the need to review and improve career services, and the training of career advisers, in order to better promote the value of schemes like Modern Apprenticeships to people with learning disabilities… For disabled people to have the same opportunities as non-disabled people, these issues need to urgently be tackled so that services across Scotland actively support disabled people and fulfil their commitments under the UNCRPD."

Third sector / equality organisation - Downs Syndrome Scotland

"We would like to see further commitments put into place around Adult Learning. The pathway into employment is not necessarily linear and formal education after school is not always an appropriate option for some young people. This can particularly be the case for young disabled people who may need to take an alternative and more flexible route after school."

Third sector / equality organisation - Lead Scotland

"We are also of the view that one of the commitments under this outcome should deal with the importance of communication skills for children and young people with learning disabilities. As an example, commitment 36 explains that children will be able to directly influence the additional support that is provided to them. But that will only be the case if those children can communicate and share their views on the support they receive and if they are actually being listened to."

Third sector / equality organisation - Downs Syndrome Scotland

"As far as NDCS is aware the Scottish Qualifications Authority is the only exam board in the UK that does not offer language modification arrangements in exams and assessments for deaf pupils. In the absence of these arrangements, a commitment to inclusive communication for every learner in education settings is critical to ensure that no learner is left behind due to inaccessible educational materials and assessments."

Third sector / equality organisation - National Deaf Children's Society

"A further commitment should be on the education of Deaf children in our schools… I stressed the need to extend the pool of proficient teachers and interpreters. If this does not happen the situation will remain dire. Unsurprisingly these children will often have a higher level of fluency than the teacher in the language they are being taught. In addition, it is not unusual for teachers of specialist subjects relying on communication support workers to interpret a subject they have limited knowledge in."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

Other

Other, more general, comments revolved around age and transport. It was suggested that these commitments should apply to older people as well as younger people; that children and young people should be specifically referenced in the title of the outcome; and that Children's Rights and Wellbeing Assessments ( CRWIAs) should be carried out on all the commitments. There was also a comment on the importance of linking these commitments to transport policy, as transport is essential in accessing work and education.

Comments on themes raised by the commitments

Some consultees commented on the wider themes raised by the commitments, rather than specifically commenting on the commitments themselves. Most comments related to employment.

Employment

A number of comments were made relating to employment, including statements that employer attitude was the biggest barrier faced by disabled people. It was suggested that there should be a national campaign developed to promote the employment of disabled people and present a positive image of disabled people more widely. It was also suggested that disabled people should be involved in the recruitment process. Comments were made about the Access to Work scheme, and whilst it was noted that it was a reserved matter, it was stated that the Scottish Government had a role to play in marketing it, so that employers and employees were more aware of it. It was also thought that it should be extended to include volunteers. There were also calls for more local and national opportunities for training, work experience and volunteering; an increased focus on employment outcomes for those with learning disabilities; increased support for disabled people to enter into and retain work; and offering new incentives to employers to employ disabled people.

"Action on Hearing Loss has consistently found, when asking people with hearing loss about the barriers to employment, that the attitude of employers is the most significant challenge. For deaf or disabled people to have equal access to employment opportunities, more work needs to be done with Scotland's employers to help them to understand how to make their recruitment processes fully accessible and how to best support employees to continue working by making 'reasonable adjustments' for staff who lose their hearing or acquire a disability."

Third sector / equality organisation - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland

"Involve disabled people in a meaningful way in recruitment processes - e.g. advising on promoting diversity in Government, local government and NHS; reducing access barriers and making sure recruitment processes are fully accessible."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

"It was felt that 'Access to Work 'should be marketed in a way that ensures disabled people can see that there is support available, and also so that employers can see the 'financial benefits' of creating an inclusive workplace - rather than worry about costs that can lead to work place cultures where disabled people are made to feel like 'financial burdens'."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

"The Sayce Review described Access to Work as the Government's 'best kept secret' and DWP have acknowledged that many employers are still unaware of the programme, particularly in small and medium enterprises."

Third sector / equality organisation - Capability Scotland

Education

Comments relating to education included: the importance of closing the disability attainment gap, with suggestions that work underway to reduce the attainment gap could benefit disabled young people if inclusive communication is built in from the start; and a suggestion to research the outcomes of those who do and do not receive a college education to assess whether cuts to college places have been harmful to young people with learning disabilities.

"Closing the educational attainment gap in Scotland is rightly a key priority for the Scottish Government. The initiatives that are being taken forward to drive this forward also offer opportunities to achieve the aspiration of inclusive education for every learner, including those with additional support needs. The National Improvement Framework is an ideal opportunity to embed the principles of inclusive communication and ensure accessibility is built in from the very beginning. By committing to the clear principle that the Framework will be fully inclusive to every learner the Scottish Government can ensure the Delivery Plan is in line with and supports these ambitions."

Third sector / equality organisation - National Deaf Children's Society

Other comments relating to themes raised by the commitments

Other comments included: concern over the conflict between human rights and pre-natal screening; a call to abolish care charges; and a call for equality of access to social services for all disabilities.

Critical comments

All of the critical comments related to the education commitments. It was commented that there were insufficient commitments relating to education and transition; that it was unclear what is meant by education, and how these commitments would help to raise attainment; and that the commitments did not take into account the needs of those with complex needs and their need for access to life-long adult education.

"The Education aspects of this section are very limited - where are the statements and measures on the principle of inclusion established by the Standards in Scottish Schools Act? Why is there nothing relating to the Review of Disabled Children's services on the need for earlier, participatory and integrated transition planning?"

Individual

"It is not clear what is meant by 'Education' or how these points do anything to help children in school in terms of raising aspirations or attainment. I would argue that education for children with additional support needs (in general) varies from school to school and there should be more consistency."

Public Body - NHS Forth Valley (Women and Children's Sexual Health)

"We disagree that these commitments will progress the outcome because there is very little commitment to people with complex needs. These people will not access paid employment but do require access to purposeful and meaningful activity. They also require access to lifelong learning which is usually stopped once they reach 18. This is often at a time when they are developing skills which require to be maintained and built upon."

Academic or Research Institute - PAMIS


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