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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
8. Themes

220 page PDF

1.3MB

8. Themes

Section 3 of the delivery plan outlined three 'cross-cutting' themes - which are ways of working - which will underpin delivery of each of the outcomes. The themes were:

  • disabled people are empowered to participate fully
  • communication is accessible and inclusive of all
  • raising awareness - The barriers facing disabled people are known, understood and addressed

Q15: Do you agree or disagree that these are the most important themes that the Scottish Government needs to build in to the way it works across all activity to achieve the rights of disabled people?

Sixty-five consultees responded to this question. The majority of those who responded agreed that these were the most important themes. Three quarters agreed (75%), 9% disagreed and 14% said that they neither agreed nor disagreed.

Q15: Do you agree or disagree that these are the most important themes that the Scottish Government needs to build in to the way it works across all activity to achieve the rights of disabled people?

Q16: Please comment here on your response above, or if you have any further comments on the themes

Forty-five consultees provided comments for question 16. As table 66, below, shows, whilst most comments (26) came from those who agreed with the themes, all six of those who disagreed provided a comment.

Table 66: number of comments at Q16 by response to Q15

Answer to Q15 No. selecting this response No. of comments
Agree 49 26
Disagree 6 6
Neither Agree nor Disagree 10 8
Not answered 26 5
Grand total 91 45

Most of the comments at question 16, related to the three themes, with twice as many comments (30) on empowerment, as accessible communication or barriers (15 each). Other comments, particularly amongst those who disagreed with the themes, suggested other themes that should have been included, or criticised the themes that had been included. Amongst those who said that they disagreed or neither agreed nor disagreed, there was discussion around human rights, with a belief that the themes and commitments should be more human rights focused. Table 67, below, shows the key themes identified.

Table 67: key themes identified

Theme identified Number of comments relating to this theme
Theme 1 - Disabled people are empowered to participate fully 30
Theme 2 - Communication is accessible and inclusive of all 15
Theme 3 - The barriers facing disabled people are known, understood and addressed 15
Comments relating to all 3 themes 6
Generally supportive of these themes 7
Themes to add / give more focus to 8
Human rights 7
Doubts about whether themes will be realised 4
Criticism around themes chosen 3
Dissatisfaction with current situation 2
Comments on current situation for disabled people 2
Disagreement with model of disability used 1

Theme 1 - Disabled people are empowered to participate fully

The importance of empowering disabled people was highlighted, but it was commented that much more needed to be done in this area. It was also noted that engagement should be meaningful and ongoing - informing people of actions as a result of their involvement. Disabled people's frustration following consultation which does not result in meaningful change was also highlighted. It was emphasised that engaging with the parents and carers of disabled people is also important, as was the need to acknowledge that parents of disabled children have expert knowledge of the person they care for. It was stated that more staff training might be required on how to engage effectively with disabled people, and that disabled people might need to be encouraged to participate. It was mentioned that there is a need to evaluate the engagement process. It was also suggested that "support" and "being listened to" should be explicitly included in the wording of theme 1.

"Disabled people must be meaningfully involved in decision making in order to actively participate in all areas of society. We welcome that the Scottish Government recognises engagement with disabled people is essential in delivering the commitments of this action plan. However, we believe further action is needed to ensure that there is parity in engagement. For example, it is essential that geographical barriers don't prevent disabled people from participating and that efforts are made to engage with those who may not previously have contributed to consultations."

Third sector / equality organisation - Leonard Cheshire Disability

(Agree with themes)

"At present, we find that in many cases, disabled people face multiple barriers to participating in Scottish society which can prevent them from being empowered both individually and as part of their community. Disabled people tell us that attitudinal barriers, problems with physical access, transport issues, a lack of additional support and information not being made available in accessible formats are their principal concerns. These barriers are well-documented in Scotland but must be tackled in order to create a fairer society."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

(Agree with themes)

"Some disabled people are seldom heard purely because they are not getting opportunities to engage properly, whether that is because they live in a remote or rural place or in a care home, or have limited access to the internet, or do not belong to a group or organisation. Even when they do, the limitations of that engagement can leave them frustrated and not inspired to do it again. For example, we were told that a Council in the north east had had a meeting two years prior with members of the Fraserburgh People's First Group, but still they had no idea what difference that had made, whether a report had been written or acted on, and no further meetings had been arranged, even though there had been a promise to feed back to the group after the meeting about what would happen next, and despite efforts to contact the Council about this."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"Our members also tell us that they share a wider sense of profound frustration that many of the issues they raise have been discussed before but no significant progress has been made to resolve them… When we asked people to suggest methods by which agencies in Scotland keen to involve disabled people could combat this sense of frustration we were told that key considerations in successful engagement was feedback, providing evidence of action taken and ongoing involvement. If disabled people are to be engaged, asked to participate in discussion, actively consulted or involved in co-production with public authorities in Scotland, they need to then be kept informed about progress and the results of their involvement."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

(Agree with themes)

"Agree that all disabled people should be empowered to participate fully in all aspects of decision making about the key issues in their lives. Parents, families and carers should also be included and empowered to participate as they are adaptable and resourceful people who are extremely knowledgeable about the person they care for... Disabled people and their families live with disability 24/7 and professionals only have a brief overview of their lives, conditions and difficulties. Yet professionals go on to make many decisions without taking into consideration the disabled person whether child or adult is actually a whole person with their own views, opinions and ideas."

Individual

(Agree with themes)

"We agree that the themes identified are important for the implementation of the Delivery Plan. It is suggested that to better reflect the principles of the UNCRPD the first principle is amended as follows: Disabled people are empowered to participate fully and are provided with the support that they may require to do so."

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

(Agree with themes)

"With regard to the first theme 'Participation', we believe that 'and are being listened to' should be added to the theme's description. There is indeed little benefit for disabled people to be able to participate in discussions if their views are in the end not being taken into account."

Third sector / equality organisation - Downs Syndrome Scotland

(Agree with themes)

Theme 2 - Communication is accessible and inclusive of all

The importance of accessible, inclusive communication was highlighted, but it was believed that more should be done to take into account a wide range of communication needs. It was stated that more should be done to promote inclusive communication and encourage inclusive participation. It was also seen as important to build on and develop existing skills and knowledge in this area. It was noted that some people might require an advocate or representative to communicate for them. It was also observed that consultations need to be made more accessible.

"There is a clear legal and business case for adopting inclusive communication approaches, but we would highlight also the human or moral case - it is simply right that any country would wish to involve all of its citizens in an equal way. Humans are born with a desire to connect with other people. We are at our best when we feel included and involved in decisions affecting our lives. One clear lesson from making communication accessible and inclusive of all is that it impacts not just on people with communication support needs, but all of their communication partners."

Third sector / equality organisation - Sense Scotland

(Agree with themes)

"Too often consultation exercises are inaccessible to those we support either because timescales and available resources impede their involvement or the policy documents being consulted on are inaccessible. Many practitioners lack the experience and confidence in communicating with the people we support."

Third sector / equality organisation - Capability Scotland

(Agree with themes)

Theme 3 - The barriers facing disabled people are known, understood and addressed

Stigma and other people's attitudes were the most frequently mentioned comments in connection with barriers faced by disabled people. It was noted that multiple barriers remain in place for disabled people and that more work is required to identify and address them. It was observed that barriers are not only physical. Emotional and psychological barriers also need to be acknowledged. It was also suggested that resources should be provided to tackle barriers and promote disabled people's human rights. Suggestions for addressing barriers included: education; a national public awareness campaign along the lines of the "See Me" campaign; tackling negative images in the media; and the use of disabled role models.

"Disabled people can take part in our society. Lots of the work strands in the commitments will contribute to this, the biggest barrier to people with a Learning Disability taking part is the lack of any expectation that they will. Society still expects to exclude and segregate us from so many areas of life right back from pre-school because we are regarded with less value that other citizens."

Third sector / equality organisation - People First (Scotland)

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

"In consultation with all the disabled people we engaged with we were told how poor attitudes and discrimination affect their lives; and how all the negative newspaper reports about disabled people seem to affect their experience of poor attitudes harassment and hate crime… Disabled young people raised a number of different experiences of discrimination and poor attitudes, including when considering careers; discussing problems with adults ('they all think they know best'); fear of hate crime when travelling independently and attitudes of health staff, bus/taxi drivers, etc."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"Many disabled young people tell us of negative experiences and the poor attitudes from members of the public - from the Job Centre Plus to teachers to passengers on trains. We would support Inclusion Scotland's call for a large scale and on-going public campaign similar to 'see me' and for this to include disabled children and young people. Crucially, and as referred to in the report, the parents we have spoken to would have welcomed disabled role models to speak to them when their children were small. Negative attitudes from professionals and particularly from health professionals has also been raised as an issue, (particularly the emphasis on the medical model)."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

"Disabled people also tell us that they would like to see resources being dedicated to specifically tackling the problems they encounter in society and not simply being focussed on exercises to consult or involve them in order for public bodies in Scotland to meet their equalities duties. This feeling that talk is cheap permeates the more cynical responses that we received to the plan."

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

(Agree with themes)

"We reiterate that a large scale and on-going public campaign like 'See-me' should be established in co-production with disabled people; and that the national curriculum in Scotland could include awareness on disabled people's barriers and equality. These are two practical methods of promoting disabled people's human rights."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

Comments relating to all three themes

Some consultees commented on the themes more generally. These comments included: concerns about the practical implementation of the themes; that public bodies should be held accountable and that there is a need to monitor and report on implementation; the importance that all documentation should address the themes; and the belief that more needs to be done. A local authority provided an example of its work relating to the three themes.

Generally supportive of these themes

Some consultees commented on their support for the three themes, with some commenting that they thought that the themes were essential. However the complexity of applying these themes was also noted.

"The Themes are very relevant and we welcome the Scottish Governments commitment to deliver the UNCRDP. We appreciate that the Scottish Government has involved Disabled Peoples Organisations and are keen that the organisations that are representing people in Scotland are funded and supported to work with people beyond Glasgow and Edinburgh."

Third sector / equality organisation - Dundee Learning Disability & Autism Strategic Planning Group

(Agree with themes)

"We think the themes are critical for the Plan's aims to be achieved and these can be used to publicise the messages - all is meaningless without these themes."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

(Agree with themes)

"68% of online respondents felt that the key themes will help the Scottish Government in its work to achieve disabled people's rights. However many respondents felt that the theme were 'Easy statements - but they actually need properly applying in very complex areas such as criminal justice, health and employment.'"

Third sector / equality organisation - Scottish Disability Equality Forum

(Agree with themes)

"The three themes identified are individually and collectively essential underlying principles for achieving the rights of disabled people."

Local government - Stirling Council

(Agree with themes)

Themes to add / give more focus to

Consultees suggested other cross-cutting themes which they thought should have been included within the delivery plan. In particular, it was believed that the delivery plan should focus more on the rights of disabled children and young people. Other suggestions were: free social care at point of delivery, in order to strengthen disabled people's empowerment and participation; combatting social isolation and promoting social inclusion; supporting disabled people to lead independent healthy lives; intersectionality; and violence, including sexual violence, experienced by disabled people.

"A focus on the rights of disabled children and young people is necessary in order to recognise their particular vulnerabilities and the multiple additional barriers that they face in accessing and enjoying their rights (as enshrined in the UNCRPD, the UNCRC and elsewhere in international and national law). In defining the cross-cutting themes, the Delivery Plan should refer specifically to the rights of disabled children and young people, and the steps needed to ensure a child rights-based approach is taken forward as outlined in the PANEL principles."

Third sector / equality organisation - Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights)

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

"My main reservation however is regarding what appears to be a lack of consideration of children and young people's rights, yet this is essential because of their particular vulnerabilities/ age. Whilst there will be some crossover, this document needs to be children's rights proofed. Others have spoken about the PANEL Principles and I agree that this would be a good starting point and an excellent framework from which to consider the rights of disabled children and young people."

Public Body - Children and Young People's Commissioner

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

"Disabled people will feel more empowered to participate when they have their full social care needs met. This cross-cutting theme should be strengthened through a renewed commitment to providing social care free at the point of delivery that does more than meet basic life and limb care needs. If this does not happen, and the current trend for narrowing the range of services available and charging for social care continues, there will always be a significant proportion of disabled people who will continue to NOT be empowered to participate, because they may simply lack the confidence to leave their house due to lack of appropriate support."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"Another significant issue that should be addressed under cross-cutting themes is social isolation and loneliness, or promotion of its converse, social inclusion. For disabled people, social isolation can be associated with inaccessible employment, lack of social support, or lack of access to community groups, as well as age. In fact, from our engagement with disabled people it was all age groups that expressed a need for this issue to be addressed."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"In addition to the actions included we think that there may be some benefit from having some actions related to how other protected characteristics interact with disability and other equality issues e.g. race, religion, gender."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

(Agree with themes)

"We think in particular the subject of violence should be explored further, including sexual violence (towards persons with disability) and violence related to disabled persons' sexuality."

Public Body - Social Work, Dundee City Council

(Agree with themes)

Human rights

A key reason for disagreeing with the themes, or for neither agreeing nor disagreeing, was the belief that human rights were not as central to the delivery plan as they should be. There were criticisms that the delivery plan and the cross-cutting themes do not go far enough. Some consultees wanted it to use the PANEL model of human rights, (participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and legality). It was commented that human rights should be considered when developing all policies. It was also noted that it was important for public bodies to be more aware of human rights and to be accountable. It was also commented that human rights apply not only to public bodies but need to extend throughout society.

"We do not agree that three 'cross-cutting' themes are adequate. We suggest basing the cross-cutting themes on the UN and Scottish Human Rights Commission-endorsed rights-based PANEL principles: participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and legality… This would ensure that highly important issues such as non-discrimination, legality and accountability also underpin the implementation of the action plan."

Third sector / equality organisation - Members of the Rights for Life Steering Group

(Disagree with themes)

"Whilst it is clear that the commitments here have been scrutinized to ensure they meet international human rights standards, there is more that needs to be done to ensure that this is not purely an exercise that takes place in a written document, the Delivery Plan. It should be part of the process of viewing all commitments. Moreover, when all policies are made, their implications for equality and human rights, particularly of those most marginalized in our communities, should be considered alongside the financial and other implications."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"In addition, if we are truly to deliver change, there must be greater focus on ensuring that public bodies and decision makers are made aware of their duties under the UNCRPD, and that there is greater accountability for the fulfillment of these duties. The duties within the Convention go beyond those contained within the Human Rights Act (1998), which applies only to public authorities. The UNCRPD duties extend throughout society, and include changing stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices towards persons with disabilities through the media, education and influential bodies including faith groups and political parties."

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

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

Doubts about whether themes will be realised

Some consultees commented that whilst they were supportive of the themes and commitments outlined in the delivery plan, they were sceptical about whether they would be realised. There was a concern that policy change would only be marginal, and there was a question as to how progress against the commitments would be measured.

"The Commissions' agree strongly that these themes need to be built into the way the Government works… However, while we welcome this approach we are unclear what the process is for building these themes into day to day work and how this can be achieved without a commitment to encourage and support policy leads to adopt these ways of working… We are pleased that the Scottish Government will continue to raise awareness of disabled people's human rights and promote the UNCRPD. However, it is not clear to us whether this commitment includes what is required for the effective implementation of the UNCRPD, which is to raise awareness across Government departments; devolved public services; disabled people and society as a whole."

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

(Q15 not answered)

"If I have one major reservation overall, it is that the effect of the UNCRPD is being transmitted through well - intended - if in some cases marginal - policy changes, rather than as a matter of right".

Individual

(Neither Agree nor Disagree with themes)

Criticism around themes chosen

Some criticism was leveled about the themes that were chosen and how they were presented within the delivery plan. It was commented that the links between cross cutting themes and each commitment is not sufficiently explicit. It was mentioned that the themes don't fit adequately with social model of disability and should be reworded to focus on "self-empowerment" and challenging barriers, rather than just raising awareness of them. There was also disagreement with the wording of the inclusive communication information theme and a belief that it is potentially discriminatory, due to its focus on BSL and Braille, rather than communication aids for those with other forms of disability, including learning disabilities.

"Another criticism of the cross-cutting themes drawn from our engagement is that there is no intrinsic link with each commitment. In order for the themes to be truly cross-cutting, it would be helpful for an overt statement, even in brackets, to show how this or that commitment is embedding them into the Delivery Plan."

Third sector / equality organisation - Inclusion Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

"The themes lack a clear understanding of the 'self-empowerment' nature of the social model… For example, disabled activists argue that we should not use the term 'empowerment' (as if power is a gift from the powerful to the powerless - that may be taken back at any point). They argue that professionals should work to support the self-empowerment of disabled children and adults… Raising awareness is again inadequate the aim should be to challenge, confront and remove discrimination - this sections needs to be so much more proactive."

Individual

(Disagree with themes)

"The focus upon British Sign Language and formats such as Braille is designed to meet the needs of people with sensory disabilities, but the failure to give equal importance to the development and provision of communication aids for people with other forms of disability, including various intellectual disabilities, is discriminatory and in breach of UN CRPD."

Representative body for professionals - The Law Society of Scotland

(Disagree with themes)

Dissatisfaction with current situation

Dissatisfaction was expressed with how public bodies currently engage with and consult with disabled people, and there was a belief that there should be more enforcement around disability legislation.

Comments on current situation for disabled people

There were a couple of comments relating to the current situation for disabled people, including that disabled people need to be empowered to challenge poor services, and a consultee's personal dissatisfaction with the current way that the social services system works.

Disagreement with model of disability used

There was a comment disagreeing with the use of the social model of disability used in the delivery plan, and a belief that the bio-psycho-social model which incorporates both medical and social factors should be used instead.


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